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  • Abandon Shipping: By Book 2, now that Bucky's been freed from HYDRA, Natasha/Clint, formerly fairly well-regarded by the fandom, pretty much disappeared in favour of Natasha/Bucky. It's heavily implied that at least part of the reason that she fancied Clint in the first place was an unconscious case of Like Father, Like Son (she Has a Type and they're very much alike).
  • Adorkable: Many characters, including but not limited to:
    • Harry Potter/Thorson tends to be this way (whenever he's in one of his better moods), wondering at the mystery and awe of the universe and tripping on his words when around Carol. What else do you call someone whose not very discreet Love Confession is "As you wish"?
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    • Carol gets nearly as bad as Harry during the Yule Ball.
    • Peter Parker, as per canon, is an absolutely adorable nerd, with his verbal and mental babble having to be seen to be believed.
    • Clark Kent, similarly, is a total sweetheart (as long as you don't make him angry).
    • As per canon, Coulson is very proud of his Captain America trading cards, and he calls his much-loved car 'Lola'.
    • Chloe very much so, dubious fashion choices, caffeine addiction, and all. Not for nothing does Harry compare her to Willow.
    • Uhtred after some of the formality rubs away - of note is the episode in chapter 22 of Ghosts when he and Diana have tracked Harry down to a Transfiguration classroom in Hogwarts and, held up by the scruff of his neck by Diana, he's just rattled on the window and happily bellowed, "Found you!" Harry promptly introduces his head to his desk.
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    • Once upon a time, it's hinted that Nick Fury, who used to read bedtime stories to baby Harry (and was particularly good with the voices), was this. Unfortunately, that was a long time ago.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Very easy to make - in fact, the story seems to thrive on the potential ambiguity.
    • Is Nick Fury a well intentioned but necessarily ruthless Anti-Hero dedicated to the protection of humanity from the monsters in the dark, or is he a vindictive sociopath hell-bent on abusing his position to exact revenge on those who have wronged him and those he cares for no matter whether or not they've given up their past villainy?
      • And in the same vein, is Peter Wisdom a.k.a. Regulus Black much the same in terms of being dedicated to protecting humanity from the monsters in the dark, and wanting to level the playing field with the supernatural powers who've been swaggering around with relative impunity for millennia, or is he a half-crazed power hungry Manipulative Bastard and an obsessive Hunter of His Own Kind dedicated to forcibly taking control of the Wizarding World and bringing it to heel?
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    • Is Baron Zemo really a polite, if cool, gentleman with a genuine respect for his opponents, Undying Loyalty to HYDRA itself and a genuine conviction in its Social Darwinist beliefs, or simply The Sociopath, a Blood Knight intent on nothing more than testing his skills against the very best who has deemed HYDRA to be a useful means through which to do so?
    • Is Sean Cassidy really a fairly happy go lucky fellow, determined to be cheerful despite it all, and a good mentor, or is that simply a mask for a cold, Revenge obsessed master spy and assassin?
    • Was Alexander Pierce unaware of the Shadow Initiative? Or did he know about it (or just know Fury well enough to suspect he had a backup plan, even if he didn't know the details), and intended to use it to further cement his own position with SHIELD? His brief conversation with Lucius implies the latter, but it's unclear.
    • Is Harry a remarkably well-adjusted, mature, if snarky kid (considering the Avengers, the latter is inevitable), with the potential to be his generation's Captain America? Or is he a Shell-Shocked Veteran whose snark is a defence mechanism, a de facto Child Soldier with a Hair-Trigger Temper used to using intimidation to get his way, who is slowly developing into a Dark Messiah on par with or beyond Magneto himself - or, as the Dark Phoenix, much, much worse? The answer, as Doctor Strange remarks in chapter 75 of the first book, is that he could quite easily become either depending on the choices he makes. One way he could become a great hero, the other way he could become 'the thing men fear', and he spends most of Ghosts struggling with walking the line between the two.
    • Is Doctor Strange a benevolent Deadpan Snarker and Big Good for the universe who works tirelessly to ensure that the good guys get through largely unscathed and deeply regrets the sacrifices he must make, or is he a spectacularly ruthless Manipulative Bastard running a Xanatos Gambit of unimaginable scale, whose benevolent façade falls away when it is not needed, trades on his cultivated reputation for never lying to ensure that people do what he needs them to, turns children and adults alike into his weapons in ways so subtle that they don't even notice and is entirely willing to sacrifice thousands of good people through action or inaction in order to sharpen his tools for a future battle and bring about his vision of a better future?
      • Chapter 80 reveals the answer: Both. While, yes, he could have just saved the day by revealing everything he knew, it would have resulted in potentially worse results, and none of the friendships and good ties made due to the fight against HYDRA would have happened. He regrets that so many people died, and wishes he could have done otherwise, but had he prevented the deaths of today he would have been unable to stop the disasters of the future.
    • Are Dracula's Pet the Dog moments out of a genuine sense of compassion for his fellow Grey Court vampires? Or is it just more of his Pragmatic Villainy at work, given that the Grey Court is most likely pretty small, and probably can't afford to waste powerful minions? The Phoenix all but destroyed the Grey Court just 110 years before (not very long in immortal terms), and the publication of Dracula and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (despite the former being more dangerous to the Black Court) can't have helped matters any.
    • On a lighter note: Is Clark indulging in It's All About Me by viewing himself as the loser in a romantic competition over Lana, who hasn't shown any real sign of romantic interest in him, and Harry's What the Hell, Hero? comments understandable in that he's seen a scenario much like this in the Ron-Hermione-Krum triangle? Or are his actions and feelings understandable, while Harry's What the Hell, Hero? is Unintentionally Unsympathetic due to the fact that this is not the same, and separately, neither he nor Carol was ever interested in anyone else?
    • Marie Danvers, even after her Hidden Depths emerge in Book 2. Is she a good mother who loves her children deeply, attempts to ameliorate the worst of her husband's psychological abuses, and is deeply protective of them? Or is she, despite her protestations to the contrary, still guilty of letting the abuse go on for years until Joe crossed a line she couldn't ignore?
  • Angst? What Angst?: Harry, at first. See Unfazed Everyman. However, it's later revealed to be more than it seems, and he has to confront his issues.
    • After unlocking his Red Son memories, Harry at first seems mostly unfazed, having done it offscreen and mentioning it casually to Carol four chapters later. While there is some angst over having been essentially raped by Belova, it seems like just one more thing. It's implied that at this point, it hadn't properly hit him yet - when it does, in chapter 60, the meltdown is epic.
  • Archive Panic: The first book is 80 chapters and over 800k words long. The sequel is nearly 900k words long after 60 chapters and still going. As intimidating as it sounds, the fic is definitely worth the read.
  • Audience Awareness Advantage:
    • In-universe, a lot of characters dislike Strange because of his Magnificent Bastard tendencies and seeming inability to give a straight answer to anything. The White Council especially has a problem with him, as they are The Fettered for very good reason and he's practically the definition of The Unfettered. However, for those who know of his Dark and Troubled Past backstory, and for the audience who know how dangerous versions of Thanos in other media have been, a lot of what he does is much more understandable. That being said, he can still come across as an Invincible Hero.
    • This is also touched in by the author in the A/N for chapter 64 of Ghosts, when discussing why Harry's worst fear manifested mainly as the Dark Phoenix (in between a manipulative, evil version of himself, among others), rather than as a Red Son style cold-blooded killer/uncaring manipulator in the style of Strange at his worst. Both are more likely, more subtle, and creepier. The explanation is that the creator of these fears is mainly Monster of the Week material and not really wired up to get such subtle fears (or through Harry's formidable psychic defences and mental scarring). Moreover, the Dark Phoenix is a very real possibility, one he's already experienced, whereas the other possibilities are far vaguer and more theoretical to him - for starters, his problem is usually caring too much.
  • Author's Saving Throw: In the first book, Snape was usually the Butt-Monkey that everyone picked on and insulted. While he's still not viewed as a positive character in the second book, nor is he the target of everyone's jokes and insults either.
    • The Mirror arc of Ghosts had Harry and Strange give Clark some very, very blunt relationship advice, which came off to the point of being Unintentionally Unsympathetic for some readers. Chapter 71 has Harry, Carol, and Clark talk about relationships again, but in a much gentler and more sympathetic way.
  • Base-Breaking Character: For some readers, Doctor Strange is an Ensemble Dark Horse due to his Magnificent Bastard tendencies and managing to be one step ahead of everyone (Sinister and his mysterious backer, and possibly Thanos - given that he couldn't save Krypton from him, despite knowing what would happen - aside. And even then, he gets the better of Sinister in the end). However, that fact does make him a risk of being an Invincible Hero. It would seem that no matter how powerful a character is they tend to act submissive towards him and he always gets the last word whenever someone disagrees with him. Also, his constant involvement within the series do tend to lessen the stakes for the protagonists if there isn't a villain powerful enough to challenge him.
    • This is partially mitigated by his apparent invincibility and infallibility is revealed to be part of a carefully constructed reputation (which spells utter disaster the one time he fails to live up to it). Even though he usually gets the last word, his snappy remarks tend to inspire justified anger and resentment in those on the receiving end, to the point where he is broadly characterised as The Friend Nobody Likes (even if they do sympathise with him, a little) by the sequel, which also shows more of the man behind the myth. Additionally, it's noted that he is harsher than is probably deserved on the White Council, due to their leaders taking on the name of a man who's the closest thing he has to a big brother. Nimue also wounds him on a personal level in Unfinished Business, again showing he's Not So Above It All. However, it is possibly out of recognition of these criticisms that his long-hinted at death is implied to be coming at the end of the second book.
    • Harry Thorson in the second book. Is his refusal to let Ron and Hermione in on his secrets a justified case of trying to stop his oldest friends from developing horrible mental and emotional scars, and keeping the secret of Bucky's identity from Ron in particular because he's certain that it will go badly if/when Ron finds out? Or is it him being a manipulative jerk who has appointed himself the keeper of secrets, whose arguments ring hollow in light of how pretty much all his other friends are also involved in his crazy life, and that he usually doesn't try to keep secrets from any of them? Judging by the reviews, there's a lot of debate and mixed feelings about this question.
  • Captain Obvious Reveal: After most fans had guessed that Draco Malfoy's mental passenger was Prospero Slytherin, Nimbus flat-out reveals it in chapter 47 of Ghosts.
  • Catharsis Factor: Seeing Merlin No-Sell, Docter Strange's Death Glare, and causing Strange to stand down can be this for those who tire of him bullying anyone who'd cross him with little to no consequence.
  • Complete Monster: Gravemoss was banished from Aflheim around 500 CE for practicing necromancy, and in the present aims to rule over a universe of the dead. To this end, he works with HYDRA and the Death Eaters to acquire the Darkhold, the ultimate book of dark magic. He kidnaps people and turns them into veidrdraugr, incredibly fast and powerful zombies whom he tests out by having them eat a baby—alive. Later that night, they come across a young family in a car, who are consequently ripped to shreds. Even Lucius Malfoy is disgusted. Throughout the first book, he does things such as harness Dementors to his will—they they won't feed on him because his memories are too vile—and unleash several on a cancer ward for fun; "experiment" on unfortunate HYDRA minions by turning them inside out and letting them be digested by their own stomach acid; and kidnap four hundred homeless people and turn them into more veidrdraugr. Even Bob the Skull, an amoral spirit who freely admits to not even understanding "good" and "evil", is more terrified of him than by actual Fallen Angels, and the Winter Soldier thinks that mercy killing someone is better than giving them to Gravemoss.
  • Crack Pairing: Previously, Wanda Maximoff/John Constantine. Now, Wanda/Harry Dresden.
    • Fandral/Betsy Braddock.
    • JARVIS is apparently dating The Hogwarts Castle.
    • Loki's old flame was the Queen - yes, that Queen. He calls her Lizzie. She was also pretty displeased with Loki's "Puny Earthlings" phase.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: In Chapter 17, Thor proclaims (on Harry spending an instructive half an hour getting The Talk from Tony and Darcy) that Lily will probably return from beyond the grave to strangle him for this. Cue Loki conjuring an illusion of an infuriated Lily. Thankfully, Thor takes it pretty well.
  • Crossover Ship: It's revealed that McGonagall was the fiancee of Bucky Barnes. It becomes more meaningful when it's revealed that she was pregnant when he "died," and reveals that Hawkeye is her grandson. Meaning that Clint is the grandson of one of the most powerful witches alive and the Winter Soldier, the world's most notorious assassin.
    • We've also seen the early stages of Lex Luthor/Susan Storm.
    • Previously, there's been Wanda Maximoff/John Constantine.
    • And hints of, of all things, Harry Dresden/Jemma Simmons.
      • Which has since evolved into Harry Dresden/Wanda Maximoff.
    • There is persistent Ship Tease of Carol Danvers/Harry Potter, with Word of God being rather enigmatic when asked about it - though the general consensus is that it is less a matter of 'if' than 'when'. Chapter 46 has them engage in The Big Damn Kiss and Relationship Upgrade.
    • Later chapters of Ghosts of the Past are pairing up Diana and Ginny.
  • Designated Hero: Even though it wasn't without reason, Asgard causing the Red Room to collapse by strangling its (basically, Russia's) resources, affecting the lives of the innocent civilians in the process, wasn't a heroic move on their part. In fact, Asgard and the Avengers are more than capable of abusing their power in this 'verse. The narrative repeatedly indicates that this is part of the point, with the author remarking that Asgard unleashing The Scourge of God on Russia was a reminder that for all that they're probably the closest to human of the various pantheons, they're still very definitely not human, and not much different than their more detached divine cousins as they seem. As for the Avengers, the narrative also notes that fear of them/responses to them directly created or magnified the threat of both HYDRA and the Red Room, as well as increasing the threat of Voldemort, Victor von Doom, and Dracula (the latter because he's seeking to exploit a power vacuum).
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Has quite a lot of these thanks to the author's penchant for reimagining characters, as well as throwing in those characters at the last minute, later developing them into prominent figures in the story. The two main examples come in the form of Carol Danvers and Diana of Themyscira, both of which were added in at the last minute, apparently entirely on a whim and praised as original takes on the character. They've both grown from fairly minor characters into two of Harry's closest friends, two of the more badass characters in the story and bona fide fan favourites - in a poll of favourite new or reimagined characters, Diana was the runaway winner, with Carol being joint third behind (unsurprisingly) the Winter Soldier, who's even more of a Woobie than usual thanks to the sections from his perspective, and sharing third place with Huginn and Muninn. Indeed, Carol's grown into a full on Break Out Character, being close to a Deuteragonist with Harry, and she and Harry are now the Fan-Preferred Couple (with Harry/Diana being close behind).
  • Evil Is Cool: Aside from the above-mentioned Winter Soldier and Voldemort, Dracula earned a lot of praise from reviewers for the way he absolutely crushed anyone who got in his way with style and panache.
    • Lucius Malfoy walks with a Classy Cane, is a Magnificent Bastard Nick Fury takes his hat off to (albeit very grudgingly), and pretty much took over the entire world (if only temporarily).
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • The Word of God stated original plan was to stick to the canon ship of Harry/Ginny (after briefly toying with Harry/Sif, of all things). Fans have vocally called for Harry Potter/Carol Danvers, on the grounds of the considerable chemistry the two share despite their mutual insistence that they are Just Friends, over . While the author has been enigmatic about the former, the latter has been confirmed to have been removed, as part of a raft of grand scale changes to the future of the story. As of chapter 46 of Ghosts of the Past, they get a Relationship Upgrade.
    • The story also manifests an example of this trope, with a strong Bucky/Natasha dynamic woven in, despite the fact that the fic as a whole is heavily based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with not even a tiny bit of Bruce/Natasha chemistry (despite it being MCU canon).
    • Relatively early on, the author created a poll out of curiosity to see who fans would prefer Harry to be with. Jean Grey won by a clear margin, with Emma Frost and Hermione Granger not far behind, tied in second place. Based on Word of God, Harry's not going to be paired with any of them - Jean Grey is his cousin and Cool Big Sis, though a letter written by a version of Harry from the future notes that she's 'disconcertingly attractive' and pretty definitely shipped with Scott Summers, Emma Frost and Harry have never met and would be very unlikely to get on if they did, and the narration has on more than one occasion noted that Harry very rarely notices that Hermione is female and is 'about as attracted to her as he is to mould'.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Harry's snarky remark that he's very attached to his arm and likes to think of it as being very attached to him gains a darker undertone when it gets blasted off by Magneto during their fight as the Red Son.
    • Carol's crack about Harry's temper being like "Carrie as directed by Michael Bay" at the start of the Forever Red arc takes on a dark twist at the end when Harry snaps just like the titular Carrie and becomes the Dark Phoenix. Knowing Nimbus, it's plausible that this was intentional.
  • Genius Bonus: Occasionally.
    • If you had any doubts about the identity of 'The Hidden World', as the author note mentions, translating 'The Hidden One' into Ancient Greek reveals the name of the planet. Krypton.
    • The title of Chapter 34 ("Fool's Gambit") is both a reference to the insanity of Harry's Crazy Enough to Work plan and the name of a chess strategy which relies on acting fast, Refuge in Audacity and taking the opponent off-guard. Much like Harry's plan.
    • One of the books on Harry's reading list is the Voynich manuscript, a codex famous for being indecipherable but apparently translated by Strange. Typical.
    • The story of how Van, a legendary sword tied to the Asgardian royal family, ended up wedged in a tree before a suitably worthy hero withdrew it, parallels The Saga of the Volsungs where the exact same thing happens (albeit at Odin's will).
    • During Harry's fight with the Elder Wyrm, Strange tells Tony it's time for Track One. Tony promptly hacks the Valiant to crank out Thunderstruck - which is Track One in The Razors Edge, ACDC's twelfth studio album.
    • Harry's spell in chapter 58 ("Fiat Lux") translates as "Let there be light."
  • Growing the Beard: The fic really hit its stride right around when the Winter Soldier is introduced and starts wreaking havoc.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Tony's revelation of the Stark family's guards' plan for a potential Winter Soldier attack becomes harsh after Captain America: Civil War revealed the Winter Soldier murdered Tony's parents.
    • Seeing any scene involving him and Pepper may be awkward since Civil War implied that they had an off-screen break up. However, this is negated by the fact that, in Spider-Man: Homecoming, they get engaged, and go on to get married and have a daughter.
    • By contrast to Tony and Pepper, seeing Thor and Jane happily in a relationship can be even more awkward since in MCU canon, they've split up by the time of Thor: Ragnarok- ironically, because the writers wanted to appease fans who accused them of being Strangled by the Red String.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: Pepper falling pregnant and later giving birth to Ada Stark. Now that Avengers: Endgame is out, meet little Morgan Stark, Tony and Pepper's canon MCU daughter. Nimbus Llewelyn professed himself to be very smug about predicting that, and about pre-empting MCU Doctor Strange's use of temporal manipulation/prediction to defeat Thanos, which is exactly what COS Strange is doing.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In this story, Black Widow and Hawkeye aren't a couple because their jobs are too dangerous. In the movies? He's got a wife and kids and names the latest after her (and as it turns out, said wife is also an ex-SHIELD agent)!
    • In the fancast the author made, he put Benedict Cumberbatch as Mister Sinister. Several months later, Benedict Cumberbatch was cast as Doctor Strange, who in this fic views Sinister as his Arch-Enemy.
    • During the first book's Final Battle, Thor casually shows that he can still throw around lightning even without his hammer. Then along comes Thor: Ragnarok, and he has to go through a whole movie and an epiphany before he can figure out how to do that.
    • The first book's final battle also features Hulk smashing Chthon the same way he did to Loki, with the latter commenting on how gratifying it is to see it happen to someone else. Then Ragnarok comes along, and Hulk does that to Thor, with Loki being ecstatic about it.
    • Yet another from the same film is Thor's statement to Strange that "So Earth has... wizards now, huh?" Given that he used to be a wizard on Earth, that's definitely worth a chuckle from any viewer who's also a fan of this 'verse (as is Strange's penchant for screwing around with Thor and Loki, which one can easily imagine CoS! Strange doing as well).
    • Seeing how Steve hooks up with Sharon Carter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe can be a bit awkward when you realize that she's his great-granddaughter in this fanfic.
    • When Harry and Carol first meet, they insist that they are Just Friends, and are set up to become Platonic Life-Partners with no Ship Tease whatsoever. One book and a Relationship Writing Fumble later (the author having apparently just shrugged and decided to go with it), they're still insisting that they're Just Friends, but literally no one, in-universe or out, is buying it. Lo and behold, they eventually get together in chapter 46 of Ghosts.
    • Occasionally in The Wizard in the Shadows, the author would break a chapter into two in order to avoid it becoming too "monstrously long." Come this fic, especially Ghosts, practically every chapter is at least half again as long as any in The Wizard In The Shadows. Whether or not this is a good thing is up for debate.
    • At one point during Jane's Bifrost experiments, Darcy was accidentally warped to another dimension and ended up bonding with Death of the Endless. Darcy's actress would later play Death in the series' audiobook adaptation.
    • In 2021, it was revealed in the 'Enter the Phoenix' arc of Jason Aaron's Avengers that Thor was the son of Odin and a Significant Green-Eyed Redhead Phoenix Host - a human mutant, no less. Much like Harry, Thor's son in this fic. Not for nothing has Nimbus occasionally griped that he should be on commission.
    • On the other hand, in this fic, Yelena Belova regards herself as better than Natasha, constantly insulting her and seeking to prove herself the "true" Black Widow. When the MCU introduced Yelena not long after, she turned out to greatly admire Natasha, to the point of Big Sister Worship!
  • Hype Backlash: Seems to have suffered from this when recommended on some sites such as Reddit, usually down to admittedly valid issues that appear early on such as the Slow-Paced Beginning of the earlier chapters, that really didn't gel well with the tone of the later instalments (other criticisms, such as the relative lack of screentime of Harry Potter characters are rendered moot by the increased roles that certain HP characters are given later on). According to the author, the early ones are in part products of the very different plans he originally had for the fic, and of his development as a writer. They're also things that he'd like to do something about (more than just a tweak here and there, anyway), but doesn't have the time/ability to change, on the grounds that it risks 'bringing down the whole house of cards'.
  • Idiot Ball: Harry grabs it in Book 1 while attempting to physically carry Ron up several flights of stairs when he has access to telekinesis, a Levitation Charm, and two pony-sized, intelligent wolves, either of whom could carry Ron on their backs.
    • Snape grabs it in chapter 28 of the second book, when he decides to antagonize Harry, who not only is a powerful demigod with severe temper issues due to PTSD, but also hates Snape in particular. Snape gets a nasty Shut Up, Hannibal!, but he's lucky Harry didn't do worse.
    • Harry, Dumbledore, Bucky, Hermione, and Sean Cassidy jointly grab it for not trying to help Ron through the trauma of losing his father. Having made a Running Gag out of offering Xavier's help to anyone and everyone who needs a therapist during Book 1, Harry apparently failed to do so following Arthur's death. While it's understandable Ron might not want to talk to a conventional therapist, Dumbledore and Sean are both very well-placed to help him. Instead, they pretty much forget the idea after trying once or twice, leading to the poor kid becoming steadily more and more traumatized throughout Book II.
      • This one is later explained in Book II: Hermione personally thinks that Ron getting therapy would be a fantastic idea, and suspects that Harry didn't mention it earlier because he was understandably preoccupied with his own very wobbly sanity and consequent drastic need for therapy. It's also revealed that she raised this point with Sean, who apparently had already broached the subject with Ron and it had been rejected. Meanwhile, Harry independently suggests therapy to Monica and reveals that Xavier isn't really an option, because he's swamped with ex-Red Room prisoners - not only that, he's also got Maddie to deal with, who's as dysfunctional as the entire rest of the cast put together. Granted, he could have reached out to Ron during the summer in between books - though having died, seen his father put into a coma by a sniper's bullet, been possessed by an Eldritch Abomination, discovered his mother was Not Quite Dead, and then stitched the universe back together in the space of a couple of days, he can be forgiven for being a bit preoccupied. Likewise, therapy as a serious tool was mostly a vague idea to him prior to Forever Red.
  • Jerkass Woobie: While Doctor Strange does come off as condescending and is prone to undergo a few Sanity Slippage moments, it's hard not to pity him when you look into his tragic backstory as to what drove him to become the person he is now, and the reveal at the end of the first book explains just why he's being a Manipulative Bastard — it's certainly not just for kicks (mostly). It also helps that he's set on ensuring that no one, least of all Harry, has to turn out like him (whether he'll totally succeed, however, is an open question).
    • Harry certainly falls into this trope in the aftermath of the Forever Red arc, which involved extensive Mind Rape, medical torture, and after essentially going to sleep for six months of relative time as part of an escape plan gone horribly wrong, he wakes to find that his body has been transformed into a Living Weapon and infected with the Techno-Organic Virus, complete with crystal clear memories of being used as an assassin, to Mind Rape and torture people for information, and be sexually assaulted by Yelena Belova - all in all, an extensive Trauma Conga Line that would make anyone crack. He mostly grows out of it with time and therapy, shifting into Jerk with a Heart of Gold territory by Bloody Night and improving further thereafter. However, how much he's really improved is up for debate; certainly, whatever sweetness he used to have is pretty much gone, especially when Carol isn't around.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: The general consensus amongst reviewers, when Wanda receives the mantle of Sorceress Supreme, was that He's Just Hiding!. Lampshaded repeatedly by Harry In-Universe as well, with absolutely none of the Avengers showing any surprise when he turns up again, hale and hearty. That said, Wanda still winds up keeping the mantle, with Strange making clear that he is now her predecessor.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Doctor Stephen Strange aka Taliesin is the Sorcerer Supreme whose Purpose-Driven Immortality is based on defeating Thanos and will take any means necessary to save as many people as he possibly can. Carefully crafting a "reputation for omniscience" over millennia, he uses his inability to lie, abilities a Seer, and careful word choice to ensure people will react as he intends, Strange plays heroes and villains alike, even breaking Lucius Malfoy, a dangerous mastermind who had brought the world to its knees, in a single speech. Setting up his pieces perfectly, Strange has the world organized exactly as he needs for his plans and even tricks Chthon into taking the worst possible host, purging him from the universe. In the sequel, Strange adapts to the temporary loss of his seer powers and manages to destroy various threats to himself and the world, while making amends and earning a happy ending for Maddie Pryor, whom he believes he failed more than anyone else. Regretful of his own Necessary Evil but resolved to defeat Thanos no matter what it takes, Strange showcases remarkable ingenuity and charm through all his appearances.
  • Memetic Badass: Doctor Strange in and out of universe, Magnificent Bastard Supreme, who can make everyone, up to and including the freaking Endless, dance to his tune. Also, he can Apparate and Disapparate within Hogwarts. And when he wanted to bully the Council Elite, Thor loaned him the Tesseract. Because he could've stolen it from Asgard's highest security vaults, but that would've taken too long.
  • Memetic Mutation: Thor's declaration that he is the "God of Thunder and Lightning, not Reason and Understanding!" revives a meme that this quote generated when Thor first said it when delivering a well-deserved beatdown to the Red Hulk.
    • Arthur Weasley built a flying car in a shed! With a box of scraps!
  • Moral Event Horizon: Gravemoss goes shooting over it in chapter 21, enjoying himself immensely as he does.
    • Everything Sinister does during the Forever Red arc, along with what he is revealed to have done.
    • If she hadn't already crossed it earlier, Yelena Belova plants herself firmly on the far end by chapter 60.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Sabretooth, who stole the two scenes he was in by being both utterly despicable and dangerous enough to make Bucky work to beat him.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: Has generated "Carry", from Harry and Carol, the Fan-Preferred Couple, even though they had yet to do more than platonically share a bed and admittedly ludicrous amounts of UST. Word of God has remarked that he thinks it's cute, but refused to be drawn on whether anything would come of it. In chapter 46 of Ghosts, something does come of it, and they get together.
    • The same couple have also generated "Harol" (rather less used, since it's less catchy) and "Magic Lantern."
  • Rainbow Lens: Upon finding out that Bobby Drake has superpowers, his mom is in total denial, his brother thinks he's a monster, and his father tells him "okay, but you better hide it."
  • Relationship Writing Fumble: This happens with Carol and Harry, who were intended to be Just Friends and Platonic Life-Partners. Despite that, there's some quite obvious chemistry between the two and Word of God (a dicey thing in an author well known for changing his mind) has admitted that Harry, for his part, is potentially interested in a Relationship Upgrade, but more than happy for things to remain as they are, making it an Anchored Ship. It has also been hinted that they will get together at some point in the future, but it probably won't last. As it is, though, they're still young teens, so it's not going anywhere. Yet. Until it does in chapter 46 of the second book and they become official.
  • Ron the Death Eater:
    • While Snape is canon is not being outright despicable or villainous, and having his good deeds (namely, protecting Harry) acknowledged, the fic does make him come off as a petty individual who uses his past grudge against James to torment Harry. Sometimes the treatment goes into Butt-Monkey territory.
    • Dudley. Oh dear Lord, Dudley. Far removed from the book character who, while a bullying brat, was complex enough to be one of the few members of the Dursley's to develop into a better person and accept Harry. In this version, he's just an absolutely vile monster who later becomes Sinister's Stupid Evil dumb muscle. Word of God explains that this is the result of several years of having every single one of his darkest whims and desires catered for and encouraged by Sinister and the Red Room, while also not having the Character Development forced on him by the Dementor attack in the fifth book in canon.
  • Slow-Paced Beginning: One criticism is that the story starts slowly and takes a few chapters to find its stride.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Although audience reaction to their ship was generally positive, it can be a little jarring to realize Wanda Maximoff and Harry Dresden went from complete strangers to snogging in the course of a single day. Word of God has admitted that it was a bit rushed.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: It's really challenging to top the epicness that the HYDRA Arc delivered but the Red Room could've been interesting long term villains, given it's personal connection with the main cast, but all that potential was squandered when they were embarrassingly curbstomped by The Avengers and their allies when they're rescuing Harry. On the other hand, it was Foreshadowed early in the arc by Volodya, the Russian President, who points out how badly they've over-reached and furiously predicts exactly what will happen next just as Lukin pulls his coup. Lukin, who freely admits to being Crazy Sane by this point, doesn't listen and ends up paying for it.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: In canon, Sirius Black was the most important character in Harry's life but in here he's hardly seen in Ghosts. Whatever connection he and Harry had vanished in this fic. It becomes pretty glaring that he or Remus wasn't around when Harry was dealing with the trauma of being sexually assaulted. This isn't entirely surprising, since by the time Harry finds out that he has a godfather, he has an actual father, as well as a Cool Uncle, and a grandfather, neatly covering many of the bases that Sirius did in canon. While Wanda, Sirius' Distaff Counterpart godparent, gets a much bigger role, that's because Harry doesn't have a mother (technically) or a maternal substitute. Chapter 61 of Ghosts ameliorates this trope by bringing back Sirius, who explains why he was absent, and has a major role in the arc and the aftermath.
  • Unexpected Character:
    • The general consensus is that no one was expecting Dudley to return as the Blob.
    • After years of Nimbus refusing to use him because he didn't think he could write him properly, Deadpool finally makes an entrance in Unfinished Business.
  • The Woobie: The author managed to take Harry's canon Woobie status and cranked it Up to Eleven. As of the aftermath of the Forever Red Arc, it's now much, much, MUCH higher than eleven. So much so that it makes what he went through in canon look relatively tame in comparison.
    • Ron Weasley, though it takes some time for it to really be shown. As a boy, he was overshadowed both by a series of successful and popular older brothers and his younger sister was the baby of the family. When he came to Hogwarts, he continued to be overshadowed by his best friends: Hermione, who outshone everyone in almost every class; and Harry Potter, a Living Legend. For his entire second year, he was stuck with a malfunctioning wand. In his third year, his status as Overshadowed by Awesome increased exponentially when it was revealed that Harry was the son of Thor, and Harry, Hermione, and his two closest brothers all became Loki's apprentices, while he remained the (relatively) normal one. After several months of this, his father was murdered, and his best friend disappeared for the rest of the year. When he returned, Harry had become far more grouchy and antisocial, with an epic case of PTSD, leading to a gap between them, since Harry also refused to talk much about what happened - and when he did, it wasn't immediately helpful. While all of this is understandable, and Ron mostly takes it in stride (preparing for quest for vengeance against HYDRA notwithstanding), it still clearly hurts.
      • Then, after things get a bit better between him and Harry, Bucky gives him a You Are Not Ready speech rendered none-too-gentle by time constraints (then, adding to the humiliation, it turns out that the Harry he's arguing with is just a psychic projection, Harry having walked out and left him behind) the next time he volunteers to help Harry in his latest madcap adventure. And after that, Dave the Elder Wyrm heavily - and correctly - implies that Harry has been lying to him about the death of the Winter Soldier, hinting that he's still alive. Harry then (admittedly reluctantly) manipulates Ron into dismissing this via careful use of Exact Words (to be exact, Harry never comes out and says that the Soldier isn't alive, he just deftly leads Ron to that conclusion). Later, he gets used as an Unwitting Pawn by Voldemort and chased through a nightmare fortress by a projection of his worse fear, the Winter Soldier wearing Harry's face, who strangles him and snaps his wand. While the wand is later repaired by Dumbledore, who also gives him a little emotional support, most of his trauma remains.

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