- Ginny: I'm just saying goodbye. I can't think why I care, but I didn't want to throw you in the fire without saying goodbye.
Tom: You don't care. You can't help yourself. You come back to me again and again, you try not to but it's too much, isn't it? Because you're mine, Virginia. And this is not goodbye.
The Very Secret Diary is a fanfiction set during Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, made up solely of Ginny's written conversations with Tom Riddle's Diary.
Ginny Weasley has just received a diary, by pure happenstance. She begins to write in it, just wanting to vent about her crush, Harry Potter, and her irritating big brothers, and the prospect of starting life at Hogwarts in a few days. And then the diary begins to write back. Many years ago, it belonged to a boy named Tom Riddle, a boy who tells Ginny that he is still "trapped" in its pages. And he is happy to be Ginny's friend.
What starts out as an uneasy story about Ginny's first year turns into a tale of nightmares: Ginny starts blacking out and waking up to hear about students being petrified. She turns increasingly to Tom for support, but his underestimation of Ginny, along with his frustration at being a child's diary, causes him to gradually reveal his true nature. Ginny catches on to him, and they soon find themselves in a fight as Tom tries to completely control her and Ginny casts about for a way to fight him without going to a teacher and getting expelled.
Despite its Foregone Conclusion, The Very Secret Diary is able to draw out a lot of characterization, Fridge Horror, and suspense out of its subject. The story can be found here and there is also a German translation that can be read here. Arabella also wrote a one-shot called Disenchanted, wherein Dumbledore talks to Ginny after the diary has been destroyed.
Not to be confused with The Very Secret Diaries.
This novel contains examples of:
- Adorably Precocious Child: Ginny is a cute, smart, curious and cheerful young girl. Then the plot happens.
- Adult Fear: Your eleven year old daughter makes a new friend she doesn't tell you about. They write back and forth for months, not meeting in person. She pours her heart out to this new friend. He is older than her, very possessive and controlling, and makes her feel isolated and alone without him. He presents himself as a benevolent ally, someone who wants to "teach" her things about the world, but slowly reveals himself to be a sadistic monster. When they finally properly meet, he shows his true colors, but by then, it's too late.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Ginny, at the end.
- All Take and No Give: Tom and Ginny's relationship, with Tom as the Taker. Tom needs her to pour her heart out to him and she just gives and gives and gives. However, he makes her feel like the Taker, painting himself as the generous Giver who listens to her problems, manipulating her further.
- Berserk Button: Ginny doesn't exactly care for racism.Tom:Misuse of Muggle Artifacts, is it? The Muggle Protection Act? And his own daughter, attacking Mudbloods. My my. Yes, I'm afraid that your father would be sacked.Ginny: Don't you use that filthy word again.Tom: Sacked?Ginny:You KNOW the one I mean.Tom: Yes I do. Mudblood. You are sensitive about words, aren't you?
- Big "YES!": Tom lets out a very creepy one when he possesses Ginny for the first time.
- Break the Cutie: It's a long, slow process for Ginny.
- Canon Foreigner: In canon, we don't know anyone else in Ginny's year besides Colin and Luna. This fic adds some as minor characters, most notably Ginny's friend Emma. Justified, as there obviously were others in her year — Harry just didn't know them.
- Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Ginny keeps Tom from just killing her in this way in the final chapters, by reminding him that if he kills her, he's back to square one and will have to start again with someone new.
- The Charmer: Tom Riddle, of course.
- Clingy Jealous Girl:
- Downplayed with Ginny, towards Harry— she's a little jealous, but at a distance. She feels the perfectly ordinary frustration any eleven year old would feel if her crush seemed way more interested in his female friend than her.
- Tom acts like a male version towards Ginny, accusing her of abandoning him every time she goes for too long without writing.
- Consummate Liar:
- Guess. Tom frequently feeds lies and half-truths to Ginny, both to further his plan and just for kicks.
- Ironically, he claims Myrtle is one, to explain why Myrtle claims Ginny cursed at her and threatened her, when Ginny has no memory of doing such a thing (and, indeed, never would). Ginny buys it for awhile, but eventually catches on.
- Creepy Monotone: Ginny's writing voice is this while possessed by Tom, and near the end it starts to bleed into Ginny's conscious voice.
- Dark Fic: In a sense. While the Harry Potter books are famous for being pretty damn dark, especially for children's literature, it wasn't at this level in the second book. (Fifth book, maybe. Certainly the sixth.) However, aside from a few details that got debunked later on, this story is entirely canon-compliant — something like this must have happened offscreen.
- Darker and Edgier: The Very Secret Diary can be this to Arabella's Hermione, Queen of the Witches, which is Hermione's take on the series up to Book Five, written in her (not-evil) enchanted diary.
- Deadpan Snarker:
- It's how Tom lets out his aggravation, and Ginny's often too naive to get that she's being laughed at.
- Tom Riddle especially likes using double meanings: for instance, when he's trying to persuade Ginny to tell him a secret:Ginny: You wouldn't care if it was a bad one?
Tom: You could not tell me anything that would make me like you less.
- Sometimes straight-up sarcasm does the trick.Ginny: Oh, Tom, guess what!
Tom: Harry looked at you.
- After things go south, the tables turn and Ginny starts mouthing off.Tom: So far, a perfect score. Four students, all Muggle-borns.
Ginny: And a ghost and a cat
- This gem, after Ginny compares Tom's nature to that of a Dementor, is enough to send Tom into Stunned Silence for a moment:
- Defiant to the End: Even when she's powerless against him, Ginny refuses to go quietly, until Tom reveals his true identity, after which she freaks out, and starts begging for her mom.
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: The last few entries. Did she just flip off Voldemort? Why yes, yes she did.
- Do Not Call Me "Paul": Downplayed at first. Ginny doesn't dislike being called that, per se, but she does consider it to be a childish nickname, and wishes more people would call her "Virginia," which Tom does. When she finally realizes what a lying git Tom is, he attempts to call her "Virginia, sweetheart," to which she firmly responds, "My name is Ginny." As the followup fic shows, she can no longer stand being called by her proper name thanks to him.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: It's been pointed out that Tom's manipulation is disturbingly similar to that of real life predators. And then there's the pedophiliac undertones to some scenes where he's possessing her.Ginny: Thank you - thank you for trusting me. I know you so much better now. No one's ever told me a story like that before, everyone tells me to wait for those stories until—
Tom: Until you're older.
Tom: I will not wait until you are older, Virginia.
Tom: I cannot.
Ginny: I know.
Tom: Where are you?
Ginny: My bed.
Tom: Sit up straight against the headboard.
Ginny: I am.
Tom: Breathe deeply. And when your mind is blank and cold, and your body feels numb and open, put me away under your pillow and stay very, very still.
Ginny: I will.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Tom gets especially snippy when Ginny works out his backstory, ridiculing her for feeling any pity for him. Though he gets even angrier when she bluntly tells him that no, she doesn't feel sorry for him at all.
- Doomed by Canon: Ginny gets possessed. That much is inevitable. Also inverted — knowing how the actual book ends takes the edge off the fic's rather bleak ending.
- Downer Ending: But, a happy epilogue, if you've read the book.
- Bittersweet Ending: Disenchanted reveals that while Ginny is alive, she is still horribly traumatized by what she went through, to the point that she can't stand being called her own name. Dumbledore believes she'll eventually recover.
- Dramatic Irony:
- Early on, Ginny thinks of Tom as a friend, so many of his responses sound interested and earnest to her. To the reader who knows the truth, however, those same responses are sardonic and condescending.
- Later, Ginny doesn't go to Dumbledore about what's been happening, because she's certain that she'll be imprisoned and her family will suffer if anyone finds out. In the end, Tom gleefully points out what the reader knew all along: Dumbledore would've known that Ginny was not to blame, she wouldn't have been punished at all, and Dumbledore would've been able to deal with Tom himself. Fortunately, the first two happen after the fic ends, and Harry takes care of the third one.
- Tom also lampshades that Ginny's possible crush on him is quite ironic, given what he's done to Harry.
- Ginny worries that Harry has feelings for Hermione. Oh, honey...
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Tom, questioning Ginny on why she loves her family. He's also repeatedly baffled by her genuine innocence and kindness, though never for long.
- Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Ginny simply doesn't understand why Tom finds the fact that Myrtle haunts a toilet to be so hilarious.
- Evil Gloating: One of Tom's favorite pastimes is to brag (either subtly or openly) about his evil schemes and how superior he is.
- False Friend: Tom pretends to be Ginny's friend and trusted confidant, all while manipulating her so he can kill Muggle-borns and resurrect himself.
- Faux Affably Evil: Tom comes off as very friendly and polite, but to the reader, who knows the truth about him, it's painfully transparent and insincere. Once Ginny finds out the truth, the mask comes crashing down, and Tom's clearly delighted at not having to pretend anymore.
- Flat "What": Tom gives a couple of these on the few occasions Ginny manages to genuinely shock him.
- Forced to Watch: One of Tom's promises towards Ginny at the end. He says that he's going to make her watch as he kills Harry.
- Foregone Conclusion: Tom fully possesses Ginny in the end. Knowing this makes the fic so much harder to read — it's like watching a trainwreck in slow-motion.
- Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: Ginny acknowledges that Tom had a rough life, but as she points out, so did Harry. Tom's terrible upbringing didn't make him evil — and she's not sure what did.
- From Bad to Worse: The whole story in a nutshell, from Ginny's point of view. Realizing your "friend" was lying to you all along? Bad. Realizing he's been possessing you and forcing you to do horrible things? Bad. Realizing he's going to murder every Muggle-born in the school if his plans go through? Really, really bad. Realizing he's freaking Voldemort? Bye-bye, sanity...
- Future Badass: Tom is quite pleased to hear he became Lord Voldemort, a wizard so evil and powerful, everyone is too terrified to even say his name.
- Future Loser: Hearing that Voldemort was defeated by a baby and forced to share a body with Quirrel, only to be defeated by the same kid again sort of bursts Tom's bubble.
- Gaslighting: One of Tom's preferred methods against Ginny.
- Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: Ginny gives a remarkable "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Tom, saying she simply can't work out what's wrong with him.
- Good Is Not Dumb: Despite what Tom thinks, Ginny is no dummy. Once she catches on, she becomes a surprisingly big thorn in his side.
- Guile Hero: Ginny. Despite all of Tom's insults and snipes, she was able to delay Riddle's plans by several months, first by manipulating the concern of her friends and family, and through sheer willpower.
- Gut Punch: You spend the first fourth or so just knowing something horrible is going to happen, cringing at every sarcastic and manipulative remark Tom makes, flinching every time Ginny innocently pours her heart out to him, just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Then, at the end of the entry Ginny makes on October 4th, it does.Tom: Sleep. I see how ill you are.
Ginny: Thank you Tom
Tom: Sleep and come back to me at once when you wake.
Ginny: I will
Tom: Are the curtains closed?
Tom: Can you sit against your headboard?
Tom: Close your eyes, Virginia Close your eyes
I ' /\ A
I A M
L O RD v
\/ - V
V o L
D EM O R t
I am l ord v - Vold emort
I AM LORD VOLDEMORT great en ough to con tinue the noble work ofmy great ance stor by this small child's hand
With this weak little hand I shall open the Chamber and call my servant to me
Hidden in innocence again under Dumbledore's crooked nose I will do what must be done
One small step at a time. One mastery and then another. Sleep, my Virginia, while I learn to use your hand until your hand belongs to me. My hand. For my work. I will practice you until I do not fumble. Piece by piece I will inhabit and employ you, and you will be silent, so beautifully silent, while I do so.
My strength is returning; I feel it. Already I have learned to dim your mind. Already I have your hand. Yes. It is as my own — it belongs to me — oh yes, my little shell, yes.
- Hufflepuff House: Although she doesn't know why, Ginny doesn't want to be sorted here. Tom tells her that there's no need to explain.
- Hypocrite: Tom tells Ginny to be wary of people who seem overly-friendly or generous, because they might have an ulterior motive. Well, he's certainly not wrong...
- Innocently Insensitive: In a darkly hilarious way, Ginny telling Tom about how Voldemort was bested not once, but twice by the great, heroic Harry Potter, whom nearly everyone loves. (Oh, and did she mention Harry was a baby the first time he managed it?) Tom's reaction is subtle enough that Ginny doesn't catch it, but to the reader, it's priceless.
- Insult Backfire: Some of Tom's snide remarks towards Ginny fail to actually hurt her because they fly right over her head, especially in earlier chapters.
- Kick the Dog: Tom bullies, belittles, and insults Ginny well past the point where he's won. 'Cause he evil.
- Kuleshov Effect: A lot of the things Tom says are an excellent example of the written version of this. To Ginny, his lines sound friendly, empathetic, and sincere. To the audience, who has a much better idea of who Tom really is, they sound very, very different.
- Lack of Empathy: Guess who? He wouldn't be Tom Riddle if he had an ounce of empathy in him.
- Literalist Snarking:
- A lot of Tom's snide comments to Ginny take on a very different connotation if you interpret them as literally as possible.
- When Tom is ranting and raving at her for disrespecting him, Tom asks, "DO YOU HEAR ME?!", to which Ginny flatly replies, "No. I see your writing on the paper." Tom reacts to that about as well as you'd expect.
- Little Miss Badass: Fighting Voldemort off from the inside despite being terrified and significantly weaker than him would already be impressive, but then you remember Ginny is eleven. She's a Gryffindor for a reason, after all.
- Locked Out of the Loop: Tom has been asleep for 50 years and is unaware of significant historical events that have transpired during that time, most notably the First Wizarding War.
- Madness Mantra: "I do not know. I do not know. I do not know."
- Manchurian Agent: Ginny has no memory of Tom's possessions.
- Manipulative Bastard: Tom. For a while, he manages to convince Ginny against herself.
- Mind Rape: Guess who, on who. What makes it so terrifying to read is that we know Tom's an evil bastard who's only manipulating and using Ginny, but Ginny doesn't have a clue.
- Minimalist Cast: Other characters are mentioned frequently, but only Ginny and Tom appear in person (or on page), barring the single entry where Harry communicates with Tom.
- Mood Whiplash: Starting around the October entries, Ginny will be animatedly and happily conversing with Tom in one line, and listlessly and unquestionably doing his bidding in the next as he possesses her.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome:
- This fic gives Ginny one for the original book. Ginny spent almost a full two months fighting Tom off before she was finally fully possessed. Talking back to him and snarking at him along the way. Downer Ending or not, that's impressive.
- Also, the diary turning up in the toilet? Tom had gained possession of Ginny and was walking her to Myrtle's bathroom, about to commit a mass murder with the basilisk. He was crowing about it to a hysterical Ginny as the chapter ended. It turns his canonical conversation with Harry ("Someone tried to flush you down a toilet") into a Wham Line.
- Oh, Crap!:
- A deadly serious one when Ginny realizes what "Tom Marvolo Riddle" is an anagram for.
- Earlier, Tom has an understated one when he realizes Ginny's caught him in a lie, and no longer trusts him.
- Papa Wolf: In Disenchanted, Arthur snaps after Dumbledore reveals that Malfoy was the one gave Ginny the diary. Dumbledore himself feels a touch of anger at Tom for badly traumatizing Ginny.
- Poor Communication Kills: Had Ginny simply told any adult about Riddle, she (and Hogwarts) would have spared a lot of anguish. There were moments when Ginny would have gone to an adult, but Riddle was able to stop her, first by playing to her sympathy, and then, when he reveals his true colors, terrorizing her by claiming that she and her family would be punished if she told the truth of what happened.
- Precocious Crush: Ginny's crush on Harry doesn't count, since he's only a year older, but her heavily implied crush on Tom does, since he's sixteen. On the surface, an eleven year old having an unrequited crush on an older boy seems harmless, even normal, but the full truth of the matter is way creepier than that. It doesn't help that Tom appears to be encouraging it.
- Psychological Thriller: Despite the presence of magic and all it entails, what makes the story so gripping is the mind games Tom plays on Ginny, and seeing her fight back.
- Reality Ensues: Yes, Tom, torturing Ginny via Sleep Deprivation is all well and good, until she inevitably passes out from exhaustion and is taken to the hospital wing. And she's not much use to him while she's practically comatose.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: While Riddle waits for Harry in the Chamber of Secrets, he passes the time by giving Ginny a Reason-You-Suck Lecture. Earlier, Ginny gave him one of her own, which actually managed to stun him. Not for long, but still.
- Sanity Slippage: Ginny, from the very start, but especially after the attack on Halloween. By the end, she's barely keeping herself together, and one gets the sense that telling herself she has to stop Tom is the only way she's kept a firm enough grip on her sanity to be functioning. When she realizes he's Voldemort, her sanity nearly shatters entirely.
- Saved by Canon: An odd case of this and Doomed by Canon applying to the same character. Ginny is going to be possessed by Tom, but we know that his victory won't last for long, as Harry will find her and save her by destroying the diary.
- Significant Anagram: Tom is fond of them, as in Canon.
- Let's get the obvious out of the way. "Tom Marvolo Riddle" = "I am Lord Voldemort."
- "Viane Folo" (the name Tom gives for his alleged girlfriend) = "naive fool."
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Or, rather, Lonely Girl Seeks Nice Boy. The main reason Ginny has a crush on Harry is because of how nice and brave and heroic he is. She's implied to develop a crush on Tom because he's nice to her and listens to her. Yeah...
- Sleepwalking: Ginny starts doing this after she gets to Hogwarts. Kind of.
- Sleep Deprivation Punishment: In some of the most disturbing scenes in a very disturbing story, Tom torments Ginny by refusing to let her sleep for days. It gets so bad that she passes out at one point.
- Smitten Teenage Girl: Ginny, to Harry. It's also implied that she starts to develop feelings for Tom before things go pear-shaped.
- Smug Snake: Riddle is certainly dangerous and manipulative, but he's not as smart as he would like to believe. He utterly underestimates Ginny's intelligence. This partly ends up his undoing, since he constructs a fake backstory that's so weak, Ginny only has to ask a few questions to poke holes in it. And when Ginny does get wise, his plans are set back by her attempts at resistance, leading him to basically throw a tantrum.
- The Sociopath: Tom, as in canon, is incapable of feeling love, compassion, guilt, or empathy, though he's pretty good at faking it.
- Soul Jar: The diary contains the soul of sixteen year old Tom Riddle.
- Spanner in the Works: In the end, Ginny herself. While she couldn't fight him forever, she did manage to hold Tom off long enough to ensure that his full possession of her doesn't happen until the night the Mandrakes will be ready to cure everyone. Ginny's resistance is the only reason Tom wasn't able to carry out his plan in full, much earlier.
- Speech-Centric Work: The story is nothing but dialogue between Tom and Ginny (and, for one chapter, Harry), not unlike an internet chatroom. Ginny will sometimes describe what things look like at Tom's request, but that's about it.
- Spotting the Thread: Ginny finds an inconsistency in Tom's story about "Viane" and her alleged history with him and Moaning Myrtle (apparently, it didn't occur to Tom to double-check to make sure the timeline matched up). After that, she decides to look into some other details, and once she does the proper research, his story falls apart at the seams. It's all downhill from there.
- Stealth Insult: Tom, to Ginny, a lot.
- Stunned Silence: Tom's response when Ginny manages to get one over on him. The moment she finally catches him in a lie is a good example, as he doesn't say anything at all for several lines (which is probably at least a minute for Ginny's perspective), which confirms to Ginny that she's right.
- Sure, Let's Go with That: Ginny sometimes comes up with her own ideas about Tom's past. He tends to just roll with it.
- Teens Are Monsters: Tom has the same mentality and personality as Lord Voldemort did at the age of sixteen, because he's manifesting through a Horcrux that Voldemort made at that age. Which just makes his behavior even creepier.
- Terms of Endangerment:
- Tom frequently addresses Ginny as "dear" or "sweet girl" or other pet names. It's enough to make you sick.
- A nauseating Inversion is that Tom often uses her full name, Virginia, which is a little more grown-up and elegant. In the follow-up Disenchanted, when Dumbledore tries to use her proper name, Ginny stops him. Her own name has been ruined in her ears. Dumbledore retains a quiet hope that she will heal in that aspect, too.
- Took a Level in Badass: Ginny goes from an insecure, naive little girl, to an Unwitting Pawn, to an Empty Shell, to a borderline hysterical mess... to a Guile Hero who will not give up and will do whatever she can to stop Tom. Even if Tom does overpower her and she does have to be rescued by Harry in the end, that is nothing to sneeze at. And as the rest of the series shows us, she's just getting started.
- Toxic Friend Influence: Tom attempts to encourage Ginny's worst impulses and ideas, but since Ginny's a good, generally nice person, he rarely gets anywhere without all-out mind control. For example, when she's ranting about how nasty the Slytherins have been to her and her friends:Ginny: I want to KICK somebody.
Tom: Do it.
- Underestimating Badassery: Tom has zero respect for Ginny, and doesn't view her as a threat at all, only a pawn to be used. After all, there's no way a talkative, obnoxious little girl with a schoolgirl crush could stand a chance against the Dark Lord, right? Riiiiiiiight?
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Ginny just found this diary in her bag, and, finding it empty, decided to start writing in it. What could go wrong?
- Unwitting Pawn: Ginny has no idea that Tom is using her at first, much less what he's using her for. But she eventually wises up.
- Villainous Breakdown: On the moments where Ginny completely outsmart him, Riddle's response is dead silence, followed by violent threats.
- Visible Silence: Pauses in writing are indicated through multiple line breaks without any words.
- Visionary Villain: Tom, as always, though right now he's rather at Square One. He is eager to hear what Ginny tells him about Voldemort's reign of terror— after all, it means his future self shaped up well.
- Was It All a Lie?: Yep. From start to finish, and Ginny fell for it, hook, line, and sinker.
- Wham Line:
- "You have mentioned this You-Know-Who several times, Virginia. But I do not know who. Won't you tell me?"
- When Ginny finally catches on, and the relationship between her and Tom officially turns on its head.Ginny: [Myrtle] told me another story about how I'd been in there calling her names. It's horrible how she lies.
Tom: Isn't it though?
Ginny: And it just made me wonder if she'd lied to Viane this many times, or if it was only the once. Because I don't know why she'd pick on me. Unless she picks on everyone like this.
Tom: It was constant, Virginia. Why, according to Viane, Myrtle never told the truth in the entire time that she knew her.
Ginny: How long did she know her, Tom?
Tom: From her very first year. Myrtle plagued Viane right from the start.
Ginny: From her first year?
Tom: Yes. Just like you.
Ginny: But that's impossible.
Ginny: I just I just had to see what you'd say. I don't believe it.
Tom: What are you talking about?
Ginny: I have been talking to Myrtle. And she did shout at me again but she also told me what year she died. It was 1941. And if Viane was a year younger than you were, then she would have been a first year in 1938 or something. Myrtle wasn't even in that toilet yet.
So you're lying.
[Several lines of Visible Stunned Silence from Tom's end.]
Ginny: I thought so.
- Once Tom has Ginny fully under his control, he gets off an epic one:Tom: Idiot girl, it took you five months even to suspect me. And in another five months you have been completely unable to extract yourself from me for long enough to say a single word in your own defense. Of course you do not know who I am. You do not know to whom you have been giving your soul. Ask me now who I am. I want to tell you.
Ginny: You are Tom Riddle. You are the Heir of Slytherin.
Tom: And who else am I ?
Ginny: I do not know who else.
Tom: Ah but you do. You do know who, Virginia. You know who.
Ginny: No, I do not.
Tom: Yes you do. You know who. You know who... You-Know-Who.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Tom often plays the victim in his interactions with Ginny, guilt-tripping her for questioning anything he says or going too long without writing. Lacking experience in this sort of thing, Ginny doesn't realize that he's manipulating her, and winds up being the one to apologize.
- Yandere: Tom acts like one towards Ginny, though he doesn't so much "love" her as "need" her...
- You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!:
- He doesn't say it word-for-word, but it's clear Tom's thinking this when Ginny tells him how Voldemort fell.
- He's also completely baffled when he finds out Professor Binns is still teaching.