Some content in this article is derived from information featured in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and, as such, spoilers will be present.
- "I fashioned myself a new name, a name I knew wizards everywhere would one day fear to speak, when I had become the greatest sorcerer in the world"
- —Lord Voldemort in reference to himself[src]
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; the ability to speak Parseltongue; 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. Splitting his own spirit into a total of eight fragments, Lord Voldemort created seven Horcruxes; one unintentionally and without his knowledge - Harry Potter. Abandoning his 'Muggle' name, he became the self-proclaimed Lord Voldemort, which was an anagram of his birth name. He commanded a veritable army of wizards and Dark creatures, committed numerous murders personally and through his followers, and on one occasion nearly succeeded and on a later occasion did succeed in taking over the Ministry of Magic by installing a puppet Minister.
Voldemort was ripped from his body in 1981, after attempting to kill Harry Potter, 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 Harry Potter, following Dumbledore's death, succeeded in destroying all of his Horcruxes.
Unknown to most however, Lord Voldemort's legacy and blood would live on through his daughter Delphini, whom he conceived with his loyal follower Bellatrix Lestrange. Delphini was conceived sometime after the Battle of the Department of Mysteries in 1996 and before Voldemort's death at the hands of Harry Potter in 1998.
- "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."
- —Description of the House of Gaunt[src]
By Harry Potter's time, Tom's family on his mother Merope's side were the last known members of the House of Gaunt. The Gaunts were an ancient, and formerly wealthy, wizarding family, noted for producing individuals with violent and unstable personalities due to generations of inbreeding.
Previous, named members of the Gaunt family - Tom's distant relatives - included Corvinus Gaunt, Tom's maternal ancestor, and a Parselmouth who hid the Chamber of Secrets entrance in a girls' restroom at Hogwarts; Rionach Gaunt, the mother of Ilvermorny founder Isolt Sayre; and Gormlaith Gaunt, the sister of Rionach Gaunt; maternal aunt of Isolt Sayre; maternal great-aunt of Rionach Steward and Martha Steward; and, it is believed, the "last of the Irish branch of the Gaunt family".
Because of the Gaunt family's liking for grandeur, along with little sensibility at their indulgences, the family gold was gambled away and gone long before the last known heirs of the lineage were born. Likewise, a tendency to "marry their own cousins" to "keep their bloodline pure", following the beliefs of their ancestor Salazar Slytherin, caused the heirs to the Gaunt name to suffer the ill-effects of generations of inbreeding and incest.
In North America, in what would later become the state of Massachusetts in the United States, the descendants of the Irish branch of the Gaunt family, through the line of Isolt Sayre, was thought to have died out sometime in the 17th or 18th century. Rionach Steward, Isolt's Half-blood daughter and the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Ilvermony, was also rumoured to have inherited the ability to speak Parseltongue from her mother. Unwilling to further to bloodline of Salazar Slytherin, whom she viewed as a Dark wizard, Rionach never married or had children, and she later died without heirs.
However, Rionach was unaware that another branch of the Gaunt family was still present, alive and well, across the ocean in England. It was from this line of Gaunts from which, centuries later, another Half-blood descendant, Tom Marvolo Riddle, would be born.
Rionach's sister, Martha Steward, unlike her sibling, married a No-maj (Muggle) friend of the nearby Pocumtuc Native American tribe. Born a Squib, without any magical powers, Martha felt ostracized within the growing American wizarding community, despite being the child of an important family. In the end, due to the emotional pain caused by being unable to perform magic, and the stigma of being the the only Squib to grow up at Ilvermorny, Martha decided to live her life henceforth as a No-maj (Muggle).
Tom's maternal grandfather, Marvolo Gaunt, and his maternal uncle, Morfin Gaunt, claimed to be the last known male, Pureblood descendants of Salazar Slytherin by the early 20th century. As such, they regarded themselves as "royalty" for their ancestry, despite their poverty; destitution; lack of education; and mental and physical disorders from centuries of familial inbreeding.
Tom's father, Tom Riddle Sr., was a wealthy Muggle living in the village of Little Hangleton, near the Gaunt shack, who was tricked into a relationship with Merope through probable use of a Love Potion. After some time, it is speculated by Albus 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, Tom Sr. abandoned her and their unborn child.
Early life (1926-1938)
- "I can make things move without touching them. I can make animals do what I want without training them. I can make bad things happen to people who are mean to me. I can make them hurt if I want to... I can speak to snakes too. They find me, they whisper to me. "
- —Tom Riddle regarding the things he can do[src]
Tom Marvolo Riddle was born on 31 December, 1926 at Wool's Orphanage in London. His pure-blood mother, Merope Gaunt staggered to the door of the orphanage, had Tom born in there, and died shortly after his birth. 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. Dumbledore ordered Tom to return the stolen items to their rightful owners and apologise for his sins, and that he had the means to determine whether or not Tom fulfilled Dumbledore's orders. Dumbledore also strictly warned Riddle to stop his misbehaviour as Hogwarts had an honour code whereupon lying, cheating and stealing were not tolerated.
Discovery of being a wizard
- Harry Potter: "Did you know, sir? Then?..."
- Albus Dumbledore: "Did I know that I had just met the most dangerous Dark wizard of all-time? No."
- — A memory of Dumbledore meeting Tom Riddle for the first time[src]
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 because of what the orphanage staff had seen. 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 realised his abilities were.
At a very early age, it was clear that Tom displayed a desire to be different and set apart from others (as it was hinted when he mentioned his dislike of his own name, because it was such a common name).
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, and thought his father was a wizard. He asked if Tom Riddle Senior was an alumnus of Hogwarts, to which Dumbledore said he did not know offhand.
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 demeanour 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. Travelling 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.
Hogwarts years (1938-1945)
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, at that time, 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 realised 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 some shared glory, and the thuggish gravitating toward a leader who could show them more refined 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 Secrets
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.
Around 13 June, 1943, the Basilisk injured many at Hogwarts, with its last victim being 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 Hogwarts 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. Realising 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 terrorised 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's groundskeeper. Distrusting Riddle, Dumbledore kept an "annoyingly close" watch on him after that. Due to this, Tom realised that he would not be able to risk opening the Chamber of Secrets while still a student. As such, he preserved a part of his soul within his own school diary, the very first of his seven Horcruxes, hoping it would one day lead someone to finish Salazar Slytherin's "noble work".
Murder of the Riddle family
- Morfin Gaunt: "I thought you was that Muggle, you look mighty like that Muggle."
- Riddle: "What Muggle?"
- Morfin Gaunt: "That Muggle what my sister took a fancy to, that Muggle what lives in the Riddle House big house over the way, you look right like him. Riddle. But he’s older now, in 'e? He's older'n you, now I think on it... he come back, see. "
- — Riddle as he confronts his maternal uncle for the first time[src]
Around August 1943, Tom went to Little Hangleton to learn about his mother's family. While at the Gaunt Shack, he met his uncle Morfin Gaunt, with whom he was far from impressed. Morfin mentioned offhandedly at one point during this meeting that he thought that Tom looked "mighty like that Muggle," Merope's husband, Tom Riddle Snr. 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 over 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 Gaunt family's signet ring from Morfin and preserved another part of his soul within it to make his second Horcrux, wearing it like a trophy at Hogwarts.
Learning about Horcruxes
- Riddle: "How do you split your soul?"
- Horace Slughorn: "Well, you must understand that the soul is supposed to remain intact and whole. Splitting it is an act of violation, it is against nature."
- Riddle: "But how do you do it?"
- — Discussion of how Horcruxes are made[src]
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; being unable to find any recorded information on creating multiple Horcruxes, he asked the experienced and knowledgeable Slughorn for an opinion before attempting this unknown feat.
Tom succeeded in doing so at some point during this year, creating his first Horcrux in the form of the aforementioned diary and his second in the form of the inherited ring. During Tom's seventh year at Hogwarts, he was made Head Boy and 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.
After Hogwarts (1945-1949)
- Albus Dumbledore: "Rumours of your doings have reached your old school, Tom. I should be sorry to believe half of them."
- Riddle: "Greatness inspires envy, envy engenders spite, spite spawns lies. You must know this, Dumbledore."
- — A business intercourse between a headmaster and his old student[src]
After graduating, Tom immediately approached Armando Dippet and asked him for a chance to teach Defence Against the Dark Arts, and to remain at Hogwarts, for reasons that he did not confide with the then-headmaster — Hogwarts being his true home at heart, using the influential position as a teacher to recruit students into his future army, and to continue to penetrate the castle's magical secrets. 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.
Shortly before leaving Hogwarts, however, Tom charmed Helena Ravenclaw, the daughter of Rowena Ravenclaw and the ghost of Ravenclaw House more commonly known as the Grey Lady, into telling him the location of her mother's diadem, which she revealed as a hollow tree deep within a far-flung forest in Albania. He presumably travelled there at her jnsyruction, murdering an Albanian peasant along the way before retrieving the diadem, which he later preserved a third part of his soul within to make his third 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.
The rise of the Dark Lord (1950-1970)
Murdering Hepzibah Smith
- "But before they were sure beyond doubt that the cup and the locket were both gone, the assistant who had worked at Borgin and Burkes, the young man who had visited Hepzibah so regularly and charmed her so well, had resigned his post and vanished. His superiors had no idea where he had gone; they were as surprised as anyone at his disappearance. And that was the last that was seen or heard of Tom Riddle for a very long time. "
- —Tom disappears after murdering Hepzibah Smith[src]
While working at Borgin and Burkes, Tom befriended Hepzibah Smith, a wealthy but elderly descendant of Helga Hufflepuff. Between 1955 and 1961, Hepzibah showed Tom her two most valuable treasures: his ancestor's locket and her ancestor's cup. Tom's eyes flashed red with greed and avarice upon seeing these objects and he desired them, because he saw the locket to be rightfully his as Slytherin's heir and the cup was a reminder of Hogwarts as well as a priceless artefact. Tom killed Hepzibah to steal these coveted objects and vanished without a trace. He covered his tracks well by implanting another false memory into an innocent bystander — Hokey, Hepzibah's house-elf. Hokey admitted to accidentally putting poison into Hepzibah's cocoa, which was believed, as Hokey was elderly herself. Meanwhile, Tom immediately resigned his post at Borgin and Burkes and fled with the cup and locket, subsequently turning them into two more Horcruxes using the murders of Smith and an unidentified Muggle tramp.
Lord Voldemort's request
- "I have experimented; I have pushed the boundaries of magic further, perhaps, than they have ever been pushed —"
- —Tom regarding the magical experimentation he did while abroad[src]
Tom disappeared for ten long years. He slipped deeper into the Dark Arts, travelled 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. He also severed contact with Professor Slughorn, who became upset for not living up to the Potions Master's employment offers. 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 Defence 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 Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher for more than a year, which was attributed by Dumbledore to a curse by Tom. The visit to Hogwarts was not fruitless, however, for Tom used the opportunity to hide Rowena Ravenclaw's Diadem in the Room of Requirement, where he believed it would never be found.
Lord Voldemort, as Tom was now exclusively called, spent the next few 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. According to Sirius Black, 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 War (1970-1981)
- "He was takin' over. 'Course, some stood up to him — an' he killed 'em."
- —Voldemort actions during the First Wizarding War[src]
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 anger at the neutrality of the goblins, or no reason at all).
Bartemius Crouch Snr, 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 authorisation 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 long years.
Testing his Horcrux's defences
Nine years into the war, Voldemort decided to test the defences around Salazar Slytherin's Locket 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, decided 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 defences. 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.
- "The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies... And the Dark Lord will mark him as equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not... And either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives... The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies..."
- —Sybill Trelawney's first prophecy[src]
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 after feeling "ill," 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 fulfilment 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 Frank and Alice 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; Dumbledore suspected this was because Harry shared a similar family heritage with Voldemort, both of them being half-bloods.
First fall from domination
- "Lily, take Harry and go! It's him! Go! Run! I'll hold him off!"
- —James Potter moments before his death[src]
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 defeated for the first time.
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.
Missing years (1981-1994)
- "I was ripped from my body, less than spirit, less than the meanest ghost, but still, I was alive."
- —Lord Voldemort regarding his fall from power[src]
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, 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. Voldemort did not dare enter the communities to possess humans, as he knew that Aurors were still abroad, looking for any signs of him.
Search for the Philosopher's Stone
- "Harry Potter... we meet again."
- —Voldemort speaking through Quirrell[src]
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. 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 switched sides near the end of the First Wizarding War and 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, Dumbledore appeared, and Lord Voldemort's soul fled, killing Quirrell in the process.
Reopening the Chamber of Secrets (1992)
- Riddle: "How is it that a baby with no extraordinary magical talent was able to defeat the greatest wizard of all time? How did you escape with nothing but a scar, while Lord Voldemort's powers were destroyed?"
- Harry Potter: "What do you care about how I escaped? Voldemort was after your time!"
- Riddle: "Voldemort is my past, present, and future."
- — Riddle exposing himself as Lord Voldemort[src]
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. Tom would always have sympathy. 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. As Dumbledore surmised, the shard of Voldemort's soul that contained his core identity was still in hiding in Albania and remained unaware of these occurances for at least another year and a half.
Return to full strength (1994-1995)
- Wormtail: " ...no, my Lord Voldemort. I merely meant, perhaps if we were to do it without the boy..."
- Voldemort: "No! The boy is everything! It cannot be done without him, and it will be done exactly as I say."
- Barty Crouch, Jr: "I will not disappoint you, my Lord."
- — Discussion of Voldemort's plan to return to power[src]
In 1994, when Voldemort had all but given up hope of obtaining any help from his former servants, 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, 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 his life. Knowing that Dumbledore was sure to have seen to it that the Philosopher's Stone was destroyed, Voldemort knew he would not be able to use the Elixir of Life to create a new body for himself. Voldemort decided to attempt an old piece of ritualistic Dark Magic to create a potion that would restore him to a body. He made plans to travel to England in order to obtain two of the three key ingredients, bone from his father, and the blood of his most hated enemy, Harry Potter. The third ingredient, the flesh of a servant, he would obtain from Wormtail.
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 was surprised to find that someone else had put a Memory Charm on her and 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 Snr was concealing his son at his home after helping him escape prison. Jorkins had stumbled upon Barty Jr at his house, and Crouch Snr placed a Memory Charm on her so that she would not report it.
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 Snr 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. Meanwhile, Voldemort and Pettigrew stayed in the Crouch estate, ordering Crouch Snr to continue as usual. When Crouch Snr started to show signs of resisting the Imperius Curse, Voldemort decided it was no longer safe to allow him to leave the house, and instead made him stay home under the presumption of being sick. However, Pettigrew neglected his duties, and Crouch managed to escape, thus Voldemort quickly alerted Crouch Jr to stop his father at all cost. Upon Jr's success, Voldemort spared Pettigrew from execution, instead opting to punish him with a Cruciatus Curse.
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 causing it to turn from a poisonous-looking blue to burning red 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 turned blinding white, sending out bright sparks as it simmered before dying down and a thick white steamed the ritual now complete, Voldemort regained his physical body and emerged from the cauldron. Calling on Wormtail to robe him, the reborn Dark Lord took 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. The Dark Lord told the Death Eaters of the events that had led to his first downfall, his years in hiding before he tried to steal the Philosopher's Stone by possessing Quirinus Quirrell and eventual defeat before finally of how Wormtail had located him, and they set out to orchestrate his resurrection.
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 several times 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 Bertha Jorkins, 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 War (1995-1998)
Battle for the Prophecy
- Harry Potter: "You're the weak one... and you'll never know love, or friendship... and I feel sorry for you..."
- Voldemort: "You're a fool, Harry Potter, and you will lose... everything..."
- — Debate on the meaning of weakness[src]
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 organisation 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, Voldemort travelled to Azkaban and freed several of his most loyal Death Eaters, such as Bellatrix Lestrange. Voldemort had little trouble with this, as many of the Dementors were happy to obey him. The Dark wizards returned to his side thereafter.
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.
Sometime following this, Voldemort would secretly conceive a child with his follower Bellatrix Lestrange. Out of this union would be born their daughter Delphini, who would be given over to be raised by the Rowle family, a family sworn to Voldemort.
The start of open war
- "I have been careless, and so have been thwarted by luck and chance, those wreckers of all but the best-laid plans. But I know better now. I understand those things that I did not understand before. I must be the one to kill Harry Potter, and I shall be."
- —Voldemort discuses Harry Potter's triumphs and his own failures[src]
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 duelled 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 1997
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 acted of its own accord, releasing golden fire at him and destroying Malfoy's wand. Before Voldemort could react, Harry reached the protection of the home of Ted and Andromeda Tonks, 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.
- "The Ministry has fallen. Scrimgeour is dead. They are coming."
- —Kingsley Shacklebolt warning the Order of the Phoenix[src]
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 No. 1 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 while Death Eater Siblings Amycus Carrow and Alecto Carrow became teachers.
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 Wand
- "Kill me then, Voldemort!... That wand will never, ever be yours!"
- —Voldemort confronting Grindelwald in Nurmengard[src]
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. Grindelwald baffled Voldemort by being completely unafraid of him and saying that he welcomed death; Voldemort murdered him in a rage without gaining any information. However, Voldemort deduced that Dumbledore, who had defeated Grindelwald, had won the Elder Wand. Voldemort then went to Hogwarts, where he meet with Severus Snape and proceeded to break into Dumbledore's tomb and thus stole the Elder Wand.
Battle of Hogwarts and death
- "I know that you are preparing to fight. Your efforts are futile. You cannot fight me. I do not want to kill you. I have great respect for the teachers of Hogwarts. I do not want to spill magical blood. Give me Harry Potter, and none shall be harmed. Give me Harry Potter, and I shall leave the school untouched. Give me Harry Potter, and you will be rewarded. You have until midnight."
- —Voldemort's ultimatum before the final battle begins [src]
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 flew into a rage. An enraged Voldemort massacred all those who told him the news. He realised 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. He unwittingly revealed that his last Horcrux was at Hogwarts, just as Harry previously suspected.
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 defence 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, as he was staying within the Shrieking Shack. While in the shack he investigated 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. He believed this would solve the problem by transferring mastery of the wand to himself.
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.
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, charged at Voldemort. After Neville refused to join him, Voldemort placed a Full Body-Bind Curse and the Sorting Hat on him and set the hat on fire to make an example of him, claiming from now on Slytherin would be the only Hogwarts House. But at that moment, reinforcements for the Hogwarts defenders arrived. Neville was able to throw off the curse and pulled Godric Gryffindor's Sword from the Hat, and used it to decapitate Nagini, destroying the last remaining Horcrux. Enraged, Voldemort attempted to kill Neville, but Harry, now beneath his Invisibility cloak interfered and cast a Shield Charm between them.
During the second round of the Battle of Hogwarts, Voldemort tried to strike down everyone within his reach and his weakened army forced its way into Hogwarts. In the Great Hall, his army was gradually cut down as Voldemort fought Horace Slughorn, Minerva McGonagall and Kingsley Shacklebolt all at once. When Bellatrix Lestrange, his last, best lieutenant, was killed by Molly Weasley, Voldemort turned his wand on her in rage. At that time, Harry by cast a Shield Charm to protect her, and revealed himself to be very much alive. The two wizards then faced each other in the Great Hall.
Here, Harry mentioned that by willingly sacrificing himself to Voldemort, he had protected everyone he cared about in Hogwarts with the same magic his mother created when she died for him. Harry tried to explain to Voldemort that he had magic Voldemort did not have, and a weapon more powerful than his, in addition to warning Voldemort of the fate that lay in store for him if he was unwilling to feel remorse for his actions. Goading him by using his birth name, Harry told him that Snape's loyalty was with Dumbledore all along, that Dumbledore's death was planned, and that Snape had not been the master of the Elder Wand; Draco Malfoy had been.
Originally shocked, Voldemort remained unworried, because Harry did not have his original wand, and he told Harry he would kill him and then dispose of Draco to gain full mastery of the Elder Wand. But Harry revealed that he had already disarmed Draco, so the Elder Wand was now rightfully his. Refusing to believe this, Voldemort fired a Killing Curse at Harry, while Harry countered with his "trademark" spell of Expelliarmus. The Elder Wand refused to kill its true master, and Voldemort's spell rebounded off Harry's, killing Tom Marvolo Riddle once and for all.
- Harry Potter: "Professor, what is that?"
- Albus Dumbledore: "Something beyond either of our help."
- — Description of Voldemort's ruined soul[src]
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, but it can be assumed that his body was disposed of. Meanwhile Voldemort's mutilated soul was trapped in Limbo for eternity, as the soul is meant to stay whole and intact. Because of the destruction done to his soul he was unable to move on or return to the land of the living as a ghost. After his confirmed death, the wizarding world at large seemed to be able to speak his name without any more fear.
More than twenty years following his death, Voldemort's daughter with Bellatrix, Delphini, would attempt to rewrite the timeline in order to bring back her father. Though she would ultimately fail, one of the attempts by Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy to change the timeline and save Cedric Diggory and prevent his death (unknowingly to them orchestrated by Delphini herself), would result in a temporary timeline where Cedric never died, and where Voldemort succeeded in killing Harry Potter at the Battle of Hogwarts. This alternate timeline where Voldemort both lived and won the Wizarding War would eventually be prevented and changed back into the original timeline through the efforts of Scorpius Malfoy and the alternate timeline's versions of Severus Snape, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley.
Following the restoration of the original timeline, Delphini would attempt to go back in time to the Hallowe'en night where Voldemort went after the Potters in Godric's Hollow, and prevent him from doing so, hoping to ensure Voldemort was never defeated. Harry and Albus Potter, Draco and Scorpius Malfoy, Ginny and Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger - Weasley would go back to try to stop her, and during this attempt, the group tried to catch her off guard by making Harry Potter disguise himself as Lord Voldemort himself. While he was eventually discovered, the group was nonetheless able to prevent Delphini's plan from succeeding and captured her. However before they left back into their own time, both Harry Potter and Delphini were forced to witness Voldemort's attack at Godric's Hollow, resulting in Harry Potter witnessing his parents' deaths, and Delphini seeing her father's first defeat at the hands of Harry Potter.
- "The thin man stepped out of the cauldron, staring at Harry...and Harry stared back into the face that had haunted his nightmares for three years. Whiter than a skull, with wide, livid scarlet eyes and a nose that was flat as a snake's but with slits for nostrils...."
- —Description of Voldemort after his rebirth[src]
During his childhood and early adulthood, 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. While in Wool's Orphanage, he wore the standard grey tunic as with all the other children, and switched over to the Hogwarts uniform when he attended the school, gaining the Prefect and Head Boy badges when he attained those positions. When he worked in Borgin and Burkes, he wore a simple black suit.
However, as he became more involved in the Dark Arts, his good looks gradually left him. His features became increasingly waxy and reptilian, his skin became bone-white, and the sclera of his eyes took on a perpetually blood-shot appearance. After he regained his body, his features became even more warped. In his final body, 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 lips. He had long, sharp, pale blue fingernails, and took to wearing a black hooded cloak and several sets of elegant black robes. Voldemort had a high, cold voice which was sometimes described as being sibilant. The transformation into this 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 traits
- "His knowledge remained woefully incomplete, Harry! That which Voldemort does not value, he takes no trouble to comprehend. Of house-elves and children's tales, of love, loyalty and innocence, Voldemort knows and understands nothing. Nothing. That they all have a power beyond his own, a power beyond the reach of any magic, is a truth that he has never grasped."
- —Albus Dumbledore on the power of love[src]
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 evil doer and Dumbledore stated that 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-obsessed megalomaniac of the worst kind and the worst of any known Dark Wizard, even Gellert Grindelwald.
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 (namely Hagrid, Dumbledore, Neville's grandmother among others) 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. At the same time, due to his excessive evil and brutality, others (namely Cornelius Fudge and a good deal of the wizarding world) would deny he was still alive for a sense of self-comfort, until evidence was given to their very eyes. During his lifetime including much of his childhood, he was shown to be highly ruthless, cruel, merciless, 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 social 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 had a need for independent that bordered on pathological, and he preferred to operate in secrecy and solitude 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 sociopathic narcissist, to the point that he frequently referred to himself in the third person as "Lord Voldemort." It was said that if Voldemort looked into the Mirror of Erised, he would see himself, all-powerful and eternal.
Voldemort had very little attachment 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.
- "If he could only have understood the precise and terrible power of that sacrifice, he would not, perhaps, have dared to touch your blood... but then, if he had been able to understand, he could not have been Lord Voldemort, and might never have murdered at all."
- —Albus Dumbledore talking about Voldemort's inability to understand or comprehend love when talking about the sacrificial protection Harry received from his mother[src]
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 Snr - 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 young man who showed an enthusiasm to learn and was able to use his superficial charm to make many do his bidding, showing his skill at being an exceptional master manipulator. 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 thanatophobia, 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, as the true Master of Death, 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. 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. In another ironic twist, this indicates that Voldemort failed to make himself unique as he had the flaw of any evil tyrant.
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.
- "I miscalculated, my friends, I admit it. My curse was deflected by the woman's foolish sacrifice, and it rebounded upon myself. Aaah... pain beyond pain, my friends; nothing could have prepared me for it...."
- —Voldemort explains how he thinks the destruction of his body was his own fault[src]
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, even going so far to openly admit this to his Death Eaters. However, though Voldemort could acknowledge his mistakes, Harry said that 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. He did rescue Bellatrix Lestrange after his duel with Albus Dumbledore, and also screamed and attempted to avenge her after she was killed by Molly Weasely. It is likely, though, that he was furious about the loss of a very powerful and talented servant as well as the mother of his daughter Delphini, rather than truly missing Bellatrix as a person. Bellatrix herself 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, despite having engaged in a purely physical relationship with Bellatrix, that resulted in the birth of their daughter.
One flaw that Voldemort did not possess, despite his egomania, was thinking himself infallible. He acknowledged his mistakes on several occasions, and with the candour 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 violent 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 underwent Priori Incantatem, although he refused assistance from his followers due to his desire to kill Harry unaided. 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 Riddle's complete lack of fear when witnessing the event in Dumbledore's Pensieve. Gaunt was drunk, unstable and showed murderous inhumanity whilst wielding a knife in teenage Riddle's face, all of which nonplussed him. Voldemort was even bold enough to engage Albus Dumbledore in a duel, despite Dumbledore being the only wizard Voldemort was ever said to have feared.
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 usually maintained a calm, reserved and sophisticated persona, Lord Voldemort was capable of phenomenally explosive and violent fits of rage. His rage would often 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 saw first. The most famous display of fury was when he discovered that Gringotts Bank had been infiltrated, specifically his vault, and he murdered every survivor of the incident out of wrath, further supporting his fear of dying.
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 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 Morfin, 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 (as far as he knew) 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 unconditionally, 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. Doing this was 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 respected, and sometimes even 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, though this was also partially due to Neville being a pureblood.
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 severely 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 eventually 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 indeed hold Muggles and Muggle-borns with contempt for their alleged inferiority.
He was more concerned about eliminating threats to his planned eternal domination of the world 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 wands 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 Voldemort was. He also had a tendency to hoard trophies or other oddities from his childhood and transformed them into Horcruxes.
Magical abilities and skills
- "...the most dangerous Dark wizard of all time..."
- —Albus Dumbledore on Lord Voldemort[src]
- "There is no good or evil...there is only power and those too weak to seek it."
- —Voldemort's megalomaniac philosophy that magic is power[src]
- Magical Mastery: Even at a young age, Voldemort was able to utilise 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 against even an Elder Wand-wielding Albus Dumbledore (though it should be noted that Dumbledore had not been fighting to kill during the duel in question). He claimed he had experimented and pushed the boundaries of magic farther than they had ever been pushed, and that if he were to be granted a teaching position, he could teach students things that they could gain from no other wizard. 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.
- Dark Arts: 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, possibly surpassing even Gellert Grindelwald. 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 Defence 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.
- Duelling: Voldemort was a duelist of frighteningly tremendous, almost unrivalled skill, being able to hold his own against an Elder Wand-wielding Albus Dumbledore, and even duel evenly with Minerva McGonagall, Kingsley Shacklebolt and Horace Slughorn (who were masterful duelists themselves) simultaneously. During his duel with McGonagall, Slughorn, and Shacklebolt, the Elder Wand-wielding Voldemort almost defeated all three of them, despite the fact that he had not unlocked the Elder Wand's full power, and they were all protected by Harry's loving sacrifice. He was also able to overpower many other prodigious witches and wizards, such as the extremely skilled Amelia Bones, and later also murdered the extremely powerful ex-Auror, Alastor Moody (though it should be noted that the curse that killed Moody was intended for Mundungus Fletcher, who disapparated). Voldemort's duelling 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 time Voldemort was ever forced to retreat from a duel was during his confrontation with Dumbledore in the Ministry of Magic.
- Potions: 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.
- Charms: 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. He also Summoned the Sorting Hat to punish Neville for opposing him.
- Fire spells: 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, and burned Neville with a flick of his wand when he defied him. 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.
- Apparition: Voldemort was a master of Apparition, and he used this ability frequently during his duel with Albus Dumbledore to change his position and avoid spells. Voldemort is the only known wizard besides Dumbledore to be able to apparate silently.
- Control of Underage magic: Even before being told that he was a wizard, or having any knowledge of magic or the wizarding world at all, the young Voldemort displayed an exceptional degree of control over his usage of underage magic, which he used to torment many of the other children at the orphanage. He was able to move objects with his mind, control animals to do his bidding, and even make bad things happen to those who annoyed him. Even Dumbledore commented that his powers were surprisingly well-developed for his young age, and that his level of control over them had made him uneasy.
- Occlumency and Legilimency: Voldemort was incredibly 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. His frighteningly tremendous Legilimency powers allowed Voldemort to delve and peer deep into the minds of others, seeing their deepest thoughts, and according to Severus Snape, Voldemort could not only read, but also control and unhinge the minds of others, with him often enjoying telepathically invading the minds of others, creating visions designed to torture them into madness (such as the one he sent to Harry Potter in 1996), and only killing them "after extracting the last exquisite ounce of agony", when he had them literally begging for death. Hence, Voldemort could almost always tell when someone was lying. However, when Narcissa Malfoy lied that Harry Potter was dead, Voldemort notably 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. Extremely few people were skilled enough in Occlumency to shield themselves from him. Severus Snape, Albus Dumbledore, Gellert Grindelwald, and also possibly Narcissa Malfoy were notable exceptions to this. Additionally, Harry Potter, despite his link to Voldemort's mind, discovered that he could block Voldemort's intrusions into his mind by feeling love, as direct contact with Harry's mind while he was feeling love was excruciatingly painful for Voldemort with his maimed and diminished soul.
- Flying: 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, and was known to have taught Severus Snape how to duplicate the feat.
- Parseltongue: Voldemort was 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 practise employed by the Gaunt family.
- Horcruxes: Voldemort is the only wizard who was known for certain to have created more than one Horcrux. These Horcruxes were Salazar Slytherin's locket, Helga Hufflepuff's cup, Nagini, the Gaunt family ring, his school diary, Rowena Ravenclaw's diadem, and Harry Potter himself.
- Transfiguration: Voldemort transfigured Dumbledore's fire-rope into a black snake during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries. 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. He later produced a silver shield against Dumbledore's spells.
- Spell creation: 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.
- Inferi creation and control: 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 Sectumsempra, and simply get up and continue attacking.
- Power of possession: 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 form of 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. It also shortened the host wizard's life, but he was able to extend it via unicorn blood. Compounded with his skill in Legilimency, even when his body was restored, he was able to possess Harry Potter temporarily, causing him great agony and forcing him to speak in Voldemort's own voice. However, Harry's grief over Sirius's death forced Voldemort out of his body. It is unknown if he could physically enter and take over another's body while his own body was restored.
- Wandless and Nonverbal magic: 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, disarmed Harry Potter with a simple wave of his arm during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, and pushed a dead giant out of his way with a lazy wave of his hand during the Battle of Hogwarts. 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 a gigantic towering snake made of Fiendfyre (which visibly startled even Dumbledore), doing so simultaneously nonverbally and wandlessly.
- Wand versatility: 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. Later, during the same year, he intended on using Selwyn's wand, though this did not come to be. 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 hold his own against three extremely skilled opponents all at once.
- Charisma: 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. Sirius Black noted that Voldemort also used tricks, jinxes, and blackmail to get people to join him. Even when his physical body and magical powers were severely weakened, Voldemort was able to use his charisma to manipulate Quirinus Quirrell into serving him, when Quirrell originally intended to be the other way around.
- Acting: 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.
- Leadership skills: 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.
- Salesmanship: A largely overlooked talent of Voldemort's was his skills at brokering sales as an assistant at Borgin and Burke's when he was in his late teens. His charisma and knowledge of various magical artefacts helped him in this job and allowed him to acquire a wide variety of magical relics for his employers at the time. This talent and job allowed him to discover the Locket of Slytherin and Helga Hufflepuff's Cup in the possession of Hepizbah Smith. He was often reserved for rather delicate matters that took subtlety and persuasion, but that he masterfully completed
- Intellectual genius: Voldemort was not only a great wizard, but also possessed an incredible intellect, as he was considered to be the most brilliant student ever to attend Hogwarts. His intellect is evidenced by his strategic cunning being able to mastermind and orchestrate two of the most destructive wars in British wizarding history.
- Teaching skills: When Voldemort attempted to apply for a position as a teacher at Hogwarts, he expressed his confidence in being able to teach the students things they can gain from no other wizards. Despite his ulterior motives that concludes his lack of desire to genuinely pass down knowledge to the next generation, his years of extensive studies and charisma would certainly make him a successful instructor, something he intended to take advantage to influence the students into his future army. He has proven himself to be a powerful mentor; among his known feats are personally training Bellatrix Lestrange in the Dark Arts and combat, instructing Peter Pettigrew how to brew advanced dark potions, and teaching Severus Snape unsupported flight. In general, the Death Eaters knew how to perform some spells of his origin, mainly the Morsmordre curse. Even Quirinus Quirrell believed that if he sought out Voldemort's remains, he would be able to learn some powerful magic from the Dark Lord.
- Voldemort: "They do not call me 'Tom' any more. These days, I am known as—"
- Albus Dumbledore: "I know what you are known as. But to me, I'm afraid, you will always be Tom Riddle. It is one of the irritating things about old teachers. I am afraid that they never quite forget their charges' youthful beginnings."
- — Albus Dumbledore talking to Voldemort when Voldemort returned to ask for a job at Hogwarts[src]
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. On Potterwatch, he was called "Chief Death Eater".
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 "Riddle" 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.
After Voldemort's demise at the Battle of Hogwarts, it would appear that the wizarding world at large would no longer fear in speaking his name aloud, as Draco Malfoy was one of such people.
- "You think I was going to use my filthy Muggle father's name forever? I, in whose veins runs the blood of Salazar Slytherin himself, through my mother's side? I, keep the name of a foul, common Muggle, who abandoned me even before I was born, just because he found out his wife was a witch? No, Harry. I fashioned myself a new name, a name I knew wizards everywhere would one day fear to speak, when I had become the greatest sorcerer in the world!"
- —Tom Riddle to Harry Potter expressing his disdain for the Muggle side of his family[src]
Tom Riddle grew up in a Muggle orphanage, not knowing any members of his family. His mother, Merope Gaunt, died shortly after giving birth, apparently never attempting to save herself through magical means. Riddle’s father showed complete indifference towards his son, as he left his wife while she was pregnant and never attempted to track down the whereabouts of their child. The two met face-to-face in 1943, when Riddle killed his father and paternal grandparents. Riddle was disgusted by his Muggle relatives, and took on the alias "Lord Voldemort" partly out of a desire to be rid of his “filthy Muggle father’s name”.
Despite the maternal side of his family being direct descendants of the great Salazar Slytherin, Tom was unimpressed when he found his deranged uncle Morfin living in squalor at the Gaunt shack, and was not above framing Morfin for murder and stealing his maternal grandfather's prized heirloom ring. Even as a child, he showed contempt for his mother, and for the weakness of mortality, when he assumed Merope must have been a Muggle if she had been unable to survive.
- "I shall attend to the boy in person. There have been too many mistakes where Harry Potter is concerned, Some of them have been my own. That Potter lives is due more to my errors than to his triumphs. I have been careless, and so have been thwarted by luck and chance, those wreckers of all but the best-laid plans. But I know better now. I understand those things that I did not understand before. I must be the one to kill Harry Potter, and I shall be."
- —Lord Voldemort announcing his intention to Murder Harry[src]
Harry Potter became Voldemort’s mortal enemy after the Dark Lord heard part of a prophecy that foretold the birth of an individual destined to destroy him; two infants met the criteria, but for the simple reason that Harry was a half-blood like himself, Voldemort considered him more of a threat than Neville Longbottom. In targeting Harry, Voldemort unwittingly “marked him as his equal”, thus sowing the seeds of his own destruction. Because Harry’s mother willingly sacrificed herself for her son, the curse backfired. Voldemort lost his physical body, and unintentionally transferred some of his powers and abilities to Harry, while a piece of his soul embedded itself in a scar on Harry’s forehead, inadvertently making the boy a Horcrux.
Trelawney's prophecy stated that "The Chosen One" would have powers the Dark Lord lacked. That power is love, and Dumbledore realised that it was Harry's abilities, combined with his capacity to love, that would empower him to defeat Voldemort. Unlike Harry, who was mentally, emotionally, and spiritually intact and whose friends supported him out of loyalty and love (platonic affection), Voldemort was psychologically, spiritually, and emotionally shredded, feeling only arrogance, hate, greed, and jealousy; and he controlled his followers through fear, intimidation and coercion. Harry was disturbed to notice many similarities between them — they were both orphans who thought of Hogwarts as their first real homes, and both physically resembled their fathers, and to some degree each other. However, Dumbledore insisted that they differed in one absolutely crucial way — Harry had the ability to love, while Voldemort did not.
While Harry found it difficult to fathom that something so simple as love is the more powerful force, he understood that, once again, it was also about choices: Voldemort's actions regarding Harry were based on the prophecy, but Harry would choose to fight Voldemort whether or not the prophecy had been made. That choice, and the ability to make that choice, was largely what gave Harry powers that Voldemort lacked and prevented Harry from falling victim to the Dark side. Some years earlier, Dumbledore had stressed to Harry that it is one's choices that makes a person what they truly are, just as it had with Harry's father, James, when he chose to overcome his youthful bad behaviour.
Voldemort became obsessed with Harry Potter after he failed to kill the one-year-old boy — livid that a helpless infant caused his downfall. He later sought revenge on Harry to prove that he, Voldemort, was the most feared and powerful wizard of all time. Voldemort considered Harry weak in comparison to himself and he always discounted how love's power has aided Harry. But after possessing Harry's mind, Harry's overwhelming emotions for his friends and family were so overpowering and disturbing to Voldemort that they drove him out. He never attempted to possess Harry again.
When the two faced off for the last time, Harry urged Voldemort to feel remorse — the only known means of repairing a fractured soul — but Voldemort reacted with disdain. Harry went on to inform Voldemort that despite wielding the Elder Wand, he was not its master; Draco Malfoy won the wand's allegiance by disarming Dumbledore in the Astronomy Tower, but Harry had disarmed Draco months later. Thus, Harry was the true master of the Elder Wand. In his fury, Voldemort made one last attempt at Harry's life, but the Elder Wand was loyal to Harry, and the Killing Curse once again backfired on to Voldemort. Without his Horcruxes to sustain him, this time the curse finally and completely ended Voldemort's life. Voldemort and Harry were also related by blood, however distantly, through their shared descent from the Peverells (Voldemort through the Gaunts and Harry through the Potters). This made them distant cousins.
It is unknown how Voldemort felt about his daughter since he died while she was still a baby. However, in the alternative timeline created by mistake by Scorpius and Albus, Voldemort had apparently put Delphi (known as the Augurey) in charge of the Ministry: Dolores Umbridge (Headmistress of Hogwarts in this timeline) constantly informs the Augurey with dispatches about everything that is going on in Hogwarts; the Augurey gives instructions to Draco Malfoy (Head of Magical Law Enforcement of the Ministry of Magic in this timeline), e.g. how to deal with incidents involving wizards killing Muggles and bribing the Muggle Prime Minister with gold in such cases. Some students in Hogwarts openly quote the Augurey's motto that "the future is ours to make", indicating that the Augurey was probably a famous and respected force and inspiring example in the wizarding world of this timeline.
It is therefore likely that had Voldemort lived, he would have considered her an exceptionally faithful servant, something like his right-hand minion or deputy, and given her more power than he usually allowed his Death Eaters. It's notable that in this alternative timeline Delphi has her own official symbol - the bird emblazoned in a fascistic manner - that is widely used in this world, just like the Dark Mark, the official symbol of Voldemort. In the office of Head of Magical Law Enforcement in the Ministry there are Augurey flags flying down with this symbol, while there are flags with Dark Mark in Hogwarts. None of the Death Eaters ever had their own individual symbols and none of them ever had individual titles or alias, having just collective name for their group, while Delphi was operating under her personal and unique alias "the Augurey" in this timeline, rather than being known just as another top Death Eater.
It is not known why he wanted a child, as he did not feel a need for love and disliked the idea of becoming emotionally attached to anyone, and in addition desired immortality. However, he likely realised that his daughter could become a talented and useful servant, as Bellatrix was. It is also likely that he wished to preserve the Slytherin Bloodline, Voldemort being the last remaining heir of Slytherin. He kept her birth a secret, most likely because it may have placed her in danger, since Voldemort was considered the most powerful and dangerous Dark wizard of the time.
Delphi was curious about her parents, and wanted the chance to know them. She went to great lengths to meet and save her father, even meddling with time to create a future where he lived, which shows she had some love for him. After she was defeated by her cousin Draco Malfoy, Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley, she begged for death instead of having to face the fact that she failed her father.
Bellatrix Lestrange was among Voldemort’s most loyal and trusted Death Eaters. She was entrusted with one of his Horcruxes, though kept unaware of what it really was. It was stored in her Gringotts vault. She was fanatically loyal to her master. After his first defeat in 1981, she did not join many of her fellow Death Eaters in denying their association with him. Instead, she proudly declared that she remained his most loyal servant and that he would surely return. She considered Azkaban a place where she could wait for him, rather than a prison.
Her obsession extended to her being in love with and sexually attracted to him. On at least one occasion, during a meeting of his Death Eaters at Malfoy Manor, her face flushed and her eyes welled up with tears when he praised her.
He did seem to consider her of greater importance than most of his other servants. At the conclusion of the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, he grabbed her and Apparated away with her; she was the sole Death Eater who he bothered to help. When she was killed by Molly Weasley during the Battle of Hogwarts, he was furious, and intended to avenge her death when Harry intervened.
Although Bellatrix was married to one of Voldemort's other Death Eaters, Rodolphus Lestrange, the union seemed to be nothing more than a business-like partnership. It was Voldemort to whom she spoke in a romantic manner. She was outraged by anyone showing him the slightest disrespect. When Harry Potter called him by his name in 1996, she became enraged, feeling that he was unworthy of speaking the name.
Unknown to nearly all, it would be revealed years later after their death that Bellatrix and Voldemort had in fact engaged in a sexual relationship, resulting in the birth of their daughter, Delphini, who years later threatened to upset the timeline to be with her father. As Voldemort believed that he could cheat death, through his Horcruxes, he probably did not feel a need to leave a child behind as an heir. It is highly likely that he used the relationship with Bellatrix as a way to reward her for her undying loyalty to him, and for her rather potent and notable successes as his most loyal lieutenant. However a reward seems unlikely considering Bellatrix's failures at the Ministry.
Because of his egotistical and self-centred nature, he might have also been pleased by Bellatrix's obsessive love for him. He may have considered the usefulness of Delphini in the idea of siring a lineage of lieutenants devoutly loyal to him through familial bonds, seeing them as extensions of his own power and authority, much like many kings and tyrants who procreated to expand and solidify their own power through blood ties. He may have also chosen Bellatrix as a mate due to her blood relations and thoroughly proven power as a witch, thus marking her as a potent genetic combination and fit for Voldemort who revelled in his own status and power. A mate of such fortitude and strength would certainly appeal to Voldemort's pathological need to expand his fame and reputation. Voldemort also may have seen Delphini as a way of extending the power of the Slytherin bloodline beyond himself as a way of further showcasing his and his family's might and to further terrorise his enemies with the idea of another Dark Lord ruling alongside him. Voldemort may also have been intellectually enthused or curious at the idea of a student with similar powers and potential as himself, highlighting his vanity and ego even further as he had had no living relatives whose powers he could compare his own to or to have learned from.
It is also possible that the conception of Delphini was unintentional as very little is known about her background.
It is rather ironic that Delphini held such strong affection and fascination for her father, a man who felt no love. The alternative timeline where Voldemort ruled shows that he would have considered Delphi (known as the Augurey in that universe) a faithful servant.
- "I think he is perhaps as fond of her as he can be of anything. He certainly likes to keep her close and has an unusual amount of control over her, even for a Parselmouth."
- —Albus Dumbledore about Voldemort's affection for Nagini[src]
Voldemort had a special relationship with Nagini, his pet snake who was also one of his Horcruxes. Nagini was the only living being that Voldemort seemed to genuinely care about; however due to the fact that Nagini was one of his Horcruxes he might have cared about the part of his soul inside her rather than Nagini herself. However, Albus Dumbledore speculated that Voldemort cared more about Nagini than any other living creature and that his affection for her had nothing to do with the part of his soul he'd placed inside her; in fact Dumbledore thought that it was because of his feelings for the snake, and that she underlines Voldemort's ancestry with Salazar Slytherin, that he made Nagini into a Horcrux in the first place. Voldemort often stroked her head, wore her around his neck, and even used endearments and loving words when he spoke to her. Nagini never drew the wrath of her master, even when she failed to keep Harry Potter in Godric's Hollow, though Voldemort generally did not react well to failure. Nagini obeyed her master's every order, and the two were able to communicate with each other telepathically. Albus Dumbledore noted that Voldemort had an unusual amount of control over her, even for a Parselmouth.
In 1994, Peter Pettigrew milked the venom from Nagini's fangs, which he used in a potion that allowed Voldemort to regain a basic physical form. That same year, Voldemort made Nagini a Horcrux with the murder of Bertha Jorkins. Though he had often sent Nagini on personal missions, Voldemort kept her close to him after he discovered Harry was attempting to track down and destroy his Horcruxes. Nagini was beheaded by Neville Longbottom during the Battle of Hogwarts, and Voldemort felt rage and perhaps even grief at the loss of his snake. As Nagini was the last remaining Horcrux, her death allowed for Voldemort's ultimate defeat.
- "You've lost, old man."
- —Voldemort talking to Dumbledore through Harry[src]
Tom Riddle met Albus Dumbledore at the age of eleven, when the Professor came to invite him to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Although initially suspicious of Dumbledore, he was at least somewhat impressed by Dumbledore's demonstration of magic. Tom was pleased to discover that he was a wizard, as it confirmed the suspicions he long had about being “special.” The boy disturbed Dumbledore, however, when he admitted to being able to hurt people who displeased him and being able to talk to snakes. Even as Tom became an extremely popular student among his peers and Professors at Hogwarts, Dumbledore remained wary of him, and kept a very close watch on him.
Riddle (then known as Voldemort) returned to Hogwarts years after graduating to request the Defence Against the Dark Arts position from Dumbledore, who had become the school's Headmaster. Suspecting that Voldemort's true intentions were far more sinister than he let on, Dumbledore refused him the position; the result of Dumbledore's refusal was not only that the position of DADA professor became "cursed," but it affirmed Dumbledore's complete refusal to bend to Voldemort's will.
- Voldemort: "But nothing I have seen in the world has supported your famous pronouncements that love is more powerful than my kind of magic, Dumbledore."
- Albus Dumbledore: "Perhaps you have been looking in the wrong places...,"
- Voldemort: "Well, then, what better place to start my fresh researches than here, at Hogwarts? Will you let me return? Will you let me share my knowledge with your students?"
- — Voldemort to Albus Dumbledore requesting for the Defence Against the Dark Arts post[src]
Voldemort despised Dumbledore, not only for latter's continued opposition, but also because Dumbledore's belief in the triumphant power of love was something that both confused and disgusted Voldemort. Dumbledore was thought to be the only person Voldemort ever feared and one of the few people Voldemort was unable to intimidate. Dumbledore persisted on referring to him as "Voldemort" to others and addressing him as "Tom" in conversation, a subtle but steadfast refusal to allow Voldemort to dictate the terms of their relationship, and a trait that would later be inherited by Harry Potter. Dumbledore led the efforts against Voldemort in the First Wizarding War; over many years, Dumbledore gathered crucial information about Voldemort's past and passed it on to Harry Potter, who would essentially take Dumbledore's place as leader of the opposition in the Second Wizarding War.
In 1996, Dumbledore and Voldemort met face to face in the Ministry of Magic during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, where Dumbledore addressed Voldemort as “Tom” and said it was foolish of him to come to the Ministry. Voldemort initiated a fierce duel with Dumbledore, during which he tried to murder both Dumbledore and Harry, but was unsuccessful; Dumbledore's power equalled his own and Harry was able to exorcise the Dark Lord from his body and mind by focusing on his intense feelings of grief over Sirius' death. Cornelius Fudge arrived at the Ministry just in time to see Voldemort escape with Bellatrix Lestrange, and was finally forced to acknowledge the truth of Voldemort's return.
Following his failure to kill either Dumbledore or Harry at the ministry, Voldemort assigned Draco Malfoy to carry out Dumbledore's assassination. Dumbledore became aware of this plot, and addressed it by arranging his own death with Severus Snape. At the time of his death in 1997, Albus Dumbledore had fully equipped Harry Potter with the physical, mental and emotional tools he needed to defeat Voldemort once and for all in 1998. Later on, during his search for the Elder Wand, Voldemort broke into Dumbledore's tomb.
Both Voldemort and Dumbledore are pretty similar; both were half-blood, although Voldemort knew nothing about Hogwarts, until he was 11. Both were recognised as two of the best wizards to go to Hogwarts and were both Prefects and Head Boy. Both created and led their own causes (the Order of the Phoenix and the Death Eaters). Both were extremely powerful, although Voldemort does not know love. Both possessed the Elder Wand during their life and that both Dumbledore and Voldemort extremely believed in Severus Snape.
Bartemius Crouch Jr.
- "I will not disappoint you, my Lord."
- —Barty Crouch, Jr[src]
Another of Voldemort's most loyal and trusted servants was Barty Crouch Jr. Barty Crouch was imprisoned in Azkaban with Bellatrix Lestrange and two other Death Eaters. He escaped with the help of his father and dying mother, and the former kept him confined to the Crouch home under the Imperius Curse. When Voldemort learned, by way of torturing Bertha Jorkins, that there was a Death Eater at large who remained loyal to him, Voldemort and Peter Pettigrew overpowered the senior Barty Crouch and freed his son.
In contrast with his real father, Crouch saw Lord Voldemort as a father figure of sorts, and after been disowned by his own father and after his Azkaban year, was fanatically devoted to the Dark Lord. In fact, at that point Crouch was willing to sacrifice and give absolutely everything to serve Voldemort. He also believed that if he finished off Harry Potter, he would be welcomed back, closer to Voldemort than a real son. In essence, Barty's loyalty is only matched by fellow Death Eater Bellatrix Lestrange. However, Crouch's loyalty has led him to know many things about Lord Voldemort that even other loyal Death Eaters, such as Bellatrix, do not. Barty knows that Voldemort had a disappointing father, that he suffered the indignity of being named after that father, and that he had the great pleasure of killing said father to ensure the rise of the dark order. These three common threads helped to fuel Barty's loyalty. This also implies that Barty is aware of Voldemort's blood status as a half-blood, but doesn't care about it, in contradiction to the Death Eaters' belief of pure-blood supremacy. It could very well be that Voldemort told Barty these similarities between the two, and used them as a way to get Barty to join him. Voldemort seems to have acknowledged Barty's worth, something his own father failed to do, referring to Barty as "his most faithful servant." However, for all of Voldemort's public claims, he never truly cared for Barty any more than as a useful servant who is as easily disposable as any other, as Voldemort never wanted a friend.
Barty Crouch Jr helped Voldemort regain a physical body by capturing and imprisoning Alastor Moody, a retired Auror, who was about to accept Dumbledore's offer to teach Defence Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts. Disguised as Moody, Barty Crouch entered Harry's name into the Goblet of Fire and helped ensure that he would win the Triwizard Tournament. By turning the Triwizard Cup into a Portkey, Crouch made sure Harry was transported to the Little Hangleton graveyard, where Peter Pettigrew used Harry's blood to concoct a potion that would allow Voldemort to be reborn. After Voldemort failed to kill Harry in the graveyard, Harry returned to Hogwarts, where Barty Crouch attempted to kill him personally, no longer pretending to be Alastor Moody. Harry was saved by Albus Dumbledore, Severus Snape and Minerva McGonagall, and Barty Crouch was given the Dementor's Kiss.
- "Perhaps you already know it? You are a clever man, after all, Severus. You have been a good and faithful servant, and I regret what must happen… The Elder Wand cannot serve me properly, Severus, because I am not its true master. The Elder Wand belongs to the wizard who killed its last owner. You killed Albus Dumbledore. While you live, Severus, the Elder Wand cannot truly be mine… It cannot be any other way."
- —Voldemort just before ordering Nagini to kill Snape[src]
Severus Snape became a Death Eater in the First Wizarding War. He was extremely loyal to Voldemort until he realised that the Dark Lord planned to murder Lily Evans. Snape appealed to Albus Dumbledore, becoming a spy in exchange for her protection. From that point on, Snape used Occlumency to prevent the Dark Lord from discovering his true allegiance.
After Peter Pettigrew broke the Fidelius Charm cast by the Potters, Lily died and Voldemort disappeared; however, while Snape was unable to save Lily herself, his love for her allowed her son, Harry Potter, to survive. It was because Snape asked the Dark Lord to spare her life that Voldemort gave Lily the option to flee, thus making her death a willing sacrifice. Following the death of the Potters, Snape's loyalty did not waver, and he swore to protect Harry from the Dark Lord, honouring Lily's sacrifice.
When Voldemort was reborn and called his Death Eaters to him, Snape did not appear until two hours later. The Dark Lord was suspicious, and feared that Snape had abandoned his service. On Dumbledore's orders, Severus claimed that his delayed return had secured the Headmaster's continued trust. The Dark Lord questioned Snape extensively, and found all his answers satisfactory; Snape was then welcomed back to the inner circle.
Voldemort's trust in Snape was further cemented when the latter murdered Albus Dumbledore; the Dark Lord did not know that Dumbledore had previously arranged the assassination with Snape. Snape became the Dark Lord's most trusted advisor and was given the position of Hogwarts Headmaster after the Fall of the Ministry of Magic. Unbeknownst to Voldemort, Snape continued to undermine him as much as possible, following Dumbledore's instructions.
When Minerva McGonagall began to coordinate the defences of Hogwarts Castle for the impending battle against Voldemort, Snape fled, and was summoned to the Shrieking Shack by his Master soon afterwards. Snape saw that the Dark Lord had cast special protection around Nagini, and attempted to leave the Shack to give Harry a message from Dumbledore (as Dumbledore had instructed Snape that, once Voldemort seemed to fear for the serpent's life, he was to tell Harry that Harry himself was Voldemort's seventh Horcrux, and therefore had to die) on the pretence that he would find Harry and ensure that he was killed by no hand other than Voldemort's own. Dismissing Snape's concerns, Voldemort noted that, since Albus Dumbledore's murder, Snape had become the true master of the Elder Wand. Voldemort ordered Nagini to kill Snape, and though he claimed he regretted the necessity of this action, he showed neither sadness nor concern for the loss of Snape's life. Harry, who had witnessed the scene and entered the room upon Voldemort's departure, approached Snape, who gave him several memories that both revealed his true allegiance and passed on Dumbledore's message. Snape's last words reflected his truest motives: he instructed Harry to look at him, so that he would die looking into the eyes Harry inherited from Lily Evans.
In his final duel against Voldemort, Harry revealed that Snape had been loyal to Dumbledore since Voldemort had targeted the Potters.
One of the possible reasons why Voldemort placed so much trust in Snape was due to their rather similar backgrounds. Both men were the only children of Muggle fathers and pure-blood mothers. Both men's fathers had nothing but hatred for their sons and wives—Voldemort's father had abandoned his wife when she was pregnant with their son, while Snape's father was abusive towards his wife Eileen and their young son. Both Riddle and Snape claimed greater identification with their maternal lineage than their paternal ancestry—the Gaunts and Prince family, respectively. Both men grew up in poverty—Voldemort grew up in an orphanage, while Snape lived in Spinner's End. In addition, both Riddle and Snape were sorted into Slytherin, and were known for their intelligence. Both men had a passion for the Dark Arts and blood purity as childhood, and bestowed grandiose titles onto themselves (Riddle was known as Lord Voldemort, while Snape adopted the name the Half-Blood Prince). Both saw Hogwarts as sort of a real home as opposed to their default home. Voldemort may have seen him as a trusted Death Eater who shared the same hatred for his father as he had for his own. The only thing that differs between Voldemort and Snape's relationships with their fathers is murder; Voldemort had murdered his own father while Snape did not murder his.
However, there were differences between Snape and Voldemort. Snape had a secret love for Lily Evans for all his life, which motivated him to defect from the Death Eaters and protect her son, Harry Potter after her death at Voldemort's hands. Voldemort, on the other hand, disregarded love as a weakness that was beyond his comprehension, and had allegiance to only himself. This had coincidentally led to his own undoing. Another difference was that Voldemort grew up completely unaware of the wizarding world until he was eleven, Snape had apparently already known by the time he was nine (likely due to the fact that his mother was a witch and, unlike Voldemort's mother, actually present in her son's childhood).
- "Your devotion is nothing more than cowardice. You would not be here if you had anywhere else to go."
- —Voldemort opinion of Pettigrew[src]
In 1993, Sirius Black escaped from Azkaban, where he had been detained after Pettigrew framed him for his own crimes, and Black followed Pettigrew to Hogwarts. By chance, after Harry Potter convinced Black not to murder Pettigrew on the spot, he managed to transform back into a rat, and escaped. With nowhere else to go, Pettigrew fled to Albania to seek protection from Black in the service of Lord Voldemort. Pettigrew proved his usefulness by sending Voldemort Bertha Jorkins, who told them where to find Bartemius Crouch Jr Pettigrew later played a key role in Voldemort's rebirth by sacrificing his hand to the potion that allowed Voldemort to acquire a new body. Despite all this, Voldemort still reviled Pettigrew for his obvious cowardice and past loyalty issues, and spoke in utter contempt for his servant.
In 1998, Pettigrew was killed by the silver hand Voldemort had given him when he hesitated during an attempt to strangle Harry Potter, a fate likely similar to whatever punishment Pettigrew would've received from Voldemort himself for this.
The Malfoy family
- "Lucius, my slippery friend. I am told that you have not renounced the old ways, though to the world you present a respectable face. You are still ready to take the lead in a spot of Muggle-torture, I believe? Yet you never tried to find me, Lucius."
- —Lord Voldemort to Lucius Malfoy after his return[src]
Voldemort entrusted Lucius Malfoy with a Horcrux: his diary, which made possible the reopening of the Chamber of Secrets. The Dark Lord was enraged to hear, years later, that the diary had been carelessly handed to Ginny Weasley. Lucius appeared not to have known that the object concealed a part of his master's soul, as in all likelihood, Voldemort had only told him that the object was enchanted to reopen the Chamber.
Lucius pretended to have been under the Imperius Curse after the Dark Lord's first downfall, and maintained a position of influence within the Ministry of Magic until the Second Wizarding War began. When Voldemort was reborn, he seemed to welcome Lucius into his inner circle, though he reprimanded Malfoy for running from the Dark Mark conjured at the Quidditch World Cup.
The following year, after Harry Potter managed to escape from the Manor, Voldemort tortured Lucius and began to treat him with complete disdain. Malfoy then focused on rescuing his son from Hogwarts during the Battle of Hogwarts, fearing only for Draco's life and seeming to abandon all loyalty to the Death Eaters' cause. Voldemort snubbed Lucius' concerns for Draco and jeered that perhaps the teenager had chosen to ally himself with Harry Potter when he did not leave the school with the other Slytherins.
After Voldemort succeeded in casting the Killing Curse on Harry, Narcissa Malfoy was ordered to confirm the death. Harry was alive; however, Narcissa, concerned for her son, demanded news of Draco from Harry and, upon learning that Draco was alive and well, lied to the Dark Lord, stating that Harry was dead. She knew that she and Lucius would only be able to return to Hogwarts and reunite with their son if they were part of a victory party. This allowed Harry to confront Voldemort for the last time, during which the Dark Lord was killed by a rebounding Killing Curse. Narcissa's instrumental intervention ensured that the Malfoys were not convicted for their crimes.
- "Welcome, my friends! Thirteen years it's been, and yet, here you stand as if it were only yesterday. I confess myself... disappointed. Not one of you tried to find me..."
- —Voldemort viciously greeting his Death Eaters in Little Hangleton.[src]
Those called Death Eaters were a group of Dark Wizards and Witches that followed Voldemort, fighting as the upper echelon of his army during both the First and Second Wizarding Wars. However, Voldemort did not take kindly to failure or disloyalty from his servants, and he made sure those who had believed him dead and did not try to find him following his disappearance paid the price upon his return. When he summoned his Death Eaters to the Little Hangleton graveyard, after he regained his body, he tortured and questioned them before forgiving and allowing them back into his service.
Despite many of the Death Eaters claiming to be close to Voldemort, and Voldemort often referring to them as his "friends" and his "true family", the Dark Lord saw them as little more than dispensable servants. The few Death Eaters in whom Voldemort appeared to place any amount of genuine trust were Severus Snape, Lucius Malfoy, Peter Pettigrew, Barty Crouch Jr, Bellatrix, Rodolphus and Rabastan Lestrange, though as time passes, he lost trust in them due to constant failure or wavering trust.
Some of Lord Voldemort's first Death Eaters were Avery Snr, Lestrange, Mulciber Snr, Nott, Rosier and Antonin Dolohov. Others were Walden Macnair, Corban Yaxley, Augustus Rookwood, Selwyn, Travers, Thorfinn Rowle, Alecto and Amycus Carrow, Gibbon, Crabbe, Goyle, Jugson, Avery Jr, Mulciber Jr, Igor Karkaroff, Evan Rosier and Wilkes.
Like Voldemort himself, many were not above denying any involvement in actions that could get them into trouble with the legal authorities of the magical community. With many being willing to switch their loyalties to avoid danger or punishment, rather than steadfastly supporting their presented views.
After Voldemort's first downfall: Avery, Jr claimed to have been under the Imperius Curse and avoided Azkaban but also didn't attempt to find his master. The Carrow siblings Amycus and Alecto did not attempt to find him. Given Amycus (at the very least)' cowardly nature, it is likely that at the very least he would have done all he could to avoid Azkaban. The Crabbe family, notably Crabbe Snr did not attempt to find him and avoided punishment when put on trial. Likewise the Goyle family, notably Goyle Snr did not attempt to find him and avoided punishment when put on trial. The Malfoy family, Lucius Malfoy in particular, did not attempt to find him and Lucius claimed he had been under the Imperius Curse. The Nott family, notably Mr Nott also did not attempt to find him and avoided punishment when put on trial.
Other individuals who showed disloyalty were Igor Karkaroff who betrayed many of his former comrades to the Ministry in return for his freedom from Azkaban, and went on to become Headmaster of Durmstrang Institute. Though he was still a pure-blood supremacist and did not accept Muggle-borns into his school, Karkaroff fled following Voldemort's return and was consequently killed by Death Eaters in 1996. Peter Pettigrew joined Voldemort out of cowardice, but did not attempt to search for him following his first downfall, so he hid from his fellow Death Eaters in the form of the Weasley family pet rat Scabbers and only rejoined him when he was flushed out by Sirius Black who he framed for his own crimes. Walden Macnair claimed to have been under the Imperius Curse to avoid Azkaban and did not attempt to find Voldemort after his first downfall. Corban Yaxley managed to avoid Azkaban and did not attempt to find Voldemort after his downfall, believing him finished.
On the other hand the Lestrange family remained loyal to Voldemort, with Rabastan Lestrange, brother Rodolphus Lestrange and sister-in-law to the former/wife to the later Bellatrix Lestrange (née Black) going to Azkaban instead of publicly forsaking him. The Mulciber family served him faithfully with both the Snr and the Jr Mulciber fighting for him and the younger even going to Azkaban for him. The Rosier family served him faithfully, with Rosier being among his first Death Eaters and Evan Rosier dying for him during the first Death Eater war.
Other individuals who served him faithfully were Antonin Dolohov, Augustus Rookwood, Travers and Wilkes. The first three went to Azkaban for him while the last was killed by Aurors during the first Death Eater war.
Both Regulus Black II and Severus Snape defected after becoming disillusioned with the Death Eater lifestyle. The later also defected to protect Lily Evans whose husband James Potter I and son Harry Potter were targeted by Lord Voldemort for death, whereas the former defected for the wellfare of Kreacher.
Although Fenrir Greyback is not a true Death Eater, Voldemort offered him the privilege to wear their robes in exchange for his services. While Voldemort saw Greyback as a valuable asset in threatening to set him loose onto people who refuses to cooperate, he did not hold the werewolf in the same regard as genuine Death Eaters, and did not brand him with the Dark Mark. Fenrir joined up with Voldemort not for ideologies, but for greater access to victims of werewolfry infection, and did not attempt to find Voldemort after his first downfall. Regardless, the werewolf did resent the fact that he was not being treated with the same level of respect as Voldemort's inner circle (such as not having the Mark), many whom regarded him with disgust and neglect. Indeed, while it is clear that Voldemort only treats all of his subordinates as tools for his bidding, his low respect for Fenrir made it even more apparent.
- "You've no idea how he was like... Even then..."
- —Horace Slughorn talking about Tom Riddle[src]
Professor Horace Slughorn was the Potions master during Tom Riddle's years at Hogwarts. Tom Riddle was a member of the Slug Club, a "collection" of Slughorn's favourite students, including students who were well connected, and those who proved to be talented and appeared to have potential for great success. At some point during Tom Riddle's time at Hogwarts, he asked Slughorn about Horcruxes. Slughorn initially baulked, but under the influence of Riddle's charm, convinced himself that Tom was asking for "purely academic" reasons and told him what tearing one's soul would basically entail. Most significantly, Tom asked if it was possible to make more than one horcrux; while the question shocked and horrified Slughorn, he didn't deny that it was possible. With the information he received from Slughorn, Tom Riddle affirmed his decision to create six Horcruxes; ultimately, this would tear his soul into a total of seven separate pieces—seven being the "most powerfully magical number"—and allow him to effectively achieve some degree of immortality. Ashamed of having so badly misjudged Tom Riddle, and for the part he played in providing Riddle with such destructive information, Slughorn modified his own memory.
In 1996, Slughorn left retirement and returned to Hogwarts to replace Severus Snape as Potions master. Albus Dumbledore gave Harry Potter the task being "collected" by Slughorn and retrieving the original version of the memory. Harry managed to get the memory from Slughorn in 1997, with the help of Felix Felicis, copious amounts of mead, and Slughorn's fondness for Harry's mother, who had been another of Slughorn's favourites. The memory confirmed suspicions Dumbledore had about the steps Voldemort had taken to become immortal, which proved to be of vital importance in Voldemort's ultimate defeat.
During the Battle of Hogwarts, Slughorn, who initially appeared to flee the school, brought reinforcements from Hogsmeade to join the fight against the Death Eaters, and later duelled directly against Voldemort with Minerva McGonagall and Kingsley Shacklebolt.
- "...I was patient. I wrote back. I was sympathetic, I was kind. Ginny simply loved me... No one's ever understood me like you, Tom... I'm so glad I've got this diary to confide in... It's like a friend I can carry around in my pocket... If I say it myself, Harry, I’ve always been able to charm the people I needed."
- —Tom Riddle to Harry Potter on his manipulation of Ginny[src]
Although Voldemort had lost his physical body, he managed to approach Ginny Weasley, a first year Gryffindor girl and younger sister of Ron Weasley who had a huge crush on Harry Potter, through one of his Horcruxes: his diary. Tom Riddle's soul communicated with Ginny through his diary, sympathising with her problems and giving her advice, which made her emotionally vulnerable to Riddle's influence. As this fragment of his soul was preserved as his 16-year old self, prior to the later disfigurements, Tom Riddle was able to use his earlier good looks to make girls swoon as he had done decades earlier, in this case making an insecure girl feel valued that a tall, dark and handsome man took an interest in her problems. Eventually, Riddle was able to possess Ginny, use her to open the Chamber of Secrets and free Salazar Slytherin's Basilisk to petrify several Muggle-born students (including Hermione Granger). When Ginny figured out what she had been doing, despite having no memory of what happened during the times she was possessed, she attempted to flush the diary down a toilet; however, as the diary was a Horcrux, it remained undamaged and later ended up in the hands of Harry Potter himself.
Ginny, worried the Diary would reveal to Harry things she'd written about her feelings for him, stole the diary back. Riddle possessed Ginny one last time and had her enter the Chamber of Secrets, with every intention of killing her and using her life to restore his own. Harry, however, as a Parselmouth, was able to enter the Chamber, rescue Ginny, and slay the Basilisk with the Godric Gryffindor's Sword. He then used one of the Basilisk's fangs to stab the Diary, effectively making it the first of Voldemort's Horcruxes to be destroyed.
Despite being outwardly sympathetic and understanding, Riddle actually felt great contempt for Ginny, viewing her as "silly" and describing her as "stupid little Ginny". He considered her "boring" at first, but thought that her diary entries became "far more interesting" after he started possessing her as he apparently found her confusion amusing. Ginny's retrieval of the diary angered Riddle as he had hoped to learn more about Harry Potter. When Voldemort's lieutenant, Bellatrix, was killed by Ginny's mother Molly Weasley in retaliation for nearly killing Ginny, Voldemort nearly turned his wand on both mother and daughter. However, this gave Harry the incentive to reveal his being still-alive. Ginny and her surviving relatives all saw Harry defeat Voldemort shortly thereafter. It was unknown to Voldemort that Ginny had won Harry's heart in her fifth year, but he might have suspected it. In addition, Ginny would marry Harry some point after Voldemort's death, making her the Dark Lord's distant cousin-in-law (albeit while Voldemort was dead).
- "Monsters don’t make good pets, Hagrid."
- —Riddle before he turned Hagrid in[src]
Rubeus Hagrid and Tom Riddle were both students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the 1940s, with Hagrid being three years his junior. In 1943, Riddle opened the Chamber of Secrets, unleashing a Basilisk on the school's Muggle-born students. Most of the students who were attacked ended up petrified, but when the Basilisk finally succeeded in killing one of them, Hogwarts became in danger of closing—a consequence Riddle hadn't foreseen, which would mean him having to return indefinitely to Wool's Orphanage. Upon realising the school might not have to close if the perpetrator were caught, Riddle stopped attacking students with the Basilisk, closed the Chamber of Secrets, and framed Hagrid, who was known for his love of dangerous Creatures and at the time was raising Aragog, a young Acromantula, for the crime. Hagrid managed to protect Aragog and even threw Riddle to the ground when he tried to curse him, making Hagrid the only person to challenge Riddle while he was a student. Despite this, Hagrid was expelled from Hogwarts, and the school was allowed to remain open. Believing in Hagrid's innocence, however, Professor Albus Dumbledore convinced Headmaster Armando Dippet to allow Hagrid to stay on at Hogwarts as Gamekeeper.
Tom Riddle never felt remorse for framing Hagrid and ruining his life. As Riddle went on to become Voldemort, Hagrid joined the Order of the Phoenix and fought against Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters in the First Wizarding War. In 1981, Hagrid was devastated when Voldemort murdered his friends James and Lily Potter, but shared in the relief of the rest of the Wizarding world when Voldemort lost his powers and disappeared after failing to kill young Harry Potter. Although many believed that Voldemort was dead, Hagrid, agreeing with Dumbledore, believed that he would one day return to power. Along with the vast majority of the Wizarding community, Hagrid refused to say Voldemort's name, generally referring to him as "You-know-who" although he once reluctantly said Voldemort's name when explaining his background to Harry. Since Voldemort had a certain respect for Hogwart's professors, it is not known if that included Hagrid, who taught Care of Magical Creatures. This is unlikely considering Hagrid's half-giant status.
In 1995, after his resurrection, Voldemort dispatched his Death Eaters to convince the giants to join their side, while Dumbledore had sent Hagrid and Olympe Maxime to do the same. While Hagrid and Maxime were on good terms with the Gurg, Karkus, the Death Eaters supported the giant Golgomath in an uprising that resulted in Golgomath beheading Karkus and taking over the giant colony. The giants then attacked Hagrid and Maxime, who were forced to retreat.
In 1998, Hagrid fought in the Battle of Hogwarts and was captured by the Death Eaters. After Harry sacrificed himself to be killed, Voldemort ordered a grieving Hagrid to carry his friend’s “dead” body in his arms, where it would be clearly visible to Harry's supporters. When Harry finally defeated the Dark Lord, Hagrid was amongst the first few who were able to congratulate him on his triumph.
- "You see what I've become? See what I must do to survive? Live off another; a mere parasite."
- —Voldemort talking to Harry Potter through Quirrell[src]
Quirinus Quirrell encountered Lord Voldemort's disembodied soul fragment in the Black Forest of Albania, during his world travels. Originally naively trying to capture the Dark Lord's remains, Quirrell overestimated himself thinking he could subjugate Voldemort and learn powerful magic from him. With promises of wealth, domination and possibly immortality, Voldemort convinced Quirrell to become his faithful servant, and even to share his body. Quirrell followed orders with a tint of fear, and at times tried, feebly and futilely, to resist the possession.
On Voldemort's orders, Quirrell returned to London in 1991 and broke into Vault 713 at Gringotts Wizarding Bank to procure the Philosopher's Stone, only to find that it had been emptied earlier that day and the Stone transferred to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry by Rubeus Hagrid.
Quirrell took the position of Professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts, with the aim of tracking down the Stone. When he and Voldemort realised Harry Potter was starting at Hogwarts that same year, Quirrell attempted to kill Harry, but was prevented from doing so first by Severus Snape, then, unwittingly, by Hermione Granger.
Quirrell once again turned his attention to finding the Philosopher's Stone, and overcame several enchanted obstacles to travel through the Philosopher's Stone Chambers. Harry followed Quirrell through the Chambers, believing he was actually following Severus Snape, and eventually found Quirrell attempting to retrieve the Stone from the Mirror of Erised in the final chamber. Voldemort ordered Quirrell to use Harry to get the stone, and when the Stone appeared in Harry's pocket, Harry attempted to conceal the fact by lying about what he saw in the Mirror. Voldemort, seeing through Harry's lie, offered Harry power and glory, and even the possibility of seeing his parents again, in exchange for joining him and handing over the stone. Upon Harry's refusal, Voldemort ordered Quirrell to take the Stone by force, but found that Quirrell was unable to touch the boy without enduring excruciating pain as a result of the protection afforded to Harry by his mother's loving sacrifice. To escape the pain, Voldemort separated his soul from Quirrell's body and fled, leaving Quirrell to die; Dumbledore noted that this was an act of Voldemort's mercilessness on his subordinates as much as towards his enemies.
Wool's Orphanage residents
Tom's relationship with the other residents of the orphanage was strained, to say the least. Some of the orphanage's staff, such as Mrs Cole, believed that his mother had originated from a circus due to his middle name. When Albus Dumbledore, then professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, arrived at the orphanage to invite Tom to attend Hogwarts, Tom initially believed that Mrs Cole, the orphanage's matron, had called Dumbledore to take him to an asylum. Dumbledore discovered that Tom had been bullying the other children, namely Amy Benson and Dennis Bishop, and that he had a habit of keeping trophies to signify the terror he was able to cause. He knew he was different from the other children; he was intelligent and far more powerful than his peers, and had no issue with punishing those who did not do as he told them. When Dumbledore assured him that he wasn't from an asylum, and that Tom was, in fact, a wizard, Riddle was unusually quick to believe him, having always considered himself "special."
Riddle hated the orphanage, which was a reminder of the poor and common start to his life; ultimately, he thought of Hogwarts as his first and real home.
Tom Riddle first met Hepzibah Smith when he worked at Borgin and Burkes. As a polite, handsome, and clever young man with a great capacity to charm and a powerful gift of persuasion, he became friendly with Hepzibah, flattering her and making her feel pretty. He convinced her to show him two of her greatest treasures—Salazar Slytherin's Locket and Helga Hufflepuff's Cup—which he planned to steal and turn into Horcruxes. He killed Hepzibah two days later by mixing a lethal and little-known poison into her cocoa, and took the two artefacts. He was never suspected in her murder, as he framed Smith's house-elf, Hokey, by modifying the elf's memory. Prior to her death, Hepzibah realised too late of Tom's greed for the treasures, which led her affections to falter somewhat.
Order of the Phoenix
Though it was unknown to Voldemort till shortly before his defeat, Severus Snape was a member of the Order who had defected from the Death Eaters and worked for Dumbledore as a spy shortly after Voldemort began hunting Lily Potter.
James and Lily Potter were members of the Order who became prime targets for Voldemort during the First Wizarding War, after Voldemort heard of a prophecy foretelling of a child destined to destroy him. This fit the description of their young son, Harry. On 31 October, 1981, Voldemort found the Potters after the Fidelius Charm they had cast was broken by Peter Pettigrew. Voldemort killed James first and ordered Lily to stand aside, so he could kill Harry. When Lily refused to stand aside, Voldemort killed her as well, making her murder a sacrifice that caused the Killing Curse Voldemort aimed at Harry to backfire; Voldemort lost his body and fled to Albania.
Shortly after Voldemort lost his powers in 1981, the Longbottom family suffered at the hands of Bellatrix Lestrange, her husband Rodolphus, her brother-in-law Rabastan, and Barty Crouch Jr, who tortured Alice and Frank Longbottom, new parents to Neville Longbottom, to the point of insanity. They became permanent residents of St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, and Neville was left to be raised by his grandmother, Augusta Longbottom. During the Battle of Hogwarts in 1998, Neville openly defied Voldemort and was tortured. However, he survived, and destroyed Voldemort’s last remaining Horcrux when he beheaded Nagini using the Sword of Gryffindor.
Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody was a highly skilled Auror and active member of the Order who fought against Voldemort during the First Wizarding War. After Voldemort’s first downfall in 1981, Moody was responsible for rounding up a number of Death Eaters, such as Igor Karkaroff, and killing several others, like Evan Rosier. In 1994, Voldemort ordered Barty Crouch Jr to kidnap Moody and imprison him in his own trunk. For the next nine months, Crouch used Moody's hair to brew the Polyjuice Potion that would allow him to take Moody's place as temporary professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In 1995, Crouch used his position at Hogwarts to make sure Harry Potter was transported to the Little Hangleton graveyard, where Peter Pettigrew used Harry's blood in a potion that allowed Voldemort to be restored to his body. When Voldemort failed to kill Harry in the graveyard and Harry returned to Hogwarts, Barty Crouch Jr attempted to murder him personally. Dumbledore, Minerva McGonagall, and Severus Snape rescued Harry, after which Crouch was exposed, and Moody was freed. After Dumbledore’s death in 1997, Moody took charge of the Order of the Phoenix, until he was murdered by Voldemort during the Battle of the Seven Potters.
Nearly all of the Weasley family was active within the Order of the Phoenix. They fought against Voldemort during both the First and Second Wizarding wars. They lost family members such as Fabian and Gideon Prewett, who were brothers of Molly Weasley, and Fred Weasley, who was killed in the Battle of Hogwarts. Voldemort had previously tried to manipulate Ginny Weasley in 1992, in an attempt to return to physical form, through one of his Horcruxes. Voldemort was furious when Molly defeated Bellatrix, and would have killed her, had Harry not intervened. Most of the Weasley family watched the final duel between Voldemort and Harry, and were witnesses to Voldemort’s death.
Dorcas Meadowes, Caradoc Dearborn, the Bones family, the McKinnon family, Benjy Fenwick and Emmeline Vance were all Order members killed either by Voldemort or by his Death Eaters during the First and Second Wizarding Wars.
- 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 "...but I'm pretty sure I'm the only person who pronounces it that way."
Tom Marvolo Riddle
- 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. Due to Voldemort's past being "a riddle" until the heroes discover he was T. M. Riddle in Book 2, it is only logical that he would be named that; moreover, J. K. Rowling reportedly once saw the grave of one "Tom Riddell", which is probably the origin of the name.
- 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 scenes
- In the films 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 (who also played Professor Quirrell) 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 the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the 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.
- He is voiced by Akira Ishida in the Japanese dub of the second video game.
- Although Harry Potter only realises 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 book.
- When Voldemort is seen drinking the Unicorn blood, he is portrayed by Theo Kypri.
- In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 Voldemort is the default Boggart for people whose Boggart is not described in canon.
- In the Harry Potter films, 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 the film adaptation, Voldemort is shown to have very apparent veins on the top and back of his bald skull. Due to the veins' pattern, this was misinterpreted by some viewers who took it to be a scale-like motif and one of the features of Voldemort that had begun to resemble a snake after he began creating his Horcruxes.
- 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.
- 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. The letter is also pronounced in the film versions. During a reading of one of her books, Rowling herself pronounced Voldermort with a "t" (but did not at another.)
- 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 realised 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 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 adaptation 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, rumours circulated that both Rowan Atkinson and John Malkovich were considered. Both rumours were proven to be false.
- In the Danish version of the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Albus Dumbledore, voiced by Nis Bank-Mikkelsen, calls Voldemort Tom instead of Romeo, which is his Danish name. The writers behind the Danish script made a mistake.
- 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 colour in the books to Daniel Radcliffe's natural light blue.
- 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.
- 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."
- J. K. Rowling explained that Voldemort went after Harry instead of Neville because he identified with the half-blood boy and therefore decided he must be the greater risk.
- 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.
- 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.
- Voldemort is described in the books as having cat-like slits for eyes, which is changed in the film. However, after he emerges from the cauldron in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the slits can be briefly seen.
- 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.
- J. K. Rowling 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 the film adaptations, despite characters still calling him "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named", "You-Know-Who", or (in the case of Death Eaters) "The Dark Lord", more characters call him by his name than in the book. Hermione first says the name in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, as opposed to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Wormtail and Barty Crouch Jr both say the name in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (the first time that they conversed with him), and in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Arthur Weasley says the name, despite telling Harry not to say it in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It could be argued (in the film story) that Mr Weasley had become less afraid of Voldemort (while still regarding him as a major threat), enough to speak his name.
- In the filmed version of 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.
- J.K. Rowling has 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.
- 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.
- A detailed replica of a Voldemort doll is sold at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
- In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, 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.
- In the novel of Deathly Hallows, Harry and Voldemort duel in the Great Hall. In the film of Deathly Hallows, Voldemort and Harry battle in the Grand Staircase and the catwalks by the Quad battlements, before Harry grabs Voldemort and they fall from a ledge. They Apparate together around the castle before landing at the Entrance Courtyard, where they finish their duel.
- In the book, Voldemort's final words are "Avada Kedavra!" In the film, since his Killing Curses during the final battle are nonverbal, the last thing he says is "I killed Snape!", when Harry was confronting him about the Elder Wand. However, the game re-adds his last line from the book.
- In the film adaptation, Voldemort disintegrates when he is defeated, while in the novel, he just falls to the ground.
- In the book, it only says that Voldemort's curse rebounded on him and that the Elder Wand flew from his hand to Harry's. In the film, Voldemort dies when his Killing Curse begins filling in the fissures of the Elder Wand, and then his arms begins to turn black, causing him to disintegrate into ashes as he dies. It was, however, intended to be similar to the original book, and was also included in late stages of development, although it was changed to the depiction in the final version after the events of Osama bin Laden's death.
- Tom Riddle is the only named Slytherin Head Boy.
- 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.
- 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.
- In the books, Voldemort's voice is frequently described as being cold and high, but Fiennes uses an occasionally deep voice, particularly when Voldemort is yelling or casting curses.
- Voldemort had been rejected twice when applying for the job as teacher of Defence Against the Dark Arts. However, Voldemort shared the body of Quirinus Quirrell, who was from that time a teacher of Defence Against the Dark Arts for a year.
- It is remarked in the story that the turban Quirrel wears smells foul, and most presume it is to protect him from a vampire he encountered in the Black Forrest. 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 in some respect 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.
- Ralph Fiennes' favourite line in the series is "I can touch you now" from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
- 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 practise 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.
- 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.
- Ironically, Voldemort's name would later be used for a distributed data storage system that was for key-values, similar to Voldemort and his horcruxes.
- Despite dying at the age of 71, it is likely that he was biologically younger, given that he was left without a body for 13 years, and received a new body in 1995, when he would have been 68.
- In The LEGO Batman Movie, Voldemort appears as one of the many villains trapped in the Phantom Zone. Curiously, he is not voiced by Ralph Fiennes, even though another major character in the film (Alfred Pennyworth) is; instead he is voiced by Eddie Izzard.
Translations of the name
|English||TOM MARVOLO RIDDLE||I AM LORD VOLDEMORT|
|Basque||TOM NARIVOLOZ RIDDLE||LORD VOLDEMORT NAIZ||I am Lord Voldemort|
|Bulgarian|| ТОМ МЕРСВОЛУКО РИДДЪЛ|
(TOM MERSVOLUKO RIDDŬL)
| ТУК СЪМ И ЛОРД ВОЛДЕМОР|
(TUK SŬM I LORD VOLDEMOR)
|And here I am also Lord Voldemort|
|Belarusian|| ТОМ ВАЛЬДОР РЭДЛ|
(ТОМ VAL'DOR REDL)
| ЛОРД ВАЛЬДЭМОРТ|
|Catalan||TOD MORVOSC RODLEL||SÓC LORD VOLDEMORT||I am Lord Voldemort|
|I am Lord Voldemort||The Chinese word "魔" means demon in English.|
|Czech||TOM ROJVOL RADDLE||JÁ LORD VOLDEMORT||I, Lord Voldemort|
|Danish||ROMEO G DETLEV JR||JEG ER VOLDEMORT||I am Voldemort||The G. is short for Gåde, i.e. "Riddle".|
|Dutch||MARTEN ASMODOM VILIJN||MIJN NAAM IS VOLDEMORT||My name is Voldemort||"Vilijn" (Voldemort's last name) and the Dutch word "vilein" are equally pronounced, while the word "Vilein" means "evil" or "mean". It resembles the English word "villain".|
|Esperanto||TOM VLADES MISTERO||MI ESTAS VOLDEMORT||I am Voldemort||"Mistero" translates as "mystery". (This name is non-canonical, since the books have not been translated to Esperanto.)|
|Estonian||TOM MARVOLON RIDDLE||MINA, LORD VOLDEMORT||I, Lord Voldemort|
|Faroese||TOM EVILDO REGER||EG ERI VOLDEMORT||I am Voldemort|
|Finnish||TOM LOMEN VALEDRO||MA OLEN VOLDEMORT||I am Voldemort||"Ma" is an archaic form of "Minä," which means "I" or "me". Also, "Valedro" begins with "vale" which equals to "lie" or "riddle".|
|French||TOM ELVIS JEDUSOR||JE SUIS VOLDEMORT||I am Voldemort||"Voldemort" actually translates to "Flight of Death"; "Jedusor" is pronounced the same way as "Jeu du sort" (lit. stroke of fate). However in the films, and despite the absence of a written accent, it is pronounced as "Jet du sort" (curse/spell('s) casting).|
|German||TOM VORLOST RIDDLE||IST LORD VOLDEMORT||[He] is Lord Voldemort|
|Greek|| ΑΝΤΟΝ ΜΟΡΒΟΛ ΧΕΡΤ|
(ÁNTO̱N MÓRVOL CHÉRT)
| ΑΡΧΩΝ ΒΟΛΝΤΕΜΟΡΤ|
|Lord Voldemort||"NT" in Greek is equivalent to "D"|
|Hebrew|| טום ואנדרולו רידל|
(TOM VANDROLO RIDDLE)
| אני לורד וולדמורט|
(ANI LORD VOLDEMORT)
|I am Lord Voldemort|
|Hungarian||TOM ROWLE DENEM||NEVEM VOLDEMORT||My name is Voldemort||The W is split to form two Vs in order to make the anagram work.|
|Icelandic||TREVOR DELGOME||EG ER VOLDEMORT||I am Voldemort|
|Italian||TOM ORVOLOSON RIDDLE||SON IO LORD VOLDEMORT||I am Lord Voldemort||Inscribed in a slightly archaic style, with the emphasis on I.|
|Latin||TOM MUSVOX RUDDLE||SUM DUX VOLDEMORT||I am the leader Voldemort|
|Latvian||TOMS SVERELDO MELSUDORS||ES ESMU LORDS VOLDEMORTS||"I am Lord Voldemort"|
|Lithuanian||TOMAS MALVORAS RIDLIS||AŠ ESU LORDAS VOLDEMORTAS||I am Lord Voldemort|
|Malay||TOM MARVOLO RIDDLE||SAYALAH LORD VOLDEMORT||I am Lord Voldemort|
|Norwegian||TOM DREDOLO VENSTER||VOLDEMORT DEN STORE||Voldemort the Great|
|Polish||TOM MARVOLO RIDDLE||JESTEM LORD VOLDEMORT||I am Lord Voldemort||Polish book used original anagram.|
|Portuguese||TOM SERVOLO RIDDLE||EIS LORD VOLDEMORT||Here is Lord Voldemort||Brazilian translation only.|
|Romanian|| TOMAS DORLENT CRUPLUD
TOM RUVEL DOODLER
| EU SUNT LORDUL CAP-DE-MORT
EU, LORD VOLDEMORT
|I am Lord Cap-de-Mort
I, Lord Voldemort
|Russian|| ТОМ НАРВОЛО РЕДДЛ|
(TOM NARVOLO REDDL)
| ЛОРД ВОЛАН-ДЕ-МОРТ|
|Serbian||TOM MERVOLODOMOS RIDL||TO SMO MI LORD VOLDEMOR||Here we are, Lord Voldemort|
|Slovak||TOM MARVOLOSO RIDDLE||A SOM I LORD VOLDEMORT||And I am also Lord Voldemort|
|Slovenian||MARK NEELSTIN||MRLAKENSTEIN||In this case, the name has been changed to look like Frankenstein, and Mrlak would be an allusion to death.|
|Spanish||TOM SORVOLO RYDDLE||SOY LORD VOLDEMORT||I am Lord Voldemort|
|Swedish||TOM GUS MERVOLO DOLDER||EGO SUM LORD VOLDEMORT||I am Lord Voldemort||In Latin "ego sum" = "I am"; "Dolder" is drawn from a somewhat archaic name for "someone hidden".|
|Turkish||TOM MARVOLDO RIDDLE||ADIM LORD VOLDEMORT||My name (is) Lord Voldemort|
|Indonesia||TOM MARVOLO RIDDLE||AKULAH LORD VOLDEMORT||I am Lord Voldemort|
|Ukranian|| ТОМ ЯРВОЛОД РЕДЛ|
(TOM YARVOLOD REDL)
| Я ЛОРД ВОЛДЕМОРТ|
(YA LORD VOLDEMORT)
|I (am) Lord Voldemort||The -volod part of the name may be connected to the name "Volodimir", where "volod" equates to "ruler".|
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (First identified as Tom Riddle) (Appears as a memory)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Appears in flashback(s))
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film) (Appears in flashback(s))
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game) (Appears in flashback(s))
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (play)
- Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book
- LEGO Harry Potter: Building the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter
- The Queen's Handbag (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- LEGO Harry Potter
- Harry Potter Trading Card Game
- Harry Potter for Kinect
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault
- LEGO Dimensions
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Appears in Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts)
- The LEGO Batman Movie
Notes and references
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 10 (The House of Gaunt)
- ↑ He was first known as this when he was 16.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 He was known as this when people were scared of the name Voldemort.
- ↑ Known as this by Death Eaters and occasionally Albus Dumbledore.
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 1 (The Riddle House)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 38 (The Second War Begins)
- ↑ Referred to as this by Lee Jordan on Potterwatch in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 22 (The Deathly Hallows)
- ↑ Adopted this appellation in 1942.
- ↑ DUMBLEDORE'S ARMY REUNITES AT QUIDDITCH WORLD CUP FINAL (Archived)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Act Three, Scene Twenty-one
- ↑ We know that Chamber of Secrets takes place in 1992-93. Fifty years earlier was 1942-43. In this year, Hagrid was a third year, and Riddle was two above him, meaning he was a fifth year. 15 years before 1942 was 1927. However, Riddle was born on New Year's, making it 1926.
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Act Four, Scene Eleven
- ↑ Rowling, J.K. "Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry". 2017. URL: <https://www.pottermore.com/writing-by-jk-rowling/ilvermorny>
- ↑ 
- ↑ 15.00 15.01 15.02 15.03 15.04 15.05 15.06 15.07 15.08 15.09 15.10 15.11 15.12 15.13 15.14 15.15 15.16 15.17 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 16.6 16.7 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 17 (A Sluggish Memory)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 1 (The Riddle House) The opening chapter which takes place on August 16, 1994 states that the murders took place "fifty years before, at daybreak on a fine summer’s morning",makes the year 1944. However, in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 17 (A Sluggish Memory) it says it happened - "in the summer of his [Tom's] sixteenth year..." Tom was born 31 Dec 1926 so his sixteenth year would be 1942, or the summer of him being sixteen would be 1943. However, before HBP was published, 1943 was suggested by fans, including the Harry Potter Lexicon, as best fitting the evidence and adopted for use in the films.
- ↑ 19.00 19.01 19.02 19.03 19.04 19.05 19.06 19.07 19.08 19.09 19.10 19.11 19.12 19.13 19.14 19.15 19.16 19.17 19.18 19.19 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 18 (Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs)>Hepzibah died ten years before Voldemort met with Dumbledore. Lupin's quote in the PoA tells us Dumbledore became Headmaster between 1965 and 1971, meaning Hepzibah died between 1955 and 1961
- ↑ J.K. Rowling said in a 2003 interview the she was originally going to name them "The Knights of Walpurgis".
- ↑ 22.00 22.01 22.02 22.03 22.04 22.05 22.06 22.07 22.08 22.09 22.10 22.11 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
- ↑ 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 24.4 24.5 24.6 24.7 24.8 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 33 (The Death Eaters)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Act Four, Scene Eleven
- ↑ J.K. Rowling and the Live Chat, Bloomsbury.com, 30 July, 2007
- ↑ http://www.kare11.com/entertainment/biggest-twists-and-turns-in-harry-potter-and-the-cursed-child/284746812
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Act Three
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Act Four
- ↑ 31.0 31.1 "Anelli, Melissa and Emerson Spartz. "The Leaky Cauldron and MuggleNet interview Joanne Kathleen Rowling: Part Two," The Leaky Cauldron, 16 July 2005".
- ↑ 32.0 32.1 'J.K. Rowling Web Chat Transcript. Retrieved on 2007 August 15.
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 35 (King's Cross)
- ↑ http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=evil&searchmode=none
- ↑ 35.0 35.1 Enchanted with Potter Literature: Fans line up for hours to get their books signed
- ↑ J.K. Rowling on Twitter - "...but I'm pretty sure..."
- ↑ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_(name)
- ↑ http://www.starwarsautographcollecting.com/Autographs/HarryPotter/TheoKypri.htm
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 4 (The Keeper of the Keys)
- ↑ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mC_wGnuc9mo
- ↑ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upNKopjJdQ8
- ↑ 42.0 42.1 Michael Berendt's website.
- ↑ https://twitter.com/jk_rowling/status/674196610683940864
- ↑ 44.0 44.1 JK Rowling's World Book Day Chat, March 4, 2004
- ↑ 30 July, 2007 Bloomsbury webchat
- ↑ 
- ↑ J.K. Rowling on The Diane Rehm Show, WAMU Radio Washington, D.C., October 20, 1999
- ↑ "JK Rowling talks about Book Four," cBBC Newsround, July 8, 2000
- ↑ Jensen, Jeff. "'Fire' Storm," Entertainment Weekly, September 7, 2000
- ↑ Time Magazine staff. "Essay: A Conversation with J.K. Rowling; A Good Scare," Time Magazine, October, 30, 2000
- ↑ An Evening with Harry, Carrie and Garp: Readings and questions #1, August 1, 2006
- ↑ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3FP-nmkFL0&feature=relmfu
Alecto Carrow | Amycus Carrow | Antonin Dolohov | Augustus Rookwood | Avery (I) | Avery (II) |
Barty Crouch Jr. | Bellatrix Lestrange | Cedric Diggory (third revised timeline) | Crabbe | Evan Rosier | Gibbon | Goyle |
Jugson | Lestrange | Mulciber (I) | Mulciber (II) | Nott | Pyrites (possibly) | Rabastan Lestrange | Rodolphus Lestrange | Rosier | Selwyn | Thorfinn Rowle | Travers | Walden Macnair | Wilkes | Corban Yaxley
|Death Eaters who Defected:|
|Death Eaters' allies:|
Albert Runcorn | Blaise Zabini (movie only) | Borgin | Delphini | Dolores Umbridge | Fenrir Greyback | Golgomath |
Gregory Goyle | John Dawlish | Mafalda Hopkirk | Narcissa Malfoy (defected) | Pansy Parkinson | Quirinus Quirrell | Scabior | Vincent Crabbe
Dementors | Draco Malfoy's gang | Giants (Golgomath's control) | Muggle-Born Registration Commission | Snatchers | Werewolves