SO I TOTALLY READ THIS ON WEDNESDAY IN CLASS AND THOUGHT I HAD LEFT YOU A REVIEW ON THIS AND I AM JUST NOW DISCOVERING THAT I HAVEN'T. I told you this review was going to be late but oh my gosh, I didn't mean this late. I beg your forgiveness. ♥
I think the thing that strikes me most about this chapter is just how detached Tom is from basically being human -- which is a very canon quality, even though he's not nearly Lord Voldemort (yet). It makes me want to further explore him just because no one else has like this: What makes him tick, what he's thinking behind unreadable expressions. Lines like this:
But he knew, on an annoyingly conscious level, that most men did not have to think about the act of smiling before engaging in it.
That is CREEPY. And psychopathic, like you mentioned. I feel like when a lot of people write Riddle, or Voldemort, they forget the motivations behind him and just show a vapid, two-dimensional villain who's evil for the sake of being evil. And that's not who he is at all. Riddle knows exactly what he's doing and why he's doing it and how he's doing it, and that is scarier than a man who's lost control of his senses -- evil for the sake of evil -- any day.
And poor Pomona, being sucked in by it all -- but I do cheer for her at the spare moments when she does seem to notice that something is amiss. I have no idea if you're going to go AU or not, if Riddle's really going to make her bite the dust, but I'm sort of hoping not. Not just for the obvious reasons of not wanting characters to die, but think how that'd drive her in the canon days: Knowing who he is, and that he's back. That would add a whole new dimension to her character and I already want to read about her with that extra layer slapped on.
Adding in here that your last paragraph was absolutely horrific/wonderful, and that is one of the most gruesome images ever. AND THERE'S THE DIARY, I SEE IT. Ooh -- does Pomona die to create one of his Horcruxes, maybe?! Are you going completely AU? (Bloody teeth, oh my goodness, that is horrifying.)
Ugh. I am so, so sorry again for how long it took me to review this. I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHY I FORGOT I HADN'T REVIEWED IT IN THE FIRST PLACE. My brain is mush and I just want to go home and anyway. This was lovely. But I always expect the best from you, and you always deliver!
Author's Response: WHY ARE YOU APOLOGIZING, YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE TO LEAVE A REVIEW IN THE FIRST PLACE! ♥ Seriously, it's enough that you read it. (hug)
Now that I'm reading this review for the second or third time, it's struck me that I draw inspiration for Tom's detachment from the feeling I get after watching an episode of Mad Men. Which sounds insane. But I swear to God, every time I've finished watching an episode of that show I literally feel like I have no soul. (WHY DO I KEEP WATCHING) Some of the characters do such senselessly /bad/ things with no remorse whatsoever and their moral compass is like, nonexistent. I get an actual void in my brain from sitting through an hour of that and that void is what comes to mind when I regard Tom Riddle. Just an inhuman black pit whose only emotions are base, selfish, child-like ones: I want this, so I will say whatever I can to get it.
One-note villains who're bad just because they want to be bad don't interest me. Voldemort got a little less dimensional with age, I think, and from his horcruxes. But when he was young and we saw Dumbledore visit him at the orphanage, that's where you get that glimpse of what lurks beneath. And it's fascinating. The wardrobe on fire with a tin of stolen items, the boasting about the things he can do - his true self before he discovered that he'd let too much slip in his moment of excitement. He spent the next seven years glossing over those characteristics with practiced smiles and flattery, but it's all still there. Eeep, I just love it.
I can't remark on what will happen with Pomona, obviously, but she's got a little more strength and determination than she lets on. I'm very fond of her.
♥ You are the best.