I wrote this quite a while ago and wasn't going to post it because of the sort-of-positive Hitler references. And then I realised that my favourite HP character was pretty much as evil as children's characters get, what with the wanton torture and genocidal tendencies, and that Hitler was really just decorative.
Based on: you are nothing but my reflection, from some random book.
Disclaimer: Don't own Harry Potter. Thankfully, I don't own Hitler either.
So here we go with my take on the horribly cliched Tom-Hitler comparison. It's been done to death, but poking corpses can be weirdly amusing.
When he is twelve years old, Tom Riddle discovers that loyalty could be bought with a symbol and a smile. He's from the Muggle world; he knows the story of Adolf Hitler, unlike the elitist pure-bloods within Hogwarts' walls. They worry endlessly about Grindelwald, but Tom scoffs at the name – it is the Muggle war that ought to be watched and learned from with fascinated interest.
He collects pictures and articles, all written on cheap Muggle paper, and eventually knows enough to turn that knowledge against the flimsy wizards he lives among. They are like paper themselves: all creamy parchment with expensive gold borders, and Tom can write on them with ease.
A symbol and smile, because Hitler is a captivating speaker and Tom has that talent too. Even the professors stop to listen when he speaks, hanging on his every word. They are both charismatic enough to draw attention, make people believe that they are special, favoured, wanted. And even though Tom has no need for friends and doesn't really want them either, the charade is useful and he keeps it up.
Unlike Hitler, he discovers his talents early, makes good use of them while young. He has no father hold him back, after all, unlike Hitler who lived under the thumb of his own father for sixteen years. Tom has known all along that he wanted to stand out, unlike the Austrian man who languished in a prison of unused talent before finally finding the key.
However, in a way, Tom has been living within his father's shadow, haunted by the man who never wanted him for sixteen long years. And this is why it feels so good to raise his uncle's wand and say coldly, "Avada Kedavra!" and watch green light engulf his father's body, sending him crumpling gracelessly to the ground. His father's heartbeat ceases suddenly and the shadow is gone from Tom's life.
The sunshine feels so good.
He wonders whether Hitler ever felt that way, whether the killing was what made it all worthwhile. But then again, aside from a brief stint as a messenger during the Muggles' First World War, Hitler hasn't seen front-line action. It probably means nothing to him, Tom thinks with some disappointment. It's probably nothing more than a set of numbers and statistics in sterile reports.
Tom prefers the feeling of being properly involved, feeling fear and pain well up in his victims' minds. Legilimency is a drug and the exhilaration he feels from knowing he is in control is the soaring high.
But Tom hides this behind a mask of perfect Prefect; brilliant student; handsome, charming sixteen year-old. There are always eyes watching, and they are piercing blue. Dumbledore.
But even Dumbledore can't stop the meetings happening right under his nose, can't stop the way they idolise Tom as the saviour of the wizarding world. The purifier. Just like Tom knows Hitler was idolised for his view on an Aryan race, perfect and unassailable. Tom has plans for wizards and Muggles alike, but they involve magic & blood and unfortunately blonde hair & blue eyes doesn't figure at all.
If Tom is like Hitler, then Muggles are like Jews and there can be only one Jesus in the end. Tom's collection of articles grows yellow and cracked with age. Hitler's face crumbles to pieces.
Dumbledore's eyes watch, bright blue jewels that seem to look inside Tom. But Dumbledore can't be everywhere and Tom has had his victories, the Chamber, the meetings and now finally the Mark.
Loyalty can be bought with a smile and a symbol and Tom has the former in abundance. He decides upon the final ingredient on his seventeenth birthday, snake & skull twining around in an eternal & perfect pattern. Immortality and Slytherin, bound together in blood and burns and promises.
And he stands in the centre of a circle, speaking softly, but he knows that they are straining their ears, desperate to hear him. It only takes a smile, calm and reassuring, to have them nodding in agreement to everything he says.
They all scream, every single one of them, when his wand touches their flesh and green fire twists around their forearm. He revels in it: like control, pain is powerful. Privately, he considers it part payment for the wrongs they've done him, the bullying, the taunts, the exclusion. It is deeply ironic to see them receive the Mark, on their knees before the penniless half-blood they used to scorn.
Being half-Muggle is a taint, he knows it is, but there are advantages to it as well. He knows the Muggles deeper and more intimately than the pale-faced pure-bloods ever could, knows their every despicable quirk and idiosyncrasy. He can hate them purely now.
He's heard rumours that Hitler was part Jew and it has that same ironic taste to it. Tom knows it's true - it must be. You cannot hate something from a distance.
And then of course there's the war that continues every day. Muggles and wizards, but death is still death no matter if it comes in the rapid-fire blasts of automatic weaponry or a green jet of light. The edges become blurry, like old photographs, or ink in water, or perhaps memories. It only takes a smile to have Slughorn spill his knowledge of Horcruxes to Tom and the taste of victory is sweet in the boy's mouth. Soon the memories and their blurred edges and sepia colouring are written into a black book, given life by his father's last breath. Tom finds this highly ironic, but of course irony is nothing new for him.
Perhaps it is because he is the mirror image of a man he's never met, not physically (because his physical mirror is dead) but in every other way. The dramatism, the symbolism, the small shards of coincidence that form the larger picture; Tom has lived with these for a very long time.
But of course, that all changes. Mirror images are not made to last – eventually the clone will fade away, disappearing when its counterpart turns away from the mirror.
Tom decides that Hitler is the image and that he is truth and 1945 proves this beyond all doubt. Because Hitler was only a Muggle, only a useless sack of flesh containing nothing more than bone and sinew; no magic to scour his blood and make it pure. His death proves that he is nothing but a reflection…or a prophecy.
All his life Tom has believed that there is nothing more shameful than death, and maybe this is what sets him apart from the Muggle. Tom would never choose to die. Tom would never die at all.
The newspapers said it was suicide, gun to the head, single shot. Tom does not save the article. Nor does he keep the collection any longer. They burn the next morning, spell-fire consuming them, and Tom Riddle has won the nonexistent battle of the purifiers. Hitler's face curls and shrivels and slowly becomes white ash, burning in the Slytherin hearth. Briefly, Tom wonders if it's an omen. After all, the punishment for breaking a mirror is seven years bad luck – and Tom has just smashed his own mirror image. But for now, the price is worth paying.
1945 – A mirror, and Tom was the one to turn away.
Feedback very welcome.