Follow TV Tropes


Gambit Pileup / Child of the Storm

Go To

In a World of Badass, where the vast majority of heroes and villains are Guile Heroes, Chessmasters, and Manipulative Bastards, there are a lot of competing and intersecting plans.

Most of these gambits are plot critical. Therefore, if you read on, you will face UNMARKED SPOILERS for both Child of the Storm and Ghosts of the Past. You have been warned.

  • First off, we have a post Heel–Face Turn Reformed, but Not Tamed Loki, who's got a Nine Realms wide spy network and is continually scheming for the good of Asgard and the Nine Realms while watching his brother's back.
  • Advertisement:
  • Odin is mostly operating on a hands off basis, leaving his sons to do what they do best, but has put a number of his servants into play, with Freki and Geri (his wolves) protecting Harry, Huginn and Muninn occasionally advising him and Sif and the Warriors Three taking part in a little training of Harry and monster hunting, while keeping an eye out for an opportunity to get even with Thanos for what he did to Loki (it wasn't mind control, but it wasn't pleasant) and to Krypton. As of Ghosts of the Past, this now involves trying to manage circumstances to protect his grandson from himself and the power of the Phoenix that resides within him and forestalling the return of Surtur, who's trying to get back into the galaxy and devour it again. Meanwhile, he's also keeping a gimlet eye on the rest of the Nine Realms to make sure they behave themselves - which Muspelheim and Svartalfheim very much aren't.
  • Advertisement:
  • Then we have Baron Von Strucker, who wants to restore HYDRA to the status it possessed during WWII. He is eliminated in chapter 50 of the first book for incompetence (and threatening Narcissa) by Lucius Malfoy.
  • Lucius Malfoy is sick of being afraid and wants to make everyone else afraid of him, while protecting his family. Oh, and he wants revenge on Fury. To this end, he seeks to bring down the Avengers and fuse HYDRA and the Death Eaters into a gestalt entity under his sole command. In chapter 50, he succeeds and prepares for the next step - the destruction of any and all potential threats to his new HYDRA, starting with the Avengers. Then, in chapter 74 he graduates to full on Evil Overlord when he succeeds in neutralising the Avengers, destroying Avengers Tower and effectively has the world at his mercy. By chapter 77, however, this has all fallen apart thanks to machinations of Doctor Strange, and he's scuttled off to find a rock to hide under.
  • Advertisement:
  • Gravemoss wants to kill everything and rule over a universe of the dead, and forms a tenuous alliance with HYDRA to do so. Cue backstabbing. Eventually, in chapter 76, he finds out that Evil Is Not a Toy, gets possessed by Chthon, then possibly vaporised by an Infinite Mass Punch from Jean-Paul. Or blasted somewhere past Jupiter. No one's really sure.
  • Alexander Pierce, meanwhile, seems pretty comfortable with just going with the flow, working to grow HYDRA's influence within SHIELD, until Chapter 76 has him stab Lucius in the back when the latter desperately calls him for help by cheerfully asserting that what Nick Fury does in his free time (raise another team of Avengers and work with Jane Foster to find and crush HYDRA) is not his business, before hanging up. Then, it turns out that Fury was tracing the call and catches him red-handed. In Ghosts of the Past, he is seen extending his life by keeping as many secrets to himself as he can, making himself more useful alive than dead.
  • Dealing with all of these is Nick Fury, who's trying (and, to be fair, mostly succeeding) to crush HYDRA and is gunning for Lucius Malfoy in particular, because he has a score to settle, while simultaneously trying to limit Loki's influence (it's not that he thinks that Loki's evil, it's just that he's got a job to do. And he doesn't trust him). By chapter 80 of Child of the Storm, he's got Malfoy on the run, HYDRA in ruins, and has not only found Pierce, but got him in a lock up, with a purge of HYDRA to follow.
    • By Ghosts of the Past, his focus has shifted to dealing with the Red Room, and all of the disruption in the magical and Muggle worlds that Harry tends to cause, while keeping an eye on Harry, both for pragmatic reasons and because he was very close to the Evans family.
  • His protégé, Agent (later Director) Wisdom a.k.a. Regulus Black, is masterminding the defence of Britain and, seemingly, the creation of a British Avengers team in the form of Excalibur, occasionally blackmailing loners such as Wanda Maximoff and Constantine into helping out. He's also trying to ensure that MI13 supplants the Ministry of Magic as the prime handler of matters supernatural and superhuman, poaching staff members and seeking to bring it to heel. On top of that, he's implied to be after the Department of Mysteries.
    • By Ghosts of the Past, he's The Man Behind the Man for muggle Britain, and is gunning for magical Britain too, as well as levying Britain's new mountain of vibranium and mithril, courtesy of the Elder Wyrm and Doctor Strange, for maximum advantage.
  • Meanwhile, T'Challa is working to bring Wakanda into the international community and forge diplomatic connections. He's also keeping a wary eye on the other countries with vibranium (such as Britain, following the events of chapter 43 of Ghosts of the Past), and dealing with those who would like to use it for their own ends.
  • Draco Malfoy, meanwhile and the mysterious voice (aka the Not Quite Dead Prospero Slytherin) is up to something, plotting a largely neutral course, though helping out the good guys with a tip-off here and there. What they are actually up to is, as of the time of writing, an enduring mystery.
  • Dumbledore is rapidly rearranging his plans to bring down the Death Eaters and deal with Voldemort in response to the ever changing Status Quo and the new range of threats, while also protecting Harry and the rest of his students to the best of his ability.
  • Professor Xavier is holding off the Hellfire Club with one hand and, until the end of Book 1, keeping Harry away from his maternal cousin Jean with the other. The latter is a case of I Did What I Had to Do, as it's shown that he's very much unhappy with it, and in chapter 67, it's revealed to be a Predestination Paradox - he had to keep them apart because he had been specifically warned to by a time travelling future Harry. Later on, he gets several new students to look after, and has to deal with the Askani and the remnants of the Red Room.
  • Magneto spends Book 1 lurking on the edge of things and keeping an eye on events until chapter 77, when he makes his long awaited appearance by crumpling HYDRA's wounded but still deadly Dreadnought helicarrier like tinfoil. As of Ghosts of the Past, he's taking a more active role in protecting Mutantkind, albeit while maintaining an attitude of "don't go after my people and I (probably) won't go after yours." He's also teaching Harry, and gets involved against the Red Room, because they took Harry, and more pertinently, his younger daughter Lorna, and therefore, It's Personal.
  • Alison Carter, initially presented as being the much younger sister of Peggy Carter (actually, she's Peggy and Steve's daughter), is nominally retired, but only nominally. As of Ghosts of the Past, she's come out of retirement in earnest and reclaimed her rank as Deputy Director of SHIELD (this time jointly with Maria Hill). She's also revealed to have schemed with Jor-El to keep his son secret and safe, which she did extraordinarily well.
  • Wanda Maximoff, as heir apparent to the Sorcerer Supreme, is trying to keep a lid on the incursions caused by the Darkhold's weakening of the borders of reality, to protect her godson and to keep her daughter's existence secret and safe. From chapter 27 of Ghosts onwards, she is the Sorceress Supreme in her own right, Strange having abdicated the position after faking his death, and has much more to deal with.
  • It turns out that Lily Potter isn't quite dead and has merged with the Phoenix Force/Destruction of the Endless to become the White Phoenix of the Crown. She can't do very much because of The Rules, but is keeping an eye on Harry, and helps out where she can.
  • Meanwhile Chthon schemes to bring about his return to the universe through the Darkhold, a plan which nearly works until he gets hit by an Infinite Mass Punch and then psychically kicked out by Harry.
  • And, as of Chapter 60, the Winter Soldier has shaken off his brainwashing, performed a Heel–Face Turn and is now acting as a secret mole inside HYDRA for the good guys. Then in chapter 74, he is caught out and brainwashed again. Finally, he makes a full and permanent Heel–Face Turn in chapter 77, joining the Avengers as an associate member and bodyguard and mentor to Harry.
  • Chapter 80 has Namor, who's first and foremost concerned with protecting Atlantis, but also feeling out a potential alliance with Magneto against the rest of the world if they are ever turned on.
  • Doctor Nathaniel Essex a.k.a. Sinister has been stated to be the mysterious force that kept Harry at Privet Drive, messing with Mrs Figg's head, heading off investigations and the like, having developed an interest in Harry because of his mother being related to Jean Grey. In the sequel, he makes his move kidnapping Harry and, as an afterthought, Carol, using Maddie Pryor - Jean's twin sister who he stole at birth, faking her death, and raised as a Living Weapon - to subdue them, as part of a scheme with the Red Room. The latter group, led by General Lukin, are scheming to regain their lost power and Russia's lost empire, forcibly recruiting assets old and new. The Dark Phoenix puts a stop to that, and the leaders are put in SHIELD custody.
  • In Ghosts, during the Forever Red arc, Gambit crops up, working for Sinister and the Red Room against his will, though with apparent grudging loyalty. In reality, he's trying to free the Red Room's prisoners, and coax Sinister's right hand 'hound' Maddie Pryor into a Heel–Face Turn, working with Natasha as her mole in the Red Room. He ultimately succeeds, and eventually returns to New Orleans despite/because of finding out that he's the clone/brother of Scott Summers.
  • In same arc, Maddie Pryor a.k.a. Rachel Grey makes her bow, and while is at first loyal to Sinister, first Gambit then Harry sow the seeds of doubt, leading to a Heel–Face Turn and her attempting to protect Harry from Sinister and the Red Room. The second attempt is more successful than the first. Thereafter, she tries to make her own path with her family.
  • Voldemort takes over Wormtail's body and, now that he has a physical body once more, goes off to learn from Selene. Both of them are interested in the Word of Kemmler, and planning to betray the other - Voldemort succeeds in sticking the knife in first. And, of course, Voldemort is trying to kill Harry, but knows better than to try and face him flat-out. He's still responsible for putting Harry's name in the Goblet of Fire, with his reasons currently unknown, while also putting other threats in his path, such as the below-mentioned Dracula.
  • Dracula shows up in the sequel as King of the Grey Court of Vampires, looking to rebuild his Court after it was devastated by the Phoenix, and incurred further damage after the publication of Dracula. To this end, he schemes to ritually drain Carol's blood so as to make himself, and therefore every new vampire he sires from then on (and potentially every single one he's sired already - no one's entirely sure), immune to sunlight, and putting them in prime position to exploit the confusion and instability the Red Room's empire building caused in Eastern Europe. Harry, the Avengers, and a few other friends and allies put a stop to that. While dozens of the Grey Court are killed in the ensuing events, he still maintains a fairly strong power base.
  • Also appearing in the sequel is Doctor Doom, who is revealed to be planning to not just strengthen Latveria, but establish himself as the prime supernatural (and probably mundane) power in Eastern Europe, and to that end helps Harry stop Dracula and save Carol, on the grounds that Dracula is a major regional rival, and if his ritual went to plan, he'd come for Doom first. It's also revealed that his Doombots are sent to occasionally attack and draw the attention of the Avengers because he's using them to take the Avengers' measure, on the grounds that the Avengers are theoretically The Unfettered and have deposed leaders they took a dislike to before, and he knows that he might well be on their hit-list, so is therefore getting their measure to prepare defences against them.
  • Surtur was the first Dark Phoenix about a million years ago, and despite being trapped in Muspelheim, he is planning to break out and remake the galaxy (and then the universe) in his image along with his servants. And the Seal is weakening...
  • Ron meets a stranger in Hogsmeade who goes by the name "Adam Black" who knows far more than he should. Who he is, what he wants with Ron, and what his ultimate goals are have yet to be revealed, but he's almost certainly not up to any good.
  • "Nathan," an Alternate Universe version of Harry, bumps into his counterpart during the First Task. He is then recruited to teach Jean and Maddie about the Phoenix by Doctor Strange. However, given that this is an Older and Wiser version of Harry, he and Strange are almost certainly up to something more. Just what that is remains to be seen.
  • And then there's Doctor Strange, who's manipulating the hell out of everyone and is unequivocally 'up to something', but no one has even the faintest idea what that something is, until Chapter 80 of Child of the Storm reveals that he's preparing Earth to go up against Thanos. After that, several characters in the know note that while they now know what his goal is, they still have absolutely no idea how he's going to get there. As of chapter 52 of Ghosts, he's faked his death, passed his mantle of Sorcerer Supreme to Wanda, committed genocide against the Red Court of Vampires to leave a chunk of Dresden's schedule free and clear for the immediate future, and is now working quietly to continue his plans in whatever time he has left. Confused yet?

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: