Harry Potter ebooks have just hit the market, and the sudden press attention seems to be stirring up all sorts of old stories. A source at Bloomsbury, the original publisher of the HP ebooks, has sent me a fragment of text that was cut from an early draft of The Deathly Hallows.
I’m sure you know that at the end of the book Lord Voldemort dies in a duel with Harry Potter. I’ve been told that wasn’t the original ending. No, the story originally ended with Tom Riddle being caught and locked up in Azkaban. I don’t know for sure why it was cut, but I do think the published ending fits better with the story arc of the series.
So here it is:
Tom Riddle – once “Lord Voldemort”, now “Prisoner 99786, Azkaban” – was dragged down the dark, dank stone hallway by two of the largest Aurors in the Service. Hands bound, mouth gagged, for not even his worst foes would put him through the torment of the Imperius Curse, he struggled against the two near-giants, but in vain.
That he was gagged was also a necessity, not only to preclude him using spoken curses, but to stifle aborning the tidal wave of vulgarities he’d spewn at the young man directing his undesired long-term vacation in the wizarding prison – the same young man who followed behind the Aurors, wand raised, expression practically daring Riddle to do, to say, anything which would justify thumping him around something awful.
“It’s the next on the right, lads,” said Harry Potter, newly-promoted head of the Aurors. “I have something… special… for him in there.” His tone of voice suggested that whatever it was would be long, slow, lingering, and very, very painful.
Riddle mmphed against his gag several more times as his guards stopped before the massive oak door, banded with iron and covered with powerful charms against evil.
“Here’s your new home, Tom,” Harry said, stepping in front of him and fixing him with a stare which would have reduced any other man to a shaking wreck. “I thought long and hard about what I’d do to – with you once I had you. This -” here he hooked a thumb back at the door “-is the finest work my Army and myself could construct. I know you’ll disagree, but I think it’s pretty fair work – for mere Mudbloods. I know I enjoyed making it… just as I’m sure you won’t enjoy living in it.”
Harry turned to face the door, produced a huge iron key from his robes, unlocked the door, and pushed it open. He entered, the Aurors – and Riddle – close behind.
It was a smallish room, circular, perhaps six foot in diameter. Dead in the center was, of all things, what appeared to be a car from a rollercoaster, on faux rails, pointed directly away from the door.
Riddle barely had time to register the “United Hogwarts” logos – a griffin, a badger, and a raven teaming up to carry a lightning-bolt — on all of the car’s facings, before he was lifted bodily and slammed down onto the front seat of the car. Before he could recover, the Aurors, with movements polished by years of practice, had cut his bonds, and secured his wrists to the car’s safety rail; they then slammed the rail down across his lap, and finished by fixing his ankles in shackles bolted to the car’s floor.
“Prisoner secured, sir,” the pair growled in unison to Harry.
“Thanks, lads,” replied Harry. “Wait outside, please.”
The Aurors snapped off parade-ground-perfect salutes, then trooped out the door.
Harry watched them leave, then drew his wand and tapped Riddle’s gag. The fabric untied itself and wafted delicately out the door, leaving Riddle licking his chops like a cat finishing a bowl of cream. Before he could recover, however, Harry tapped Riddle’s jaw, which suddenly locked shut.
“You shouldn’t be able to cast any of your preferred spells in here, Tom,” Harry said casually, “but I’ve learnt to never give one of your lot a chance. The spell should wear off by the time I’m finished, though – finished talking to you, that is.
“As for what you did to me, to my parents, to my family, and to the wizarding world as a whole, well, in that respect, I will never be finished with you. For some fifty years, you’ve made life for wizards a living hell. So, for the next fifty years, using this room, the magic taught to me by folks like Albus Dumbledore, and devices to record and broadcast what you will see and hear to the wizarding world, and your reactions thereto, I am going to make your life a living hell.
“After all,” Harry said musingly, examining his fingernails, “even when it comes to learning the best ways to torture someone, I have had very good teachers.” He fixed Riddle with another piercing stare, then smiled coldly. “Enjoy the ride… you soulless bastard.”
The choice of epithet snapped Riddle back in his seat. He would have spoken, but his jaw remained fixed.
Harry flipped his wand into the air like a drumstick, caught it, stashed it in his robe, and walked out of Riddle’s view. Behind him, he heard the door close; the latch on the lock catching with a very final click. The room was now pitch-black, and as silent as a tomb.
Abruptly the car jerked. Riddle blinked, and tried to look around. It seemed as if the car were moving forward – there was a feeling of wind in his face, the sound of wheels clacking on rails. Yet he knew the room he was in would have precluded such movement. If he was still in that room….
The car jerked again, stopping, or so it seemed. Then an image began to form in front of Riddle. He tried to look away, but could not – for he knew, without question, whose face was forming before him.
“Hello,” said the ten-times-normal-size image of Harry Potter. “Welcome to the Harry Potter Experience.”
The WHAT!? thought Riddle.
“A place of wonder,” the image-Potter continued. “Excitement, and… wonder.”
Riddle tried to blink in surprise, but found he couldn’t. The brat has been quite thorough, he thought.
“You are about to witness some heroic events, which you may well find impossible to attribute to any wizard, living or dead, pureblood or not; but then, Harry Potter is a deeply remarkable man.”
The car jerked again, moving, or seeming to move forward.
“Being the Boy Who Lived, and the driving force behind the final destruction of Tom Riddle, once known as ‘Lord Voldemort’, Harry Potter had to dance with death even from an early age.”
What? thought Riddle.
The car jerked once more, stopping before a scene which Riddle knew well, yet was subtly different – the interior of the Potter household, with the Potter brat a baby in a playpen and Voldemort at his height of power, but the corpses of Potter’s parents strangely absent.
“Now, young Potter!” cackled the Voldemort-image, in a high-pitched shriek which Riddle knew he’d not used at the time, “I shall crush you in your nappy, and in so doing prove beyond doubt I am the Greatest Wizard EVER! HAHAHAHAHAAAA!” The Voldemort-image began to caper about like a mime with a hotfoot, shooting forth rainbows from his wand.
No! Riddle thought furiously. I never acted like that! I was cool, calm, and collected, not some clown on a streetcorner!
The Voldemort-image finally ceased its prancing, and leveled its wand at the baby-image; yet somehow the Voldemort-image had managed to end up holding the tip of the wand, not the handle.
“Avada Kedavra!” the Voldemort-image shrieked, as though he were wearing pants three sizes too small. The result was predictable; the Voldemort-image vanished. What could not have been predicted was its sudden reappearance as a potted geranium with Riddle’s face on one of the buds.
“Oh, horrors!” squeaked the Voldemort-plant-image, placing two leaves upside the face-bud. “The Power of Harry Potter has defeated me! Whatever shall I do? Wherever shall I go? Run! Hide! Panic!” The plant then hopped away. In its crib, the baby-image gurgled, then began sucking on its toes. Then the image vanished.
NO! NO! THAT DID NOT HAPPEN! I KNOW THAT DID NOT HAPPEN! Riddle wanted to sob in frustration, but, again, could not.
The car jolted once more, then just as suddenly jolted again. Another image appeared, this time of a dirty, filthy, smelly Voldemort-image being pulled by a brace of Hogwarts students out of a hole in the linoleum floor of a girls’ bathroom located, by the decorations, in Hogwarts. It appeared, in fact, to be the bathroom leading to the Chamber of Secrets.
“Phworr!” said an image of Ron Weasley. “So Voldemort’s secret is that he doesn’t know what soap is for!”
“Oh, no doubt,” said an image of Hermione Granger, holding her nose. “Truly a Moldy Wart if ever there was one.”
The other students chuckled, and some of them began chanting, “Moldy Wart! Moldy Wart!” at the Voldemort-image.
“Oh please, oh please, oh please don’t hurt me!” pleaded the Voldemort-image, now on its hands and knees and shaking. “I’ll do anything you want me to! I’ll serve non-purebloods!”
“Oh, you will,” said a voice Riddle knew all too well. An image of Harry Potter stepped into view – only this Harry was wearing a crown and an ermine-lined red cape over a T-shirt with a lightning-bolt on it.
Who does he think he is, Freddie Mercury? thought Riddle.
The Voldemort-image crawled over to the Harry-image, then prostrated itself. “Oh, Master, please save me from your followers! I beg you! I kiss your feet! Please don’t let them hurt me!” Then the Voldemeort-image scuttled away from Harry, shrieking, as an image of Neville Longbottom carrying a noose made from Devil’s Snare.
“Let him be, Neville,” the Harry-image said, in a saintly tone.
The Neville-image backed away, muttering, “Of course, Your Highness.”
“That’s Harry all over,” one of the image-students said.
“A truly great man,” agreed another.
“All hail Harry Potter!” another image shouted. The chant was taken up immediately. “ALL HAIL HARRY POTTER! ALL HAIL HARRY POTTER!”
“SOMEONE LET ME OUT OF HERE!” screamed Riddle, as his jaw finally unlocked. He thrashed impotently against his bonds.
The car jerked once more, and the wind in his face built quickly from a breeze, to a blow, then to a gale, as rank upon rank of Harry Potters appeared from the edges of his vision, countermarching, and singing.
If a Death Eater strikes, he will save the day!
He’s brave and resourceful, come what may!
Thanks to him, the wizard world is saved…
He’s Harry, Harry, Harry Potter!
He beat back Voldemort (that rotter)!
He avenged the death of Mutter and Vater!
He has put away their zotter!
He’s Harry, Harry, Harry Potter!
He’s the Wizard King, and not a cotter!
He’s crossed all T’s, and his I’s he’ll dotter!
He’ll stay off any police blotter!
Master of Spells and Potionry,
Better than Severus Snape, you see,
How come he’s such a genius? Don’t ask me…
He’s Harry, Harry, Harry Potter!
He moves real fast – he’s not a trotter!
Ginny Weasley – Harry’s got ‘er!
He will never need a spotter!
Riddle thrashed furiously, but the shackles held firm. He tried to blink, or to hum, but he could not escape the paean to Harry Potter before him….
* * *
Walking his patrol route through the halls of Azkaban, Christophe-Jean Granit heard the distant echo of a voice, screaming and sobbing as if one of the damned. Many nights, he’d heard screams, but this seemed to come from the absolute pit of darkness itself.
He spared a moment to glance at the distant tower from whence the voice came; the tower which would house Tom Marvolo Riddle for the rest of his days. Then he continued his patrol.
In truth, he thought, I know not what the Boy Who Lived has up there which could so torment the Dark Lord, or indeed any man.
Another howling cry echoed from the tower. Granit squared his shoulders and continued walking his beat.
But, as sure as I walk here, it’s bound to leave a scar…
P.S. The above satire was written by Chris French. I had a dickens of a time finding it again so I thought it worth posting. It was inspired by an episode of the SF sitcom Red Dwarf.