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Lord Voldemort
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

Voldemort, born Tom Riddle, is the main antagonist in the Harry Potter books. He murdered Harry Potter's parents (amongst many other wizards) and tried killing Harry, but failed and disappeared temporarily.


Voldemort, referred to by most of the wizarding community as You-Know-Who or He Who Must Not Be Named, is a Dark wizard who terrorised the magical community for more than a decade.

From the Story

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Discovered in chapter 1, The Boy Who Lived

Voldemort attacked Harry’s family on Hallowe’en, when Harry was just over a year old. He killed Harry’s parents, James and Lily, but did not succeed in killing Harry. The curse he used rebounded, leaving Harry with only a lightning-shaped scar on his forehead. Voldemort then fled.

Discovered in chapter 17, The Man with Two Faces

Voldemort meets Harry in the final chamber; Quirrell unwraps his turban and reveals Voldemort’s face coming out of the back of his head, something which Quirrell had been hiding all year.

Voldemort has a chalk-white face with glaring, red eyes and snake-like slits for nostrils. He tells Harry that he has become mere shadow and vapour, and is barely clinging to life, strengthened only by the unicorn blood that Professor Quirrell has been drinking for him.

Voldemort explains to Harry that he has been trying to acquire the Philosopher’s Stone so that he may create a body of his own. He speaks of the night he killed Harry’s parents: he says Harry’s father died courageously, but that he would have spared Harry’s mother had she not insisted on protecting her son.

When Harry refuses to give Voldemort the Philosopher’s Stone, Voldemort orders Professor Quirrell to kill him, which Professor Quirrell is ultimately unable to do.

Voldemort flees the school once Dumbledore appears in the underground chambers, leaving Professor Quirrell to die.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Discovered in chapter 17, The Heir of Slytherin

Inside the Chamber of Secrets Tom Riddle reveals himself to be a preserved memory of Voldemort. He shows Harry that 'Tom Marvolo Riddle' is an anagram of 'I am Lord Voldemort'.

Discovered in chapter 18, Dobby's Reward

According to Dumbledore, Voldemort is also a Parselmouth (someone who can speak to snakes), and is the only remaining descendant of Salazar Slytherin.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Discovered in chapter 1, The Riddle House

Voldemort is staying in the Riddle House, accompanied by Wormtail and Nagini. He tells Wormtail that they will remain in the Riddle House for a week, maybe longer, as they cannot proceed with their plans until after the Quidditch World Cup is over. He is aware that, because of the event, every Ministry of Magic official will be on duty, on the watch for signs of unusual activity, and checking and double-checking identities.

Voldemort is not pleased by Wormtail's suggestion that their plans could be done without Harry Potter, and suggests that Wormtail is attempting to desert him. He knows that he disgusts Wormtail, and that the wizard regrets returning to him. Voldemort would not be able to survive without someone to help him, as he needs feeding every few hours, and cannot milk Nagini himself. He refuses to use any wizard other than Harry for his plans, and warns Wormtail against trying to stray from his orders. Voldemort reveals that he has a faithful servant who is waiting to rejoin him, and that after one further obstacle is removed, their path to Harry will be clear. He does not deny that Wormtail has been useful, and that without Bertha Jorkins' information the plan could never have been formed. He tells Wormtail that he will allow him to perform one essential task for him, and that this task will come at the very end of their plan, but won't tell the wizard what this task will be.

Voldemort is intrigued when Nagini tells him that an old Muggle is standing outside the door, listening to everything he and Wormtail have been discussing, and orders Wormtail to invite him in. He knows that no-one knows Frank is in the Riddle House, and confronts the Muggle about what he overheard. Voldemort orders Wormtail to turn his chair around, so that he can face Frank. As he is revealed to the old man, Voldemort raises his wand, and directs the Killing Curse at him.

Discovered in chapter 32, Flesh, Blood and Bone

Voldemort is carried through the graveyard by Wormtail, indistinguishable in the bundle of robes. He orders Wormtail to kill Cedric Diggory, having expected Harry to arrive alone. He is placed at the foot of the grave of his father, Tom Riddle Sr. He stirs fretfully in the bundle of robes as Wormtail prepares the stone cauldron, as though he is trying to free himself, and tells Wormtail to hurry. Voldemort is unrecognisable as a human; he is the shape of a human child, but is hairless and scaly-looking, a dark, raw, reddish black colour. His arms and legs are thin and feeble and his face is flat and snake-like, his eyes gleaming red. He is carried to the stone cauldron and lowered into it, vanishing below the surface of the potion. When Wormtail has finished adding the required ingredients to the potion a surge of white steam billows thickly from the potion, and Voldemort rises slowly from the cauldron. He looks tall and skeletally thin; his skin is whiter than a skull with wide, livid scarlet eyes, and his nose is as flat as a snake. He orders Wormtail to robe him, steps out of the cauldron and turns to stare at Harry, risen once more.

Discovered in chapter 34, Priori Incantatem

Voldemort duels against Harry alone, surrounded by a circle of Death Eaters. His eyes glint in the darkness as he asks Harry whether he has been taught to duel, and instructs Harry to bow to him, mockingly observing the rules of duelling. He magically forces Harry to bow to him when the boy doesn't comply, and commences the duel. Voldemort hits Harry with the Cruciatus Curse, torturing him, then uses the Imperius Curse to try to force Harry to ask not to be subjected to the Cruciatus Curse again. Voldemort is angry when Harry manages to resist the Imperius Curse, and tries to curse the boy again, annoyed when Harry tries to hide behind the headstone. He is ready when Harry emerges from behind the headstone, and performs the Killing Curse. When the jet of green light emitted by his wand hits the jet of red light from Harry's Disarming Charm in mid-air, Voldemort's wand begins to shake and vibrate strongly, and a bright, deep gold beam connects it to Harry's wand. Voldemort and Harry rise into the air, and glide away from the tombstone, coming to rest on a patch of ground that is clear and free of graves. Voldemort instructs the panicked Death Eaters to do nothing, his eyes wide with astonishment at what is happening. When Harry manages to force a bead of light along the golden beam into Voldemort's wand, the wand begins to emit shadowy figures of Voldemort's most recent victims, including Frank Bryce, Bertha Jorkins and Lily and James Potter. Voldemort shouts to the Death Eaters to Stun Harry when the boy breaks the connection between their wands, but is determined to kill the boy himself. He raises his wand as he reaches Harry and the body of Cedric Diggory, preparing to kill Harry, but is prevented when the Portkey transports the pair away.

Discovered in chapter 35, Veritaserum

Voldemort tortured Bertha Jorkins for information, discovering about the Triwizard Tournament and Alastor Moody's appointment at Hogwarts through the witch. He also found out that Barty Crouch Junior was still alive, having broken through the Memory Charm placed on Bertha by Mr Crouch. Voldemort knew that he still had a loyal follower in the young man, having discovered Barty Crouch Junior was being controlled to prevent him returning to the Dark Lord. Voldemort arrived at the Crouch home one night after the Quidditch World Cup. He placed Mr Crouch under the Imperius Curse, enabling him to control the wizard, and forced him to go about his business as though nothing was wrong. Voldemort wanted to place a loyal follower at Hogwarts, and asked Barty Crouch Junior to be that man, wanting someone to subtly guide and help Harry through the Tournament, and to ensure that Harry reached the Triwizard Cup first.

Voldemort stayed in Mr Crouch's house with Wormtail. When Mr Crouch began to fight the Imperius Curse, Voldemort decided it was too dangerous to let him leave the house. He forced Mr Crouch to send letters to the Ministry instead, and to say he was ill. When Mr Crouch managed to escape the house, Voldemort guessed he would head to Hogwarts to tell Dumbledore everything, and instructed Barty Crouch Junior to stop him at all costs.

Discovered in chapter 36, The Parting of the Ways

Snape reveals that Voldemort brands all of his followers with the Dark Mark, marking their forearms. He uses the Mark to summon the Death Eaters to him when needed, as he did in the graveyard.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Discovered in chapter 2, Spinner's End

Voldemort has given Draco Malfoy a top-secret task to fulfill. Narcissa Malfoy believes he chose Draco in revenge against his father, Lucius, for being captured and failing to retrieve the prophecy from the Department of Mysteries. Only a few have been made aware of the task, including Narcissa and Draco Malfoy, Bellatrix Lestrange and Severus Snape. Snape believes that Voldemort intends for him to complete the task in the end, but is determined that Draco should try first, as Draco's success would allow Snape to continue in his role as a spy at Hogwarts for longer.

Discovered in chapter 26, The Cave

Lord Voldemort split his soul and hid parts of it in objects known as Horcruxes. He hides one of his Horcruxes in a stone basin in a cave, which is protected by magic. Dumbledore explains to Harry that Voldemort made a mistake in enchanting the boat that accesses the island in the lake, creating the enchantment to measure the powers of the person travelling across, never expecting an underage wizard to reach the cave. One of his Horcruxes is Salazar Slytherin's locket.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Discovered in chapter 32, The Elder Wand

Voldemort calls Snape to the Shrieking Shack. He is frustrated that the Elder Wand does not work properly for him, as he is not its true master. Voldemort wrongly believes that, as Snape was the one to kill Albus Dumbledore, he is the true master of the wand. He orders Nagini to kill Snape.

Discovered in chapter 34, The Forest Again

Voldemort is certain that Harry will appear in the Forest, and is confused when he appears to be mistaken. When Harry reveals himself from under the Invisibility Cloak, he freezes, staring at the boy. Voldemort performs the Killing Curse on Harry almost immediately.

Discovered in chapter 36, The Flaw in the Plan

Voldemort is amused by Neville's defiant attempt to oppose him, following Harry's supposed death. He is curious about Neville, noting that the courageous boy is a pure-blood, and tells Neville that they need his kind on their side. When Neville refuses to join the Death Eaters, Voldemort uses the boy as an example to those who would defy him. He Summons the Sorting Hat from the castle, telling those assembled that there will be no more Sorting at Hogwarts; only the emblem, shield and colours of Salazar Slytherin will prevail. Voldemort uses the Body-Bind Curse on Neville, forces the Sorting Hat onto his head, and sets the Hat on fire.

Voldemort screams in fury when, after freeing himself from the Body-Bind Curse, Neville beheads Nagini with the sword of Gryffindor.

Voldemort stares when Harry removes the Invisibility Cloak, revealing that he is still alive. The pair circle each other in the Great Hall; Voldemort jeers at Harry for believing that he will come out of their fight alive. He remains convinced that Harry has survived through the years by accident, chance and the protection of greater men and women. Voldemort is disbelieving when Harry tells him that Dumbledore orchestrated his own death, and that Severus Snape was a double agent. He eventually shrieks that it doesn't matter; that he defied all their attempts to become the true master of the Elder Wand.

Voldemort's hand trembles on the Elder Wand as Harry tells him that Dumbledore was not the master of the Elder Wand at his death, and neither was Snape. Blank shock shows on his face for a few seconds when Harry says that Draco Malfoy was master of the wand. Voldemort is silent when Harry reveals that he is now the true master of the Elder Wand.

After a pause, Voldemort cast the Killing Curse at Harry, hitting the boy's Disarming Spell in mid-air. As the Elder Wand flies out of Voldemort's hand, he falls backwards, arms splayed, and hits the floor of the Great Hall; his Killing Curse rebounding onto him.

See also