Tom Marvolo Riddle
Tom Riddle
Tom Riddle in "Into the Diary"
Born 31 December 1926
Died 2 May 1998
Species Human
Parentage Muggle father, Witch mother
Family Members Tom Riddle Sr., Merope Gaunt, Marvolo Gaunt, Salazar Slytherin, Morfin Gaunt
Affiliations Death Eaters
Hogwarts House Slytherin
Wand Yew and Phoenix Feather, thirteen and a half inches
Special Abilities Flight, Occlumency, Legilimency
Hobbies Unknown
Tom Riddle is the birth name of Voldemort. Riddle was a Prefect and Head Boy at Hogwarts, and when he was sixteen he opened the Chamber of Secrets.


Tom Riddle is the owner of the mysterious diary that Harry finds in Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom.

From the Story

Discovered in Book 2, Chapter 13, The Very Secret Diary

While he was a student at Hogwarts he won a Special Award for Services to the School, a Medal for Magical Merit and he was also Head Boy.

Through his diary Riddle tells Harry that he was a student at Hogwarts the last time the Chamber of Secrets was opened. He also shows Harry his memory of the night he caught Hagrid, whom he accused of being behind the attacks. In the memory Riddle is a tall, sixteen-year-old boy with jet-black hair not unlike Harry's.

Discovered in Book 2, Chapter 17, The Heir of Slytherin

When Harry confronts Riddle in the Chamber of Secrets, Riddle has almost developed into a corporeal form. Riddle steals Harry's wand and reveals that he is a preserved memory of Voldemort from before his rise to power: his full name, Tom Marvolo Riddle, is an anagram of ‘I am Lord Voldemort’. He is also the heir of Slytherin; he tells Harry that he controlled Ginny through his diary and forced her to open the Chamber and attack Muggle-borns.

Riddle orders the Basilisk to kill Harry, speaking to it in Parseltongue.

Riddle thinks that the venom from the Basilisk fang in Harry's arm will kill him, but Harry is cured by Fawkes' tears. Harry uses the Basilisk fang to pierce Riddle's diary, causing ink to spurt out of it in torrents. After writhing, twisting, screaming and flailing in agony, Riddle vanishes.

Discovered in Book 2, Chapter 18, Dobby's Reward

According to Dumbledore, Riddle was one of the most brilliant students Hogwarts had ever seen. Few people connect Riddle with the adult Voldemort; by the time he resurfaced as the latter, he had undergone so many magical transformations that he no longer resembled the sixteen-year-old who opened the Chamber of Secrets.

Discovered in Book 6, Chapter 13, The Secret Riddle

Tom Riddle met Professor Dumbledore for the first time as a child, in an orphanage in London, when Dumbledore offered him a place at Hogwarts. Mrs Cole, matron at the orphanage, reveals that Tom was born at the orphanage, and that his mother, Merope Gaunt, died soon after. Tom was named for his father, Tom Riddle Sr., and his grandfather, Marvolo Gaunt. According to Mrs Cole, Tom scares the other children in the orphanage, and several nasty incidents are attributed to him; Billy Stubbs's rabbit was found hanged from the rafters the day after he and Tom argued, and Amy Benson and Dennis Bishop had a strange encounter with him on a summer outing, and were never the same again.

At eleven, Tom is a miniature of his handsome father; tall for his age, dark-haired and pale. He is sitting on the bed in his room when Dumbledore enters with Mrs Cole. Initially wary of the teacher, Tom suspects that he is, in fact, a doctor. He orders Dumbledore to tell the truth, speaking the command with a ringing force that is almost shocking. He believes Dumbledore is taking him to live in an asylum, and furiously protests that he is not mad. Tom freezes when Dumbledore explains that Hogwarts is a school of magic, and flushes with excitement when he realises he is a wizard. He tells Dumbledore that he can make things move without touching them, can make animals do what he wants with no training, and that he can make people hurt. He claims he always knew he was special, and is transformed with a wild happiness, his expression almost bestial.

Tom tells Dumbledore to prove that he is a wizard as well. He is shocked and howls with rage when Dumbledore points his wand at Tom's wardrobe, causing it to burst into flames. He stares at the professor when the flames vanish and the wardrobe stands undamaged once again. Tom is frightened when a rattling is heard from the wardrobe, and reluctantly fetches a small cardboard box from the wardrobe, which is shaking and rattling with force. He tips the contents of the box on to the bed at Dumbledore's request, revealing a mess of objects, including a yo-yo, a silver thimble and a tarnished mouth-organ. He is ordered to return the objects to their rightful owners by Dumbledore, and agrees to do so, staring coldly and appraisingly at the teacher.

Tom is told of a fund at Hogwarts to help those who require assistance to buy spellbooks and robes. He is eager to visit Diagon Alley on his own, reluctant to have Dumbledore's escort; he is handed an envelope containing his list of required equipment and is given the directions to the Leaky Cauldron. Riddle gives an irritable twitch when Dumbledore mentions that the barman of the pub shares his name, Tom, disliking the idea of having such a common name. As he and Dumbledore shake hands, Tom reveals that he can speak to snakes, and that the creatures often find him and whisper to him when he is on country trips.

Discovered in Book 6, Chapter 20, Lord Voldemort's Request

As a young adult, Tom Riddle worked in Borgin and Burkes as a shop assistant, where he met Hepzibah Smith. Tom visits the wealthy lady regularly, and often brings her flowers. In Hokey the house-elf's memory of Tom's last visit to the house, Tom arrives to offer Hepzibah five hundred Galleons for her goblin-made armour. He is intrigued when Hepzibah offers to show him her two finest treasures; his eyes appear to briefly gleam red as he looks at Helga Hufflepuff's golden cup, and a greedy expression takes over his face. A shadow crosses his face when Hepzibah returns the cup to its box and it is taken away.

Tom's eyes flash scarlet when Hepzibah shows him her second treasure, Slytherin's locket, and explains that it was sold to Caractacus Burke by a ragged-looking woman. Tom is aware that the woman was his mother, Merope Gaunt.

Professor Dumbledore suspects that Tom was responsible for the death of Hepzibah Smith, and the theft of both the items afterwards. He believes Tom modified the memory of Hokey the house-elf to frame her for the murder, much as he did with Morfin Gaunt. By the time Hepzibah's family realised Hufflepuff's cup and Slytherin's locket were missing, Tom had resigned from Borgin and Burkes and disappeared. Dumbledore believes that Tom saw the locket as rightfully belonging to him, as he was descended from the Hogwarts founder, and could not resist possessing it.

See also