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Ghosts Of The Past / Tropes Q to Z

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Tropes from Child of the Storm's sequel, Ghosts Of The Past.

Tropes A To H can be found here and Tropes I To P can be found here.



  • Rage Against the Heavens: Strange, or rather, as he was known back then, Taliesin, after he arrived too late to intervene at Camlann. Cue this trope. He notes that normally, this wouldn't have had any real effect, even considering how powerful he was. However, he was in a particularly temporally sensitive area, had a natural gift for time magic (though nothing compared to what it became), and the Time Stone (for want of a better way of putting it) heard him. It appeared in front of him, and... changed him.
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  • Rage Breaking Point: The culmination of the events of Forever Red served as one for Harry, leading to his unleashing the Dark Phoenix.
  • Raising the Steaks: Dresden recreates that canon moment from his own series in chapter 32, the penultimate chapter of the Bloody Hell arc, exploiting a loophole in the Rule against necromancy in the most Crazy Awesome fashion possible: he unleashes Sue, the zombie T-Rex, on the city.
  • Rape as Drama: Belova's rape of Harry (or rather, his empty body that was reprogrammed into the Red Son, though Harry got stuck with all the memories - including the sensations), during the Forever Red arc - though the fallout takes place rather later, as the memories are initially sealed off to give him time to come to terms with it. Notable for both firmly averting the usual double standard and focusing on recovery rather than a typical Rape and Revenge plot. Going by reader reactions, the latter was carefully researched (to the point of being frighteningly accurate) and depicted with unusual empathy and a degree of realism.
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  • Realpolitik: When negotiating with the Indian Prime Minister for the handover of Red Room members seeking asylum, Loki advises him on how to get the most beneficial information from the fugitives first, as well as how to start up India's own Avengers-like team.
  • Reality Has No Soundtrack: The Lemony Narrator notes when Maddie picks up Mjolnir that if the universe had a soundtrack it would have instantly cut to a rendition of "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC, before lamenting that because of this trope, it doesn't. About thirty chapters later, Harry re-enters the battle against the Earth-Wyrm to the tune of, you guessed it, "Thunderstruck", thanks to Tony hacking the Valiant's speakers.
  • Reality Warper: Skyfathers are all capable of this, to an extent - Odin is the strongest of them, and his battle with Chthon at the end of the first book was described as literally reality-bending.
    • The Dark Phoenix, which is described and demonstrated to be an entity that laughs at the laws of nature - dying is a minor inconvenience, regeneration and transmutation (of a limb, an eye, and most of the left side of the body in the former case, and creating the clothing of the Dark Phoenix out of thin air in the latter).
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    • Strange, to a limited extent, being able to bend the established laws of magic (including those surrounding resurrection), and to a much, much greater extent with the Tesseract in hand, when he's capable of freezing the likes of Zeus in crystals of frozen time.
    • Wanda and Hermione are both this, because this is essentially what Chaos Magic does, with the only limits being power, stamina, imagination, and willingness to act/accept the risks. Otherwise, as Wanda spells out, you can do whatever the hell you like. On top of that, Wanda's mutant powers of probability manipulation border on this in their own right, and Hermione's of spatial manipulation, likewise.
  • Real Men Hate Affection: As with the previous book, the story goes out of its way to discuss and reject this trope, Harry becoming notably more openly affectionate, welcoming hugs and gestures of affection under his father's influence, becoming considerably better adjusted as a result (or at least mitigating his less stable periods). However, as is noted in chapter 48, Harry is distinctly unusual among his peers in this respect, with Sean Cassidy noting that the kind of shoulder clasp or hug that Harry would appreciate would be firmly rejected by Ron, and most other teenage boys, precisely because of this mentality.
  • Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: Quietly but firmly Averted, with Pepper, Frigga, Alison, and Diana - later Carol, to an extent - all subverting the trope (in Carol's case, she mainly embraced it to reject her father's Stay in the Kitchen tendencies).
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Nick Fury, if in a somewhat blunt fashion - he manipulates the Avengers (the recently horribly traumatised Harry) in order to test just how 'worth it' they figure Maddie, a former Tyke Bomb, is, and then accedes to their judgement that she is worth saving.
    • Coulson is unfazed by Jean Grey's threat to take down SHIELD if they ever harm her loved ones, telling her (off the record) that should SHIELD become Not So Different to HYDRA, he would help her. From chapter 34, he also becomes Clark Kent's Friend on the Force as SHIELD's Regional Commander for the Midwest, explicitly stating that he'll do whatever he can to protect him.
    • Captain Stacy of the NYPD serves as one in chapter 32, during the Bloody Hell arc, being patient with a grumpy and irritable Harry (who is grumpy and irritable because he's worried about his friends and he's just been on the wrong end of a vicious No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from Dracula).
    • As always, Dumbledore shows great understanding of his students' characters, and expects no more or less than the best that they can give.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Wisdom gives one to Amos Diggory as a proxy for the Ministry as a whole, focusing on how poorly the Ministry handled the remaining Death Eaters at the end of the last war, blaming the current mess on letting so many of them slip away.
    • Voldemort gives Harry two short ones, first reiterating his power and morality speech from Philosopher's Stone, then on the obvious nature of his attempt to call on Betsy for help, which ends up with Voldemort giving her an aneurysm.
    • Harry gives one to Carol's father when he tries to convince Harry to "put her on the right path". Telepathically. It includes comparisons to the Dursleys and the point that Tony Stark treats his (his amiably dim) robots with more respect than Mr Danvers does his daughter, and that he (Danvers) is pathetic because he doesn't see his daughter for the amazing young woman that she is.
    • Volodya gives Lukin one just before he's executed, meaning that it doubles as a "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner.
    • Maddie gives Lukin one just after having thrashed him and his troops, cutting off his response with a short textbook Shut Up, Hannibal! line.
    • When the Council Elite gathers to discuss the possible threat Harry presents after being the Dark Phoenix, Huginn calls out the other gods on the fact that technically speaking, each of them is even more of a threat to Earth than Harry is, so they have no ground to stand on. Unfortunately, thanks his thick Brooklyn accent, not many of them actually understand him.
    • Harry delivers a short, savage one to Crouch Senior in chapter 28, deconstructing the man and his motives for his Good Is Not Soft persona, describing it as driven by ambition.
    • Strange gives one to the Senior Council (as proxy to the entire White Council) in Chapter 61, calling out how their Head-in-the-Sand Management over the centuries has vastly diminished the Council's potential as an organization. Word of God notes that for Strange, It's Personal, as the Council is both a product of Merlin's work and parades their association with him - something Strange is deeply unimpressed by, given the Council's elitism and isolationist outlook, and the fact that Merlin was the closest thing he had to a big brother.
  • Relationship Upgrade:
    • Harry and Carol finally have theirs in Chapter 46 when she agrees to go to the Yule Ball with him, and gives him The Big Damn Kiss.
    • After Harry arranges for Diana to attend the Yule Ball as Draco's date as a cover story, she and Ginny give admit their feelings for each other publicly and get together.
  • Restart the World: Surtur's plan, which has been delayed for the past million years or so - he intends to reduce the universe to atoms, then rebuild it in his image, because he earnestly believes that it is critically flawed and only he can make it better.
  • The Reveal:
    • Chapter 7 has several. First, Essex/Sinister is working with the Red Room, second, Draco's mental passenger is deeply familiar with the Phoenix and aware of Harry's fragment, third, Sinister was the telepath who kept Harry at Privet Drive, pretending to be the benevolent family doctor that Petunia mentioned back in Child of the Storm, fourth, the girl whose eyes were glowing blue at points in Child of the Storm and in chapter 2 is Maddie Pryor - though Word of God indicated that was a twist here: she's a Composite Character of her canon self and Rachel Grey.
    • Chapter 8 also has a couple: Dudley Dursley is the Blob and working for Sinister and the Red Room and Gambit is also working for them (though not entirely willingly).
    • Chapter 9 has two of them: Maddie Pryor is actual Jean Grey's twin sister Rachel, who supposedly died as a newborn, but was really stolen and raised by Sinister, and Gambit has been working as The Mole inside the Red Room for Natasha.
    • Chapters 19 and 20 have a bucket-load of them:
      • Asgard has had a Phoenix host before, in the form of Princess Sunniva, who became the mother of the Trimurti.
      • Surtur was the original Dark Phoenix, Yggdrasil was created as his prison and the Nine Realms but for Muspelheim and Nifflheim/Helheim were composed of The Alliance against him, and the Odinforce was created to empower someone enough to keep him distracted while everyone else ensured that he was Sealed Evil in a Can. Oh, and Strange remarks that it's Not Me This Time (Surtur being a peripheral threat in his planning) and that the Phoenix/Yggdrasil is probably behind Harry being shaped into someone able to face Surtur and survive.
      • While the X-Gene came from the Celestials' experimentation, humanity's ability to not only survive Super Soldier experiments like the Terrigenesis which produced the Inhumans (and which worked quite literally nowhere else), Project Rebirth and its sequels (e.g. the Hulk project), but thrive thereafter, and ability to successfully breed with so many species, is speculated by Odin and Frigga to be a side-effect of the formation of Yggdrasil, emphasising the Humans Are Survivors aspect.
      • Pursuant to the above, the Fae were once human, or a Human Sub Species, that slipped through into the Nevernever hundreds of thousands of years ago and found that they liked it. It altered them - as Frigga puts it, where humanity as a whole learned to use magic, the Fae (especially the Sidhe) became magic.
      • Doctor Strange reveals his Dark and Troubled Past. His real name is Taliesin, though he was born Gwion ap Gwreang to a nomadic clan of wandering magic users referred to as druids (they kept up druidic traditions), to whom he was better known as Gwion Bach. Yes, that Taliesin. When he was a baby, his clan was raided by Uther Pendragon's forces and his family was slaughtered, and his mother put him in a hastily enchanted basket and set him downstream to save him. He was found by a fisherman who lived in the city of Camelot and who took him in, naming him Taliesin. When he started developing magic, he became errand boy/apprentice to Gaius, Uther's Court Physician, mentored by him and his other student - Merlin - helping them protect the then Prince Arthur, even learning swordsmanship from the Lady Knight and Sir Lancelot. He rose to become Court Physician (and occasional Court Bard) under King Arthur and thrived in Camelot's Golden Age, directly opposing his Evil Counterpart, Mordred. When he was in his thirties, he had trained up successors, and decided to go travelling to learn more and bring back knowledge and glory to make Camelot even greater. When he returned some years later, however, he found he was too late. His King had been killed at Camlann by Mordred, who Strange/Taliesin considered to be his responsibility, along with the best of his knights, Strange's (Taliesin's) friends, Merlin had vanished in despair, and despite his Queen's best efforts, all that they had built was crumbling around them. He had a Rage Against the Heavens moment, at which point the Time Stone responded, altering him: a gift as a Seer became nigh-omniscience, a talent for time magic was made into fully fledged Time Master level abilities, and he became The Ageless. Oh, and he's about 500,000 years old. He stopped counting after he hit 100,000. No wonder he's so broken.
    • Chapter 34 reveals that Gambit is a clone of Scott Summers.
    • In Chapter 62, it turns out that "Adam Black" is none other than Lord Voldemort, and that Merlin is still alive and well.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
    • After being freed of the Red Room, Harry goes Dark Phoenix on them.
    • And during the cleanup from the above, Loki starts hunting down every single Red Room member, from top to bottom. He is assisted in this by Natasha, Bucky, Clint, Skye, and her mysterious protégée "Oracle."
    • Meanwhile, Odin notes that Strange is hunting down the many clones of Sinister.
  • Rogue Protagonist:
  • Running Gag: Several, as one might expect.
    • Jack O'Neill, Four-Star Badass and Deadpan Snarker supreme, keeps trying to be tough and go-getting... and keeps getting upstaged by his mother.
    • Speaking of Alison, ex-spy mistress extraordinaire, her explanation for every bit of meddling/keeping her ear to the ground? "Retirement is boring."
    • Continuing on from Child of the Storm, everyone's automatic response to the younger generation (especially Harry) being corrupted is to blame Tony. It gets to the point where Bucky offers a theory that the Starks are less a family, more an infectious disease.
    • Subverted and then played straight: At first, there's a Mass "Oh, Crap!" when it turns out that Strange is Not So Omniscient After All. But after the He's Back moment in chapter 20, Strange is once more on the ball, to the extent that the first book on Harry's reading list (which Harry gets to right after doing something rather stupidly) is Blood Magic For Morons. Which Strange himself wrote. Oh, and the book is also a Portkey, which transports Harry and Bucky to Carol when she gets kidnapped by the Grey Court.
    • Harry and Carol, if asked, will insist that they are not boyfriend and girlfriend, Just Friends. Literally Everyone Can See It. Even the villains are commenting on it. Harry, being Wiser Than His Years, eventually admits that there is something more than platonic friendship between them (see Courtly Love), as does Carol. While it takes them a while to realise their feelings for each other, though they agree to stay Just Friends for now. But there's still the She Is Not My Girlfriend thing. They eventually get together in chapter 46.
    • Frequently, someone will note that Harry has a plan, and then someone who knows him better (e.g. Carol or Diana) will say something like, "If you'd ever heard one of his plans, you'd know how not reassuring that is."
    • The insane tolerance for weirdness by the Avengers and their associates, particularly Harry, who've Seen It All, is this in its own right. It being contrasted with those who haven't is yet another, particularly when Harry is juxtaposed with someone like Ron, Hermione, or Clark.
  • Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: Maddie and the Red Son, for similar, yet different reasons. Both are incredibly powerful, and incredibly skilled at using their power effectively, but they're also not very good at thinking outside the box, Maddie being chronically Literal-Minded and the Red Son being nigh-robotic, nor are they even remotely skilled at interacting with other people on a normal level.
    • Strange cites the flaws of this approach, when Harry asks him why he didn't just arrange for him [Harry] to be trained into a Living Weapon pointed at Thanos' throat. Essentially, it's hard to be a champion for life if you don't even know to value life in the first place.
  • Sanity Slippage:
    • Both Lukin and Strange throughout the Forever Red arc, for different reasons.
      • Lukin's Mask of Sanity collapses as he goes mad with power, though Maddie's Heel–Face Turn and humiliation of him, followed by the wrath of the Dark Phoenix singlehandedly tearing down everything he's built.
      • Strange is flying blind thanks to Essex being immune to his Sight and is totally obsessed with 'making it right' by undoing his greatest failure - not arriving in time to prevent Essex stealing the newborn Rachel Grey from her crib.
      • The results are, respectively, a frothing maniac who thinks he can take on the universe and a mood-swinging Ambiguously Human Well-Intentioned Extremist fixated on killing Essex.
    • Harry undergoes a slow, steady example, one which culminates in the Trauma Conga Line of the Forever Red arc and, in chapter 14, snapping and becoming the Dark Phoenix. He gets better... eventually. And the mental scars are very apparent.
  • Sanity Strengthening:
    • Harry's Character Development following the Sanity Slippage he underwent during Forever Red is based along these lines, being broadly a Mental Health Recovery Arc. It involves lots of therapy, both supernatural and mundane, and is very much a process rather than a cure.
    • Strange has a kind of psychic tea that's good for curing wounds to the soul, healing the worst of someone's mental trauma. While it works like a charm on Clark Kent, as Strange bitterly laments, it doesn't work on Harry - his Phoenix protection, while it makes him Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth, also burns it straight off.
  • Scientifically Understandable Sorcery: As discussed in the first book, magic is essentially the fifth fundamental force of the universe, and in sufficient quantities, can be used to manipulate the others. It's also open to becoming Sufficiently Analyzed Magic, as both heroes and villains (especially Sinister and Reynolds) demonstrate, with scientific principles being applicable to magic - as, Chaos Magic aside, it has to do business with the laws of physics.
  • The Scourge of God: After Harry is taken by the Red Room and brainwashed, Asgard retaliates by causing all fuel, mineral deposits, and crops in all Russian (and Russian-aligned) territories to degrade and wither, with any imported suffering the same fate. Frigga indicates that they're just getting warmed up.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Yggdrasil was created as the Can to end all Cans, serving simultaneously as a power-source to allow someone to fight Surtur on something approximating the same level (enough to stall him, at least), as a cosmic scale prison to keep Muspelheim locked away, and a complex locking mechanism to keep Surtur trapped in Musphelheim once he's lured there and siphon off his power. The Alliance of Realms were very thorough when they put it together.
  • Sealed in a Person-Shaped Can: Harry's got a fragment of the Phoenix inside him, which is the source of his protection from Voldemort (which Lily bargained for with the Phoenix. Normally, it doesn't do anything except make him untouchable to the likes of Voldemort and burn/terrify evil things. That said, if he's critically wounded or killed, it can and does resurrect him and serve as a conduit for Lily to go full cosmic Mama Bear. In Ghosts, however, it stops being passive when it's revealed that Harry can tap into it, leading to him going full Dark Phoenix at the end of Forever Red.
  • Secret Keeper:
    • Alison has known she's Steve and Peggy's daughter since she was eight years old.
    • It's implied that Lex will become this for Clark, because unlike in canon, Lex won't try to exploit him.
    • Harry deduces Hermione's true parentage (and later confirms it to Carol once she half-deduces it, half picks it up from his mind), but for now, at Wanda's request, he isn't telling her.
    • Harry, Carol, the Avengers, and Alison all know that Bucky is the Winter Soldier who killed Arthur Weasley, but Ron and the other Weasleys are Locked Out of the Loop (for now, anyway).
    • Harry and Carol defy this trope when it comes to the possibility of telling Hagrid about Carol's true ancestry. While his heart of gold has never been in doubt, his secret-keeping skills have been proven to be less than stellar.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: Alison has been one for Clark Kent, since before he even landed on Earth, having been asked by Jor-El, when he was scouting Earth to pick foster parents for his son, to help out if needed. Out of the other four people who knew about Clark, the two most heavily involved in the matter (Fury and Coulson) were unaware that she knew, let alone that she'd manipulated them into Clark's path on the grounds that they'd react positively and protectively towards a small child in need, until she told Coulson.
    • Marie has known about Carol's powers since they came in, since her mother Alison raised her on stories of their family's true heritage, so she knew what to look for.
  • Secret Test of Character: When Carol's muggle friends give Harry a If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her... speech, he tests their resolve to that by conjuring a psychic vision of him in full inhumanly-powerful form to give them a taste of what they'd be dealing with. He's impressed when they're scared but stayed committed.
  • Security Cling: Stevie to his big sister, Carol, during Bloody Hell after they're kidnapped by Grey Court vampires.
  • Sensei for Scoundrels: Bucky becomes a benevolent version to Harry on the grounds that he's pretty much the master spy and Harry needs to learn that he can't simply brute force everything and, since he's a Glass Cannon, how to watch his back. Plus, there's the whole 'coping with being an ex-Red Room Living Weapon' thing.
    • Doctor Strange also becomes one for Harry in chapter 20. How benevolent he is could be up for debate.
  • Sensor Character: Maddie's chief function as Sinister's Hound.
    • Harry later learns to do some of this from her and from Magneto and Strange, who remark that the most important element of mastering one's powers is being able to understand what is being affected by them.
  • Separated by a Common Language: This happens several times with Harry (who's spent most of his life in Britain) and Carol (an American). In chapter 27, he bets Carol five quid that Strange gave him Blood Magic for Morons (which he'd written) as a deliberate remark on the way that he'd told Ron and Hermione about his being the Red Son and Dark Phoenix, which she doesn't take up partially because she isn't sure and partially because she isn't sure what a quid (slang for "pound") is.
    • The second time, in chapter 36, has Carol lampshade this when she borrows Harry's boxers, which he refers to as his "pants." Of course, what the British call pants, Americans call underwear, and what Americans call pants, the British call trousers/jeans/etc. This happens again in chapter 47, at the Yule Ball, when Carol comments that if this relatively innocuous formal occasion descends into chaos, she's going to wish she was wearing pants rather than trying Kicking Ass in All Her Finery. Harry's mind briefly, and predictably, goes somewhere dirty.
  • Separate Scene Story Telling:
    • The second half of Forever Red takes place like this, with the Framing Device of various characters being interviewed by Agent Coulson after the fact to piece together exactly what happened, and multiple Flashbacks.
    • The penultimate chapter of the Bloody Hell arc also works this way, with Harry explaining the circumstances leading up to his being found by the NYPD to Captain Stacy.
  • Shapeshifter Swan Song: When the entity from the Fallen Fortress is pulled out of Hermione, it rapidly shifts through every form it's ever taken to torment people in a desperate attempt to fight back.
  • Shipper on Deck: Thor continues to quietly (and sometimes, not-so-quietly) ship Harry/Carol.
  • Ship Sinking: The author does so in chapter 56 via having Harry act as a Shipping Torpedo to Clark/Lana, without Lana even appearing on-screen. Specifically, Harry points out that Clark's own account, Lana has never demonstrated overt romantic interest in him, has a boyfriend (Whitney) who Clark admits is good to her, which therefore indicates that Clark is Wrong Genre Savvy about their relationship - he sees them as Starcrossed Lovers, when in fact he's more a Dogged Nice Guy who risks breaking Lana's heart by effectively attempting Relationship Sabotage by making her choose between him and Whitney. Seemingly confirming this is the way Clark is rather ashamed when Harry puts it to him like this.
  • Ship Tease: Harry and Carol, pretty much every single time they're both on-screen and a few times when they aren't.
    • Diana is implied to have developed a crush on Ginny after they first meet.
    • Ron and Hermione, as per canon, have Belligerent Sexual Tension up the wazoo.
  • Shirtless Scene: Harry and Uhtred strip to the waist for their sparring match. Carol and Jean-Paul really don't mind. At all.
  • Shock and Awe:
    • Thor, obviously, whipping up multiple lightning storms, to the point where they appear whenever he's particularly angry and Draco notes that you can therefore track him (and something serious) by searching for a sudden and out of place thunderstorm.
    • Magneto is also more than a dab hand at this, being able to brew up a geomagnetic supercell thunderstorm for purposes of generating a colossal EMP.
    • Noriko and Lorna are also capable of this, and help Carol briefly stun Dudley by supercharging her energy-absorbent shield.
    • Harry's developing a certain talent at it, using it against the Elder Wyrm, which is hardly surprising - though he still prefers fire.
    • Maddie favouring a psychic variant of this (among other things, infusing lightning in the Nevernever, where reality is... suggestible), and her strait-laced personality is foreshadowing for a couple of things. First, fitting into the more traditionally heroic side of electrical Personality Powers (rather than being a Psycho Electro) hints at her Heel–Face Turn. Second, it foreshadows her proving Worthy and wielding Mjolnir.
    • Dracula, as King of the Grey Court, is strong enough to challenge Thor in this regard - and combine it with Psychic Powers to help drive New York mad with fear once a black-out is set in motion and shut out the Bifrost. He also later uses it on Bucky and then Harry. The latter retaliates in kind.
    • Several senior Grey Court vampires have a certain grasp of this as well.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: The Forever Red arc is notable for not including the Warriors Three, Huginn and Muninn (until the very end), Darcy, or Sirius Black, all of whom are usually prime sources of comic relief. It is also, not coincidentally, by far the darkest arc in the story yet.
  • Short-Range Guy, Long-Range Guy: Carol's short range, Harry's long range, though they have been known to mix it up.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • Shower of Love: One of the alternate universes Harry glimpses in Chapter 41 shows versions of him and Carol about to engage in this. He immediately switches to another universe, utterly mortified. Nathan, an alternate counterpart of his, finds it hilarious.
  • Shown Their Work: The author is a qualified Historian to Masters level with a very broad general knowledge base (though he admits that the sciences are a bit of a blind spot), a British private school education, an excellent memory and a compulsive need to show off. This was inevitable.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Maddie breaks off Lukin's "The Reason You Suck" Speech by simply telling him that perhaps everything he says is true, but "I am Worthy. And you are not."
    • When Snape tries to taunt Harry about his name being in the Goblet with his 'crossing lines' jibe, Harry snipes back at him. Snape, nerve touched, growls how Harry is just like his father, Harry tells him that yeah, obviously - but more and more, people are telling him that he resembles his mother. When Snape denies it... cue a Psychotic Smirk, and a suggestion that Snape didn't know her as well as he thought he did.
      Harry: In fact... I think that I'm living proof that you didn't.
    • When Syrus starts ranting about how all mortals belong to someone, Carol complains, "would you shut up with your evil hipster riff? It's not cool, it's not edgy, and it's not original." And when Syrus points out that the range of Harry's abilities is severely limited due to his presences as a long-distance Astral Projection, which also leaves him vulnerable to being effectively lobotomised, Harry agrees - but points out that first, Carol is worth every risk, and secondly, yes, his abilities are limited... and Syrus just walked right into his physical reach. Cue Mind Rape.
  • Sidekick Glass Ceiling: Ron, like canon. However, in this case, he's more than willing to just accept sidekick status (after seeing Harry's rampant PTSD), but Harry is determined not to let him get involved at all for that very reason. Since he doesn't have so many qualms about his other friends (Carol, Jean-Paul, Uhtred, and Diana) facing such things, this rankles. However, as Harry points out, he didn't have much choice in including them -they were usually around and/or targeted anyway. Plus, Jean-Paul is terrifyingly powerful, Uhtred and Diana are both teenage gods, one of whom is turning into a serious Flying Brick, while Carol is a combat-hardened Super Soldier who, more to the point, wouldn't put up with any attempt by Harry to keep her out of trouble (and tends to be perfectly able to find it herself).
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man:
    • It's all but stated that this a large part of why Carol loves Harry - he completely respects her and her boundaries, determinedly putting their friendship first. This is all but confirmed by her mother - who happens to be a very sharp observer of people. It's also hinted that Harry is attracted to Carol because she's one of the few people his age who always treated him like a person without any preconceptions in years.
    • Jean Grey finds herself annoyed by Duncan Matthew's Big Man on Campus tendencies, and comparing him unfavourably to Scott.
    • Word of God says that this was the case regarding Alison's late husband. While we don't know much about him, what we do hear is that he was a genuinely sweet guy.
    • Clark is getting to be a bit of a Chick Magnet, in large part because he's one of the nicest characters in the entire story.
  • Skewed Priorities:
    • The Undines in the Of Dungeons and Dragons arc aren't so much bothered by Harry No Selling their mystical song or his threats of what he'll do if they don't behave, but the fact that he insulted their singing. Harry points this out.
    • In chapter 58, Harry himself spends most of the first half being much more concerned about discussing Clark's costume than the villain, who's transformed into a Humanoid Abomination and Walking Wasteland, sitting atop a Mage Tower he created from the remains of his base ( Belle Reve Sanitarium). Since said villain is powerful but not overly competent, spending most of the scene trying to hold his Mage Tower together with Combat Tentacles in the background after Harry almost nonchalantly sliced the top forty feet off, you can sort of see why. It also happens to be a matter of stalling for time, though Clark is still baffled.
  • Skunk Stripe: Harry's kept his. It serves both as a marker of how much he's changed, and a distinguishing feature when it's covering his scar. This becomes important in chapter 39 when Viktor Krum identifies him from memories of the Red Son's attack on the Bulgarian Ministry of Magic, despite a mask and goggles covering other distinguishing features.
  • Sleep Cute: After Harry gives Carol some late night psychic therapy, they fall asleep in her bed, where Natasha finds them the next morning.
  • The Social Darwinist: Dracula takes this view with his minions, having a very low tolerance for incompetence.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Yelena Belova a.k.a. Black Widow II, and Arkady Rossovich, a.k.a. Omega Red. The former disturbs even her teammates and molests Harry, and the latter is so vile that all the other Red Room soldiers find him revolting, Natasha mentioning him as someone who actually got off on killing children.
  • Sophisticated as Hell:
    • The narration, which varies from verbose enough to give Chris Claremont a run for his money, to curt profanity, liberally mixing the two.
    • Alison Carter, who was raised by Peggy Carter, and therefore has a Stiff Upper Lip, Nerves of Steel, and the general manner suited to a member of the English upper class - she's a classic Lady of War. She also peppers her speech with the occasional Precision F-Strike and according to Carol, Alison taught her most of her extensive vocabulary of foul language.
    • Befitting Loki's nephew, Harry can sometimes be quite eloquent and courtly when he puts his mind to it, though he's also often endearingly awkward (especially around Carol), and bluntly refers to Doctor Doom as "a prick."
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside:
    • The series implies on several occasions that Carol was like this, being abrasive, hot-tempered, defensive, touchy, sharp-tongued, and mistrustful. She segues into Jerk with a Heart of Gold around when she meets Harry. While she's a softer touch around him, she's repeatedly described as 'spiky', and with good reason. It transpires that a psychologically abusive father, an initially difficult relationship with her mother, and a fair amount of sexual harassment are to blame.
    • Harry becomes like this after the trauma of the Forever Red arc in the sequel. While he eventually becomes kinder again, he's still covered in mental scars, and a bit grumpier and more cynical than before.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • Harry has a track record of serving as this to the bad guys, but this book explores how the same tendency can screw up the good guys' plans, and even his own. For instance, in Forever Red, the Avengers, Wanda, and Bucky crush the Red Room and rescue Harry... who promptly dives off again in order to save Maddie.
    • When Sinister uses his Trigger Phrase to crush Maddie's independent streak and wipe her memories of what caused it, he clearly didn't count on her touching Mjolnir, which restores those memories, and thus her desire to help Harry.
    • In turn, Maddie's plan to try and free Harry is temporarily derailed when Sinister reassigns her off base and pinches Laevateinn, which is currently holding Harry's mind.
    • Harry, as per usual, serves as one to Dracula's strike team by rescuing Carol and Stevie.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Due to Strange exposing Peabody as the Black Council's mole on the White Council and killing him long before he could carry out the plot of Turn Coat, he can never (directly and indirectly, respectively) cause the deaths of LaFortier and Morgan.
  • Speak Ill of the Dead: Happy at one point reflects on Obadiah Stane as a "traitorous bastard" who wasn't worth the dirt piled on top of his grave.
  • Spear Counterpart: When trying to sum up Jean-Paul to Ron and Hermione, Harry explains that Jean-Paul is essentially a male Natasha with superpowers. Considering that he's a Pretty Boy who thrives on being underestimated via exaggerated and apparently harmless mannerisms, always stands at a bit of a remove, always holding his cards close to his chest, and who happens to be frighteningly ruthless when required to be, it's admitted In-Universe and in Real Life by reviewers to be a pretty apt comparison.
  • Standard '50s Father: Joe Danvers Senior, father of Carol, Stevie, and Joe Junior, is a darker variant on the trope. While he earnestly believes that he's doing what's right and best for them, he psychologically abuses them, trying to force them to be things that they aren't: in Carol's case, a traditionally feminine, more submissive girl, and in Stevie's, a rougher, tougher, jock type boy. In both cases, it leaves them with serious issues. Carol's are with self-esteem, latching onto alternate father figures like her uncle Jack and her great-grandfather Steve, and developing a defensive spiky demeanour. Stevie, meanwhile, just retreated into himself. After his wife and mother-in-law find out that he tried to get Harry to alter Carol's mind, he is swiftly dealt with.
  • The Stations of the Canon: Still follows these, broadly, with the Quidditch World Cup being attended, the Dark Mark being sent up into the sky... except that it's hijacked by a now telepathic Voldemort. The Triwizard Tournament is also occurring as well, though as Word of God indicated, Of Dungeons and Dragons demonstrates that it will be very different from the canon version.
    • Meanwhile, Dead Beat also occurs more or less as per canon, though the situation becomes even more complicated with the additions of Wanda, Voldemort, Selene, and Magneto.
    • Averts this on the relatively minor incident in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, wherein Harry and Draco have a brief duel and Hermione is hit by the deflected curse, causing her front teeth to grow rapidly. Word of God discusses this at the end of the chapter, explaining that it doesn't take place because a) Draco isn't the same as in canon, b) no one else is stupid enough to try and fight Harry or hurt a close friend of his (who would laminate them to a wall in short order), c) this version of Harry's reaction to Snape's petty, nasty canon response of "I see no difference" when he saw Hermione's teeth would be... terminal.
    • The Yule Ball still occurs, with Harry taking a leading role, Snape and Karkaroff having their discussion, and Krum asking out Hermione and Ron's attendant jealousy. However, Harry never asks out Cho or Parvati Patil (being firmly in love with Carol, even if it takes him a while to admit it), and Sean's Reasonable Authority Figure shtick helping Ron to overcome his initial desire to have a row with Hermione.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Harry's learned how to do this from Natasha and Clint, to the point where Carol complains that someone needs to put a bell on him.
    • Dumbledore also pulls one off on Harry's group of friends, which, considering that two of them have excellent psi-senses, is rather an accomplishment.
  • Stealth Pun: Tony and Pepper's daughter is named Ada Maria Potts-Stark. In other words, 'AMPS', as in the measurement of electrical current.
    • On a darker note, Maddie's real name is Rachel Anne Grey, or 'RAG', which fits her background, her mind and any potential independence having been torn to rags by Sinister's control.
    • In chapter 5, Harry and his friends view a museum exhibition including statues of villains the Avengers have faced—a literal Rogues Gallery.
    • The Dark Phoenix utterly curb-stomps the Red Army, who only appear for one scene and are defeated with such ease that they are literally a Red Shirt Army.
  • Stepford Suburbia: Carol remarks that Little Whinging is like this - a "suburban hellhole full of assholes" to be exact.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: Alison "Ali" Carter, even in the middle of a epic battle in a World Gone Mad, never loses her stoic cool.
  • Stop Worshipping Me: Harry's general mentality (and the Asgardian one, come to that). Doctor Strange also notes in passing (when discussing the flexible definition of godhood) that he's been mistaken for a god and worshipped as such on several occasions, which he then went to some effort to discourage - for all his ego he is very firm about that.
  • Storming the Castle:
    • In Chapter 10, the Avengers and a few associated allies assault the Red Room base in the Nevernever in order to rescue Harry and Carol. They get out with one of them. The other, Harry, is turned into the Red Son.
    • In chapter 14, an unlikely group including Harry Dresden (acting as the Winter Emissary), Sir Fix (the Summer Knight), Jono Starsmore, and Maddie Pryor, led by Doctor Strange pulls this - again, on the Red Room - through Faerie, sneaking in the backdoor to get Harry's contained mind. Their exit is a little more spectacular.
    • In chapter 58, Harry sneaks into Belle Reve to rescue Chloe, Lex, and Clark.
  • Story Arc: Unlike the first book, it is separated into several major Story Arcs, with intermediate chapters either dealing with the fallout, building up to the next one, or serving as a buffer between the two.
    • Forever Red: the Red Room (aided by Sinister and Maddie Pryor a.k.a. Rachel Grey) finally make their move, exploiting the Evil Power Vacuum with their secret weapon - the mysterious 'Red Son'. This arc serves as Harry's Darkest Hour, as he is the Red Son. More than that, once he gets his body back, the horror breaks him so utterly that he becomes the Dark Phoenix.
    • Bloody Hell: Dracula, King of the Grey Court, moves to gain a power that would make him and his Court almost invincible - immunity to sunlight. And he needs Super Soldier blood to do it. In the process, he clashes with Harry and Victor Von Doom. At the same time, the events of Dead Beat play out, with Voldemort and Selene Gallio competing for the Word of Kemmler and the chance for ascension.
    • Of Dungeons and Dragons: The First Task of the Triwizard tournament takes place, with Harry's reluctant involvement. It's meant to be a simple Fetch Quest. Harry being Harry, it doesn't turn out that way.
    • Mirror Image: Identical Strangers Harry and Clark meet at last, Harry having been sent (forcibly) by Strange to help Clark with a small problem - he's being drained of his life-force by a Power Parasite.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: Harry when he returns to Hogwarts, after about six months away, thanks to HYDRA's attack on Hogwarts, and the brutal Trauma Conga Line of Forever Red. These events and others mean that even after he recovers from a spectacular case of PTSD, his mentality has entirely shifted, and he's impatient with both the (comparatively normal) childishness of his peers and the comparatively backwards and insular nature of the Wizarding World.
    • It also has the canonical example of Steve Rogers, though rather downplayed since he's had a couple of years to adjust.
  • Stress Vomit: Harry, as part of his Heroic BSoD/My God, What Have I Done? moment in chapter 2, dry heaving even after there's nothing left.
    • Clark Kent later throws up after seeing Harry violently and casually dispose of the ghouls in chapter 57.
  • Stupid Sexy Friend: Harry and Carol, towards each other, much their mutual dismay and everyone else's amusement. Eventually, they get together in chapter 46.
  • Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: The basis of Asgardian civilisation, and, it is hinted, Atlantis too.
    • Mister Ollivander complains that Howard Stark was apparently prone to taking apart captured wands, searching for 'batteries' and 'circuits', things which made them work.
    • Chapter 20 confirms that not only is Asgard this, but so were the other members of the Alliance of Realms. As was Muspelheim, with Surtur mastering it to such an extent that he successfully separated a fragment of the Phoenix from the entity in question, becoming the first Dark Phoenix. He then destroyed a galaxy.
    • Reynolds a.k.a. the Parasite/the Void in the Mirror Image arc uses this to not only drain off power from Clark, but to store it.
  • Super Breeding Program: The Askani are indicated to run a fairly harmless variant in maintaining their bloodlines. They're suggested to have tried to get Charles Xavier, who learned from them, to take part. He firmly disagreed, and states coldly in chapter 38 that their devotion to it was a key reason why he repudiated them.
  • Supering in Your Sleep: Both Harry and Clark do this, usually floating - though in Harry's case, it tends to be conscious, and a sign that his mind is quite literally elsewhere.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: Averted; Strange noted in chapter 80 of the first book that one of his aims in manipulating everyone was to build stronger ties amongst the superhuman community. Examples include Xavier coming to Harry's aid against Dracula, the Avengers and Strange helping the White Council against the Red Court, the Council returning the favour by sending Ebenezar McCoy to help stabilize the damage caused by the Elder Wyrm in chapter 44, and then Strange involves the trope namer by almost literally dropping Harry on Clark at the end of chapter 54 to help him out with the Void/theParasite, with a disguised digital cameo from Bruce Wayne.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: The Winter Soldier persona functions as this to Bucky - it doesn't strictly make him more powerful, but it does make him ruthlessly focused.
    • The Dark Phoenix, and later the Red Son sort of function as this to Harry, but they don't actually have personalities of their own - the former is an exaggeration of his own darker nature (but definitely super-charged), while the latter is more a persona with a more ruthless mentality.
  • Supporting Leader: Steve, serving as the de facto leader of the forces of good - certainly, the one they all tend to turn to - while not being the main protagonist.
    • Bucky during the Bloody Hell arc also serves as this. While Harry and Carol remain the protagonists of their respective chapters, he is the one they turn to for strategic advice.
  • Surprise Jump: Diana, when startled by Dumbledore - it's noted that the entire group jumps a little when he sneaks up on them, but because of Diana's Super Strength and Flight, she ends up jumping about fifteen feet in the air.
  • Sympathetic Magic: This is the speciality of both Harry Dresden and John Constantine. In the latter case, it's unexpected, as Constantine is a Wanded Wizard (a fairly average one), and thaumaturgy is Wandless magic, and few Wanded Wizards have any kind of talent for wandless magic. It's also one of a number of similarities between the two that make Dresden very uneasy.
    • The Grey Court of Vampires are big on this, via drinking blood - if they drink the blood of a superhuman, it gives them a temporary boost. If they conduct a certain ritual, they can gain the additional abilities permanently, which forms the basis of the Bloody Hell arc when Dracula tries to use the ritual to make him, and all other vampires he's sired, immune to daylight.
    • Thor tries to use this by hurling Mjolnir into the Red Room base as it teleports away. While it ends up in a region of the Nevernever that's too unstable to get a clear fix, it does eventually come in handy when the hammer, in Maddie's hands, ends up opening a portal back to Thor.
    • This is used by the antagonist of the Clark mini-arc, Robert Reynolds a.k.a. Rudy Jones, and on a grand scale - sufficient that Harry is sent to deal with it.
  • Take a Third Option: In chapter 16, instead of simply hiding Harry away or preparing for the attack of the Council Elite, Thor's plan is... to grab Strange by the ankles and shake him until all the answers come out, because he'll have a plan, because he's had centuries to prepare and having plans is what Strange does. Hilariously enough, it actually works.
    • This was the Alliance's way of defeating Surtur. They couldn't run away, and couldn't defeat him directly, so they had to trap him. It worked pretty well, all things considered.
    • To grab Carol from inside Avengers Mansion, Dracula notes that he would have to either find a clever way past the threshold, or destroy the building altogether, both of which would be very difficult and time-consuming. Instead, he removes the problem of the threshold by lifting up and moving the entire house with telekinesis.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: How the Forever Red arc ends, with Dark Phoenix!Harry being talked down cumulatively by Thor, Loki, Wanda, Jean, Maddie, and Carol, mainly because he's a Tragic Villain at worst who's mostly just in a spectacular amount of pain and lashing out - as a result, violence isn't going to faze him and, if anything, will just drive him further into darkness. It works.
  • Tap on the Head: Harry (who, being a highly trained martial artist by this point, would know) goes into some detail just how dangerous this is with even ordinary human strength in chapter 55, in the context of how remarkable Clark's control of his powers really is. Not only has he not accidentally reduced his opponents' heads to chunky salsa, but he hasn't done any permanent brain damage.
  • Tangled Family Tree:
    • Adding onto the huge one already established in Child of the Storm, Maddie is revealed to be Jean's long-lost twin sister, rather than her clone, and Lorna is Wanda's half-sister. Oh, and Emma Frost is distantly related to the Malfoy line.
    • In Chapter 50, Harry (who lampshades how complicated his family tree already is) finds out that he's distantly related to the Hindu pantheon (his distant Asgardian ancestor Sunniva being the mother of the Hindu Trimurti), that he has a half-uncle named Vidar (who also happens to be Santa Claus) from a relationship Odin had prior to marrying Frigga, and that he also has a half-sister named Torunn (now long dead and serving as a Valkyrie) from a relationship Thor had with a mortal worshipper a millennium ago. Carol's memorable response to the above revelations is, "I swear, your fucking family..."
  • Team Dad: Bucky serves as this to the younger generation after becoming Harry's bodyguard following Forever Red, keeping them more or less on the straight and narrow - or at least, on the more sensible path. He does, after all, have quite a bit of experience taking care of ridiculously stubborn teenagers with epic amounts of Chronic Hero Syndrome.
  • Tele-Frag:
    • Wanda pulls this on Selene during Bloody Hell. It doesn't do more than slow her down, though it does give the cast a necessary breather.
    • This is how Nexus bombs, mentioned by Alison Carter during Bloody Hell, and used by the dozen in chapter 44 by MI13 against the Elder Wyrm, work. Based on Bifrost tech, they essentially function as teleporters without a fixed destination, reducing everything around them to atoms and spreading them across several thousand miles and multiple dimensions, and while the Elder Wyrm is too large and powerful for them to cripple it, they are one of the few things that genuinely hurt it.
  • Teleportation: Multiple:
    • All adult wanded practitioners, Loki, Wanda, Doctor Strange, and Kurt Wagner a.k.a. Nightcrawler.
    • Strange dials it Up to Eleven when he swipes the Tesseract. He can also apparently Apparate around Hogwarts, which Hermione finds bamboozling and everyone else just accepts as 'Strange being Strange in every possible sense of the phrase.'
  • Tempting Fate: Harry, at the end of the first chapter, when he inwardly believes nothing can go wrong at this point. It promptly gets lampshaded by the Lemony Narrator.
  • Territorial Smurfette: Subverted. A rocky moment or two aside, Carol and Hermione get on like a house on fire, bonding over their amusement at Harry's foibles.
  • Terror Hero: Doctor Strange increasingly leans heavily on his reputation as The Dreaded, one that he can back up at the drop of a hat, terrorising everyone from Sinister to the Council Elite of Skyfathers and Earthmothers. In chapter 62, Wanda theorises that he's doing so because he knows that he's running out of time, so he doesn't have time or patience to play nice or subtly manipulate people.
    • Harry occasionally uses similar tactics, if he feels that other more conventional ones won't work, including against the Council Elite, many of whom hate and fear him because of his potential to become the Dark Phoenix, when he states that if necessary, he would blackmail them into saving Carol with the threat of doing it himself by unleashing the Dark Phoenix.
      "So to my way of thinking, if fear is all that they understand, I might as well use it. It seems to get results.
    • Unusually, related to Harry's example, the downsides of using this approach - especially if it's probably a bluff - on such powerful entities (many of whom are known for their longevity and capacity for holding grudges) are pointed out by Thor and Jesus.
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Evil: Like Child of the Storm, the story has its share of genuinely good characters, as well as characters who fight on the side of the heroes but will not hesitate in doing whatever is necessary to make sure that the world is safe from much worse individuals. Peter Wisdom is a particular example of this.
  • The Three Faces of Adam:
    • Harry is The Hunter - while his Knight In Shining Armour attitudes have developed into something more like those of a Knight in Sour Armour, he's usually the first to strike out on a quest.
    • Thor is The Lord - originally The Hunter himself, fatherhood and the stress of a son with many, many enemies and little or no sense of self-preservation have turned him into this.
    • Odin and Doctor Strange vie for the position of The Prophet - both seek to guide the other two, and everyone else, and protect the world they will leave behind.
  • Thinking Up Portals: Harry learns how to use a Sling Ring to do this by chapter 22.
    • Previously, and on a rather more dramatic scale, Jean ripped one through to the Nevernever - specifically, exactly where Harry was in the Nevernever - a feat explicitly described by Fix, the Summer Knight, as something he would expect from Mab or Titania. This is one of a number of demonstrations of how frighteningly powerful she is.
    • Maddie also creates one, also point to point, via Mjolnir - though this is suggested to have more to do with Mjolnir itself than her.
    • And the Dark Phoenix casually rips one the size of a small mountain - again, exactly where the Red Room base is, this time deep into the Nevernever - open with a mere effort of will.
    • Wanda demonstrates her ability to do this in chapter 44 a couple of times. One example involves teleporting Hermione, Ron, and the Twins from Hogsmeade to right in front of a displeased Professor McGonagall.
  • This Cannot Be!: Sinister, when Maddie reveals he doesn't control her anymore.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: Played With. The original example, the 'Golden Trio' of Harry, Ron, and Hermione, are slowly drifting apart: Harry's got a bad case of Stranger in a Familiar Land (and a worse case of PTSD) following his harrowing experience in Forever Red, and has to deal with keeping secrets first from Ron (about Bucky being the Winter Soldier) and later, Hermione (about Wanda being her mother); Ron is fixated on getting revenge on HYDRA since (he believes) the Winter Soldier is dead and also resenting being Locked Out of the Loop both intentionally and unintentionally by Harry who is growing increasingly secretive; and Hermione is both upset (if less so) about being Locked Out of the Loop and Harry's secretiveness, while struggling to deal with her developing Chaos Magic. However, they are still close and care for each other deeply, with their drifting apart being presented as more a matter of circumstances than something totally natural.
  • Three-Point Landing: Thor's habit of doing this - often at extraordinary speed, resulting in large craters - continues from Child of the Storm.
    • Wanda lampshades that these are terrible on the knees in chapter 44 after watching Harry pull one off, though she shortly after does one herself to protect Hermione and the three youngest Weasley boys from the Elder Wyrm's lava and rock creatures.
  • Title Drop: Harry does this when advising Clark Kent on how he shouldn't run from the truth of his origins for too long, because "the ghosts of the past" have a habit of coming back whether you're ready for them or not.
  • Tongue Trauma: A variation. A pissed off Harry shuts up vampire!Dudley by telekinetically ripping out his voicebox.
  • Too Much for Man to Handle: When a group of seven Askani tried to investigate something that turned out to be Surtur, the original Dark Phoenix, they found this - six of them got near instantly incinerated, and the last of them survived barely long enough to relay a warning before going the same way.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Volodya calls Lukin on this, stating that kidnapping and brainwashing the kid who's both the son of Asgard's Crown Prince and the protégé of the Avengers is probably not the best idea. As it turns out, he's entirely right about this.
  • Took a Level in Cynic: Thor, especially when Strange is around. The latter dryly congratulates him.
    • Though this was implied about Ron in the last book after his father died, it's much more obvious here.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Harry, after the Forever Red arc. This, of course, is due to a fairly severe case of PTSD, but even considering that, he's considerably tetchier than before. It also doesn't help that he's not especially inclined to explain why he's in his current state, or what new things bother him, which means that a considerable portion of the Hogwarts student body lives in mortal fear of pressing his Berserk Button by accident - and even after he calms down somewhat, they're still justifiably wary, while Hermione somewhat bluntly points out that while he's generally considered to be decent, 'nice' went out the window a long time ago.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Steve takes one after the events of the World Cup, where he nearly lost Carol, and came to his senses somewhat about how she was family.
  • Torture Cellar: The Red Room have at least one, of the coldly scientific variety, in which they and Sinister torture Harry. Mind Rape is the option of choice, but not the only one, and it's described as bad enough that it makes Maddie/Rachel, someone with a conscience that could best be described as 'in development' at that point, instinctively want to tear it apart.
    • Loki is implied to have several. No one but him knows where they are or what's in them, and no one but him really wants to, either.
  • To the Pain: When interrogating Sabertooth, Loki threatens to rip out his entire nervous system (except what's necessary to keep him alive) and play it like a harp to the accompaniment of Creed's agonised screams. And when even that isn't enough to get anything from him, Loki whispers something in his ear; whatever he says, it's enough to get Sabertooth singing like a canary.
    • Carol also gives a Grey Court vampire one of these, displaying her Big Sister Instinct. Specifically, she promises Chinese Water Torture - with holy water. For a start.
  • Transflormation: Ollivander notes that this is often the fate of incautious young wand-makers who try to bargain with The Fair Folk for access to the finest trees or to arcane woods.
    • Wanda does this to Selene, though unfortunately, it doesn't stick.
  • Trigger Phrase: Sinister uses one, a quote from T.S. Eliot, in order to enforce his control of Maddie/Rachel when she's slipping free.
    "'Between the idea and the reality, between the motion and the act... lies the Shadow.'"
    • His second one is a quote from The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred Lord Tennyson.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour: Mainly expressed by Harry, following Forever Red (thanks to PTSD, and Maddie/Rachel, though the other non-Hogwarts based younger characters show it as well - for example, being apparently indifferent to serious combat sufficient to mix Casual Danger Dialogue with Flirting Under Fire. It's perfectly normal for them, but the reactions of their peers demonstrate that no, this is definitely not the case.
    • This is used to contrast Clark and Harry, visually, and personality wise. Clark is a relatively normal teenage boy - even his issues are pretty textbook regarding adoption and the usual teenage woes. Harry, on the other hand, is very much not, being physically scarred, much more world-wise, ruthless, and inclined to expect trouble around the corner. Their similarities are also pretty marked, however, and they get along very well, with Harry extending his Big Brother Instinct and the benefit of his experiences to Clark.
  • True Companions: The core group of Harry, Carol, Diana, Uhtred, and Jean-Paul developed into this as result of their previous experiences together in Child of the Storm.
    • The difference in experiences between this group and Harry's Hogwarts friends, specifically Carol and Hermione, is a brief cause of friction as Carol explains fairly gently but quite pointedly that there's a darker side of Harry that Hermione doesn't know about, no matter how well she thinks she knows him. This gets Hermione's hackles up, but when Carol makes it clear that she's not trying to push Hermione away but make her aware of the matter and enlist her help in acting as Harry's occasionally needed Morality Chain/be ready to offer a What the Hell, Hero? speech or emotional support as and when it is required, then gives supporting evidence for what Harry's scarier side is capable of, they understand each other just fine. Draco later expounds on this difference as well to Ron and Hermione.
  • "Uh-Oh" Eyes: Harry's eyes tend to have four rough settings. The basic one is his natural emerald green. Then there's gold and golden-white, which usually means he's doing something big, or winding up to do so. Then there's red-gold or red, which either means that he's possessed by Chthon or that he's the Red Son - both are very, very bad. Then there's incandescent white, generally associated with the smell of wood smoke, which means that his Phoenix fragment is about to emerge and that you should probably run - preferably to another galaxy.
  • Ultimate Job Security: Of a sort. According to Loki, the only reason Fudge is still Minister after everything that happened on his watch is because no one else wants to have to deal with cleaning up his mess or the encroaching power of MI13 - specifically, with Wisdom, who considers watching Fudge squirm to be one of his few pleasures in life and terrifies more or less the entire Wizarding establishment (which, considering what the man is capable of is a pretty rational reaction). While the Avengers note that Crouch Sr might be willing to do so, they also note that Thor's grudge against him is well-known (what with Thor pulling a Neck Lift on him back in Book 1 for throwing Sirius in Azkaban without a trial), and the Ministry doesn't need more enemies.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Sinister, after Wanda melted him. Cloning is revealed to be involved.
  • The Unfettered: Peter Wisdom, who is pretty much Fury dialled Up to Eleven, and infinitely more ruthless. His sole drive is to protect his country, by any means possible and necessary. Morality comes a very, very distant second.
    • This is what scares the White Council about Doctor Strange: The Laws of Magic exist to limit power, to ensure that no wizard goes too far in accumulating personal power and becoming evil. Strange, however, absolutely smashes the Sixth Law (no time travel) to pieces, isn't too concerned about any of the others, and in general operates alone, gathering every possible advantage to himself while making all the other characters dance on his strings. While it's somewhat justified given his mission and backstory, they do have something of a point.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Gambit's tendencies towards this make it hard, at first, to figure out what he's actually up to.
    • For once, averted with Strange (who never lies, but has a talent with Exact Words that the Fae would envy) in chapter 20. Probably.
  • Unwilling Roboticization: Harry is on the receiving end, via Sinister's version of the Techno-Organic Transmode Virus, that turns organic material to living metal, which canonically infected Cable. Thankfully, a monstrous EMP from Magneto and Wanda nuking the remains stops it before it goes too far. Harry in Dark Phoenix state regenerates himself back to human state
  • UST: Going by the number of related entries on this page, is it really that hard to guess who? (It's Harry and Carol). The UST is finally resolved in chapter 46.
  • Vampiric Draining: Voldemort seems to have learned how to do this to anyone and everyone from Selene.
    • Omega Red also uses this trick, through his tentacles.
    • Dracula's plan in Bloody Hell revolves around a ritualised version of this - vampires gain power (and sometimes, powers) when they drain powerful people/beings, but it always fades eventually. The ritual, more along the lines of a Magitek transfusion, makes the empowerment permanent, and is speculated to be how the Grey Court (Dracula's Court) got their more unusual powers, like weather manipulation and turning to mist. In this case, he wants Carol's Super Soldier blood, on the grounds that it will quite probably make him and his Court immune to sunlight, one of their key weaknesses.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: A central theme in the story.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Chloe Sullivan, though relatively petite, successfully exploits this in chapter 57 to hide the notes she'd torn out of Reynolds' diary about his experiments in dark magic, particularly relating to Clark. Justified both because it's only a couple of dozen small sheets of paper, and because Reynolds is far too arrogant (and deranged) to believe that she could have outsmarted him, so he doesn't order a full search - and his guards aren't picked for their ability to take the initiative. Since this is vital information, and she held up under torture, it fully merits Harry's stunned response.
    Harry: Chloe Sullivan, you are a bloody marvel.
  • Victory by Endurance: Harry and Clark beat Reynolds in chapter 58 by steadily wearing him down, combining dodging with what are often, in Harry's case, with some truly brutal attacks that severely tax Reynolds' extremely powerful Healing Factor, and denying him the chance to recharge.
  • Villainous Breakdown: When the Red Room is finally taken down, Lukin is noted as looking like he's ready to descend into "gibbering denial". Or at least, insofar as that is possible, since the Dark Phoenix melted his mouth shut.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left:
    • Voldemort flees from the World Cup as soon as he learns everything he can from his fight with Harry, Crouch too.
    • When the Avengers and their allies manage to storm and easily overwhelm the Red Room base in Chapter 10, Sinister triggers a transportation system to move most of the facility to another location. Maddie makes sure to prevent them from pulling this again with a lightning strike.
    • The Beast, aka Dudley, pulls this as soon as the Dark Phoenix appears, and as a result isn't killed by him...he's instead captured by Voldemort, who in turn gives him to Dracula to be turned.
    • Dracula pulls a Screw This, I'm Outta Here! when Thor, Loki, and the Hulk show up, itching for a fight—or, more accurately, to smash him into the bedrock.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend:
    • Wanda twice saves Harry Dresden's bacon during Bloody Hell; first from her father when he's momentarily blinded by rage, the second time from Voldemort, who'd decided to stop toying with him and just go for the kill.
    • While they aren't dating (yet) Carol's response to hearing about how Yelena Belova molested Red Son!Harry is to say in an eerily calm voice, "I am going to tear that fucking bitch limb from limb." The only reason she doesn't immediately try to follow through is that because she's already suffering Dream's vengeance, which even Loki mid Roaring Rampage of Revenge thought he couldn't improve upon.
      • Gender Flipped in Bloody Hell, when Harry goes to insane lengths to protect Carol, nearly getting his mind destroyed (once), and his body too (three times: two rounds with Dracula, the second time a mere couple of hours after the first, in which he was pummelled, electrocuted, and Impaled with Extreme Prejudice with his own sword, being nearly beaten to death in the second round, and then donating enough blood to keep a partially drained Carol alive). All this while slaughtering his way through the Grey Court of Vampires, including Dudley, his own - turned - cousin. And this would all have been a mere prelude if she'd actually died, as his back-up plan in such a scenario would have been to threaten the Council Elite of Skyfathers into resurrecting her, because if they didn't, he would, becoming the Dark Phoenix in the process.
  • Vision Quest: Harry is given one when he takes the royal family's traditional visit to the Norns (essentially designed to make sure that future potential Kings/Queens aren't crazy), where he's shown glimpses of the ancient past, things of importance happening in the present, and potential future events. Considering how many visions he's seen already, he considers it to be a waste of time, pointing out how flawed it is, since the visions take place when the royal in question is relatively young - though still usually at least a century older than Harry - and often millennia before they might take the throne, suggesting that it's merely something to reassure the Council Elite (and Frigga admits that he's right). As it is, however, the visions turn out to be much more useful than previously imagined.
  • Waif Prophet: Ruth, a twelve year old girl whose psychic powers manifested just as Harry got into his psychic duel with Maddie, was driven somewhat mad from the fallout (though as Strange notes, she's still unusually lucid considering the circumstances) and became this trope.
  • Wall Glower: Ron during the Yule Ball. Not only that, but it's worse than canon on the grounds that he doesn't have a date since Harry asked Carol, rather than Parvati, and therefore didn't ask Padma for Ron, and as canon, Ron didn't ask Hermione in time. He didn't even notice that Ron didn't have a date at all, since he was head over heels in love and consequently oblivious (which he later apologises for). The fact that he didn't tell Ron that he arranged for Diana to come to the Ball, nominally as Draco's partner, practically as Ginny's, being a Shipper on Deck does not help. Cue a very bad-tempered Ron sulking in the corner, though he's about to get up and pick a fight with someone - probably Hermione - when Sean Cassidy notices and cheerfully-yet-forcibly sits him back down again and has a sympathetic and pointed chat with him that a) cheers him up a bit, b) gets him to go and socialise a bit.
  • We Can Rule Together: The Elder Wyrm, speaking on behalf of Surtur, offers Harry a chance to join their cause. Harry responds by spelling out exactly why that's not going to happen, before killing the dragon.
    • Surtur later makes this offer directly. Harry, again, laughs in his face.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Wisdom. Thor notes that while he sympathises with Wisdom's goals, the sheer scale of his ambition and his frequently vicious methods unsettle him.
    • Strange during the Forever Red arc becomes this in spades. He will stop at nothing to 'make it right' and rescue Maddie.
  • What If God Was One of Us?: Throughout the book, Harry drifts from The Self-Denouncer to a mixture of The Saviour and The Reluctant Messiah. That is to say, he believes that With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility, but doesn't like that he's the one shoved into this particular role, and really, really does not like being worshipped.
  • What the Hell Are You?: Dracula asks this of Harry after smelling the Phoenix in his blood.
    Harry: Tell you what, I'll make you a deal: when I figure it out, I'll let you know. But only if you ask nicely.
  • Wham Episode: Has its own page.
  • Wham Line: Captain Luccio gives a numb, stunned one in chapter 29 after Strange's cloak and the Eye of Agamotto appear on Wanda.
    Luccio: The Sorcerer Supreme is dead. Long live the Sorceress Supreme.
    • The introduction of a certain Badass in a Nice Suit during chapter 33:
      "I am known as Victor von Doom. Doctor Victor von Doom."
    • The very last line of Chapter 34, delivered to Gambit:
      Jean: Your brother, is Scott Summers.
  • Wham Shot: At the end of Chapter 29, on the stroke of midnight, Harry wakes up, eyes blazing white and the smell of woodsmoke around him, both being indicators that the Dark Phoenix is on the point of emerging.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Hermione is beyond enraged when she learns that Wanda is her birth mother, and that Harry knew about it for months yet didn't tell her. Ron is likewise angry on her behalf, due to festering frustration over Harry keeping secrets from him in general.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Harry's refusal to give in to the temptation to use the Phoenix fragment/become the Dark Phoenix to rescue Carol during Bloody Hell is cited as this. It's considered particularly remarkable, as it came despite extreme provocation ( Carol's kidnap and intended fate, and a vampiric Blob!Dudley, who Harry had previously spared turning up and ripping out Uhtred's eye, almost draining him to death, before gloating about it to Harry's face... and that's just the start), and desperate circumstances, including being hideously out-gunned and a brutal beatdown at the hands of Dracula.
  • Who You Gonna Call?: This happens a lot, with varying groups/individuals for varying circumstances. The Avengers, for generalised superhuman disasters, Harry Dresden for more localised magical mayhem, Wanda Maximoff and Doctor Strange (who, admittedly, tends to turn up on his own schedule) for grander scale magical mayhem (especially if it involves incursions from beyond reality), and Charles Xavier for all things psychic (and, as a Running Gag, when someone needs therapy).
  • Wicked Cultured: Sinister, who affects the manners of an English gentleman, is noted as being well-dressed, and culls classic poetry for trigger phrases.
    • Dracula also indulges in this, maintaining the aesthetics and demeanour of a nobleman (including a number of fine houses).
  • Will They or Won't They?: Harry and Carol. While they settle on 'won't' for the time being, sticking with being Just Friends, it's very clear that that isn't even close to the end of it. Chapter 35 has them admit their feelings, for instance, but also acknowledge that neither of them is ready to date yet. In chapter 46, they finally get a Relationship Upgrade, sealing it with a kiss.
  • With Great Power: Harry and Jean-Paul are both proponents of this trope. Jean-Paul lists this as one of the reasons he checks in on Clark (who also tries to live up to this), and this is part of the reason the former is hit so badly by the events of the World Cup and then the Forever Red arc.
    • Peter Parker, of course, alludes to it.
    • Jesus reminds Harry of this trope in chapter 35, noting that if he were to get into a fight with the Council Elite, it would be the innocents who would suffer most.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: An odd example with Phoenix fire. It doesn't strictly cause insanity in the first place, but it is insanely volatile, and is both fuelled by emotions, and fuels emotions in turn. In other words, if you're off-balance when you tap into it, it will not only ensure that you stay that way, but you swiftly spiral down into Omnicidal Maniac levels of insanity, getting more and more powerful as time goes by.
  • Wizards from Outer Space: After spending the first book and a half hinting that there's something a bit strange about Asgardians as compared to the other Earth-based pantheons, it is finally revealed that they started out as this trope. About a million years ago, they were a phenomenally advanced Magitek based space-faring empire. Ditto Jotunheim, Vanaheim, Alfheim, Svartalfheim, and Nidavaellir. They all ended up squaring off against Muspelheim, an even more absurdly advanced Magitek empire, ruled by Surtur, a Well-Intentioned Extremist who wanted to destroy what he felt was an irredeemably flawed universe and replace it with a better designed one. And since he was the Dark Phoenix, having used dark magic to sever a fragment of Phoenix fire, he was more than capable of it. One long and hideously violent war later, Surtur was defeated, and Yggdrasil was created to hold him, and empower the Alliance that had fought against him. This resulted in every world involved save Earth/Midgard being transported to another dimension, as well as the Jotuns becoming Frost Giants, Dvergar becoming Dwarves, Alfar and Svartalfar becoming immortal Elves, and the Aesir and Vanir becoming Gods.
  • Worf Effect: The Red Army - an army of hundreds of clones of the Winter Soldier, Natasha, Steve, Harry, and Maddie, all of whom are in Super Soldier bodies, and have the power sets of the originals, giving the reason for Lukin's apparently baseless confidence. However, they're more like a Red Shirt Army, as they're up against the Dark Phoenix, and their obliteration is just an Offscreen Moment of Awesome - though it's also hinted that, like the Red Son, their lack of actual minds of their own crippled their psychic abilities (which is how Xavier was comfortably able to to subdue the Red Son, whereas Harry was capable of keeping Maddie - who was far more skilled, experienced, and stronger than him - at arms' length for a significant length of time.
    • Proving just how very, very powerful he is, Dracula survives taking a shot from Bucky, and after being attacked by a Cerebro-enhanced Xavier, is able to defeat the mortal psychic in a telepathic duel, before laying down a Curb-Stomp Battle on Harry.
    • "The Welshman" gets this as well—while he hasn't been seen onscreen, it's stated that he's why Dracula stays out of Britain, and that he ate one of Voldemort's giants. Given just how dangerous Dracula has been shown to be (see above), this speaks volumes.
  • World Gone Mad: As a side effect of the intensity of Harry and Maddie's psychic duel, the region of the Nevernever they're in stops resembling anything remotely like reality.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Red Room in general, Omega Red in particular. According to Natasha, he got off on it, and in chapter 12 he looks like he enjoyed draining Harry. The rest of the Red Room despise him as a result.
    • Uther Pendragon is also mentioned as having been this trope.
    • Harry mentions that Syrus has done some very nasty things to children, though thankfully he doesn't elaborate, other than to darkly remark that the threat of turning a finger bone into a toothpick is one he's carried out before - and on a smaller child than Stevie.
  • The Wonka: Several examples.
    • Dumbledore is more or less as canon, in that he's a complete oddball who gleefully takes the opportunity given by a massive food fight to stealthily drown a visiting Cornelius Fudge in a tidal wave of jam. He is nevertheless a very important figure in wanded magical society, and a widely respected figure in the supernatural world as a whole - partly because some of the silliness is put on or exaggerated for effect, partly because holy hell, you do not want to cross him.
    • Tony Stark, again, as per canon, qualifies both as this and as the Bunny-Ears Lawyer (in terms of his membership of the Avengers) - he's definitely a bit weird (frankly, more than a bit) but he's utterly brilliant, and a scarily adept pilot of his suits who can fly rings about any would-be rivals.
    • Doctor Strange is generally agreed to be at least half mad, and that's on a good day. He's perfectly aware of it and revels in his weirdness, if only because it's all that stops him from completely breaking down. He's also until he abdicates the title in chapter 29 of the second book, faking his death in the process the Sorcerer Supreme, Earth's leading magical defender, and de facto leader of the heroes when he actually involves himself, because he's an extremely powerful seer and masterful manipulator who's got the road-map to victory in his head. Even once he abdicates his position, he still has almost half a million years' worth of experience. While several characters are stated to equal or even exceed his power level, none can match his skill levels.
  • Wowing Cthulhu:
    • Dumbledore stares down in-universe Memetic Badass Stephen Strange and threatens him if he ever uses any of the students to "make a point" again. Instead of responding with Cool and Unusual Punishment as he would usually do, Strange nods respectfully and takes it onboard.
    • Similarly, Mab shows him a certain amount of respect, which is no small feat given that she's a Queen of Faerie and Physical God.
    • In the backstory, Surtur was able to do this to the Phoenix. When he summoned Her, legend notes that he immediately broke the binding circle, stating that he only wanted a chance to speak, not to bind Her. She was touched, and agreed to make him a host. This... didn't work out so well.
  • Wreathed in Flames: Harry, when in the middle of a fight and/or in a really bad mood.
    • A trademark of the Phoenix and Her hosts. When Harry goes Dark Phoenix, even in a passive state, he's hot enough to burn Thor - who's walked on stars.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    • Harry at first sees himself as the Knight in Shining Armor who will rescue Maddie from her imprisonment, even if it's by persuading her to rescue herself. One Trauma Conga Line and a Heel–Face Turn later, she ends up saving him.
    • The Avengers at first think that Strange, who's so far been The Omniscient, allowed Rachel Grey's kidnap by Sinister, so that she could be trained by him before being redeemed by Harry, which would result in a very grateful and very powerful asset with skills in the psychic dark arts that Xavier would never teach. While this fits his mode of operations, they realise that the fact they even saw it means that the much more likely and much more frightening prospect is that he made a mistake.
    • Everyone is quick to assume that Maddie is Jean's clone, which is understandable, given the circumstances. However, they're all way off.
    • Clark thinks he's Starcrossed Lovers with Lana Lang, the nice guy protagonist who will eventually win out in the Love Triangle (though he admits that whatever issues he has with Whitney, Whitney's good to Lana). Harry points out that actually, he's behaving more like the selfish jerk who's trying to force Lana (who's never shown any clear romantic interest in Clark, by his own acknowledgement) to choose between two guys she cares for - which, as he points out, is not the sort of person Clark is. Clark, being a genuine Nice Guy, is embarrassed and ashamed when he realises it.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Doctor Strange, as per usual... except for around Forever Red, when circumstances force him to increasingly make things up on the fly - itself a sign that something is very, very wrong.
    • Harry develops something of a knack of mixing this with Xanatos Speed Chess, especially after Forever Red when he actually stops to think and his Spanner in the Works tendencies are no longer holing his own plans below the waterline.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Harry, in the first half of the Forever Red arc, rapidly adjusts and readjusts his plans for escape in this fashion. It works... right up until he screws it up.
    • Doctor Strange is forced into this when going up against Essex, who's hidden from his Sight, and does fairly well, all things considered.
    • Harry and Bucky both prove their skills at this during Bloody Hell as they face off with Dracula, with Harry pulling a finely executed Kansas City Shuffle (at the second time of asking).
  • You Are Too Late: Doctor Strange, disturbingly. For a man who makes a habit of being in exactly the right place at exactly the right time, whose mystique is based on his arranging things down to the last second, it is extremely jarring to find out that he was this at a certain time in chapter 9 of Ghosts, arriving too late to prevent Sinister from stealing Rachel Grey/Maddie Pryor. The point is underlined by the fact that not only was he caught off-guard, he was seen being so. Partially ameliorated by the fact that he managed to prevent Sinister from stealing Jean too, but only partially.
    • It turns out that he was too late once before, to stop Mordred from killing Arthur. This failure has haunted him ever since.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!:
    • Wanda's reaction to finding out that Lorna is her half-sister.
    • Carol has this reaction when she meets Jesus.
    • Harry, when he learns that Odin is the originator of the whole concept of Santa Claus.
  • Younger Than They Look: Harry looks, and acts, closer to 18 than 14 after his experiences with the Red Room. It's one of the things that makes him rather unsettling for his peers to be around.
  • Your Worst Nightmare: The entity haunting the Fallen Fortress in the Forbidden Forest torments people with visions of their worst fears and greatest traumas.
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