|"Are you a wizard or not?"
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- " [...] in the light of Voldemort's return, we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. Lord Voldemort's gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship and trust. Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open."
- —Albus Dumbledore after Voldemort's return[src]
The Return of the Dark Lord took place on 24 June, 1995 in the graveyard of Little Hangleton, when Voldemort was restored to physical form and full magical power after being incorporeal for nearly fourteen years.
The rebirth was the result of months of meticulous planning by Voldemort and his servants, Peter Pettigrew and Barty Crouch Jr, who manipulated the Triwizard Tournament being held at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry that year in order to deliver Harry Potter to Voldemort. Once Harry was delivered to Voldemort, Pettigrew used some of Harry's blood in the ritual to restore Voldemort and murdered Cedric Diggory, who was transported along with Harry. Voldemort then called his Death Eaters to him and duelled Harry, who managed to escape and warn Albus Dumbledore.
This event marked the beginning of the Second Wizarding War, although the Ministry of Magic did not admit this until a year later, due to their desire to maintain the peace they worked so hard to create.
During Voldemort's first rise to power, a prophecy was made about an infant with the power to defeat him who would be born to a couple who had thrice defied him. Voldemort believed this infant to be Harry Potter, son of Order of the Phoenix members James and Lily Potter. The Potters went into hiding with Peter Pettigrew as their Secret-Keeper, but Pettigrew betrayed them to Voldemort, who arrived at their home in Godric's Hollow on the night of 31 October, 1981. He murdered James immediately, but offered Lily a chance to save herself because one of his Death Eaters, Severus Snape, had requested it out of love for Lily. She refused and Voldemort used the Killing Curse on her and then on her infant son. Because Lily had willingly sacrificed herself for Harry, the curse backfired, leaving the boy with a lightning-bolt scar on his forehead and destroying Voldemort's body. Voldemort had constructed Horcruxes and thus survived. The rebounding Killing Curse split Voldemort's already-damaged soul once again; the piece of Voldemort's soul that broke off then attached itself to Harry's body, turning him into a Horcrux.
This marked the end of the First Wizarding War, after which many of Voldemort's followers were imprisoned in Azkaban or managed to convince the Ministry of Magic of their innocence. Sirius Black was imprisoned for Pettigrew's crimes, as everyone believed him to be the Potters' Secret-Keeper. Pettigrew went into hiding for years in his Animagus form of a rat, known as Scabbers, acting as a pet to Percy Weasley and later to his younger brother Ron. Some Death Eaters, such as the Lestranges, declared that the Dark Lord would return, while others (such as Evan Rosier) resisted arrest and were ultimately killed.
Plot surrounding the Triwizard Tournament
- "Who put your name in the Goblet of Fire, under the name of a different school? I did. Who frightened off every person I thought might try to hurt you to prevent you from winning the tournament? I did. Who nudged Hagrid into showing you the dragons? I did. Who helped you see the only way you could beat the dragon? I did."
- —Barty Crouch Jr to Harry Potter about the tournament[src]
Voldemort made attempts to regain physical form and power in the following years, including his attempt to use Quirinus Quirrell to obtain the Philosopher's Stone and to murder Harry Potter. None of these plots were successful until Peter Pettigrew returned to his service. Pettigrew's true identity and crimes were exposed in 1994, after Sirius Black escaped from Azkaban, and, with the assistance of his old friend Remus Lupin, confronted Pettigrew and informed Harry of the truth behind his parents' deaths. Pettigrew managed to escape and contact his former master. They also managed to free Barty Crouch Jr, one of Voldemort's fanatical Death Eaters, from his father's control. Voldemort ordered Crouch to infiltrate Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and to bring him Harry Potter, a task which Crouch completed with success.
Crouch managed this by abducting Alastor Moody, the new Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor at Hogwarts and using Polyjuice Potion to take his place. In this position, he was able to manipulate the Triwizard Tournament so that the Goblet of Fire selected Harry as a fourth Champion. Harry was bewildered by this and by how his scar was increasingly beginning to burn. By the Third Task of the Tournament, Crouch had succeeded in turning the Triwizard Cup into a Portkey that would transport whoever touched it to Little Hangleton, where Voldemort and Pettigrew were waiting. Harry and Cedric Diggory, the other Hogwarts champion, agreed that they were equally winners and thus touched the Cup at the same time.
Restoration of Lord Voldemort
Cedric's murder and the ritual
Harry and Cedric were both transported to the graveyard of Little Hangleton. Voldemort ordered Pettigrew to "kill the spare," and Cedric was struck with the Killing Curse. To his horror Harry saw a flash of green light then heard the sound of a body hitting the graveyard's ground. He was then restrained to Tom Riddle Snr's grave marker so that Pettigrew could cut his arm open and take some of his blood to use in a Dark potion to restore Voldemort to full power and strength. While taking Harry's blood Pettigrew refused to make eye-contact, possibly feeling some remorse regarding his actions.
Pettigrew also took a bone from the grave of Tom Riddle Snr and his own hand as part of the potion. Voldemort regained a corporeal body and therefore was returned to full power. He then proceeded to construct a silver hand to replace the one Pettigrew lost, in reward for his work. He pressed a long bony finger on Pettigrew's Dark Mark, calling his Death Eaters to him for the first time in fourteen years.
- "You know of course, that they have called this boy my downfall? You all know that on the night I lost my powers and my body, I tried to kill him. His mother died in the attempt to save him — and unwittingly provided him with a protection I admit I had not foreseen... I could not touch the boy. His mother left upon him the traces of her sacrifice... This is old magic, I should have remembered it, I was foolish to overlook it... but no matter. I can touch him now."
- —Voldemort to his Death Eaters before duelling Harry Potter[src]
Voldemort confronted several of the Death Eaters for not trying to find him during his absence, such as Lucius Malfoy, Crabbe Snr, Goyle Snr, Nott Snr, Avery, and Walden Macnair. They all claimed to still be loyal to him, though he uncovered these hasty lies with ease. Voldemort also swore vengeance on those who did not respond to his summons, such as Igor Karkaroff. The Dark Lord then turned to Harry, remarking upon how the boy had survived his Killing Curse thirteen years ago and how, with his blood in his body, he could now touch him. He used the Cruciatus Curse on Harry briefly and then demanded that he duel him. He used the Imperius Curse on him briefly to force him to bow, which Harry was able to resist.
The duel started with Voldemort casting the Killing Curse, while Harry cast the Disarming Charm. Because the cores of their wands shared the same source, Harry's wand and Voldemort's wand are brothers and thus the rare effect of Priori Incantatem was created when they conflicted. A battle of wills began and Harry's wand (the dominate) forced Voldemort's wand (the submissive) to regurgitate its past spells, Voldemort's murder victims emerged in spirit form. Cedric's spirit asked Harry to return his body to his parents and the spirits of Harry's parents told him that they would provide a distraction so that he could escape. Harry quickly seized Cedric's body and the Triwizard Cup, transporting back to Hogwarts. During the duel, according to Albus Dumbledore, when Harry's wand forced Voldemort's to regurgitate its spells, it had absorbed a part of Voldemort's own dark powers, making Harry's wand even stronger and more powerfully effective, but only against Voldemort himself. This would later save his life in the Battle of the Seven Potters.
Exposure of Barty Crouch Jr.
Chaos erupted when Harry returned to Hogwarts with Cedric's body in tow. Crouch, disguised as Moody, managed to usher Harry away from the panicking crowd to interrogate him about Voldemort's return. He wanted to kill Harry, but Albus Dumbledore and several other members of the Hogwarts staff arrived to stop him. Under the influence of Severus Snape's Veritaserum, Crouch confessed everything. Before he could testify before the Wizengamot, however, Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge arrived with a Dementor, which performed the Dementor's Kiss on him.
The Ministry of Magic refused to believe Harry Potter's account of Voldemort's return, even when he was supported by Albus Dumbledore, due to Fudge not wanting the peace and tranquillity they worked so hard for to be destabilised by this announcement. The Ministry publicly denied the Dark Lord's return and branded Harry and Dumbledore either liars or nutters in the press. Voldemort and his Death Eaters took advantage of this to operate in secret, while Dumbledore called for a reconstitution of the Order of the Phoenix.
The issue of Voldemort's return would be highly divisive amongst the public. In Harry's next year of school, many of his fellow students were sceptical of his claims, even some he considered friends, such as Seamus Finnigan. Percy Weasley also had a severe falling out with the rest of his family over their loyalty to Dumbledore over the Ministry. The Ministry was so suspicious of Dumbledore that Dolores Umbridge was installed at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as High Inquisitor during the 1995–1996 school year, a position she used to monitor and undermine Dumbledore and to spread Ministry propaganda.
This prompted Harry, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley to found Dumbledore's Army, a group in which students could learn practical Defence Against the Dark Arts and oppose Ministry control at Hogwarts. Harry's side of the story eventually got to the public after Hermione arranged for Rita Skeeter to interview him and Luna Lovegood helped get it published in The Quibbler. In the meantime, Voldemort was able to gain more followers and to stage a break-out of many of his Death Eaters from Azkaban.
The Ministry did not admit that Voldemort had returned until June of 1996, after the Dark Lord was seen by the Minister for Magic himself in the Ministry following the Battle of the Department of Mysteries.
Behind the scenes
- In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, instead of using Harry's blood for the Regeneration potion, Peter Pettigrew used Harry's glasses.
- There are a few changes in the duel between Harry and Voldemort that follow Voldemort's rebirth. In the film adaption, Bertha Jorkins doesn't appear with the echo of James and Lily Potter, Cedric Diggory, and Frank Bryce when Harry's wand and Voldemort's connected, despite being the victim he used to create Nagini. Also, the echo of Frank Bryce doesn't say anything after appearing, while in the novel, he voices to Harry his shock that he was killed by a wizard and tells Harry to stand his ground.
- In the novel, Wormtail tied Harry to Tom Riddle Snr's gravestone so tightly and gagged him that he could neither move nor speak. In the film, Wormtail levitated Harry high above the tombstone (which has a statue of the angel of death) and had the statue hold Harry with a neck-lock via the scythe.
- The manner in which Voldemort is reborn differs between the films and the novel. In the novel, Voldemort rises from the cauldron naked and is clothed by Wormtail. In the film, the cauldron dissolved in flame (as seen in the image heading the page) and quickly merged with Voldemort, making him appear dressed in the black robes already. This was done for censorship reasons.
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (First mentioned) (Indirectly mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film) (Indirectly mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault (mentioned only)