Lord Voldemort isn't just the greatest villain in the Harry Potter series, he's also one of the most formidable antagonists in cinematic and literary history. Unlike some other famous baddies, Voldemort (AKA Tom Riddle) is the living embodiment of the darkest elements of our nature. He represents the suppressed qualities within each of us if they had been brought to the surface and allowed to swallow everything good. This is one of the reasons why the character has resonated with audiences all around the globe. He's a reminder that we are all capable of corrupting our own souls by letting anger, hurt, and jealousy consume us.
Another reason why the character has had such a big impact is due to his backstory. J.K. Rowling created such a vivid and ultimately mysterious history for Voldemort that has caused us all to lean forward. Although Voldemort surprised us with his wicked acts in the Harry Potter stories, Rowling has told us his past is just as dark.
Everything that Voldemort/Tom Riddle did before the events of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone proves he's one of the nastiest characters around. It's hard to determine whether this orphan's tragic past breeds sympathy for him, or just helps to shed light on why he became one of the darkest wizards in history. What is easy to determine is that, even as a young boy, Tom Riddle was a downright monster who had the skills to manipulate the minds of many.
Here are the 20 Most Wicked Things Voldemort Did Before Sorcerer's Stone.
20 Attacked Animals in His Orphanage
As science and psychology have proven, harming animals is usually a sign of antisocial personality disorders. Tom Riddle exhibited some of these behaviors long before he became one of the darkest wizards of all time. While at Wool's Orphanage in London, Tom manipulated and harmed animals. Although he was unaware of his legitimate magical heritage at the time, To believed that his mother was a circus worker, and therefore he someone how knew magic tricks.
He used his abilities to hang one of the other orphan's rabbits from the rafters when he was angry.
He also discovered that he could speak to snakes, which allowed him to use them as he wished.
19 Stole From Other Orphans
Voldemort was always a collector of artifacts and objects, even back in the day when he was an orphan boy known as Tom Riddle. When Tom was living at Wool's Orphanage in London, he would steal random objects from other orphans and hide them in his cupboard.
None of the orphans had all that much to their name, but Tom would find a way of determining which things they owned meant the most to them. He then stole these objects and kept them as trophies for his work. When a young Albus Dumbledore came to visit Tom, he found these objects and warned him that thievery wasn't tolerated at Hogwarts. After that, Tom made sure to keep his sticky hands in check.
18 The Incident In The Cave
One of the scariest and most mysterious moments from Voldemort's past was when he lured two orphans into the cave from The Half-Blood Prince. The two orphans, Amy Benson and Dennis Bishop, also lived at Wools with Tom at the time. Both of them were changed forever because of whatever went down in that place. J.K. Rowling revealed very few details about this particular incident, but she does say that the young Tom Riddle performed an act that was so disturbing that the two children never spoke about it again.
Whatever Tom did in that cave traumatized the orpans so much that they absolutely refused to share what he had done.
In fact, they seemed quite strange and removed ever since.
17 Presided Over His Hogwarts Friends Like A Cult Leader
Every leader needs a following. But in order to do that, one must be a charming, manipulative, and convincing. Tom got his start at doing all of these things with the Hogwarts professors, to whom he only showed his best qualities. Meanwhile, he managed to form a thuggish Slytherin gang that followed him around and backed him up when needed. Tom ruled over them like a cult leader, both because he could and because they let him.
The Slytherins who were in this group would ultimately create the foundation of the Death Eaters. Tom's gang consisted of members from the Avery, Lestrange, Rosier, Mulciber, and Nott families. All of these families had children who followed in their parent's sycophantic footsteps.
16 Opened The Chamber Of Secrets
As detailed in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Tom Riddle's obsession with his magical heritage led him to discover the Chamber underneath the grounds of Hogwarts. This event happened during Tom's fifth year at Hogwarts.
It was triggered by the revelation that Tom's father was a Muggle, which devastated him.
He managed to trace his mother's family line back to Salazar Slytherin, which made him the heir to Slytherin House. His genetic lineage allowed him to open the Chamber of Secrets, tame the Basilisk within, and sick it on the Muggle-born students at Hogwarts, as it was the wish of Salazar. Eventually, Tom was forced to close the Chamber and frame Hagrid's Acromantula for the attacks.
15 Took Out His Family
Tom had no connection with his family after his mother, Merope, dropped him off at Wool's Orphanage shortly after giving birth to him. She passed away almost immediately after this. Once at Hogwarts, Tom found out about his mother's heritage as well as his Muggle father's.
This revelation caused Tom to return to Little Hangleton where both the Riddles and his mother's family, the Gaunts, lived. He learned the details of his parent's union from his uncle, Morfin, who stated that Tom abandoned Merope once he found out she was a witch. It's also been suggested that she used a love potion on him that eventually wore off, causing him to leave. In either case, the sixteen-year-old Tom ruthlessly took out his father, as well as his paternal grandparents.
14 Framed His Uncle
J.K. Rowling made it very clear that Tom Riddle was less than impressed with his uncle Morfin Gaunt. The first two met after Tom found out about his mother and father's heritage and returned to Little Hangleton during a break from Hogwarts. After Morfin explained Tom Riddle Senior and Merope's unconventional and sorrowful relationship, Tom decided to eliminate his Muggle family. He did so with Morfin's wand, which Tom took from him.
Tom altered Morfin's memories in order to make Morfin believe that he was the one who eliminated the three Muggles.
The Ministry of Magic soon caught him, inspected his wand, and sent him to Azkaban for life. Tom, on the other hand, returned for another year of Hogwarts.
13 Split His Soul Into Horcruxes
The splitting of Tom's soul might just be one of the most famous wicked acts that he did before the events of the Sorcerer's Stone. Although Tom preserved part of his soul in his school diary in his fifth year, he didn't truly learn about Horcruxes until his sixth.
As detailed in The Half-Blood Prince, Tom came across this dark magic while reading a book in the restricted section of Hogwarts library. He then managed to convince Horace Slughorn to teach him how to continuously split his soul and hide it in objects in order to preserve his life should his body be wiped out. Throughout the course of Voldemort's younger years, it would become his mission to do track down the objects that he would imprint his soul upon.
12 Ended A Peasant's Life
After Professor Slughorn informed Tom how to split his soul and hide it in an object, Tom spent the following years creating these Horcruxes. Tom was also obsessed with collecting magical artifacts, especially those pertaining to the founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He had already received the Slytherin ring through his ancestry but wanted something from Ravenclaw House as well. Before leaving Hogwarts, Tom charmed the ghost of Ravenclaw House, Helena, into telling him where the famous Ravenclaw diadem was.
Tom traveled to a forest in Albania, where Helena claimed the diadem was.
As he found it, he took out a peasant who was in his way. This helped him preserve part of his soul in the diadem.
11 Swindled Family Heirlooms From Customers
Although Tom was a Slytherin House prefect, a model student, and was expected to do great things, he ended up taking a job at Borgin and Burkes after graduating Hogwarts. Tom received multiple offers to work for the Ministry of Magic, but rejected them all to work at the shop in Knockturn Alley. This surprised many but ultimately kept in-line with his secret mission.
During his time at Borgin and Burkes, Tom persuaded multiple witches and wizards to part with their most beloved magical objects. He was particularly good at this job. He even ended up making Borgin and Burkes decent money, but more importantly, this career led him to tracking down more of his desired magical objects.
10 Manipulated And Took Out Hepzibah Smith
While working at Borgin and Burkes, Tom Riddle befriended the heir to Hufflepuff House, the very wealthy Hepzibah Smith. He knew that Hepzibah had an assortment of priceless magical objects that he wanted to get his hands on, so he did his best to charm her. This wasn't hard for him as he still retained his looks, as well as his mastery at manipulation.
Hepzibah showed Tom her ancestor's cup, as well as the locket of Salazar Slytherin, which Tom believed rightfully belonged to him.
Tom quickly decided to end Hepzibah Smith's life and frame her house-elf, Hokey, for her demise. Although the Ministry believed that Hokey was responsible, this event caused Tom to disappear for a particularly long time with his newly stolen artifacts.
9 Cursed The Defense Against The Dark Arts Position At Hogwarts
The only job that Tom Riddle ever wanted was the Defense Against The Dark Arts position at Hogwarts. For various reasons, he was constantly denied the role. Even in his later years, he still attempted to win over Dumbledore to get the position. After Tom took out Hepzibah Smith, he mysteriously disappeared for a number of years. When he returned, he was openly referring to himself as "Lord Voldemort" and became more entrenched in the dark arts. He then asked Albus Dumbledore once more for the position. However, Dumbledore outright refused him again.
It's suspected that Voldemort cursing the Defense Against The Dark Arts position is what led to a yearly turn-over in teachers ever since.
It was a blatant act of revenge but eventually, it also helped him sneak in Professor Quirrell.
8 Grew an army-- sometimes by force
After Voldemort returned from his ten-year disappearance and was rejected from the Defense Against The Dark Arts position at Hogwarts, he spent the next few years spreading his ideology throughout the Wizarding World in Britain. His ideology at the time was mostly focused on the eradication of Muggles and Muggle-born witches and wizards. Additionally, he wanted complete control over the Ministry of Magic, which would allow him to enforce his bigotry.
Many witches and wizards joined his cause, as they supported his evil views. Voldemort also used the Imperius Curse on many people as well, forcing them into his ranks. He would also blackmail others, or convince dark creatures that they were being persecuted in order to persuade them into joining his cause.
7 Took Out A Family Of Goblins
During the First Wizarding War, which lasted from 1970 all the way until 1981, Voldemort managed to persuade many magical beings to join his ranks. He managed to track down any group of creatures who were seen as outcasts and convinced them that his rule would include their public acceptance. These creatures included the giants, who had been driven into the mountains by the Magical community, as well as the werewolves. Many in Britain's Wizarding World feared that Voldemort would get to the goblins, who weren't allowed to use wands due to Ministry enforcement.
The goblins stayed out of the war.
This could be because Voldemort took out an entire family of them near Nottingham. It's unknown why he did this, but it could have been because of their neutrality.
6 Waged War For 11 Years
The length of the First Wizarding War isn't often stressed, but it lasted for eleven years in total. Voldemort had gathered many supporters to join his Death Eaters, as well as an assortment of dark creatures who did his bidding. Thanks to Barty Crouch Sr., the Ministry of Magic ordered that Aurors were allowed to use the final Unforgivable Curse on any Death Eater without question. This, along with prosecutions without trails in the Wizengamot, led to more joining Voldemort's ranks. Most of his followers, at the time, wore masks to protect their identities.
Aside from the Ministry's Aurors, Dumbledore created The Order of the Phoenix who also battled Voldemort's forces. Voldemort had the upper-hand until he was seemingly destroyed the night he tried to take down Harry Potter.
5 He Tricked Kreacher Into Testing The Slytherin Locket
During the final stretch of the First Wizarding War, Lord Voldemort became a little worried that his Horcruxes would be compromised due to the number of people against him. He, therefore, decided to test the defenses on the Black family's curmudgeonly house-elf, Kreacher. Regulus Black, Sirius' brother, was a dedicated member of the Death Eaters at the time and willingly lent Kreacher to Lord Voldemort.
Voldemort took the house-elf to the cave where he hid Slytherin's locket. He then forced Kreacher through his lines of defense and left him there to pass away after he drank the Emerald Potion.
Kreacher managed to escape using his own magic, although he barely had breath left in his body.
He then found Regulus and told him what had happened.
4 Caused Regulus Black's Demise
Although Regulus Black was becoming uncomfortable with being a Death Eater, it took him until the incident with Kreacher to defect. Once Kreacher returned to Regulus, he told him how Voldemort nearly ended him by forcing him to retrieve the locket. This caused Regulus to go after it himself. He took a duplicate locket, placed a note inside, and hoped he could retrieve the original in order to eliminate it.
Kreacher took Regulus to the cave and past the traps. Once they reached the island with the Emerald Potion, Regulus told Kreacher to replace the original once the potion was drunk. When Regulus drank the poison, he went to the water to drink, but Inferi dragged him down to drown. Kreacher survived the incident and took the locket but was unable to destroy it himself.
3 Tried To Destroy The Order Of The Phoenix
During the First Wizarding War, Dumbledore's Order of the Phoenix caused Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters an immense amount of trouble. At the time, he was battling the Ministry's forces while trying to take over it. The Order of the Phoenix just made it that much hard for him to do so. To make matters worse, the Order was created by Albus Dumbledore, who was the only person that Voldemort was truly scared of. He also held deep animosity for Dumbledore since he was the one who denied him the Defense Against the Dark Arts job at Hogwarts.
The Order found ways of protecting themselves from Voldemort's forces during the war, as many of them were known to the Death Eaters.
Most of the time, protection spells were used to encase their homes.
2 Invaded People's Minds, Including His Followers
As Severus Snape told Harry in Order of the Phoenix, Voldemort often took pleasure in invading people's minds. Voldemort was a master of Occlumency and Legilimency. He could effectively shield his mind from attack, as well as inflicted his gifts on others. This was one of the ways he managed to convince so many people to do what he wanted; he was able to find out their darkest secrets. Because of this, he even blackmailed some of his own Death Eaters into doing things for him.
Since Voldemort could so easily telepathically invade people's minds, he could also unhinge elements of their being, driving them into madness. This was one of the most effective tools he used during the First Wizarding War.
1 Destroyed the Potters and Tried To Eliminate Harry
During the height of Voldemort's reign, Severus Snape overheard a prophecy being read by Sybill Trelawney. The prophecy detailed the birth of the one would bring down the Dark Lord. Although Snape only caught part of Sybill's prediction, he relayed this information to Voldemort.
The Dark Lord felt immensely threatened, so he tracked down the two boys who the prophecy could have referred to; Harry and Neville. Although both families were members of the Order of the Phoenix, Voldemort chose to go after Harry since they shared a similar Half-Blood heritage.
Since Order members were hidden, Voldemort received the whereabouts from the Potter's Secret Keeper, Wormtail. He then went to Godric's Hollow and took out both James and Lily. Finally, he came face-to-face with baby Harry and the rest is literary history.
What do you think is the most wicked thing that Voldemort did before Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone? Let us know in the comments below!