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Date: December 31, 2010

"Only I can live... forever."
— Lord Voldemort.[src]

Tom Marvolo Riddle (31 December, 1926[9]2 May, 1998), later known as Lord Voldemort (or simply Voldemort[10]), was the most powerful Dark Wizard of all time. He was a half-blood wizard, son of Tom Riddle Sr., a wealthy muggle who abandoned his wife, and Merope Gaunt, who died shortly after childbirth. He was born and raised in a muggle orphanage, but eventually attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and was sorted into Slytherin house. An exceedingly handsome, polite and popular orphan, Tom Riddle was once thought to be the most talented pupil to ever attend Hogwarts. To the school at large he presented the respectable face of a student like any other. In reality, however, Riddle was cruel, sadistic, manipulative and power hungry. Having achieved outstanding grades in every examination he took, Riddle left Hogwarts and went on to a brief employment at Borgin and Burkes, before disappearing from public view completely.

Having embraced the seductive Dark Arts he encountered in his travels, the former Tom Riddle, now known exclusively as Lord Voldemort, raised an enormous army comprised of followers he recruited both at school and afterward, as well as many dark creatures. This army, known as the Death Eaters began a campaign of terror and violence never before seen in Britain. After hearing half of a prophecy referring to a single being with the power to destroy him, Voldemort set off to kill Harry Potter, to whom he believed the prophecy referred. After murdering Harry's parents, Lily and James, Voldemort turned his wand upon the boy. However, due to Lily Potter's loving sacrifice, Voldemort's curse rebounded upon him and his body was destroyed. Stripped of his power, Voldemort fled to a far flung forest in Albania, to await the day when he could regain a body and return to power. After thirteen years of waiting that day would finally arrive, and with the use of Potter’s own blood, the Dark Lord rose again.

Although he initially lay low, Voldemort was soon forced into the open, and began his bloody conquest of the wizarding world anew. After two years of constant warfare, Voldemort finally gained control of the Ministry of Magic, and ruled relatively unopposed, save for a few pockets of resistance. Despite his hold over the country, Voldemort was still unsatisfied, as he had yet to remove the danger the prophecy presented to him. After learning of Potter's location, Voldemort set out to destroy the boy once and for all launching his entire amassed force against Hogwarts. Upon arriving at the school, Voldemort was met by a full scale rebellion of Hogwarts staff and students, along with the members of the Order of the Phoenix and the residents of Hogsmeade. As the battle progressed the Death Eaters were driven into the Great Hall, where Voldemort engaged Harry Potter in a duel, and, because all of his Horcruxes were destroyed, Tom Marvolo Riddle was finally killed once and for all.

Tom Riddle's mutilated soul was then trapped in limbo for eternity, unable to move on or return as a ghost.[11]


Early life

"I remember she said to me 'I hope he looks like his papa', and I won't lie she was right to hope it, because she was no beauty — and then she told me he was to be named Tom, for his father, and Marvolo, for her father — yes, I know, funny name, isn't it? We wondered whether she came from a circus — and she said the boy's surname was to be Riddle. And she died soon after that without another word."
Mrs. Cole tells Albus Dumbledore about Merope Gaunt's last words
Tom Riddle (11 years old)

Tom Riddle at eleven years of age.

Tom Marvolo Riddle, was born on New Year's Eve, 1926 in an orphanage in London. His pure-blood mother, Merope Gaunt, a direct descendant of Salazar Slytherin, died shortly after his birth. Before she died, she named the child after his father, Tom Riddle Sr., and Marvolo Gaunt, her father. Tom Riddle Sr. was a wealthy Muggle living in the village of Little Hangleton who was tricked into a relationship with Merope through possible use of a Love Potion.[12] After a time, it is thought that Merope discontinued her use of love potions on Tom, in the hopes that he had really fallen in love with her, or would at least stay for their child's sake. To Merope's great sorrow, he abandoned her and their unborn child.[13]


"I can make things move without touching them. I can make animals do what I want them to do, 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, whisper things. "
— Eleven-year-old Tom Riddle to Albus Dumbledore[src]

Tom Riddle grew up in a dingy orphanage, completely unaware of his wizarding heritage. He did have some grasp on his abilities beyond that of normal magical children of his same age, however, as well as an unusually high degree of control over them. Tom could move objects with his mind and cause them to travel floating wherever he wished, manipulate animals and creatures as he wished, speak Parseltongue, and use his power to inflict harm on other orphans. After getting into a fight with one boy, he used his powers to hang the boy's rabbit from the rafters. On one occasion, he took two orphans, Dennis Bishop and Amy Benson, into a cave, where he performed an act so horrifying that the two orphans were traumatised into silence. Young Tom Riddle also stole from fellow orphans and hid their possessions in his cupboard like trophies.

Discovery of being a wizard


Tom Riddle at the Orphanage.

"His powers...were surprisingly well-developed for such a young wizard and — most interestingly and ominously of all — he had already discovered that he had some measure of control over them, and begun to use them consciously...they were not the random experiments typical of young wizards: He was already using magic against other people, to frighten, to punish, to control."
— Albus Dumbledore on Riddle's abilities as a child[src]

When Tom was eleven, Albus Dumbledore, a professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, talked to Mrs. Cole first, who informed him of how unusual Tom was, sharing tales of his extraordinary influence over the other children. When Dumbledore was at last introduced to the boy, Tom at first believed him to be a doctor or psychiatrist of some sort, come to take him to an asylum. He was convinced after Dumbledore demonstrated his power by using a Flame-Freezing Charm on Tom's cupboard, and when he revealed that Hogwarts was a school for people with magic, which Tom realised his abilities were.

At a very early age, it is clear that Tom displayed a desire to be different and set apart from others (as is hinted when he mentions his dislike of his own name, because it is such a common name). He was not surprised at all upon being informed by Dumbledore that he was a wizard — he was, in fact, eager to believe that he had special gifts that no one else had. Tom also showed an eminent fear of death, considering it a human weakness. He claimed that his mother couldn't have been a witch, because if she was magical than she would have been able to avoid dying.

Tom's abuse of his wizarding powers alarmed Albus. He resolved to keep a close eye on him, "something I should have done in any case, seeing as he was alone and friendless." Dumbledore also warned Tom that at Hogwarts he would be introduced to the laws that controlled the usage of magic in the wizarding world, and that law-breakers were punished with severity not by Hogwarts but the Ministry of Magic. Riddle's demeanour changed after Dumbledore reprimanded him; he became more guarded and shielded his reactions. Dumbledore provided Riddle with enough information to find Diagon Alley and Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. Riddle bought some second-hand robes and spellbooks for himself, along with his wand-thirteen and a half inches; yew; phoenix feather core—at Ollivander's. Mr. Ollivander later said that the wand was very powerful; Voldemort was very pleased with it until the wand failed him during his confrontation with Harry Potter in the Little Hangleton Graveyard, many years later. Riddle also mentioned that he was a Parselmouth, which surprised Dumbledore.

Hogwarts years

Tom Riddle (16 years old)

Tom Riddle at sixteen years old.

"Mr. Riddle was a quiet, albeit brilliant boy, committed to becoming a first rate wizard. Not unlike many I have taught. Not unlike yourself. If there was a monster, it was buried deep within."
Horace Slughorn to Harry Potter[src]

Tom was educated at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from 1938 to 1945, and was Sorted in Slytherin House, a nod to his ancestor Salazar Slytherin himself. During summer breaks, he was forced to return to the Muggle orphanage, which he despised and dreaded more than any other place on earth.

Tom described the way he was seen as "poor, but brilliant, parentless, but so brave, a school Prefect, a model student."[14] This opinion was also shared by the professors, including Horace Slughorn, who was taken in by Tom's charisma and who taught him about Horcruxes. The sole exception to this was Albus Dumbledore, who was, at that time, Professor of Transfiguration. Dumbledore remained suspicious about Tom's true nature; Tom, in turn, despised and feared Dumbledore.[13] Riddle has gathered himself a gang of Slytherin thugs, a motley composition of "the weak seeking protection, the ambitious seeking some shared glory, and the thuggish gravitating toward a leader who could show them more refined forms of cruelty," most of which would become the first Death Eaters. Riddle claimed they were his friends, and would make it appear so in public, but in truth, he cared very little for them, using them as servants. He manipulated them to do his darker deeds in discreet manners, which led to nasty incidents that were never connected to them.

Tom became obsessed with his heritage and began researching it with an insatiable hunger. He learned of his Slytherin ancestry, discovered the existence of the Chamber of Secrets under Hogwarts, and tamed the basilisk which dwelt within. As the Heir of Slytherin through his mother's family, Tom was able to open the Chamber Slytherin had left behind in order to "purge the school of all those who are unworthy to study magic" — in Tom and Slytherins' eyes, Muggle-borns.[14]


Riddle during the 1943 opening of the Chamber of Secrets.

The basilisk injured many at Hogwarts in 1943. The last victim was a student named Myrtle, who was killed in the girls' bathroom when she saw the basilisk's yellow eyes. Hogwarts was to be closed, but Tom did not want to return to the orphanage. During that year, he even made a special request that Headmaster Dippet would allow him to stay at school over the summer break. To keep the school from shutting down, he framed fellow student Rubeus Hagrid and his pet Acromantula, Aragog. Tom convinced then-Headmaster Armando Dippet that Aragog was the monster that had terrorised the school. Hagrid was expelled, and Tom received an engraved trophy for Special Services to the School.[14]

Dumbledore, distrusting Riddle, kept a close watch on him after that. Because it was no longer safe to open the Chamber of Secrets, Tom created a diary to preserve a part of his soul, the very first of seven Horcruxes hoping it would one day lead someone to finish Salazar Slytherin's "noble work."

While researching his heritage, Riddle focused solely on who his father was, thinking him to be the magical parent, as he felt his mother could not have been a witch if she had died. He searched for his father's name in the school trophy room, in the records of Hogwarts prefects and in records of wizarding history, but found nothing to suggest his father had even attended Hogwarts. He was eventually forced to accept that his father was the Muggle parent, and that his mother was the magical one. It was around this time that Tom Marvolo Riddle gave himself the alias "Lord Voldemort," to spare himself of the reminder of his "filthy Muggle father."

Little Hangleton

First time

Riddle splits his soul for the first time.


Tom Riddle meeting Morfin.

Tom Riddle: "Sir, I wanted to ask you something."
Horace Slughorn: "Ask away m'boy, then, ask away..."
Tom Riddle: "Do you know anything about — about Horcruxes?"
Horace Slughorn's false memory of his discussion with Tom about Horcruxes.[src]

Using his middle name, Marvolo, which was taken from his maternal grandfather, Riddle discovered his mother's heritage and the Gaunt's bloodline connection with Salazar Slytherin. In the summer of 1943, Tom went to Little Hangleton to learn about his mother's family. While there, he met his uncle Morfin Gaunt, who thought that this stranger looked "mighty like that Muggle," Merope's husband, Tom Riddle Sr. Morfin Gaunt told Tom the story of his Muggle father, which infuriated Tom to the point of seeking revenge. Tom went to the Riddle home and murdered his father, grandfather, and grandmother with the Killing Curse. He covered up his crimes by altering Morfin's memory, causing him to believe that he was the killer. When the Ministry of Magic investigated the crime, Morfin — who had previously served three years in Azkaban for using magic in front of and against Muggles — freely admitted to it and was sentenced to life imprisonment in Azkaban. Tom took the family signet ring from Morfin and wore it like a trophy at Hogwarts.[13]

During Tom's last year at Hogwarts, he was Head Boy and he received a medal for magical merit. He was regarded as one of the most brilliant students ever to attend Hogwarts. During this time, he questioned Professor Slughorn about the possibility of creating more than one Horcrux, something Slughorn felt deeply ashamed of in later years; at his mid-teen years, Riddle already sought to make himself immortal. Shortly before graduating, Tom charmed the spirit of Helena Ravenclaw, more commonly known as the Grey Lady and the ghost of Ravenclaw House, into revealing the location of Rowena Ravenclaw's Diadem. Tom sought to transform this diadem into another Horcrux.[15]

After Hogwarts

After graduating, Tom immediately approached Armando Dippet and asked him for a chance to teach Defence Against the Dark Arts, and to remain at Hogwarts, for reasons that he did not confide with the then-headmaster. Dippet rejected this offer, deeming the boy too young, but invited Tom to reapply in a few years, if still interested in the post, something that Dumbledore heavily advised against. Tom then presumably travelled to the far-flung forest in Albania about which Helena Ravenclaw had told him, and retrieved the diadem. He murdered an Albanian and turned the diadem into a Horcrux. Upon his return to Britain, he was offered several positions in the Ministry of Magic, but ended up working at Borgin and Burkes for Caractacus Burke, to the disappointment and surprise of many. He set to persuading witches and wizards to part with their valuable magical heirlooms—a job at which he was very good.[13]

Hepzibah Smith

Hepzibah Smith.

At this time, Tom befriended a wealthy, elderly witch named Hepzibah Smith. Hepzibah showed Tom her two most valuable treasures: Salazar Slytherin's Locket and Helga Hufflepuff's Cup. Tom killed Hepzibah to steal these objects and vanished without a trace. He covered his tracks well by implanting another false memory into an innocent bystander-Hokey, Hepzibah's house-elf. Hokey admitted to accidentally putting poison into Hepzibah's cocoa, which was believed, as Hokey was elderly herself. Meanwhile, Tom resigned his post at Borgin and Burkes and fled with the cup and locket, subsequently turning them into two more Horcruxes using the murders of Smith and an unidentified muggle tramp.[13]

Tom disappeared for many years. He slipped deeper into the Dark Arts, travelled extensively, consorted with disreputable people, started to become distorted in appearance from his Horcruxes, and began to use the name "Lord Voldemort" openly. At some point, Tom appealed once more to the Headmaster of Hogwarts, who was then Albus Dumbledore, for the position of Professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts. His true desire was to learn more of Hogwarts' secrets and recruit followers. Dumbledore denied him the position, suspicious of his intentions. The position was thenceforth cursed by Tom Riddle; teachers only held the position for a year, afterwards suffering some terrible fate or humiliation that caused them to leave the position.[13]

Tom's visit to Hogwarts was not fruitless, however; he used the opportunity to hide Rowena Ravenclaw's Diadem in the Room of Requirement, where he believed it would never be found. He held onto the diadem for a decade before hiding it at Hogwarts.[15]

First Wizarding War

The Rise of the Dark Lord

"You don't know who his supporters are, you don't know who's working for him and who isn't; you know he can control people so that they do terrible things without being able to stop themselves. You're scared for yourself, and your family, and your friends. Every week, news comes of more deaths, more disappearances, more torturing... the Ministry of Magic's in disarray, they don't know what to do, they're trying to keep everything hidden from the Muggles, but meanwhile, Muggles are dying too. Terror everywhere... panic... confusion... that's how it used to be."
Sirius Black[src]

In the 1970s, Lord Voldemort, as he was now exclusively called, had gathered a following of witches and wizards who called themselves, collectively, Death Eaters[16]. Some were supportive of his cause to dominate Muggles and Muggle-borns, others were greedy for power, and yet others joined the Dark Lord out of fear. Voldemort considered them more like servants than friends or family. They freely used the Unforgivable Curses and killed mercilessly and indiscriminately.

Voldemort in Movie 1

Lord Voldemort as a mere, disembodied parasite

Lord Voldemort began taking advantage of the wizarding world's greatest weakness: the beings and creatures that they had outcast. The Dark Lord recruited giants, who had long ago been driven by wizards into the mountains, and werewolves, who were persecuted by most witches and wizards. Many feared the goblins would also join him, as they were restricted from wand use, but it never happened. Aurors were authorised to use Unforgivable Curses on Death Eaters without warning, and suspects were sometimes handed over to the Dementors without a Wizengamot trial. Many innocent people were locked away. For many years after, people were even afraid to speak his name, and he was referred to as "You-Know-Who" or "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named."

Under the staunch protection of Albus Dumbledore, the only person Lord Voldemort truly feared, Hogwarts remained a safe place of learning. The Order of the Phoenix was created by Dumbledore at this time to fight against Voldemort.[17]

First fall from power

At the height of his power in 1979, a prophecy was given by Sybill Trelawney to Albus Dumbledore which predicted the fall of the Dark Lord. This prophecy was given in the Hog's Head Inn during an interview for the position of Professor of Divination.[17]

"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches…Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies…And the Dark Lord will mark him as equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not…And either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives…The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies..."
Sybill Trelawney[src]

Voldemort murders Lily Potter—his worst mistake.

This prophecy was overheard by Death Eater and informant Severus Snape.[13] According to Dumbledore, Snape only heard half of the prophecy and was then thrown out by the barman, Aberforth Dumbledore. He relayed to Lord Voldemort what he had heard, not realizing that he had missed an important part of the message.[17]

Trelawney's description of the night's events was a bit different however, as she stated that after feeling "ill," Aberforth burst into the room with Severus Snape. This is in contrast with Dumbledore's description of events. In any case, Voldemort was threatened, and sprang into action to prevent the fulfilment of the prophecy.

There were, at the time, two babies to whom the prophecy could refer — Harry Potter, the half-blood son of James and Lily Potter; and Neville Longbottom, the pure-blood son of Alice and Frank Longbottom. Both families had sought to thwart Voldemort three times, and both families were members of the Order of the Phoenix. Both children in question were born at the end of the seventh month, July. Voldemort chose to target Harry instead of Neville; Dumbledore suspected this was because Harry shared a similar family heritage with Voldemort, both of them being half-bloods.[17]

The Potters went into hiding, but were betrayed by their friend and Secret-Keeper, Peter Pettigrew.[18] Voldemort murdered James and Lily, but when he used the Killing Curse on Harry, it rebounded and destroyed his powers. This happened because Lily sacrificed herself to protect her son, creating a powerful defence of ancient magic around Harry which protected him for many years.[19]

After Lord Voldemort's first fall from power, the Death Eaters dispersed and attempted to return to normal life. Many claimed they had been under the Imperius Curse, while others stayed true to their master and continued his work, most notably the Lestrange family, who were eventually taken into custody, convicted at a trial, and imprisoned in Azkaban.[20]

Missing years

"I was ripped from my body, less than spirit, less than the meanest ghost, but still, I was alive."
— Lord Voldemort[src]

Lord Voldemort lost his physical form and was weak and powerless, but he remained alive. The Horcruxes he had created kept his soul bound to the physical world.[13] He retreated to the forests of Albania, where he had previously found his fifth Horcrux, The Lost Diadem of Ravenclaw, and waited for his faithful Death Eaters to find him, but many of them now believed him dead, and those still faithful to him were either dead or in Azkaban. He gained physical form by inhabiting snakes, though he disliked doing so because the bodies of such animals were ill-equipped to perform magic, and because his possession significantly reduced their lifespans; none of his hosts survived for too long.[19]

Search for the Philosopher's Stone


Voldemort on the back of Quirrell's head

"There is no good and evil, there is only power...and those too weak to seek it."
— Voldemort speaking through Quirrell[src]

In 1991, Voldemort formed a plan to regain his body. Hogwarts Professor Quirinus Quirrell had made a voyage to Albania, where his foolish and gullible mind was vulnerable to Voldemort. He latched onto Quirrell's body and came back to Hogwarts with him. Voldemort ordered Quirrell to drink the blood of unicorns in the Forbidden Forest so he could gain power. Somehow, Voldemort learned of the Philosopher's Stone, and how it could somehow return him to his to physical form. He ordered Quirrell to steal Nicolas Flamel's greatest alchemical compound, the Philosopher's Stone, from a vault in Gringotts Wizarding Bank so he could make the Elixir of Life. Voldemort discovered the Stone had been removed earlier that same day, and through Quirrell's connections at Hogwarts, learned it was hidden at the school.[19]

The same year that Voldemort set to the task of stealing the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter began his first year at Hogwarts.

Voldemort Spirit

Voldemort's mangled soul.

There were many barriers protecting the Stone. Quirrell had to trick Rubeus Hagrid, who was then the Hogwarts Gamekeeper, into telling him how to get past the three-headed dog Fluffy. To do this, he enticed Hagrid into a card game with the wager of a dragon egg.[19]

Severus Snape, who had switched sides near the end of the First Wizarding War and become professor of Potions, was suspicious of Quirrell and hounded him relentlessly. When Quirrell released a troll in the Hogwarts dungeons as a distraction, Snape blocked him off.[19] Voldemort was not to be stopped, however, and ordered Quirrell to send a fake letter to Dumbledore, asking him to go to the Ministry of Magic. Voldemort moved forward with his goal, moving through the security barriers to the Mirror of Erised. Quirrell saw himself presenting the stone to his master, but could not figure out how to get it. It was only when Harry Potter arrived, believing he was protecting the Stone from Severus Snape, that Voldemort saw a way to get it. Dumbledore would later say, "Only those who wanted to find the stone, but not use it, could get it from the mirror." Voldemort figured this out, and Quirrell attacked Harry. When he touched Harry, however, his hands blistered and burned. Harry placed his hands on Quirrell's face, severely injuring and eventually killing him. Lord Voldemort's soul fled, once more without a body.[19]

Re-opening the Chamber of Secrets

Riddle Diary

Riddle's old school diary, and one of his Horcruxes.

Lord Voldemort returned to the Albanian forest, weaker than ever. He had to wait yet again for someone to help him.

Sometime before 1992, Lucius Malfoy came into possession of Tom Riddle's Diary. This was the self-same diary created as a Horcrux by Tom Marvolo Riddle as a boy in the 1940s. Malfoy planted the diary on eleven-year-old Ginny Weasley, who brought it to Hogwarts. She began writing in it, and found that a sixteen-year-old Tom Riddle was answering. She found comfort in the diary, not knowing she was being manipulated. The diary slowly drained the life and energy from Ginny, transferring it to itself. Under the diary's control, Ginny re-opened the Chamber of Secrets and released the basilisk, which petrified several students. While possessed, she also killed Hagrid's roosters and wrote threatening messages on the school corridors in rooster blood. Ginny became upset and confused, knowing that the diary was doing something to her, and tried to flush it down the toilet in Moaning Myrtle's bathroom. Harry Potter and Ron Weasley accidentally stumbled upon it, and Harry began communicating with the diary.[14]


Tom Riddle in the Chamber of Secrets with Harry Potter.

Harry: "You. You're the Heir of Slytherin. You're Voldemort."
Tom Riddle: "Surely you didn't think I was going to keep my filthy Muggle father's name? No, I fashioned myself a new name, a name I knew that wizards everywhere would one day fear to speak, when I became the greatest sorcerer in the world!"
Harry: "Albus Dumbledore is the greatest sorcerer in the world!"
Tom Riddle: "Dumbledore's been driven out of this castle by the mere memory of me!"
— Tom Riddle and Harry Potter in the Chamber of Secrets[src]

When Ginny saw that Harry had the diary, she stole it back for she did not want Harry to find out all the things she had written in the diary, or what she had done while under its influence. When this piece of Voldemort's soul was ready to take his physical form from Ginny's life, the diary lured her into the Chamber of Secrets. Harry found Ginny in time and destroyed the basilisk with Godric Gryffindor's Sword. Fawkes also arrived, summoned by Harry's loyalty to Dumbledore. Harry used the basilisk's fang to stab the diary, thinking it would destroy its power.[14] Not only was the diary destroyed, but Harry also unknowingly destroyed one of Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes.[13]

Return to power

Voldemort was still very weak when, in 1994, his servant Peter Pettigrew, a.k.a. Wormtail, who had faked his death years earlier and hid from authorities in his Animagus form of a rat, had returned to his master. Together, they built a rudimentary body that Voldemort used for travel and performing magic. While in this form, Voldemort was forced to drink a potion made from Unicorn blood and venom from Nagini the snake to sustain him.


Lord Voldemort before being revived

Pettigrew lured Ministry official Bertha Jorkins to Lord Voldemort in his forest hideout in Albania. He used magic to glean information about the Triwizard Tournament from Jorkins. Before killing her, Voldemort was surprised to find that someone else had put a Memory Charm on her and interrogated her to find the whereabouts of a loyal Death Eater, Barty Crouch Jr., who had been imprisoned in Azkaban and was thought to be dead. Voldemort uncovered that Barty Crouch Sr. was concealing his son at his home after helping him escape prison. Jorkins had stumbled upon Barty Jr. at his house, and Crouch Sr. placed a Memory Charm on her so that she would not report it.[20]


Lord Voldemort returned to power

Returning to the Riddle House in Little Hangleton, the site of his very first murder, Voldemort also killed Riddle groundskeeper Frank Bryce for overhearing their plan to crash the Triwizard Tournament. They went to the Crouch estate where Voldemort placed Crouch Sr. under the Imperius Curse and freed Crouch Jr..[20]

Voldemort ordered Crouch Jr. to capture Alastor Moody, the new Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor at Hogwarts. Crouch Jr. and Peter Pettigrew did so, and created Polyjuice Potion which Crouch Jr. used to impersonate Moody for the entire school year. He influenced the Tournament for months, ensuring that Harry would be the one to get to the Triwizard Cup first which, unbeknownst to anyone, was a Portkey. Harry, in the spirit of sportsmanship, requested Cedric Diggory to tie with him for the win. When they both touched the Portkey, they were transported to a cemetery in Little Hangleton where Wormtail and Voldemort were waiting. Pettigrew murdered Cedric with the Killing Curse and used Harry's blood in a Potion for his master's rebirth.[20]

Voldemort rebirth

Lord Voldemort emerges from the flaming cauldron.

"Bone of the father, unknowingly given, you will renew your son. Flesh of the servant, willingly given, you will revive your master. Blood of the enemy, forcibly taken, you will resurrect your foe."
Peter Pettigrew[src]

Voldemort gained a new body and summoned his Death Eaters. Those who were perhaps most loyal to him, save for those who willingly went to Azkaban in his name, appeared. Voldemort mocked and humiliated Harry, and attempted to kill him, but their twin-core wands became locked in Priori Incantatem.[20]


Voldemort locked in Priori Incantatem.

People who had been killed by Voldemort's wand came out as spectral visions. First Cedric Diggory, then Frank Bryce, followed by Bertha Jorkins, Lily and James Potter.They encouraged Harry, while distracting Voldemort. Harry pulled away and had enough time to grab Cedric's body and the Triwizard Cup to return to the Hogwarts grounds. Voldemort now had some of his followers, but Barty Crouch Jr. had been discovered, and was subjected to the Dementor's Kiss before he could be tried before the Wizengamot.[20] Thus, the only knowledge of Voldemort's return was Harry's word, which was vigorously disputed by the Ministry. Voldemort was able to grow in power in secret.[17]

Battle for the Prophecy

Lord Voldemort: "So weak..."
Harry Potter: "You' re the weak one... and you'll never know love, or friendship... and I feel sorry for you..."
Lord Voldemort: "You're a fool, Harry Potter, and you will lose... everything..."
— Tom Riddle and Harry Potter discussing the meaning of being weak [src]

In 1995, Dumbledore reconvened the Order of the Phoenix once more, using Sirius Black's family home at 12 Grimmauld Place as headquarters. Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley set up a similar organisation at Hogwarts called Dumbledore's Army, which was originally created to thwart the Ministry's meddling at the school under Dolores Umbridge.[17]


Voldemort casts a fire spell, possibly Fiendfyre.

Voldemort was now after the aforementioned prophecy housed in the Department of Mysteries, wanting to hear the whole of it. At this time, many of Voldemort's most loyal Death Eaters, such as Bellatrix Lestrange, escaped from Azkaban and returned to his side.[17]

Voldemort's first attempt at securing the prophecy was to have Lucius Malfoy put Order member Sturgis Podmore under the Imperius Curse and send him to take the prophecy. However, Sturgis was unable to get into the Department of Mysteries. His next attempt was to use the Imperius Curse on an Unspeakable named Broderick Bode. He was ordered to retrieve the prophecy, but was seriously injured in the process and was put into a permanent ward at St Mungo's. From this, Voldemort learned that the only people who could retrieve a prophecy are the people who are included in the prophecy. He could not risk going into the Ministry himself, so he used a telepathic link through Harry Potter's scar to cause him to go there instead.[17]


Lord Voldemort during the Battle at the Department of Mysteries.

Members of Dumbledore's Army, including Harry, Hermione, Ron, Luna Lovegood, Ginny, and Neville Longbottom went to the Department of Mysteries seeking to rescue Sirius Black, who they believed to be trapped there. Harry wound up retrieving the prophecy from its shelf. At once, Death Eaters appeared, demanding Harry hand over the prophecy. The six D.A. members fought back, and during the battle that ensued, the prophecy was destroyed. Voldemort was forced to come to the Ministry, but upon learning of its destruction he tried to kill Harry.[17]

Albus Dumbledore: "It was foolish of you to come here tonight, Tom. The Aurors are on their way."
Lord Voldemort: "By which time I should be gone, and you shall be dead."
— Dumbledore and Voldemort before the Duel in the Ministry Atrium[src]

His attempt was foiled by Albus Dumbledore, and a fantastic duel ensued. The duel came to a draw when Voldemort attempted to possess Harry instead, hoping Dumbledore would kill Harry in an attempt to destroy him at last, but Harry's heart, full of grief over the loss of his godfather Sirius, was able to force Voldemort out of his mind. Voldemort fled when Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge and other Ministry officials arrived. Voldemort's cover was blown and many of his Death Eaters, including Lucius, were taken into custody and sent to Azkaban.[17]

Open war

Daily Prophet Voldemort Returns

The Daily Prophet announcing the return of Voldemort.

"I have been careless, and so have been thwarted by luck and chance, those wreckers of all but the best-laid plans. But I know better now. I understand those things that I did not understand before. I must be the one to kill Harry Potter, and I shall be."
— Lord Voldemort to his Death Eaters in 1997[src]

With Voldemort no longer needing to keep his actions silent, the Second Wizarding War had begun. The Dementors left Azkaban to side with the Dark Lord, who could offer them more scope for their powers. As a result, there were many attacks by the monsters. Mass Muggle killings, as well as the destruction of bridges, were rampant. What was claimed to be a hurricane to the Muggle world was in fact a rampage by the giants, whom Voldemort had drawn into allegiance. Voldemort himself duelled and killed Amelia Bones, the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, who was described as having put up a good fight against him and as one of the greatest witches of the age.[13]

In 1996, Draco Malfoy was inducted as a Death Eater, as Voldemort required a spy within Hogwarts. He ordered Draco to kill Albus Dumbledore, for he wished to punish Lucius Malfoy for his failings by giving his son a task he could not do. If Draco failed, he would meet terrible consequences. However, Draco was able to sneak a group of Death Eaters into Hogwarts through a pair of Vanishing Cabinets that connected Borgin and Burke's with the Room of Requirement. The first Battle of Hogwarts ensued.[13]

Voldemort's plans were carried out when Severus Snape used the Killing Curse on Albus Dumbledore. Although the Death Eaters fled Hogwarts, the intrusion of Hogwarts Castle signified that there was no longer a single place safe from the Dark Lord.[13]


Lord Voldemort orders Nagini to consume Burbage.

Voldemort then took over Malfoy Manor as his headquarters. During the summer of 1997, he captured the Hogwarts Professor of Muggle Studies, Charity Burbage, and killed her before feeding her to Nagini. He also imprisoned and interrogated the kidnapped wandmaker, Ollivander, about why his wand could not duel against Harry Potter's wand. Ollivander revealed that their wands shared the same core, and would not work properly against each other. This came as a great relief to Voldemort, who worried that Harry had escaped from him in the graveyard by superior skill. Ollivander told Voldemort that he merely needed another's wand, and so he took Lucius Malfoy's.[15]

When Harry Potter left 4 Privet Drive for the final time, Voldemort flew to the scene with his Death Eaters to fight the Order of the Phoenix. In the ensuing battle, Voldemort murdered Alastor Moody. When he attempted to attack Harry, Harry's wand reacted in a bizarre way, releasing golden fire at him and destroying Malfoy's wand. Before Voldemort could react, Harry reached the protection of the home of Ted and Andromeda Tonks, and Voldemort was forced to retreat.[15]

Voldemort returned to his headquarters at Malfoy Manor and tortured Ollivander with the Cruciatus Curse. Ollivander told him truthfully that never in wandlore has he ever heard of such a thing happening between two wands. Voldemort ordered Ollivander to tell him everything he knew about the legendary wand known as the Elder Wand, otherwise known as the Deathstick or the Wand of Destiny.[15]

Ministry take-over

"The Ministry has fallen. Scrimgeour is dead. They are coming."
— Kingsley Shacklebolt warning the Order of the Phoenix about the Fall of the Ministry of Magic in 1997[src]

Shortly after this, the Ministry of Magic was compromised and fell to the power of Voldemort when Minister Rufus Scrimgeour was murdered. News of this came to the Order of the Phoenix during the wedding of Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour at the Burrow. Voldemort established a totalitarian police state, with Pius Thicknesse, under the Imperius Curse, serving as a puppet Minister for Magic and Death Eater Yaxley as the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. The Muggle-Born Registration Commission was created to round up Muggle-borns and imprison them in Azkaban. Harry Potter was declared Undesirable Number One with a reward on his head. Severus Snape, meanwhile, took over as Headmaster of Hogwarts.[15]

Voldemort placed a Taboo Curse on his name which enabled his Death Eaters to instantly locate anyone who spoke his name out loud in the open. He chose not to publicly declare himself Minister in order to maintain an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty.

The search for the Elder Wand

"Kill me then, Voldemort!... That wand will never, ever be yours!"
— Grindelwald and Voldemort confronting in Nurmengard[src]

With his servants taking care of business in England, Voldemort travelled to Germany to seek out the acclaimed wandmaker Gregorovitch and obtain the Elder Wand.


Lord Voldemort tests the Elder Wand after taking it from Dumbledore's tomb.

Eventually, after murdering people who got in his way, Voldemort found him, but was informed that the Wand had been stolen. Voldemort performed Legilimency on Gregorovich and saw the memory of a young blond boy who stole the Wand. Voldemort demanded to know the identity of the thief, but when Gregorovich didn't know it, Voldemort killed him.[15]


Lord Voldemort uses the Elder Wand.

Shortly after this, Nagini summoned Voldemort to Godric's Hollow, where Harry and Hermione were investigating the circumstances around the Potters' deaths. Harry and Hermione barely managed to escape. However, Voldemort found a picture of the aforementioned blond boy at the home of Bathilda Bagshot; this boy turned out to be none other than the Dark Wizard Gellert Grindelwald, whom Albus Dumbledore had defeated in the 1940s.[15]

Voldemort broke into the prison Nurmengard, where Grindelwald was being held, and demanded to know the location of the Elder Wand. Grindelwald baffled Voldemort by being completely unafraid of him and saying that he welcomed death; Voldemort killed him in a rage without gaining any information.

However, Voldemort deduced that Dumbledore, who had defeated Grindelwald, had the Wand. He killed Grindelwald, and stole the Elder Wand from Dumbledore's tomb.[15]

Final Battle and death

"If you continue to resist me, you will all die, one by one. I do not wish this to happen. Every drop of magical blood spilled is a loss and a waste... I command my forces to retreat immediately. You have one hour... I speak now, Harry Potter, directly to you... I shall wait for one hour in the Forbidden Forest. If, at the end of that hour, you have not come to me, have not given yourself up, then battle recommences. This time, I shall enter the fray myself, Harry Potter, and I shall find you, and I shall punish every last man, woman, and child who has tried to conceal you from me. One hour."
— Voldemort announcing the one-hour ceasefire during the Battle of Hogwarts[src]

Following this, Voldemort was informed by several goblins from Gringotts that Harry and his friends had robbed the Lestrange's vault. This caused Voldemort to panic, and when he was informed that a small golden cup had been stolen, he was enraged. He realised at that moment that Harry was hunting his Horcruxes, but he could not figure out how he had discovered his secret when he never told anyone. (In truth, Dumbledore and Harry had worked out, from studying Voldemort's past, that Voldemort had created horcruxes, and also what the horcruxes were.) Voldemort listed all the locations of his horcruxes in his mind, unaware that Harry was connected to his mind at the time, and unwittingly revealed that his last horcrux was at Hogwarts.[15]


Lord Voldemort meets Harry Potter in the Forbidden Forest.

Following these revelations, Voldemort went to check out the Gaunt Shack and the Cave. He then returned to Hogwarts. By the time he got there, the residents had already ousted the Death Eaters teaching there and had begun preparing a defence against him. He rounded up his entire army of Death Eaters, giants, Dementors and Acromantula, and ordered the Hogwarts community to hand over Harry Potter. When, at midnight, they had not done as he had ordered, Voldemort commanded his army to fight the Aurors, professors, and students who were still in the castle. Voldemort himself was not present at the battle; he was investigating why the Elder Wand did not work any differently from his old wand. He came to the conclusion that it needed to accept him as a master, and ordered Nagini to kill Severus Snape, believing this would solve the problem by transferring mastery of the wand to himself.[15]

Voldemort and his followers at the Battle of Hogwarts

Lord Voldemort and his followers attacking Hogwarts.

Voldemort then called a one-hour armistice, requesting Harry Potter in exchange for peace and no further deaths. Unbeknownst to Voldemort, Harry carried within him a seventh Horcrux, the scar on his forehead, which was formed when Voldemort failed to kill him in 1981. When Harry met Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest, Voldemort used the Killing Curse on him almost immediately, but only destroyed the Horcrux, rendering his scar "normal." What was not revealed to Voldemort was that when he used Harry's blood three years prior to gain himself a new body, the blood passed Harry's mother's protection to Voldemort and anchored Harry to the living world through Voldemort. Harry was merely knocked to the ground and feigned death. Voldemort, as a result of destroying his soul shard in Harry, was also knocked out.[15]

Unsure of what had just happened, Voldemort ordered Narcissa Malfoy to examine Harry's body. Narcissa did so and pronounced Harry Potter dead, eliciting celebration from the Death Eaters. Voldemort declared that no man could threaten him any more. He then forced the captured Rubeus Hagrid to carry the body back to Hogwarts for all to see. Voldemort did not realise, however, that Narcissa had lied to him in order to enter the castle to find her son.

Voldemort and his army marched to Hogwarts, proclaiming the death of Harry Potter and his victory. Neville Longbottom, instead of surrendering, charged at Voldemort. After Neville refused to join him, Voldemort placed a Full Body-Bind Curse and the Sorting Hat on him and set the hat on fire to make an example of him. But at that moment, reinforcements for the Hogwarts defenders arrived. Neville was able to throw off the curse and pulled Godric Gryffindor's Sword from the Hat, and used it to decapitate Nagini, destroying the last remaining Horcrux. Enraged, Voldemort attempted to kill Neville, but Harry, now beneath his Invisibility cloak interfered and cast a Shield Charm between them.[15]

Harry Potter: "There are no more Horcruxes. It's just you and me now Voldemort. Neither can live while the other survives, and one of us is about to leave for good. . . ."
Voldemort: "One of us? You think it will be you, do you, the boy who has survived by accident, and because Dumbledore was pulling the strings?"
Harry Potter: "...You won't be killing anyone else tonight. You won't be able to kill any of them ever again."
— The final confrontation between Lord Voldemort and Harry Potter[src]
Avada Kedavra

Voldemort's last stand.

During the second round of the Battle of Hogwarts, Voldemort tried to strike down everyone within his reach and his weakened army forced its way into Hogwarts. In the Great Hall, his army was gradually cut down as Voldemort fought Horace Slughorn, Minerva McGonagall and Kingsley Shacklebolt all at once. When Bellatrix Lestrange, his last, best lieutenant, was killed by Molly Weasley, Voldemort turned his wand on her in rage. At that time, Harry revealed himself to be alive by casting a Shield Charm to protect her, and the pair faced each other in the Great Hall.[15]

Here, Harry mentioned that by willingly sacrificing himself to Voldemort, he had protected everyone he loves in Hogwarts with the same magic his mother created when she died for him. Harry tried to explain to Voldemort that he had magic Voldemort did not have, and a weapon more powerful than his, in addition to warning Voldemort of the fate that lay in store for him if he was unwilling to feel remorse for his actions. Goading him by using his birth name, Harry told him that Snape's loyalty was with Dumbledore all along, that Dumbledore's death was planned, and that Snape was not the master of the Elder Wand; Draco Malfoy was.[15]

Harry Potter: "Yeah it did, you're right. But before you try and kill me, I'd advise you to think about what you've done.... Think, and try for some remorse, Riddle...."
Voldemort: "What is this?"
Harry Potter: "It's your one last chance, it's all you've got left.... I've seen what you'll be otherwise.... Be a man.... try.... Try for some remorse...."
— Harry Potter explaining how Dumbledore's plan had backfired.[src]

Originally shocked, Voldemort remained unworried, because Harry did not have his original wand, and he told Harry he would kill him and then dispose of Draco. But Harry revealed that he had already overpowered Draco, so the Elder Wand was now rightfully his. Refusing to believe this, Voldemort fired the Killing Curse at Harry, while Harry countered with his "trademark" spell of Expelliarmus. The Elder Wand refused to kill its true master, and Voldemort's spell rebounded off Harry's, killing Tom Marvolo Riddle once and for all.[15]


After his death, Voldemort's body was moved to a separate chamber away from the Great Hall. It is unknown what happened to it afterward. Voldemort's mutilated soul was, meanwhile, trapped in Limbo for eternity, unable to move on or return as a ghost.[11]

Physical appearance


Tom Riddle in his youth.

As a child, Tom Riddle was a very handsome boy with jet black hair and dark eyes. When Harry saw him in the Pensieve, he saw that there was no trace of the Gaunt family in his face, and that he was in his father in miniature: tall for eleven years old, dark-haired and pale.[13][14] It is said that he bore a passing resemblance to Harry Potter. His good looks continued to increase as he grew older, and he cunningly used them to charm many of the teachers at Hogwarts. However, as he became more involved in the Dark Arts, his good looks left him, with his features becoming waxy and oddly distorted, and his skin was as pale as snow. The whites of his eyes took on a perpetually blood-shot look.[13] Through the destruction of his soul and "many dangerous magical transformations", he eventually took on the form of a tall, skeletally thin, and frail snake-like man with nearly translucent skin. His dark scarlet eyes were set in slits like a cat's; his nose was flat as a snake's; his fingers are unnaturally long and thin, like a spider's legs. He had long, sharp, pale blue fingernails. [20] He took to wearing a black hooded cloak, as well as several sets of elegant black robes. He is also known to have no lips.[15]

Personality and traits

"His knowledge remained woefully incomplete, Harry! That which Voldemort does not value, he takes no trouble to comprehend. Of house-elves and children's tales, of love, loyalty and innocence, Voldemort knows and understands nothing. Nothing. That they all have a power beyond his own, a power beyond the reach of any magic, is a truth that he has never grasped."
Albus Dumbledore [src]

Lord Voldemort was considered by many to be "the most evil wizard in hundreds and hundreds of years."

Lord Voldemort was a cruel, calculating psychopath who was incapable of feeling love or compassion and showed as little mercy to his followers as he did his enemies. He was very sadistic, taking considerable pleasure in the suffering of others, even his own followers. He felt no desire or need for human companionship or friendship, and was unable to comprehend the idea of love or affection for another. He thought of everything in terms of power, and despite his tremendous knowledge of magic, his understanding of many things was extremely limited, especially of things that he considered to have no value. It should be noted that Voldemort also had no knowledge of Priori Incantatem fearing that Harry Potter had known a spell that he didn't during their duel shortly after his resurrection. Voldemort was extremely independent, so much so that he refused to use the Elixir of Life to obtain his desired immortality, understanding that if the potion became contaminated or the Philosopher's Stone was stolen, it would rob him of his life. He, therefore, concluded that it would be intolerable for his immortality to be reliant upon the Stone and the Elixir. Rather, he would rely on his Horcruxes, which were extensions of himself.

He believed he was superior to everyone around him, and he held an extremely high opinion of himself. He frequently referred to himself in the third-person as "Lord Voldemort." If Voldemort looked into the Mirror of Erised, he would see "Himself, all-powerful and eternal."[21] Voldemort was cold and merciless, ignoring Lily Evans and Gregorovitch's pleas for mercy and killed them without a moment's remorse or hesitation.

The fact that Voldemort was conceived under the love potion Amortentia — administered by the witch Merope Gaunt to the Muggle Tom Riddle — was related to his inability to understand love; it was "a symbolic way of showing that he came from a loveless union — but of course, everything would have changed if Merope had survived and raised him herself and loved him. The enchantment under which Tom Riddle fathered Voldemort is important because it shows coercion, and there can't be many more prejudicial ways to enter the world than as the result of such a union."[22]

As a child at Hogwarts, and in the early years of his adult life, Riddle was an intelligent, polite person who showed an enthusiasm to learn. He described himself as "poor, but brilliant, parentless, but so brave, a school prefect, a model student."[14] His role model attitude had earned him the trust and respect of his teachers, as well as the customers he was sent to deal with at Borgin and Burkes. However, this all was a ruse, in order for Riddle to manipulate others to gain what he desired. He was very manipulative and Sirius Black mentioned that his recruitment methods included, tricks, jinxes and blackmail. In his youth Voldemort's manipulative nature allowed him to gain the trust of all the teachers in Hogwarts except Albus Dumbledore and surround himself with a group of "friends" many of which would eventually become Death Eaters.

Voldemort's arrogance inevitably led to his downfall. He also suffered from a pathological fear of death, which he regarded as a shameful and ignominious human weakness. The most important thing to Lord Voldemort was his own life. He equated death with being defeated, or being "beaten." According to Rowling, his Boggart would be his own corpse.[21] Rowling also said that the real difference between Harry and Voldemort was that Harry accepted mortality, and thus Harry was in the end (arguably) stronger than his nemesis.[22]

Lord Voldemort tended to undergo extreme obsessions, such as immortality, the attempts on Harry Potter's life, pure-blood racism, and the search for the Elder Wand. Dumbledore said to Harry in the Limbo Kings Cross that his obsession with the Elder Wand was to rival his obsession with Harry. The Dark Lord stopped at nothing in his many attempts to kill Harry.

Despite his narcissistic nature, Voldemort could acknowledge his mistakes, though Harry stated that he didn't learn from them. He said that Harry Potter's escapes from him were because of his errors, not Harry's triumphs. When he was the formidable head of the Death Eaters, Voldemort took no nonsense from anyone and had extremely low tolerance for failures and disrespect. If he was angry, he could keep his cool, such as when the Death Eaters failed to retrieve the Prophecy, or when the Elder Wand didn't work for him. However, Voldemort possessed an explosive temper, such as when he tortured Ollivander, screaming at him and casting the Cruciatus Curse on him. He never hesitated to slay his own followers when he was enraged. An example of this was when he was informed of the 1998 Gringotts break-in involving the theft of the Horcrux that he stored in the Lestranges' vault. Voldemort immediately slayed the goblin who told him, as well as many other Death Eaters in his vicious rage. He expected complete respect from his Death Eaters, but he didn't care for any of them in return, except possibly Bellatrix Lestrange, whom he rescued after his duel with Albus Dumbledore. However he probably just saw Bellatrix as a valuable servant rather than having any affection for her.

Deep under his terrifying demeanor, Voldemort appeared to have a very cowardly side, such as fearing a baby, or more precisely, what the baby would become, because of the Prophecy and trying to kill him, even though the baby couldn't have defended himself at the time. Additionally, he often had his Death Eaters fight his battles for him, though he was perfectly capable of overwhelming most wizards and witches in personal combat. Voldemort did not join the first part of the Battle of Hogwarts because he was investigating the Elder Wand and why he was not its true master and because he believed Harry Potter would come looking for him and therefore he didn't need to fight. However it was also possible he was afraid he would die in the battle (which he eventually did). Voldemort was furious, yet terrified, when he found out when Helga Hufflepuff's Cup was stolen. Voldemort was also more afraid than Harry was when their wands formed Priori Incantatem. Nevertheless Voldemort was bold enough to engage Albus Dumbledore in a duel and Dumbledore was the most powerful wizard alive, with the possible exception of the Dark Lord himself. Also it should be noted that Dumbledore was believed to be the only person Voldemort was truly afraid of. Additionally Dumbledore's power was augmented because he was weilding the Elder Wand (though Voldemort didn't know about the Elder Wand at the time). Voldemort was skilled at hiding his fears and seemed to be able to overcome most of them, the only exception being his fear of death.

Voldemort was shown to be highly intelligent and charismatic, able to inspire many powerful and influential wizards to follow him as his loyal Death Eaters. He also possessed a dry, cynical sense of humour, usually laughing at others, but also capable of laughing at himself despite his usually narcissistic demeanour.

Typical for a Slytherin, and unlike his blood traitor mother, especially as the Heir of Salazar Slytherin, Voldemort greatly believed in blood purity. In fact, his beliefs were far more extreme than an average pure-blood supremacist. Voldemort released Salazar Slytherin's Basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets in order to purge the school of "Mudbloods", even at the tender age of 16, thus showing his murderous hatred towards them, and kept a diary Horcrux to continue his actions, placing risk to a precious piece of his soul for his ideals. In his later life, Voldemort claimed that Muggle-borns were actually Muggles who stole magic from real wizards and witches, rather than actually inheriting it rightfully, and that they deserved to be punished for it. Whether he knowingly made this theory up or truly believed it is unknown. He ruthlessly killed Charity Burbage for supporting Muggle-borns. Despite his racist beliefs, however, he allowed the werewolf Fenrir Greyback to join his cause, though did not consider him an official Death Eater.

Despite his hatred to non-pure bloods, Voldemort himself was a half-blood, and 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, he denied it from everyone, and claimed to be a pure-blood, and proudly presented his ancestry from Salazar Slytherin.

Magical abilities and skills


Voldemort demonstrates his power in the Ministry of Magic.

"...the most dangerous Dark wizard of all time..."
— Albus Dumbledore on Lord Voldemort[src]
  • Magical Mastery: Lord Voldemort was generally considered to be the most dangerous Dark Wizard who had ever existed and proved himself capable of holding his own well even against an Elder Wand-wielding Albus Dumbledore. Voldemort claimed he had experimented and pushed the boundaries of magic farther than they had ever been pushed. Albus Dumbledore himself also stated that Voldemort's knowledge of magic was more extensive than any wizard alive, and that even his most powerful protective spells and charms were unlikely to be effective if Voldemort returned to full power. In the films, Voldemort has shown the ability to contain spells and release them in a blast that resembles a shock wave. Young Tom Marvolo Riddle utilised magic without the use of a wand or even knowing the very existence of magic itself. He had a power to communicate with and control animals, and inflict harm on those who opposed or annoyed him. His unnaturally high level of control marks him a prodigy even as a child.[13]
  • Dark Arts Mastery: Lord Voldemort was considered to be the most powerful practitioner of the Dark Arts the world had ever known. Besides developing Dark spells, hexes, charms, and jinxes, he has a masterful knowledge of the most unknown and complex magic capable of a Dark wizard. Voldemort was also a masterful practitioner of all three Unforgivable Curses, with a special affinity for the Killing Curse, having murdered enough people to create an entire army of Inferi. Ironically, this would be his final downfall. He was capable of a variety of powerful curses, placing one on the position of Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher after being refused the post by Albus Dumbledore. He also placed a powerful curse on Marvolo Gaunt's Ring to protect it after it had been made it into a Horcrux.
Voldemort's wand

Voldemort's wand.

  • Master Duellist: Lord Voldemort was an exceptionally skilled duellist and was able to hold his own extremely well against an Elder Wand-wielding Albus Dumbledore, and duel Minerva McGonagall, Kingsley Shacklebolt and Horace Slughorn (who were masterful duellists themselves) all at once. It was possible that if Dumbledore hadn't been wielding the Elder Wand during their duel, Voldemort might have defeated him. Indeed, even with the Elder Wand, Dumbledore was unable to truly defeat Voldemort, and they fought to a stalemate. During his duel with McGonagall, Slughorn and Shacklebolt, the Elder Wand-wielding Voldemort proved to be the equal of all three of them despite the fact that he had not unlocked the Elder Wand's full power. The Dark Lord was also able to overpower many other prodigious witches and wizards, such as Amelia Bones, and was responsible for the death of the extremely powerful ex-Auror, Alastor Moody. Voldemort had an extremely aggressive duelling style using powerful Dark Magic to overwhelm his opponents. Apparently, he only chose to face opponents whom he saw as worthy adversaries.
  • Master Potioneer: Voldemort also invented his own potion known as the Drink of Despair which he used to protect Salazar Slytherin's Locket within the Horcrux cave.
  • Lightning spells: Voldemort cast a powerful lightning spell up in the air when he tested the Elder Wand after stealing it from Dumbledore's tomb.
  • Charms Master: When Voldemort arrived at Hogwarts to steal Dumbledore's wand, he cast upon himself a Disillusionment Charm that was said to hide him from his own eyes. He also Summoned the Sorting Hat without fail to punish Neville for opposing him.
  • Telekinesis: Lord Voldemort could enchant objects to travel floating in the air to wherever he wished, and move things with his mind. He displayed this ability from even when he was a child in the orphanage.[13]
  • Fire Spells: Like Albus Dumbledore, Voldemort was skilled in manipulating the element of fire. He burned Neville with a flick of his wand, and created an enormous flaming serpent to kill Dumbledore and Harry during the Duel in the Ministry Atrium.
  • Apparation: Lord Voldemort was a master of Apparation, using this ability during his duel with Albus Dumbledore. However, there must have been an Anti-Disapparation Jinx surrounding Numenguard prison, because Voldemort had to fly far away from the prison to Apparate to Malfoy Manor.
  • Spell Penetration: In 1998, Voldemort used an unknown yet powerful curse to break the protections surrounding Hogwarts.
  • Levicorpus: Lord Voldemort had Gregorovitch suspended in midair using this spell combined with the Full Body-Bind Curse. Presumably he was taught this spell by Severus Snape since Snape was the person who invented it.
  • Occlumency and Legilimency Expert.: Voldemort was adept in the use of both Occlumency and Legilimency being able to shield his own mind and penetrate the minds of others. He was particularly skilled in Legilimency and gained a reputation as one of the most, perhaps the most, accomplished Legilimens the world has ever seen. He was able to delve and peer deep into the minds of others, seeing their deepest thoughts. Voldemort could almost always tell when someone was lying, and was able to use Legilimency to place visions in his victims' minds, such as the one he sent to Harry Potter in 1996.[17] The most remarkable part about this skill was that he seemed to be working on it while he was still a child in the orphanage (as demonstrated when he commanded Dumbledore to stop lying to him). One of the very few people who were skilful enough to shield themselves from this, via Occlumency, was Severus Snape.[15]
  • Flight: Voldemort can fly without support, defying the law of magic that states only objects can fly through use of a flying charm. Voldemort first exhibits the ability to fly while in pursuit of Harry Potter over Little Whinging.[15] However, this could simply have been achieved by charming his clothes. Another possibility is that he transfigured his body partially into a light substance, as he is described as trailing smoke.
  • Amplified Voice: Lord Voldemort has the ability to speak over a vast area, sounding (to the recipients) as though he were standing next to them. He does this during the Battle of Hogwarts when he speaks to Hogwarts and the surrounding area of Hogsmeade. This spell has been used by other wizards, but never with such powerful results.[15]
  • Parselmouth: Voldemort is a Parselmouth, a trait he inherited from his ancestor, Salazar Slytherin.[14] It seems that most of his Gaunt ancestors inherited this highly unusual trait; such traits are commonly passed down through families through inbreeding, a practice employed by the Gaunt family.[13]
  • Horcruxes: Voldemort is the only wizard explicitly mentioned as having created more than one Horcrux, and thus came closer than any other wizard to becoming truly immortal. These Horcruxes were Salazar Slytherin's locket, Helga Hufflepuff's cup, Nagini, the Gaunt ring, Riddle Diary, Ravenclaw's diadem, and Harry Potter himself.[13] (Nicolas Flamel was not truly immortal, for after he stopped drinking his Elixir of Life, he died).[19]
  • Transfiguration Master: Voldemort transfigured Dumbledore's fire-rope into a black snake during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries.[17] He created an artificial, silver forearm and hand for Peter Pettigrew.[20] What's more, he transformed the corpse of Bathilda Bagshot's into a disguise for his snake, Nagini.[15]
  • Morsmordre: The spell Morsmordre, which summons the Dark Mark in the sky, was of Voldemort's own creation. He and his followers used it to summon a floating, green Dark Mark, usually over the houses of their victims.[20]
  • Inferi Creation and Control: Voldemort is the only wizard mentioned to have the ability to create and control Inferi, and an army at that, though it is implied that other Dark Wizards, such as Gellert Grindelwald, have used or intended to use them.
  • Power of Possession: Voldemort has the power to possess any living creature, and gain complete control over their actions by doing so. Once the possession is done, the victims will have no knowledge of what happened. While in his spectral form when he lost his body from a rebounding Killing Curse, possession was the only power that remained with him. This possession shortens the lifespan of the small animals he inhabits, and in the terms of wizards, his face would appear on the back of their head. In this case, it would seem that his possession is partial, as Quirrell has control of his own actions, but Voldemort's presence would allow the possessed wizard to perform more powerful magic.
  • Nonverbal Magic: When Voldemort was duelling Dumbledore, he nearly defeated Dumbledore without a single incantation. He could additionally cast non-verbal Cruciatus and Killing Curses.
  • Master Manipulator: At a young age, Voldemort displayed a talent for manipulating others, being able to manipulate Horace Slughorn into telling him about Horcruxes and gain the trust of every teacher in Hogwarts, apart from Albus Dumbledore. He also surrounded himself with a group of friends who would become Death Eaters, though Voldemort felt no affection for any of them. Sirius Black noted that Voldemort used tricks, jinxes and blackmail to get people to join him.


Flagrate COS 1

Tom Riddle rearranging the letters of his name.

"They do not call me 'Tom' any more," he said. "These days, I am known as —"
— Lord Voldemort[src]

Voldemort was born Tom Marvolo Riddle, a name he hated due to the fact that it was a common name. When he later learnt that his father and namesake was a Muggle, he decided to forge his own name, "Voldemort", from an anagram of his full name ("Tom Marvolo Riddle" is an anagram to "I am Lord Voldemort"). Using this name, he hoped to create a terrifying legacy of his own. At first, this name was used to refer to him or to address him. Later, he became so feared in the wizarding community that nearly everyone referred to him only as "You-Know-Who", "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named", or "The Dark Lord". Fudge even wrote it to the Muggle Prime Minister rather than saying it. According to Death Eaters, not pronouncing his name is a mark of respect. On Potterwatch, he was called "Chief Death Eater".

Albus Dumbledore was one of the few who dared refer to him as "Voldemort," although he preferred to use the name "Tom", using the former in conversation, and the latter when addressing Voldemort himself, showing his fearlessness. In ignoring the name Voldemort, Dumbledore disallowed him the intimidation he sought while appealing to what little remained of his former student deep within Voldemort. Dumbledore also insists on others to use the name "Voldemort", rather than "You-Know-Who", or such varieties.

After the coup at the Ministry in 1997, the Taboo curse was placed on the name "Voldemort"; speaking the name would summon Death Eaters, Ministry officials, or Snatchers via Apparition. This was used to find those who opposed Voldemort's rule, as only they would dare speak the name. This was how Harry, Ron and Hermione were found at Tottenham Court Road and before being brought to Malfoy Manor. Also, Kingsley Shacklebolt barely escaped Death Eaters when he spoke it.[15] The taboo also caused the trio to be captured temporarily and brought to Malfoy Manor.

Possible etymology

Lord Voldemort

  • Although J. K. Rowling has never quite explained the origins of the name "Voldemort", there are some possible theories. "Mors", or "mortum" is the Latin word for death (which has evolved in many Romance languages as "muerte" or "morte", and the English word "murder" indeed has its origins in the same root word as "mors"). Therefore, while not necessarily true, the possible meaning of the word "Voldemort" may be either "representative of death" or "ambassador of death". Another possible etymology is the Proto-Germanic word "evol" (also "yfel", "yfol", "yvol, or "eyvfold", also, the English word "evil" has its roots there), which means "bad" or "evil", though the word "evol" in fact is not a Proto-Germanic word, with the word meaning "bad, evil" having been "ubilaz" instead.[23] The Arabic word "demuhrt" which means "wizard" or more specifically "dark wizard" could also be an inspiration. Another etymology is the Old Russian word "vuldimortdek", which simply means "dark wizard". Yet, the most accurate etymology of Voldemort would be the French expression "vol de mort" which literally means "flight from death" (accurate considering his deepest fear) or "flight of death" (his unique power). The Catalan expression "vol de mort", also means "flight of death" or, since "Vol" may also be from the Latin root "volere" (will or desire), may mean "death wish".
  • J. K. Rowling has said in an interview that the T in Voldemort is silent[24]. This may be to the fact that the French word mort, meaning death, has a silent T. The silent T was maintained in the earlier editions of the audiobook releases of the novels, but was discontinued in those releases following the release of the films, in which the T was used out loud.

Tom Marvolo Riddle

  • Tom is diminutive of the name "Thomas" which means legend or (less appropriately for Voldemort) "kind and generous". It is used as a formal male given name and common surname. It also means "twin."[25]
  • Marvolo implies "marvellous," but also contains the Latin root "volo" meaning "I wish, want, will, ordain, suppose, maintain that, be willing, to mean, signify, or denote." "Volo" also means "to fly, speed, or move rapidly." Tom Riddle can be seen as a character who wants to achieve greatness very quickly. Perhaps from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night character Malvolio. He was a Puritan who could not have fun and sought to stop the other servants from enjoying themselves. He is "sick with self love" and dreams of getting power. He thinks he is better than the others because he believes he is "pure." He is constantly the subject of practical jokes. It is here where the quote "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them" comes from. At the end of the play, he swears revenge on the lot of them.
  • A riddle is "a form of word puzzle designed to test someone's ingenuity in arriving at its solution." Riddles were used as a way to both puzzle the audience and teach them to understand poetic language.




Tom Riddle with his uncle.

"You think I was going to use my filthy Muggle father's name forever? I, in whose veins runs the blood of Salazar Slytherin himself, through my mother's side? I, keep the name of a foul, common Muggle, who abandoned me even before I was born, just because he found out his wife was a witch? No, Harry. I fashioned myself a new name, a name I knew wizards everywhere would one day fear to speak, when I had become the greatest sorcerer in the world!"
— Tom Riddle to Harry Potter expressing his disdain for the Muggle side of his family.[src]

Tom Riddle grew up in a Muggle orphanage, not knowing any members of his family. His mother, Merope Gaunt, died shortly after giving birth, apparently never attempting to save herself through magical means. Riddle’s father showed complete indifference towards his son, as he left his wife while she was pregnant and never attempted to track down the whereabouts of their child. The two met face-to-face in 1943, when Riddle killed his father and paternal grandparents. Riddle was disgusted by his Muggle relatives, and took on the alias "Lord Voldemort" partly out of a desire to be rid of his “filthy Muggle father’s name”.

Despite the maternal side of his family being direct descendants of the great Salazar Slytherin, Tom was unimpressed when he found his deranged uncle Morfin living in squalor at the Gaunt shack, and was not above framing Morfin for murder and stealing his maternal grandfather's prized heirloom ring. Even as a child, he showed contempt for his mother, and for the weakness of mortality, when he assumed Merope must have been a Muggle if she had been unable to survive.

Disappointed and disgusted with both sides of his immediate family, Voldemort sought confirmation of his own perceived greatness through his relation to Salazar Slytherin. He desperately clung to his connections to the ancient wizard, and became obsessed with Slytherin's ideals of blood supremacy. During the near end of the final battle, Voldemort proclaimed that Hogwarts would no longer need sorting, and that Slytherin's emblem, shield and colour would suffice, thus attempting to realise his idol's dream of a Hogwarts free of muggle-borns.




"I think he is perhaps as fond of her as he can be of anything. He certainly likes to keep her close and has an unusual amount of control over her, even for a Parselmouth."
— Albus Dumbledore about Voldemort's affection for Nagini

Voldemort had a special relationship with Nagini, a snake who was his magical familiar, as well as one of his Horcruxes. Voldemort appeared to actually care about Nagini and often stroked her head, wore her around his neck, and even used endearments and loving words when he spoke to her. Nagini never drew the wrath of her master, even when she failed to keep Harry Potter in Godric's Hollow, though Voldemort generally did not react well to failure. Nagini obeyed her master's every order, and the two were able to communicate with each other telepathically. Albus Dumbledore noted that Voldemort had an unusual amount of control over her, even for a Parselmouth.

In 1994, Peter Pettigrew milked the venom from Nagini's fangs, which he used in a potion that allowed Voldemort to regain a basic physical form. That same year, Voldemort made Nagini a Horcrux with the murder of Bertha Jorkins. Though he had often sent Nagini on personal missions, Voldemort kept her close to him after he discovered Harry was attempting to track down and destroy his Horcruxes. Nagini was beheaded by Neville Longbottom during the Battle of Hogwarts, and Voldemort felt rage and perhaps even grief at the loss of his snake. As Nagini was the last remaining Horcrux, her death allowed for Voldemort's ultimate defeat.

Albus Dumbledore

Tom and Dumbledore

Dumbledore proves to Tom that he is a wizard.

Tom Riddle met Albus Dumbledore at the age of eleven, when the Professor came to invite him to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Although initially suspicious of Dumbledore, he was at least somewhat impressed by Dumbledore's demonstration of magic. Tom was pleased to discover that he was a wizard, as it confirmed the suspicions he had long had about being “special.” The boy disturbed Dumbledore, however, when he admitted to being able to hurt people who angered him and to talk to snakes. Even as Tom became an extremely popular student among his peers and Professors at Hogwarts, Dumbledore remained wary of him, and kept a very close watch on him.

Riddle (then known as Voldemort) returned to Hogwarts years after graduating to request the Defence Against the Dark Arts position from Dumbledore, who had become the school's Headmaster. Suspecting that Voldemort's true intentions were far more sinister than he let on, Dumbledore refused him the position; the result of Dumbledore's refusal was not only that the position of DADA professor became "cursed," but it affirmed Dumbledore's complete refusal to bend to Voldemort's will.

Voldemort: "But nothing I have seen in the world has supported your famous pronouncements that love is more powerful than my kind of magic, Dumbledore."
Dumbledore: "Perhaps you have been looking in the wrong places...,"
Voldemort: "Well, then, what better place to start my fresh researches than here, at Hogwarts? Will you let me return? Will you let me share my knowledge with your students?"
— Voldemort to Albus Dumbledore requesting for the Defence Against the Dark Arts post[src]

Voldemort despised Dumbledore, not only for latter's continued opposition, but also because Dumbledore's belief in the triumphant power of love was something that both confused and disgusted Voldemort. Dumbledore was thought to be the only person Voldemort ever feared and one of the few people Voldemort was unable to intimidate. Dumbledore persisted on referring to him as "Voldemort" to others and addressing him as "Tom" in conversation, a subtle but steadfast refusal to allow Voldemort to dictate the terms of their relationship, and a trait that would later be inherited by Harry Potter. Dumbledore led the efforts against Voldemort in the First Wizarding War; over many years, Dumbledore gathered crucial information about Voldemort's past and passed it on to Harry Potter, who would essentially take Dumbledore's place as leader of the opposition in the Second Wizarding War.

In 1996, Dumbledore and Voldemort met face to face in the Ministry of Magic during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, where Dumbledore addressed Voldemort as “Tom” and said it was foolish of him to come to the Ministry. Voldemort initiated a duel with Dumbledore, during which he tried to murder both Dumbledore and Harry, but was unsuccessful; Dumbledore's power equaled, or likely exceeded, his own, and Harry was able to exorcise the Dark Lord from his body and mind by focusing on his intense feelings of grief over Sirius' death. Cornelius Fudge arrived at the Ministry in time to see Voldemort escape with Bellatrix Lestrange, and was finally forced to ackowledge the truth of Voldemort's return.

Following his failure to kill either Dumbledore or Harry at the ministry, Voldemort assigned Draco Malfoy to carry out Dumbledore's assassination. Dumbledore became aware of this plot, and addressed it by arranging his own death with Severus Snape. At the time of his death in 1997, Albus Dumbledore had fully equipped Harry Potter with the physical, emotional and mental tools he needed to defeat Voldemort once and for all in 1998.

Harry Potter

Priori Incantatem

Voldemort and Harry's wands create the Priori Incantatem.

"We can agree I must be the one to kill Harry Potter."
— Voldemort to Severus Snape on Harry Potter.[src]

Harry Potter became Voldemort’s mortal enemy after the Dark Lord heard part of a prophecy that foretold the birth of an individual destined to destroy him; two infants met the criteria, but for the simple reason that Harry was a half-blood like himself, Voldemort considered him more of a threat than Neville Longbottom. In targeting Harry, Voldemort unwittingly “marked him as his equal”, thus sowing the seeds of his own destruction. On 31 October, 1981, Voldemort killed Harry’s parents before striking the infant with the Killing Curse. However, because Harry’s mother willingly sacrificed herself for her son, the curse backfired. Voldemort lost his physical body, and unintentionally transferred some of his powers and abilities to Harry, while a piece of his soul embedded itself in a scar on Harry’s forehead, inadvertently making the boy a Horcrux.[26]

"There's no good and evil... there's only power, and those who are too weak to seek it."
— Lord Voldemort to Harry Potter, during the Attack in the Philosopher's Stone Chambers[src]

The scar left by the failed killing curse created a connection between Voldemort and Harry. As the former grew closer to regaining a physical body in 1991, Harry’s scar began to burn. Voldemort and Harry met again in 1992, while Voldemort, with the help of Quirinus Quirrell, attempted to steal the Philosopher's Stone. Voldemort offered power and the ability to resurrect his parents if Harry joined him and gave him the Philosopher's Stone, but Harry refused. The protection afforded to Harry by his mother's sacrifice was once again demonstrated by Quirrell's inability to touch Harry without experiencing excruciating pain; thus, Quirrell was held off until Dumbledore arrived and Voldemort's disembodied soul-fragment was forced to flee.

The next year, Harry met Voldemort as Tom Riddle, when Tom Riddle's memory (which was actually the manifestation of another fragment of Voldemort's soul) freed Slytherin's Basilisk and attempted to purge Hogwarts of muggle-born students. Harry killed the Basilisk and stabbed Tom Riddle's Diary with one of its fangs, destroying one of Voldemort's horcruxes.

With the assistance of Barty Crouch Jr and Peter Pettigrew, Voldemort used Harry’s blood in the ritual to regain a physical body in 1995. He then attempted to murder Harry, but the twin cores of their wands created the rare Priori Incantatem effect, enabling Harry to escape. Voldemort made numerous other attempts on Harry’s life in the next few years, notably using his connection to the boy and Legilimency to plant a false vision of Sirius Black being tortured in Harry's mind in order to lure him to the Department of Mysteries. There, a battle ensued, and Voldemort failed to kill Harry again and was unable to obtain a copy of the prophecy made about the two of them.

Harry: "You're the weak one... and you'll never know love, or friendship. And I feel sorry for you."
Voldemort: "You're a fool, Harry Potter. And you will lose everything."
Harry Potter and Voldemort in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries.[src]

In his sixth year at Hogwarts, Harry learned about Voldemort’s past from Albus Dumbledore, and was disturbed to notice many similarities between them — they were both orphans who thought of Hogwarts as their first real homes, and both physically resembled their fathers, as well as, to some degree, each other. However, Dumbledore insisted that they differed in one absolutely crucial way — Harry had the ability to love, while Voldemort did not.

In 1997, the connection between the two grew stronger, and Harry was able to see into Voldemort’s mind whenever the latter was filled with such a strong surge of emotion that he was unable to apply Occlumency. During the time he spent searching for Voldemort's horcruxes, Harry became aware of the Deathly Hallows, and through his mental connection with Voldemort, discovered that Voldemort was attempting to track down the Elder Wand. Harry "watched" as Voldemort tortured and killed his way to the Elder Wand's current location: Albus Dumbledore's tomb. Though he had initially thought to try and find the reputedly unbeatable wand himself, the grief Harry felt for Dobby's death grounded him, and he made the conscious decision to pursue the Horcruxes, not the Hallows, choosing not to try and beat Voldemort to Hogwarts.

After destroying all of Voldemort's known Horcruxes, with the exception of Nagini, Harry learned that he was, himself, a Horcrux, and thus willingly faced Voldemort during the Battle of Hogwarts, and allowed himself to be hit with Voldemort's Killing Curse. However, because Voldemort had taken some of Harry’s blood into himself, he unwittingly bound Harry's life to his own; thus, the curse only destroyed the piece of Voldemort’s soul within Harry, while Harry survived.

As the two faced off one last time, Harry urged Voldemort to feel remorse-- the only known means of repairing a fractured soul-- but Voldemort reacted with disdain. Harry went on to inform Voldemort that despite wielding the Elder Wand, he was not its master; Draco Malfoy won the wand's allegiance by disarming Dumbledore, but Harry had disarmed Draco weeks ago. Thus, Harry was the true master of the Elder Wand. In his fury, Voldemort made one last attempt at Harry's life, but the Elder Wand was loyal to Harry, and the Killing Curse once again backfired on to Voldemort. Without his Horcruxes to sustain him, this time the curse finally and completely ended Voldemort's life.

Voldemort: "Potter doesn't mean that. Who else are you going to use as a shield today, Potter?"
Harry Potter: "No one. There are no more Horcruxes. It's just you and me. One of us is going to leave for good."
— The final confrontation between Voldemort and Harry at the Battle of Hogwarts[src]

Voldemort and Harry were also related by blood, however distantly, through their shared descent from the Peverells (Voldemort through the Gaunts and Harry through the Potters). This made them distant cousins.

Bellatrix Lestrange

Bellatrix Lestrange HBP

Bellatrix engaging in battle.

"The Dark Lord will rise again, Crouch! Throw us into Azkaban, we will wait!"
Bellatrix Lestrange proclaiming her loyalty to Voldemort during her trial[src]

Bellatrix Lestrange was among Voldemort’s most loyal and trusted Death Eaters, to the extent of being entrusted with one of his Horcruxes, though kept unaware of what it really was, which was to be stored in her Gringotts vault. Bellatrix was fanatically loyal to him; after his first defeat in 1981, instead of trying to deny her loyalties like many other Death Eaters had, Bellatrix proudly declared that she remained his most loyal servant and that he would surely return. Bellatrix was outraged by anyone showing Voldemort the slightest disrespect, as when Harry Potter called him by his name in 1996, and she once said that if she had sons, she would be proud to give them up to the Dark Lord’s service.

Bellatrix's obsession seemed to extend to her being in love with and possibly sexually attracted to Voldemort. Although he did not reciprocate, being incapable of love, Voldemort nevertheless seemed to consider her of greater importance than any of his other servants. At the conclusion of the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, Voldemort took the time to rescue Bellatrix and Apparate away with her; the sole Death Eater he bothered to help. When Bellatrix was killed by Molly Weasley during the Battle of Hogwarts, Voldemort was furious, and would have killed Molly if Harry had not intervened.

Bartemius Crouch Jr.


Barty Crouch serving Voldemort

Another of Voldemort's most loyal and trusted servants was Barty Crouch Jr.. Barty Crouch was imprisoned in Azkaban with Bellatrix Lestrange and two other Death Eaters. He escaped with the help of his father and dying mother, and the former kept him confined to the Crouch home under the Imperius Curse. When Voldemort learned, by way of torturing Bertha Jorkins, that there was a Death Eater at large who remained loyal to him, Voldemort and Peter Pettigrew overpowered the senior Barty Crouch and freed his son.

Barty Crouch Jr. helped Voldemort regain a physical body by capturing and imprisoning Alastor Moody, a retired Auror, who was about to accept Dumbledore's offer to teach Defence Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts. Disguised as Moody, Barty Crouch entered Harry's name into the Goblet of Fire and helped ensure that he would win the Triwizard Tournament. By turning the Triwizard Cup into a Portkey, Crouch made sure Harry was transported to Little Hangleton Graveyard, where Peter Pettigrew used Harry's blood to concoct a potion that would allow Voldemort to be reborn. After Voldemort failed to kill Harry in the graveyard, Harry returned to Hogwarts, where Barty Crouch attempted to kill him personally, no longer pretending to be Alastor Moody. Harry was saved by Albus Dumbledore, Severus Snape and Minerva McGonagall, and Barty Crouch was given the Dementor's Kiss.

Severus Snape


Severus Snape.

"Perhaps you already know it? You are a clever man, after all, Severus. You have been a good and faithful servant, and I regret what must happen… The Elder Wand cannot serve me properly, Severus, because I am not its true master. The Elder Wand belongs to the wizard who killed its last owner. You killed Albus Dumbledore. While you live, Severus, the Elder Wand cannot truly be mine… It cannot be any other way."
— Voldemort just before ordering Nagini to kill Snape[src]

Severus Snape became a Death Eater in the First Wizarding War. He was extremely loyal to Voldemort until he realised that the Dark Lord planned to murder Lily Evans. Snape appealed to Albus Dumbledore, becoming a spy in exchange for her protection. From that point on, Snape used Occlumency to prevent the Dark Lord from discovering his true allegiance.

After Peter Pettigrew broke the Fidelius Charm cast by the Potters, Lily died and Voldemort disappeared; however, while Snape was unable to save Lily herself, his love for her allowed her son, Harry Potter, to survive. It was because Snape asked the Dark Lord to spare her life that Voldemort gave Lily the option to flee, thus making her death a willing sacrifice. Following the death of the Potters, Snape's loyalty did not waver, and he swore to protect Harry from the Dark Lord, honouring Lily's sacrifice.

When Voldemort was reborn and called his Death Eaters to him, Snape did not appear until two hours later. The Dark Lord was suspicious, and feared that Snape had abandoned his service. On Dumbledore's orders, Severus claimed that his delayed return had secured the Headmaster's continued trust. The Dark Lord questioned Snape extensively, and found all his answers satisfactory; Snape was then welcomed back to the inner circle.

Voldemort's trust in Snape was further cemented when the latter murdered Albus Dumbledore; the Dark Lord did not know that Dumbledore had previously arranged the assassination with Snape. Snape became the Dark Lord's most trusted advisor and was given the position of Hogwarts Headmaster after the Fall of the Ministry of Magic. Unbeknownst to Voldemort, Snape continued to undermine him as much as possible, following Dumbledore's instructions.

When Minerva McGonagall began to coordinate the defences of Hogwarts Castle for the impending battle against Voldemort, Snape fled, and was summoned to the Shrieking Shack by his Master soon afterward. Snape saw that the Dark Lord had cast special protection around Nagini, and attempted to leave the Shack to give Harry a message from Dumbledore (as Dumbledore had instructed Snape that, once Voldemort seemed to fear for the serpent's life, he was to tell Harry that Harry himself was Voldemort's seventh Horcrux, and therefore had to die) on the pretense that he would find Harry and ensure that he was killed by no hand other than Voldemort's own. Dismissing Snape's concerns, Voldemort noted that, since Albus Dumbledore's murder, Snape had become the true master of the Elder Wand. Voldemort ordered Nagini to kill Snape, and though he claimed he regretted the necessity of this action, he showed neither sadness nor concern for the loss of Snape's life. Harry, who had witnessed the scene and entered the room upon Voldemort's departure, approached Snape, who gave him several memories that both revealed his true allegiance and passed on Dumbledore's message. Snape's last words reflected his truest motives: he instructed Harry to look at him, so that he would die looking into the eyes Harry inherited from Lily Evans.

In his final duel against Voldemort, Harry revealed that Snape had been loyal to Dumbledore since Voldemort had targeted the Potters.

Peter Pettigrew


Peter Pettigrew.

"Your devotion is nothing more than cowardice. You would not be here if you had anywhere else to go."
— Voldemort to Peter Pettigrew[src]

Peter Pettigrew, one of Lord Voldemort's most cowardly servants, became a Death Eater during Voldemort's first rise to power, and betrayed James and Lily Potter to Voldemort in order to save his own life. After Voldemort's first defeat, Pettigrew made no attempt to find his master; he transformed into a rat, and passed into the ownership of Percy Weasley. Voldemort accepted Pettigrew as a helpful servant, though made it clear he thought little of his cowardice and was fully aware that Pettigrew came to him for lack of any other options.

In 1994, Sirius Black escaped from Azkaban, where he had been detained after Pettigrew framed him for his own crimes, and Black followed Pettigrew to Hogwarts. By chance, after Harry Potter convinced Black not to murder Pettigrew on the spot, he managed to transform back into a rat, and escaped. With nowhere else to go, Pettigrew fled to Albania to seek protection from Black in the service of Lord Voldemort. Pettigrew proved his usefulness by sending Voldemort Bertha Jorkins, who told them where to find Bartemius Crouch Jr. Pettigrew later played a key role in Voldemort's rebirth by sacrificing his hand to the potion that allowed Voldemort to acquire a new body.

In 1998, Pettigrew was killed by the silver hand Voldemort had given him when he hesitated during an attempt to strangle Harry Potter.

The Malfoy family

Malfoys pic2

The Malfoys.

"Lucius, my slippery friend. I am told that you have not renounced the old ways, though to the world you present a respectable face. You are still ready to take the lead in a spot of Muggle-torture, I believe? Yet you never tried to find me, Lucius."
— Lord Voldemort to Lucius Malfoy after his return[src]

Voldemort entrusted Lucius Malfoy with a Horcrux: his diary, which made possible the reopening of the Chamber of Secrets. The Dark Lord was enraged to hear, years later, that the diary had been carelessly handed to Ginny Weasley. Lucius appeared not to have known that the object concealed a part of his master's soul, as in all likelihood, Voldemort had only told him that the object was enchanted to reopen the Chamber.

Lucius pretended to have been under the Imperius Curse after the Dark Lord's first downfall, and maintained a position of influence within the Ministry of Magic until the Second Wizarding War began. When Voldemort was reborn, he seemed to welcome Lucius into his inner circle, though he reprimanded Malfoy for running from the Dark Mark conjured at the Quidditch World Cup.

"Now, now, Draco, play nicely. Mr. Potter. Lucius Malfoy. We meet at last. Forgive me. Your scar is legend. As, of course, is the wizard who gave it to you."
Lucius Malfoy to Harry Potter, pertaining to Voldemort.[src]

Lucius quickly began to lose favour, however, after Voldemort heard about the diary's destruction. When the Death Eaters under his command lost the Battle of the Department of Mysteries and failed to retrieve the Prophecy, the Dark Lord was extremely displeased; Lucius was sent to prison after the battle and, as punishment for the elder Malfoy's failure, Voldemort gave his son Draco Malfoy the nearly impossible task of murdering Albus Dumbledore, with the expectation that he, too, would fail, and then be punished accordingly by the Dark Lord.

Though Draco more or less succeeded in fulfilling his mission, Voldemort continued to distrust the Malfoys' loyalty. He dwelt at Malfoy Manor for a while, and suspected that the family resented him for doing so. During his stay at the Manor, Voldemort used Draco as a pawn, forcing him to torture other Death Eaters, which effectively humiliated the Malfoy pride.

The following year, after Harry Potter managed to escape from the Manor, Voldemort tortured Lucius and began to treat him with complete disdain. Malfoy then focused on rescuing his son from Hogwarts during the Battle of Hogwarts, fearing only for Draco's life and seeming to abandon all loyalty to the Death Eaters' cause. Voldemort snubbed Lucius' concerns for Draco and jeered that perhaps the teenager had chosen to ally himself with Harry Potter when he did not leave the school with the other Slytherins.

After Voldemort succeeded in casting the Killing Curse on Harry, Narcissa Malfoy was ordered to confirm the death. Harry was alive; however, Narcissa, concerned for her son, demanded news of Draco from Harry and, upon learning that Draco was alive and well, lied to the Dark Lord, stating that Harry was dead. She knew she and Lucius would only be able to return to Hogwarts and reunite with their son if they were part of a victory party. This allowed Harry to confront Voldemort for the last time, during which the Dark Lord was killed by a rebounding Killing Curse. Narcissa's instrumental intervention ensured that the Malfoys were not convicted for their crimes.

Death Eaters

"Welcome, my friends! Thirteen years it's been, and yet, here you stand as if it were only yesterday. I confess myself... disappointed. Not one of you tried to find me..."
— Voldemort viciously greeting his Death Eaters in Little Hangleton.[src]
Death Eaters return

The Death Eaters return to the fold.

Those called Death Eaters were a group of Dark wizards and witches that followed Voldemort, fighting as the upper echelon of his army during both the First and Second Wizarding Wars. However, Voldemort did not take kindly to failure or disloyalty from his servants, and he made sure those who had believed him dead and did not try to find him following his disappearance paid the price upon his return. When he summoned his Death Eaters to Little Hangleton Graveyard, after he regained his body, he tortured and questioned them before forgiving and allowing them back into his service.

Death eaters worldcup

Death Eaters causing terror

Some of Lord Voldemort's first Death Eaters were Avery Sr., Lestrange, Mulciber Sr., Nott, Rosier Sr. and Dolohov. Others were Walden Macnair, Augustus Rookwood, Selwyn, Yaxley, Travers, Thorfinn Rowle, Alecto and Amycus Carrow, Gibbon, Crabbe, Goyle, Jugson, Avery Jr., Mulciber Jr., Igor Karkaroff, Evan Rosier and Wilkes. Some of them, such as Crabbe, Goyle and Macnair managed to defect after Voldemort's first defeat. Others were imprisoned, such as Dolohov and Rookwood, or killed by Aurors, such as Evan Rosier and Wilkes. After Voldemort's first defeat, Karkaroff betrayed many of his former comrades to the Ministry in return for his freedom from Azkaban, and went on to become Headmaster of Durmstrang Institute. Though he was still a pure-blood supremacist and did not accept muggle-borns into his school, Karkaroff fled following Voldemort's return and was consequently killed by Death Eaters in 1996.

Despite many of the Death Eaters claiming to be close to Voldemort, the Dark Lord saw them as little more than dispensable servants. The few Death Eaters in whom Voldemort appeared to place any amount of genuine trust were Severus Snape, Lucius Malfoy, Bellatrix, Rodolphus and Rabastan Lestrange, and Barty Crouch Jr.

Riddle questions Slughorn

Tom Riddle asks Horace Slughorn about Horcruxes.

Horace Slughorn

"You've no idea how he was like... Even then..."
— Horace Slughorn talking about Tom Riddle.[src]

Professor Horace Slughorn was the Potions master during Tom Riddle's years at Hogwarts. Tom Riddle was a member of the Slug Club, a "collection" of Slughorn's favourite students, including students who were well connected, as well as those who proved to be talented and appeared to have potential for great success. At some point during Tom Riddle's time at Hogwarts, he asked Slughorn about Horcruxes. Slughorn initially balked, but under the influence of Riddle's charm, convinced himself that Tom was asking for "purely academic" reasons and told him what tearing one's soul would basically entail. Most significantly, Tom asked if it was possible to make more than one horcrux; while the question shocked and horrified Slughorn, he didn't deny that it was possible. With the information he received from Slughorn, Tom Riddle affirmed his decision to create six Horcruxes; ultimately, this would tear his soul into a total of seven separate pieces -- seven being the "most powerfully magical number"-- and allow him to effectively achieve some degree of immortality. Ashamed of having so badly misjudged Tom Riddle, and for the part he played in providing Riddle with such destructive information, Slughorn modified his own memory.

In 1996, Slughorn left retirement and returned to Hogwarts to replace Severus Snape as Potions master. Albus Dumbledore gave Harry Potter the task being "collected" by Slughorn and retrieving the original version of the memory. Harry managed to get the memory from Slughorn in 1997, with the help of Felix Felicis, copious amounts of mead, and Slughorn's fondness for Harry's mother, who had been another of Slughorn's favourites. The memory confirmed suspicions Dumbledore had about the steps Lord Voldemort had taken to become immortal, which proved to be of vital importance in Voldemort's ultimate defeat.

During the Battle of Hogwarts, Slughorn, who initially appeared to flee the school, brought reinforcements from Hogsmeade to join the fight against the Death Eaters, and later dueled directly against Voldemort with Minerva McGonagall and Kingsley Shacklebolt.

Ginny Weasley

Ginny and diary

Ginny Weasley writes to Tom Riddle through his diary.

"...I was patient. I wrote back. I was sympathetic, I was kind. Ginny simply loved me... No one's ever understood me like you, Tom... I'm so glad I've got this diary to confide in... It's like a friend I can carry around in my pocket... If I say it myself, Harry, I’ve always been able to charm the people I needed."
— Tom Riddle to Harry Potter on his manipulation of Ginny.[src]

Although Voldemort had lost his physical body, he managed to approach Ginny Weasley, a first year Gryffindor girl and the younger sister of Ron Weasley, through one of his Horcruxes: his diary. Tom Riddle's soul communicated with Ginny through his diary, sympathizing with her problems and giving her advice, which made her emotionally vulnerable to Riddle's influence. Eventually, Riddle was able to possess Ginny, use her to open the Chamber of Secrets and free Salazar Slytherin's Basilisk to petrify several Muggle-born students (including Hermione Granger). When Ginny figured out what she had been doing, despite having no memory of what happened during the times she was possessed, she attempted to flush the diary down a toilet; however, as the diary was a Horcrux, it remained undamaged and later ended up in the hands of Harry Potter.

Ginny, worried the Diary would reveal to Harry things she'd written about her feelings for him, stole the diary back. Riddle possessed Ginny one last time and had her enter the Chamber of Secrets, with every intention of killing her and using her life to restore his own. Harry, however, as a Parselmouth, was able to enter the Chamber, rescue Ginny, and slay the Basilisk with the Sword of Gryffindor. He then used one of the Basilisk's fangs to stab the Diary, effectively making it the first of Voldemort's Horcruxes to be destroyed.

Rubeus Hagrid

Rubeus Hagrid OOTP

Rubeus Hagrid.

"Monsters don’t make good pets, Hagrid."
— Riddle before he turned Hagrid in[src]

Rubeus Hagrid and Tom Riddle were both students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the 1940s. In 1943, Riddle opened the Chamber of Secrets, unleashing a Basilisk on the school's Muggle-born students. Most of the students who were attacked ended up petrified, but when the Basilisk finally succeeded in killing one of them, Hogwarts became in danger of closing-- a consequence Riddle hadn't forseen, which would mean his having to return indefinitely to Wool's Orphanage. Upon realising the school might not have to close if the perpetrator were caught, Riddle stopped attacking students with the Basilisk, closed the Chamber of Secrets, and framed Hagrid, who was known for his love of dangerous creatures and at the time was raising a young Acromantula, for the crime. As a result, Hagrid was expelled from Hogwarts, and the school was allowed to remain open. Believing in Hagrid's innocence, however, Professor Albus Dumbledore convinced Headmaster Armando Dippet to allow Hagrid to stay on at Hogwarts as Gamekeeper. As Riddle went on to become Lord Voldemort, Hagrid joined the Order of the Phoenix and fought against Voldemort and his Death Eaters in the First Wizarding War. In 1981, Hagrid was devastated when Voldemort murdered his friends James and Lily Potter, but shared in the relief of the rest of the Wizarding world when Voldemort lost his powers and disappeared after failing to kill young Harry Potter. Although many believed that Voldemort was dead, Hagrid, agreeing with Dumbledore, believed that he would one day return to power. Along with the vast majority of the Wizarding community, Hagrid refused to say Lord Voldemort's name, generally referring to him as "You-know-who."

Tom Riddle accused Rubeus Hagrid (Concept Artwork for HP2 movie 01)

Tom Riddle framed up Hagrid and his pet Aragog.

In 1995, after his resurrection, Voldemort dispatched his Death Eaters to convince the giants to join their side, while Dumbledore had sent Hagrid and Olympe Maxime to do the same. While Hagrid and Maxime were on good terms with the Gurg, Karkus, the Death Eaters supported the giant Golgomath in an uprising that resulted in Golgomath beheading Karkus and taking over the giant colony. The giants then attacked Hagrid and Maxime, who were forced to retreat.

In 1998, Hagrid fought in the Battle of Hogwarts and was captured by the Death Eaters. After Harry sacrificed himself to be killed, Voldemort ordered a grieving Hagrid to carry his friend’s “dead” body in his arms, where it would be clearly visible to Harry's supporters. When Harry finally defeated the Dark Lord, Hagrid was amongst the first few who were able to congratulate him on his triumph.

Quirinus Quirrell


Lord Voldemort at the back of Quirinus Quirrell's head.

Quirinus Quirrell encountered Lord Voldemort's disembodied soul fragment in the Black Forest of Albania, during his world travels. With promises of wealth, power and possibly immortality, Voldemort convinced Quirrell to become his faithful servant, and even to share his body.

On Voldemort's orders, Quirrell returned to London in 1991 and broke into Vault 713 at Gringotts Wizarding Bank to procure the Philosopher's Stone, only to find that it had been emptied earlier that day and the Stone transferred to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry by Rubeus Hagrid.

Quirrell took the position of Professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts, with the aim of tracking down the Stone. When he and Voldemort realized Harry Potter was starting at Hogwarts that same year, Quirrell attempted to kill Harry, but was prevented from doing so first by Severus Snape, then, unwittingly, by Hermione Granger.

Quirrell once again turned his attention to finding the Philosopher's Stone, and overcame several enchanted obstacles to travel through the Philosopher's Stone Chambers. Harry followed Quirrell through the Chambers, believing he was actually following Severus Snape, and eventually found Quirrell attempting to retrieve the Stone from the Mirror of Erised in the final chamber. Voldemort ordered Quirrell to use Harry to get the stone, and when the Stone appeared in Harry's pocket, Harry attempted to conceal the fact by lying about what he saw in the Mirror. Voldemort, seeing through Harry's lies, offered Harry power and glory, and even the possibility of seeing his parents again, in exchange for joining him and handing over the stone. Upon Harry's refusal, Voldemort ordered Quirrell to take the Stone by force, but found that Quirrell was unable to touch the boy without enduring excruciating pain as a result of the protection afforded to Harry by his mother's loving sacrifice. To escape the pain, Voldemort separated his soul from Quirrell's body and fled, leaving Quirrell to die.

Wool's Orphanage residents


Mrs. Cole with Albus Dumbledore.

"...I can make bad things happen to people who are mean to me... I can make them hurt, if I want to..."
— Eleven-year old Tom Riddle to Albus Dumbledore.[src]

Tom Riddle grew up at the Muggle orphanage where his mother brought him shortly before her death in 1926.

Tom's relationship with the other residents of the orphanage was strained, to say the least. When Albus Dumbledore, then professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, arrived at the orphanage to invite Tom to attend Hogwarts, Tom initially believed that Mrs. Cole, the orphanage's matron, had called Dumbledore to take him to an asylum. Dumbledore discovered that Tom had been bullying the other children, namely Amy Benson and Dennis Bishop, and that he had a habit of keeping trophies to signify the terror he was able to cause. He knew he was different from the other children; he was intelligent and far more powerful than his peers, and had no issue with punishing those who did not do as he told them. When Dumbledore assured him that he wasn't from an asylum, and that Tom was, in fact, a wizard, Riddle was unusually quick to believe him, having always considered himself "special."

Riddle hated the Orphanage, which was a reminder of the poor and common start to his life; ultimately, he thought of Hogwarts as his first real home.

Hepzibah Smith

Tom Riddle first met Hepzibah Smith when he worked at Borgin and Burkes. As a polite, handsome, and clever young man with a great capacity to charm and a powerful gift of persuasion, he became friendly with Hepzibah, flattering her and making her feel pretty. He convinced her to show him two of her greatest treasures - Salazar Slytherin's Locket and Helga Hufflepuff's Cup - which he planned to steal and turn into Horcruxes. He killed Hepzibah two days later by mixing a lethal and little-known poison into her cocoa, and took the two artefacts. He was never suspected in her murder, as he framed Smith's house-elf, Hokey, by modifying the elf's memory. Prior to her death, Hepzibah realised too late of Tom's greed for the treasures, which led her affections to falter somewhat.

Order of the Phoenix

Order of the Phoenix – first generation

The original Order of the Phoenix.

The Order of the Phoenix was a secret organisation founded and led by Albus Dumbledore to oppose Voldemort and his Death Eaters.

Though it was unknown to Voldemort till shortly before his defeat, Severus Snape was a member of the Order who had defected from the Death Eaters and worked for Dumbledore as a spy shortly after Voldemort began hunting Lilly Potter.

James and Lily Potter were members of the Order who became prime targets for Voldemort during the First Wizarding War, after Voldemort heard of a prophecy foretelling of a child destined to destroy him. This fit the description of their young son, Harry. On 31 October, 1981, Voldemort found the Potters after the Fidelius Charm they had cast was broken by Peter Pettigrew. Voldemort killed James first and ordered Lily to stand aside, so he could kill Harry. When Lily refused to stand aside, Voldemort killed her as well, making her murder a sacrifice that caused the Killing Curse Voldemort aimed at Harry to backfire; Voldemort lost his body and fled to Albania.

Shortly after Voldemort lost his powers in 1981, the Longbottom family suffered at the hands of Bellatrix Lestrange, her husband Rodolphus, her brother-in-law Rabastan, and Barty Crouch Jr., who tortured Alice and Frank Longbottom, new parents to Neville Longbottom, to the point of insanity. They became permanent residents of St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, and Neville was left to be raised by his grandmother, Augusta Longbottom. During the Battle of Hogwarts in 1998, Neville openly defied Voldemort and was tortured. However, he survived, and destroyed Voldemort’s last remaining Horcrux when he beheaded Nagini using the Sword of Gryffindor.

Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody was a highly skilled Auror and active member of the Order who fought against Voldemort during the First Wizarding War. After Voldemort’s first downfall in 1981, Moody was responsible for rounding up a number of Death Eaters, such as Igor Karkaroff, and killing several others, like Evan Rosier. In 1994, Voldemort ordered Barty Crouch Jr to kidnap Moody and imprison him in his own trunk. For the next nine months, Crouch used Moody's hair to brew the Polyjuice Potion that would allow him to take Moody's place as temporary professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In 1995, Crouch used his position at Hogwarts to make sure Harry Potter was transported to the Little Hangleton Graveyard, where Peter Pettigrew used Harry's blood in a potion that allowed Voldemort to be restored to his body. When Voldemort failed to kill Harry in the graveyard and Harry returned to Hogwarts, Barty Crouch Jr. attempted to murder him personally. Dumbledore, Minerva McGonagall, and Severus Snape rescued Harry, after which Crouch was exposed, and Moody was freed. After Dumbledore’s death in 1997, Moody took charge of the Order of the Phoenix, until he was murdered by Voldemort during the Battle over Little Whinging.

Nearly all of the Weasley family was active within the Order of the Phoenix. They fought against Voldemort during both the First and Second Wizarding wars. They lost family members such as Fabian and Gideon Prewett, who were brothers of Molly Weasley, and Fred Weasley, who was killed in the Battle of Hogwarts. Voldemort had previously tried to manipulate Ginny Weasley in 1992, in an attempt to return to physical form, through one of his Horcruxes. Voldemort was furious when Molly deafeated Bellatrix, and would have killed her, had Harry not intervened. Most of the Weasley family watched the final duel between Voldemort and Harry, and were witnesses to Voldemort’s death.

Dorcas Meadowes, Caradoc Dearborn, the Bones family, the McKinnon family, Benjy Fenwick and Emmeline Vance were all Order members killed either by Voldemort or by his Death Eaters during the First and Second Wizarding Wars.

Behind the scenes

Voldemort LEGO

Lord Voldemort as a LEGO minifigure.

Tom Riddle LEGO

Tom Riddle as a LEGO minifigure.

Voldemort (Quirrell) LEGO

Voldemort on the back of Quirrell's head as a LEGO minifigure.

  • Voldemort's real name, "Tom Marvolo Riddle," produces the anagram "I am Lord Voldemort."
  • It is also an anagram for : "Immortal Odd Lover" indicating his obsession for immortality.
    Many faces of Riddle crop

    Hero and Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort in Half-Blood Prince.

  • Lord Voldemort returned to power is portrayed by British actor Ralph Fiennes in the films.
  • In the movies, the handle of Voldemort's wand appears to be made of bone.
  • In the city of Edinburgh,UK, near the Elephant Cafe where Rowling is said to have written some of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, there is a famous cemetery named Greyfriar's Kirkyard. One of the headstones for those buried outside the walls of the graveyard (due to being suicides or enemies of the church) bears the name Tom Riddle. Rowling has stated that she often walked in the Kirkyard, so this may be a possible origin of the name.
  • In French, Vol de Mort literally means "flight from death" (but grammatically means "flight of dead") which reflects his obsession with immortality.
  • In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Voldemort said that his father abandoned his mother when he found out that she was a witch, when he really left after Merope stopped giving him Love Potions. Of course, this may have been how he saw the events, an attempt to twist them to justify his hatred of Muggles or simply his best guess as he might not have realised Merope used the potion.
  • In 2001, Christian Coulson was cast as Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, even though he exceeded the age group Chris Columbus had set for auditions. When Coulson later expressed interest in returning for Half-Blood Prince, David Yates felt Coulson was "too old" to play the role again. Frank Dillane was eventually cast in Coulson's place.
  • In the film version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Tom Riddle was played by Hero Fiennes-Tiffin at age eleven and Frank Dillane at age sixteen. Michael Berendt was also cast to portray Tom at age eighteen, but his scenes were cut from the final version of the film[27].
  • When Warner Brothers was casting the role for the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, rumours circulated that both Rowan Atkinson and John Malkovich were considered. Both rumours were proven to be false. The Malkovich rumour is a bit curious since, as an American, he wouldn't have been able to audition to begin with.
  • In the first film, Voldemort's eyes are shown to be red, as it is stated in the books. However, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film) and subquent film adaptations, Voldemort has light blue eyes, so that they would "show more emotion" than if they were red. Also, young Riddle has dark eyes (as described in the books) in Chamber of Secrets but light blue eyes in Half-Blood Prince. Interestingly, Harry's eyes were also changed from their much-emphasized colour in the books to Daniel Radcliffe's natural light blue.
  • While "Voldemort" is canonically pronounced without the "t"[28], the letter is pronounced in the film versions.
  • Although J.K. Rowling states that Voldemort is pronounced without the "t" in the books, the first character to say the name in the series is Hagrid, whose dialouge is often spelled phonetically(e.g. "go boil yer heads, both of yeh")[29], and the "t" is printed when he says it as well.
  • Lord Voldemort's character draws certain parallels to Hitler: Hitler wanted to purify the human race of "non-Aryan" races, though there are rumours he himself had Jewish ancestry. Voldemort preached a philosophy of pure-blood superiority despite the fact that he was a half-blood.
  • J. K. Rowling explained that Voldemort went after Harry instead of Neville because he identified with the half-blood boy and therefore decided he must be the greater risk.[30]
  • Riddle was sixteen when he opened the Chamber of Secrets fifty years before the events of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, making him sixty-six in that book/film. Doing the math, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, during his final duel with Harry, he is seventy-one, which is the reverse of seventeen, Harry's age at the time. Though his original body "died" at the age of fifty-four when he tried to murder Harry Potter as an infant. Presumably, his resurrection in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire gave him a new fifty-four year old body. His soul, however tortured and distorted it finally became, would be seventy-one.
  • In the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film), he's shown with a forked, snake-like tongue, but in the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film), his tongue is normal.
  • Voldemort is described in the books as having cat-like slits for eyes, although he does not have them in the movie, except briefly when he emerges from the cauldron in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film).
  • It is said by Rowling in her website that he cannot love because he was conceived under the effects of a Love Potion.
  • J. K. Rowling revealed that after his death, Voldemort had to exist in the Limbo Harry talked to Dumbledore's spirit in, as the crouched human child-like form, and therefore unable to return as a ghost.
  • In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Voldemort's full name can be seen written as Thomas Marvolo Riddle.
  • In the film adaptations, despite characters still calling him "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named", "You-Know-Who", or (in the case of Death Eaters) "The Dark Lord", more characters call him by his name than in the book. Hermione first says the name in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, as opposed to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Wormtail and Barty Crouch Jr. both say the name in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Arthur Weasley says the name despite telling Harry not to say it in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
  • J.K. Rowling said that had Ginny Weasley died and Tom Riddle escaped the diary, Voldemort would have become stronger[31].
    I am lord voldemort

    Tom Riddle in 1995

  • J.K. Rowling has described Voldemort as the most evil dark wizard for hundreds and hundreds of years[32], a self-hating bully[33], a raging psychopath devoid of empathy[34], a power-hungry racist[35], someone who prefers for his henchmen to do his dirty work for him[36], and that if psychologists were to get Voldemort in a room, pin him down, and take his wand away, he would be classified as a psychopath[37].


Notes and references

  1. He was first known as this when he was 16.
  2. He was known as this when people was scared of the name Lord Voldemort.
  3. He was known as this when people was scared of the name Lord Voldemort.
  4. Known as this by Death Eaters.
  5. Referred to as this by Cornelius Fudge in the Daily Prophet in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
  6. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Chapter 1 (The Riddle House)
  7. Known as this by himself in 1943, and later by all in 1993.
  8. Called by Peeves following the Battle of Hogwarts
  9. We know that Chamber of Secrets takes place in 1992. Fifty years earlier was 1942. In this year, Hagrid was a third year, and Riddle was two above him, meaning he was a fifth year. 15 years before 1942 was 1927. However, Riddle was born on New Years, making it 1926.
  10. Most people who didn't fear the Dark Lord referred to him simply as Voldemort instead of " Lord Voldemort " , Like Harry for example in Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows.
  11. 11.0 11.1 J.K. Rowling and the Live Chat, Bloomsbury.com, 30 July, 2007
  12. [1]
  13. 13.00 13.01 13.02 13.03 13.04 13.05 13.06 13.07 13.08 13.09 13.10 13.11 13.12 13.13 13.14 13.15 13.16 13.17 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.6 14.7 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  15. 15.00 15.01 15.02 15.03 15.04 15.05 15.06 15.07 15.08 15.09 15.10 15.11 15.12 15.13 15.14 15.15 15.16 15.17 15.18 15.19 15.20 15.21 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  16. J.K. Rowling said in a 2003 interview the she was originally going to name them "The Knights of Walpurgis".
  17. 17.00 17.01 17.02 17.03 17.04 17.05 17.06 17.07 17.08 17.09 17.10 17.11 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  18. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 19.5 19.6 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 20.5 20.6 20.7 20.8 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  21. 21.0 21.1 "Anelli, Melissa and Emerson Spartz. "The Leaky Cauldron and MuggleNet interview Joanne Kathleen Rowling: Part Two," The Leaky Cauldron, 16 July 2005".
  22. 22.0 22.1 "'J.K. Rowling Web Chat Transcript". Retrieved on 15 August 2007.
  23. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=evil&searchmode=none
  24. Enchanted with Potter Literature: Fans line up for hours to get their books signed
  25. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_(name)
  26. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Chapter 35
  27. Michael Berendt's website.
  28. Enchanted with Potter Literature: Fans line up for hours to get their books signed
  29. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: Chapter 4
  30. JK Rowling's World Book Day Chat, March 4, 2004
  31. [2]
  32. J.K. Rowling on The Diane Rehm Show, WAMU Radio Washington, D.C., October 20, 1999
  33. "JK Rowling talks about Book Four," cBBC Newsround, July 8, 2000
  34. Jensen, Jeff. "'Fire' Storm," Entertainment Weekly, September 7, 2000
  35. Time Magazine staff. "Essay: A Conversation with J.K. Rowling; A Good Scare," Time Magazine, October, 30, 2000
  36. JK Rowling's World Book Day Chat, March 4, 2004
  37. An Evening with Harry, Carrie and Garp: Readings and questions #1, August 1, 2006
Death Eaters
Dark Mark Pottermore
Leader: Lord Voldemort
Death Eaters

Avery II · Alecto Carrow · Amycus Carrow · Crabbe · Bartemius Crouch Junior † · Antonin Dolohov · Gibbon † · Goyle · Gareth Greengrass's brother · Jugson · Barnaby Lee's father · Barnaby Lee's mother · Bellatrix Lestrange † · Rabastan Lestrange · Rodolphus Lestrange · Walden Macnair · Mulciber I · Mulciber II · Nott · Pyrites (possibly) · Augustus Rookwood · Rosier · Evan Rosier † · Thorfinn Rowle · Selwyn · Merula Snyde's father · Merula Snyde's mother · Travers · Mason Tremblay (possibly) · Wilkes † · Corban Yaxley · Unidentified Death Eaters

Death Eater defectors

Regulus Black † · Igor Karkaroff † · Draco Malfoy · Lucius Malfoy · Peter Pettigrew † · Severus Snape

Death Eater allies

Borgin · Vincent Crabbe · John Dawlish · Delphini · Golgomath · Gregory Goyle · Fenrir Greyback · Mafalda Hopkirk · Narcissa Malfoy (defected) · Ismelda Murk (unofficially, supposedly) · Nagini · Mr Padgett · Mrs Padgett · Pansy Parkinson · Quirinus Quirrell · Albert Runcorn · Stanley Shunpike (Imperiused) · Scabior · Serpent of Slytherin · Pius Thicknesse (Imperiused) · Yubert Thorne · Dolores Umbridge

Other affiliations

British Ministry of Magic (under Voldemort's control) · Daily Prophet (under Voldemort's control) · Dementors · Draco Malfoy's gang · Kreacher (formerly) · Tom Riddle's gang · Gang of Slytherins · Giants (Golgomath's control) · Inferi · Charmed skeletons · Muggle-Born Registration Commission · Theodore Nott (possibly) · Snatchers · Werewolf army · The Unforgivable

Death Eater establishments

Abandoned nuclear power plant · Borgin and Burkes · British Ministry of Magic Headquarters (under Voldemort's control) · The Cave · Chamber of Secrets · Forbidden Forest · Gaunt Shack · Lee family house · Lestrange Vault · Little Hangleton graveyard · Malfoy Manor · Misty Dell · Riddle House · Snatcher Camp · Spinner's End (Severus Snape's house) · The Abandoned Substation · The Ruins · The Quarry