Lord Voldemort

main antagonist of J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series

Lord Voldemort (born Tom Marvolo Riddle) is a fictional character and the main antagonist in the Harry Potter series of children's books.

A figure of Lord Voldemort.

The books were written by British author J.K. Rowling. Voldemort first appears in the 1997 fantasy novel Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. He appears in six of the seven books.

In the Harry Potter movies, Voldemort is played by actors Richard Bremmer, Christian Coulson, Ralph Fiennes, Hero-Fiennes Tiffin, and Frank Dillane.

"Voldemort" is a translation of the French words "vol de mort", which means "flight of death" in French. J.K. Rowling apologized for this in 2009, saying that she did not mean that French people were bad: "I can assure you that no anti-French feeling was at the origin of this choice. As a Francophile, I have always been proud of my French blood. But I needed a name that evokes both power and exoticism." She also said that Voldemort himself was "100 percent English".[1]

Character development

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Lord Voldemort is frequently described as "the most evil wizard" in the Harry Potter franchise. Many characters are afraid to say his name and he is often referred to as "He Who Must Not Be Named", "You-Know-Who", or "The Dark Lord''.

Voldemort and his followers, the Death Eaters believe wizards should rule the world and conquer non-magical people instead of hiding from them. He also thinks that "pure-blood wizards", wizards who do not have any non-magical parents or ancestors, are superior to other people.

Backstory

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Tom Marvolo Riddle grows up in an orphanage in England. He does not know about wizards or magic but does know he can do things other children cannot. He like to scare the other orphans, kill their pets and steal their things from them. When he is 11 years old, a teacher at the wizard school Hogwarts named Albus Dumbledore comes to his orphanage and tells him he is a young wizard and can go to the school.

Over the years, Voldemort makes magical objects called Horcruxes and puts part of his soul in each one. This keeps him from dying all the way and makes it possible for his friends to bring him back to life.

Appearances

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone / Sorcerer's Stone

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In the first novel and movie, it is established that Voldemort was an evil wizard who had many followers. The protagonist, Harry Potter's parents were among those who fought against him. Voldemort killed Harry's parents, but due to their sacrifice, he could not kill Harry and he accidentally killed himself. This made Harry famous in the Wizarding World.

Towards the end of the story, Harry finds out that one of the teachers at Hogwarts named Professor Quirrell was trying to steal a magical stone called the Sorcerer's Stone. Quirrell takes off his turban and reveals that Voldemort's soul is living on the back of his head and that he is trying to get the Stone to revive Voldemort. Quirrell/Voldemort tries to attack Harry but due to the protective spell that his parent's sacrifice gave him, Harry cannot be killed and Quirrell dies while Voldemort's spirit escapes.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

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In the second book, Ginny Weasley comes into possession of a magic diary and is eventually possessed by Tom Riddle, a manifestation of Voldemort's younger self. Riddle possesses Ginny and makes her open the Chamber of Secrets, which allows a massive snake to terrorise the school and attack students who have non-magic parents. At the end of the book, Harry defeats the snake and destroys the diary, which also makes Tom Riddle's manifestation disappear.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

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Ralph Fiennes first portrayed Voldemort in the film version of the fourth book

Voldemort makes his next appearance at the end of the fourth book. Voldemort has Harry trapped in a graveyard and his servant, Peter Pettigrew, uses Harry's blood in a potion which gives Voldemort a full body. Because Harry's blood was used in the potion, Voldemort can now "touch" Harry.

Voldemort summons his Death Eaters and tries to kill Harry but their wands connect because they have the same core. The ghosts of Harry's parents distract Voldemort for enough time for Harry to escape.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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The Ministry of Magic (the magical government) denies that Voldemort has returned. Voldemort frees his most loyal followers from prison, including Bellatrix Lestrange. Harry also discovers that he and Voldemort can look into each other's minds.

In the battle at the end of the book, Voldemort fights Albus Dumbledore, the most powerful wizard. Voldemort escapes but not before the Minister of Magic sees him and the entire Wizarding World is made aware that Voldemort is back.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

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Although he does not appear in this book, his past and childhood are looked at. Harry and Dumbledore discover that Voldemort has made Horcruxes (objects which a wizard can put their soul inside so that they live forever). Several of the Horcruxes, including Tom Riddle's diary, have been destroyed but more remain. Voldemort also gives Draco Malfoy the mission of killing Dumbledore, but it is ultimately Professor Snape who does so, although Snape is actually working for Dumbledore.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

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In the seventh and final book (and its two film adaptations), Harry, Ron and Hermione go on a search for Voldemort's Horcruxes so that they can destroy them and make him mortal. Meanwhile, Voldemort steals the Elder Wand (most powerful wand) from Dumbledore's tomb.

Voldemort's forces attack Hogwarts because Harry is searching for a Horcrux inside Hogwarts castle. During the battle, Voldemort kills Snape because he believes that Snape is the current Master of the Elder Wand (because Snape killed Dumbledore), but Voldemort doesn't know that the wand actually belongs to Draco, who was the one to disarm Dumbledore.

Harry looks into Snape's memories and finds out that Snape was a secret spy working for Dumbledore because Snape was in love with Harry's mother. In the memories, it is also revealed that Harry is an "accidental Horcrux" because a part of Voldemort's soul lives in him. Harry willingly lets Voldemort kill him, but Voldemort's killing curse instead destroys the part of himself inside Harry, meaning that Harry himself survives.

In the final battle, Voldemort's final Horcrux, a snake named Nagini, is killed. Voldemort tries to use the Elder Wand to kill Harry. However, due to Harry defeating Draco Malfoy (the current Elder Wand Master) earlier in the story, Harry is now the true Master of the Elder Wand. Because the Elder Wand will not kill Harry, Voldemort's killing curse actually hits himself. With no Horcruxes left, Voldemort dies.

Portrayal

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Actors who have portrayed Voldemort
Actor Movie Notes
Richard Bremmer Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone / Sorcerer's Stone Flashback
Ian Hart Voice
Christian Coulson Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Younger self
Does not appear Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban N/A
Ralph Fiennes Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Voice & body
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Hero Fiennes Tiffin Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Child
Frank Dillane Teenager
Ralph Fiennes Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 Voice & body
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Interpretation

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Experts generally say Voldemort is a metaphor for fascism and fear of outsiders. He has also been compared to Rick Perry, Dick Cheney.[2] Many people, including author J.K. Rowling, compared Donald Trump to Lord Voldemort after his 2015 proposal to forbid Muslims from entering the United States.[3]

References

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  1. "Rowling 'sorry' for Voldemort's name". Metro. February 4, 2009. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  2. Rebecca Nicholson (March 13, 2017). "He who must not be named: how Harry Potter helps make sense of Trump's world". The Guardian. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  3. Alicia Melville-Smith (December 8, 2015). "J.K. Rowling Says Trump Is Way Worse Than Voldemort". Buzzfeed News.