first of all, while it was brought on by some of the recent shipping discussion both in the discussion and on the group main page, i am in no way advocating some sort of twisted romance between the two.
yes, Harry loves and is loved and as said, in the books and i believe by JKR herself, it's how he wins. this begs the question though about if Tom turned away from love, or if he was outright psychotic/sociopathic from the first. what does everyone think?
would you say they started in the same place being 'orphaned' or does Harry's first year w/loving parents (who were in love) and/or Lily's sacrifice or Petunia's begrudging acceptance of him give him a better...frame work?
was the young Tom we see in Dumbledore's memory naturally cruel, or acting out (of pain?)
is Tom Riddle's Diary the real deal, an exageration as a (lesser) horcrux, or insane (broken) now that he's brought about someone's death?
in this time or ever could he really have loved if he'd let himself?
J.K. Rowling once stated that Lord Voldemort was "a raging psychopath, devoid of the normal human responses to other people's suffering," and that he cannot love because he was conceived under the effect of a love potion.
If for the sake of argument, we pretend Jo never said that... then my theory would still be that he was a psychopath because all the signs were there in his childhood. Harry's naturally more emotional and empathetic. Since he had no knowledge of the circumstances under which Petunia accepted him, he doesn't know love from the Dursleys' or his mother. He just has it in him, and it firsts manifests itself when he meets Hagrid and Ron and the Weasleys.
What exactly are you asking with the diary question, I'm sort of confused on that front...
It all comes down to personal choices, in my opinion. The way in which people react to a certain situation is their choice. Tom Riddle decided that he was better than everyone else and that he was going to use this superiority to gain power over them. The hate and cruelty that he inflicted on others is based on his reaction to his circumstances.
Harry was put in a similar spot but went the opposite way. He had a low self esteem and underestimation of himself to the point of disbelief when discovering he was a wizard. Power was put into his hands and he denied it's existence (while Tom had immediately demanded proof and hungrily acknowledged the power as another way he was better than his peers). Harry values his peers highly and is worried that he will not be as skilled as them due to his inexperience. Not to mention the push towards power and corruption in the form of fame that he could have been taken in by and used to his advantage.
Everything about Harry and Tom's decisions and behaviors reflect the outcomes of their character. But hey, that's just me :)
thanks Danii, does put things in perspective...you'd think there'd be more stringent rules about teaching about love potions...but i digress. and i see where Sarah's going with her talk of choice, but does anyone else see this as severely limiting his options?
also in response to your question Danii, me asking the question was mostly about temporality...if Tom was in fact, 'a raging psychopath' basically from birth, or if he brought it on himself (by splitting his soul) by the time he started the first wizarding war as Lord Voldimort. hope that makes more sense.
I just like to think that free will has a lot more to do with the outcomes of people's characters than we give credit for.Splitting his soul seems like a pretty demented idea in the first place, so he was pretty far gone by the time he was in Hogwarts (when he got confirmation from Slughorn). I agree that he wouldn't have much humanity left in him. I just think that he, at some point in his life, decided to leave behind his humanity, because he saw it as a weakness.
in general i totally agree with your premise, MOST people are basically good, but we do have to make the right choices (in order to decrease suck levels) and i'd like to think that nobody in our actual lives are innately evil...and maybe that's the discussion we should be having.
...and you may be right that he did on some level embrace the darkness...and i'm not saying being good/awesome is or should be easy, but are you sure it would even have been the difficult option, if there was something wrong with his wiring from conception?