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House of Gaunt

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Gaunt
Gaunt family
Family heritage
Blood status

Pure-blood

Notable family members
Status

Extinct

Relationships
Related families
Affiliation
House(s)

Most likely Slytherin

"…the Gaunts, a very ancient wizarding family noted for a vein of instability and violence that flourished through the generations due to their habit of marrying their own cousins. Lack of sense coupled with a great liking for grandeur meant that the family gold was squandered...left in squalor and poverty..."
—Albus Dumbledore[src]

The House of Gaunt was a pure-blood family descended from Cadmus Peverell and Salazar Slytherin. They had a tendency of marrying their cousins to keep their blood pure and to retain the traits of their ancestor, most notably the ability to speak Parseltongue. They lived just outside of Little Hangleton.

Ancient history

The House of Gaunt was once a prominent, wealthy family in the wizarding world, and originated from many powerfully magical wizards and witches.

Ancestry

Up until the 20th century, every single member of the Gaunt family was pure-blood. They were also the last known descendants of Salazar Slytherin, as well as descendants of the Peverells, famed ancestors that they take great pride in.

As stated above, the Gaunts inherited their ancestor's ability to speak Parseltongue. Like other pure-blood families of the time, they were supreme advocates of blood purity and were often inbred in order to maintain said "purity." However, by the twentieth century, mentally unstable members of the family had squandered the family's fortune and cost it much of its prestige among elite pure-blood circles.

Gaunt family in the 20th century

By the early twentieth century, the Gaunts had been reduced to poverty, possessing only a few old heirlooms and living in a small, run-down shack. Additionally, generations of inbreeding had made them violent and unstable. Marvolo Gaunt was abusive toward his daughter Merope, whose emotional trauma made it difficult for her to use magic, making others believe she was a Squib. Her brother Morfin spoke in Parseltongue more than English and frequently terrorised Muggles, eventually leading to his imprisonment in Azkaban.

Merope's only child was the notorious Dark Wizard, Lord Voldemort.[1]

Upon the death of Morfin Gaunt, heir to the House of Gaunt, the male line of the Gaunt family ended. The female line continued for several decades, ending with the death of Tom Marvolo Riddle. Neither of the two produced any children or had any other known siblings or cousins.

Gaunt family tree

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Peverell family
 
Slytherin family
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cadmus Peverell
(fl. 1214)
 
Salazar Slytherin
(fl. 993)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(many generations)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
House of Gaunt
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Corvinus Gaunt
(fl. 1700s)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Riddle family
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Thomas Riddle
(18801943)
 
Mary Riddle
(18831943)
 
Marvolo Gaunt
(fl. 1920s)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Tom Riddle
(19051943)
 
Merope Gaunt
(c.1907-1926)
 
Morfin Gaunt
(fl. 1925 - fl. 1943)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Tom Marvolo Riddle
(19261998)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Heirlooms

The locket

Salazar Slytherin's Locket.

Once a very wealthy family, the Gaunt family had squandered much of their gold early due to the Gaunt family's love for grandeur and mental instability, leaving them with very little inheritances for the later generations.

Marvolo Gaunt was in possession of a signet ring passed on from his Peverell ancestors. This ring was eventually turned into a Horcrux by Voldemort and destroyed by Dumbledore with Godric Gryffindor's Sword. It also contained the Resurrection Stone, one of the legendary Deathly Hallows.

Marvolo Gaunt's Ring

Marvolo Gaunt's Ring

The Gaunts also held onto Salazar Slytherin's Locket for many generations. However, Merope later sold it to Borgin and Burkes in order to support herself while she was pregnant. It later came into the possession of Hepzibah Smith, who a teenage Tom Marvolo Riddle killed and stole the locket from (or in Riddle's opinion, retrieving what was rightfully his). He also turned this heirloom of his mother's family into a Horcrux.[1] Much later, it was stolen from its hiding place by Regulus Black, and later destroyed by Ron Weasley, with the Sword of Gryffindor.[2]

Etymology

The word gaunt is defined as "haggard, drawn and emaciated" and "bleak, desolate."[3] John of Gaunt was a fourteenth-century English noble. (A son of king Edward III of England, but as he was only the third son, he and his descendants were not expected to ascend to the throne, which they ultimately did: first through his legitimate male descendants the Lancasters, and then through his debateably illegitimate descendants, by his long time mistress and then third wife Katherine Swynford, the Beauforts. Henry Tudor (later Henry VII)'s mother was a Beaufort, and his claim to the throne derived from her. Therefore, John of Gaunt is an ancestor of the House of Tudor). Gaunt's heir deposed a king and usurped the throne, possibly alluding to the Gaunts' descendant Voldemort's attempts to overthrow wizarding Britain's government and rule it himself. Also, Gaunt's great-grandson, Henry VI, was notorious for his mental instability, which was earlier pointed out as a characteristic of the House of Gaunt, but in Henry VI's case it probably derived from his grandfather, Charles VI of France.

Behind the scenes

Notes and references

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