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"Nobody wasted their breath pretending to feel very sad about the Riddles, for they had been most unpopular."
— Description of Little Hangleton's reaction to the Riddle murders[src]

Mary Riddle[1] (1883August 1943) was an English Muggle, the wife of Thomas Riddle and mother of Tom Riddle and thus the paternal grandmother of Tom Marvolo Riddle, also known as Lord Voldemort. She was part of the wealthiest family in the village of Little Hangleton.[3] The Riddles were very snobbish and elitist who looked down upon most other people in town,[3] in particular the poverty-stricken House of Gaunt that lived nearby, becoming very unpopular amongst them.[4]


Early life[]

Mary was born in 1883. At some point in her life she married Thomas Riddle, a man born into the wealthy Riddle family. In 1905, she gave birth to a son, Tom Riddle.[1]

Son's marriage[]

Mary and her husband suffered great scandal when Tom abruptly married Merope Gaunt, the daughter of "tramp" Marvolo Gaunt. Merope was one of the Gaunts, a wizarding family. She had entranced Tom by means of the Imperius Curse or, more likely, a love potion. The couple left for London, where Merope became pregnant and stopped bewitching Mary's son. Coming to his senses, Tom left Merope and returned to his parents' home in Little Hangleton, claiming to have been "hoodwinked" and "taken in" by Merope. Merope would die soon after giving birth to Tom Marvolo Riddle, living only long enough to name him.[4]


In 1943, sixteen-year-old Tom Marvolo Riddle, who would later take on the alias Lord Voldemort, ventured to Little Hangleton to investigate his heritage. He learned the details of his parents' union from his uncle Morfin Gaunt (Merope's brother) and sought revenge on what he saw as the man who caused his mother's death. Tom Marvolo Riddle went to the Riddle House to murder his father and ended up killing Mary and Thomas Riddle in order to erase his "filthy" Muggle heritage, too.[5] The Muggles were baffled at how the Riddles died, autopsies stating they were in perfectly good health at the time of death with no signs of external damage, only a look of terror on all of their faces. Mary was buried in the Little Hangleton graveyard along with her son and husband, but their deaths were not mourned by the town due to their snobbishness.[3]


The name "Mary" is the usual English form of Maria, which was the Latin form of the New Testament Greek names Μαριαμ (Mariam) and Μαρια (Maria) - the spellings are interchangeable - which were from the Hebrew name מִרְיָם (Miryam). The meaning is not known for certain, but there are several theories including "sea of bitterness", "rebelliousness", and "wished for child". However it was most likely originally an Egyptian name, perhaps derived in part from mry "beloved" or mr "love".


Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film) (see this image)
  2. In the Riddle House in the 1990s, there is a calendar for 1943, which is still set on August, implying that was the month Thomas, Tom and Mary all died.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 1 (The Riddle House)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 10 (The House of Gaunt)
  5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 17 (A Sluggish Memory)