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Something I always hated about the Harry Potter series was the wasted potential of Tom M. Riddle as a villain. Seriously, here we have this brilliant, skilled, manipulative, psychopathic mind who can charm the pants off damn near anybody, only suspected of being evil by one guy until he tipped his hand to Slughorn years later, could've been a serious terrifying villain... and then he became Voldemort, a one-dimensional moron who keeps getting bested by a child.

Seriously, aside from a few things (daddy issues, skill at magic, raw power, ability to inspire fear in others, hatred of "mudbloods" - which, why? No really, why? As far as he or anyone knew until years later, he was a mudblood himself, an apparent muggleborn in Slytherin! So again, I ask why? Why did he hate mudbloods?), Tom Riddle and Voldemort have nothing in common. Tom Riddle was brilliant, clever, cunning, a master as manipulation, etc... and Voldemort was an emotionally unstable idiot, a narcissistic incompetent who blamed his minions for his failures. He was a stereotypical Evil Overlord, someone who basically would fail at every turn were he real if not for some really ridiculously good luck. In short, Voldemort was Donald Trump with a wand.

Don't believe me? Look at what happened during the first war. It took 11 years of war for Voldemort to... do what, exactly? He hadn't taken over the Ministry, he didn't have any real power. He killed a lot of people, sure, and had supposedly a lot of followers, but either wizarding Britain was HUGE before Voldemort, and he killed off hundreds of wizards and witches and was on the brink of victory when he lost his powers, or else he was a complete fucking dunce when it came to strategy, and only got as far as he did because he had competent people working for him doing what was best for the cause even if Voldemort's orders made no fucking sense. (Basically exactly like Hitler, then, but probably less successful.)

Oh, but what's that you say? He took over the Ministry the second time around after only basically two years? Well no, he didn't. See, a lot of his Death Eaters avoided going to Azkaban, and continued to be influential people in the wizarding world. They infiltrated the Ministry legitimately over the course of the next 14 years. So all in all, it took Voldemort and his Death Eaters TWENTY-SEVEN YEARS to win, and then they lost in ONE year. To two 17 year olds and an 18 year old. (Among others.)

So yeah, Voldemort was a fucking moron at strategy. Just like Hitler. But worse, far worse, because it took him longer to gain power and he held it for almost no time at all.

If Tom M. Riddle had been the villain of the piece, though, and if Rowling had been a skilled enough writer to realize she could give Harry plot armor without turning Voldemort into a one-dimensional, moronic, stereotypical Evil Overlord type, oh the possibilities!

I remember one fan fiction I read once, an uncompleted series I don't recall the name of, wherein it turned out Voldemort had actually organized the Death Eaters so that he could attract the worst of the racists from society and then cleverly get them all killed under the guise of being on their side, deliberately being shit at strategy so these racists would get killed or imprisoned. Which, given that Riddle was - for all even he knew - apparently a muggle-born student IN FUCKING SLYTHERIN, makes a HELL of a lot more sense than the clusterfuck of the canon series.

*Le sigh* So much lost potential. Tom Riddle could have been such an awesome villain.

This was cross-posted from https://fayanora.dreamwidth.org/1406338.html
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