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Fanfic / On The Way To Greatness

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" You could be great, you know, it's all here in your head, and Slytherin will help you on your way to greatness..."
The Sorting Hat, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

On the Way to Greatness is a Harry Potter fanfic by mira mirth, published in 2008 and last updated in 2014.

The basic story is simple: it is an Alternate Universe story based on the premise that Harry was sorted into Slytherin instead of Gryffindor. But it soon becomes far more complicated, as being in Slytherin changes more than just who Harry sits next to in classes.


Every year of Harry's schooling corresponds to the number of chapters dedicated to it. So Harry's First Year at Hogwarts has one chapter, his Second Year has two chapters, and so on.


  • Adults Are Useless: Harry's general opinion of both the Order and the Ministry. Unless he's manipulating them for his own gain, of course, then he much prefers the Ministry (more power).
  • A House Divided: Harry has a tendency to cause this in Slytherin and Hogwarts itself, for all kinds of reasons. One thing is constant, Draco will always be on the side against Harry.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Millicent, presumably.
  • Anti-Hero: Having to deal with the hostility and power struggle among the Slytherins, Harry becomes a more ruthless, manipulative, distrusting and immoral character than he was in the canon.
  • Anyone Can Die: Including Harry and Mr Weasley of course.
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  • Ascended Extra: Many characters which had little to do in canon now find themselves as main characters in this fanfic. For example, Harry's main group of friends includes Zabini, Millicent Bulstrone, Terry Boot, Padma Patil despite all of them barely garnering five lines combined in the original story.
  • Badass Bookworm: To establish his power in his largely hostile House, Harry forced himself to study and learns more spells than most people his age would, making him both very knowledgeable about magic, and skilled in using spells that are unknown to many of the students.
  • Bee Afraid: Harry finds good use for Morsus apis, a spell which produces an illusion of being attacked by invisible bees. He uses it on a dragon, after all.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Cedric towards Harry, although there is little he can do to protect or control Harry.
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  • Breakfast Club: Separate from the duelling club, a smaller group of Harry's confidantes form. Most have their fair share of darkness in their life, if not already, then sure to come soon.
  • The Beautiful Elite: Blaise certainly seems to view himself as this, as do many other Slytherins.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Though the Death Eaters are slightly more sympathetic than in Canon, Harry does many more things that aren't exactly legal. Like say, dark magic, or murdering people.
  • Black Shirt: Many Slytherins are this, with several joining up with Voldemort as soon as he returns. Notably, this is not everyone in Slytherin, unlike how it was painted in the original.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Invoked in the case of Voldemort and Dumbledore. Harry becomes somewhat sympathetic to the reasoning behind the Pureblood ideology. Of course, this does not mean that he won't fight it down until his second last breath, but he still bothers to at least try and understand why the Death Eaters do what they do.
    Blaise: I agree with what the Dark Lord is saying, on this score. And fuck you, Harry, if you try to pretend at this stage that you don't.
    Harry: He wants to kill me. I don't agree with that.
    Blaise:Neither do I, and isn't that why I'm here?
  • Character Development: Harry being sorted into Slytherin changes many things about him, many of which are already listed on this page. Mostly, its Canon Harry but darker.
  • Children Forced to Kill: Harry can't help being forced into so many kill-or-be-killed situations.
    Rufus Scrimgeour: People get uneasy when they see a teenager with a body count.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Harry is never scared to bend the rules if it gives him an advantage, even to those he considers his friends. For example, to Cedric in Goblet of Fire when he pretends to stumble so that Cedric, ever the gentleman, would stop attacking and give Harry the perfect time to attack.
  • The Confidant: Cedric to Harry, but not unflinchingly. (But considering the things Harry is telling him, who can blame the guy?)
  • Conflicting Loyalty: For Cedric between his responsibilities as Head Boy and his loyalty to Harry.
  • Consummate Liar: Harry, to... well everyone. His girlfriend, his best friends, the Ministry, the Order of the Phoenix, Dumbledore. He's juggling a good number of personalities and secrets.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Averted with Neville, with Harry's steady friendship he finds himself in a much better position (as far as abilities and self-esteem) than he was in the books. He even makes it into the Slug Club on his own merit.
  • Darker and Edgier: Obviously darker than the books, as Harry being a Slytherin gives him a very cynical outlook.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Even though Harry is much darker than his canon counterpart, he is still, ultimately, a good guy trying to take Voldemort and the Death Eaters down, and a bit of dark magic didn't change that, even if it may have messed with Harry's psyche.
  • Deadpan Snarker: With our protagonist being sorted into the House that values cunning, it should come as no surprise that he develops a tendency for this. Blaise and Millie apply as well.
  • Determinator: Harry, despite the awful, awful things he has to go through (and in some ways puts himself through), he just keeps on fighting.
  • The Dividual: Averted with Padma who is rarely ever seen with her twin, Parvati. Played Straight with Fred and George though.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Blaise's hopeless, and sometimes hilarious crush on Katie Bell. Also StalkerWithACrush depending on who you ask, Blaise is certainly not your ideal example of a Nice Guy.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Well, he does take a sobering potion afterwards, but Harry is certainly not above drinking away the guilt of the odd murder.
  • Fantastic Racism: From the vast majority of Slytherin towards all muggleborns, and to Harry for having a muggleborn mother. At least before the parseltongue incident with Draco.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Aunt Petunia is kissed by a Dementor
  • For Want of a Nail: The whole premise is that Harry got sorted into Sytherin.
  • A Friend in Need: Cedric, after he leaves Hogwarts becomes this to Harry, and finds it completely acceptable for Harry to turn up at his door in the middle of the night to drink and get things of his chest.
  • The Friends Who Never Hang: Harry befriends Millicent and Blaise from his own house, but also have close ties with Cedric Diggory, a couple of Ravenclaws from his Arithmancy class, and a few Gryffindors (i.e. Hermione, Neville and the Weasley twins). He's pretty much the only connecting element that ties the groups from differing houses, and without him, the groups' interactions tend to be more hostile (especially between the Slytherins and Gryffindors). Although, notably, certain characters seem to find common interests, like Millicent, Padma and Hermione with their shared love of murder mysteries.
  • Ice Queen: Millicent (and Blaise too) definitely qualify as this, with their constant Deadpan Snarker antics, and general apathy.
  • Keeping Secrets Sucks: Harry has accumulated a great many dark secrets in his time. His cynicism is what stops him from sharing most of these until the last possible moment, but the weight of all of them do stress him out from time to time.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Cedric, though it works rather well for him in the end, as falling for Harry's stumbling trick in the maze is what stops him from being killed in the graveyard.
  • Master Actor: Harry juggles masks and personalities as part of him daily routine, it's rather fascinating to compare his outward actions to his thoughts, because they are often the opposite of each other.
  • The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life: Harry finds himself in the very uncomfortable position of having to lie to his girlfriend about what is really going on in his life, simply because she doesn't have the security clearance to know. (It of course doesn't help that the aunt of the girlfriend in question is Head of the DMLE.)
  • Nice Guy: Cedric, to absolutely everyone.
  • Not So Different: Aside from the usual parallels in canon, this Harry is much less reluctant to use the Dark Arts, to the point where some of the Death Eaters see him as this.
    Rodolphus Lestrange: You fight like one of us, and yet you fight against us.
  • The Power of Friendship: Harry learns that it's alright to rely on his (many and loyal) friends to help him, especially with his habit of piling himself with more work than he can handle.
  • Power Trio: Harry, Blaise Zabini and Millicent Bulstrode form this in Slytherin.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Several notches towards cynicism from the get-go, and it just gets worse as the story progresses.
  • The Stations of the Canon: Despite the divergences that occur due to Harry's sorting, most of the basic plots from canon still happens: e.g. Harry being dragged to the Chamber of Secrets and fighting the basilisks, encountering Sirius Black, being forced into the Triwizard Tournament, forming the DA, and so on.
  • Team Spirit: Harry's group of friends all trying to figure out who put his name in the Goblet, a rag tag group of friends from all the houses working together towards a common goal – protecting their friend.
  • Teen Genius: Harry is far more intelligent than he was in canon, even besting Hermione in some ways. His OWL results are testament to this, Straight O's and three E's.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Harry, and in many ways the members of the Duelling Club under Harrys tuition.
  • Tom the Dark Lord: Harry's reaction to finding out Voldemort's real name was amazement at how common it is.
  • True Companions: Nobody in Harry's circle of friends thinks that he put his name in the Goblet of Fire, even though this Harry is known for being a little bit looser on the rules. (Unlike a certain other canon friend that we shall not mention.)
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Towards Harry, our hero with a body count.
  • Workaholic: Harry piles an awful lot of work on himself, and never really seems to find time to just procrastinate unless there is a crisis going on (not unlikely in this story) that puts all of his work on the backbench.
  • Undying Loyalty: The Weasley twins to Harry, to the point where they don't even consider joining the Order unless Harry particularly wants them to. (Much to the Order's dismay.)
    Bill Weasley: He's got them on a leash. I don't think that they'll join the order unless Harry tells them to...
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Oh, very much invoked with Umbridge, who approves of Harry's distance from Dumbledore and his tendency to avoid provoking her.

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