Fan Fic / Harry Potter and the Nightmares of Futures Past
Harry Potter and the Nightmares of Futures Past
is the most popular Fan Fiction
of all time. It is a Harry Potter Peggy Sue
fic written by S'TarKan / Viridian / Evil Author Lord
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.
The story has not been abandoned, though Viridian states that updates will likely be slow due to personal issues, both health- and job-related. After about a three-year hiatus, chapter 39 was released on October 19, 2012. After another three-year hiatus, chapter 40 was released on February 20, 2015, chapter 41 was released April 7, 2015, and chapter 42 was released September 8, 2015.
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.
- Actually Pretty Funny: Professor McGonagall sounds slightly amused at Harry's imitation of her when he apologizes.
- Adaptational Villainy:
- Snape, for a start. Since Deathly Hallows hadn't been released when the fic started, the author obviously had to go their own way in regards to the greasy git. Not to mention Harry's behaviour in the new timeline rubs Snape entirely the wrong way, making him much, much worse than he was before.
- Vernon. While the original version was undeniably a Jerkass of the highest proportion, here he winds up beating Harry half to death, then leaving him in his room. Some of this is implied to be the result of mind-charms, but still…
- Marcus Flint, of the Slytherin Quidditch team. While in canon he was, like all Slytherins, a jerkass, here he's a willing murderer and attempted murderer, who fantasizes about painfully killing Harry and Ginny by Year 2.
- A Day in the Limelight: A lot of side characters from the original series get more attention, some even get half a chapter told from their perspective.
- Adults Are Useless: Harry seems to have this opinion firmly in mind given what he saw unfolding in his future. However even when an adult figure does do something right, Harry is still prone to reluctantly awarding them a point in his mind and bitterly remarking to himself what a wonder it was.
- 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. 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 Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an Enigma: Dumbledore ponders these exact words in regards to Harry.
- Badass Bureaucrat: Percy, who, after being fired from his position at the Department of International Magical Cooperation for stunning Barty Crouch Sr. after the Quidditch World Cup Final, is hired by Madam Bones to become her assistant because of his ability to document anything and his intrincate knowledge of the Ministry bureaucracy.
- Bad Future: Er...Yes? To sum up, when the story begins, Harry has at least defeated Voldemort for good, and the rest of the Death Eaters died with him... but Hogwarts has been levelled, all his friends and family are dead, Diagon Alley is gone, and the Death Eaters had been committing huge purges of the British Isles, so badly that the American army had to step in.
- Batman Gambit: The Gryffindor Six run one to capture Barty Crouch Jr, and it works, masterfully.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Downplayed with Ron. When he was younger, he might have wanted to surpass his brothers in something good, but time spent with Harry slowly eroded that. He realizes it's all not cracked up when he becomes besieged by others following his killing of a Dementor with the Sword of Gryffindor.
- Berserk Button: Neville's is someone making jokes about his parents. Draco Malfoy certainly did not expect to get pummelled by the once shy Gryffindor.
- Big Damn Heroes: In Chapter 39, Dumbledore's Patronus and Fawkes.
- Boring Invincible Hero: Justified in that Harry is far more experienced from surviving the Bad Future, but keeps getting blindsided by the Butterfly of Doom and has to check himself every now and then to keep things from getting worse.
- Some of these victories also have repercussions in the story, for example when Harry goes to fight Quirrel!Mort on his own, his friends are disappointed he left them out, and the important bonding moment of the first book is missed.
- Bring It: After he kills a Dementor with the Sword of Gryffindor, Ron taunts all the other Dementors, who decide to book it as fast as they can.
- 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.
- Care-Bear Stare: Harry uses this on Voldemort in the very first chapter. It even includes the associated light show.
- Chess Master: Harry and Ron. Harry for the practical usage of the trope, and Ron for the literal usage; amusingly, Harry is 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, nor does the fact that the author pretty much states that it's foreshadowing.
- Almost certainly a literal example in the Glock. It's an enchanted gun that Harry picks up fairly early in the story, and is referenced enough times that the only way it's not a Chekhov's Gun is if it's a Red Herring.
- Clarke's Third Law: Pettigrew banks on this to convince some Provisional IRA terrorists to attack Hogwarts, passing off the Imperio Curse and other spells as advanced technology being developed by the British government.
- Clock Roaches: The "agent-in-place", who is working behind the scenes to ensure that certain things happen as they did in the original timeline. We have yet to find out why he is doing this or how he knows what the original timeline was like.
- Contrived Clumsiness: Harry pratfalls to break Ron and Neville's wands so he can get them replaced.
- Deadpan Snarker: Harry, even more so than in canon.
- Defeating the Undefeatable: Harry uses the improved wards at the Burrow to destroy a bunch of Dementors. Ron kills a Dementor in a mano-a-mano combat, using the Sword of Gryffindor.
- Deconstruction Fic: Of the Peggy Sue genre. While Harry manages to use his future knowledge to make things better, his actions end up causing unintended changes, both for good and bad.
- Dirty Coward: Draco Malfoy.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Harry's confession in the Chamber of Secrets might seem similar to someone coming out to their family, with the fear and very possibility of being rejected once the truth is out. Harry's resignation that his friends would automatically hate him right afterwards would also hit close to home. The fact that Harry's fears are proven wrong also may be similar to being accepted rather than rejected like one would fear.
- Driven to Suicide: After killing Voldemort, future!Harry started to feel the slip towards full depression and potential suicide. Only the possibility of going back in time and fixing things prevented it - and, in the end, he did kill himself to send his soul back to his 11-year-old self.
- Drunken Boxing: Luna picks this up from watching television at a friend's house once. One of the many reasons she's Crazy Awesome.
- Eskimos Aren't Real: Ron pokes fun at Luna Lovegood for having an "imaginary creature" as her Patronus. Luna's patronus was a duck-billed platypus. When Hermione tells Ron that the duck-billed platypus is a real animal, he flatly refuses to believe her.
- Everything's Better with Platypi: Luna's Patronus.
- Fascist, but Inefficient: Much like the Ministry of Magic in-canon, the Ministry is presented this way here as well. When Harry has Peter Pettigrew arrested by ministry officials, providing unavoidable proof of Sirius' innocence, they completely change guards and wardens at Azkaban and deny visitation rights to them, trying to starve Sirius to death in his cell and pretend nothing has changed rather than admit that the Ministry made a mistake. Harry later lampshades this corruption in his interview with Rita.
Harry: Those forgiven Death Eaters were all from wealthy and influential families, or were closely allied with them. Money and/or favours had to change hands for that many people to drop the ball and let them go free. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Look at my godfather, and the Ministry's complete failure to give him a trial while he rotted in Azkaban – for a crime he never committed. Look at the goblins, treated as second-class citizens, despite the vital role they play in the Wizarding economy. Look at house-elves, who are treated even worse. Sometimes I wonder if the Statute of Secrecy isn't maintained more to prevent the Ministry from being scrutinized too closely by the Muggle governments. By Muggle standards, I'm afraid the Wizarding world would be considered hopelessly backward and barbaric.
- Finishing Each Other's Sentences: Fred and George do this constantly in the earlier chapters. It's hard to find a line that they don't split. Around year three, they turn to something more like collaborative interrupting, like the twins do in the books.
- From a Certain Point of View:
- Glass-Shattering Sound: Harry does a version of this when he uses magic to amplify his voice during Chapter 39. The windows facing him in Hogsmeade cracked.
- The Glomp: Ginny glomps Harry during the Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: Dumbledore has a moment of this; after Harry makes it clear to him how much he hates being at the Dursleys, he "takes measures to ensure Harry's safety." Whatever magic he worked on the Dursleys has the precise opposite effect, resulting in Vernon beating Harry almost to death and leaving him to die in his room.
- Grudging "Thank You": In Year 2, Snape gives Gryffindor 5 points due to Hermione's levitation charm saving a Slytherin from falling off of his broom at the Quidditch game.
- Heroic Sacrifice: While it became a recurrent happening 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 that his catchphrase is considered taboo from then on.
- Hero Worship: Given Fred and George's use of the Marauder's Map, they're amazed to meet Padfoot and Moony in the flesh. Complete with grovelling, in fact.
- History Repeats: All obvious jokes aside, from Dumbledore's P.O.V., this is happening with Harry. A young boy, with both parents dead from a young age and raised in a loveless household, showing tremendous aptitude and skill, with a clique of devoted young friends, most of whom seem to have little regard for the rules. Professor McGonagall calls him on this view, by pointing out that Harry and his friends are True Companions, something the Death Eaters most assuredly aren't.
- 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.
- In Spite of a Nail: Despite Harry's very best efforts, Ginny is still nearly killed by the diary of Tom Riddle. Malfoy nearly killing him in a sneak attack, then breaking into his trunk to get the diary and Harry's cloak helped, though.
- Harry still ends up being chosen by the Goblet of Fire.
- Enforced: There is a character known only as "the agent-in-place" who is working behind the scenes to ensure that certain things happen as they did in the original timeline. We so far have no clue why.
- Irony: Ron ends up becoming Crookshanks' owner after Pettigrew is revealed.
- 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
- Laugh Themselves Sick: When it turns out that Luna's Patronus is a duck-billed platypus, Ron believes Hermione is having him on when she says it actually exists. Harry breaks down laughing and does not stop until he sees black spots.
- 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).
- Luminescent Blush: Pretty much all of the Gryffindor Six pass this at one point of another.
- 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.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Dumbledore under the Gone Horribly Wrong example above.
- Mythology Gag: Harry cannot help but to laugh out loud when Hermione recriminates Ron for having less emotional depth than a teaspoon.
- No-Sell: Barty Crouch Jr. tries to use Avada Kedavra on Harry when the latter discovers him... but since what he thinks is Harry's wand is actually one of the Twins' joke wands, it is a total failure.
- Out-of-Character Alert: Harry becomes worried when Ron refuses to leave the dormitory in the aftermath of his getting the Sword of Gryffindor and killing a Dementor, since Ron would require a "life-threatening illness" to be put off from eating.
- Person as Verb: Ron makes fun of how poorly-knitted Ginny's Christmas gift to Harry is, then apologizes for putting a damper on Harry's Christmas.
Harry: Ron, remember when you asked me why I got so angry when Malfoy nicked my letter?note
Harry: Remember when I told you how many Christmases I've celebrated before this one?note
Ron: Same thing, yeah?
Harry: Spot on, mate.
Ron: I wasn't trying to Malfoy your Christmas, Harry.
- 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?"
- Protagonist-Centered Morality: Harry is very adamant about certain people being bad and/or wrong, and is quickly able to sway people into thinking along the same lines as himself. Understandable when it comes to someone like Professor Snape, since he's both a suspicious and deeply unlikable man, but not so much when it comes to Professor Dumbledore. Harry only has to throw out a few snotty rants and adults who have known him for all of a couple of years are suddenly ready to take his side over Dumbledore's, who they've known and fought alongside for decades.
- To be fair, though, it was only after learning of the Dursleys' abuse to him, that Dumbledore had allowed that, and that the Dursleys almost killed Harry and Dumbledore still wanted to send him back there after he recovered that people began to question his judgement.
- Psychic Static: Luna's mind is a natural case of that.
- The Purge: In the bad future, the Death Eaters inflicted these on the Muggles, apparently just because they could. The Dursleys, along with the whole of Privet Drive, were among the first victims.
- Pyrrhic Victory: The premise that pushes Harry to go back in time.
- Reality Ensues: Plenty of these
- Harry's change in behavior after the merge, particularly in the Dursley household, when he realizes that he can't expect everything to stay the way they are with the changes he's making.
- Also happens early on regarding Malfoy and Snape. He tries dropping a not so subtle hint to Draco that his decisions will affect him negatively in the future should he stay on the path he is now, but did Harry really expect a spoiled, racist brat to take a good look at himself and have a Jerkass Realization? He tries making a better impression on Snape during the first Potions lesson, but Snape is an immature man who never let go of a grudge against Harry's dead father, and sees Harry answering all of the questions correctly as either cheating or cheek.
- Mc Gonagall is automatically appalled when she learns that Snape was using Occulmency on her students and that Dumbledore let him get away with it. Her relationship with the man sours afterwards.
- Vernon beating up Harry struck readers the wrong way, who thought that Harry would have been able to kick the man's ass with his new fighting abilities. Word of God points out in the next chapter that Vernon got a few good hits in and despite Taking a Level in Badass, Harry is still a scrawny kid against an adult.
- While still holding feelings for Ginny from his original timeline, Harry in his 11-year-old self is both hesitant to instigate a relationship since he is mentally 30 and wants to know Ginny as a person, rather than an idea he has in his head. He spends his first year writing letters with her, getting to know her and bonding with Ginny overtime.
- Ron and Hermione get together in the original timeline, but it took them years before Ron realized his feelings for Hermione and made his move. Harry, while wanting them to get together faster based on future!Ron's regrets over how long it took, doesn't know how to nudge them without creeping them out or being forceful. He purchases a psychology book to help him with this, since Harry has no idea how the mind works aside from his scarring experiences.
- Dumbledore's portrait discourages Harry from telling his younger self about his time-travelling, since he knows that his younger self wouldn't be that helpful and might even stop Harry. Character Development is called that for a reason, it took portrait!Dumbledore time to realize his mistakes, and his younger self would certainly wouldn't have experienced the same things yet.
- Moody's first lesson involves hiding in the corner with a Disillusionment Charm and attacking when the bell rings. Harry, Ron, Hermoine, and Neville were caught off guard but still managed to stay conscious. When Luna and Ginny enter the classroom, Luna goes over to the place where Moody is hiding...and says hello. Camouflage is pointless if someone is able to pick up your scent, and Moody's breakfast that morning consisted of pickled herrings, something that Luna smelled right away.
- Harry's attempts to clear Sirius' name don't go that well; either Dumbledore is reluctant to make accusations about the proceedings or the Ministry refuses to admit that they put an innocent man in prison.
- Also, Harry has no doubts that using his knowledge of the future, while beneficial to his loved ones, makes him feel no better than Dumbledore. He's resigned to being rejected by his friends if he ever tells them he is from the future. However, that doesn't mean his friends will agree with that cynical view and accept him after the secret is out.
- Right Behind Me:
- In Chapter 25, 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.
- A new one as of chapter 39. Harry is doing an Affectionate Parody of Professor McGonagall as the Professor herself walks in to bring the The Gryffindor Six to the Headmaster's office.
Harry: She walked up right behind me as I said that, didn't she?
McGonagall: Your grasp of the obvious is as keen as your gift for imitations, Mr. Potter.
- Senseless Sacrifice: Ron almost does one to save Hermione from the Dementors in Chapter 39, since, if he dies, there's nothing preventing the Dementors from kissing her, but Fawkes' timely appearance with the Sorting Hat and the Sword of Gryffindor allows Ron to kill the Dementor and scare the others away.
- A fairly subtle one to Gary Gygax in chapter 33.
- To Spider-Man after Harry blows up not just a boggart but everything in the room along with it.
- Discworld at the end of chapter 38.
- Six Student Clique: The Gryffindor Six.
- 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.
- Spanner in the Works: the reason why Pettigrew's plan to cause chaos at Hogwarts (see Western Terrorists) fails is because the Gryffindor Six and some other students know how to use the Patronus Charm.
- 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.
- The Stations of the Canon: To Harry's periodic horror, certain specific events seem impossible to avert. Even when the only way a certain scene could happen is by a ludicrously specific chain of improbable events, those events will occur. Justified by the fact that there's a very smart and capable character working to ensure that those exact events happen, for Viridian alone knows what reason.
- Taught by Television: Leave it to Luna to learn the basics of Drunken Boxing from watching television.
- Token Good Teammate: Melissa Bullstrode for... pretty much all of Slytherin. So naturally, she dies.
- 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.
- Percy, who does not hesitate to stun his boss (Barty Crouch Sr) when he realizes he is acting way too strangely.
- True Companions: "The Golden Trio" are now "The Gryffindor Six" thanks to the additions of Luna, Neville, and Ginny into the core group.
- Unwitting Pawn: Surprisingly, Snape becomes one for Draco (and, by proxy, Lucius) Malfoy. Snape unfairly punishes Harry so that Draco will be able to attack him from the back and sneak into Gryffindor Tower to steal Tom Riddle's Diary (which Malfoy sends to Ginny anonymously, saying Harry bought it for her) and Harry's Invisibility Cloak, which was the purported objective of the attack. When Snape gets wind of it, he's upset enough that he doesn't raise a word of objection towards Draco's expulsion.
- 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.
- Western Terrorists: Peter Pettigrew manipulates some Provisional IRA terrorists into blowing up the Hogwarts' gates right when the students are lounging outside the castle, so that the Dementors outside can run wild on the kids.
- Wish Fulfillment: One of the first things 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.
- In book two, it turned out that there was an "agent-in-place" who acted to ensure that the events happened no matter what. Later, however, we find out that it was just Draco Malfoy trying to find out why the Chamber of Secrets hadn't been opened and to remedy that. The success in that attempt made a lot of trouble.