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"It was as though Wormtail had flipped over a stone, and revealed something ugly, slimy and blind — but worse, a hundred times worse. The thing Wormtail had been carrying had the shape of a crouched human child, except that Harry had never seen anything less like a child. It was hairless and scaly-looking, a dark, raw, reddish black. Its arms and legs were thin and feeble, and its face — no child alive ever had a face like that — was flat and snake-like, with gleaming red eyes. The thing seemed almost helpless..."
Harry Potter describing Voldemort's rudimentary body[src]

This potion was a Dark potion possibly invented by Lord Voldemort. It was prepared for him by Peter Pettigrew and was used to create Voldemort's rudimentary body, in combination with a few Dark spells of Voldemort's invention[1] and something so horrible as to be indescribable,[2] in order to sustain him while he awaited his return to power.

Two of its main ingredients were unicorn blood and Nagini's snake venom.[1] The drinker had to continuously drink the potion every few hours in order to maintain the little health that they had regained.[3]


"A potion concocted from unicorn blood, and the snake venom Nagini provided...I was soon returned to an almost human form, and strong enough to travel."
— Voldemort's use of this potion[src]

Lord Voldemort in his rudimentary body using the Riddle House as a hideout before being reborn, in 1994

The potion and its associated rituals were able to create a rudimentary body for Lord Voldemort's disembodied soul-fragment to be directly transferred into.[1] The body was small, about the size of an average baby, and wrinkled with red and scaly skin, but still retained some of Lord Voldemort's true body's distinctive characteristics, such as his snake-like nostrils and red, slit-like eyes.[4]

This body's physical abilities were extremely limited and while in this form, Voldemort needed Wormtail to transport him from place to place and tend to him constantly. His magical powers were also greatly reduced in this small and a bit vulnerable state, although he was still powerful enough to cast an effective Killing Curse as well as turn Nagini into a Horcrux at some point.[3]

Pettigrew voldemort

Lord Voldemort in his rudimentary body shortly before his "regeneration"

This body was used until Voldemort, with the aid of Peter Pettigrew and Bartemius Crouch Junior, was able to create the ancient regeneration potion to finally restore him to his true body and abilities.[4] Prior to that, the body that the potion provided Voldemort was so gruesome, it revolted both Frank Bryce and Harry Potter greatly, and caused Pettigrew to flinch when seeing it, and shudder when holding it. Because Voldemort's body was severely limited, he could not milk Nagini for her venom, let alone brew the potion, hence he could not allow Pettigrew leave his side.[3]

Behind the scenes[]

  • It is unknown how Voldemort managed to take this potion before acquiring his temporary body, as he was still in a mangled spectral state before the first time being fed the potion. This was a similar case in how the ghost Nearly Headless Nick partook the Mandrake Restorative Draught. However, given Voldemort's power of possession, he may have been occupying the body of someone or something in order to take the potion.
    • Alternatively, the potion's initial intake may be a similar method to how the regeneration potion was done: Voldemort's spectral form being submerged into the liquid, which created a physical form for him.
    • Furthermore, the potion may have been used to create a body that Voldemort simply inhabited or possessed that was compatible with his fragmented soul, using it much like a parasitic host body that he could control, albeit to a limited degree.
    • A popular fan theory is that Voldemort's mangled soul took control of Bertha Jorkins' unborn baby, which is why the body is so small. Since the foetus would die without nutrition from the umbilical cord, the potion needed to be drunk for both Voldemort's and the foetus' health.
  • Voldemort claims that he used a few spells of his own invention in combination with this potion. It's unknown how the spells affected the rudimentary body or how the potion would've worked by itself.
  • In the book, Harry describes Voldemort's form before his new body as being blind, but this is contradicted by Voldemort's comments to Pettigrew that "I see you flinch when you look at me" in the book and then his request to see the Dark Mark on Bartemius Crouch's arm in the film; however, it may be that this body had lost its sight towards the end of the necessity for its existence, or Harry may have simply assumed it couldn't see.
  • The deformed body that Voldemort inhabited through this potion resembles his mangled soul when Harry was in Limbo. This is because one's soul is reflected by the physical body, and vice versa, as ghosts are.


Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 33 (The Death Eaters)
  2. PotterCast Interviews J.K. Rowling
  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 Goblet of Fire, Chapter 32 (Flesh, Blood and Bone)