While Harry Potter eventually reigned supreme in his fight against Lord Voldemort, things could easily have gone the other way. If it wasn’t for some luck, those around him and his own brilliant mind The Boy Who Lived could easily have come up short, with the Dark Lord’s prowess nearly seeing him take over the wizarding world and destroy Harry’s life in the process.
With that in mind we now take a look at 10 times where Voldemort nearly won. Starting with something that we didn’t see happen either in the books or in the movies...
10 Creating Horcruxes
Creating Horcruxes sounds like one hell of an ordeal, but it was one Lord Voldemort was prepared to go through - despite being just a teenager when he started collecting them. The Dark Lord was willing to go through the pain because he knew that, if he made himself immortal, then the wizarding world would have no chance of stopping him.
The creation of seven - never mind one or two - makes him virtually impossible to beat. Even late into the Deathly Hallows, you’re wondering how Harry Potter and his friends are going to be able to stop him. And that speaks volumes about the powerful position Tom Riddle was in.
9 Godric’s Hollow
Voldemort appeared primed to take over the wizarding world before Harry Potter was born, with the Dark Lord’s wickedness spreading across the planet. He and his Death Eaters were gaining strength, wiping out key members of the Order of the Phoenix and having the entire globe on tenterhooks as to whether or not he’d pay a visit to their door.
Tom Riddle looked unstoppable before he visited Godric’s Hollow to eliminate James and Lilly Potter, as well as a young Harry. However, after killing the child’s parents, he is left shocked when his attempts to murder the little boy instead resulted in him losing his powers. Voldemort would spend years recovering, no doubt dwelling on how close he was to achieving his ultimate goal.
8 The Chamber Of Secrets
Hogwarts is left horrified when an unknown entity begins to travel around the castle, attacking muggle-born students (amongst others) left, right and center. Mrs. Norris is the first to get hurt before the likes of Colin Creevey, Justin Fitch-Fletchley and Hermione Granger - as well as school ghost Nearly Headless Nick - are all petrified.
Ultimately, it emerges that Voldemort is behind the attacks. Tom Riddle was able to use a diary to influence Ginny Weasley into opening the Chamber of Secrets and setting the Basilisk on Hogwarts’ students. He begins to drain Ginny’s life to rejuvenate himself but is defeated when Harry sticks a Basilisk fang trough the diary, destroying a piece of Voldemort’s soul in the process.
7 The Graveyard
How Voldemort must have kicked himself, or those around him when Harry Potter is able to escape the graveyard of Little Hangleton. The Dark Lord had spent a whole year planning to rejuvenate himself and murder the boy in one go, using Barty Crouch Jr to impersonate Alastor Moody and go undercover within the school itself.
Harry is there for the taking, with Voldemort tying him to a tombstone. But the Dark Lord makes the arrogant decision to give the Boy Who Lived a chance to fight back and Harry is eventually able to get to safety by using the portkey to return to Hogwarts. Had he remained imprisoned, he’d have lost the battle against his foe.
6 The Ministry Of Magic
In Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter is tricked into going to the Ministry of Magic when Lord Voldemort shows him godfather Sirius Black being tortured. Fearing for the closest thing he has to a father, the Boy Who Lived takes Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Ginny Weasley, Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood with him to save Sirius from a grim fate.
Except when he gets there, Sirius is nowhere to be seen. He’s been tricked and suffers the ultimate blow when his godfather is murdered by Bellatrix Lestrange, having come to rescue Harry. Voldemort then looks set to exploit Harry’s dire mental state by taking over his mind but, at the last minute, the Boy Who Lived is able to pull himself away from the darkness by thinking of the light.
5 Taking Over The World
Voldemort is primed to win - not necessarily against Harry, but the rest of the wizarding world. With the community in disarray following the shock death of Albus Dumbledore, the Dark Lord and his Death Eaters are able to take over by killing Minister of Magic Rufus Scrimgeour and subject the world to nothing but darkness and death.
Let’s face it. If Harry had not chosen to confront the villain, then Voldemort could have ruled for years. No other witch or wizard had the power, or the courage, to take him on. Fortunately, however, Harry refuses to throw in the towel with his enemy’s murderous antics merely fuelling his determination to end him once and for all.
4 Godric’s Hollow Again
Another time Voldemort nearly won was when he came agonizingly close to getting to Harry Potter and Hermione Granger when they recklessly decide to visit Godric’s Hollow. The duo pay a visit to the place where James and Lily Potter died not only to pay their respects but also because they’re sure that Albus Dumbledore has left the sword of Godric’s Gryffindor with Bathilda Bagshot.
Yet when they meet Bathilda, she isn’t human. Instead, the Dark Lord’s pet snake Nagini has taken her body and, upon luring Harry and Hermione to Bathilda’s home, she alerts Voldemort. He travels there in haste but is just a second away, with the duo able to escape thanks to Hermione’s quick-thinking.
3 Getting The Elder Wand
Nobody has a clue that Harry is the true owner of The Elder Wand in Deathly Hallows Part 2. And when Voldemort acquires it, wrestling it away from the tight grip of Albus Dumbledore’s dead body on the Hogwarts Grounds, you can’t help but feel The Boy Who Lived now has no chance of winning. The world’s worst wizard, with the world’s most powerful weapon? Yikes.
It’s certainly a time where everybody, even those closest to Harry, begin to doubt whether or not they can succeed. It’s eventually revealed, however, that the wand’s true master is Harry who had taken it from its previous owner, Draco Malfoy, during a showdown at Malfoy Manor. And speaking of which...
2 Malfoy Manor
Harry, Ron and Hermione are all captured by a group of Snatchers, who bring them to Malfoy Manor convinced that the trio have something to hide. Once there, Bellatrix Lestrange begins to torture Hermione while Harry and Ron join Luna Lovegood, Dean Thomas and wandmaker Ollivander in the manor’s sizeable underground dungeon.
Voldemort is informed that Harry is in his Death Eaters’ clutches and races to get to him. By that time, however, Dobby has turned up. The House Elf dies saving his friends, teleporting them to the safe haven that is Shell Cottage, house of Billy Weasley and Fleur Delacour. And The Dark Lord cannot contain his fury, murdering many of the manor’s inhabitants in a huge, rage-fuelled act.
1 Battle Of Hogwarts
Readers and viewers were both left reeling when Harry Potter comes to the conclusion that he must sacrifice himself in order for the wizarding war to end and for Voldemort to be defeated. He uses the Resurrection Stone to enlist the help of his parents, Sirius Black and Remus Lupin as he offers himself on a plate to the Dark Lord - who strikes him down with the killing curse.
Except Harry doesn’t die. He should have, but he doesn’t. Instead, his sacrifice sees the fragment of Voldemort’s soul that lives within him destroyed and paves the way for the Order of the Phoenix’s sensational triumph at the end of the blockbuster.