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Merope Gaunt

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Merope Riddle (née Gaunt)
Biographical information

c. 1907[1]


31 December, 1926 (aged 19)
Wool's Orphanage, London

Blood status


Marital status


Physical information




Eye colour


Skin colour


Family information
Family members

Unknown length, wood and core materials


Never attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

"Harry realised that there was somebody else in the room, a girl whose ragged grey dress was the exact colour of the dirty stone wall behind her... Her hair was lank and dull and she had a plain, pale, rather heavy face. Her eyes, like her brother's, stared in opposite directions. She looked a little cleaner than the two men, but Harry thought he had never seen a more defeated-looking person."
Harry Potter looks at Merope in Bob Ogden's memory in the Pensieve[src]

Merope Riddle (née Gaunt), (c. 190731 December, 1926) was a pure-blood witch, daughter of Marvolo Gaunt, and sister of Morfin. She was a direct descendant of Salazar Slytherin and a Parselmouth. Merope lived in a shack with her father and brother, who mentally and physically abused her. Later on, Merope grew to have an obsessive love for Tom Riddle, a handsome and wealthy Muggle. When both her father and brother were imprisoned, she bewitched and married Tom, but when he recovered, he abandoned her and their unborn son. Merope ended up dying at an orphanage, soon after giving birth to her son, whom she had named Tom Marvolo Riddle.

Many years later, her son, with the name of Lord Voldemort, became the most dangerous Dark wizard of all time.


Early life

"Pick it up! That's it, grub on the floor like some filthy Muggle, what's your wand for, you useless sack of muck?"
—Marvolo to Merope when she drops a pot[src]

Merope Gaunt had lived in a shack near Little Hangleton with her father, Marvolo, and brother, Morfin. Generations of inbreeding left the Gaunts violent, mentally unstable, and poverty-stricken. Merope exhibited little magical talent in her early years, and as a result was mentally and physically abused by her father, who called her a "disgusting little Squib", among other things. However, this was actually a self-fulfilling prophecy, as Merope's magical abilities were suppressed largely because of her father's abuse. Based on this, as well as the family's poverty, it is unlikely that Merope attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, though she did have a wand. Merope seemed to be in charge of cooking and cleaning in her family home; it is unknown what happened to her mother.

However, Merope's magical ability flourished after her father and brother were incarcerated in Azkaban and she was free from their abuse; she showed herself capable of significant magic, enslaving Tom Riddle either with the Imperius Curse or a love potion..[2]


"Once Marvolo and Morfin were safely in Azkaban, once she was alone and free for the first time in her life, then, I am sure, she was able to give full rein to her abilities and to plot her escape from the desperate life she had led for eighteen years... The village of Little Hangleton enjoyed a tremendous scandal. You can imagine the gossip it caused when the squire's son ran off with the tramp's daughter, Merope."
Albus Dumbledore[src]

At some point in her life, Merope secretly fell in love with Tom Riddle, an exceptionally handsome and wealthy Muggle, and the only child of Thomas and Mary Riddle, who lived nearby. Her father was livid when Morfin revealed this to him in the summer of 1925, and attacked her physically, but was restrained by Ministry official Bob Ogden. Ogden arrested both Marvolo and Morfin, who had cursed Riddle because his sister found him attractive. With her family gone, Merope made a play for Riddle. She left the shack with a farewell note revealing what she did, and her existence was never again mentioned by Marvolo.

Although Harry Potter, upon learning of these events, speculated that she might have used the Imperius Curse or a Love Potion on Riddle, Dumbledore believed that she most likely used a Love Potion because it seemed more romantic. In any case, Riddle became infatuated with her and they were married in late 1925, running away to London together.Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag.


Notes and references

  1. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Chapter 10 (The House of Gaunt), we learn that Tom Riddle was born a year after Merope Gaunt and Tom Riddle Sr.'s marriage. As we know Riddle was born in 1926, this would place the marriage in 1925. In the same chapter, we learn that the incident with Bob Ogden and the imprisonment of Marvolo and Morfin was "a few months" before the marriage (so, it was in either 1924 or 1925). As she was eighteen years old at the time of Marvolo and Morfin's imprisonment, she was born in around 1907.
  2. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Ch. 10

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