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Lord Voldemort Character Analysis: The Dark Lord

Lord Voldemort Character Analysis: The Dark Lord

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Born Tom Marvolo Riddle to a witch mother and muggle father, Tom grew up in an orphanage with no knowledge of his parents. He only discovered that he was a wizard when he was invited to attend Hogwarts.

Tom became obsessed with power and conquering death. He created a new name for himself, Lord Voldemort, and gathered a group of loyal followers around him called Death Eaters. He set out to conquer death by splitting his soul into seven pieces and storing parts of it in Horcruxes.

In the 1970s Lord Voldemort subjected the British wizarding world to war until he destroyed himself by trying to kill the baby Harry Potter. He was able to restore his body in 1995 and again try to conquer the wizarding world. He was finally defeated and killed in the Battle of Hogwarts in 1998.

About Lord Voldemort

Born31 December 1926 – 2 May 1998
Blood StatusHalf Blood
OccupationDark Lord
PatronusNone
HouseSlytherin
Wand13 ½ inch Yew with Phoenix Feather Core
Elm with Dragon Heartstring Core
15 inch Elder with Thestral tail hair core
Zodiac SignCapricorn

Tom Marvolo Riddle Family Tree

Tom Marvolo Riddle was the son of Merope Gaunt, a pure-blood witch, and Tom Riddle, a well-off muggle that lived in the same village as her.

Merope had a miserable life in poverty and was abused by her father and brother. She fantasized about the life she could have with someone like Tom Riddle.

When she gained freedom from her father Marvolo and brother Morfin, when they were sent to prison, she used the opportunity to make that life. She convinced Tom Riddle to marry her using a love potion.

When Merope became pregnant, she wrongly believed that Tom had grown to love her or that he would stay for the baby. When Merope lifted the spell, he abandoned his wife and unborn child.

Merope became so depressed that she completely stopped doing magic and became desperate for money. While no one would have guessed it to look at her, Merope was one of the last surviving heirs of the famous wizard Salazar Slytherin.

But long ago, her family had squandered his wealth. Her father still had a locket that belonged to Slytherin. Merope sold this to Borgin and Burkes for a pittance.

Merope made her way to a London orphanage while heavily pregnant. There she gave birth to her son on 26 December 1926. She died shortly after, asking only that her son be called Tom Marvolo Riddle for his father and hers.

Tom Marvolo Riddle Early Life

Tom grew up in the muggle orphanage with no idea who his parents were. He knew that his mother had died giving birth to him but knew nothing about her lineage as a witch and nothing about his father. Tom quickly grew to resent his mother, assuming that she was weak for dying and abandoning him.

Despite knowing nothing about the wizarding world, Tom soon realized that he had unexplained power. He could even exert some control over it. Tom could move objects with his mind, control animals, and speak to snakes. He had a surprising level of control over his powers for a young wizard.

Tom used his powers to scare and control the other children in the orphanage. When he got in a fight with orphan Billy Stubbs, he hung Stubb’s rat from the rafters. On another occasion, he took two orphans into a seaside cave and did something that traumatized them into silence.

Tom often collected trophies to mark his “conquests” and kept these in a box in his room in the orphanage.

Tom Marvolo Riddle Discovers that he is a Wizard

Shortly after Tom’s eleventh birthday, Albus Dumbledore, in his capacity as a teacher at Hogwarts, went to the orphanage to inform Tom that he was a wizard and that he had a place at Hogwarts.

Before talking to the boy, Dumbledore spoke to Mrs Cole, the head of the orphanage. She shared information about Tom’s strangeness and the fear that he exerted over the other children, even though they had never caught him doing anything wrong. This helped Dumbledore form an impression of the young boy that he was about to encounter.

When Dumbledore first spoke to Tom, he believed that Dumbledore was a shrink trying to take him to an institution. When Dumbledore claimed to be a wizard, Tom demanded that he prove it.

Surprisingly, Dumbledore did. He used a Flame Freezing Charm on Tom’s cupboard to reveal his stash of treasures. Dumbledore told him to return the objects and informed him that such behavior would not be acceptable at Hogwarts.

An Independent and Confident Boy

After this, Tom quickly believed that he was a wizard. He always knew that there was something special about him, and he wanted to believe it. Tom told Dumbledore what he was capable of.

After some consideration, he even revealed to Dumbledore that he could speak parseltongue. He seemed to know instinctively that this was a special gift that did not belong to all wizards.

When Dumbledore told him that the school had a fund to support students like Tom, he accepted readily without uttering a word of Thanks. And when Dumbledore offered to accompany him to Diagon Alley to get his school supplies, Tom said that this was unnecessary and that he preferred to do things on his own.

Tom successfully went to Diagon Alley, procuring for himself a wand made from Yew with Phoenix Feather. He then also successfully caught the Hogwarts Express to arrive at the school and begin his wizarding education.

Dumbledore visits Tom Riddle at the orphanage

Tom Marvolo Riddle Attends Hogwarts

Tom started attending Hogwarts in 1938 and was sorted into Slytherin. This is no surprise since he was a descendant of the wizard. But at this time, Tom’s lineage was unknown to everyone, including himself.

An attractive and talented boy good at manipulating people, Tom soon became popular both with his fellow students and teachers. Albus Dumbledore was one of the few that was wary of Tom.

Horace Slughorn took a particular liking to Tom and included him within his Slug Club. He believed that Tom had the potential to go on and do great things and maybe even become Minister for Magic one day.

Soon Tom would gather a gang of students around him, mostly fellow Slytherins. He shared with them a new name that he had made for himself, “Lord Voldemort”. His followers called themselves Death Eaters.

But the group was very secretive at this time. He would manipulate them into committing petty crimes for his own purposes and entertainment, and just because he could.

You see? It was a name I was already using at Hogwarts, to my most intimate friends only, of course. 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!

Ghost of Tom Marvolo Riddle, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Tom Marvolo Riddle Discovers his Heritage

As soon as Tom arrived at Hogwarts, he became obsessed with discovering his heritage. He assumed that his father must be the wizard, as a witch would never have died giving birth to him. The orphanage had told him that he was named Tom Riddle for his father. He searched Hogwarts records for reference to him.

When he could find nothing, Tom was forced to concede that it must be his mother who was a witch. He also knew that he had the middle name Marvolo for his grandfather. This was not such a common name in the wizarding world, so he soon found his way to Marvolo Gaunt.

Tom was no doubt pleased to learn that he was a descendant of the great wizard Salazar Slytherin. He probably began learning everything he could about the great wizard.

Tom Marvolo Riddle and the Chamber of Secrets

While researching Salazar Slytherin, Tom would have learned about the Chamber of Secrets. As a descendant of Slytherin, he would have liked the idea that he was Slytherin’s heir and could release Slytherin’s monster.

He was indeed able to succeed where many others failed due to his ability to speak parseltongue. By his fifth year, he had discovered the location of the Chamber of Secrets. He tamed the Basilisk that lived there.

In 1943, Tom opened the Chamber, and by June, it had petrified many students. It finally killed a student, Myrtle Warren.

Tom Frames Hagrid

These deaths meant nothing to Tom. But that year, he also decided to approach headmaster Armando Dippet and ask if he could stay at Hogwarts over the summer. He hated that he had to return to his muggle orphanage each summer.

The headmaster informed him that it would be impossible with everything that was happening at the school. The Board of Governors were even meeting to decide whether to close the school due to the threat posed by the Chamber of Secrets.

Tom realized that he would have to undo his work to get what he wanted. So, he returned the Basilisk to the Chamber and set about framing another student for the attacks, Hagrid.

He had observed that the part giant student had a love for dangerous magical creatures. Tom also knew that Hagrid was hiding an Acromantula, Aragog, in a cupboard in the school.

Tom convinced Dippet that it was Hagrid and Aragog who had been behind the school’s problems. Hagrid was expelled. Tom was given a reward for service. However, Albus Dumbledore did not believe the story and convinced the school to let Hagrid stay on as an apprentice to the gamekeeper.

Tom was conscious that he would like the chamber to be able to open again. Later, he created a diary with his memories at the time imprinted onto it. His plan was that the diary could take control of another student in the future to open the Chamber.

Young Tom Marvolo Riddle

Tom Marvolo Riddle Kills his Father

Following the incident with the Chamber of secrets, over that summer, 16-year-old Tom decided to track down his living wizarding family and made his way to Little Hangleton. There he found only his uncle Morfin, as Marvolo had died when Tom was still young.

Morfin immediately saw the resemblance between Tom and the muggle that his sister had swooned over. His comments let Tom put together the pieces of the puzzle. His mother was Morfin’s sister Merope. Tom’s father was Tom Riddle, the muggle who lived in the grand house in the village.

Tom eventually got the story of his father abandoning his mother from Morfin and decided to take revenge. But he also had no pity for Morfin.

He stunned Morfin and took his wand, and then used it to kill his muggle father and both his grandparents. He then returned the wand to Morfin and altered his memory so that he would think that he had murdered the muggles.

When the wizarding authorities showed up, Morfin proudly claimed to have committed the deed. He was sent to Azkaban for the rest of his life.

While at the Gaunt home, Tom also took a ring that Morfin was wearing off his finger. Morfin must have revealed that it was a family heirloom. He started wearing it at Hogwarts as a kind of trophy of his deed.

Tom Marvolo Riddle Learns About Horcruxes

Tom had always been obsessed with conquering death and dedicated himself to learning everything he could about making himself immortal. He soon learned about Horcruxes. This is an object in which a person stores part of their soul so that they cannot be killed.

Not wanting to leave anything to chance, Tom thought that it would be prudent to break his soul into more than two parts. But he could find no evidence that this had ever been done, or if it could be done.

He decided to approach Professor Slughorn to get his opinion on the matter. After a Slug Club meeting, he casually asked about Horcruxes, saying that he had come across it in a library book and didn’t understand it.

Slughorn reluctantly explained Horcruxes to his star pupil. He told him that splitting your soul requires an act of great evil, murder.

Tom then asked whether it would not be better to split the soul into seven parts rather than two. Seven is the most powerful magical number. Slughorn was horrified and pointed out that this would mean killing seven people. Tom immediately backed out of the conversation, as he had his information. It could be done.

Tom wasted little time in making his Horcruxes. In the following weeks, he made his Chamber of Secrets diary into a Horcrux. He also made one from the ring that he had taken from his uncle Morfin.

He charmed the Grey Lady, the ghost of Helena Ravenclaw, to reveal to him the location of Ravenclaw’s Diadem. This suggests that Tom already had the idea to create Horcruxes out of objects that belonged to each of the school’s founders.

Tom asks Professor Slughorn about Horcruxes

Tom Marvolo Riddle Finishes School

Tom was an outstanding student and went on to become Head Boy and receive top marks in his wizarding exams.

Horace Slughorn, who had suppressed his memory of the conversation about Horcruxes, thought that Tom had a bright future ahead. But he was disappointed when Tom did not take up any of the excellent opportunities that he lined up for him.

Initially, Tom wanted to stay at the school and applied for the role of Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. His plan was to use his influence as a teacher to recruit more Death Eaters. But Dippet did not give him the job. He suggested that he get some life experience and then apply again in the future.

Instead, Tom headed to the Albanian forest in search of Ravenclaw’s diadem to make his next Horcrux.

When he returned to England, rather than taking up one of several posts offered to him at the Ministry for Magic, he started working at Borgin and Burkes. He knew that this would give him the opportunity to find objects that would be suitable to make Horcruxes.

He also enriched the business, convincing many witches and wizards to sell their valuable magical heirlooms to the dealer.

When, on a routine visit for Borgin and Burkes, Tom discovered that Hepzibah Smith was in possession of both Helga Hufflepuff’s cup and Salazar Slytherin’s locket, he knew that he needed these pieces for himself.

The old witch was unwilling to part with them. He poisoned her and framed her house-elf Hokey for the crime. Riddle took the two objects and disappeared without a trace as he made two more Horcruxes.

The Rise of the Dark Lord

Tom disappeared for ten years, traveling extensively and learning everything that he could about the dark arts. His appearance began to change as he damaged himself by constantly splitting his soul while creating Horcruxes.

He began to use the name Lord Voldemort openly. He worked with his Death Eaters in a more organized and strategic fashion. It was around this time that he developed the Dark Mark to communicate with his followers as needed.

He also developed his skill at Legilimency so that he could read and control the minds of the people around him. According to Severus Snape, a proficient Legilimens himself, Voldemort was the best Legilimens that the world had ever seen.

He used this skill, blackmail, jinxes, and promises of power to expand his following. His Death Eaters used masks, and many did not know the identity of others within the group.

At this time, he also returned to Hogwarts to ask the new Headmaster Albus Dumbledore for the Defence Against the Dark Arts post. Dumbledore had been watching Riddle and knew what he was up to, so naturally did not give him the role. He also suspected that Tom knew that he would say no, and therefore had another purpose in asking.

Indeed, Tom used the opportunity to hide the Diadem of Ravenclaw Horcrux in the Room of Requirement. He assumed that he alone knew how the room worked. He also cursed the role for ensuring that no one would serve as Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts for more than a year.

Lord Voldemort and the First Wizarding War

In around 1970, the First Wizarding War began in earnest, with Lord Voldemort leading on a principle of “might is right” and pureblood supremacy. He hid his own half-blood status, and none of his followers dared to question him about it.

He gathered many of the magical beings treated badly by the wizarding community for his cause, including giants and werewolves. Many feared that he would also recruit the goblins, who resented that wizards would not share the secrets of wand lore with them. But the goblins refused any wizard master.

The Death Eaters began to cause destruction and mayhem, which often spilled over into the muggle world. Things got so bad that Barty Crouch Snr, the head of Magical Law Enforcement, authorized his Aurors to use Unforgivable Curses in their efforts to round up Death Eaters.

When caught, they were handed over to the Dementors without trial. This may have resulted in many receiving the Dementor’s Kiss unfairly. The Death Eaters were known to use the Imperius Curse to get others to do their will.

Things got so bad that people were afraid to speak Lord Voldemort’s name. He became known as “You-Know-Who” or “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”.

Alongside the Ministry Aurors, Albus Dumbledore set up the Order of the Phoenix to oppose Lord Voldemort. The Ministry considered this a rogue organization, but even Aurors such as Alastor Moody decided to join their ranks.

Lord Voldemort Hides his Horcruxes

Still preoccupied with conquering death, Lord Voldemort went about hiding his Horcruxes.

He had already hidden the Ravenclaw Diadem Horcrux at Hogwarts. The Dark Lord gave the Hufflepuff Cup Horcrux to Bellatrix Lestrange to hide in her family vault at Gringotts without telling her what it was.

He gave the diary Horcrux that he had created to Lucius Malfoy for safekeeping, telling him simply that one day the diary could be used to open the Chamber of Secrets again.

Lord Voldemort took the Horcrux that he had made out of the Gaunt family ring back to the hovel where the Gaunts had lived and hid it there.

Finally, he hid the Slytherin Locket Horcrux, arguably the most important since it belonged to his ancestor, in a cave at the seaside location that he visited with the orphanage as a child.

He still had one Horcrux to create to split his soul into seven parts.

Lord Voldemort with his wand

Lord Voldemort’s Horcruxes Discovered

Lord Voldemort wanted to test the defenses that he had used to protect the Slytherin Locket Horcrux. He asked one of his followers, Regulus Black, to let him use his house-elf Kreacher to test the defenses.

Regulus, who was already becoming disillusioned with the order, agreed. But he ordered Kreacher to return directly and tell him everything that had happened.

Lord Voldemort took the elf with him to the cave and used him to drink the Emerald Potion. He then left the elf on the island to die. But Kreacher, ordered to return, was able to go back to his master using house-elf magic. He told Regulus everything.

Regulus, an intelligent wizard skilled in the dark arts, figured out what the locket was and why it was so important to Lord Voldemort to keep it protected.

He ordered Kreacher to take him back to the cave so that they could retrieve the locket. But this time, Regulus drank the potion himself, leading to his death. But before he died, he told Kreacher to hide the locket and try and find a way to destroy it.

Regulus replaced the locket hidden in the cave with a replica containing a note for the Dark Lord.

To the Dark Lord – I know I will be dead long before you read this, but I want you to know it was I who discovered your secret, I have stolen the real Horcrux and intend to destroy it as soon as I can, I can face death in the hope, that when you meet your match, you will be mortal once again. -R.A.B.

Regulus Blacks’ note, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Lord Voldemort and the Prophecy

At the height of his power, Severus Snape, one of his loyal Death Eaters, delivered to Voldemort part of a prophecy. Snape had overheard Sybill Trelawney reveal the prophecy to Albus Dumbledore.

According to the prophecy, a boy born on the last day of July to parents who had defied Lord Voldemort three times would have the power to destroy him.

The prophecy contained more information, but Snape only heard this part. He passed on the partial prophecy to the Dark Lord.

The prophecy could have referred to two boys, Harry Potter or Neville Longbottom. For reasons of his own, Lord Voldemort decided it was Harry. This, in turn, made Harry the object of the prophecy. Lord Voldemort decided to track down and kill the boy.

Harry’s parents, James and Lily Potter went into hiding. But they were betrayed by their weak-minded friend Peter Pettigrew. He had gone over to the Death Eaters and was working as a double agent within the Order of the Phoenix.

When Snape realized that by telling the Dark Lord the prophecy, he had put his childhood friend Lily in danger, he begged the Dark Lord to spare her. Voldemort told Snape that he would not kill her if it were not necessary.

But Snape knew that the Dark Lord would kill her if it suited his purposes. It was at this time that Snape abandoned the Dark Lord and formed an agreement with Albus Dumbledore to oppose him.

The First Downfall of Lord Voldemort

When Peter Pettigrew revealed the location of the Potters to Lord Voldemort as their secret keeper, the Dark Lord went directly to their home on 31 October 1981. He swiftly killed James Potter, whom he caught without his wand.

Voldemort then turned on Lily, telling her to stand aside as there was no need for her to die. She refused, and he killed her. But unknown to him, by sacrificing herself to save her son, her love created a strong spell of protection for Harry.

When Lord Voldemort turned on Harry, his Killing Curse bounced off the boy and hit the Dark Lord instead, destroying his body. He survived, in a significantly diminished form, thanks to his Horcruxes.

Also unknown to him, as part of this act, he also unwittingly left a part of his soul in Harry. This made Harry yet another Horcrux. This would imbue Harry with many of his powers, such as the ability to speak parseltongue, and later result in a mental connection between the two.

Lord Voldemort in Hiding

When his body was destroyed, the part of his soul that remained made a swift escape. He was in a ghostly form, but he was alive.

Voldemort retreated to the forest in Albania, where he had found Ravenclaw’s Diadem. He waited for one of his faithful Death Eaters to find him so that they could work together to restore his body. He has to wait much longer than expected.

Left without a leader, the Death Eater order began to fall, with many, including the Lestranges, being captured. Others that had been placed under the Imperius Curse emerged and could start to tell people what had happened to them. Yet other real Death Eaters claimed to have been under the Imperius Curse to evade punishment.

Many Death Eaters, such as Bellatrix Lestrange, was sent to Azkaban for their crimes. Others, such as Lucius Malfoy, evaded punishment but kept a low profile while still holding onto their Death Eater beliefs.

None of his followers came looking for Lord Voldemort. He was forced to survive in his diminished form, sometimes possessing animals until his soul killed them. He did not dare enter communities and take humans since the Aurors were still looking for him.

Lord Voldemort and the Philosopher’s Stone

Lord Voldemort finally got lucky in 1990 when Quirinus Quirrell, a young wizard desperate to prove himself, came looking for the Dark Lord in Albania.

But rather than capturing what was left of Lord Voldemort, the Dark Lord convinced the wizard to serve him. Voldemort latched on to Quirrell’s body to return to England.

To his great luck, Quirrell was a teacher at Hogwarts. At the time, he taught Muggle Studies. With Lord Voldemort’s help, he gained the position of Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher.

At the time, Lord Voldemort decided that his best option for restoring himself was to get his hands on the Philosopher’s Stone, which he thought was being held at Gringotts bank.

He used Quirrell to infiltrate the bank. But by the time they got to the vault, the stone had already been moved to Hogwarts for safekeeping.

Lord Voldemort at Hogwarts

Voldemort returned to Hogwarts with Quirrell. He worked through him to try and penetrate the protection that Dumbledore had placed around the stone. While at the school, he encountered his old Death Eater, Severus Snape. He did not trust Snape since he now seemed to be under Dumbledore’s wing.

But Snape realized that Quirrell was after the stone and did his best to stop him. Snape did not know that Quirrell was an agent of the Dark Lord.

While at Hogwarts, Lord Voldemort also got to observe Harry Potter, the child that had caused his downfall. He took the opportunity to try and do away with the young wizard as well.

For example, during the Quidditch match, he jinxed Harry’s broom to throw him off. But while he was chanting the spell, Snape was chanting a counterspell. He was then knocked over, and Hermione Granger broke his contact with Harry.

As time passed and he was still unable to get the stone, Voldemort used Quirrell to hunt Unicorns in the Forbidden Forest and drink their blood to maintain him.

While doing this, on one occasion, he encountered Harry, Draco Malfoy, and Fang. He thought to attack Harry again, but the Centaur Firenze saved the boy.

Lord Voldemort and the Mirror of Erised

Lord Voldemort finally managed to penetrate the part of the castle where the Philosopher’s Stone was hidden. He learned how to get past the three-headed dog Fluffy by posing as a Dragon egg dealer to get the information out of Hagrid.

On 4 June 1992, when Dumbledore was called away from the school on false pretenses, Lord Voldemort used Quirrell to get to the chamber where the Philosopher’s stone was hidden. Having past all the obstacles, he was stuck in front of the Mirror of Erised.

The mirror shows a person their greatest desires. This meant that anyone looking for the Philosopher’s Stone to use would only see the result rather than the location of the stone. Only someone who wanted to find the stone and not use it would be able to see its location.

Harry, along with his friends Ron and Hermione, realized that someone was after the stone on this day and followed them into the Chamber.

Ron and Hermione had to stop along the way to help Harry reach the final chamber. While he thought that he would encounter Severus Snape, Harry instead found Quirrell.

Lord Voldemort Revealed

Lord Voldemort soon revealed that he was the one controlling Quirrell. He tried to use Harry to see the location of the stone in the mirror.

Harry did indeed see the stone, which dropped into his pocket as he looked in the mirror. Harry lied to Lord Voldemort about this, but his Legilimens ability meant that he knew it was a lie.

Voldemort used Quirrell to attack Harry, but the protection that Harry’s mother had given him was still holding. Dumbledore had created a strengthening spell which meant that it would hold as long as Harry could call the home of his mother’s blood, his Aunt Petunia, home.

As Quirrell touched Harry, his body burned and blistered due to the magic. This encounter ended up killing Quirrell. The part of Lord Voldemort’s soul that had inhabited him fled back to the Albanian forest.

Voldemort possessing Quirinus Quirrell

Lord Voldemort and the Chamber of Secrets

Unknown to Lord Voldemort, while he was again hidden in the Albanian forest, Lucius Malfoy decided to slip his Horcrux diary to Ginny Weasley. Lucius was determined to create problems at Hogwarts to get Dumbledore ousted as Headmaster.

The diary was able to influence Ginny and take control of her body for periods of time. She opened the chamber on a number of occasions resulting in many at Hogwarts becoming petrified.

The memory of the young Tom Marvolo Riddle also learned about Harry Potter and what the future would hold for him. As well as releasing the monster, the diary also planned to deal with Harry.

It kidnapped Ginny and took her down to the Chamber, knowing that Harry would come to rescue her. When he did, the diary tried to kill both Harry and Ginny.

But Harry was able to defeat the Basilisk with Gryffindor’s sword, which the Phoenix Fawkes delivered to him when he asked for help. He was then able to use one of the Basilisk fangs to destroy the diary and, therefore, one of Lord Voldemort’s Horcruxes.

Lord Voldemort does not appear to have felt when one of his Horcruxes was destroyed. His soul was already terribly damaged.

Memory of Tom Marvolo Riddle from his Diary Horcrux

Lord Voldemort and Peter Pettigrew

In 1994, Sirius Black learned that Peter Pettigrew was still alive. Peter had revealed the Potters’ location to Lord Voldemort but had framed Sirius Black for the crime. The Animagus then turned himself into a rat and lived in hiding as Scabbers, the pet rat of the Weasley family.

Sirius Black was sent to Azkaban for betraying the Potters. He did not claim his innocence because he trusted no one. But he was able to maintain his sanity in Azkaban because he, too, was an Animagus and could take the form of a dog. Animals are not affected by the Dementors in the same way as humans.

But in the summer of 1994, he saw a newspaper article with a picture of the Weasley family in Egypt. He saw Peter in the photo. Sirius escaped from Azkaban and tracked Peter to Hogwarts, eventually exposing him to Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Remus Lupin, and Albus Dumbledore would later learn the story.

Exposed, Peter had to flee. He decided to look for Lord Voldemort as the only possible protection against the people who wanted to kill him. He had heard rumors that Lord Voldemort was in Albania and headed there. In his rat form, he could speak to other animals and soon found the Dark Lord.

Master and Servant Reunited

On his journey, he also ran into Ministry of Magic employee Bertha Jorkins. He took the witch to Lord Voldemort as well as a sign of his good faith. Lord Voldemort’s soul fragment tortured the witch and got information out of her, which helped him hatch a plan.

While he was executing his plan, he was forced to drink a rudimentary body potion made from Unicorn blood and the venom of a snake he befriended in Albania called Nagini. Peter had to feed him like a baby, an act which disgusted him greatly.

During this time, Lord Voldemort also killed the muggle Frank Bryce and used this act to make the snake Nagini into another Horcrux.

Lord Voldemort in his weakened state

Lord Voldemort and the Triwizard Tournament

Lord Voldemort learned firstly that the Triwizard Tournament would take place at Hogwarts that year. Second, he learned that his faithful Death Eater, Barty Crouch Jnr, who was presumed dead, was actually being held at his home under the Imperius Curse by his father.

With the help of Peter, Lord Voldemort freed Crouch Jnr and worked with him to kidnap Alastor Moody. Crouch then took Moody’s identity using Polyjuice Potion and took up his position as Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts.

In this role, he could ensure that Harry was entered into the Triwizard Tournament and that he won, making sure that he would be the first to touch the Triwizard Cup.

Normally, you cannot transport in and out of Hogwarts using magic. An exception was made for the Triwizard Cup, which was a Portkey.

But Crouch intercepted the cup, and instead of sending the winner to be cheered by the watching crowd, it would send them to a waiting Lord Voldemort in a cemetery in Little Hangleton, where Voldemort’s muggle father was buried.

Lord Voldemort and the Little Hangleton Cemetery

After almost a year of waiting, Lord Voldemort was delighted when his plan worked, and Harry showed up in Little Hangleton. He was a bit surprised to see him accompanied by Cedric Diggory. He ordered Peter to kill “the spare” using his wand.

It seems that Peter had retrieved Lord Voldemort’s wand from the ruins of the Potter home before going into hiding and had hidden the wand for future use.

With Harry there, Lord Voldemort had everything he needed to conduct a spell to restore his body. While Peter had tried to convince him to use a different “enemy” wizard to conduct the spell, Lord Voldemort wanted Harry. He also thought that Peter would sneak off and leave him if he gave him the opportunity.

Peter conducted the spell with the bones of Voldemort’s father, the blood of his enemy Harry, and then by cutting off his own hand to make a sacrifice as a willing servant. The potion restored Lord Voldemort’s true body.

The Dark Lord wasted no time and used his Dark Mark to summon his Death Eaters. Many arrived immediately. As Lord Voldemort regained strength over the course of the year, all the old Death Eaters observed their Dark Marks getting stronger. They already knew that something was happening.

He scorned the Death Eaters for assuming that he was dead and not coming after them. But he did not kill any of them, knowing that he would need them to rebuild his following.

Instead, he stated that he would expect better. Remembering their terror when Lord Voldemort was at his height, they were grateful.

The Dark Lord then showed that he could be generous by using his spell to replace the hand that Peter had cut off with a silver hand.

Lord Voldemort and Harry Potter Duel for the First Time

Lord Voldemort now turned his attention to Harry. He intended to kill Harry in front of his Death Eaters to show his restored power.

Voldemort had Harry released and let him raise his wand to make the duel appear fair. He inflicted the Cruciatus Curse on Harry. Voldemort also used the Imperius Curse on Harry but was surprised when he was able to throw it off.

Lord Voldemort decided to end the duel and use the Killing Curse. But at the same moment, Harry raised his own wand and cast Expelliarmus.

Since their wands have twin cores, and due to the connection that Lord Voldemort unintentionally created between himself and Harry, the spells of the two wands met in the middle and locked.

This then forced Lord Voldemort’s wand to perform a Priori Incantatem and show its most recent spells. These included the killings of Cedric Diggory, the muggle Frank Bryce, Bertha Jorkins, and Harry’s parents.

These shades were able to distract Lord Voldemort so that Harry could grab Cedric’s body and the Portkey and escape.

Harry and Voldemort duel at little Hangleton

Lord Voldemort’s Secret Return

Lord Voldemort was displeased with Harry’s escape not only because he wanted to kill the boy. He was not yet ready to announce his return to the wizarding world. But fortunately for him, the Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge, unwilling to believe such a horrible thing to be true, denied the claim.

He tried to discredit Harry as overwrought and claimed that Albus Dumbledore, who supported Harry, was scaremongering in order to advance his own career.

This worked in the Dark Lord’s favor, and he was able to slowly build up his power and forces without the spotlight on him. His only opposition was the reformed Order of the Phoenix, again led by Albus Dumbledore.

Voldemort freed many of his supporters from Azkaban so that they could re-join his numbers. He also realized that there must be more to the prophecy about himself and Harry than he realized. The Dark Lord set about trying to discover the truth.

He tried several times to use his agents to infiltrate the Department of Mysteries in the Mystery of Magic to retrieve the prophecy. But he soon learned that only a person to who the prophecy relates could remove it.

This means that only he or Harry could get the prophecy. Unwilling to go himself, he used the mental connection between himself and Harry. He planted visions of the Department of Mysteries in Harry’s head, making him interested in going there.

Finally, Lord Voldemort made Harry believe that he himself was in the Department and was torturing Harry’s godfather Sirius Black.

This pushed Harry over the edge, and he went there with five of his school friends. He was inevitably led to retrieve the prophecy and then was ambushed by a group of Death Eaters led by Lucius Malfoy.

Lord Voldemort Exposed

While it should have been a simple matter for a group of Death Eaters to take the prophecy from a few children, members of the Order of the Phoenix soon showed up to help. When things started to turn sour, one of the Death Eaters must have summoned Lord Voldemort.

When he arrived and found out that the prophecy had been destroyed in the fighting, he became angry and tried to kill Harry. But Dumbledore showed up, and a fantastic duel ensued in the atrium of the Ministry for Magic.

The two were still dueling as Ministry for Magic employees started to show up, including Cornelius Fudge. Seeing Lord Voldemort in the flesh, they were forced to admit that the Dark Lord had returned.

Lord Voldemort fled, taking Bellatrix Lestrange with him. But the remainder of the Death Eaters involved in the skirmish were caught and sent to Azkaban.

Voldemort caught in the Ministry Atrium

Lord Voldemort Start Open War

With his return exposed, Lord Voldemort no longer needed to be clandestine in all of his actions. Muggle killings became common, with natural disasters often blamed in the muggle news. Many enemies of Lord Voldemort also turned up dead or simply disappeared.

Lord Voldemort sent Death Eaters to recruit the giants to his cause again. He also recruited the Dementors, giving them more scope to use their powers.

Lord Voldemort was still determined to kill Harry Potter. He kidnapped wandmaker Garrick Ollivander to try to understand better what had happened with his wand at Little Hangleton. Ollivander suggested that the dual cores of the wands may have caused the incident. But Voldemort also wanted Dumbledore dead.

He recruited Lucius Malfoy’s son Draco as a Death Eater and tasked him with finding a way to get a group of Death Eaters into Hogwarts and then with killing Albus Dumbledore. He probably did not believe that the boy could accomplish the task and gave it to him partly to punish Lucius Malfoy for his failure in the Department of Mysteries.

Lord Voldemort and Severus Snape

Severus Snape had always been a favored Death Eater of the Dark Lord. Voldemort seems to have been unaware that Snape deserted him and turned double agent for Dumbledore when Lily’s life was in danger. However, Voldemort had reason not to trust Snape when he returned. Snape’s position at Hogwarts meant that he was close to Dumbledore.

Snape was indeed working for Dumbledore, the two convinced that Lord Voldemort would one day return and preparing for that day. But Snape did not rush to Little Hangleton when the Dark Lord called. He went to him later, again as a double agent for Dumbledore.

Snape told the Dark Lord that he had stayed at the school so as not to jeopardize his position. He could be useful for the Dark Lord there. He admitted to the Dark Lord that he had assumed him dead and that this is why he did not look for him.

Snape also claimed never to have killed Harry Potter, firstly because he wanted to see if he was a great dark wizard, and then later to protect his position close to Dumbledore.

Lord Voldemort seems to have believed Snape. It is unknown what existed between the two that Voldemort seemed to trust him implicitly. It could be that Lord Voldemort did not believe that Snape could be a sufficiently talented Occlumens to evade his Legilimency.

Or it could have been that Snape fooled him with the information that he shared. Either way, Snape remained a double agent, ostensibly a Death Eater, but working with Dumbledore.

Battle of the Astronomy Tower

When Draco Malfoy was eventually successful at sneaking a group of Death Eaters into Hogwarts, he managed to corner a greatly weakened Dumbledore on the school’s Astronomy Tower and disarm him.

However, it seemed that Draco did not have it in him to kill the Headmaster. He was on the verge of lowering his wand when the other Death Eaters arrived.

Severus Snape arrived on the tower not long after and quickly killed Dumbledore with the Killing Curse, further securing his position with the Dark Lord.

Unknown to Lord Voldemort, Dumbledore was already dying from a curse that he himself had placed on the Gaunt Ring Horcrux. Dumbledore asked Severus to be the one to kill him to spare Draco from the task.

Lord Voldemort with his Death Eaters

Lord Voldemort at Malfoy Manor

Following the death of Albus Dumbledore, there was not much standing between Voldemort and control of the wizarding world. He set himself up at Malfoy Manor. While he had released Lucius Malfoy from Azkaban with some other Death Eaters, he had not forgiven him.

In the summer of 1997, Lord Voldemort made a show for his followers by killing Charity Burbage, previously the Muggle Studies teacher at Hogwarts, in front of them all.

He then hatched a plan, with the information provided to Snape, to kill Harry Potter when he was moved from his family home at the Dursleys. The protection that Harry’s mother gave him was set to expire when he turned 17.

He was led to believe by Garrick Ollivander that he would be able to kill Harry if he just used a different wand. Voldemort took Lucius’ wand for that purpose.

Battle of the Seven Potters

On the day that the Order of the Phoenix moved Harry, the Death Eaters were waiting. But while they had the right date, they did not know that the Order would use Polyjuice Potion to make Harry decoys.

Unsure which was the real Harry, Voldemort pursued Alastor Moody, the most experienced of the Aurors and therefore the one likely to be protecting Harry. He killed Moody with the Killing Curse.

When the real Harry later used Expelliarmus to disarm Stan Shunpike, he revealed himself with a “signature spell”. Lord Voldemort pursued him personally. Fortunately, Harry, who Hagrid escorted, managed to get to safety in time.

But not before Harry’s wand, seemingly acting of its own accord, released golden fire at Lord Voldemort and destroyed Lucius Malfoy’s wand.

When Voldemort returned to Malfoy Manor later, he accused Ollivander of lying to him about the wands. The wandmaker begged for his life and said he did not know why it had happened. But he also told Voldemort about the Elder Wand of the Deathly Hallows that was apparently unbeatable.

Lord Voldemort Takes Over the Ministry

After failing to kill Harry, Lord Voldemort decided that it was time to take over the Ministry. He interrogated the Minister for Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour, to learn Harry’s whereabouts, but to no avail. He then killed him and installed Pius Thicknesse as his puppet Minister for Magic.

Harry Potter became Undesirable Number One, wanted for questioning in connection with the death of Albus Dumbledore.

Lord Voldemort also had his name made taboo. He knew that only Harry and members of the Order of the Phoenix used the name, and this would allow him to trace them.

He also started persecuting muggle-born wizards with the Muggle-Born Registration Commission. This group accused muggle-born wizards of stealing their magic from real wizards and threw them in Azkaban.

Finally, Voldemort made moves to make Hogwarts the recruiting ground that he had always dreamed of. He set Severus Snape up as Headmaster and sent two further Death Eaters teachers there, Amycus and Alecto Carrow.

The former taught Dark Arts rather than Defence. The latter taught Muggle Studies, teaching students about the evils of muggles.

Lord Voldemort, through the Ministry, made it mandatory for all school-aged wizards to attend Hogwarts.

Lord Voldemort and the Elder Wand

While these things were happening back in Britain, Voldemort was on his own quest to find the Elder Wand. He had learned from Garrick Ollivander that it had probably been in the hands of European wandmaker Mykew Gregorovitch.

But when he arrived, Gregorovitch told Voldemort that the wand had been stolen many years earlier. While Gregorovitch had seen the thief, he did not know his identity. Voldemort killed him.

His search was interrupted briefly on Christmas Eve 1997 when Nagini summoned him to Godric’s Hollow because Harry Potter had arrived.

While Hermione managed to destroy Bathilda Bagshot’s home and Disapparate with Harry before Lord Voldemort could kill them, the call still proved fortuitous for the Dark Lord. In Bagshot’s home, he found a photo of a young Gellert Grindelwald, whom he identified as the thief.

He traveled to Nurmengard in Austria, where Grindelwald was imprisoned. But the old Grindelwald just laughed at him, saying that the wand had been taken from him many years earlier. Lord Voldemort threatened to get him to reveal the location, but the old dark wizard welcomed death.

While Grindelwald did not tell Voldemort who had the wand, it would not have been difficult to determine. Albus Dumbledore had dueled with Grindelwald, defeating him and sending him to Nurmengard.

Voldemort later went to Hogwarts and broke into Dumbledore’s tomb to take the wand from his dead hands.

Lord Voldemort Discovers the Plan

Before Lord Voldemort could procure the Elder Wand, he was called to Malfoy Manor by Bellatrix Lestrange. She informed Lord Voldemort that they had caught, and then lost, Harry Potter and his compatriots.

Lord Voldemort flew into a mighty rage and killed many. He even hurt Bellatrix Lestrange. Things got worse when on 1 May, he learned that Harry and some of his friends had entered the Lestrange vault at Gringotts and taken a small golden cup that was hidden then.

Only now did Voldemort suspect that anyone could know about his Horcruxes. He theorized, correctly, that Dumbledore had figured it out and passed this information along to Harry.

He went to check on his Horcruxes, starting with the Gaunt Shack and then the seaside cave. The Dark Lord was horrified to see that they were missing and probably destroyed.

Lord Voldemort Returns to Hogwarts

Lord Voldemort realized that Harry would probably go to Hogwarts to try and find the Ravenclaw Diadem and that the time to finish off the boy was now.

He had the Elder Wand and wanted to get to Harry before he got to all the Horcruxes. He started keeping his Horcrux Nagini close and safe within a protected magical bubble.

Voldemort gathered an army of Death Eaters, and witches and wizards under the Imperius Curse, at Hogwarts. He told those in the school that he did not want to spill their blood, but that he and his followers would kill anyone who stood between him and Harry. Unsurprisingly, a battle ensued.

Lord Voldemort did not take part during this stage of the battle. Instead, he organized to meet Severus Snape in the Shrieking Shack.

He felt that the Elder Wand was not functioning properly for him and suspected that it was because it was loyal to the person who had killed Albus Dumbledore, Severus Snape. Without a second thought, he killed Snape to secure the loyalty of the wand.

What Voldemort did not know was that it had been Draco Malfoy who had disarmed Dumbledore and therefore “won” the loyalty of the wand on the Astronomy Tower.

Since then, Draco had been disarmed by Harry, meaning that the loyalty of the wand actually sat with him. Voldemort did not understand that killing was not the only way to secure the wand’s loyalty.

Lord Voldemort Kills Harry Potter

After killing Snape, Voldemort called a cease-fire. He said that they could collect their dead and gave Harry one hour to hand himself over to protect his friends. He would be waiting in the Forbidden Forest.

Harry did indeed decide to turn himself over, but not for the reasons that Voldemort had thought. With his dying thought, Snape shared a memory with Harry in which Dumbledore explained to Snape that Harry was a Horcrux and would have to die for Lord Voldemort to be killed. This is why Harry agreed to meet the Dark Lord.

When Harry turned up in the Forbidden Forest, this time, Voldemort did not play with him. He cast the Killing Curse immediately. But when he cast the spell, he only managed to kill the part of his soul that was within Harry and not the boy.

When Lord Voldemort used Harry to restore his body in 1995, he also gained the protection that Harry’s mother had given him. Ironically, this prevented Harry from being killed again in the Forbidden Forest. But he was knocked unconscious and appeared dead.

But Lord Voldemort was also knocked unconscious for a few seconds, much to the surprise of his followers. When he came to, he demanded that someone check that the boy was dead. He sent Narcissa Malfoy. She saw that Harry was alive, but for her own reasons, decided to lie and say that he was dead.

Voldemort knocked out after attacking Harry

Lord Voldemort’s Victory

Following what he assumed was his victory, Lord Voldemort marched down to the school with his army of Death Eaters and Harry’s body. He taunted those defending the castle, telling them that their precious Harry Potter was dead and that it was time to join his ranks.

Rather than surrender, Neville Longbottom charged at Lord Voldemort. He stopped the boy with a Full Body-Bind Curse and placed the school’s Sorting Hat on his head. He then set the hat on fire. Voldemort laughed that the hat would not be needed as there would only be Slytherins at Hogwarts from now on.

But at that moment, reinforcements, led by Horace Slughorn, arrived. This disruption allowed Neville to escape the bind and remove the hat.

Then, just as Harry had done in the Chamber of Secrets, he drew Gryffindor’s sword from the hat. Harry had previously told Neville that if something had happened to him, it was important that the snake Nagini be killed. Neville managed to kill the snake with the sword. The last Horcrux was destroyed.

The Death of Lord Voldemort

Meanwhile, Harry’s “body” had disappeared. Harry had pulled on his invisibility cloak, and he was using a shield charm to interfere with Lord Voldemort’s spells.

A vicious battle ensued, but all the Death Eaters were overcome until only Bellatrix Lestrange and Lord Voldemort himself remained in the Great Hall.

Molly Weasley killed Bellatrix in a rage after the witch fired a killing curse at her daughter Ginny. In retaliation, Lord Voldemort threw a Killing Curse at her. But Harry blocked it and revealed himself.

Harry told Lord Voldemort that by sacrificing himself to Lord Voldemort, he had offered the same protection that his mother had given him to all his allies at Hogwarts.

Did the Dark Lord not wonder why his spells seemed to be missing their mark? He also revealed to the Dark Lord that Snape had been loyal to Dumbledore all the time and that his death was part of the plan to bring him down.

While Voldemort was shocked, he was not worried because he believed that he had the Elder Wand. But then Harry also explained how the Elder Wand was, in fact, loyal to him.

Voldemort was not convinced and cast the Killing Curse on Harry. At the same time, Harry used Expelliarmus. The Elder Wand could not kill its true master and instead killed Lord Voldemort, now mortal.

Lord Voldemort moments before death

Lord Voldemort’s Progeny

Sometime after the Battle of the Department of Mysteries and before the Battle of Hogwarts, Lord Voldemort impregnated Bellatrix Lestrange with his own seed. This was an act to create a dynasty rather than an act of love, though Bellatrix was no doubt honored to be chosen.

Their daughter Delphini would later try to go back in time and prevent her father from being killed but was foiled by Harry Potter in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Why does Lord Voldemort not have a Patronus?

While Lord Voldemort is certainly powerful enough to cast a Patronus, he does not have the required happy and loving energy. Splitting his soul may also have prevented him from completing the spell, and anyone who has made a Horcrux may be unable to cast a Patronus.

Have any other wizards created Horcruxes?

Aside from Lord Voldemort, the only other wizard known to have made a Horcrux was the Ancient Dark Greek wizard Herpo the Foul. Herpo also had the ability to talk to snakes and bred the first known Basilisk. He is known for inventing several vile curses.

Lord Voldemort Personality Type & Traits

While no one is born evil, it was suspected that Tom Marvolo Riddle was unable to love because he was conceived under the influence of a Love Potion. Whether this is true or not, his childhood in an orphanage certainly scarred him. His mother’s death instilled in him a fear of death, and his abandonment fueled the idea that he could only rely on himself.

Never experiencing love in his life, Riddle had no empathy for others. He was driven only by his desires and ambitions.

Incredibly intelligent and talented, he managed to dive further into the dark arts than anyone before him, and these dark influences shaped his character. But he was not as powerful as he himself imagined.

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, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

It was his arrogance that led to his downfall. He did not believe that Snape could betray him or that others could learn the secrets that only he was intelligent and daring enough to discover.

Lord Voldemort Zodiac Sign & Birthday

Tom Marvolo Riddle was born on 26 December 1926, which means his zodiac sign is Capricorn. People born under this sign tend to be focused and methodical. They can be obsessive about their goals to the point that they can’t see the impact that they have on the people around them.