|“||Merope Riddle chose death in spite of a son who needed her, but do not judge her too harshly, Harry. She was greatly weakened by long suffering and she never had your mother's courage.||„|
|~ Albus Dumbledore about Merope|
Merope Gaunt, later called Merope Riddle, is a minor but significant character in the Harry Potter series. She was one of the last members of the Gaunt Family, and a descendant of Salazar Slytherin. She was the mother of Tom Marvolo Riddle, who later became Lord Voldemort. She was also the paternal grandmother of Delphini.
Merope was born into the Gaunt Family sometime in 1907. Her father was Marvolo Gaunt and her brother was Morfin Gaunt. The Gaunts her very impoverished and she lived in a small shack in Little Hangleton near the property of Tom Riddle Sr., whom she was infatuated with. She wore Salazar Slytherin's locket, which was a Gaunt heirloom.
She was both physically and emotionally abused by her father and brother. This caused her to be unable to perform magic well, which caused them to abuse her further and believe her to be a Squib (the name given to the non-magical offspring of wizards and witches).
It is unlikely that she ever attended Hogwarts.
Bob Ogdin's Visit
Merope was staring at Tom Riddle Sr. In response, Morfin used a curse on him, which caused him to erupt in painful hives. This illegal use of magic caused Bob Ogden to come to their shack in the summer of 1925 in order to summon Morfin to a hearing. While he was there, Odgen witnessed Marvolo physically and emotionally abuse Merope. When Marvolo found out that Merope was infatuated with a muggle, he tried to kill her. Odgen attacked Marvolo to defend her, causing Marovlo and Morfin to both attack Odgen. Ministry officials arrived and arrested Marvolo and Morfin.
Once her father and brother left, Merope was able to use her magic more easily. She tricked Riddle into drinking a love potion, causing him to fall in love with her. Riddle left his fiancee, Cecilia, and married Merope. Merope and Riddle were married for about a year, and she kept him under the influence of the potion for the whole time. She became pregnant with his child. Eventually, she couldn't bare to keep controlling him and stopped giving him the potion. She hoped he would still lover her and stay, but he left once he got control over himself and returned to his parents.
Childbirth and Death
Merope was destitute and unable to take care of herself. She sold Slytherin's locket to Caractacus Burke for ten galleons, even though it was priceless. She was either unable or unwilling to use magic to save her own life. On 31 December 1926, right before she gave birth, Merope staggered onto the steps of Wool's orphanage. As she was giving birth, she told a staff member at the orphanage Mrs. Cole to name thè baby Tom after his father, and Marvolo after her father. She died shorty after.
She gave birth to Tom Riddle Jr., who would grow up to become Lord Voldemort, the most evil dark wizard of all time. Since Voldemort was conceived through a love potion instead of through real love, he was born without the ability to feel love, which is why he was so willing to commit mass murder.
- Merope is the name of a daughter of Atlas in Greek Mythology. It is also the name of the mother of Oedipus in Oedipus Rex. Both Voldemort and Oedipus killed their fathers.
- The flashback scene featuring Merope and her family was cut from the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince because of time and pacing concerns. In the finished film, Merope was indirectly mentioned by Dumbledore as the owner of Salazar Slytherin's ring. 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 actresses to play Merope by that point.
Other Dark Wizards & Witches