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Lord Voldemort ( or ) is a fictional character and the main antagonist in the Harry Potter novel series written by British author J. K. Rowling. Voldemort first appeared in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, which was released in 1997. Voldemort appeared either in person or in flashbacks in each book in the series, except the third, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, where he was only mentioned. Voldemort has also appeared in all the corresponding film adaptations as of present date, except the third. Voldemort has been voted number one in polls for both literary and film villains.

In the series, Voldemort is the archenemy of Harry Potter, who according to a prophecy has the power to defeat him. He aims to conquer not just the Wizarding world, but the Muggle (non-magical) world as well. He is so feared that almost no one uses his real name, instead referring to him as "You-Know-Who" or "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named." Even his followers only refer to him as the "Dark Lord". He was born Tom Marvolo Riddle, the last descendant of wizard Salazar Slytherin, one of the four founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

According to an interview with Rowling, "Voldemort" is pronounced with a silent 't' at the end, as is common in French. This was the pronunciation used by Jim Dale in the first four U.S. audiobooks; however, after the release of the film version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, in which the characters who dared refer to him by name pronounced it with the "t", Dale altered his pronunciation to that in the films. The pronunciation has since been used in the other films as well.

Character development

According to a 1999 interview with Rowling, Voldemort was invented as a nemesis for Harry Potter, the main protagonist of the series, and she intentionally did not flesh out Voldemort's backstory at first. "The basic idea [was that Harry] didn't know he was a wizard [...] And so then I kind of worked backwards from that position to find out how that could be, that he wouldn't know what he was. [...] When he was one year old, the most evil wizard for hundreds and hundreds of years attempted to kill him. He killed Harry's parents, and then he tried to kill Harry — he tried to curse him. [...] Harry has to find out, before we find out. And - so - but for some mysterious reason the curse didn't work on Harry. So he's left with this lightning bolt shaped scar on his forehead and the curse rebounded upon the evil wizard, who has been in hiding ever since."

In the course of the second book, Rowling established the hypocrisy that Voldemort hated non-pure-blood wizards, despite being a half-blood himself. In a 2000 interview with the BBC, Rowling fleshed Voldemort out as a self-hating bully: "Well I think it is often the case that the biggest bullies take what they know to be their own defects, as they see it, and they put them right on someone else and then they try and destroy the other and that's what Voldemort does." In the same year, Rowling became more precise about Voldemort. She began to link him to charismatic real-life tyrants, describing him as "a raging psychopath, devoid of the normal human responses to other people's suffering". However, according to statements in 2004, Rowling says that Voldemort is not directly based on any historical character. In 2006, Rowling established that Voldemort at his core has a very human fear: the fear of death. She said: "Voldemort's fear is death, ignominious death. I mean, he regards death itself as ignominious. He thinks that it's a shameful human weakness, as you know. His worst fear is death."

Throughout the series, Rowling established that the name "Voldemort" is so feared in the Wizarding World that it is considered dangerous even to speak his name. Most characters in the novels refer to him as "You-Know-Who" or "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" rather than saying his name aloud. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, a taboo is placed upon the name, such that Voldemort or his followers may trace anyone who utters it. In the second book, Rowling reveals that I am Lord Voldemort is an anagram of the character's birth name, Tom Marvolo Riddle. According to the author, Voldemort's name is invented and has no real life basis. Nonetheless, some literary analysts have argued otherwise: Philip Nel states that Voldemort is derived from the French for "flight of death,"and in a 2002 paper, Nilsen and Nilsen argue that readers may get a "creepy feeling" from the name Voldemort, because of the French word "mort" and its association with cognate English words derived from the Latin mors.

Appearances

First three books

Lord Voldemort makes his debut in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. In this story, Rowling introduces him as the Dark Lord who murdered Harry's parents, but as a result of his mother's love and willingness to sacrifice herself for him, baby Harry survives when Voldemort tries to murder him with a Killing Curse. Voldemort is disembodied, and Harry carries a mysterious scar on his forehead as a result. During the course of the book, Voldemort unsuccessfully tries to regain his dissolved body by stealing the titular Philosopher's Stone. To achieve his objective, Voldemort uses Professor Quirrell's aid by latching himself onto the back of Quirrell's head. However, at the climax of the book, Harry manages to prevent Voldemort from stealing the stone.

In the second instalment, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Rowling introduces the character of Tom Marvolo Riddle, a manifestation of a teenage Voldemort that resides inside a magical diary found by Ginny Weasley. In this book, Ginny is written as a shy girl with a crush on Harry. Feeling anxious and lonely, she begins to write into the diary and shares her deepest fears with the sympathetic Tom. However, at the climax of the story, when Tom Marvolo Riddle rearranges the letters in his name to create the anagram of "I am Lord Voldemort", the nature of Tom as a magical manifestation of the boy who would later grow up to become the Dark Lord is revealed. Riddle states he has grown strong on her fears and eventually possesses Ginny. He then uses her as a pawn to unlock the Chamber of Secrets, whence a basilisk is set free and petrifies several Hogwarts students. Harry defeats both the Riddle from the diary and the basilisk. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Dumbledore reveals to Harry that the diary was one of Voldemort's Horcruxes (an external vessel which contains a part of his torn soul).

In the third book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Voldemort does not appear, either in person or in the form of a magical manifestation. He is, however, heard when Harry passes out from the harsh effects of a Dementor. Towards the end of the story Sybill Trelawney, the Divination professor, makes a rare genuine prophecy: The Dark Lord lies alone and friendless, abandoned by his followers. His servant has been chained these twelve years. Tonight, before midnight, the servant will break free and set out to rejoin his master. The Dark Lord will rise again with his servant's aid, greater and more terrible than ever before. Tonight... before midnight... the servant... will set out... to rejoin... his master... Though it is initially implied that the prophecy refers to Sirius Black, the book's ostensible antagonist, the servant is eventually revealed to be Peter Pettigrew, who, since the fall of Voldemort, has been disguised as Ron Weasley's pet rat, Scabbers.

Fourth to sixth books

In the fourth instalment of the series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Voldemort appears at the start and the climax of the book. Rowling lets many seemingly unrelated plot elements fall into order. It is revealed that Voldemort's minion Barty Crouch Jr, disguised as Hogwarts professor Mad-Eye Moody, has manipulated the events of the Triwizard Tournament. Voldemort's goal is to teleport Harry as a reluctant participant to the Little Hangleton graveyard, where the Riddle family is buried. Harry is captured and, after Pettigrew uses Harry's blood to fulfil a gruesome magical ritual, Voldemort regains his body and is restored to his full power. For the first time in the series, Rowling describes his appearance: "tall and skeletally thin", with a face "whiter than a skull, with wide, livid scarlet eyes and a nose that was as flat as a snake’s with slits for nostrils". Rowling writes that his "hands were like large, pale spiders; his long white fingers caressed his own chest, his arms, his face; the red eyes, whose pupils were slits, like a cat's, gleamed still more brightly through the darkness". It was revealed that, while in Albania, Pettigrew had captured the Ministry of Magic official Bertha Jorkins, who was tortured for information about the Ministry. After they learned that Barty Crouch Jr, a faithful Death Eater, had been smuggled out of Azkaban and was privately confined at his father's house, they killed her. With Pettigrew's help, Voldemort created a small, rudimentary body, corporeal enough to travel and perform magic, and formulated a plan to restore his own body by capturing Harry. A portion of the plan had been overheard by Frank Bryce, a gardener, whom Voldemort then killed. Voldemort then completes his plan and returns to life in his full body as a result of the ritual with Harry's blood. He then summons his Death Eaters to the graveyard to witness the death of Harry as he challenges Harry to a duel. However, when Voldemort duels Harry, their wands become magically locked together due to the twin Phoenix feather cores of the wands. Because of a phenomenon later revealed as Priori Incantatem, ghost-like manifestations of Voldemort's most recent victims (including Harry's parents) then appear and distract Voldemort, allowing Harry just enough time to escape via Portkey with the body of fellow-student, Cedric Diggory, who was murdered by Pettigrew on Voldemort's orders.

In the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Voldemort appears at the climax, having again carefully plotted against Harry. In this book, Harry goes through extreme emotional stress, and according to Rowling, it was necessary to prove that Harry is emotionally vulnerable and thus human, in contrast to his nemesis Voldemort, who is emotionally invulnerable and thus inhuman: "[Harry is] a very human hero, and this is, obviously, there’s a contrast, between him, as a very human hero, and Voldemort, who has deliberately dehumanised himself. […] and Harry, therefore, did have to reach a point where he did almost break down." In this book, Voldemort makes liberal use of the Ministry of Magic's refusal to believe that he has returned. Voldemort engineers a plot to free Bellatrix Lestrange and some other Death Eaters from Azkaban and then embarks on a scheme to retrieve the full record of a prophecy regarding Harry and himself which is stored in the Department of Mysteries. He sends a group of Death Eaters to retrieve the prophecy, where they are met by the Order of the Phoenix. All but Bellatrix are captured, and Voldemort engages in a ferocious duel with Dumbledore. Voldemort attempts to possess Harry but finds that he cannot; Harry is too full of that which Voldemort finds detestable: love. Sensing that Dumbledore could win, Voldemort disapparates, but not before the Minister for Magic sees him in person, making his return to life public knowledge.

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In the sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Voldemort once again declares war, and begins to rise to power once more. He murders Amelia Bones of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, and begins to target members of the Order of the Phoenix, including Emmeline Vance.

Rowling uses several chapters as exposition to establish Voldemort's backstory. In a series of flashbacks, using the pensieve as a plot device, she reveals that Voldemort is the son of the witch Merope Gaunt and Muggle Tom Riddle, Sr. Riddle abandons Merope before their child's birth, soon after which Merope dies, just hours after giving birth. Tom Riddle, Sr. never attempts to find his son. After living in an orphanage, young Tom is told that he is a wizard by Albus Dumbledore, who arranges for him to attend Hogwarts. Riddle is outwardly a model pupil, but is in reality a sadist who enjoys using his powers to harm and control people. He eventually murders his father and grandparents as revenge for abandoning him. The book also discusses Riddle's hatred of "Muggles" (non-magical humans), his obsession with Horcruxes, and his desire to split his soul in order to achieve immortality. Rowling stated Voldemort's conception under the influence of a love potion is related to his inability to understand love.

In the main plot of the book, Voldemort's next step is to engineer an assault on Hogwarts, and to attack Dumbledore himself. This is accomplished by Draco Malfoy, who arranges transportation of Death Eaters into Hogwarts by means of a pair of Vanishing Cabinets, which bypass the extensive protective enchantments placed around the school. The cabinets allow Voldemort's Death Eaters to enter Hogwarts, where battle commences and Dumbledore is cornered. Hogwarts professor (and triple agent) Severus Snape uses the Killing Curse against Dumbledore when Draco is unable to do so himself.

Final book

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Voldemort furthers his quest for ultimate power. He disposes of the Minister for Magic and replaces him with Pius Thicknesse, who is under the Imperius Curse. Establishing a totalitarian police state, he has Muggle-borns persecuted and arrested for "stealing magic" from the "pure blood" wizards. After failing to kill Harry with Lucius Malfoy's borrowed wand (to avoid the effect of Priori Incantatem), he goes on a murderous search for the Elder Wand, the most powerful wand ever created, seeing it as the weapon he needs to overcome Harry's wand and make him truly invincible. He goes on a quest that takes him out of the country to Gregorovitch's wand shop, where he kills the old wandmaker. His journey also takes him to Nurmengard, the prison where Gellert Grindelwald is kept, and he kills Grindelwald as well. He finally locates the Elder Wand and steals it from Dumbledore's tomb.

Later, he finds out that Harry and his friends are stealing and destroying his Horcruxes. After offering the occupants of Hogwarts mercy if they give up Harry, he assembles a large army and launches an invasion of the castle, where Harry is searching for Ravenclaw's Lost Diadem, one of the Horcruxes. Voldemort orders his pet snake Nagini to execute Snape, believing it would make him the true master of the Elder Wand, since Snape killed Dumbledore. He then calls an hour's armistice, in exchange for Harry. When Harry willingly walks into Voldemort's camp in the Forbidden Forest, Voldemort strikes him down with the Elder Wand. However, the use of Harry's blood to resurrect Voldemort's body proves to be a major setback: while Harry's blood runs in Voldemort's veins, Harry cannot be killed as his mother's protection lives on now in Voldemort too. Instead, Voldemort himself destroys the part of his own soul that resides in Harry’s body. Voldemort forces Rubeus Hagrid to carry the apparently lifeless body of Harry back to the castle as a trophy, sparking another battle during which Nagini, his last Horcrux, is destroyed by Neville Longbottom. The battle then moves into the Great Hall, where Voldemort fights Minerva McGonagall, Kingsley Shacklebolt, and Horace Slughorn simultaneously. Harry then reveals himself and explains to Voldemort that Draco became the true master of the Elder Wand when he disarmed Dumbledore; Harry, in turn, won the wand's allegiance when he took Draco's wand. Voldemort nonetheless casts the Killing Curse with the Elder Wand while Harry uses a Disarming Charm with Draco's, but the Elder Wand refuses to kill its master and the spell rebounds on Voldemort who, with all of his Horcruxes destroyed, is finally killed.

Rowling stated that after his death, Voldemort is forced to exist in the stunted infant-like form that Harry sees in the King's Crossmarker-like Limbo after his confrontation with Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest. Rowling also mentioned that, despite his extreme fear of death, he is unable to become a ghost.

Portrayals within films

As of 2009, Voldemort appears in five Harry Potter films, namely Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Six different actors have portrayed him, in his varying incarnations and ages.

In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Voldemort's manifestation is as a face on the back of Quirrell's head, an effect achieved by computer generated imagery. Ian Hart, the actor who played Quirrell in the same film, provided both the voice and the facial source for this character. Voldemort also appears in a scene in the Forbidden Forest where he is seen sucking the blood of a unicorn. As Voldemort's face was altered enough by CG work, and Hart's voice was affected enough, there was no confusion by Hart's playing of the two roles. In that film, he was also shown in a flashback sequence when he arrived at the home of James and Lily Potter to kill them. In this scene Voldemort is played by Richard Bremmer, though his face is never seen. His next appearance would be in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets as the 16-year-old Tom Marvolo Riddle (portrayed by Christian Coulson).
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Voldemort is initially only heard, possessing the scratchy, weak voice heard in the first film. By the film's climax, however, he appears in his actual physical form for the first time, played by Ralph Fiennes. As in the book, Voldemort is shown clad in dark black robes, being tall and emaciated, with no hair and yellowish teeth; his wand has a white tone and the handle appears to be made of bone; his finger nails are long and pale blue while his toe nails appear to be infected. Unlike in the book, his pupils are not snake-like and his eyes are blue, because producer David Heyman felt that his evil would not be able to be seen and would not fill the audience with fear (his eyes do briefly take on a snake-like appearance when he opens them after turning human, but quickly turn normal). As in the book, the film version of Voldemort has no nose and has snake-like slit nostrils. Ralph Fiennes' nose was not covered in makeup on the set, but was digitally removed in post-production. The film version of Voldemort also has a forked tongue.

Fiennes himself stated that he had two weeks to shoot the climactic showdown scene where he is gloating over a terrified Harry, played by Daniel Radcliffe. Fiennes said with a chuckle: "I have no doubt children will be afraid of me now if they weren't before." In preparation, he read the novel Goblet of Fire, but jokingly conceded: "I was only interested in my scene, and I had to go through thousands and thousands of other scenes which I did, dutifully, until I got to my scene and I read it many, many, many, many, many times and that was my research." Fiennes reprised his role as Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Fiennes's nephew, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, portrayed Tom Riddle as a child in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Actor Frank Dillane replaced Christian Coulson as the adolescent Riddle in the same movie.

Characterisation

Personality

Rowling described Voldemort as "the most evil wizard for hundreds and hundreds of years". She elaborated that he is a "raging psychopath, devoid of the normal human responses to other people's suffering".He feels no desire or need for human companionship or friendship, and is unable to comprehend the idea of love or affection for another.He believes he is superior to everyone around him, to the point that he frequently refers to himself in the third-person as "Lord Voldemort." Rowling alluded to this saying that Voldemort is "incredibly power hungry. Racist, really". Rowling has also stated that if Voldemort looked into the Mirror of Erised, he would see "Himself, all-powerful and eternal. That's what he wants."

Rowling also stated that the fact that Voldemort is conceived under the love potion Amortentia — administered by the witch Merope Gaunt to the Muggle Tom Riddle — is related to his inability to understand love; it is "a symbolic way of showing that he came from a loveless union – but of course, everything would have changed if Merope had survived and raised him herself and loved him. The enchantment under which Tom Riddle fathered Voldemort is important because it shows coercion, and there can’t be many more prejudicial ways to enter the world than as the result of such a union".

Like most archetypical villains (particularly the evil genius archetype), Voldemort's arrogance inevitably leads to his downfall. He also suffers from a pathological fear of death, which he regards as a shameful and ignominious human weakness. According to Rowling, his Boggart would be his own corpse. Rowling also said that the difference between Harry and Voldemort is that Harry accepts mortality, and thus Harry is in the end stronger than his nemesis.

Magical abilities and skills

Throughout the series, Rowling establishes Voldemort as an extremely powerful, intelligent, and ruthless Dark Wizard. He is also known as one of the greatest Legilimens in the world and a highly accomplished Occlumens, and is thus able to read minds as well as shield his own from penetration. However, in the seventh book, he loses control, allowing Harry to see occasionally through his eyes and hear his thoughts. Voldemort can fly without support, a trait he first exhibits while in pursuit of Harry over Little Whinging. In addition, Voldemort can also speak Parseltongue, a skill he inherited from his ancestor, Salazar Slytherin. It seems that most of his Gaunt ancestors inherited this highly unusual trait: such traits are commonly passed down through families through inbreeding, a practice employed by the Gaunt Family. When Voldemort attempts to kill Harry his ability to speak Parseltongue is passed to Harry through the small bit of the former's soul. After that bit of soul is destroyed, Harry loses this ability. Voldemort claims he has experimented and pushed the boundaries of magic farther than they had ever been pushed. Dumbledore states that Voldemort's knowledge of magic is more extensive than any wizard alive and that even Dumbledore's most powerful protective spells and charms would not likely be sufficient if Voldemort returned to full power. Dumbledore also said that Voldemort was probably the most brilliant student Hogwarts has ever seen. But, although Voldemort remains highly accomplished and prodigious in skill, he is enormously lacking and highly inept in the most powerful kind of magic, namely Love. This inability to love and trust others proves to be Voldemort's greatest weakness in the series. Voldemort initially voices skepticism that his own kind of magic might not be the most powerful, but upon returning to power, he concedes to the loyal Death Eaters who returned to his side that Lily Potter had invoked an ancient and powerful magic that would protect Harry from harm, and that Voldemort had overlooked this.

On her homepage, Rowling wrote that Voldemort's wand is made of yew, whose sap is poisonous and which symbolises death. It forms a deliberate contrast to Harry's wand, whose wand is made of holly, which she chose because holly is alleged to repel evil.

Rowling establishes in the books that Voldemort is magically connected to Harry via Harry's forehead scar. He disembodies himself when his Killing Curse targeting Harry rebounds on him, leaving the scar on Harry's forehead. In the books, Harry's scar serves as an indicator of Voldemort's presence: it burns when the Dark Lord is near or whenever Voldemort is feeling particularly murderous or exultant. According to Rowling, by attacking Harry when he was a baby Voldemort gave him "tools [that] no other wizard possessed – the scar and the ability it conferred, a magical window into Voldemort's mind."

Outward appearance

After he regained his body in the fourth book, Rowling described Voldemort as having very pale skin, a chalk-white, skull-like face, snake-like slits for nostrils, red eyes and cat-like slits for pupils, a skeletally thin body and long, thin hands with unnaturally long fingers. As mentioned in the first chapter of the seventh book, he also has no lips. Earlier in life, as seen through flashbacks contained in the second and sixth books, Tom Marvolo Riddle is described as very handsome. As Tom Riddle, he was tall and had pale skin, jet black hair, and dark eyes. He was able to charm many people with his looks. The transformation into his monstrous state is believed to have been the result of creating his Horcruxes, becoming less human as he continued to divide his soul. Dumbledore also speculates that Voldemort may have gained his hideous appearance by undergoing dangerous magical transformations. In the movies (with the exception of the first), however, Voldemort's eyes are blue with round pupils.

Family

Family tree

Note: The names 'Thomas' and 'Mary' Riddle are taken from the films.

Riddle family

The Riddle family consisted of old Mr and Mrs Riddle (named Thomas and Mary Riddle in the film adaptation of the fourth novel) and their son, Tom Riddle (Senior). They owned over half of the valley in which the town of Little Hangleton lay, and Thomas was the most prominent inhabitant of that town. They lived in a large house with fine gardens, and were very unpopular locally, due to their snobbish attitudes. Tom, apparently the only child of Thomas and Mary, certainly indulged in the typical pursuits of the upper class in the first half of the twentieth century, socialising with attractive women of his class, riding horses, and enjoying his status in the town.

Rowling revealed in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince that young Merope Gaunt made efforts to get as close to Tom as she could, peering at him through the windows and bushes at every opportunity. Morfin noticed his sister's affection for Tom Riddle, and hexed Tom as he rode by, covering him in hives. This breach of wizarding law, and the ensuing violent struggle with Ministry of Magic officials, led to Marvolo and Morfin being imprisoned in Azkaban. As surmised by Dumbledore, once Merope was alone and no longer dominated by her father, she was able to make her move for Tom Riddle. She offered Tom a drink laced with a love potion as he rode by one day without his attractive companion, Cecilia. He became infatuated with Merope and they eloped. Within three months of the marriage, Merope became pregnant. Merope decided to stop giving Tom the love potion; she believed either that he had fallen in love with her on his own or he would at least stay for their unborn child. She was wrong, and Tom quickly left his pregnant wife and went home to his parents, claiming to have been "hoodwinked" and tricked into marrying Merope. Tom Marvolo Riddle, their son, was born on the 31st of December and was left to grow up in an orphanage, as Merope had died soon after giving birth.

Readers first learn about the doom of the Riddles in the beginning of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Tom Riddle Sr and his parents were murdered by Tom Marvolo Riddle himself. The Riddles' gardener Frank Bryce was blamed for the murders in the Muggle world, though he was never charged or tried, while in the Wizarding world Morfin Gaunt was framed for them and died in Azkaban prison.

Gaunt family

Most of the House of Gaunt background is exposed in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince through Dumbledore's Pensieve. The Gaunts were once a very powerful and influential family, the last known descendants of Salazar Slytherin. However, an infamous streak of instability and violence that was reinforced by intermarriage to preserve the pureblood line had reduced them to poverty and squalor, as shown in the Pensieve's memory that Harry and Dumbledore witnessed. Like Salazar Slytherin, the Gaunts were Parselmouths.

Marvolo Gaunt was the last Gaunt family patriarch. He was sentenced to a short term in Azkaban for his and his son's assault upon a Ministry of Magic official. His stint in Azkaban affected Marvolo's health and he died soon after returning home. His signet ring passed to his son, Morfin Gaunt, who was convicted of assaulting a Muggle, and later died in Azkaban after being convicted again, this time for the murder of Tom Riddle Sr and Riddle's parents, a crime actually committed by his nephew. The truth was discovered much later by Dumbledore, who visited Morfin at Azkaban to gather information about Voldemort. After Dumbledore successfully extracted Morfin's memory of his encounter with his nephew, he tried to use the evidence to have Morfin released, but Morfin died before the decision could be made. As he was the last male Gaunt, the House of Gaunt ended with Morfin's death.

Merope Gaunt ( ) was the daughter of Marvolo, sister of Morfin. Harry's first impression of her was that she looked "like the most defeated person he had ever seen", probably because she lived in raggedness, squalor and abuse. She married Tom Riddle Sr and became pregnant within three months of the wedding. It is suggested that she tricked her husband by using a love potion, but when she became pregnant, she decided to stop administering the potion. It is implied that Merope had grown tired of living a lie and thought that her husband might have grown to love her, or that he might have stayed for the sake of their unborn child; however, he left her. Desperate, Merope wandered through the streets of Londonmarker. The only thing she had left was the heavy gold locket that had once belonged to Salazar Slytherin, one of her family's most treasured items, which she sold for a very small amount. By the time she was due to give birth, she stumbled into a Muggle orphanage; within the hour, she gave birth to her only son, Tom Marvolo Riddle, and died within the next hour.

The Gaunts are distantly related to Harry because all of them are descendants of the Peverell brothers.

Reception

Several people have drawn parallelism between the Lord Voldemort and some politicians. Alfonso Cuarón, director of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban compared Voldemort with George W. Bush and Saddam Hussein, as the two of them "...have selfish interests and are very much in love with power. Also, a disregard for the environment. A love for manipulating people." Andrew Slack and the Harry Potter Alliance compare media consolidation in the U.S. to Voldemort's regime in Deathly Hallows and its control over the Daily Prophet and other media saying that "Once Voldemort took over every form of media in the Wizarding World, Dumbledore's Army and the Order of the Phoenix formed an independent media movement called 'Potterwatch'. Now the HP Alliance and Wizard Rock have come together to fight for a Potterwatch movement in the real world to fight back against Big VoldeMedia from further pushing out local and foreign news, minority representation, and the right to a Free Press." Julia Turner from Slate Magazine also noted similarities between the events of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and the current War on Terror. She said that Voldemort takes up terrorism by destroying bridges, murdering innocents, and forcing children (like Draco) to kill their elders. Rowling herself has admitted that Voldemort was "a sort of" Adolf Hitler, and that there is some parallelism with Nazism in her books. Rowling also compared Voldemort with Joseph Stalin.

Voldemort has also been compared with other characters within fiction, for example Sauron from The Lord of the Rings; both of them are, during the time when the main plot takes place, seeking to recover their lost power after having been considered dead or at least no longer a threat, and are also so feared that they are sometimes unnamed. Author Christopher Hitchens wrote in the 12 August 2007 edition of The New York Times that, in the final book, Voldemort "becomes more tiresome than an Ian Fleming villain."

Voldemort was voted by British school children as their favourite literary villain of all time in a 2006 BigBadRead poll. Voldemort is the number one film villain, according to Moviefone, in a list that also includes Hannibal Lecter (The Silence of the Lambs), Darth Vader (Star Wars), and Cruella de Vil (101 Dalmatians).

In popular culture

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Several campaigns have used Lord Voldemort to compare his evilness to the influence of politicians, large media and corporations. "Lord Voldemort" is a nickname sometimes used for Peter Mandleson. The website Wal-Mart Watch uses parodies of Harry Potter to compare Wal-Martmarker to Voldemort, calling Wal-Mart "The Dark Lord WaldeMart". There is also a campaign called Stop Big Media by the Harry Potter Alliance, that fights for media consolidation and "for what Harry, the Order of the Phoenix, and Potterwatch did not have: the right to a free press." The campaign is supported by a compilation album, Rocking Out Against Voldemedia, which features 10 songs by ten wizard rock bands. Voldemort is a recurring theme among wizard rock bands. Voldemort Can't Stop the Rock! is the name of the second album from Harry and the Potters, and the character is referred in songs such as "The Dark Lord Lament" and "Flesh, Blood, and Bone".

Voldemort has been parodied in various venues. In The Simpsons 13th season's premiere, "Treehouse of Horror XII", the character of Montgomery Burns appears as Lord Montymort. A parody of Voldemort appears in The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy as the character of Lord Moldybutt, an enemy of Nigel Planter (a parody of Harry himself). In these episodes, whenever someone says Lord Moldybutt's name, something unfortunate happens, usually to Moldybutt himself. Voldemort also appears in the The Potter Puppet Pals sketches by Neil Cicierega. One of the episodes titled "Trouble at Hogwarts" features Voldemort being killed with machine guns. Another episode, "The Mysterious Ticking Noise", shows Snape, Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Dumbledore being killed by a bomb placed by Voldemort; the episode being the seventeenth most viewed video of all time as of 2008 and the winner for "Best Comedy" of the year 2007 at YouTube.

In Time, Lon Tweeten shows with Continuing the Magic possible future book covers laced with pop culture references. One of them, the "Dark Lord of the Dance", shows Voldemort teaming up with Harry on Broadwaymarker. In the MAD Magazine parodies of the films, the character is called Lord Druckermort, a backwards reference to the magazine's longtime caricaturist Mort Drucker. In Alistair McGowan's Big Impression show, during the sketch called "Louis Potter and the Philosopher's Scone", Gary Lineker appears as the Voldemort figure. In one of the Harry Bladder sketches in All That, Headmaster Pimpell's grotesque pimple turns out to be the head of Lord Moldyshorts. In Harry Podder: Dude Where's My Wand?, a play by Desert Star Theatermarker in Utah, written by sisters Laura J., Amy K. and Anna M. Lewis, Voldemort appears as evil wizard Voldie.

References

  1. Lord Voldemort Number One Movie Villain According to Moviefone
  2. , chapter 18
  3. , chapter 4
  4. , chapter 17
  5. , chapter 16
  6. , chapter 32
  7. , chapter 34
  8. , chapters 35-37
  9. , chapter 36
  10. , chapters 36-38
  11. , chapters 363738
  12. , chapter 8
  13. , chapters 12, 13, and 15
  14. , chapter 4
  15. , chapter 14
  16. , chapter 31
  17. , chapter 32
  18. , chapter 34
  19. , chapter 36
  20. , chapter 35
  21. , chapter 37
  22. , chapter 20
  23. , chapter 33
  24. .
  25. , chapters 32 to 35
  26. , chapter 13
  27. , chapter 23
  28. F.A.Q
  29. , chapter1
  30. , chapter 10
  31. , chapter 17
  32. *Pierce, Nev. Reel Life - 28th July 2003 BBC *
  33. * The Phoenix * Huffington Post
  34. Turner, Julia When Harry Met Osama; Terrorism comes to Hogwarts. 20 July, 2005
  35. J.K. Rowling outs Dumbledore! | PopWatch Blog | EW.com
  36. New Interview with J.K. Rowling for Release of Dutch Edition of "Deathly Hallows" - The Leaky Cauldron
  37. Daily Telegraph page 23, 20 December 2008.
  38. Harry Potter and the Dark Lord WaldeMart.
  39. StopBidMedia.com: Rock Out Against Voldemedia
  40. "Treehouse of Horror XII" episode capsule at The Simpsons Archive


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