Reviews For What You Wanted
Reviewer: dmbw7052
Date: 05/02/14 10:55
Chapter: What You Wanted

Hello Lily,

I was perusing the historical stories, and cane across this one. Of course, seeing Tom's name in the summary immediately drew me to it. And I was not disappointed. Your characterization of an obviously evil character was quite good, especially as you portray him as being very insecure and lacking friends. Tom wasn't necessarily an evil child, but pairing a rather dark child with the fact that no one likes him is a recipe for disaster.

In the course of just a few scenes, you showed a transformation in Tom's complete mindset. Before, he simply wanted to hide and stay out of harms way. Then, at the end, he's ready to be what he knows he's capable of. He simply had to stand up and believe that he can do it. I mean, of course what he does is evil, it's just the principle of believing in yourself that was good.

The fact that you point out how Tom thinks he might be the only one to ever find the Room of Requirement simply because he is special seems so in character. Tom is extreme arrogant and always thinks of himself as better and more special than everyone else. This mindset of course us very haughty, and probably a very large part of the reason he was a Slytherin.


At the end, I really like your last paragraph. It sums up Tom brilliantly. Having a lengthier scene before it would have been nice, but I think the short length of the story in general lends itself well to the topic and character. Great job!

-Georgia

Reviewer: goldensnidget92
Date: 10/22/12 12:25
Chapter: What You Wanted

There were a lot of things I liked about this short fic. It must have been difficult to capture young Tom Riddle, but I thought you maintained a really convincing portrayal of him throughout. Having him as the victim of bullying was very interesting to see, and could have been hard to imagine - Lord Voldemort getting bullied? - but you handled it very well and I completely bought the situation. It made him seem more human, and I think that was important in this fic because he was so young. There were lots of little remarks you made which really confirmed the excellent characterisation: you said how he could “protect himself by becoming someone’s friend”, and I think this was a massively important point. As he goes on to muse about having a friend or an ally, it could have been OOC if you hadn’t mentioned that it’s for his own protection: that’s all he cares about, and you very subtly hint at this here.

I thought some of the language you used also helped to characterise him: the room is “full of lustre and mystery”, and I think these words really encapsulated Tom’s attitude to secrets and magic. The Room of Requirement is an opportunity for him to gain knowledge more than anything else, and we can tell that he will make the most of it. There were a couple of things that I did notice - when you say “and then he took to wondering why they hated him so much”, I felt like the jump in his thoughts was a little too sudden. Perhaps you could have led up a bit more smoothly in the thought progression so that he comes to a natural place to lead into the thought? Other than that, I thought a lot of your language use was very effective; especially when you described the contents of the room and said “stacks upon stacks of books and bottles of firewhiskey and old hats that someone had thrown away” littered the floor. The repeated use of “and” emphasised the masses of stuff in the room and conjured a wonderful image for us.

Speaking of the Room of Requirement, I liked how you allowed Tom to discover it innocently rather than him deliberately setting out to do it. It added to the more naïve depiction of him as a young boy, and also set up so much of what we all know is to come. I loved how you mentioned little things like him placing the warlock bust on top of the cabinet! Just little attentions to detail like that always make me admire the author because I can see how much work they put into the fic. The way you changed the narrative style at the very end to project forward into the future (if you want to get really technical, that’s called ‘prolepsis’) was very clever. Even though we all know what Riddle’s going to grow up to become, your emphasis on that here casts a shadow over everything we’ve just read, making it a whole lot more ominous. It makes us wonder whether this is one of the things that started his descent into evil, and involves us in it, making us feel almost reprehensible for ‘being there’ when it happened.

Reviewer: MissMeg
Date: 05/16/12 2:53
Chapter: What You Wanted

I'm not certain how you come up with characterizations for minor characters that introduce some aspect of the character that I hadn't really thought about. However, unlike with Pius, in your story "Smoke and Mirrors", I've actually thought about Tom's character, which made reading your depiction of him more interesting for me, since I'd had a preconceived notion of what he was like to compare him against.

I think the part of this fic that interested me the most was your portrayal of Tom as almost vulnerable. I've seen him depicted as being bullied at one point or another, but he always seems to completely annihilate the person who hurt him by the end of the story. What stands out to me in your fic is that he comes across as very human, and I don't think that his dictatorial side was terribly discernable in this piece. I think my favorite part of this fic was that by not showing his cruelty and his obsession with dominance and control, you were able to focus on his ambition, which undoubtedly led to his rise as Voldemort, but also could have led him to have a positive, yet still remarkable, career. His ambition was especially apparent in the last line”"Soon, everyone in the world would know his name."

I liked how you didn't directly refer to his future infamy for most of the story. It didn't feel like Tom is Voldemort Jr., but rather he's feels like an eleven year old boy who is being bullied and wants to be accepted. You made Tom much, much easier to relate to, and (scarily enough) made me feel bad for him. However, it felt, to me, like amid his confusions and, to a certain extent, fear you lost the way Tom was portrayed in canon. In HBP, in Dumbledore's memory of Tom at the orphanage, Tom appeared to be manipulative, cold, and cruel. While the view Dumbledore gave was unlikely a hugely accurate portrait, there are certainly aspects of Tom that were domineering and cruel: his treatment of Amy Benson and Dennis Bishop in the cave, his hanging the rabbit from the rafters, and the way he ordered Dumbledore around are strongly indicative that his more Voldemort-ish aspects (e.g. his obsession with control and power, his arrogance, his cruelty) were apparent, even in his early childhood.

Tom begins the story as a frightened kid, which I thought worked really well. I have no doubt that at some point, Tom felt fear”his flee from the bullies at the beginning of this story parallels Voldemort's fear of death, for me. One of the things that I had trouble with was his lack of response to the bullies. While I definitely can see him fleeing if he didn't think he would win a confrontation between himself and the bullies, I picture him coming up with some plan/plotting some type of revenge during his fight. I can't see him taking abuse without retaliating in some manner. (whether it was physical, magical, or mental).

Wanting to be accepted (by at least somebody) had never actually crossed my mind as a piece in Tom's psychology. And, honestly, I can't see him as deliberating on it at any length in his first year. During his entire childhood at the orphanage, Tom was shunned at the orphanage by his peers, and during that time, I think he began feeling distain for the opinions of others (whether favorable or disfavorable). I think learning about magic made Tom respect the muggles at the orphanage less, I think he would still have a great deal of distain for his magical peers, because none of them can even come close to matching him. Despite the ways in which the way you characterize Tom is discordant with the way I characterize Tom, I really enjoyed your characterization. It forced me to examine aspects of Tom's character, such as his relationship with fear, that I previously hadn't considered at all.

I really liked how you used the length of this fic to highlight your characterization of Tom. You cut the story down to the point where every event in the plot contributed very directly to the way Tom's character unfolded. I'm a very, very distractible reader, and I think one of the reasons I was able to focus in on characterization for the past 4-5 paragraphs is because there wasn't much else to get distracted in your story by. You got straight to the point, and I felt like almost every sentence contributed to Tom's characterization.

Since the entire piece is narrated in third person, I was slightly confused about the last paragraph and the line following it. The narration seemed, to me, to change from third person to limited to third person omniscient, which was somewhat disconcerting.
I think by including the final paragraph you intended to use the omniscient narrator to hint at the transition between Tom and Voldemort, that was already taking place. But, I don't think you needed the paragraph because you had done a wonderful job already of showing that transition: the change from wanting friends to wanting allies and especially the last line. I read the last line as being Tom's thoughts, so it almost felt to me like you changed from a limited narrator, to an omniscient narrator, and then back to a limited narrator, which made me pause for a moment.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this story. Your portrayal of Tom is so close to how I've imagined him in some ways (i.e. his ambition), and yet on the it is completely different in most aspects. You made me examine Tom in a completely different light, which is always interesting to do.

-Meg

Reviewer: xxbabewithbrainsxx
Date: 01/29/12 0:05
Chapter: What You Wanted

Hello, Lily!

I’m sorry for taking so long to review this. I must say, I did enjoy this story, and I’m glad to be SPEW buddies with you. It’s meant I get to read another story of yours, which is nice :) I thought the premise of this story was intriguing. I mean, it’s not something I put great thought into at the time, but looking back, when I found out that Tom had used the Room of Requirement, *how* he discovered it would make an interesting story. I certainly thought this was the case here.

I have to say, your summary was what drew me in -- if I hadn’t asked you for a rec, this is probably the story I would have clicked on anyway, because your summary was intriguing, short and to the point. I particularly liked how you didn't really give anything away in the summary, and I liked the fact that it was just one sentence, as well. I do have a minor Britpick, however: in Britain, we refer to the Christmas holiday as precisely that -- a holiday, not a vacation. I noticed that you also used “vacation” in the actual story, and it’s just something I picked up on that you might want to change. But that is quite a small thing, really.

As far as characterisation goes, I did find the idea of Tom being bullied an interesting one as well. I mean, all we have to go on in canon about the boy Tom Riddle is what Dumbledore said about him, really, so I liked that you drew on that, especially the fact that he was a loner. I know how easily that could trigger bullying, and I think you dealt with that topic well. Your characterisation of Tom is even more impressive given how complex a character Tom is. For example, the reason behind Tom’s bullying is rather ironic, as well, and subtly so -- the fact that he was teased and mocked for heritage, or lack thereof, made me see Tom’s actions in later Hogwarts life in a different light. As in, he didn't hate Muggleborns just because he was a Slytherin, but also, the fact that he himself was classed as one until he found out about his witch mother.

That said, still on the characterisation front, I do think that you could have fleshed out the Slytherin(s) chasing Tom more. I noticed that none of them were given names, and this did lessen their presence slightly. Even if you didn't want to name them, I think it would be more effective if their dialogue was more than simply "Where did you go, Tom?" and perhaps a little more insulting. After all, he *is* being bullied, and I thought that the characterisation was a bit too played down for my liking. I think their emphasis is especially important because of their role in making Tom into the person he becomes.

Plot-wise, as I said, I liked the premise of this story. I also thought that Tom’s change of mind, or, rather, his decision -- to make allies rather than friends -- was a realistic one that kept to canon characterisation. His reasoning made sense, and I think the choice he made was a good ending to the story, as was the friendship he struck up with Avery. I do, however, have a slight qualm about the final paragraph (beginning with “So even though Tom Riddle never really had a friend...”). I felt that you ventured too far into the future, as if it was a commentary to the story, both which seemed out of place to me.

However, that even though that sudden jump to the future wasn’t really expected, I also think that, on the whole, despite my other qualms (which were quite minor anyway), this story was well-written and foreshadowed Tom’s later life really well. It was a fascinating character study, and an interesting delve into Tom Riddle’s mind. Well done :)

Author's Response: Helloo SPEW buddy! (I'm literally writing your review right now, don't worry). Thank you for such a lovely review--I'm glad you liked it. Somehow I do think I'm better at characterising minor characters rather than major ones because you know less about them and therefore you can really go anywhere with them. I love doing that. Thank you for the Britpick, I'm fairly good with spelling but awful with words like those. Thanks agaiin for such a lovely review! Lily xxx

Reviewer: The_Real_Hermione
Date: 11/19/11 5:40
Chapter: What You Wanted

I love the premise of this story - I agree that it's most likely that Tom would stumble across the Room by accident. I also liked how he immediately concluded that only he could see the room - it just fits his character perfectly.

The idea that he was bullied because he didn't know his parentage is also very interesting becuase it makes you think more about why he became such a 'bully' (for want of a better word) later.

I loved the ending, with him meeting Avery and then you leading up to what he became - it wasn't overstated or melodramatic, but it just highlighted the importance of this moment.

I also think it's interesting that Tom thinks of Dumbledore a few times in this - even though Dumbledore is neither headmaster nor his head of house. But I think even at a young age, Tom would have been aware that Dumbledore watched him, and that Dumbledore was a man with more than normal power.

I only have one little comment - I felt like the part when Tom is thinking in the room could have been a little more concise - I think it's the climax of the story and just found it a little slow. But it's really only a small thing.

Otherwise it was a great read, and definitely in character.

~Katrina

Author's Response: Katrina, thank you so much for taking the time to read and review this. I'm glad you liked it, and really glad that you found it in character since I struggled over that. ~Lily~

Reviewer: iLuna17
Date: 11/18/11 22:00
Chapter: What You Wanted

Wow, Lily. I never thought about how Tom would find the room. And the bullying bit. . . that's pure genius. Some grammar stuff I found funky, but other than that it was really amazing!!!! Keep it up!!!!

Ellie (I'm humoring myself- you probably know me by now :)

Author's Response: Ha ha ha...unbetaed madness :) But thank you so much for reviewing! Now I feel guilty because I haven't reviewed your SUPER DEPRESSING ONESHOT yet lol. ~Lily~

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