Chapter 1 : Voldemort and the Tell All Interview
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Voldemort sat at his desk, pondering the quandary he found himself in. It had been a long and difficult fall since his defeat by Harry Potter, after which he had initially just bounced around from one dead end job to another. He thought he had finally earned his big break when a television network picked up his reality show, Britain’s Next Top Death Eater, but it had been cancelled after only one episode. Now, as he sat down to meet with Rita Skeeter, his agent and publicist, Voldemort was on the brink of eviction and bankruptcy.
Rita’s quick quotes quill jotted down notes as she offered Voldemort some advice, “Look Voldemort, you hired me to represent you so I’m going to give you the honest truth. The reason nothing is working out for you is that you have an image problem. “
“Please elaborate,” instructed the confused Voldemort.
Rita calmly explained, “You see, you spent many years cultivating this image of yourself as a powerful and feared dark lord, which was perfectly fine when you actually were a powerful and feared dark lord, but now that you’re virtually powerless and looking for respectable work, people still remember that image and they hold it against you. “
Voldemort scratched his bald head, “So what can we do about it?”
“Basically we need to reinvent your image,” Rita explained, “And it starts next week, I booked you an interview on the Monique show.”
Voldemort protested, “No you can’t be serious!”
Monique, a middle aged woman with the type of warm and trusting expression that made you want to spill your guts to her, was a very popular talk show host throughout all of wizarding society, but she was absolutely revered by what Rita termed “the Molly Weasley demographic.”
In the aftermath of the Battle of Hogwarts, Harry Potter had granted Monique an exclusive interview that quickly became the highest rated program in the history of magical television, and ensured that Harry’s side became the definitive version of the events. When Harry’s autobiographical novels were featured on one of Monique’s book club episodes, they immediately became number one best sellers. Simply put, Monique had the power and influence to make or break anybody’s reputation. And for a disgraced celebrity like Voldemort, an appearance on her show was the vital first step to recovery.
Rita put her notepad down on the desk on looked at Voldemort with a serious scowl, “The interview is next Tuesday, I’m going to coach you on what to say, and you’re going to do just fine.”
Rita nervously watched from backstage as the live filming began. Monique took her usual seat on a couch, facing an adjacent couch in which her guests would sit. She began her opening monologue, “Good morning my friends, first of all I am pleased to announce that courtesy of our sponsors you will all be receiving a free bottle of Amortentia!”
The live audience applauded loudly as Monique continued, “On today’s show we have a very special guest, he was once known as ‘He who must not be named,’ the most feared dark wizard in the world. More recently, you may know him as a failed reality television star and mediocre actor; witches and wizards please welcome Lord Voldemort!”
Voldemort walked out and took a seat on the couch, nervously trying to force a smile in the way that Rita instructed him to. The crowd’s reaction was a mixture of polite applause and open hostility. Monique greeted him with a very awkward hug, something he had become very adept at.
Voldemort squirmed around, trying to find the most comfortable position on the couch, as Monique began the interview, “So Voldemort, according to your latest press release it seems you are attempting to reinvent yourself, and trying to convince us that you were actually just misunderstood. Let’s take a walk through your childhood, what made you the way you were?”
Voldemort paused, he had rehearsed this answer with Rita several times, but he was not certain how it would go over.
He began to reminisce, “My mother passed away when I was very young, and my father, well he never had any time for me to begin with,” Voldemort paused, straining very hard to refrain from saying “mudblood.”
He continued, “I had an unhappy childhood, growing up in a London orphanage. I never got on well with the other kids; they just didn’t understand me because I was different. Since I didn’t have friends, I had to turn to magic and other objects. I put my soul into my diary; it was the only thing that understood me. I also discovered that snakes were the only ones I could really talk to, they were always there to listen.”
Monique nodded sympathetically, “And then you got involved in dark arts?”
“Yes,” Voldemort confirmed, “It was the first thing I was ever good at, and it was intoxicating.”
Rita watched patiently from backstage, very proud of Voldemort for taking her advice and answering the questions exactly as she had instructed him. She was very pleased as the interview continued, and he continued to frame the answers in the best light possible, making great progress towards rehabilitating his image.
Finally, Monique asked the question Rita had most anticipated, “So if you could do anything differently, what would it be?”
Rita sat nervously on the edge of her seat; she had instructed Voldemort exactly how to answer this question, but he still seemed to struggle with it. It was the question that would make or break him.
Voldemort paused; he knew what he was supposed to say, but he had such a hard time saying it. He didn’t believe a word of it, but Rita had convinced him it was the only way. Finally he said, “Everything I ever did, the killings, the abductions, it was all just trying to fill an empty void in my life. Basically, all I ever wanted was to be loved.”
A chorus of sympathetic sighs emanated from the audience. Rita leaped from her seat in excitement and triumphantly pumped her fist. The interview was a resounding success.
In a private booth at the Three Broomsticks, Voldemort raised his glass of butterbeer and proposed a toast, “To Rita Skeeter, the best publicist alive.”
Rita smiled proudly as she raised her glass. “I can’t tell just how much that interview has done for us,” she explained.
She placed a copy of the Daily Prophet on the table which bore the headline, “Was You-Know-Who Misunderstood?”
She also pulled out a copy of Wizard Weekly magazine which had a close-up shot of Voldemort on the cover with the inscription, “All He Wanted was Love.”
“So what’s the next step?” Voldemort asked.
“Well, this may be a bit of a risk but we need to strike while the iron is hot. I booked you an interview on the Lee Jordan Show next week,” Rita answered.
Voldemort understood that this was a very large gamble indeed. During Voldemort’s reign of terror, Lee Jordan had made a name for himself as an underground radio host, co-founding the popular Potterwatch program. After the war, Lee had branched out into television, and was now the host of a late night talk show that was one of the highest rated magical programs. Lee had a very unique sense of humor, and his edgy and provocative style was always certain to shake things up. He was also known for his very unpredictable antics on the air. Voldemort was reluctant to appear on such a show, but he realized it was probably a necessary step towards being accepted by mainstream wizarding society.
The live audience cheered in anticipation as Lee Jordan walked out to begin his opening monologue.
“How about this weather we’re having? I haven’t felt this much hot air since Cornelius Fudge was Minister,” Lee joked to a chorus of laughs.
“So the Ministry was put on alert last week because there were rumors that a dark wizard was amassing a secret army of gingers. But then they realized, it was only a Weasley family dinner,” said Lee.
“That’s not cool mate,” called out George Weasley, Lee’s co-host and band leader.
Lee continued, “So I walked into a tavern the other night and asked if they wanted to hear a joke about Hufflepuffs. The barman said to me, ‘Ok, but you should know that I’m a Hufflepuff, that wizard over there catches werewolves and dragons for a living and he’s a Hufflepuff, and that witch over there is an Auror and she’s a Hufflepuff. Now do you still want to tell that joke?’ So I said, ‘Oh Merlin no, not if I’m going to have to explain it three times.’”
“Ba-dum-dum-ching!” George Weasley played on his drum set.
Lee concluded his monologue, “Do you know why Slytherins always cross the road twice? Because they’re all double crossers! Except Snape, he stands in the middle of the road because nobody knows what side he’s on!”
Lee changed gears as the crowd laughed hysterically, “Ladies and gentlemen, we have a very special show for you tonight. Our guest tonight is very dark and mysterious, and nobody knows why he doesn’t have a nose. He was once known as ‘You Know Who’ or ‘You No Poo’ as I preferred. Whatever name you know him by, he is here tonight, in studio. Please welcome, Voldemort!”
Voldemort walked out, nervously waving to the crowd as he took a seat on Lee’s chair.
“Now Voldemort, we are going to make things interesting tonight by bringing out some of your former victims and seeing what happens,” Lee explained, “George, who is lined up first?”
Rita was shocked; she knew Lee antics were unpredictable, but she definitely hadn’t been counting on this.
George introduced the first victim, “Our next guest was murdered by Voldemort several years ago during his sixth year at Hogwarts. After his death, he was reborn as an undead vampire and has starred in several successful films. Please welcome, Cedric Diggory!”
Cedric walked out from backstage as several teenage girls in “Team Cedric” t-shirts fainted at the sight of him. Cedric then awkwardly took a seat across from Voldemort, and he was clearly not the only one who was uncomfortable with the situation.
Lee began the interview, “So Voldemort, what would you like to say to Cedric?”
Voldemort paused, remembering his coaching, before finding his words, “Cedric, I just want you to know that there was never anything personal between us. The reason I killed you is that you were the spare; you were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. To tell you the truth I actually kind of like Hufflepuffs, I even made a horcrux out of your house’s goblet.”
Cedric took it all in before answering, “Voldemort, before you killed me I was a lowly Hufflepuff. Tying Harry Potter in the Tri-wizard Tournament was the greatest thing I could ever hope to accomplish. But now, in my new form, I am a world famous movie star and I can get any girl I want. So basically Voldemort, I have to thank you for making me who I am today.”
Rita breathed a deep sigh of relief; the disaster was averted for now.
Lee spoke up again, “And now, ladies and gentlemen, we have a very special guest for you, making his first ever television appearance. Back all the way from beyond the veil, please welcome, Sirius Black!”
The ladies in the audience screamed in approval as Sirius walked out and took a seat next to Cedric. Sirius turned to great Cedric, “Hullo Cedric, I wanted to tell you that I actually met that fake werewolf guy who makes those vampire movies with you the other day.”
“Oh really, what did you think?” asked Cedric.
“So let me get this straight,” said Sirius seriously, “He comes from the Ancient and Noble House of Black, he’s an animagus that can turn into a dog, he rides a motorcycle, and he has long shaggy hair and a legion of female admirers…that’s actually very original, I don’t think I’ve ever met anybody like that before.”
Lee had one further announcement, “We are also very lucky tonight to have a very special guest in our midst, somebody you all know who is very near and dear to us. He is currently the Head Auror, and in his spare time he has written seven bestselling books about himself and also starred as himself in eight record breaking films. Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together, because Harry Potter is here in da hizzzouse!”
The crowd rose in a standing ovation while George played a funky beat as Harry Potter confidently walked out from backstage, swaggering like a boss. He was wearing a custom tailored Armani suit, some very expensive bling around his neck, and a gold plated Swiss watch. He was also wearing designer sunglasses, not caring that he was indoors. To the delighted roars of the crowd, Harry turned on his heel and broke out a few dance moves before taking a seat next to Sirius.
Rita nervously bit her lip backstage; whatever ended up happening, she could not envision any possible scenario that ended well.
“So Voldemort, what would you like to say to Harry?” asked Lee.
Voldemort squirmed and took a deep breath, “Hey Harry…my buddy…the boy who lived haha…Basically I just want you to know that there was never anything personal between us. The only reason I killed your parents and tried to kill you all those years was because the stupid prophecy said I had to. I hope you didn’t take it personally, it was just business.”
Harry appeared to be deep in contemplation as Sirius turned and asked him, “What do you think Harry, should we forgive him or kick his arse?”
Harry made his mind up, “I say we kick his arse.”
Sirius stood up and began to flex his muscles, “I agree; it’s time for the Sirius Black attack!”
Voldemort fidgeted nervously, remembering that Rita had told him that humor was the best way out of a difficult situation. “Are you serious?” he asked. A classic pun.
Sirius looked back with a sly grin, “Yes I’m Sirius, duh. Why are you so nosy?”
“Ohhh snap son!” George interjected.
Sirius charged at Voldemort and hit him with a flying rugby tackle as he drove him head first into the wall. As Voldemort struggled to get up, Harry then charged in and smashed a chair over his head which splintered into hundreds of pieces. The crowd went wild as Sirius and Harry shared a congratulatory chest bump.
Rita was dejected as she watched all her hard work fall apart from backstage. She was suddenly startled as a creepy, dark haired woman snuck up behind her.
“Well if it isn’t iickie wittle Weeta Skeeta, the Ritanator, lovely Rita the meter maid,” the woman greeted her.
Rita sighed, “What are you doing here, Bellatrix?”
“I want to know why you’re trying to take my man,” said Bellatrix in an accusatory tone.
Rita rolled her eyes, “Get over yourself, I’m just his publicist.”
Bellatrix then noticed the pandemonium ensuing on the stage as she ran out to join the fray, screaming, “I’m going to kill Harry Potter!”
At that moment, a wide ripple opened up within the crowd as Molly Weasley came charging down to the front and bellowed, “NOT MY SON-IN-LAW, YOU BITCH!”*
Bellatrix shrugged, “Ok fine, I’ll kill Lee Jordan then.”
“NOT MY SON’S CO-HOST, YOU BITCH!”* Molly answered in reply.
Bellatrix threw her arms up in exasperation, “Fine, I’ll just kill Sirius Black again.”
“NOT MY SON-IN-LAW’S GODFATHER, YOU BITCH!”* responded Molly as she blasted Bellatrix with a phaser that was definitely not set for stun.
Everything became a bit of a blur for Voldemort as Sirius mercilessly pummeled him into submission and Harry taunted him, “How’s my arse taste, Riddle?”
Voldemort awoke the next morning in St. Mungo’s and reached for a copy of the Daily Prophet. Its front page featured a large photograph of Sirius Black punching him in the face. Voldemort ripped up the paper and threw it on the ground in disgust. He could never win.
* Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling, page 736 U.S. edition