Tom Marvolo Riddle (31 December, 1926 – 2 May, 1998), later known as Lord Voldemort, was a half-blood wizard who was considered to have been the most powerful and dangerous Dark wizard of all time. The son of the wealthy Muggle Tom Riddle Sr. and the witch Merope Gaunt, he was orphaned and raised in a Muggle orphanage, which remained his permanent residence through his 1938-1945 attendance at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He was a member of Slytherin house.
His accomplishments included the opening of Salazar Slytherin’s Chamber of Secrets and the use of its monster to attack Muggle-born students; several months’ service as a purchasing agent for the Dark artefacts shop Borgin and Burkes; and the attainment of immortality between the years of 1942 and 1998, a process begun upon the creation of his first Horcrux at the age of 16. Abandoning his ‘Muggle’ name, he became the self-proclaimed Lord Voldemort, commanded a veritable army of wizards and Dark creatures, committed numerous murders personally and through his followers, on one occasion nearly succeeded and on a later occasion did succeed in taking over the Ministry of Magic by installing a puppet Minister. Splitting his own spirit into a total of eight fragments, Lord Voldemort created seven Horcruxes; one unintentionally and without his knowledge.
Voldemort was ripped from his body in 1981, and though unable to die, was not able to regain a permanent and physical body until 1995, thus spending the intervening 14 years ‘a shell, less than the meanest ghost’, but alive. He was finally killed by his own backfiring curse, after Albus Dumbledore, and then Harry Potter after Dumbledore’s death, succeeded in destroying all of his Horcruxes.
Tom Riddle’s broken and mutilated soul was then trapped in Limbo for eternity, unable to move on to the afterlife or even return as a disembodied spirit.
Template:Quote Tom Marvolo Riddle was born on 31 December, New Year’s Eve, 1926 at Wool’s Orphanage in London. His pure-blood mother, Merope Gaunt, a direct descendant of Salazar Slytherin, died shortly after his birth. His family on his mother’s side were the last of the Gaunt family; an ancient and formerly wealthy Wizarding family that was noted for producing individuals with violent and unstable personalities due to generations of inbreeding. Soon before her death, she named the child after his father, Tom Riddle Sr., and Marvolo Gaunt, her father. Tom Riddle Sr. was a wealthy Muggle living in the village of Little Hangleton who was tricked into a relationship with Merope through probable use of a love potion. After some time, it is speculated by Dumbledore that Merope discontinued her use of love potions on Tom, in the hopes that he had really fallen in love with her, or would at least stay for their child’s sake. To Merope’s great sorrow, he abandoned her and their unborn child. Template:Quote Tom Riddle grew up in a dingy orphanage, completely unaware of his wizarding heritage. Since the Muggle orphanage staff did not know anything about his mother, they did not know about his magical background. Instead, they believed that Merope was a circus worker, as Mrs Cole told Albus Dumbledore shortly before his first meeting with Tom. It is unknown whether or not the orphanage staff relayed this to Tom before his first encounter with Dumbledore. Despite his ignorance of his mother’s true background, Tom did have some grasp on his abilities beyond that of normal magical children of his same age, however, and an unusually high degree of control over them. Tom could move objects with his mind and cause them to travel floating wherever he wished, manipulate animals and creatures as he wished, speak Parseltongue, and use his power to inflict harm on other orphans. After getting into a fight with fellow orphan Billy Stubbs, he used his powers to hang the boy’s rabbit from the rafters. On one occasion, he took two orphans, Dennis Bishop and Amy Benson, into a cave, where he performed an act so horrifying that the two orphans were traumatised into silence. Young Tom Riddle also stole from other orphans and hid their things in his cupboard like trophies. Albus Dumbledore later stopped him from this hobby.
Discovery of Being a WizardEdit
Template:Dialogue a-b When Tom was eleven, Albus Dumbledore, the transfiguration teacher at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, talked to Mrs Cole first, who informed him of how unusual Tom was, sharing tales of his extraordinary influence over the other children. When Dumbledore was at last introduced to the boy, Tom at first believed him to be a doctor or psychiatrist of some sort, come to take him to an asylum. He was convinced after Dumbledore demonstrated his power by using a Flame-Freezing Charm on Tom’s cupboard, and when he revealed that Hogwarts was a school for people with magic, which Tom realized his abilities were.
At a very early age, it was clear that Tom displayed a desire to be different and set apart from others. He was not surprised at all upon being informed by Dumbledore that he was a wizard — he was, in fact, eager to believe that he had special gifts that no one else had. Tom also showed an eminent fear of death, considering it a human weakness. He claimed that his mother could not have been a witch, because if she was magical, then she would have been able to avoid dying.
Tom’s abuse of his wizarding powers alarmed Albus. He resolved to keep a close eye on him, something he should have done in any case, seeing as he was “alone and friendless”. Dumbledore also warned Tom that at Hogwarts he would be introduced to the laws that controlled the usage of magic in the wizarding world, and that law-breakers were punished with severity not by Hogwarts but the Ministry of Magic. Riddle’s demeanor changed after Dumbledore reprimanded him; he became more guarded and shielded his reactions. Dumbledore provided Riddle with enough information to find Diagon Alley and Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. Professor Dumbledore also provided Tom Riddle with a stipend from school funds so that he could purchase his books, equipment and so on. Traveling on his own to Diagon Alley, Riddle bought some second-hand robes and spell books for himself, along with his wand - thirteen and a half inches; yew; phoenix feather core — at Ollivander’s. Garrick Ollivander later said that the wand was very powerful; Voldemort was very pleased with it until the wand failed him during his confrontation with Harry Potter in the Little Hangleton graveyard, many years later. Riddle also mentioned that he was a Parselmouth, which surprised Dumbledore.
Template:Quote Tom was educated at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from 1938 to 1945, and was Sorted into Slytherin House, a nod to his ancestor Salazar Slytherin himself. During summer breaks, he was forced to return to the Muggle orphanage, which he despised and dreaded more than any other place on earth.
Tom described the way he was seen as “poor, but brilliant, parent-less, but so brave, a school prefect, a model student.” Due to his exceptional acting abilities, he was able to convince virtually all of the Hogwarts staff and instructors that this facade was his true personality. The sole exception to this was Albus Dumbledore, who was still professor of Transfiguration. Dumbledore, though not necessarily suspicious of Tom, never forgot about Tom’s misdeeds at the orphanage, nor his unsettling behaviour during their first meeting. In turn, Tom realized that he had been careless in showing Dumbledore his true character upon their first meeting, and never attempted to win him over as he had with all his other instructors. In time, he came to fear and despise Dumbledore. Over time, Riddle gathered to himself a gang of Slytherin thugs, a motley composition of the weak seeking protection, the ambitious seeking shared glory, and the thuggish gravitating toward a leader who could show them better forms of cruelty, most of which would become the first Death Eaters. Riddle claimed they were his friends, and made it appear so in public, but in truth, they amounted to little more than servants, and he cared almost nothing for them. He often manipulated them into committing petty crimes and other misdeeds, but none of these incidents were reliably traced back to the group.
It was also at some point during his years in Hogwarts that he and Dumbledore developed a recurrent argument regarding whether or not love was more powerful than any kind of Magic. Tom would only regularly scoff at the thought of such a thing being true.
Opening the Chamber of SecretsEdit
Template:Quote Upon arriving at Hogwarts, Tom became obsessed with his heritage and began researching it with an insatiable hunger. While researching his heritage, Riddle focused solely on who his father was, thinking him to be the magical parent, as he felt his mother could not have been a witch if she had died. He searched for his father’s name in the school trophy room, in the records of Hogwarts prefects and in records of wizarding history, but found nothing to suggest his father had even attended Hogwarts. He was eventually forced to accept that his father was the Muggle parent, and that his mother was the magical one. It was around this time that Tom Marvolo Riddle gave himself the alias “Lord Voldemort”, to spare himself of the reminder of his “filthy Muggle father.”
Using his middle name, Marvolo, which was taken from his maternal grandfather, Riddle discovered his mother’s heritage and the Gaunts’ bloodline connection with Salazar Slytherin. Once Tom learned of his ancestry, it was not long before he discovered the existence of the Chamber of Secrets under Hogwarts, during his fifth year, and tamed the basilisk which dwelt within. As the Heir of Slytherin through his mother’s family, Tom was able to open the Chamber Slytherin had left behind in order to “purge the school of all those who [were] unworthy to study magic” — in Tom’s and Slytherin’s eyes, Muggle-borns.
The basilisk injured many at Hogwarts in 1943. The last victim was a student named Myrtle Warren, who was killed in the girls’ bathroom when she saw the basilisk’s yellow eyes. In light of this incident, the board of governors decided that Hogwarts was to be closed. During that year, Tom made a special request that Headmaster Dippet would allow him to stay at school over the summer break. However, Dippet informed him of the governors’ decision, and denied his request. Realizing that the Chamber would need to be closed and the culprit caught in order to keep the school open (and not have to return permanently to the orphanage), he framed fellow student Rubeus Hagrid and his pet Acromantula, Aragog. Tom convinced Dippet that Aragog was the monster that had terrorized the school. Hagrid was expelled, and Tom received an engraved trophy for Special Services to the School.
Dumbledore, who did not believe that Hagrid was responsible for the killing, managed to arrange for him to be kept on as Hogwarts’ groundskeeper. Distrusting Riddle, Dumbledore kept an “annoyingly close” watch on him after that. Due to this, Tom realized that he would not be able to risk opening the Chamber of Secrets while still a student. As such, he created a diary to preserve a part of his soul, the very first of seven Horcruxes, hoping it would one day lead someone to finish Salazar Slytherin’s “noble work”.
Murder of the RiddlesEdit
- Main article: Murder of the Riddle family
Template:Dialogue a-b-a-b-a In the summer of 1943, Tom went to Little Hangleton to learn about his mother’s family. While there, he met his uncle Morfin Gaunt, whom he was far from impressed with. Morfin mentioned offhandedly at one point during this meeting that he thought that Tom looked “mighty like that Muggle,” Merope’s husband, Tom Riddle Sr.. Tom immediately demanded the identity of the Muggle in question, and Morfin told Tom the story of his Muggle father, which infuriated Tom to the point of seeking revenge. Tom stunned Morfin and took his wand, went to the Riddle House and, using his uncle’s wand, murdered his father, grandfather, and grandmother with the Killing Curse. He covered up his crimes by altering Morfin’s memory, causing him to believe that he was the killer. When the Ministry of Magic investigated the crime, Morfin, who had previously served three years in Azkaban for using magic in front of and against Muggles, freely admitted to the deed and was sentenced to life imprisonment in Azkaban. Tom took the family signet ring from Morfin and wore it like a trophy at Hogwarts.
Learning about HorcruxesEdit
Template:Dialogue a-b-a-b During his sixth year, Tom questioned Professor Slughorn, who was taken in by Tom’s charisma, about the possibility of creating more than one Horcrux, something Slughorn felt deeply ashamed of in later years; in his mid-teen years, Riddle already sought to make himself immortal. Tom succeeded in doing so at some point during this year, creating his first Horcrux in the form of the aforementioned diary.
During Tom’s seventh year at Hogwarts, he was Head Boy and he received a Medal for Magical Merit. He was regarded as one of the most brilliant students ever to attend Hogwarts, a fact admitted by Albus Dumbledore himself. Shortly before leaving Hogwarts, Tom charmed the ghost of Helena Ravenclaw, more commonly known as the Grey Lady and the ghost of Ravenclaw House, into revealing the location of Rowena Ravenclaw’s diadem. Tom sought to transform this diadem into another Horcrux.
Template:Dialogue a-b After graduating, Tom immediately approached Armando Dippet and asked him for a chance to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts, and to remain at Hogwarts, for reasons that he did not confide with the then-headmaster. Dippet rejected this offer, deeming the boy too young, but invited Tom to reapply in a few years, if he was still interested in the post, something that Dumbledore heavily advised against.
Tom then presumably travelled to the far-flung forest in Albania about which Helena Ravenclaw had told him, and retrieved the diadem. He murdered an Albanian peasant and turned the diadem into a Horcrux. Upon his return to Britain, he was offered several positions in the Ministry of Magic, but ended up working at Borgin and Burkes for Caractacus Burke, to the disappointment and surprise of many. He set to persuading witches and wizards to part with their valuable magical heirlooms — a job at which he was very good.
At this time, Tom somehow acquired Salazar Slytherin’s Locket and Helga Hufflepuff’s Cup. Tom subsequently turned them into two more Horcruxes using the murders of Smith and an unidentified Muggle tramp.
The Rise of the Dark LordEdit
Lord Voldemort’s requestEdit
Tom disappeared for ten long years. He slipped deeper into the Dark Arts, traveled extensively, consorted with disreputable people, began to become distorted in appearance and lost his handsomeness due to splitting his soul so many times, and began to use the alias “Lord Voldemort” openly. Ten years after Smith’s murder, Tom appealed once more to the Headmaster of Hogwarts, who was then Albus Dumbledore, for the position of Professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts. After a short, superficially amiable chat, Dumbledore directly confronted Tom regarding why he had requested the position, as Dumbledore knew full well that Tom had no desire whatsoever to teach. Tom, unable to make an open request of Dumbledore due to the malicious nature of his true intentions, simply left after a final, gentle rebuke from his former teacher. From that day on, Hogwarts was never able to keep a Defense against the Dark Arts teacher for more than a year, which was attributed by Dumbledore to a curse by Tom Riddle. Tom’s visit to Hogwarts was not fruitless, however; he used the opportunity to hide Rowena Ravenclaw’s Diadem in the Room of Requirement, where he believed it would never be found. He had held onto the diadem for a decade before hiding it at Hogwarts.
Rise to PowerEdit
Template:Quote Lord Voldemort, as he was now exclusively called, spent the next fourteen years before the War gathering followers in witches and wizards who called themselves, collectively, Death Eaters. Some were supportive of his cause to dominate Muggles and Muggle-borns; while others were greedy for domination, wealth and fame; and yet others joined the Dark Lord out of fear. Voldemort considered them more like servants than friends or family. They freely used the Unforgivable Curses and killed mercilessly and indiscriminately. Voldemort also used tricks, jinxes, and blackmail to get people to willingly join him.
At some point around this time, Voldemort greatly enhanced his skills in Legilimency, to the point that he became known to some (primarily his Death Eaters) as the greatest Legilimens in the world. Voldemort could read, control and unhinge the minds of others, and could almost always tell when he was being lied to. According to Severus Snape, Voldemort often enjoyed telepathically invading the minds of others, creating visions designed to torture them into madness. Only after extracting the last exquisite ounce of agony, only when he had them literally begging for death, would he finally kill them.
First Wizarding WarEdit
Template:Quote In 1970, Voldemort started the First Wizarding War by taking advantage of one of the wizarding world’s greatest weaknesses: the beings and creatures that they had outcast. The Dark Lord recruited the giants, who had long ago been driven by wizards into the mountains, and werewolves, who were persecuted by most witches and wizards. Many feared the goblins would also join him, as they were restricted from wand use, but it never happened. In fact, Voldemort murdered a family of goblins near Nottingham at some point during the War, for an unknown reason (possibly no reason at all).
Bartemius Crouch Sr., who was the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement at the time and was known for his fanatical hatred of the Dark Arts, issued an edict that gave Aurors authorization to use Unforgivable Curses on Death Eaters without warning, and suspects were sometimes handed over to the Dementors without a Wizengamot trial. Many innocent people were locked away. For many years after, people were even afraid to speak his name, and he was referred to as “You-Know-Who” or “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.”
Under the staunch protection of Albus Dumbledore, the only person Voldemort truly feared, Hogwarts remained a safe place of learning throughout the entire War. The Order of the Phoenix was created by Dumbledore at this time to fight against Voldemort. The War itself lasted for eleven years.
Testing his Horcrux’s defensesEdit
Template:QuoteNine years into the War, Voldemort decided to test the defenses around his locket Horcrux in the crystal cave, and asked Regulus Black, a loyal 18-year-old Death Eater to lend him his house-elf, Kreacher. Voldemort took the elf with him to the cave, forced him to drink the Drink of Despair, and left him to die on the Crystal Cave Island. Kreacher was able to escape using house-elf magic, and told Regulus of what had happened.
Upon hearing Kreacher’s story, Regulus, who had already been somewhat uncomfortable with the reality of being a Death Eater, chose to defect. He took a duplicate locket and placed a note inside for Voldemort to find, then ordered Kreacher to take him to where the real locket was hidden. Kreacher guided Regulus past the cave’s defenses. At the island with the basin of potion containing the locket, Regulus ordered Kreacher to take the locket once the potion was gone and replace it with the fake one, then escape without him and find a way to destroy the Horcrux. Regulus drank the potion himself, and when he tried to get water from the lake to quench his thirst, he was dragged to his death by the Inferi. Kreacher obeyed his master’s orders and switched the lockets before escaping. However, despite his best efforts, he was unable to destroy the Horcrux.
Template:Quote Ten years into the War, when Voldemort was at the height of his dominion, a prophecy was given by Sybill Trelawney to Albus Dumbledore which predicted the fall of the Dark Lord. This prophecy was given in the Hog’s Head Inn during an interview for the position of Professor of Divination.
This prophecy was overheard by Death Eater and informant Severus Snape. According to Dumbledore, Snape only heard half of the prophecy and was then thrown out by the barman, Aberforth Dumbledore. He relayed to Lord Voldemort what he had heard, not realising that he had missed an important part of the message.
Trelawney’s description of the night’s events was a bit different however, as she stated that Aberforth burst into the room with Severus Snape in tow, whom he had caught eavesdropping at the door. This is in contrast with Dumbledore’s description of events. However, this may be due to the fact that Dumbledore had wished to conceal the identity of the spy from Harry, and told him a simplified version of the events. In any case, Voldemort received only the first part of the prophecy. Feeling threatened, he sprang into action to prevent the fulfillment of the prophecy.
There were, at the time, two babies to whom the prophecy could have referred — Harry Potter, the half-blood son of James and Lily Potter; and Neville Longbottom, the pure-blood son of Alice and Frank Longbottom. Both families had sought to thwart Voldemort three times, and both families were members of the Order of the Phoenix. Both children in question were born at the end of the seventh month, July. Voldemort chose to target Harry instead of Neville; this was likely because Harry shared a similar family heritage with Voldemort, both of them being half-bloods.
First Fall From DominationEdit
Template:Quote After a long search, Voldemort discovered the identity of the Potter’s Secret keeper, Peter Pettigrew, and was told of their location. With the Potter’s Fidelius Charm broken, Voldemort simply walked into their home one night and murdered James and Lily. However, when he used the Killing Curse on Harry, it rebounded and seemingly obliterated his body. This happened because Lily sacrificed her life to protect her son, creating a powerful defence of ancient magic around Harry which protected him for many years. Thus, after eleven long years of the First Wizarding War, Voldemort was finally defeated.
It was at this point that Voldemort’s next Horcrux was unknowingly created. Years of experimentation, murder, and deliberately ripping apart his soul into so many Horcruxes had rendered the remainder of his soul so unstable that, when his body was destroyed, a small shard of his soul broke apart from the rest and latched unto the only other living being in what remained of the room: Harry Potter himself. The soul shard latched unto Harry’s own soul, granting him some of the Dark Lord’s own powers and providing him with a latent connection to Voldemort’s own mind. What remained of Voldemort’s mangled soul swiftly escaped from the ruins of the house that same night.
Template:Quote After Lord Voldemort’s first fall from domination, the Death Eaters dispersed and attempted to return to normal life. Many claimed they had been under the Imperius Curse, while others stayed true to their master and continued his work, most notably the Lestrange family, who were eventually taken into custody, convicted at a trial, and imprisoned in Azkaban. Most of them however, managed ultimately to remain free and to re-integrate into society. Voldemort lost his physical form and magical powers, but he remained alive in ghostly form. The Horcruxes he had created kept his spirit bound to the physical world. He retreated to the forests of Albania, where he had previously found his fifth Horcrux, the lost diadem of Ravenclaw, and waited for his faithful Death Eaters to find him, but many of them now believed him dead, and those still faithful to him were either dead or in Azkaban. He gained physical form by inhabiting snakes, though he disliked doing so because the bodies of such animals were ill-equipped to perform magic, and because his possession significantly reduced their lifespans; none of his hosts survived for too long. Additionally, any help that he could have potentially rendered himself required the use of a wand, and animals, obviously, could not be used for this purpose.
Search for the Philosopher’s StoneEdit
Template:Quote In 1991, Voldemort formed a plan to regain his physical body. Hogwarts Professor Quirinus Quirrell had made a voyage to Albania, where his foolish and gullible mind was vulnerable to Voldemort. He latched onto Quirrell’s body and came back to Hogwarts with him. Voldemort ordered Quirrell to drink the blood of unicorns in the Forbidden Forest so he could gain strength from the unicorn’s healing abilities.
Somehow, Voldemort learned of the Philosopher’s Stone, and how it could somehow return him to his to physical form. He ordered Quirrell to steal Nicolas Flamel’s greatest alchemical compound, the Philosopher’s Stone, from a vault in Gringotts Wizarding Bank so he could make the Elixir of Life. However, Voldemort discovered the Stone had been removed earlier that same day, and through Quirrell’s connections at Hogwarts, learned it was hidden at the school. The same year that Voldemort set to the task of stealing the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter began his first year at Hogwarts. There were many barriers protecting the Stone. Quirrell had to trick Rubeus Hagrid, who was then the Hogwarts Gamekeeper, into telling him how to get past the three-headed dog Fluffy. To do this, he enticed Hagrid into a card game with the wager of a dragon egg.
Severus Snape, who had become professor of Potions, was suspicious of Quirrell and hounded him relentlessly. When Quirrell released a troll in the Hogwarts dungeons as a distraction, Snape blocked him off. Voldemort was not to be stopped, however, and ordered Quirrell to send a fake letter to Dumbledore, asking him to go to the Ministry of Magic.
Voldemort moved forward with his goal, moving through the security barriers to the Mirror of Erised. Quirrell saw himself presenting the stone to his master, but could not figure out how to get it. It was only when Harry Potter arrived, believing he was protecting the Stone from Severus Snape, that Voldemort saw a way to get it. Dumbledore would later say, “Only those who wanted to find the stone, but not use it, could get it from the mirror.” Voldemort figured this out, and Quirrell attacked Harry. When he touched Harry, however, his hands blistered and burned. Harry placed his hands on Quirrell’s face, severely injuring him. However, before Quirrell could harm Harry, Lord Voldemort’s soul fled, killing Quirrell in the process.
Reopening the Chamber of SecretsEdit
Template:Dialogue a-b-a-b Voldemort returned to the Albanian forest, weaker than ever. He had to wait yet again for someone to help him. Sometime before 1992, Lucius Malfoy came into possession of Tom Riddle’s Diary. This was the same diary created as a Horcrux by Tom Marvolo Riddle as a boy in the 1940s. Malfoy planted the diary on eleven-year-old Ginny Weasley, who brought it to Hogwarts. She began writing in it, and found that a sixteen-year-old Tom Riddle was answering. She found comfort in the diary, not knowing she was being manipulated. The diary slowly drained the life and energy from Ginny, transferring it to itself. Under the diary’s control, Ginny re-opened the Chamber of Secrets and released the basilisk, which petrified several students. While possessed, she also killed Hagrid’s roosters and wrote threatening messages on the school corridors in rooster blood. Ginny became upset and confused, knowing that the diary was doing something to her, and tried to flush it down the toilet in Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom. Harry Potter and Ron Weasley accidentally stumbled upon it, and Harry began communicating with the diary.
When Ginny saw that Harry had the diary, she stole it back for she did not want Harry to find out all the things she had written in the diary, or what she had done while under its influence. When this piece of Voldemort’s soul was ready to take his physical form from Ginny’s life, the diary lured her into the Chamber of Secrets, while ignoring her pleas and cries for mercy. Harry found Ginny in time and destroyed the basilisk with Godric Gryffindor’s Sword. Fawkes also arrived, summoned by Harry’s profound devotion and loyalty to Dumbledore.
This encounter and Horcrux is what revealed Voldemort’s past as “Tom Marvolo Riddle” to Harry. At first, Harry thought he was an ally, and asked him to help. Then, when revealing his future identity to Harry, Riddle implied that he wanted to kill Harry in revenge for destroying him over even continuing Salazar Slytherin’s wish of purging the school of Muggle-borns. Harry used the basilisk’s fang to stab the diary, thinking it would destroy its dark power. Not only was the diary destroyed, but Harry also unknowingly destroyed one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes.
Return to Full StrengthEdit
Template:Dialogue a-b-c Voldemort was still very weak and about to give up all hope when, in 1994, his servant Peter Pettigrew, a.k.a. Wormtail, who had faked his own death years earlier and hid from authorities in his Animagus form of a rat, had returned to his master. Together, they built a rudimentary body that Voldemort used for travel and performing magic. While in this form, Voldemort was forced to drink a potion made from unicorn blood and venom from Nagini the snake to sustain him. Knowing that Dumbledore was sure to have seen the Philosopher’s Stone destroyed, Voldemort knew he would not be able to use the Elixir of Life to create a new body for himself so he would settle on regaining his old body and strength. To achieve this goal, Voldemort would require the use of an old piece of Dark Magic and that required him to return to England to obtain one of the three main necessary ingredients, bone of the father, flesh of the servant, and blood of the enemy.
Pettigrew lured Ministry official Bertha Jorkins to Lord Voldemort in his forest hideout in Albania. He used magic to glean information about the Triwizard Tournament from Jorkins. Before killing her, Voldemort interrogated her to find the whereabouts of a loyal Death Eater, Barty Crouch Jr., who had been imprisoned in Azkaban and was thought to be dead. Voldemort uncovered that Barty Crouch Sr. was concealing his son at his home after helping him escape prison. Jorkins had stumbled upon Barty Jr. at his house. Returning to the Riddle House in Little Hangleton, Voldemort also killed Riddle groundskeeper Frank Bryce for overhearing their plan to crash the Triwizard Tournament. They went to the Crouch estate, where Voldemort placed Crouch Sr. under the Imperius Curse and freed Crouch Jr. Voldemort ordered Crouch Jr. to capture Alastor Moody, the new Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor at Hogwarts. Crouch Jr. and Peter Pettigrew did so, and created Polyjuice Potion which Crouch Jr. used to impersonate Moody for the entire school year. He influenced the Tournament for months, ensuring that Harry would be the one to get to the Triwizard Cup first which, unbeknownst to anyone, was a Portkey.
Harry, in the spirit of sportsmanship, requested Cedric Diggory to tie with him for the win. When they both touched the Portkey, they were transported to a cemetery in Little Hangleton where Wormtail and Voldemort were waiting. Under Voldemort’s orders, Pettigrew murdered Cedric with the Killing Curse and went on to have Harry tightly bound and gagged to the Riddle Family tombstone. After Wormtail had placed Voldemort’s rudimentary body into a cauldron containing the near finished potion, he added the first two ingredients before he proceeded to obtain Harry’s blood and added it to the Potion for his master’s rebirth. Once the final ingredient was added, the potion was complete and the cauldron dissolved in flames. Voldemort regained his physical body and emerged from the cauldron, already robed. The reborn Dark Lord proceeded to take some time examining his body and getting reaccustomed to it. Then he called for his servant to show him his arm and used the now returned Dark Mark to summon his Death Eaters. Those who were perhaps most loyal to him, save for those who willingly went to Azkaban in his name, appeared. Voldemort welcomed them before he scorned them for believing him to be dead and informed them that he would expect better of them now that he had returned.
Voldemort then set his attention on Harry, and began to mock and humiliate the boy before the Death Eaters. He then had Harry untied so he could force the young wizard into a duel where the Dark Lord had a greater advantage over Harry. After inflicting the Cruciatus Curse and the Imperius Curse on Harry, Voldemort was ready to end the one sided duel and kill Harry once and for all. Yet as Voldemort cast “Avada Kedavra,” Harry simultaneously cast “Expelliarmus” and their twin-core wands became locked in Priori Incantatem.
People who had been killed by Voldemort’s wand came out as spectral visions. First Cedric Diggory, then Frank Bryce, followed by Lily and James Potter. They encouraged Harry, while distracting Voldemort. Harry pulled away and had enough time to grab Cedric’s body and the Triwizard Cup to return to the Hogwarts grounds.
Voldemort now had some of his followers, but Barty Crouch Jr. had been discovered, and was subjected to the Dementor’s Kiss before he could be tried before the Wizengamot. Thus, the only knowledge of Voldemort’s return was Harry’s word, which was vigorously disputed by the Ministry. Voldemort was able to grow in power in secret.
Second Wizarding WarEdit
Battle for the ProphecyEdit
Template:Dialogue a-b-a In 1995, Dumbledore reconvened the Order of the Phoenix once more, using Sirius Black’s family home at 12 Grimmauld Place as headquarters. Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley set up a similar organization at Hogwarts called Dumbledore’s Army, which was originally created to thwart the Ministry’s meddling at the school under Dolores Umbridge.
Voldemort was now after the aforementioned prophecy housed in the Department of Mysteries, wanting to hear the whole of it. At this time, many of Voldemort’s most loyal Death Eaters, such as Bellatrix Lestrange, escaped from Azkaban and returned to his side.
Voldemort’s first attempt at securing the prophecy was to have Lucius Malfoy put Order member Sturgis Podmore under the Imperius Curse and send him to take the prophecy. However, Sturgis was unable to get into the Department of Mysteries. His next attempt was to use the Imperius Curse on an Unspeakable named Broderick Bode. He was ordered to retrieve the prophecy, but was seriously injured in the process and was put into a permanent ward at St Mungo’s. From this, Voldemort learned that the only people who could retrieve a prophecy are the people who are included in the prophecy. Voldemort could not risk going into the Ministry himself, so he used a telepathic link through Harry Potter’s scar to cause him to go there instead.
Members of Dumbledore’s Army, including Harry, Hermione, Ron, Luna Lovegood, Ginny, and Neville Longbottom went to the Department of Mysteries seeking to rescue Sirius Black, who they believed to be trapped there. Harry wound up retrieving the prophecy from its shelf. At once, Death Eaters appeared, demanding Harry hand over the prophecy. The six D.A. members fought back, and during the battle that ensued, the prophecy was destroyed. Voldemort was forced to come to the Ministry, but upon learning of its destruction he tried to murder Harry.
Voldemort’s attempt was foiled by Albus Dumbledore, and a fantastic duel ensued. The duel came to a draw when Voldemort attempted to possess Harry instead, hoping Dumbledore would kill Harry in an attempt to destroy him at last, but Harry’s heart, full of grief over the loss of his godfather Sirius, was able to force Voldemort out of his mind. Voldemort fled when Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge and other Ministry officials arrived. Voldemort’s cover was blown and many of his Death Eaters, including Lucius, were taken into custody and sent to Azkaban.
The start of open warEdit
Template:Quote With Voldemort no longer needing to keep his actions silent, the Second Wizarding War had begun. The Dementors left Azkaban to side with the Dark Lord, who could offer them more scope for their powers. As a result, there were many attacks by the monsters. Mass Muggle killings and the destruction of bridges, were rampant. What was claimed to be a hurricane to the Muggle world was in fact a rampage by the giants, whom Voldemort had drawn into allegiance. Voldemort himself dueled and killed Amelia Bones, the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, who was described as having put up a good fight against him and as one of the greatest witches of the age.
In 1996, Draco Malfoy was inducted as a Death Eater, as Voldemort required a spy within Hogwarts. He ordered Draco to kill Albus Dumbledore, for he wished to punish Lucius Malfoy for his failings by giving his son a task he could not do. If Draco failed, he would meet terrible consequences. However, Draco was able to sneak a group of Death Eaters into Hogwarts through a pair of Vanishing Cabinets that connected Borgin and Burkes with the Room of Requirement. The Battle of the Astronomy Tower ensued.
Voldemort’s plans were carried out when Severus Snape used the Killing Curse on Albus Dumbledore. Although the Death Eaters fled Hogwarts, the intrusion of Hogwarts Castle signified that there was no longer a single place safe from the Dark Lord.
Summer of 1997Edit
Voldemort then took over Malfoy Manor as his headquarters. During the summer of 1997, he captured the Hogwarts Professor of Muggle Studies, Charity Burbage, and killed her during a meeting at Malfoy Manor with his Death Eaters before feeding her to Nagini. He also imprisoned and interrogated the kidnapped wandmaker, Garrick Ollivander, about why his wand could not duel against Harry Potter’s wand. Ollivander revealed that their wands shared the same core, and would not work properly against each other. This came as a great relief to Voldemort, who worried that Harry had escaped from him in the graveyard by superior skill. Ollivander told Voldemort that he merely needed another’s wand, and so he took Lucius Malfoy’s.
When Harry Potter left 4 Privet Drive for the final time, Voldemort flew to the scene with his Death Eaters to fight the Order of the Phoenix. In the ensuing battle, Voldemort murdered Alastor Moody. When he attempted to attack Harry, Harry’s wand reacted in a bizarre way, releasing a Disarming Charm at him and destroying Malfoy’s wand. Before Voldemort could react, Harry reached the protection of the Burrow, and Voldemort was forced to retreat. Voldemort returned to his headquarters at Malfoy Manor and tortured Ollivander with the Cruciatus Curse. Ollivander told him truthfully that never in wandlore has he ever heard of such a thing happening between two wands. Voldemort ordered Ollivander to tell him everything he knew about the legendary wand known as the Elder Wand, otherwise known as the Deathstick or the Wand of Destiny.
Template:Quote Shortly after this, the Ministry of Magic was compromised and fell to the power of Voldemort when Minister Rufus Scrimgeour was murdered, the official version being he retired. News of this came to the Order of the Phoenix during the wedding of Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour at the Burrow due to Kingsley Shacklebolt’s Patronus. Voldemort established a totalitarian police state, with Pius Thicknesse, under the Imperius Curse, serving as a puppet Minister for Magic and Death Eater Yaxley as the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. The Muggle-Born Registration Commission was created to round up Muggle-borns and imprison them in Azkaban. Harry Potter was declared Undesirable Number One with a reward on his head, on the basis he was wanted for questioning over the death of Dumbledore. Severus Snape, meanwhile, took over as Headmaster of Hogwarts. Voldemort placed a Taboo Curse on his name which enabled his Death Eaters to instantly locate anyone who spoke his name out loud in the open. He chose not to publicly declare himself Minister in order to maintain an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty.
The search for the Elder WandEdit
- Main article: Mission For The Elder Wand
Template:Dialogue a-b With his servants taking care of business in Britain, Voldemort travelled to Germany to seek out the acclaimed wandmaker Gregorovitch and obtain the Elder Wand.
Eventually, after murdering people who got in his way, Voldemort found him, but was informed that the wand had been stolen. Voldemort performed Legilimency on Gregorovitch and saw the memory of a young blond boy who stole the wand. Voldemort demanded to know the identity of the thief, but when Gregorovitch didn’t know it, Voldemort killed him. Shortly after this, Nagini summoned Voldemort to Godric’s Hollow, where Harry and his companion Hermione Granger were visiting the graves of James and Lily Potter and investigating the possibility that Bathilda Bagshot might have the Sword of Gryffindor. Harry and Hermione barely managed to escape. However, Voldemort found a picture of the aforementioned blond boy at the home of Bathilda Bagshot; this boy turned out to be none other than the Dark Lord Gellert Grindelwald, whom Albus Dumbledore had defeated in the 1940s.
Voldemort broke into the prison Nurmengard, where Grindelwald was being held, and demanded to know the location of the Elder Wand. After some awkward tension, Grindelwald told Voldemort that the Elder Wand lied with Dumbledore, buried in the earth. Voldemort immediately Apparated to Hogwarts, where he met with Severus Snape and proceeded to break into Dumbledore’s tomb and thus stole the Elder Wand.
Battle of HogwartsEdit
Template:Quote Following this, Voldemort was informed by several goblins from Gringotts that Harry and his friends had robbed the Lestranges’ vault. This caused Voldemort to panic, and when he was informed that a small golden cup had been stolen, he was enraged. He realized at that moment that Harry was hunting his Horcruxes, but he could not figure out how he had discovered his secret when he never told anyone. (In truth, Dumbledore and Harry had worked out, from studying Voldemort’s past, that Voldemort had created Horcruxes, and also what the Horcruxes were.) Voldemort listed all the locations of his Horcruxes in his mind, unaware that Harry was connected to his mind at the time, and unwittingly revealed that his last Horcrux was at Hogwarts.
Following these revelations, Voldemort went to check out the Gaunt shack and the Cave, only to discover to his fury and horror that the Horcruxes stored there were missing and thus likely destroyed. He then returned to Hogwarts. By the time he got there, the residents had already ousted the Death Eaters teaching there and had begun preparing a defense against him. He rounded up his entire army of Death Eaters, Snatchers, werewolves, giants, Dementors, and Acromantulas, and commanded his army to fight the Aurors, professors, and students who were in the castle: the Battle of Hogwarts ensued. Voldemort himself was not present at the battle; he was investigating why the Elder Wand did not work any differently from his old wand. He came to the conclusion that it needed to accept him as a master, and ordered Nagini to kill Severus Snape, believing this would solve the problem by transferring mastery of the wand to himself.
One hour armisticeEdit
Template:Quote Voldemort then called a one-hour armistice, requesting Harry Potter in exchange for peace and no further deaths. Unbeknownst to Voldemort, Harry carried within him the seventh Horcrux, the scar on his forehead, which was formed when Voldemort failed to kill him in 1981. When Harry met Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest, Voldemort used the Killing Curse on him almost immediately, but only destroyed the Horcrux, rendering his scar “normal.” What was not revealed to Voldemort was that when he used Harry’s blood three years prior to gain himself a new body, the blood passed Harry’s mother’s protection to Voldemort and anchored Harry to the living world through Voldemort. Harry was merely knocked to the ground and feigned death. Voldemort, as a result of destroying his soul shard in Harry, was also knocked out.
Unsure of what had just happened, Voldemort ordered Narcissa Malfoy to examine Harry’s body. Narcissa did so and pronounced Harry Potter dead, eliciting celebration from the Death Eaters. Voldemort declared that no man could threaten him any more. He then forced the captured Rubeus Hagrid to carry the body back to Hogwarts for all to see. Voldemort did not realise, however, that Narcissa had lied to him in order to enter the castle to find her son.
Gloating over Harry’s “death”Edit
“Harry Potter is dead. [...] Stupid girl. Harry Potter is dead. From this day forth, you put your faith in me. Harry Potter is dead! And now is the time to declare yourselves. Come forward and join us...or die.” —Voldemort after emerging from the Forbidden Forest, believing Harry to be dead and the battle won Voldemort and his army marched to Hogwarts, proclaiming the death of Harry Potter and his victory, forcing Hagrid to carry the body. Voldemort claimed Harry had been killed while trying to escape. Neville Longbottom, instead of surrendering, stepped forward and gave a speech to him, only to be rebuffed. Neville was able to pull Godric Gryffindor’s Sword from the Hat, and Harry revealed himself by jumping from Hagrid’s arms. Enraged, Voldemort attempted to kill Harry, but Harry sprinted into the castle as the fighting resumed. He turned to see a fraction of his Death Eaters retreating. After knocking out Neville with a spell, he Disapparated with Nagini in pursuit of Harry.
Final Battle and DeathEdit
Template:Dialogue a-b-a During the second round of the Battle of Hogwarts, Voldemort Apparated into a dusty seventh floor corridor where Harry was. With a basilisk fang in hand, Harry emerged from his hiding spot and fired a Stunning Spell at Voldemort, which he blocked. The Dark Lord then fired Killing Curses at Harry, which Harry blocked, due to the Elder Wand’s unwillingness to kill Harry. After firing this barrage, Voldemort Disapparated behind Harry, and Harry barely blocked a Killing Curse with his Disarming Charm; the two spells met and clashed. Voldemort advanced on Harry, with Nagini ready to attack. Harry threw the tendrils above into the ceiling causing an explosion and the ceiling to collapse in front of Voldemort. Harry turned to see Nagini and was about to stab her with the basilisk fang when Voldemort released a shock-wave of dark energy. Harry narrowly evaded it by jumping off the staircase. Voldemort destroyed the basilisk fang with a Killing Curse and Harry began to run. Voldemort Apparated, following him.
Harry ran through the Catwalks by the Quad battlements and turned around to see Voldemort firing a blue energy spell at Harry. Though he deflected it, it instead hit the bridge and Harry fell. As he attempted to run, a part of Voldemort’s cloak grabbed and strangled Harry. As it continued to wrap Harry, Voldemort then threw Harry into a stone pillar and proceeded to punch Harry and kick him. As Harry attempted to regain his footing, Voldemort strangled him briefly and threw him to the floor. He hardly punched him again. Harry told Voldemort that the Elder Wand will always fail him. Voldemort pushed Harry back with a spell. Voldemort then advanced, telling Harry he killed Snape. However, Harry informed that the wand belonged to someone else, and then grabbed Voldemort around the neck and threw himself and Voldemort off the castle and into the ravine below.
As the two wizards screamed, Voldemort apparated both of them away from the ravine. As they flew through the air, Harry and Voldemort began grappling each other and slammed into the roof of the school. Eventually they crash-landed into the Viaduct Courtyard; the impact forced their wands out of their hands. Injured, but still energized, they desperately reached for them. Once attained, Voldemort and Harry’s Killing Curse and Disarming Charm respectively clashed. However, Voldemort unwillingly broke free of the bond, feeling Nagini, his last Horcrux, destroyed. After a pause in the duel, their spells clashed once more - although this time, Voldemort realized the Elder Wand is failing him. The connection between the two spells was moving closer to the tip of the Elder Wand; the Elder Wand released green light from the fissures running along its length to Voldemort’s hand, causing his entire arm to blacken and spread. The curse rebounded, and Harry Disarmed Voldemort. The Elder Wand flew to Harry and Harry caught it. Voldemort screamed in horror and disintegrated into ashes. Tom Marvolo Riddle was destroyed once and for all.
Harry Potter: “Professor, what is that?” Albus Dumbledore: “Something beyond neither of our help.” — Harry and Dumbledore looking at Voldemort’s soul After his death, Voldemort’s body was moved to a separate chamber away from the Great Hall. It is unknown what happened to it afterwards. Voldemort’s mutilated soul was, meanwhile, trapped in Limbo for eternity, unable to move on or return as a ghost.
Earlier in life, Tom Marvolo Riddle was tall and handsome, with pale skin, jet black hair, and dark eyes. When Harry saw him in the a memory in the Pensieve, he saw that there was no trace of the Gaunt family in his face, and that he was his father in miniature: “tall for eleven years old, dark-haired and pale”. Riddle’s good looks continued to increase as he grew older, and he cunningly used them to charm many of the teachers at Hogwarts.
However, as he became more involved in the Dark Arts, his good looks left him, with his features becoming waxy and increasingly reptilian, and his skin becoming as pale as snow. The whites of his eyes took on a perpetually blood-shot look. After he regained his body, however, Voldemort was described as having pale white skin, a skeletally thin body, and dark scarlet eyes with cat-like slits for pupils. He had a chalk-white face that resembled a skull, snake-like slits for nostrils, and long, thin hands with unnaturally long fingers like spider’s legs.
It is also mentioned that Voldemort had no hair or nose. He had long, sharp, pale fingernails, and took to wearing a black hooded cloak and several sets of elegant black robes. Voldemort had a rather high, cold voice which was sometimes described as being sibilant. The transformation into his monstrous state is believed to have been the result of creating his Horcruxes, becoming less human as he continued to divide his soul. Dumbledore also speculates that Voldemort may have gained his hideous appearance by undergoing dangerous magical transformations.
Personality and TraitsEdit
Template:Quote Voldemort was considered by many to be “the most evil wizard in hundreds and hundreds of years”. His nature far exceeded that of any common evildoer and he “went beyond normal evil” in the extent of his crimes. Hagrid claimed that while all Dark Wizards “go bad”, Voldemort went “worse than worse”. Indeed, Voldemort speedily developed into a power-crazed megalomaniac of the worst kind.
He was highly intelligent, as evidenced by his top performance at Hogwarts and his tremendous magical achievements, but his interests were narrowly focused on the usefulness of people, objects, and powers to his goals. His inability to see the larger picture and inattention to events, powers and human traits that were not immediately useful to him was a serious flaw that led to most of his setbacks and ultimately his downfall.
After his first defeat, many believed that he had yet to be truly vanquished, and would one day return on the grounds that there was not enough humanity left in him to die in the first place. During his lifetime including much of his childhood, he was shown to be highly ruthless and sadistic, showing as little mercy to his followers as he did his enemies. According to Dumbledore, he felt no desire or need for human companionship or friendship. The closest he came to caring about another living being was feeling affection for his pet snake, Nagini.
Voldemort thought of everything in terms of power (which he equated to domination through magical ability). He was somewhat willfully ignorant of people or matters which he considered to have no value. He was dismissive of the unique magic of house-elves due to their status, and thus was dealt major setbacks by house-elves on two occasions: first Kreacher, who escaped the cave with the locket due to the sacrifice of his beloved master, Regulus Black, and Dobby, who bypassed the defences of Voldemort’s headquarters (because Voldemort had neglected to render it inaccessible to house elves as he had to wizards) and helped Harry Potter escape right before Voldemort could arrive to kill him.
Voldemort was extremely independent, and preferred to operate in secrecy whenever possible. Dumbledore claimed that even if he had managed to obtain the Elixir of Life, he would have eventually found his dependency on it intolerable because it would have robbed him of his sense of self-reliance. Instead, he preferred to make Horcruxes, which were magical extensions of himself. Voldemort was a pathological narcissist, and believed in his superiority to the point that he frequently referred to himself in the third person as “Lord Voldemort.” If Voldemort looked into the Mirror of Erised, he would see himself, all-powerful and eternal.
Voldemort had very little attachments to anything that did not amplify his fame or existence, describing his followers as his “friends”. However, he viewed them as nothing more than disposable pawns to carry out his tasks, only valuing their usefulness and physical abilities. Despite doting on pure-bloods, he was willing to execute any of them (or anyone else) if it suited him, even if they were completely loyal to him. Even his wand, which served him powerfully and faithfully for nearly six decades, was disposable when he discovered the even more powerful Elder Wand. The reason he valued his horcruxes was because they were an extension of himself, having a portion of his soul encased within each, while the reason he chose the objects he used was because they were significant in either historical value or personal sentiments, which therefore would emphasise his status as the most famous wizard on the entire planet.
Voldemort himself did not value his fellow human beings except to the extent that they were useful to him. He often described his followers as ‘friends’ and his Death Eaters even as ‘family’, but in no way treated them like an ordinary person does their friends or family. He demanded his followers’ unswerving loyalty and obedience, spitefully took revenge for their mistakes or even bad luck by torture or going after family members and mistreated or even killed them at the slightest provocation. His cold-blooded murder of the man he believed to be one of his most powerful and useful followers, Severus Snape, just to be sure he was the true master of the Elder Wand and his callous attempt to sacrifice Draco Malfoy by ordering him to assassinate Dumbledore as punishment for Lucius Malfoy’s blunders, are evidence of this.
Template:Quote The fact that Voldemort was conceived under slaved love (theorised to be a love potion by Dumbledore or to be the Imperius Curse by Harry)—administered/used by witch Merope Gaunt to Muggle Tom Riddle Sr. - was related to his inability to understand love: it was a symbolic way of showing that he came from a loveless union - but of course, everything would have changed if Merope had survived and raised him herself and cared for him. The enchantment under which Tom Riddle fathered Voldemort is important because it shows coercion, and there can't be many more prejudicial ways to enter the world than as the result of such a union.
As a child at Hogwarts, and in the early years of his adult life, Riddle was considered an intelligent, polite person who showed an enthusiasm to learn and was able to use his superficial charm to make many do his bidding. He described himself being viewed by others as poor, but brilliant, parent-less, but so brave, a school prefect, a model student. His reputation as a model pupil had earned him the trust and respect of his teachers and of the customers he was sent to deal with at Borgin and Burkes. However, this was all a ruse, as he was very manipulative, with Dumbledore claiming that there were a number of “nasty incidents” that happened throughout his time at Hogwarts that the authorities were never completely able to link to him. In his youth, Voldemort was capable of charming everyone at Hogwarts except Albus Dumbledore and surround himself with a group of “friends” which would eventually become his Death Eaters.
Voldemort’s arrogance inevitably led to his major downfall. He also suffered from a pathological fear of death, which he regarded as a shameful and ignominious human weakness. He equated death with being defeated or loss of domination, the ultimate humiliation. His Boggart would be his own corpse, which shows his extreme fear of death. The biggest difference between Harry and Voldemort was that Harry accepted mortality, which ultimately made him a stronger person than his nemesis.
Voldemort had an extremely obsessive nature. When Harry glimpsed into his mind, he often saw repetitive imagery, symptomatic of Voldemort’s inability to let go of thoughts or diversify his interests. In his fifth year, he travelled with Voldemort down the locked corridor in the Department of Mysteries for many nights. During the second war, he followed Voldemort’s unfolding obsession with the merry-faced thief, Grindelwald, and the Elder Wand. He was able to use Voldemort’s compulsive mental check of his horcruxes to uncover the location of the one he had not yet found: Ravenclaw’s Diadem, hidden at Hogwarts.
Voldemort tended to undergo extreme obsessions, such as immortality, pure-blood supremacy, the attempts on Harry Potter’s life, and the search for the Elder Wand. This was reflected in his daily habits as well: he had a magpie-like tendency to collect lots of small objects and hold onto them. As a child, he is shown hoarding things that he stole from the other orphans, which eventually blossomed into his conception of the Horcruxes. Dumbledore said to Harry in the Limbo King’s Cross that his obsession with the Elder Wand was to rival his obsession with Harry himself. The Dark Lord stopped at nothing in his many attempts to kill Harry Potter. The search for the Elder Wand was an extension of his obsession with murdering Harry, which, in turn, was an extension of his preoccupation with immortality (which he felt that Harry’s very existence threatened): ironically, his obsession of eliminating Harry in person, an obsession seemingly multiplied by every single failed attempt, is what led to his own death, as Dumbledore noted that Voldemort was no different from any other tyrant in paranoid fear of an individual rising against him because of his own obsessive actions. This trait could be traced back to his childhood when he was convinced at first that Dumbledore had come to take him to an asylum.
Few ever saw anything troubling about the young Tom Riddle, but Albus Dumbledore observed psychological issues and their potential dark implications from their very first meeting. Dumbledore described a “magpie-like tendency” to collect trophies, to obsess over his collection, that led him to make a correct guess at what was behind the secret of his immortality: multiple Horcruxes. Dumbledore noted a similarity between Voldemort and other famous tyrants, in that obsessive actions driven by paranoia can bring about the thing most feared. Tom Riddle remained charming and well-liked as a young adult, and at first seemed to be aiming lower on the scale of ambition than his talents would have supported. He used his stint at Borgin and Burke’s to develop his knowledge of the Dark Arts, and to track and collect powerful magical objects. Only a few people ever had an ominous feeling about his imminent rise as a powerful dark wizard: Hepzibah Smith, who saw his eyes flash red with avarice when he saw her treasured artefacts, and, again, Albus Dumbledore, who refused to give him a job teaching at Hogwarts. realising he would use his influence as a teacher to recruit students and do evil.
Gradually taking more and more power, eliminating rivals and those who stood up to him, and transforming his appearance and his social image into a serpentine persona that inspired a level of fear so profound that wizards avoided mentioning his name even after they thought him dead, Voldemort reached the peak of his powers in 1980. Despite his narcissistic nature, Voldemort could acknowledge his mistakes; he accepted the fact that the destruction of his body was more his fault then Harry’s. However, though Voldemort could acknowledge his mistakes, he didn’t learn from them, especially relating to matters he did not value such as love. When he was angry, Voldemort was unpredictable: he was capable of being cold and calm but could also explode with rage and when he lost his temper he never hesitated to slay even his own loyal followers. He expected complete respect from his Death Eaters but did not truly care for any of them in return. Bellatrix Lestrange was obsessively in love with him (incidentally, this somewhat mirrored the fascination that Voldemort’s mother had with his father), but he never returned the romantic feelings due to his lack of understanding and desire for love.
One flaw that Voldemort did not possess, despite his egomania, was thinking himself infallible. He acknowledged his mistakes on several occasions, and with the candor and charm that had won him followers in the first place, he sought to make hay of his missteps, openly revealing such unflattering information to his followers and using it to illustrate how he could use his wits to further enhance his powers. Upon his return, Voldemort showed a degree of such calculated humility. He did not announce his rebirth to anyone besides supporters, realising he was not yet strong enough to take on the Ministry. He also showed his followers leniency, even though they had not sought to help him after his downfall, realising he could not afford to mistreat them until returning to full strength. His first downfall was brought about by his greatest flaw: disregarding that which he could not understand. He did not realise that trying to cast a Killing Curse on a victim after killing a protector who had voluntarily sacrificed themselves would result in the curse rebounding off due to the magic of love.
Voldemort’s talents for sowing discord and mistrust showed during the Second War, as did his uncontrollable temper. As he neared the last days of his life, he made error after error, alienating his followers with a grisly display of mass murder in the aftermath of the Gringotts robbery, tipping Harry off to the location of the last unknown Horcrux due to a compulsive mental check of their location accompanied by fear, which he should have known would make the thoughts readable on his and Harry’s soul fragment connection, and neglecting to notice the signs of Harry’s closeness to defeating him, Snape’s duplicity and Dumbledore’s last plan.
Deep under his terrifying demeanour, Voldemort was capable of fear whenever he didn’t feel that things were completely in his control. On some occasions, such as when he tried to murder Harry while he was a defenceless baby, Voldemort displayed cowardice. He was also furious, yet terrified, when he found out that Helga Hufflepuff’s Cup was stolen. Voldemort was also more afraid than Harry was when their wands formed Priori Incantatem, although he refused assistance from his followers. Nevertheless Voldemort was capable of suppressing and concealing his fears and confronting the things that threatened him. When he entered Morfin Gaunt’s home as a teenager and confronted his deranged uncle, even Harry could not help but admire his bravery when witnessing the event in Dumbledore’s Pensieve. Voldemort was also bold enough to engage Albus Dumbledore in a duel, notwithstanding the fact that Dumbledore was considered the most powerful wizard alive, with the possible exception of the Dark Lord himself. Additionally, Dumbledore’s power was augmented because he was wielding the Elder Wand (though Voldemort didn’t know about the Elder Wand at the time). However, his willingness to challenge Dumbledore was more out of his arrogant sense of self, rather than any sense of bravery or chivalrous sense of honor. Voldemort was skilled at hiding his fears and seemed to be able to overcome most of them, the only exception being his fear of death.
Voldemort was also a liar and a hypocrite, even when he was a child. He was sadistic to other children in the orphanage where he grew up and opened the Chamber of Secrets while at Hogwarts, resulting in the death of a fellow student. When confronted by Dumbledore on both occasions he denied any involvement. He also lied to Slughorn about his reasons for wanting to gain knowledge on Horcruxes. A further example of this is how Voldemort deemed himself a “Merciful Lord” with respect for his enemies, when in fact he considered everyone he had killed to be “worthless (as he held no regard for them) and nameless” (he had killed so many that they became vague figures and not people with names to him) and used the words “The more the better” regarding how many people died fighting his army. Voldemort also announced to Hogwarts after Harry’s supposed demise that he had died whilst trying to run away for fear of his own life, despite knowing full well that Harry had willingly walked to what he believed was his death in the hopes of saving his friends. However, Voldemort did have moments in his life where he was willing to keep his word: after his discussion on Horcruxes with Professor Slughorn he promised not to tell anyone about the subject (though this was mainly for Voldemort’s own safety) and gave Hogwarts a chance to turn Harry Potter over to him and leave the school untouched (however this was only keeping with his “Merciful Lord” façade). He also denied his blood purity having been a half-blood himself.
Despite the fact that he maintained a calm, reserved and sophisticated persona, Lord Voldemort was capable of phenomenally explosive and violent fits of rage. His rage would always get the better of him, as shown when he duelled Harry Potter in Little Hangleton, casting curses violently and screaming with fury whilst attacking Harry. He also roared with anger whilst duelling Dumbledore. When he experiences these mood swings, he would instinctively cast Killing Curses at whomever he sees first. The most famous display of fury is when he discovered that Gringotts Bank had been infiltrated, specifically his vault, and he massacred every survivor of the incident out of wrath — this further supports the fact that Voldemort was tremendously afraid of death.
Voldemort was shown to be highly intelligent and charismatic, able to inspire many powerful and influential wizards to follow him as his loyal Death Eaters. He also possessed a dry, cynical sense of humor, usually laughing at others, but also surprisingly capable of laughing at himself. He could not care less what happened to anyone else as long as he got what he wanted or avoided discovery for his crimes, shown as how he framed Hagrid, his uncle and the house elf Hokey for murders he had committed himself. He was never concerned with the consequences of his actions, only if they either benefited him or got him into trouble with the law. A prime example of how selfish Voldemort was, is how he killed Severus Snape, arguably the man who had served him more faithfully and helpfully than anyone, simply to unlock the full power of the Elder Wand.
However, despite Voldemort’s general malicious ways he had proven that he was capable of acknowledging the desires of others but only if those desires did not interfere with his ambitions and were presented by someone whom he deemed a worthy servant. The only time this was ever really seen was when he agreed to Severus Snape’s plea for Lily Evans’ life. Although he did not agree to spare Lily with no conditions, he said he would offer her the chance to live if she did not attempt to stop him from murdering her son. Uncharacteristically, Voldemort followed through on his promise to Snape and gave Lily several chances to step aside. Ironically, doing this is what caused Lily’s death to be a willing sacrifice which is what protected Harry from Voldemort in the first place.
One odd incident in Voldemort’s life, discovered by Harry through an inadvertent mind-reading, occurred on the night he murdered Lily and James. As he walked down a Godric’s Hollow lane on his way to their house, on his way to kill the infant Harry Potter, in a most unusual act of mercy, he decided to spare the life of a Muggle child who had complimented the impressiveness of his “Hallowe’en costume”, not realising that Voldemort was not in costume but a black-robed wizard with a pale, snakelike face. Killing him was an act Voldemort had deemed “unnecessary”. Voldemort’s reasoning for this was not made clear though it can be surmised that Voldemort had chosen not to use magic until he had arrived at the Potter’s house in case his presence was detected by any spies. Another possibility is that Voldemort simply thought the child was not worth his time or effort.
He also seemed to have admired bravery and skill, even when displayed by some of his enemies. After his return in 1995, he remarked to Harry that Harry’s father had died “straight-backed and proud”. Previously, at the end of Harry’s first year at Hogwarts, he had referred to the Potters as “brave” and said that James Potter I “put up a courageous fight”. During the Battle of Hogwarts, he appreciated Neville Longbottom’s “spirit and bravery” and wanted him to become a Death Eater. Neville refused.
Typical for a Slytherin and unlike his blood traitor mother, especially as the Heir of Salazar Slytherin, Voldemort greatly believed in blood purity. In fact, his beliefs were far more extreme than an average pure-blood supremacist. This may actually reflect on his father’s Social-Darwinist view on the class system. At the age of 16, Voldemort released Salazar Slytherin’s Basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets in order to purge the school of Mudbloods, thus showing his murderous hatred towards them, and kept a diary Horcrux to continue his actions, putting at risk a precious piece of his soul for his ideals. However, he was too much of a coward to give his life for his “cause”. Voldemort’s obsession with blood purity also bred a strong disgust and hatred for the Muggle world. There are several indications — such as the statue Voldemort erected in the Ministry of Magic depicting Muggles being crushed — that Voldemort planned to manipulate and take over the Muggle government of Britain had he been successful. In addition, Voldemort, shortly after his return to physical form, told Harry about his Muggle family, only later to rebuke their memory and herald the return of his “true family”.
In his later life, Voldemort claimed that Muggle-borns were actually Muggles who stole magic from real wizards and witches, rather than actually inheriting it rightfully and so deserved to be punished for it. Whether he knowingly made this theory up or truly believed it (or if he was the first proponent of it) is unknown. He ruthlessly murdered Charity Burbage for supporting Muggle-borns. Despite his racist beliefs, however, he allowed the werewolf Fenrir Greyback to join his cause, though did not consider him an official Death Eater. It is also interesting to note that he was willing to allow Lily Potter to join him despite the fact that she was Muggle-born. This showed that if the wizard or witch was exceptionally talented, Voldemort was capable of suppressing his hatred towards Muggle-borns and half-bloods, as long as they were willing to serve him.
Despite his hatred towards non-pure-bloods, Voldemort himself was a half-blood. Under his rule for a year, he allowed half-bloods to continue to attend Hogwarts, albeit with less respect. Voldemort was ashamed of his Muggle-sided parentage so much that he denied it, left misleading hints that he was a pure-blood and proudly presented his ancestry from Salazar Slytherin. However, Bartemius Crouch Jr. appeared to be aware that Voldemort was a half-blood, telling Harry that he and Voldemort both had very disappointing fathers (though more likely that Voldemort simply relayed the disappointing father part, ignoring his blood status).
Voldemort’s origins were extremely humble even by Muggle standards. He grew up in an orphanage. His parents were the daughter of the Gaunts, the last decrepit, incest-ridden branch of the Slytherin family, and the son of a smug, haughty, rich Muggle family, who abandoned him. These humble origins made him an unlikely lightning rod for the wizarding aristocracy’s pure-blood supremacist values, but due to his power, ability to trace lineage directly to Salazar Slytherin, and willingness to give their cause a platform and an apparently sympathetic ally, he gained their support, and, in time, put them into a state of impressed terror that rendered their support unwavering. Voldemort found it useful to maintain a system of followers drawn from the Slytherin-centric Wizarding aristocracy, disaffected paupers with long-gone noble origins, as well as criminal elements, and in their company spoke like one of them, lecturing on themes of blood purity, Muggle inferiority, and the proper order of society. On one occasion, he even tortured and murdered a witch considered to be a blood traitor, Charity Burbage, for their pleasure. But Voldemort did not truly work for their cause, only allowing them to set up a pure-blood supremacist regime at the Ministry of Magic for his own reasons: to control the government, to compensate them for their service and to ensure their continued loyalty. Voldemort’s preoccupations were increasing his own dominion and stamping out opposition: the wizarding aristocracy’s concerns were of no real interest to him. The alliance between Voldemort and the Death Eaters was a natural result of Voldemort’s ancestry, of having been raised in Slytherin house, and of promises to help them achieve their ends, but there should be no mistake — Voldemort was merely using them.
Despite claiming his actions were for the “noble work” of purifying the wizarding race, there is evidence that Voldemort treated this with lesser importance than his preoccupations with immortality and domination. During his time studying at Hogwarts, while he used Slytherin’s Basilisk to attack Muggle-born students, ultimately using the Basilisk to murder Myrtle, he was too cowardly to take credit for the crimes at the time as doing so would result in getting him into trouble with the legal authorities of the magical community. He framed Rubeus Hagrid to both get away with his actions and to keep Hogwarts from closing down, both in his interests at the time. Knowing it wouldn’t be safe to open the Chamber of Secrets again, while he was still at school, he decided to create his Horcrux diary with the intention of repeating his actions through someone else. It was only after creating his identity of Lord Voldemort, that he began to openly acknowledge himself as the Heir of Slytherin, long after most people would have been able to link him to being both Tom Riddle and the one responsible for opening the Chamber of Secrets the first time round. This shows that while he does not full-heartedly support the pure-blood supremacy ideology (if only using it to enter the elite social circles), he does hold Muggles and Muggle-born with contempt for their alleged inferiority.
He was more concerned about eliminating threats to his planned eternal domination of the planet than ensuring pure-blood supremacy: as demonstrated by his efforts to destroy Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter, the Order of the Phoenix and any other opposition to his rule.
According to Dumbledore, Voldemort also had a tendency to break school rules at Hogwarts, a trait that Salazar Slytherin treasured. He would pass this trait, along with Parseltongue to Harry Potter when he accidentally transferred a part of his powers to the boy.
Voldemort was also extremely possessive, even toward objects that weren’t of any use to him such as when he discovered the twin cores of his and Harry’s wand could not kill each other so he asked for Lucius Malfoy’s wand but refused to give Lucius his old one which also complements how egotistical he was. He also had a tendency to hoard trophies or other oddities from his childhood and transformed them into Horcruxes.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
Template:Quote Voldemort was regarded to be the most powerful and dangerous Dark wizard of all time, surpassing even Gellert Grindelwald. His followers noted that he possessed knowledge of magic that nobody could possibly imagine, and even Dumbledore once stated that he was probably the most brilliant student Hogwarts had ever seen.
Even at a young age, Voldemort was able to utilize magic without the use of a wand or even knowing the very existence of magic itself: he had a power to move objects with his mind, to communicate with and control animals, and even inflict harm on those who opposed or annoyed him. This unnaturally high level of control marked him a prodigy even as a child, and as an adult, Voldemort was generally considered to be the most dangerous Dark Wizard who had ever existed, and proved himself capable of holding his own well even against an Elder Wand-wielding Albus Dumbledore. He had experimented and pushed the boundaries of magic farther than they had ever been pushed. Dumbledore himself also acknowledged that Voldemort’s knowledge of magic was more extensive than any wizard alive, and that even his most powerful protective spells and charms were unlikely to be effective if Voldemort was at full power. This degree of power, coupled with his blatant lack of morals, make him an extremely dangerous adversary indeed.
Voldemort was incredibly talented in the Dark Arts, widely considered to be the most powerful practitioner of the Dark Arts the world had ever known. He has a masterful knowledge of the most unknown and complex magic that a Dark wizard was capable of, and was also a masterful practitioner of all three Unforgivable Curses, with a special affinity for the Killing Curse, having murdered enough people to create an entire army of Inferi, and was known to have cast this curse effectively while still under-aged. Voldemort was also capable of developing Dark spells, hexes, charms, jinxes, and powerful curses: he placed one on the position of Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher after being refused the post by Dumbledore, and another on Marvolo Gaunt’s Ring to protect it after it had been made it into a Horcrux. On both counts, not even Dumbledore could lift the curse or jinx completely. Voldemort was also shown to be capable of containing spells and unleashing them in a blast that resembles a shock wave of dark energy: this attack was of such destructive powers that it shattered nearly everything in its path, and even knocked down the extremely powerful Dumbledore.
Voldemort was an exceptionally skillful duellist, being able to hold his own against an Elder Wand-wielding Dumbledore. He was also able to overpower many other prodigious witches and wizards, such as Amelia Bones, and was responsible for the death of the powerful ex-Auror, Alastor Moody. His dueling style was, ironically, much like Dumbledore’s in its unpredictability: he could instinctively switch styles in the blink of an eye, and was extremely aggressive, using powerful Dark magic to overwhelm his opponents. Apparently, he only chose to face opponents whom he saw as worthy adversaries. The only duelist who was shown to truly be Voldemort’s equal was Albus Dumbledore, who was growing old at the time of their duel and was not quite as good as he once was. Harry killed Voldemort, but only because he had, by sheer luck, mastered the Elder Wand before the Dark Lord.
Voldemort may have invented his own potion, known as the Emerald Potion (or the Drink of Despair), which he used to protect Salazar Slytherin’s Locket within the Horcrux cave. He also guided Peter Pettigrew into concocting a Dark and complex Regeneration Potion which resurrected him to corporeal form and full power. He was also the likely inventor of the Rudimentary Body Potion, which Peter used to enable him to assume an extremely weak, barely-alive physical form.
When Voldemort arrived at Hogwarts to steal Dumbledore’s wand, he cast upon himself a Disillusionment Charm that was said to hide him from his own eyes. Like Albus Dumbledore, Voldemort had an incredible proficiency for manipulating and creating the element of fire: he non-verbally and wandlessly created an enormous serpent of fire to attack Dumbledore and Harry during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries. He also unleashed a maelstrom of colossal firestorms on Harry after discovering that the latter had survived, screaming with rage whilst doing so - this supports the fact that his fury will make him more dangerous and destructive in this particular art. Voldemort was a master of Apparation, using this ability twice during his duel with Albus Dumbledore. Voldemort is the only known wizard besides Dumbledore to be able to apparate silently. Template:Dialogue a-b Voldemort was impeccably adept in the use of both Occlumency and Legilimency, being able to shield his own mind and penetrate the minds of others. He was particularly skilled in Legilimency, and gained a reputation as one of the most accomplished Legilimens the world has ever seen. He was able to delve and peer deep into the minds of others, seeing their deepest thoughts. Hence, Voldemort could almost always tell when someone was lying, and was able to use Legilimency to place visions in his victims’ minds, such as the one he sent to Harry Potter in 1996. However, when Narcissa Malfoy lied that Harry Potter was dead, Voldemort believed her. The most remarkable part about this skill was that he seemed to be working on it while he was still a child in the orphanage. Very few people were skillful enough to shield themselves from him, like Severus Snape, Albus Dumbledore, and perhaps Narcissa Malfoy and Gellert Grindelwald. He was also a Parselmouth, a trait he inherited from his ancestor, Salazar Slytherin. It seems that most of his Gaunt ancestors (even his mother, grandfather and uncle) inherited this highly unusual trait; such traits are commonly passed down through families through inbreeding, a practice employed by the Gaunt family.
Voldemort was able to fly without support, defying the law of magic that states objects can only fly through use of a flying charm. He first exhibited this flying ability when in pursuit of Harry Potter over Little Whinging. He frequently used his ability to fly throughout the Second Wizarding War as a surefire way of getting to his destination.
Voldemort is the only wizard mentioned as having created more than one Horcrux. These Horcruxes were Salazar Slytherin’s locket, Helga Hufflepuff’s cup, Nagini, the Gaunt ring, Riddle Diary, Ravenclaw’s diadem, and Harry Potter himself.
Voldemort was somewhat skilled in Transfiguration, as he tends to craft silver objects of reasonable durability through conjuration, as seen when he created an artificial silver forearm and hand for Peter Pettigrew non-verbally. Voldemort could create spells: the spell Morsmordre, which summons the Dark Mark in the sky, was one of Voldemort’s own inventions. He and his followers used it to summon a floating, green Dark Mark, usually over the houses of their victims. He also invented the method of true, unsupported flight (a feat long considered impossible), and taught it to several of his followers.
Voldemort is the only wizard mentioned to have the ability to create and control Inferi, and an army at that, though it is implied that other Dark Wizards, such as Gellert Grindelwald, had used or intended to use them. Indeed, Voldemort was capable of spawning and unleashing an enormous and overwhelmingly powerful horde of Inferi and manipulate them to do a certain task only. Why he refrained from adding Inferi to his attack force when he engaged in the Battle of Hogwarts is unknown, since Inferi could endure phenomenal amounts of damage, even from Killing Curses, and simply get up and continue attacking.
Voldemort has the power to possess living creatures, and gain complete control over their actions by doing so. Once the possession is done, the victims will have no knowledge of what happened. When he lost his body from a rebounding Killing Curse, which left him in a spectral form, possession was the only power that remained with him. This possession shortens the lifespan of the small animals he inhabits, and in the terms of wizards, his face would appear on the back of their head. In this case, it would seem that his possession is partial, as Quirrell had some (albeit little) control over his actions.
Voldemort was also capable of using spells wandlessly and non-verbally, and displayed a proficiency for telekinesis: he used his hand to telekinetically remove the masks from the Death Eaters who returned to him after his rebirth while he scolded them, and disarmed Harry Potter with a simple wave of his arm during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries. He was also able to cast simple charms, Dark spells and other more advanced forms of magic without requiring to speak, which include even Cruciatus and Killing Curses. His most advantageous achievement with this art is when he conjured an enormously large and towering snake made of fire, doing so simultaneously nonverbally and wandlessly. Voldemort has shown the ability to use wands other than his own with no handicap. In 1997, he used Lucius Malfoy’s wand for a period of time, and could even effectively cast a Killing Curse on Charity Burbage. In the following year, he took ownership of the Elder Wand; despite not unlocking the wand’s full power, he was still able to use his usual level of magic (which was described by himself and Snape to be extraordinary), being able to destroy a defensive shield around Hogwarts.
Even at a young age, Voldemort displayed a talent for the manipulation of others, being able to manipulate Horace Slughorn into telling him about Horcruxes and gain the trust of every teacher in Hogwarts, apart from Albus Dumbledore. He also surrounded himself with a group of friends who would become Death Eaters, though Voldemort felt no affection for any of them. Voldemort also used tricks, jinxes, and blackmail to get people to join him. Besides his formidable magical skills and extensive knowledge of magic, Tom proved to be a consummate actor, being able to hide his true nature from almost everyone in Hogwarts except Dumbledore. He was able to convince virtually all of the Hogwarts staff and instructors that his facade of being a model student was his true personality and was able to avoid detection of having opened the Chamber of Secrets.
Under his leadership, the forerunners of the Death Eaters were able to sneak past surveillance while acting under Tom’s command, with several nasty incidences that were never connected to them, showing that even at a young age, Riddle was a very competent leader. As his repeated creation of Horcruxes increasingly compromised his soul and appearance, Tom’s style of leadership presumably changed from the original charismatic rule of the Hogwarts gang to the tyrannical and completely ruthless - though no less effective - command of his Death Eaters demonstrated throughout both the First and Second Wizarding War. The best example of his efficiency as a leader would be the fact that he, with the help of less than fourty united Death Eaters, completely overwhelmed and came very close to dominating the entire population of magical Britain during the First Wizarding War.
Template:Dialogue a-b Voldemort was born Tom Marvolo Riddle, a name he hated due to it being a common name. When he later learned that his father and namesake was a Muggle, he decided to forge his own name, “Voldemort”, from an anagram of his full name (“Tom Marvolo Riddle” is an anagram to “I am Lord Voldemort”). He used his middle name, Marvolo, to track down his magical heritage, due to it being a wizarding name. During this time, Voldemort had adopted the name “The Heir of Slytherin” after learning about the Chamber of Secrets and his descent from Salazar Slytherin. Using this name, he hoped to create a terrifying legacy of his own. Few people ever knew that Voldemort’s true name was “Tom Marvolo Riddle” to begin with.
At first, this name was used to refer to him or to address him. Later, he became so feared in the wizarding community that nearly everyone referred to him only as “You-Know-Who”, “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”, or “The Dark Lord”, the last one used primarily by his Death Eaters and other supporters. Fudge even wrote it to the Muggle Prime Minister rather than saying it. According to Death Eaters, not pronouncing his name is a mark of respect. Albus Dumbledore was one of the few who dared refer to him as “Voldemort,” although he preferred to use the name “Tom”, using the former in conversation, and the latter when addressing Voldemort himself, showing his fearlessness. In ignoring the name Voldemort, Dumbledore disallowed him the intimidation he sought while appealing to what little remained of his former student deep within Voldemort. Dumbledore also insists on others to use the name “Voldemort”, rather than “You-Know- Who”, or such varieties, believing that fear in the name would only increase fear of the thing itself. Much later, Harry, despite never fearing Voldemort in name, would use the name “Tom” in their final confrontation, for the same reasons Dumbledore does. Voldemort would hate it when people dared call him by his forsaken name.
After the coup at the Ministry in 1997, the Taboo curse was placed on the name “Voldemort”; speaking the name would summon Death Eaters, Ministry officials, or Snatchers via Apparition. This was used to find those who opposed Voldemort’s rule, as only they would dare speak the name. This was how Harry, Ron and Hermione were found at Tottenham Court Road and before being brought to Malfoy Manor. Also, Kingsley Shacklebolt barely escaped Death Eaters when he spoke it. The taboo also caused the trio to be captured temporarily and brought to Malfoy Manor. For a full discussion of possible origins of the name, see the Etymology section. One suggestion is that Voldemort is actually formed from a collection of French Roots. Vol = Theft, De = From/Of, Mort = Death, meaning Theft of Death, a name quite suitable for this particular wizard.
In the RiffTrax of some of the films; Michael J. Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy would come up with funny names of Voldemort. Example: Bob Snakeface.
Although J. K. Rowling has never quite explained the origins of the name “Voldemort”, there are some possible theories. “Mors”, or “mortum” is the Latin word for death (which has evolved in many Romance languages as “muerte” or “morte”, and the English word “murder” indeed has its origins in the same root word as “mors”). Therefore, while not necessarily true, the possible meaning of the word “Voldemort” may be either “representative of death” or “ambassador of death”. Another possible etymology is the Proto-Germanic word “evol” (also “yfel”, “yfol”, “yvol, or “eyvfold”, also, the English word “evil” has its roots there), which means “bad” or “evil”, though the word “evol” in fact is not a Proto-Germanic word, with the word meaning “bad, evil” having been “ubilaz” instead. The Arabic word “demuhrt” which means “wizard” or more specifically “dark wizard” could also be an inspiration. Another etymology is the Old Russian word “vuldimortdek”, which simply means “dark wizard”. Yet, the most accurate etymology of Voldemort would be the French sentence “Vol de mort” which literally means “Flight of death” (accurate considering the murder waves he committed and his invention of a spell to achieve unsupported flight). It is quite plausible that is the real etymology of his name as J.K. Rowling herself speaks French and had taught it once. “Vol de mort” can also literally means “Theft of death” in French which can also be accurate since Lord Voldemort’s search for immortality (which would mean he would have to steal his life from Death). The Catalan expression “vol de mort”, also means “flight of death” or, since “Vol” may also be from the Latin root “volere” (will or desire), may mean “death wish”.
J. K. Rowling has said in an interview that the T in Voldemort is silent. This may be to the fact that the French word mort, meaning death, has a silent T. The silent T was maintained in the earlier editions of the audio book releases of the novels, but was discontinued in those releases following the release of the films, in which the T was used out loud. In 2015, Rowling again confirmed in an interview that her preferred pronunciation of the name was with a silent “T,” though she noted her assurance that she was the only person who pronounced it that way.
Tom Marvolo RiddleEdit
Tom is diminutive of the name “Thomas” which means legend or (less appropriately for Voldemort) “kind and generous”. It is used as a formal male given name and common surname. It also means “twin”. This choice can be explained by the fact that, to gain immortality, Tom Riddle divided, twinned in a way, his soul into different pieces so as to survive. Also, τόμος (tomos) is Ancient Greek for “slice” or “piece”, which could link his name to the Horcruxes. A further evidence for that connection is Rowling’s comparison of the making of a Horcrux to the splitting of the atom in terms of significance. The word “atom” derives from the same Ancient Greek word with an added negative prefix, ἄτομος (átomos), meaning inseparable.
Marvolo implies “marvelous,” but also contains the Latin root “volo” meaning “I wish, want, will, ordain, suppose, maintain that, be willing, to mean, signify, or denote.” “Volo” also means “to fly, speed, or move rapidly.” Tom Riddle can be seen as a character who wants to achieve greatness very quickly. It could also derive from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night character Malvolio. He is a Puritan who could not have fun and sought to stop the other servants from enjoying themselves. He is “sick with self love” and dreams of gaining domination. He thinks he is better than the others because he believes he is “pure.” He is constantly the subject of practical jokes. The quote “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them” comes from here. At the end of the play, he swears revenge on the lot of them.
A riddle is “a form of word puzzle designed to test someone’s ingenuity in arriving at its solution.” Riddles were used as a way to both puzzle the audience and teach them to understand poetic language.
Tom Riddle can be seen as a person who is insecure deep-down and seeks to compensate, by abusing others, to feel better about his own unhappiness. He is narcissistic and megolomanical. He highly believes in wizarding “purity”. He wishes to become a legend in wizarding history exceeding all others. Kindness and generosity are traits he is highly lacking in. Tom Riddle has “twined” his soul so as to survive through immortality. He is mysterious and enigmatic, often puzzling others.
Behind the ScenesEdit
Voldemort is played by Ralph Fiennes, who was born in 1962. Given Voldemort’s real age, and the strenuous duties of the role, it is obvious why Voldemort is cast younger (he is said to be in his seventies at the time of his death). Fiennes’ casting, however, makes the screen Voldemort look younger than three of the four Marauders (Sirius, James and Pettigrew), Snape, McGonagall, Molly and Arthur Weasley and Hagrid, characters who are younger than him in the books.
Richard Bremmer portrayed Voldemort in the flashback scene depicting the murder of Lily and James Potter in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. His face (gone through prosthetic makeup and altered with visual effects) was also used for the scene in which Voldemort’s face is finally revealed, though Ian Hart voiced it instead of Bremmer. Archive footage of Richard Bremmer appears in the final film during The Prince’s Tale scene, although upon close-up on his face, he is played by Ralph Fiennes.
In Chamber of Secrets, Voldemort is portrayed by Christian Coulson. In the movie Half-Blood Prince, Tom is portrayed by Frank Dillane as a 16-year-old and also Hero Fiennes-Tiffin as 11-year-old Tom Riddle. The latter is Ralph Fiennes’ nephew. When Voldemort is seen drinking the Unicorn blood, he is portrayed by Theo Kypri. When Voldemort is seen on the back of Quirrell’s head near the end of the film, Ian Hart, who plays Quirrell, also does Voldemort’s voice.
In 2001, Christian Coulson was cast as Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, even though he exceeded the age group Chris Columbus had set for auditions. When Coulson later expressed interest in returning for Half-Blood Prince, David Yates felt Coulson was “too old” to play the role again. Frank Dillane was eventually cast in Coulson’s place. Archive footage of Coulson as Tom Riddle was used in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.
In the film version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Tom Riddle was played by Hero Fiennes-Tiffin at age eleven and Frank Dillane at age sixteen. Michael Berendt was also cast to portray Tom at age eighteen, but his scenes were cut from the final version of the film. When Warner Brothers was casting the role for the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, rumors circulated that both Rowan Atkinson and John Malkovich were considered. Both rumors were proven to be false.
Voldemort is officially played by a total of seven actors: Ralph Fiennes, Ian Hart, Richard Bremmer, Christian Coulson, Hero Fiennes-Tiffin, Frank Dillane and Michael Berendt, although his scenes were cut. This makes him the character to be played by the most actors in the Harry Potter film series. Whether intentional or not, this also rings true for Voldemort’s fascination (and J.K Rowling’s utilisation of it in the series) with the number seven. Ralph Fiennes’ favorite line in the series is “I can touch you now” from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Although Harry Potter only realizes he’s one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes in the final book, Dumbledore tells him that Voldemort put a bit of himself in Harry in the end of the second film.
In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 Voldemort is the default Boggart for people whose Boggart is not described in canon. In the mentioned game, before Voldemort is revived, he is in a baby carriage sucking on a pacifier. Also, for the ritual, Harry’s glasses are taken instead of his blood.
The handle of Voldemort’s wand resembles a bone.
In the city of Edinburgh, UK, near the Elephant Café where Rowling is said to have written some of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, there is a famous cemetery named Greyfriar’s Kirkyard. One of the headstones for those buried outside the walls of the graveyard (due to being suicides or enemies of the church) bears the name Tom Riddell. Rowling has stated that she often walked in the Kirkyard, so this may be a possible origin of the name. In French, Vol de Mort can mean “flight from death”, which reflects his obsession with immortality. It can also mean “Theft of Death”, which is reminescent of the Death Eaters name.
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Voldemort said that his father abandoned his mother when he found out that she was a witch, when he really left after Merope stopped giving him Love Potions. Of course, this may have been how he saw the events, an attempt to twist them to justify his hatred of Muggles or simply his best guess as he might not have realized Merope used the potion. It could be possible that if not before, then possibly after Merope stopped giving her husband the potion, that her being a witch was stated and proven. Based on the words he speaks to Harry in the Little Hangelton graveyard, he indicates his father was anti-magic “he didn’t like magic, my father”, which could have been revealed during a possible conversation between father and son when the young Voldemort confronted his muggle father and grandparents.
In the first film, Voldemort’s eyes are shown to be red, as it is stated in the books. However, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and subsequent film adaptations, Voldemort has light blue eyes, so that they would “show more emotion” than if they were red. Also, young Riddle has dark eyes (as described in the books) in Chamber of Secrets but light blue eyes in Half-Blood Prince. Interestingly, Harry’s eyes were also changed from their much-emphasised color in the books to Daniel Radcliffe’s natural light blue. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, he’s shown with a forked, snake-like tongue, but in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, his tongue is normal.
While “Voldemort” was originally pronounced without the “t”, the letter is pronounced in the films. Although J.K. Rowling states that Voldemort is pronounced without the “t” in the books, the first character to say the name in the series is Hagrid, whose dialogue is often spelled phonetically (e.g. “go boil yer heads, both of yeh”), and the “t” is printed when he says it as well. In the German version, the only canon source that pronounces Voldemort’s name canonically (with a silent t) is the first audiobook version read by Rufus Beck. The second audiobook version read by Felix von Manteuffel, as well as all films and video games, pronounce it with a hearable t.
When BBC Newsbeat published an article titled “Why people are calling American businessman Donald Trump Voldemort” due to his suggestion that all Muslims should be banned from entering the United States of America, J.K. Rowling Tweeted that Voldemort was “nowhere near as bad.”
Riddle was sixteen when he opened the Chamber of Secrets fifty years before the events of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets , making him sixty-six in that book/film. Doing the maths, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, during his final duel with Harry, he is seventy-one, which is the reverse of seventeen, Harry’s age at the time (another possible representation of them being the antithesis of each other). Though his original body “died” at the age of fifty-four when he tried to murder Harry Potter as an infant. Presumably, his resurrection in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire gave him a new fifty-four year old body. His soul, however, tortured and distorted it finally became, would be seventy-one. Otherwise, if he was totally newborn, he would have been three years old when he was finally defeated.
J. K. Rowling has said that it is of important symbolic significance that Voldemort, incapable of love himself, was conceived in an act of coercion, rather than genuine love. She revealed that after his death, Voldemort had to exist in the Limbo Harry talked to Dumbledore’s spirit in, as the crouched human childlike form, and was therefore unable to return as a ghost.
In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, when showing Harry the memory of when he first met Voldemort, the memory vials are labelled “Thomas Marvolo Riddle”.
J.K. Rowling said that had Ginny Weasley died and Tom Riddle escaped the diary, Voldemort would have become stronger. She has also described Voldemort as the most evil dark wizard for hundreds and hundreds of years, a self-hating bully, a raging psychopath devoid of empathy, a power-hungry racist, someone who prefers for his henchmen to do his dirty work for him, and that if psychologists were to get Voldemort in a room, pin him down, and take his wand away, he would be classified as a psychopath.
A 100-foot tall representation of Voldemort was included as part of the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, during a presentation celebrating English children’s literature. He was presented as leading fellow villains the Child Catcher, the Queen of Hearts, Cruella de Vil, and Captain Hook, before being defeated by an army of Mary Poppins. A detailed replica of a Voldemort doll is sold at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Tom Riddle is the only named Slytherin Head Boy.
Oddly enough, despite his obsession with immortality and use of Horcruxes to achieve it, Voldemort died having lived an average Muggle lifespan of 71 years old.
Voldemort had been rejected twice when applying for the job as teacher of Defense Against the Dark Arts. However, Voldemort shared the body of Quirinus Quirrell, who was from that time a teacher of Defense Against the Dark Arts for a year. It is remarked in the story that the turban Quirrell wears smells foul, and most presume it is to protect him from a vampire he encountered in the Black Forest. It is latter revealed that Voldemort was possessing Quirrell, and the smell was possibly owing to him. Ironically Quirrell’s story about a vampire is somewhat true, as Voldemort at the time was in a state between life and death, and himself admits that he is living parasitically off of the weaker man. This even includes making Quirrell drink the blood of unicorns.
Voldemort’s character draws certain parallels to Adolf Hitler: Hitler claimed that the “Aryan” (blond haired, blue eyed Germans) race was the superior of all races and wanted to purify the human race of “non-Aryan” races even though he himself was neither a native German citizen nor representative of the “ideal Aryan” or “Nordic” as presented in the National Socialist world view. Voldemort preached a philosophy of pure-blood superiority despite the fact that he was a half-blood.
Voldemort is similar to Star Wars antagonist Emperor Palpatine. Both characters were born psychopaths who murdered their entire family when they were teenagers. Later on, both characters gained control of the central government - the Galactic Empire and the Ministry of Magic - after their dark powers mutilated their physical appearance. Finally, after they were killed, both characters returned in a new body - through Horcruxes and clones, respectively.
Voldemort is similar to James Bond villain Dr. No, as well as his backstory. He is a member of international conspiracy SPECTRE, who seeks world domination through shadowy means. Dr. No had been born in China to a Chinese mother and a German father. Like Merope Gaunt, Dr. No’s mother died at a very young age. His father refused to care for him when it was revealed he had a wife and kids back in Germany, and the boy was left to fend for himself. In a blood purity comparison, a younger Dr. No fell in with the Tongs, a noted Chinese gang who is mistrusting of anyone not full-blooded Chinese. After embezzling large amounts of money from the Tongs, Dr. No changed his appearance and name (although to save himself from another near-death experience when the Tongs barely failed at murdering him by a brutal beating), to include making himself bald, like Voldemort’s later appearance. Like Voldemort, Dr. No is educated, in this case using some of the ill-gotten money to go to school in Europe, where he became a doctor. However, unlike Voldemort, Dr. No’s new name was meant to remind himself always of his father, whereas Tom Riddle wished not to be named after his father: “I changed my name to Julius No; Julius after my father, No for the fact he refused to care for me after my mother died”. Also compared to Bond is Ralph Fiennes, one of the Voldemort actors, is currently M, 007’s superior officer.
Voldemort has some similar qualities of Sauron in The Lord of the Rings. Both of them were great threats to their world before suffering a crippling defeat, but eventually regained enough strength to become a threat to their world. They both carried the title of Dark Lord. And they both had physical objects that held a part of them that was dependent on their survival and eventual return (Voldemort’s Horcruxes; Sauron’s One Ring). His birth year, 1926, is a year of the Tiger on the Chinese Zodiac sign. He possesses qualities that are often associated with those born under this sign: independence, bravery, ambition, an aggressive attitude, a tendency to be over-confident at times, a short temper, and the ability to charm and seduce others.
In the practice of numerology, his date of birth gives him the number seven as his “life path number”. He once mentioned to Horace Slughorn that seven is the most magical number. His personality includes traits that those with this life number are said to have: being aloof, preferring independence, lacking concern for others, and intimidating others.
Curiously, Riddle began studying at Hogwarts in 1938, one year before World War II struck, and graduated in 1945, the year the war ended and the same year Dumbledore gained mastery of the Elder Wand after defeating Grindelwald.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Template:1st
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (First identified as Tom Riddle) (Appears as a memory)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Template:Mention
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Template:Flashback
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2