Tom Marvolo Riddle started out as an orphan at a muggle orphanage. He was convinced that he had a destiny greater than mundane obscurity. Then Albus Dumbledore arrived and told Riddle that he was a wizard.
Riddle jumped at the chance to go to Hogwarts. However, he had already developed cruel and selfish tendencies - tendencies that he carefully worked to hide from the Hogwarts students and staff.
He quietly expanded his knowledge, power, and influence until he reemerged many years later as Lord Voldemort.
Voldemort spread such a reign of terror across Great Britain that the magical community as a whole feared to speak his name. They only referred to him as “You Know Who” or “He Who Must Not Be Named.”
Just when he was at the height of his power, Voldemort was defeated and banished after an encounter with an infant. Harry Potter became known as the Boy Who Lived. For the rest of his life, Voldemort was obsessed with regaining his power and destroying Harry Potter, the supposed chosen one who ended his reign by sheer luck.
Voldemort at least believed that it was luck. In the years since the Harry Potter books finished, and especially since the movies ended, a lot of the facts about Voldemort have become muddled.
Details about his early years, his relationships, and his conflict with Harry are a bit mixed up among fans. However, fret not Potterheads, for we can uncover the truth all over again.
With that said, here are the 20 Things Every One Gets Wrong About Voldemort!
20 IS HE PITIABLE OR DESPICABLE?
Voldemort is the main antagonist of the Harry Potter series. By extension, he’s one of the most famous villains in modern popular culture.
His evil deeds are infamous in the franchise and the real world. All the good guys fight and suffer and sacrifice to stop Voldemort’s evil plans.
However, there are moments in the books and movies where you could take pity on Voldemort.
At the end of The Order of the Phoenix movie, Harry explicitly says that he feels sorry for Voldemort, because he will never know love or friendship.
Does his warped disregard for life make him pitiable or does his life time as a villain outweigh any pity we might have for him?
19 IS HE CURSED BY BIRTH OR DID HE DECIDE TO BECOME EVIL?
Tom Marvolo Riddle was born to a muggle named Tom Riddle and a witch named Merope Gaunt.
Merope used a love potion to make Tom Riddle love her, but he left when Merope decided to stop using the potion on him. She passed away right after giving birth to Tom Riddle.
J. K. Rowling has said that the manipulation and deception surrounding Tom Riddle’s birth was a key factor in Tom growing up lacking any sense of empathy or affection.
This means that his motivation to be selfish and cruel may not be his fault.
However, the Harry Potter series emphasizes the importance of choice determining who you are. Voldemort repeatedly chose to destroy those who he deemed below him and gain more power at the expense of others.
18 VOLDEMORT’S BODY IS STILL AT HOGWARTS
At the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Voldemort’s body disintegrates after Harry wins the duel for the Elder Wand.
Many fans may remember this as what always happened. However, the movies changed a lot about the final battle between Harry and Voldemort, including Voldemort’s ultimate fate.
In the books, Voldemort’s last curse rebounds and finally takes him down. His body collapses to the floor, lifeless.
The books say that the denizens of Hogwarts stowed Voldemort's body away in a vault in the castle, near the Great Hall.
Whether his body was moved to another resting place or disposed of from there is unknown.
It was an unceremonious farewell for such a reviled and evil wizard.
17 HIS SOUL IS ACTUALLY TRAPPED IN LIMBO
When Harry was struck by Voldemort’s curse in the Forbidden Forrest, Harry visited limbo. limbo is a weird plane of existence between life and the afterlife.
It’s not a physical place, but rather a state of being within one’s mind. It can look different to different people, but the condition of one’s soul is reflected in it.
Harry appeared as his whole self. Voldemort appeared as a mangled, shriveled body. Such was the state of his broken soul.
One might assume that Voldemort’s soul would be unable to appear in limbo after his last horcrux and body were destroyed. However, the last piece of Voldemort’s soul is doomed to be trapped in limbo for eternity, as Harry witnessed.
16 HE HAD SOME RESPECT FOR HIS MOTHER
When Dumbledore told the young orphan Tom Riddle that he was a wizard, Tom immediately assumed that his mother could not have been magical because she passed away.
At Hogwarts, Riddle desperately searched for some record of his father being a famous wizard or at least attending Hogwarts. He found nothing of course because Riddle Sr. hadn’t been a wizard.
When Riddle eventually discovered the line of Slytherin though his mother’s family, he had to reconsider his opinion.
He deplored what had become of the Gaunt family and the fact that Merope Gaunt had passed away in such low circumstances.
Riddle also didn’t take kindly to Hepzibah Smith assuming that his mother had been a tramp who stole the Slytherin locket.
15 HE DID NOT COMMAND WIDESPREAD LOYALTY
There’s no question that Voldemort amassed a great many followers during the two Wizarding Wars. However, few if any of them followed out of genuine loyalty to him.
Most of the Death Eaters took up his cause because Voldemort happened to espouse the pureblood ideology than they agreed with.
When Voldemort unexpectedly fell to Harry Potter, most of the Death Eaters scattered. They made excuses for their crimes and pretended to repent.
Voldemort used fear first and foremost to control his followers. The only two followers we see follow Voldemort out of genuine loyalty to him were Bellatrix Lestrange and Barty Crouch Jr.
They sought him out when he was at his weakest and desired to restore Voldemort to power.
14 THERE WAS NO LOVE BETWEEN VOLDEMORT AND BELLATRIX
It is heavily implied in the books, and the movie make it pretty obvious that Bellatrix Lestrange was infatuated with Voldemort.
She was mewling over Voldemort’s body when he appeared to be knocked out in the Forbidden Forrest.
Voldemort never returned Bellatrix’s affections. While he did recognize her magical talent and bloodlust, the concept of love was repugnant to him.
Of course we learn in Cursed Child that there was a bit more to Voldemort and Bellatrix’s relationship.
Sometime after the battle in the Department of Mysteries, Voldemort decided that it was worth it to produce a child and continue the Slytherin bloodline.
Bellatrix was more than willing to serve Voldemort in this way.
However, to Voldemort it was still a service provided by his follower, not an equal or a lover.
13 BELLATRIX WAS STILL MARRIED WHEN SHE HAD A CHILD WITH VOLDEMORT
Bellatrix married Rodolphus Lestrange not long after her term at Hogwarts. They were both Slytherins and eldest children of pureblood Wizarding families.
Their marriage seemed to be a loveless formality. The only times they are seen together is when Voldemort’s followers are assembled.
Rodolphus was at the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, the Battle of the Seven Potters, and the Battle of Hogwarts. However, we never get much of a sense of him as a character.
He and Bellatrix were still married when she and Voldemort decided to conceive a child. We don’t know how Rodolphus may have felt about this at time, if he knew at all.
It turns out he did know and supported the plan, as he escaped from Azkaban again to tell Delphini about her heritage and destiny.
12 DELPHINI DIDN’T KNOW VOLDEMORT WAS HER FATHER UNTIL SHE WAS A TEENAGER
Delphini must have been born sometime after the Battle of the Department of Mysteries but before the Battle of Hogwarts.
We do not know what Voldemort’s relationship with his daughter was like in the short time when they were both living.
Apparently Delphini was raised in total secret. She was not aware of her prestigious parentage and the wizarding world at large did not know of her.
Delphini was actually raised by a woman named Euphemia Rowle. Rowle didn’t care much for Delphini.
According to Delphini herself, she never treated her like part of her family and was only looking after Delphini for some reward.
She didn’t attend Hogwarts School even under a false identity. However, thanks to her mother’s husband Rodolphus Lestrange, she eventually discovered who her real parents were.
11 VOLDEMORT TRUSTED NONE OF HIS FOLLOWERS COMPLETELY
Voldemort aimed to become the ruler of his own pureblood wizarding regime. He could never rise to that position entirely on his own.
He had to work with or manipulate others to spread his influence and enforce his rule.
While he had many follows faithfully perform his bidding, he didn’t trust most of them. At the same time he expected his followers to trust his wisdom and leadership.
Voldemort used Legilimency to spy on his followers and know their minds. He was probably satisfied enough that fear compelled most of his followers to obey him, but he was still paranoid.
He never confided the details of his plans with the horcruxes to any of his followers.
10 DID HE NOT KNOW OF THE DEATHLY HALLOWS OR DID HE DECIDE HORCRUXES WERE JUST BETTER?
The Tale of the Three Brothers and the Deathly Hallows is a children’s fable in the wizarding world.
Since Tom Riddle did not grow up in the wizarding world, it is understandable that he has never heard that tale and never heard of the Deathly Hallows. However, he did have a drive for knowledge and power.
You could reasonably expect him to hear of the Deathly Hallows eventually. Surely a trio of artifacts that could make their owner master of the afterlife would be of great interest to him.
Voldemort evidently learned of the Elder Wand and stole it from Dumbledore’s grave. However, he only ever desired it for its own power.
The horcruxes were all within Voldemorts control to create and safeguard - and he wouldn’t have to depend on a continuous substance like an elixir of life.
9 WHEN DID HE FIND OUT ABOUT THE ELDER WAND?
The Elder Wand is a wand supposedly more powerful than any other in the world. It carries a dark a bloody history of witches and wizards fighting to claim and keep it.
Voldemort would have been drawn to such a wand. He certainly would have thought himself worthy to wield it.
However, when did he learn of the Elder Wand? Did he hear of it before the events of Deathly Hallows? When did he decide or realize that it was worth pursuing?
In the books, Harry senses that Voldemort interrogates Ollivander about the Elder Wand, so he knew enough to ask about it by then.
Perhaps he had thoughts of possessing it for years but only took it after he knew Dumbledore was already deceased.
8 VOLDEMORT IS TECHNICALLY A LICH
A Lich is a type of zombie spirit or necromancer that appears in modern fantasy fiction such as Dungeons and Dragons, World of Warcraft or The Elder Scrolls.
They typically use dark magic to bind their souls to prized objects outside their body. This enables them to attain immortality or return from the grave, usually with a grisly transformation.
Does this sound familiar?
Voldemort is never described as a Lich in the Harry Potter franchise. J. K. Rowling may or may not have been familiar with this particular aspect of fantasy literature.
Also labelling and categorizing Voldemort in this way would have cheapened Voldemort himself and the horcruxes. This way the horcruxes feel uniquely horrific.
7 DID HE MAKE THE DIARY HORCRUX OR THE RING HORCRUX FIRST?
Voldemort began researching horcruxes while he was still at Hogwarts, even though the subject was banned from study.
His zealous investigation into his wizarding ancestry lead him to the two objects that would become his first horcruxes.
After opening the Chamber of Secrets and setting Slytherin’s Basilisk loose in the school, Tom Riddle made a diary of his deeds.
That was in June 1943. In August 1943, Riddle ventured to the Gaunt hovel, destroyed his muggle father's family and took Marvolo Gaunt’s Ring for his own.
So he created the diary before obtaining the ring.
This could mean that the diary was in fact his first horcrux even though they both may have been made after Voldemort destroyed them.
6 THE “T” IS SUPPOSED TO BE SILENT
We have been saying it wrong this whole time. Tom Marvolo Riddle created an anagram of his name with “I am Lord Voldemort.”
On the one hand, since the first letter of his first name is “T,” you might think that he would keep pronouncing the "T" where it appears in the anagram.
However, J. K. Rowling has said herself that the “T” at the end of Voldemort is supposed to be silent. That would be etymologically in keeping with the French pronunciation of “Vol de mort” which means “flight of death.”
The movies confused everyone. Once they pronounced it with the “T” in the first movie, there was no going back.
Even in the Harry Potter audiobooks released before the first movie, reader Jim Dale pronounced “Voldemort” without the “T.” However, he switched once they movies came out.
5 VOLDEMORT AND GRINDELWALD WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ALLIES
Gellert Grindelwald was undoubtedly the most notorious dark wizard of his day, before Voldemort became prominent.
While they both used Dark Arts and believed in the superiority of wizards, they were actually quite different.
Grindelwald was a brazen troubled maker even at school. Voldemort cultivated a reputation for being a model student and magical prodigy.
Grindelwald genuinely believed in his ideal of liberating witches and wizards from having to live in secrecy from muggles. He believed his actions were still for the greater good.
Compared to Grindlewald, Voldemort was entirely self-centered. He adopted pureblood fundamentalism as a means to amass more personal power.
The prejudice against muggles and muggle-borns was just convenient for him and he did not genuinely care about helping even other pureblood wizards.
4 HE COULD HAVE AVOIDED MAKING A CHOSEN ONE
Voldemort’s first war against the wizarding world was going well. Then he learned about Sybil Trelawney’s prophesy.
Voldemort was not about to let a prophesized equal and vanquisher be born in the world. So he decided to hunt down the Potters whom he believed the Prophesy described.
Severus Snape told Voldemort of the prophesy. He had eavesdropped on Sybil Trelawney as she made the prophesy, but Abeforth Dumbledore caught Snape and threw him out after only hearing the first part.
Voldemort only heard that part about a boy born at the end of July to parents who had thrice defied him.
If he had heard the rest, Voldemort might have hesitated from hunting Harry down for fear of “marking him as his equal.”
3 HE DID NOT PLAN ON TAKING OUT LILY
Once he heard the part of the prophesy conveyed by Snape, Voldemort decided that the Potters were the family he had to take out.
Harry Potter would never threaten his reign. Snape was horrified when he realized who Voldemort meant to attack. He pleaded with Voldemort to only take down James and Harry and spare Lily.
It’s a rare display of even lip service mercy from Voldemort, but he did agree not to destroy Lily.
After he dispatched James, he marched upstairs to Harry’s room and ordered Lily to step aside. Lily of course would not, offering to die in Harry’s stead.
Ironically, Voldemort gave Lily the opportunity to cast her powerful protection of love on Harry by sacrificing herself.
Also, of course, that protection caused Voldemort’s curse to rebound back at him off Harry.
2 USING HARRY’S BLOOD DEFEATED HIM
When Voldemort hatched his plan to regain a body in Goblet of Fire, he wanted at least one specific component.
The reviving potion called for the blood of an enemy. Voldemort wanted blood from his greatest enemy, Harry Potter.
Voldemort and his faithful servant Barty Crouch Jr. enacted an elaborate scheme to deliver Harry to him, take his blood and then destroy him.
Voldemort believed that using Harry’s blood to regain his body would enable him to touch Harry physically, as he had been unable to do in Harry’s first year.
While that did happen, Voldemort unwittingly foiled himself as well. Harry’s mother’s protection, imbued in his blood, was transferred to Voldemort.
This prevented Voldemort from taking out Harry in the Forbidden Forrest, and ensured only the horcrux in Harry was destroyed.
1 HARRY POTTER AND VOLDEMORT ARE DISTANTLY RELATED
Harry Potter learned about the Peverell family in Deathly Hallows.
Xenophilius Lovegood was convinced that The Tale of the Three Brothers actually referred to the Peverell brothers, Antioch Cadmus and Ignotus.
While the tale claimed that at least two of the brothers passed away, presumably before having families, both Cadmus and Ignotus did have families.
Harry turns out to be descended from Ignotus Peverell, the wise younger brother who kept the Invisibility Cloak.
It passed all the way down to James Potter and eventually to Harry, thanks to Dumbledore.
While Voldemort is famously descended from Salazar Slytherin, he is also descended from Cadmus Peverell. Cadmus took the Resurrection Stone. His descendants, the Gaunts, kept the stone in a signet ring.
Are there any other things about Voldemort in Harry Potter that you’re sure people get wrong about him? Let us know in the comments!