Status: Complete, Word Count: 103,200, Pairing: Harry Potter/Tom Riddle
Read the Fic Here: https://archiveofourown.org/chapters/40886252
Summary: “Tom and Harry are inevitable in any universe.
OR: While Dumbledore and Grindelwald play their chess game across Europe, two young wizards form an unlikely friendship.
[That one where Tom and Harry are born in the same generation.]”
My Thoughts: By all normal standards, this is not a fic that has any right to work as well as it does. A Tomarry fic that features a Harry corruption arc, with all of the canon characters just yoinked out of the regular timeline, and placed in the 1940s. These are not the pieces you’d expect to come together to form a good fanfic, but somehow they do, and that’s what I want to get into today.
Inevitabilities’ great strength by far is its brevity, and while that may sound like an insult, it’s really not. Good pacing is a crucial part of good storytelling, and the instant a reader feels bored reading a scene, then the author has failed to pace their story well. In this fic, I don’t think there’s a single scene where I wasn’t absolutely hooked. From the very beginning to the very end, I was always eager to read on, curious about what would happen next, and yearning to see this whole wild ride resolved. Every scene has a purpose, whether that be to advance the plot or develop the characters, and it all flows together really well.
However, I think what impressed me the most about this fic was the characterization. Not only did the author go out of their way to keep Tom Riddle in check with his canon characterization (like seriously, I fully believe that if not for Harry, he would have gone on to be exactly like Voldemort from canon), but they also take great pains to keep pretty much everyone in line with how they were in canon. Ron and Hermione are both genuinely great friends who Harry has a wonderful relationship with, Dumbledore is exactly how I imagined him to be during Grindelwald’s war, and even smaller character like Luna and Neville generally give off the same vibes that they did in canon. This is especially impressive, considering that this fic doesn’t have that many words to develop all these characters, and it never even really attempts to. It just plays on our knowledge of canon, so from the smallest of interactions between characters, we can see their canon personalities shine through. It’s genuinely really well done.
But at the end of the day, the two most important characters here are Harry and Tom, and if their dynamic didn’t work, the entire fic would crash and burn. Luckily for the fic, it’s absolute perfection. This is enemies to lovers done to absolute perfection, combined with a corruption arc executed so flawlessly that it should be used as a case-study for how dark!Harry should be done. I don’t even want to say anything more, because I think going into this relatively blind is the way to go, but….it’s so fucking good.
EclipseWings also makes the excellent decision to have the majority of the fic take place post-Hogwarts, which allows them to get very creative with the trajectory of the story, as well as the places and concepts they introduce throughout. The one that personally stands out to me the most is their idea of how Necromancy works, because I’d genuinely never seen anything like this done before, and I absolutely loved it. There’s a scene near the end of the fic involving Harry using a particular power, and it’s just….absolutely horrifying. This is helped by this author’s skill at describing things in creative, artful, and interesting ways, but even on its own, fucking hell that’s terrifying.
I also think this fic should be used as a case study in how to do Powerful!Harry right. There are no scenes of Harry owning the beta-male cucks with his chadly magic, Harry never flaunts it, and he has to actually earn it, but his power is very important to his characterization and a big part of what drives Tom and Harry’s relationship (Did I mention that it was unhealthy? Because it really, really is). Beyond that, it’s also super important to the plot, because the thrust of the non-Tomarry related conflict is the conflict with Grindelwald (and Dumbledore, to a lesser extent). The point is, Harry’s power is treated as more than just a commodity to allow the reader to live vicariously through a power-fantasy, but is instead handled with care and caution, and as a result, a fantastic story is formed.
Finally, I’d like to discuss the prose. On the one hand, the grammar could really use some work in some places. It’s not horrible or anything, but there are enough mistakes that I got a big annoyed a few times. I think this fic could probably do with a beta-reader or two to clean that kind of thing up. On the other hand, everything else is really good. There are a few instances where I was bothered by telling, but the author really shied away from telling me about how the characters felt, and instead largely allowed the characters and their actions to speak for themselves. Combine that with some stunning descriptions of magic, and the very interesting choice to narrate everything in the presence tense, and you have some genuinely interesting and distinct prose. It doesn’t really come into its own for a few chapters, but once it gets there, it’s really engaging, and there were several lines that impressed me enough to rave about on discord.
Overall, Inevitabilities is a tense, engaging fic that I had an absolute blast reading. The characters are great, the story is super unique and creative, and the prose is genuinely stunning at times (in relation to other fanfics, anyway). This is probably one of the best fanfics I’ve ever read. In fact, I might even put this in my top five best of all time. I implore you to check it out, regardless of what your preconceptions about Tomarry (or slash in general) are. You will probably have a good time with it.