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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]

Thomas Riddle[1] (1880August 1943) was a very wealthy English Muggle who owned most of the town of Little Hangleton. He and his wife Mary had a son named Tom. The Riddles were snobby and looked down on the poverty-stricken House of Gaunt who lived nearby. Although the Gaunts were also unpopular, frowned upon due to their squalour and ill manners by most of the village, the Riddle looked down on most of the families in the village as well, becoming very unpopular amongst the locals.[4] He was murdered along with his wife and son by his own grandson, Tom Marvolo Riddle.[3]


Early life[]

Thomas was born in 1880. At some point he married Mary, who would give birth to their son, Tom, in 1905.[1]

Son's marriage[]

The elderly Riddle couple suffered a great scandal when Tom mysteriously eloped and married Merope Gaunt, the daughter of the insane Marvolo Gaunt. The pair left for London, but Tom soon returned to his parents' home, claiming to have been "hood-winked" and "taken in" by Merope. This may have referred to her being a witch and probably using a love potion or the Imperius Curse on him to obtain his affections, or to her pregnancy.[5]


In 1943, Tom was confronted by his son from his forced marriage to Merope Gaunt—Tom Marvolo Riddle, who had been left in an orphanage after his mother's death and who was a very powerful wizard. Thomas was murdered by his grandson with the Killing Curse, as were his wife and son, in an act of revenge for Riddle's abandonment of Merope,[3] leaving the three with horrified faces after their deaths and no medical reason for how three perfectly healthy persons died just like that.[4] Riddle then framed his uncle Morfin Gaunt for the crime, and Morfin was imprisoned in Azkaban by the Magical justice system.[3] While the Muggle authorities could not figure out how the Riddles had died, many people suspected their gardener Frank Bryce of being the killer. However, the Muggle police never prepared charges against Bryce due to lack of evidence. Thomas was buried in the Little Hangleton graveyard along with his son and wife. Due to their attitude towards the locals, the only mourners for them were the parson, the mortician, and the gravediggers. However, the murders did become the talk of the town, and residents of Little Hangleton did question what had happened and if it could reoccur.[4]

Behind the scenes[]

  • In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Albus Dumbledore refers to Riddle’s child, Tom (senior) as "the squire’s son." "Squire" is a British term referring to the leader of an English village, often a justice of the peace or a member of Parliament, indicating Thomas’s status in Muggle society.


The name "Thomas" is the Greek form of the Aramaic name תָּאוֹמָא (Ta'oma’) which meant "twin".


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 3.3 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 17 (A Sluggish Memory)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 1 (The Riddle House)
  5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 10 (The House of Gaunt)