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Why Does Voldemort Not Have a Nose?

Why Does Voldemort Not Have a Nose?

Lord Voldemort, born as Tom Marvolo Riddle, is one of the most compelling characters in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. As the primary antagonist, Voldemort’s ominous presence permeates throughout the epic saga, his name alone sufficient to instill dread in the hearts of witches and wizards everywhere.

However, it isn’t merely his reputation as the most feared Dark wizard of all time that strikes terror, but also his striking physical appearance, in particular, his lack of a nose, which significantly contributes to his snake-like and otherworldly persona.

The reason why Voldemort doesn’t have a nose is a mystery that has been debated by fans of the Harry Potter series for years. There are a few different theories about why he might have lost it, but none of them have been confirmed by the author, J.K. Rowling.

Why Doesn’t Voldemort Have a Nose?

One theory is that Voldemort’s nose disappeared as a side effect of his use of the Dark Arts. As he became more powerful, his appearance became more and more snake-like. His nose gradually disappeared, until it was just a small slit. This is supported by the fact that Voldemort’s eyes became increasingly red and slit-like as he grew older.

Another theory is that Voldemort’s nose was lost when he created his Horcruxes. The process of creating a Horcrux is very dangerous, and it’s possible that it caused some damage to Voldemort’s physical body. This could have included the loss of his nose.

A third theory is that Voldemort’s nose was lost when he was resurrected by Peter Pettigrew. The potion that Pettigrew used to bring Voldemort back to life included snake venom, and it’s possible that this caused some of Voldemort’s DNA to be replaced with reptilian DNA. This could have resulted in the loss of his nose, as well as other changes to his appearance.

Let’s discover the different theories on why Voldemort doesn’t have a nose. We’ll talk about Horcruxes, how Peter Pettigrew changed his body, share some quotes from the books, and compare how he looks in the books and movies.

The Transformation of Tom Riddle into Voldemort

Tom Riddle from the Diary
Tom Riddle

Before the visage of the noseless terror was instilled into the collective consciousness of the Wizarding World, Voldemort was simply Tom Riddle, a talented and ambitious student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Highly intelligent and charming, Tom Riddle was the epitome of potential, excelling academically and making a significant impression on many of his teachers. However, beneath the veneer of charm and intellect, Riddle nurtured a deep fascination for the Dark Arts and an obsessive pursuit of immortality. This path led him away from his human origins, transforming him into Lord Voldemort.

The Role of Horcruxes in Voldemort’s Snake-like Transformation

Voldemort’s transformation from a handsome young wizard into the fearsome, snake-like figure we know was not instantaneous. It was a gradual process, mirroring his descent into the Dark Arts. The first significant step towards his physical alteration was his experimentation with Horcruxes.

Riddle asks Sughorn about Horcruxes
Riddle asks Slughorn about Horcruxes

As a student at Hogwarts, Riddle discovered the concept of a Horcrux, a dark magical object in which a wizard can hide a fragment of their soul, allowing them to achieve a perverse form of immortality. The process of creating a Horcrux involves murder, the ultimate act of evil, as the act of killing rips the soul apart.

Upon committing his first murder, Riddle created his first Horcrux. The piece of soul deposited in the Horcrux left a mark not just on his essence but also started to manifest in his physical appearance. He went on to split his soul six more times, creating a total of seven Horcruxes.

Tom Riddle’s transformation into a noseless Voldemort, with snake-like slits for nostrils is likely an outcome of his deep immersion in Dark Arts, specifically creating seven Horcruxes that disfigured him progressively. His snake-like appearance also mirrors his obsession with serpents, a symbol of his Slytherin lineage and his rare ability to speak Parseltongue.

Moreover, his pet, Nagini, was a snake and also one of his Horcruxes. To Voldemort, the snake represented power, cunning, and survival, and his transformation to resemble a snake can be seen as a symbolic assimilation of these traits. His loss of a human-like nose was part of this transformation, further alienating him from his humanity and reflecting the depth of his depravity.

When Exactly Did Voldemort Get His New Body?

Voldemort Nose

Following his initial defeat when he failed to kill the infant Harry Potter, Lord Voldemort was reduced to a state less than a ghost – disembodied but still tethered to the living world.

For over a decade, he existed in this spectral state, hiding in far-flung lands and relying on the help of creatures willing to serve him, such as snakes and the less scrupulous denizens of the wizarding world. This was a period of weak existence for Voldemort, and he was essentially bodyless, but he never ceased seeking ways to regain his physical form and return to power.

In “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” the loyal Peter Pettigrew, known as Wormtail, helps Voldemort to regain a rudimentary body by concocting a Regeneration Potion. This potion, required three essential ingredients: bone from the father, flesh from a servant, and blood from a foe.

“Bone of the father, unknowingly given, you will renew your son! Flesh of the servant, willingly sacrificed, you will revive your master. Blood of the enemy, forcibly taken, you will resurrect your foe.”

Peter Pettigrew

The bone came from Voldemort’s father, Thomas Riddle, taken from his grave in the Little Hangleton graveyard. The flesh was provided by Wormtail himself, who sacrificed his own hand for the cause. The final ingredient, the blood of a foe, was forcibly taken from Harry Potter when he was captured during the Triwizard Tournament.

As the potion simmered and bubbled, Wormtail lowered the formless Voldemort into the cauldron. The magic of the potion worked its sinister purpose, and the Dark Lord emerged with a new body – a spectral and eerie figure, more snake-like than human, signaling his complete transition into Lord Voldemort.

This transformation restored his full strength and magical abilities, setting the stage for the escalating conflict between him and Harry Potter in the following books.

Peter Pettigrew restoring Lord Voldemort
Peter Pettigrew restoring Lord Voldemort

Read more: What Did Voldemort Look Like Before He Died?

Quotes showing the progression of Tom Riddle’s transformation into Lord Voldemort

These quotes show the progression of Tom Riddle’s transformation into Lord Voldemort, with his physical changes reflecting his increasing descent into evil and the Dark Arts.

  1. “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” – Tom Riddle’s memory: “His eyes had their usual look: cold, sarcastic and amused; the rest of his face, however, didn’t look as it usually did. It was white – very white – and he had an air of burning anger.”
    • Context: This quote occurs when Harry enters Tom Riddle’s diary and experiences one of his memories. At this stage, Tom Riddle is still a student at Hogwarts and has started experimenting with Dark magic.
  2. “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” – The rebirth of Voldemort: “Voldemort had entered the room. His features were not those Harry had seen emerge from the great stone cauldron almost two years ago: They were not as snake-like, the eyes were not yet scarlet, the face not yet masklike, and yet he was no longer handsome Tom Riddle. It was as though his features had been burned and blurred; they were waxy and oddly distorted, and the whites of the eyes now had a permanently bloody look.”
    • Context: This quote is from Harry’s dream at the beginning of “The Goblet of Fire,” showing Voldemort in transition between the handsome Tom Riddle and the snake-like figure he eventually becomes.
  3. “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” – The resurrection of Voldemort: “Whiter than a skull, with wide, livid scarlet eyes and a nose that was as flat as a snake’s with slits for nostrils… Lord Voldemort had risen again.”
    • Context: This quote describes Voldemort’s appearance after he has been resurrected by Peter Pettigrew using the Regeneration Potion. He has now transformed into the snake-like, fearsome figure known throughout the Wizarding World.
  4. “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” – Voldemort’s confrontation with Harry and Dumbledore: “The red eyes glowed and the mouth smiled, and the snake-like face of Lord Voldemort swam into view in the air above his dying servant.”
    • Context: This quote gives us another description of Voldemort, emphasizing his red eyes and snake-like face, during his confrontation with Harry and Dumbledore at the Ministry of Magic.

Voldemort’s Appearance in Books vs. Movies

FaceVoldemort’s face is described as being flat and snake-like, with chalk-white skin.In the movies, his face is more human-like, although still pale and somewhat snake-like.
EyesIn the books, Voldemort’s eyes are a vibrant, glowing red.The movies present Voldemort with blue eyes.
NoseHis nose is described as having snake-like slits for nostrils.This feature is faithfully reproduced in the movies, where Voldemort has no human nose, but flat, snake-like nostrils.
FingersVoldemort’s fingers are described as being long and spider-like.While his fingers in the movie are long, they do not particularly resemble a spider’s.
TeethThe books do not specifically describe Voldemort’s teeth.In the movies, Voldemort’s teeth are discolored and somewhat sharp.
BodyVoldemort’s body is described as being tall and skeletally thin.In the films, his body retains a more human form, although it is still quite thin.
VoiceHis voice is described as high and cold.Ralph Fiennes, who plays Voldemort, gives him a whispery, hissing voice.

Note that these differences may stem from the practicalities of film-making and visual effects, or from artistic choices made by the filmmakers. Regardless, both the books and movies present Voldemort as a fearsome, eerie figure who embodies the essence of evil.