In or before 1907
Married or widowed
Mrs. Cole (born in or before 1907) was the matron of the orphanage where Tom Marvolo Riddle lived before attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, in the 1930s. She was skinny and harassed-looking, with a sharp-featured face.
At Wool's Orphanage
- Albus Dumbledore: "I was wondering whether you could tell me anything of Tom Riddle's history? I think he was born here in the orphanage?"
- Mrs. Cole: "That's right. I remember it clear as anything, because I'd just started here myself. New Year's Eve and bitter cold, snowing, you know. Nasty night. And this girl, not much older than I was myself at the time, came staggering up the front steps. Well, she wasn't the first. We took her in, and she had the baby within the hour. And she was dead in another hour."
- — Mrs. Cole relays the history of Tom Riddle's birth to Albus Dumbledore.[src]
On 31 December, 1926, Merope Riddle, not much older than Cole herself, stumbled into the orphanage heavily pregnant with a baby boy and ready to give birth. Mrs. Cole helped her into the orphanage, where she had the baby in no more than an hour. Life escaping from her, Merope spent her last moments instructing Mrs. Cole to name the newborn baby Tom, after his father and Marvolo, after his grandfather. Merope died in another hour, without another word. Cole was apparently so puzzled over the boy's naming that she was convinced that Merope's family were from the circus.  Whether Mrs. Cole relayed this belief to Riddle is unknown.
As Tom grew up Mrs. Cole noticed that he was different from the other children. As a baby he rarely cried, and when he got older she started to notice that "nasty" things seemed to happen to children who bothered him: Billy Stubbs's rabbit was found hanging in the orphanage rafters the day after the two argued; when out on a day trip to the seaside, Amy Benson and Dennis Bishop disappeared with Tom and were never the same when they came back.
Albus Dumbledore's visit
Later on in her career in 1938, Mrs. Cole was visited by Albus Dumbledore, who had come to tell her that the late Merope's eleven-year-old son, Tom Marvolo Riddle, had been accepted into Hogwarts School. This news came as a surprise to Mrs. Cole, as she staggered him repeatedly with questions but, she allowed Dumbledore to visit Tom Riddle in person in his room at the orphanage.
Riddle ended up going to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and received a magical education there. Riddle returned to the orphanage for the summer holidays, but after finishing his education at Hogwarts, he left forever and eventually became known as Lord Voldemort, the most dangerous Dark Wizard since Gellert Grindelwald.
Behind the scenes
- Mrs. Cole was portrayed by British actress Amelda Brown in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
- In the film adaptation, Mrs. Cole is depicted as quite older than the character is in the books, being around thirty in the novel and around fifty or sixty in the film.
- In the novel, Mrs. Cole mispronounces Dumbledore's name by first calling him Dumberton by mistake. But when she tries to correct herself, she mispronounces his name again by calling him Dunderbore. In the film, Mrs. Cole is able to pronounce Dumbledore's name correctly without making any mistakes as we hear her calling him 'Mr. Dumbledore'. This is most likely because the film deleted the drinks she had with Dumbledore before introducing him to Riddle.
- As Mrs. is the title used for married women, it could be presumed the Mrs. Cole had a husband, even though he was never even mentioned in any Harry Potter-related materials.
- In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7, Mrs. Cole is a character that, like goblins, has a key and the power to open safes.
- At one point, Mrs. Cole says: "Oh, well, that's better than a whack on the nose with a rusty poker." In Patrick Süskind's Das Parfüm (Perfume: The Story of a Murderer) a very similar character, Madame Gaillard, cares for that story's main character (and villain) Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, when he spends his youth in an orphanage. Madame Gaillard had been hit by her father with a poker just over the nose, thereby losing her sense of smell.
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (First appearance) (Appears in flashback(s))
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film) (Appears in flashback(s))
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 (Appears in flashback(s))
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Chapter 13 (The Secret Riddle): She says that she "was not much older than Merope" when Merope died in 1926; Merope was 19, so Mrs Cole had to be born in or before 1907 to be "not much older" than Merope.
- ↑ IMDB: Amelda Brown as Mrs. Cole