Status: Complete, Word Count: 2,200, Pairing: Gen
Read the Fic Here: https://archiveofourown.org/works/15607950
Author’s Summary: Albus Dumbledore must solve a persistent problem involving one of his third-year students. There is nothing to fear. (1940)
For the second oneshot in the There is Nothing to Fear AU, the focus is once more primarily on Tom Riddle. This time, we get to learn about what he was in his teenage years. This is, once again, a rather short oneshot, but it also manages to tell us a lot about Tom. Now, I personally think starting this series off with Tom at the height of his movement, as a brilliant and fearless revolutionary, and then cutting back to him as a thirteen year old is a very interesting idea, because it allows for some cool reverse character development. Thirteen year old Tom is impulsive, reckless, aggressive, and almost cartoonishly edgy, and this makes for an instant stark contrast with his older self. However, he is also still very talented at magic and clearly has a lot of potential as a student. Now, there are several things that I instantly like about this. First of all, one trope that has always bugged me a fair amount is the idea that Tom was always a cunning, conniving, brilliant mind who could dance circles intellectually around all of his peers and teachers, because it’s fucking boring. Where’s the fun in a villain who was instantly better than his peers from day one? No, part of what makes a powerful villain interesting, besides their motivations, is how they came into their power, and I think portraying Tom as an edgy, angsty teen, while still acknowledging his raw potential, sets up some very interesting potential for future development. Secondly, I just think edge-lord Tom Riddle is a fun idea. I don’t really have a strong defense for this besides just saying that I find it entertaining, but sometimes that’s all the justification I’m able to provide. Now, besides Tom, the other character that this focuses on is Dumbledore, and while I think he’s written very well, I don’t really have anything especially interesting to say about him, because Tom’s character is just far more interesting to me. Overall, I think that this fic’s characterization slightly edges out the characterization in Having the Right Enemies. It’s pretty fucking fantastic.
Now, this fic is interesting to me, because while the actual story it tells is rather boring and bland—Tom beating a few older kids up and getting told off by Dumbledore—it serves as a very interesting continuation to Having the Right Enemies and already allows for us to begin to piece together a few of the more out there things set up in the Having the Right Enemies. Namely, the mystery surrounding Flitwick begins to come together here in a very interesting way, as well as several other puzzle pieces. At the same time, it also sets up a lot of other things to be explored in other short stories. This is what I consider to be so interesting about this whole series, is that it takes a seemingly bland moment from Tom’s life, yet makes it hyper interesting to us as readers, because of previous knowledge we have already been given. Because of this, I once again can say that the plot is pretty damn great.
Now, I quite enjoyed the dialogue in Having the Right Enemies, and I think that the author does a very good job writing in a drastically different style, while still making the dialogue entertaining and enjoyable. See, despite what some may think, writing convincing dialogue for a thirteen year old edge-lord and having it not suck is actually quite difficult, and is honestly something that is quite rare in the HP fanfic community. So….yeah, Tom’s dialogue here is honestly fantastic, and I am continuing to be impressed with how well done this series is. I always go into these sets of short oneshots with a fair amount of skepticism, and I have been very pleasantly surprised so far.
Everything I said about Having the Right Enemies also applies here. It has some mistakes, but they don’t really bother me because I enjoy the story being told enough that they don’t detract from my enjoyment of it.
I think that Men Who are Resolved is about on par with Having the Right Enemies. It does a good job teasing some answers to previously raised questions, as well as setting up whole swaths of new questions to be answered in future installments. It has engaging dialogue, interesting characters, and is honestly a great time. Also, while this fic doesn’t actually have much proper action in it, it alludes to several action sequences that take place off screen, and oh boy is it effective. This bodes really well for any future actual action sequences that take place in any future installments in the There is Nothing to Fear series.
If you enjoyed Having the Right Enemies, you’ll definitely have a good time with this fic, although even if you didn’t care for Having the Right Enemies all that much, I’d recommend giving this series another shot. Who knows, maybe this one will change your mind?
Tier: Great Tier
Written on 06/07/2021