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Harry Potter and the Nightmares of Futures Past is a Peggy Sue fic written by S'Tar'Kan / Viridian / Evil Author Lord, who also authored the equally-excellent Naruto AU Team 8. The two stories are regarded by some as sister fics, as they both have large followings and are highly-regarded in each of their respective fandoms.
The story opens with an adult Harry finally defeating Voldemort after fighting him and his Death Eaters for about thirteen years. The victory is extremely hollow, however; the war has directly or indirectly claimed the lives of virtually every named character in the series and Harry has lost everyone he ever loved and then some. As a potentially fatal case of depression begins to settle in, however, Harry uncovers theoretical texts in the ruins of Hogwarts that suggest a means by which to travel backwards in time.
With literally nothing left to lose, Harry gambles his life on a second chance and hits the jackpot when his spirit merges with his younger self partway through the summer before his first year at Hogwarts. In classic Peggy Sue fashion, "young" Harry then begins subtly altering the timeline to make things better... with mixed results.
The story is regarded by many as a textbook example of how to do a Peggy Sue fic; Harry's efforts to change the future create as many problems as they solve, for one thing, and the multiple layers of conflict in the story prevent Harry's advanced skills and greater power from making things too easy for him.
As of 12/15/2009, the story has been updated after nearly a year, and then put down again. Partly because of the fairly long time between updates (several months, typically), and partly because Viridian decided to break from his usual schedule of alternating between stories in order to focus on the next Team 8 chapter. Now that that has been posted (as of 1/19/2011), it may or may not go back to normal again. His blog status has him working on the next chapter, which as of May 8th, 2012 is 54% complete.
Viridian maintains a blog and a forum where he posts occasional word count updates. Viridian Dreams Quests are run out of his forum.
This fanfiction series contains examples of:
- Abusive Parents: The Dursleys of course, but Vernon more so than usual thanks to the Butterfly of Doom.
- Anti-Villain: Dumbledore. In a refreshing twist, the Big D isn't portrayed as a Machiavellian Chessmaster or a cacklingly evil Magnificent Bastard, but as a fundamentally good person with the unfortunate flaw of thinking he knows what's best for people. Hell, he's not even a villain, really, more like a hero who could really mess things up if he tries to do what he believes is the right thing. Now Snape, on the other hand...
- Arc Words: "Broken and battered body" comes up a lot whenever Harry thinks of the future.
- A Day in the Limelight: Loads of side characters get at least half a chapter from their perspective.
- Bad Future: Hoo boy.
- Boring Invincible Hero: Sort of. Harry gets blindsided by the Butterfly of Doom often enough to keep him on his toes, but the power and skill he inherited from his future self, coupled with the support of his friends, have made the Final Battles of the first two books a walk in the park. On the other hand, most of the conflict in the story so far has come from sources that can't be beaten just by tossing spells at them, so it may be a bit premature to toss this label around.
- Berserk Button: In the Bad Future, captives of the Death Eaters could shout CONSTANT VIGILANCE! for an instant kill thanks to Moody's Dying Moment of Awesome.
- Butterfly of Doom: A refreshing change in the Peggy Sue genre, as Harry's efforts to rewrite history frequently have totally unintended consequences, both good and bad.
- Calling the Old Man Out:
- Arthur Weasley does this to Dumbledore after the Dursleys' abuse of Harry is discovered.
- Neville calls out Augusta for interfering in his developing relationship with Luna.
- Chessmaster: Harry. Amusingly, he's rubbish at actual chess.
- Chekhov's Gun / Dreaming of Things to Come: Chapter 29's reference to a magical core exploding in nightmare form is ominous in the extreme. The accuracy of Harry's previous nightmares doesn't help either.
- Deadpan Snarker: Harry, even more so than in canon.
- Deconstruction Fic
- Drunken Boxing: Luna picks this up from watching television at a friend's house once. One of the many reasons she's Crazy Awesome.
- Everything's Better with Platypi: Luna's Patronus.
- Finishing Each Other's Sentences: Fred and George constantly. It's hard to find a line that they don't split.
- From a Certain Point of View:
- Harry's modus operandi. He did happen to overhear Draco boasting about a special room in his house full of illegal items, it just so happens that he did so in an alternate timeline.
- The Sorting Hat learns of Harry's secret the moment it's placed on his head, and decides to keep what it knows of Harry in confidence. When later asked if some "invading mental presences" were in Harry's mind, it coyly answered:
Sorting Hat: "Oh no, no invaders at all. Nothing between his ears but Harry James Potter."
- The Glomp: Ginny glomps Harry during the Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
- Heroic Sacrifice: While it became a recurrent occurrence in the Bad future, mentions must go to:
- Ron, who Polyjuiced himself as Harry during a trap and ended shredded/tortured;
- Shacklebolt facing Voldemort singlehandedly to gain time for the Order;
- Above all, Mad Eye Moody, who executed all the Death Eaters in Azkaban and rallied the guards to a last stand against Voldemort's forces, to the point his catchphrase is considered taboo then on.
- Hypocritical Humour
"What's not hard?" Ginny asked.
"Talking to you when you're mad about something, without getting hexed," Ron said bluntly.
"Ron, I do not go around -- how could you say such a thing?" she asked, fuming, reaching for her wand.
- Innocent Innuendo: While talking about playing Wizard's Chess:
Ron: Hermione went thirty five minutes once, but she always took a while to make her moves.
- It Got Worse: In future!Harry's timeline, Voldemort's reign of terror gets so bad that the American Department of Magical Affairs has to send a peacekeeping force in because the British Ministry of Magic has been pretty much annihilated.
- I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: Mr. Weasley proves the inefficiency of a magic gun to Harry... by putting the gun to his head and pulling the trigger. The worst part? It was loaded and Mr. Weasley wasn't pulling the trigger with enough force. It took Harry several minutes to stop shaking.
- I Want My Friends To Be Happy: Harry is painfully aware for the first two years of the loop that his manipulations of his friends for the greater good makes him no better than Dumbledore, but he's prepared to accept their hatred if it means they'll survive the coming war.
- Killed Off for Real: Melissa Bulstrode
- The Lost Lenore: Ginny became this to Harry in the original timeline. The older Ginny slowly starts to slip away in favor of her current self, but occasionally it still hits him (like when a boggart becomes her corpse
- Manipulative Bastard: Harry again, though without the bastard part (although Harry does wonder sometimes).
- Mind Rape: Both played straight and subverted. Both Snape and Dumbledore use Legilimency to read students' minds, although Dumbledore is much more reserved about it than Snape. Once Harry catches on to this, he begins training the Weasleys, Hermione, Neville, and Luna in Occlumency, eventually getting everyone good enough that they can't be read, which drives Snape berserk.
- Phrase Catcher: People have a tendency to refer to Snape as "that greasy git".
- Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner: "Let's test out mum's handiwork, shall we?"
- Psychic Static: Luna's mind is a natural case of that.
- Pyrrhic Victory: Naturally.
- Right Behind Me: Draco really should have known better than to call Professor McGonagall an "old hag" in the middle of a meeting of the club she sponsored.
- Six-Student Clique: The Gryffindor Six.
- Shout-Out: A fairly subtle one to Gary Gygax in chapter 33, among others.
- Sleep Cute: Everybody in the Gryffindor Six gets one, all at the same time, in Chapter 22.
- The Smart Guy: Harry presents the image of a bookworm to help explain any advanced skills he may let slip.
- Spit Take: After Luna makes a rather blunt and nonchalant declaration of how much she likes watching Neville, his response is described thusly:
Harry dodged to the side as Neville sacrificed a mouthful of Pumpkin juice to the gods of the spit-take.
- Taught by Television: Leave it to Luna to learn the basics of Drunken Boxing from watching television.
- Took a Level In Badass:
- The Gryffindor Six, due mostly to Harry starting up the D.A. a few years early in the guise of a dueling club.
- Neville benefits greatly from a few words of encouragement in just the right place.
- Neville and Ron both get their wands "accidentally" broken by Harry, and replaced with wands that actually work for them.
- True Companions: "The Golden Trio" are now "The Gryffindor Six" thanks to the additions of Luna, Neville, and Ginny into the core group.
- War Is Hell: The alternative future war ended with the virtual destruction of Magical Britain, the death of every single named character, the "helpful" invasion of the Americans, and the high probability of the loss of the masquerade.
- We All Live in America: America stepping in because Britain had been devastated by the war and couldn't cope? Hurm.
- Western Terrorists
- Wish Fulfillment: One of the first thing Harry does is to get leverage against the Dursleys, and then he goes on to avoid most of the uncomfortable things Snape originally did in the novels. This may end up being a subversion, as the much-increased defiance of Snape may turn out to have been a bad choice.
- Everything about Snape starts in the first Potions class, where Harry attempts to show Snape he is good at Potions. Snape doesn't take it well, and despite Harry's efforts Snape ends up hating him even more than in canon.
- You Can't Fight Fate: One of Harry's most pressing concerns. Some events seem determined to happen despite Harry actively attempting to avert them, which keeps the plot from going completely off the rails but also has Harry sweating bullets about his seeming inability to change history.
- Mind you, some of this seems to have been caused deliberately by an "agent-in-place", whose mission seems to be making sure certain things happen.