Status: Complete, Word Count: 5,100, Genre: Horror/Suspense
Read the Fic Here: https://www.fanfiction.net/u/10461539/BolshevikMuppet99
Summary: “After growing concerned about some of his political decisions, Hermione decides to confront Minister for Magic Harry Potter, fifteen years after Voldemort’s defeat. All she can hope is that she’s overreacting, and that her worries are unfounded. Oneshot.”
My Thoughts: A horror thriller oneshot that has a premise reminiscent of both Secrets in the Shadows by Mr. 3CP and dead things by EclipseWing, yet written by the author infamous for making all edgy!Dark!Harry fans squirm in discomfort as they stare into the bottomless chasm that is the Downward Spiral Saga? Count me intrigued. And can I just say right away, god damn it feels nice to just read a standalone oneshot again. After the wild ride that was DSS, I needed that. This won’t really factor into my rating all that much, but it’s just a thought.
So with this fic, I think the best part is easily the premise. I don’t know about you, but I’m a real sucker for a good post-war oneshot that chronicles Harry becoming a secret dark lord for one reason or another, and just fucks some guys up, ending in eventual tragedy for the wizarding world. And for some reason, a lot of the author who write this kind of story like to write from Hermione’s perspective. But honestly, I can kind of see why. She’s always looking to see the best in her friends, and she has a very orderly, structural mind, so watching her analyze the situations and put the pieces together as it slowly dawns on her with growing horror what Harry’s doing can make for a narratively satisfying story, and I’d say that that concept holds true here. Also, the premise of Voldemort slowly mind-controlling entire swaths of various government agencies is just a fun one.
When this fic is at its strongest, it’s exploring this idea, doing fucked up horror shit, or both. The opening setup conversation with Ron is very strong, as is the ending when her mind is broken apart and she loses control of her body. Unfortunately, where I feel the story falters is in the middle part. You see, the moment when Hermione realizes that Harry is actually an evil, scheming dark lord is an incredibly important moment to get right. It’s the “ah ha!” moment, when Hermione has to grapple with the knowledge that her best friend, her closest friend, is a horrible, evil person. In Secrets in the Shadows, she breaks into Harry’s manor and interrogates Daphne Greengrass, only escaping by the skin of her neck when she learns the truth. In dead things, she finally confronts him on the battlefield and his mask is thrown off. In both of these fics, her shock, her pain, and her betrayal are brought to the forefront as she emotes and grapples with what she’s learned. If done well, it makes for a very powerful scene.
Here she’s scared, and then immediately starts trying to escape, and I’m sorry, but this just doesn’t cut it. Bolshe decided to reveal Harry’s treachery through a long, comic-book flavoured monologue that honestly just fell flat for me. While it technically isn’t telling, as it’s done through dialogue, it sure as hell feels like it is. In fact, that’s kind of an issue with the entire fic. The writing is mostly dialogue, which is normally something I’d commend, but even though it does succeed in conveying emotion, too much of it feels like exposition. It makes the scenes all fall kind of flat, and even the ending, which I generally like, feels like it packs a somewhat muted punch as a result.
Overall, I think this is an alright oneshot, but it had the potential to be so much more, which really frustrates me. If it was a bit longer and written in a different style it would probably even have the potential to make top tier. But sadly, it does not. Before I give it a score though, I should mention that the technical writing was actually quite good, and I look forward to seeing that fully realized and expanded upon (hopefully) in Black Ink, Red Rose.
Tier: Average Tier
Written on 11/27/2021