Hi and welcome to my latest article where I would like to explore Lord Voldemort (Yes I said it!) and reveal the background, my thoughts and many more facts about the most powerful wizard ever to exercise the dark arts!
I hope you will find the information in this Voldemort character analysis useful and if you have a few moments to spare, I would love to hear your thoughts about Voldemort so please be sure to leave a comment at the bottom of the article!
Love or hate, Voldemort is such an iconic figure of the Harry Potter world, that it would be wrong to not give him credit where it’s due!
We’ll discuss Tom Riddle’s early days prior to the transformation into the ‘Dark Lord’, his time at Hogwarts and beyond.
I think it’s very relevant to your research in discovering how and when the transition from Riddle to Voldemort occurred, so hold onto your sorting hats, an excellent read is coming your way!
He Who Shall Not Be Named – Background
Tom Marvolo Riddle, as he was named at birth, is the arch-nemesis of Harry Potter. Voldermort, of course, tried to kill Harry Potter as a baby during his reign of terror but was unable to, instead, killing both of Harry’s parents, Lily and James.
Harry is the only human even to have survived the killing curse, Avada Kedavra!
Voldemort’s failed attempt left Harry with a scare of a lightning bolt on his forehead! A nice fact to reveal here is that Harry and ‘him’ are actually distant cousins!
Distant yes, but it’s true and I wonder if this bloodline connection was actually an element of fate that these two powerful souls would actually become the biggest of foes?
Food for thought here I guess? What are your thoughts on the Riddle-Potter connection? I would love to hear them!
We know that Lord Voldemort is the most powerful dark wizard to ever live and you only have to note the fact that everybody in the magical world dares not use his name, tell you just how feared Lord Voldemort was.
They instead use terms as “You know who” or “He who shall not be named”. Lord Voldemort, indeed, has a vast and scary reputation!
But it wasn’t always this way.
If we look back at Tom Riddle’s childhood, we find out that Tom’s turn to the darker side of the magical spectrum was a real shame, as prior to this, Tom Riddle was a model student at Hogwarts school for witchcraft and wizardry! The problem was, he had a dark and sadistic side to his soul, that couldn’t stay hidden for too long…..
The early life of The Dark Lord
Tom’s parents, Tom Snr and Merope only fell in love I’m told after Tom Snr was influenced by a love potion!
Merope continued this secret doping throughout the course of the couple’s marriage and something must have happened whereby Merope was unable to continue secretly this secret drugging of her husband as at some point, the spell was lifted. Tom Snr was so furious (and rightly so) that he shortly left and took his wealth with him.
Not to defend Voldemort but it got even worse as after his father’s absence, Merope took a turn for this worse, it’s almost like she had given up on life completely and literally the same day as Tom was born, she took him to an orphanage then died quickly afterwards.
So not exactly the best start to Tom’s life, but let’s face it, everyone has choices and Tom made some that would affect his life forever.
Another drawing above by my daughter, Isabella, thanks to Bella’s!
Tom Riddle and His Agenda at Hogwarts
For me, the most surprising aspect to Tom Riddle was his life at school. If you were expecting a class bully that was always held in detention, then think again. Riddle couldn’t have been more the opposite of that assumption.
Yes, he was sorted into Slytherin house, that’s a given but Tom was actually more a less a model student from day one in the academic sense.
For the great Albus Dumbledore to quote that Riddle was “one of the best students at Hogwarts” that must mean that he was no ordinary student, again this was reflected in his consistently high grades and efforts in all classes at school.
He would win virtually all competitions based on knowledge and his accolades certainly didn’t go unnoticed as Riddle was made a prefect and head boy. Put that in your pipe and smoke it! (But even this, was all part of a larger agenda!)
There is no doubt, Tom Riddle was an intelligent and highly respected student at Hogwarts and was even Slughorn’s favourite and eventually invited him to join to Slughorn’s infamous ‘Slug Club’ but in true dark lord style, that friendship was purely for personal gain in that it was Slughorn that educated Riddle around ‘Horcruxes’ and how they were used which further fired Tom’s desire for immortality and complete power!
Tom Riddle – Exploring His Dark Tendencies
You could say that as Tom grew older, that dark, sadistic and evil part to his soul couldn’t lay dormant any longer, its power and appeal to Riddle had to be exercised and this is where Tom Riddle as we know him, expired.
An excellent example of this is when Riddle began assembling what would later become the clan of ‘Death Eaters’ an evil army dedicated to his following and use of the dark arts, and for this army to have started at school, tells you that Riddle meant business!
What better way to identify and recruit worthy disciples for your cause of divide and rule? Hire some bullies, and that’s exactly what Riddle did.
What started out as a group of his ‘friends’ (and to be fair, Riddle only used them to expand his influential power) would later be drawn into his evil philosophy and radical ideas, to the extent that as the leader of this group of brutal thugs this status also provided reassurance that he couldn’t be held to blame for any wrongdoing as he was of course, perfect in every way in the eyes of most teachers at Hogwarts!
With this cover and peer support, Riddle could deflect any accusations that may come his way.
Building his ‘resistance’ also gave him the perfect platform he needed to control events all according to his desires and to ultimately overthrow the Ministry of Magic altogether!
Even Tom’s excellence in school and aspiration to become a Professor at Hogwarts was bogus, yes, he was very intelligent but everything he did had a hidden agenda attached to it.
Being fanatical with the secrets of Hogwarts and in lust for power, his ambitions were just a front to gain more authority and access to out of bounds areas of the school in search for answers to the many secrets that the famous castle holds.
You are surely now noticing as I am, the reoccurring pattern to Tom’s actions. Manipulation for personal gain and control. That’s all it really was!
What is becoming very apparent, Tom Riddle is far from stupid!
Although Dumbledore knew of Riddle’s high intelligence and skill level, he was possibly the only Hogwarts employee who I guess, never trusted Riddle.
This is evident from the time he first met the young orphan and saw first hand, Riddle’s temper and dark and twisted soul that was etched into Riddle’s soul, but due to Dumbledore’s good nature, he still gave Riddle a chance in enabling Tom access to Hogwarts’ education and support.
It was indeed Dumbledore’s knowledge of the real Tom Riddle that later in the story would make Dumbledore the only person that Tom intensely feared.
What an excellent dimension Tom Riddle’s beginning adds to the Harry Potter saga!
Life After Hogwarts
As you would expect by now from Riddle, his career intentions seemed legitimate, but of course, his true agenda again was not an innocent one. Tom made it very clear, he wanted to teach at Hogwarts!
His plan was to use his teaching position to gain further traction for his quest of discovering answers to the myriad of secrets that Hogwarts is home to as well as recruiting more would be servants for his death eater following.
You can imagine Riddle’s frustration when his application was denied and told to ‘try again in a few years’ time’.
Dumbledore by now had huge reservations about Riddle and was the first to point out that Tom’s reapplication was not a good idea. I wonder if, at this point, Dumbledore had any idea of just how far Tom would go in lust his for dark arts domination!
A very significant part of Riddle’s backstory for me is that just before leaving Hogwarts, Tom managed to use his attraction to get Helena Ravenclaw (Daughter of Rowena Ravenclaw) to disclose the location of Rowena’s diadem (the diadem was a tiara which legend said would grant great wisdom to its bearer).
Tom made the journey to Albania to a remote forest in search of the hollow tree where the diadem was hidden and even murdered a peasant along the way (enabling him to create the Horcrux).
Once the discovery was made he kept the diadem which was later used as the third Horcrux in Voldemort’s mission for power and immortality.
As you can imagine, with Tom’s exceptional intelligence and performance at Hogwarts (cover his real agenda) many locals had assumed that Tom would go onto successful employment at the Ministry of Magic in some well paid and respectful position but they were hugely surprised when he ended up working at the antique shop in ‘Knockturn Alley’ called ‘Borgin and Burkes’.
While Tom was working at the shop, he made ‘friends’ with an elderly relative of Helga Hufflepuff!
Being elderly and trustworthy of Riddle, Hepzibah Smith made the mistake of showing Riddle two invaluable pieces of, what you could call ‘treasure’, Slytherin’s locket and her ancestors cup (the Hufflepuff’s cup!).
This must of enraged Riddle as the Slytherin locket in his eyes should belong to him as the heir of Slytherin and the cup, being a Hogwarts asset it should also belong to him, we are talking about a huge piece of Hogwarts history here!
Riddle coldheartedly murdered Hepzibah using a poisonous potion!
As you might expect, Riddle now being an expert of covering his demonic actions managed to place blame on Hepzibah’s poor house-Elf by implanting a fake memory in his mind.
The house-Elf took the blame for causing accidental death by mistakenly adding the poison to Hepzibah’s cocoa. Due to the Elf’s elderly age, his story was believed.
Riddle pretty much left his job straight after this taking his new possessions with him and using the death of Hepzibah and an innocent muggle in order to turn the artefacts into Horcruxes, as in order to create a Horcrux, you need to kill someone first, that’s just how evil this unspeakable magic is!
The End of Riddle – The Beginning of Voldemort!
Riddle’s disappearance came after the Smith murder.
How long did he go for you ask? Ten years! This is where the transformation into the dark lord, really took hold.
This time was spent really diving into the dark arts, experimenting with their use and finding out what Riddle could achieve with them.
Travelling was also a big part of the disappearance and now using the Horcruxes to split his soul, Riddle began to lose his physical good looks and appeal due to the division of his soul multiple times, instead, he was now starting to appear twisted and demonic.
He now had the complete freedom to start mixing with very undesirable characters and start to mold his evil following and centralizing his plan of complete tyranny.
He began also to only go by the name of ‘Lord Voldemort’ and he would circulate this term wherever he went. Tom Riddle was no more.
So we now have ten years since the murder of Hepzibah Smith and Riddle would dare a last attempt to infiltrate Hogwarts as a Professor. Here’s how that went down!
Riddle turned up at the school for witchcraft and wizardry, plan in hand and sat down to speak to the now head Master, Albus Dumbledore about the ‘defence of the dark arts’ vacancy which had recently become available.
But, Dumbledore, armed with all his prior knowledge of Riddle quickly shot down the idea and was brave enough to just come out and ask Riddle why he so desperately desired to teach at Hogwarts! Brave man is our Dumbledore!
Albus knew full well by now that Riddle had ‘other intentions’ and that teaching wasn’t one of them, Riddle, spooked by the directness of Dumbledore, quickly left the interview and didn’t get the role, don’t forget, Dumbledore was the only person that Riddle feared.
Riddle did leave his mark on Hogwarts though, not only did he plant the diadem Horcrux in the ‘Room of Requirement’ as he thought it would never be found, but he also somehow cursed the defence against the dark arts position as that role going forward would never hold a teacher for longer than a year!
Riddle or ‘Voldemort’ was growing in power, to say the least!
Next up, was simply recruitment by any means possible. There was no way Riddle would be able to wage this war on his own, so needed support for his cause.
His method for enabling witches and wizards to be taken under his wing was quite easy in all honesty.
Many would simply join his ‘anti muggle’ movement willingly out of pure hate for muggles and muggle-born wizards. Others needed persuading by means of bribery and corruption, but many others joined simply out of fear of the dark lord and his terrible ways.
Maybe they were just looking for the security that they could live safely as long as they abided by Riddle’s rules. What are your thoughts on this? Would love to hear them!
For whatever reasons, this ‘Death Eater’ army was growing and you can forget any suggestions of the group being collectively a family-friendly affair, Voldemort needed basically slaves to carry out whatever action he needed doing to strengthen his grip on the community and the Ministry of Magic, no exceptions! There was no social aspect to Voldemort’s following, do as he said, or die basically!
How Did Voldermort Become Even More Powerful?
As the death eater army’s population grew, in my view, this is where Voldemort needed to become even more powerful not only to control his ‘servants’ but also to enable him to be a dominant force within wizardry.
There is simply no point in wanting to take over the world and not have the magical ability to do so and keep the enemy in line.
Voldemort achieved this by studying ‘Legilimency’ to the nth degree!
Legilimency, an extremely powerful modality of magic is the means of penetrating and fileting through someone’s mind and memory, and its practice is not easy by any means to master.
Take the sorting hat, for example, that’s an excellent example of how legilimency is used to ‘get into the head’ of another.
It is an art reserved for only the most skilled witched and wizards and to conquer this skill without a wand and non-verbally is even more advanced, and it’s this method for extracting the deepest and darkest thoughts of others that made Voldemort adamant that he wanted to excel and abuse its use.
The Personality of The Dark Lord
Because Tom Riddle was conceived under the effects of a love potion, he was never able to feel or give love.
This could also be linked to the fact that Voldemort possesses no ability to show remorse for any of his crimes, including the horrendous murders he is responsible for. He cares for no one, not even his followers and it is this trait that Voldemort has been used to since was a child.
This is evident from Tom’s torture of other children at the orphanage, paired with stealing and other petty crimes, this all helped to steer Tom towards bad behaviour from the outset.
One of Dumbledore’s first observations of Riddle was his complete disregard for rules and this was followed up into adult life with Tom’s use of strictly forbidden magic, he clearly had no time for right and wrong.
Voldemort has no loyalty as we discussed throughout this article and this can be even be shown in the manner that when Voldemort got his hands on the Elder wand, the loyal wand that he had used close to sixty years prior to this was expendable.
Sometimes he would talk the talk and refer to his death eaters as friends and even family, but at the slightest turn, they too were just as expendable as the said wand. He really didn’t care about anyone or anything unless they were of temporary use to him and his exploits. His vile nature is completely unrivalled by any other wizard known to man!
Voldemort was able to display one act of integrity that I particularly note and that was when duelling Harry in the graveyard when Harry tried to escape. Voldemort vowed not to kill Harry while his back was turned, which is quite a shocker considering this is a wizard who kills his own family at the drop of a hat.
Even with this example though, you could argue that the real reason could be that Voldemort was so obsessed with murdering Harry Potter that it was nothing to do with honour and purely the fact he wanted Harry’s last sight to be that of him watching Potter die!
Lord Voldemort Character Analysis – Thank YOU!
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