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Marvolo Gaunt was an ignorant old git who lived like a pig, all he cared about was his ancestry. If that ring had been passed down through the centuries, he might not have known what it really was. There were no books in that house, and trust me, he wasn't the type to read fairy tales to his kids. He'd have loved to think the scratches on the stone were a coat of arms, because as far as he was concerned, having pure blood made you practically royal.
~ Harry Potter, on Marvolo Gaunt's behavior and his inherited ring.

Marvolo Gaunt is a flashback antagonist from the Harry Potter series. He was a Pure-Blood Wizard and the maternal grandfather of Tom Marvolo Riddle, later known as Lord Voldemort, the main antagonist of the Harry Potter series. He was a racist, violent man, he was a fervent believer in Pure-Blood supremacy and believed he was above the law because of his relation to Salazar Slytherin (though it is unknown if he ever went to Hogwarts). He had two children, a son named Morfin and a daughter named Merope, whom he abused physically and verbally because of her poor magic skills. He was also the great-grandfather of Delphini.

History

Marvolo Gaunt was born somewhere between 1850 and 1880. According to Albus Dumbledore, the Gaunt family's taste for extravagance left them impoverished long before Marvolo was born, and thus he lived in squalor in a small shack, though he possessed two priceless heirlooms: Salazar Slytherin's Locket and Cadmus Peverell's Ring (which possesed the Resurrection Stone), both of which would later become Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes. Due to generations of inbreeding in his family, Marvolo had several mental and physical problems from the day he was born, and his heritage, including his ability to talk to snakes, made him extremely arrogant, violent, and prideful. He lived in a dirty shack in Little Hangleton, England for his entire life.

At some point, Marvolo married (it is unknown if his wife died later or left him due to his behavior) and fathered two children, Morfin and Merope. Marvolo was a terrible father, viciously abusing his daughter to the point of unintentionally suppressing her ability to use magic and treating her like a slave, while he got along rather well with Morfin, who shared his father's arrogance, pride, and penchant towards violence.

At some point, Morfin attacked the rich Muggle Tom Riddle Sr., an act that Marvolo approved of. In 1925, The Ministry of Magic sent Bob Ogden, an Auror, to investigate the incident and inform Morfin that he would have to attend a hearing for his actions. Marvolo showed no respect for Ogden and maliciously flaunted his "superior bloodline", though his bragging failed to intimidate the Auror. He even called Ogden a "Mudblood" despite not knowing his actual blood status (which Ogden also doesn't find intimidating). When Morfin eagerly informed his father that Merope was in love with Tom Riddle Sr., Marvolo flew into a rage and tried to strangle her, but Ogden quickly stopped him. Marvolo and Morfin attacked Ogden, who escaped and returned fifteen minutes later with reinforcements and arrested the duo after a brief skirmish. Marvolo was sentenced to six months in Azkaban for attacking the Ministry officials during the skirmish, while Morfin's sentence was three years for attacking Tom Riddle Sr. and the Ministry officials.

Now safe and free from her wicked brother and father, Merope enchanted Tom Riddle Sr. (likely with a love potion) and eloped with him. Marvolo, unaware of this, served his prison sentence and returned to the shack, arrogantly and foolishly expecting his daughter to have awaited his return with a hot meal on his table. Instead, he found the shack empty except for a letter from Merope, explaining what she had done. Shocked by this, Marvolo never mentioned her again and died soon after this. Possible reasons for his early death are that Azkaban greatly weakened him (he never lived to see Morfin again by the time he was released), the possible severe shock from Merope's permanent departure from the Gaunt Shack, and/or that he just never learned to feed himself. Years after his death, Marvolo's ring was stolen by his grandson, Tom Marvolo Riddle (who was later known as Lord Voldemort), who turned it into a Horcrux.

Personality

Due to genetics and his upbringing, Marvolo Gaunt was a violent and arrogant man who puts the importance of his heritage above everything else. He hated his daughter, Merope, and treated her like a slave, while getting along with his son, Morfin, who shared his supremacist beliefs and violent behavior. He also had no respect for the law or authority, particularly when it involved Muggles, believing that his son had committed no crime by attacking Tom Riddle Sr. and speaking condescendingly towards Bob Ogden.

He was prone to fits of brutal violence when he heard or saw something he didn't like, such as beating his daughter viciously when she dropped the pots and pans, she was using to cook food and trying to kill her when he learned she was in love with a Muggle. He greatly cherished his family heirlooms, and cherished his son just as much, according to Dumbledore. Despite his abusive behavior, he believed that Merope was loyal to him, as evidenced by his foolish expectation that she would remain at the shack with a hot meal ready on his table when he returned from Azkaban, and was utterly shocked when he learned that she had run off with Tom Riddle Sr,.

Trivia

  • The flashback scene featuring Marvolo and his family was cut from the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince because of time and pacing concerns. However, it was originally present in an early draft of the film's screenplay according to director David Yates. It's unknown if there were any considered actors to play Marvolo by that point.
  • Marvolo's obsession with purity and abuse of his daughter caused the creation of Voldemort due to her using a love potion partly in desperation to escape her miserable life, this love potion would cause Voldemort to be born with an inability to understand the concept of love, in addition it is believed that due to Marvolo and his ancestors often practicing inbreeding the entire family line had become extremely prone to physical and mental degeneracy, further dooming Voldemort to his destiny as one of history's most evil Wizards.
  • Ironically, despite sharing many of the violent and racist views of his grandson it is likely Marvolo would of openly hated or held him in contempt for being Half-Blood, Voldemort in turn was disappointed when he visited Marvolo's former home and saw it in such disrepair (having expected a more grand ancestry).

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Death Eaters
Lord Voldemort | Barty Crouch Jr. (Warner Bros.) | Bellatrix Lestrange | Corban Yaxley | Alecto Carrow | Amycus Carrow | Antonin Dolohov | Augustus Rookwood | Walden Macnair | Thorfinn Rowle | Evan Rosier | Cedric Diggory | Fenrir Greyback | Pius Thicknesse | Avery II

Death Eater defectors
Severus Snape | Regulus Black | Draco Malfoy | Lucius Malfoy | Igor Karkaroff | Peter Pettigrew | Stan Shunpike

Death Eater Supporters
Quirinus Quirrell | Dolores Umbridge | Snatchers (Scabior) | Gregory Goyle | Vincent Crabbe | John Dawlish | Kreacher

Hogwarts Staff
Severus Snape | Barty Crouch Jr. (Warner Bros.) | Alecto Carrow | Amycus Carrow | Quirinus Quirrell | Dolores Umbridge | Gilderoy Lockhart | Argus Filch | Salazar Slytherin

Muggle-Born Registration Commission
Dolores Umbridge | Corban Yaxley | Albert Runcorn | Mafalda Hopkirk

Gellert Grindelwald's Alliance
Gellert Grindelwald | Credence Barebone | Vinda Rosier | Queenie Goldstein | Gunnar Grimmson | Abernathy | Krall | Carrow | Nagel | Krafft | MacDuff | Helmut | Anton Vogel | Karl

Other Wizards & Witches
Morfin Gaunt | Marvolo Gaunt | Merope Gaunt | Cornelius Fudge | Herpo the Foul | Merwyn the Malicious | Ekrizdis | Delphini | R | Rita Skeeter | Patricia Rakepick | Rufus Scrimgeour | Merula Snyde | Ismelda Murk | Emily Tyler | Gormlaith Gaunt | Corvus Lestrange | Raczidian | Erkstag Warden

New Salem Philanthropic Society
Mary Lou Barebone | Credence Barebone

Creatures
Basilisk | Acromantula (Aragog & Acromantula Colony) | Dementors | Centaurs | Giants | Inferi | Nagini | Mountain Troll | Gnarlak | Griphook | Manticores (Manticore Queen)

Tales of Beedle the Bard
Charlatan | Death | Warlock

Muggles
The Dursleys (Marge Dursley) | Tobias Snape

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