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|“||Harry Potter... the Boy Who Lived... come to die.||„|
| ~ Lord Voldemort before killing Harry Potter.|
Thomas Marvolo "Tom" Riddle III (December 31, 1926 - May 2, 1998), later known as Lord Voldemort or simply Voldemort, is the main antagonist of the Harry Potter book and film franchise.
He is the heir of Salazar Slytherin who was destined to open the Chamber of Secrets and purge Hogwarts from all Muggle-born students. Initially, Riddle's goals were only to fulfill his role as Slytherin's heir, but over time he expanded his ambitions into overtaking the entire wizard world and shape it under his and Slytherin's supremacist views, becoming the most powerful Dark Wizard of all time and the lord of the Death Eaters in the process. He also serves as Harry Potter's archenemy.
In the films, he was portrayed by Ralph Fiennes (as an adult, who also portrayed Amon Goeth in Schindler's List, Rameses in The Prince of Egypt, Victor Quartermaine in Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of The Were-Rabbit, Raiden the Moon King in Kubo and the Two Strings, Barry in Dolittle, Francis Dolarhyde in Red Dragon, Dennis "Spider" Cleg in Spider, and Hades in Clash of the Titans); Christian Coulson (16-year-old) in Chamber of Secrets; and both Hero Fiennes-Tiffin (11-year-old) and Frank Dillane (15-year-old) in Half-Blood Prince. In The Philosopher's Stone, he was voiced by Richard Bremmer.
In his early years, Tom Riddle was an extremely handsome boy. He was described as having jet black hair, perfectly carved features, and dark eyes. The novel further elaborated him being virtually identical to his father and devoid of traces of Gaunts in him. As he grew, his involvement in the Dark Arts gradually deformed his appearance; in the flashback of him requesting a position at Hogwarts, he had become deathly pale, his face waxy and oddly distorted, and the white of his eyes now had a permanently bloody look. Afterwards, he continued to go through many transformations, until he became what he is. He is tall, and skeletally thin. His face is an almost opaque texture, with deep, dark scarlet eyes set in slits, like a cat's gleaming in the dark. His nose is as flat as a snake's, leaving small incisions for nostrils, and his fingers are unnaturally long, like a spider's legs. He can usually be seen wearing his black hooded cloak that always covers his face.
In the films, his physical description remained same albeit with some changes; he was given blue eyes so they would "show more emotion" and when manifesting his face on the back of Quirrel's head while inhabiting him, his nose looked like normal instead of slits. Additionally, his restored body is shown to have very apparent veins on the top and back of his bald head (which some viewers misinterpreted as scale-like) and his eyes appeared normal instead of slits (Goblet of Fire film briefly showed him with slit-like eyes upon opening them however).
|“|| Voldemort: There is nothing worse than death, Dumbledore! |
Albus Dumbledore: You are quite wrong. Indeed your failure to understand that there are things much worse than death has always been your greatest weakness.
|~ Albus Dumbledore about Lord Voldemort's failure to understand the natures of death.|
Voldemort's dark and anti-social personality can be seen even in his childhood. As a young boy, he terrorized his fellow orphans and hoarding things that he stole from them as a trophy, which would eventually blossom into his conception of the Horcruxes. He displayed the need for independence that bordered on pathological, preferring to operate in secrecy and solitude whenever possible with little regard for what happened around him. Dumbledore remarked that he prefers to use Horcruxes instead of Elixir of Life generated by the power of Sorcerer's Stone to attain immortality - he only needs the latter to restore his physical form before resorting to an alternative four years later given he found reliance on the Elixir intolerable. Despite his independent streak, he does rely on assistance from others if necessary. Aside during his desperate times, Voldemort would rely on his Death Eaters and army of versatile beings to do his bidding, from overtaking the Ministry of Magic to trivial matters that he did not think was worth his effort. During his reign of terror, he even trusted the conquered Ministry of Magic to his army while he would focus on other matters personally, assigning two of his precious Horcruxes to his lieutenant Death Eaters Bellatrix Lestrange and Lucius Malfoy since both have resources and skills to ensure their safety. Prior to his return to power, he also relied on the cowardly Wormtail to taking care of his crippled form. Owing to his need for solitude and independence however, he only wanted to make use of everything around him to the fullest without ever gaining any sentimental attachment to them, as he was easily prepared to discard anyone or anything once they fulfilled their purpose and was too evil to be mourned for over tragedies in childhood.
As revealed in Dumbledore and Harry's investigation on his background in The Half-Blood Prince, Voldemort's (unfortunate) inability to feel or understanding love was related with coerced love between his parents Merope Gaunt and Tom Riddle Sr. via use of the former's either use of love potion (by Dumbledore) or Imperius Curse (by Harry), an unmistakably symbolic loveless union that led to his birth. This however, can be averted had Merope choose to live for the sake of raising their son with love. The aforementioned flaw in turn, subsequently contributed to his lack of mercy on enemies and his followers alike; devoid of desire/need for human companionship or friendship, narrowed focus on the usefulness of people, objects, and powers to his goals to the point of ignoring or dismissing things that seemingly insignificant or not immediately useful to him (ex. house elves' magic due to their social status); and worst of all, not believing in anyone but himself, let alone value his fellow human beings except to the extent that they were useful to him. True to this, he did not treat his followers and supporters as actual friends and family like what he claimed. Instead, he demanded them absolute 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, and even sacrificing them to further his goals like he did to his most loyal supporter and secretly double agent Severus Snape.
As much as he was incapable of feelings affection of others (and still is until his death), he did developed a soft spot for a handful of individuals whom he genuinely cared about: Nagini, Bellatrix Lestrange, and his daughter Delphini. With Nagini, he displayed affection towards the Maledictus serpent not too different with those who loved their pet as if said pet is their own kin, shown to occasionally petting her and even entrusted her a piece of his soul when turning her into a Horcrux. With Bellatrix, despite of him seeing her as nothing more than a servant like the rest of Death Eaters, he saw her too valuable to be discarded despite not as competent as Snape, saving her life when he was forced to retreat and left his incapacitated followers during the Battle of Department of Ministry, and outraged by her death at hands of Molly during Battle of Hogwarts in the book. As revealed in The Cursed Child, whatever affection that blossoming between the two culminated with him siring a child named Delphini. Moreover, in an alternate timeline when Voldemort succeeded in taking over the world, he treated his daughter in the same way his wife is. Nevertheless, it's evident that whatever bonds that he made with Bellatrix and his daughter were not enough for Voldemort to fully comprehend the concept of love, let alone understanding how it feels like and properly reciprocate Bellatrix's feelings for him. Moreover, it's more likely he would dispose Bellatrix and Delphini should they failed him enough, if he can help it.
In his youth, he was considered an intelligent, polite young man who showed an enthusiasm to learn and even demonstrated great deal of charisma to persuade others to do his bidding. He described himself being viewed by others as poor, but brilliant, parent-less, but so brave, a school prefect, a model student — a person most Hogwarts staff and his peers viewed them as. This allowed him to win the trust and respect from his teachers and of the customers he was sent to deal with at Borgin and Burkes. This all however, were both a ruse and testament of his capability as a master manipulator developed during those years, allowing him to discreet better to avoid persecution than he did at the orphanage as well as maintaining his perfect image at the same time. He also proved himself a consummate liar, having managed to trick Slughorn to reveal his knowledge about Horcruxes and denied any involvement when confronted by Dumbledore over mistreatments he done on his fellow orphan and later, the opening of Chamber of Secrets. Only a handful of individuals who saw troubling in Voldemort at that time; Hepzibah Smith, who saw his eyes flash red with avarice when he saw her treasured artefacts, and Albus Dumbledore, who observed psychological issues and their potential dark implications from their very first meeting.
Voldemort also displayed obsessive nature to the point of incapable of letting go or diversifying his interests and subsequently, developing paranoia akin to ones in typical tyrants. His main obsessions are immortality, upholding pure-blood supremacy, the attempts on Harry Potter's life, and the search for the Elder Wand. Said nature was reflected in his daily habits as well: he had a magpie-like tendency to collect lots of small objects and hold onto them. Voldemort 's hoarding of things he stole from the other orphans during his childhood foreshadowed the conception of his Horcruxes, which also paralleled to act of trophy-taking not too different with typical serial killers. The Dark Lord put a great effort in his search for Elder Wand to further increase his powers and destroying Harry Potter, his greatest opposition, by any means necessary. Ironically, his obsession in taking the life of his nemesis was what eventually led to his own death and no better than tyrants before him.
Typical for a bigoted Slytherin and unlike his blood traitor mother, especially as the Heir of Salazar Slytherin, Voldemort greatly believed in blood purity. His beliefs were far more extreme than an average pure-blood supremacist owing to his strong disgust and hatred for Muggle world. In addition of erecting a statue depicting Muggles being crushed following the takeover of Ministry of Magic, he rebuked Muggle side of his parentage and welcomed his Death Eaters as his "true family", unleashing the Serpent of Slytherin to continue Salazar's cause in purging Muggle-borns at Hogwarts, claiming that Muggle-borns were ordinary Muggles who "stole" magic from real wizards and witches and deserved to be greatly punished for it, ruthlessly murdered Charity Burbage for supporting Muggle-borns, and ashamed of his Muggle-sided parentage so much that he denied it, leaving misleading hints that he was a pure-blood and proudly presented his ancestry from Salazar Slytherin. The shame from being born as they very thing he despised received a sympathy from Barty Crouch Jr. who remarked that they have disappointing fathers (though more likely that Voldemort simply relayed the disappointing father part, ignoring his blood status). Despite his racist beliefs however, Voldemort can suppress his hatred towards Muggle-borns who eager to join his cause and even welcomed others who are exceptionally talented into his ranks, 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). Hiding his status as half-blood is one of testaments of his hypocritical side, the other being his claim as a "Merciful Lord" with respect for his enemies despite many facts surrounding him proved otherwise.
Of his narcissistic and egomania, Voldemort could acknowledge his mistakes and displayed a degree of calculated humility. He did not hastily announce his return of power as soon as he regained his physical form except to his supporters and with his candor and charm, winning him his followers and 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. He also showed his followers leniency, even though they had not sought to help him after his downfall, realizing he could not afford to mistreat them until returning to full strength. However, as Harry not, he did not learn from mistakes he made, especially relating to matters he did not value such as love.
Despite of him usually maintained a calm, reserved, and sophisticated persona, Voldemort was capable of phenomenally explosive and violent fits of rage and became unpredictable as result when things don't go in the way he wanted. During his mood swings, he would instinctively cast Killing Curse at whomever he saw first even his own allies. An instance of this can be seen during his villainous breakdown where he slaughtered entire Gringotts after learning that the place was infiltrated by the trio who managed to steal one of his Horcruxes (Helga Hufflepuff's Cup) that stored within. His fear even occasionally clouded his judgement as much as his anger to the point of him taking cowardly path such as attempting to murder Harry when he was still a baby, risking a piece of his soul within Tom Riddle's library when reopening Chamber of Secrets for a second time instead of doing the endeavor himself (which led to the trio's discovery of basilisk venom as one of his Horcruxes' weaknesses), and making error after error nearing the last days of his life to the point of unknowingly giving Harry better advantage against him as well as failed to see Snape's duplicity and Dumbledore's last plan. Even so, Voldemort can suppress and conceal his fears as well as confronting things that threatened him as shown when confronting the deranged Morfin Gaunt as a teenager and boldly engaging Albus Dumbledore in a duel.
Voldemort did however, capable of acknowledging the desire of others (only if those desires did not interfere with his ambitions and were presented by someone whom he deemed a worthy servant) as well as respected and, sometimes even, admiring bravery and skill in them. He took Snape's wish to spare Lily under the consideration before eventually set it aside when there's no way around between him and Harry, remarking Potters as brave (particularly James Potter who put up a courageous fight against him), and appreciated Neville Longbottom's "spirit and bravery" that the young man is worthy to be a new member for his Death Eater army (though this mostly out of knowledge over his pureblood status). Even with his inability to comprehend love and compassion, Voldemort has decent capability in valuing loyalty nevertheless – he appreciated Death Eaters' genuine devotion for him and genuinely moved by Lestranges' determination to stay on his side no matter what. He even expressed some disappointment at Harry when his nemesis seemingly abandoned Hogwarts to save himself, as he had hoped his ultimatum would ultimately drive Harry to be killed by him.
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. Yet as immortality and world domination being his main goal as the dreaded Dark Lord, Voldemort treated the fight for pure-blood supremacy and purifying the wizarding race as secondary priorities in his reign. He allowed his followers to set up a pure-blood supremacist regime at the Ministry of Magic to control the government, to compensate them for their service, and to ensure their continued loyalty. He also left the matters about wizarding aristocracy in the hands of his followers (matters which he had little to no interest with) while focusing on increasing his own dominion and stamping out opposition, using his Slytherin ancestry and promises to help them achieving their ends. While he only valued loyalty despite only seeing them as nothing more than expendable tools, Voldemort's contempt on Muggles and Muggle-borns for their alleged inferiority did unmistakably aligned with theirs.
Voldemort's weaknesses are his arrogance, fear of death (which he regarded as a shameful and ignominious human weakness), total disregard of things that he could not understand such as love as stated previously, all of which that greatly contributed to his downfall. Not realizing that attempting 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, not accounting house-elves such as Dobby would use their magic against him and his forces simply due to their social status, and equating death with being defeated or loss of domination, the ultimate humiliation. 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. Furthermore, due to his immense evil and lack of a human soul, he was completely unable to cast the Patronus Charm, an incredibly powerful and benevolent protective charm that is a manifestation of positive energy and happiness, none of which Voldemort possessed. Lastly, the obsession for immortality which led to him creating seven Horcruxes greatly costed him the inability to pass on due to damage he done on his very soul, let alone returning as a ghost.
Powers and Abilities
|“||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 about his magical abilities he demonstrated at the orphanage.|
Before even knowing the very existence of magic itself, a young Voldemort could already use his magical power to achieve something similar to telekinesis, manipulate animals, and "make bad things happen to people who annoy him", in a much more controlled display of magic than wizards exhibit at that age. Riddle proved to be a prodigious student during his years at Hogwarts before even finding the Chamber of Secrets.
Voldemort grew into one of the most powerful wizards to ever exist, second only to Dumbledore himself. He masters virtually every field of magic and Dark Magic. He has proven able to create artificial limbs such as Peter Pettigrew's silver hand; to conjure objects (like shields) within seconds; create and control Inferi (undeads); to summon snakes; to compel people's movements (forcing Harry Potter to bow in their duel) and suspend people bound in midair; to transfigure objects and elements into living beings; to perform high-level telekinesis; to turn corpses into disguises, like he did with Bathilda Bagshot; to cast curses; to curse a word into a Taboo that unleashes spells when uttered; to create tatoos that summon his servants and sends message upon being touched; to speak to snakes and control them; and many more.
Voldemort has also devised many magical feats of his own, such as the Morsmordre, (which summons his symbol, the Dark Mark), the ability to fly without support at high speeds, the ritual that restored him, and other. He is extremely skilled in magical duels; being able to cast spells, counter-spells, an to Apparate/Disapparate with great speed and precision, and to cast powerful and complex spells in mid air with enough accuracy to strike a moving target. He masters the Unforgiving Curses which are the Killing Curse Avada Kedavra, the Torture Curse Cruciatus and the Mind-Control Curse Imperium with great proficiency; and is seen using other powerful attack spells (The movies depicts him casting fire, magical blasts and sonic booms). He likely taught his followers every attack spell they are seen using.
Voldemort is an exceptionally powerful practitioner of Legilimency, being able to tell whenever a person is lying and to delve into their deepest thoughts without resistance. One of the few people who are skilled enough to shield their mind from him is Severus Snape, who is extremely skilled at Occlumency. Voldemort would often plant illusions into the minds of his victims to manipulate them. Voldemort is also said to be very skilled at Occlumency, however his use of this talent wasn't greatly shown in the series.
Finally, Voldemort is knowledgeable, and capable of thinking of good plans. If it wasn't for his extreme megalomania and his utter inability to comprehend human emotions and reactions, he would not have fallen.
The LEGO Batman Movie
Lord Voldemort appeared as a supporting antagonist in The LEGO Batman Movie, being a prisoner of the Phantom Zone. He is released on Gotham City by the Joker, who uses him to help him wreck havoc and try and destroy Batman. He is defeated when Batgirl sends him back to the Phantom Zone.
Here He was voiced by Eddie Izzard who also played Sir Miles Axlerod in Cars 2.
Ralph Fiennes was also in the movie as Alfred Pennyworth, but it was decided that he shouldn't play both characters.
How it Should Have Ended
Voldemort appeared in the episode "How Harry Potter Should Have Ended", where he is defeated by Harry. Afterwards, he would become a recurring character for the "Villain Pub" segments, usually joined by Loki Laufeyson, the Joker, and Emperor Palpatine.
He is voiced by Daniel Baxter.
The following gallery contains images of those who were killed by Voldemort. Some of them deliberately murdered to tear his own soul apart so the fragments can be fashioned into Horcruxes.
- Voldemort serves as the overarching antagonist from The Philosopher's Stone to The Half-Blood Prince and the main antagonist of The Deathly Hallows (including the two-part film adaptions).
- The name Voldemort comes from the French "vol de mort", meaning "flight of death" or more figuratively "theft of death" (In correct French pronunciation, the T at the end is silent; however, it is generally pronounced by English-speakers).
- Ironically, Lord Voldemort seeks immortality, only to die at 71, the average age of a Muggle. Furthermore, for all the damage he inflicted on his soul, he can't even have immortality in ghost form.
- According to J.K. Rowling, Voldemort's character drew certain parallels to three real-life dictators: Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Benito Mussolini.
Other Dark Wizards & Witches