Harry Potter Books Wikia

Tom Marvolo Riddle , called Lord Voldemort, Dark Lord and You-Know-Who, was a character in the Harry Potter books.

Voldemort was a very powerful Dark wizard and the archenemy of Harry Potter. He opened the Chamber of Secrets and unleashed a Basilisk. He founded the Death Eaters and fought for power in the First Wizarding War. He created seven Horcruxes including Harry Potter, which saved him when Lily Potter's sacrifice protected Harry. He spent years in hiding until trying to steal the Philosopher's Stone.

He searched for the Deathly Hallows in the Second Wizarding War. He was eventually defeated by Harry in the Battle of Hogwarts.


Early life

Eleven year old Tom Riddle

Riddle finding out he's a wizard


In September 1938, Tom began attending Hogwarts School. He was in sorted into Slytherin, a House founded by Tom's ancestor Salazar Slytherin.[4] Tom wanted to find his biological family and he began searching for information around the school. He thought Merope had to be the Muggle parent because she failed use magic to avoid dying in childbirth. He focused on finding Tom Snr. instead but he found nothing and had to concede he was wrong: his father was the Muggle.[4]

In the fifth-year, Tom was a Prefect.[2]

Opening the Chamber of Secrets

Tom began searching for Merope's family by using the name Marvolo taken from Merope's father. He found out that she was a Gaunt and that they were descended from Salazar Slytherin. He knew about the legend of the Chamber of Secrets and deduced that he was the Heir of Slytherin.[4] He began searching for it and he eventually succeeded in finding it during the 1942-1943 school year.[2]

Tom tamed the serpent in the Chamber of Secrets and used it for the task of completing Slytherin's "noble work" to purge the school of Muggle-born students. Eventually, a student was killed and Professor Dippet was going to have to close the school down. Fearing going back to the orphanage, Tom asked Headteacher Armando Dippet if he could stay. He was denied and Tom knew that the Chamber had to be closed.[2]

Tom and Hagrid arguing

He knew that Dumbledore suspected him so he framed Rubeus Hagrid and an Acromantula called Aragog, and because Dippet held Tom in high favour, he thought he was telling the truth. He expelled Hagrid but told Tom he could never tell anyone else about it and he needed to help cover it up. Tom supported a false story about it and he was given a Special Award for Services to the School for the trouble.[2]

Dumbledore kept a "close eye" on Tom from then on, and Tom knew he could not open the Chamber again when he was attending the school. He later used the event of the student's death to preserve part of his soul into a Diary, in the hope that a future student would take it to the school and complete the work.[4] He was shocked framing Hagrid worked because he thought Hagrid was too unintelligent to ever find the Chamber.[4]

Later years

Tom and Morfin Gaunt

Tom wanted to use his father's name less and less. He was ashamed to have a Muggle father and was upset he had abandoned him, so he adopted a new name. It was an anagram of his original name, rearranging letters to spell Voldemort. He had developed an intimate circle of friends at school, and he told them his new name. These so-called "friends" eventually became the first Death Eaters, but he had manipulated their friendship to persuade them to commit petty actions for him, and they were effectively servants.[4]

During the final year at Hogwarts School, Tom was Head Boy and achieved top grades in every exam. He was given the Medal for Magical Merit.[2]

Gaining power

"I have experimented; I have pushed the boundaries of magic further, perhaps, than they have ever been pushed —"
— Tom of the time he spent away[src]

Tom speaking to Hepizabah Smith

Tom was now falling deeper and deeper into the Dark Arts and for the next ten years, he stayed in hiding and began travelling. He was pushing the boundaries of magic and experimenting using Dark magic. He undertook many dangerous transformations and he became less and less handsome. By the time he resurfaced he was unrecognisable and very few connected the former Tom to who he was now.[5]

First Wizarding War

The only place that was deemed very safe was Hogwarts because of Dumbledore. Voldemort's fear of him kept him from the school. Dumbledore founded the Order of Phoenix to combat Voldemort and many powerful members would defy Voldemort several times. However the efforts made done nothing to keep Voldemort from gaining power and the war went on for eleven long years by which point, he was at the height of power. Even long after the war had ended, many in the wizarding world had a fear of even saying the name Voldemort.[6]


Voldemort had a spy in the Order of the Phoenix, Peter Pettigrew[7] who was keeping him informed of James and Lily's whereabouts. They soon put their confidence in Peter and chose him to be their Secret Keeper. Less than seven days later, Peter told him they were hiding in Godric's Hollow.[8]

Voldemort promised Snape that he would not kill Lily and would offer her a chance to step aside. Voldemort went to the house and fought and killed a wandless James. He found Lily standing near Harry and he gave her a chance to step aside, but she wouldn't and started begging for Harry's life. He gave her a second chance but she kept begging for Harry to be spared. She told him to kill her instead, and he eventually gave up trying to encourage her not to. He laughed at her and killed her.[9]

Because he gave Lily a chance to live, she had sacrificed her life for Harry and an ancient force (born of love) to protect Harry from the Killing Curse. The Killing Curse bounced off Harry and at Voldemort instead, and he disappeared.[10][4]

Before confronting the Potters, he and Lucius Malfoy had planned to eventually reopen the Chamber of Secrets using Tom Riddle's Diary. It was left in Lucius's care when Tom went missing.[5]

He was now half-dead, bodiless and powerless, Voldemort fled to a forest in Albania to hide. It was unknown for certain what had happened to him, and had people had their own ideas. A few people thought he was dead, a few thought he was waiting until he was strong again[11], and a few even worked out he was likely to be half-dead.[7]

Philosopher's Stone

In the summer of 1991, Voldemort was found by Quirinus Quirrell who had hoped that joining him would gain him power. Instead, Voldemort knew he was vulnerable and possessed him, latching to Quirrell's body when he found out that he worked at Hogwarts. They hatched a plan to find and steal the Philosopher's Stone because he knew it could grant him a body again. Dumbledore suspected that Voldemort might one day try to steal it, and he put it in Gringotts. He then put defences in Hogwarts School for the Stone to kept there instead.[10]

Voldemort hatched a plan to break into Gringotts but he and Quirrell were too late because Rubeus Hagrid had taken the Stone to Hogwarts School that same day. He learned from Quirrell that it was taken there, and that it had many defences that Quirrell had to get around if they were to be successful. During their first attempt to get around Fluffy, Quirrell put a troll in the school and then raced to the third-floor corridor. Snape suspected Quirrell and beat him to the corridor, blocking him off and scaring Quirrell away.[12]

Quirrell and Voldemort's first attempt to kill Harry that year at the first Quidditch game, but Snape and Hermione Granger intervened.[12] At the next game, Quirrell and Voldemort were scared off from trying to jinx Harry again, because Snape was supervising the match and Dumbledore was spectating just in case they had to help Harry. Snape then asked Quirrell to speak to him in the Forbidden Forest, and he asked him how far he had gotten and that he should stay loyal and let go of getting the Stone. Voldemort would have heard the conversation.[13] He wanted to know how far Quirrell had got and frighten him into giving up.[10]

Voldemort knew that he was once loyal, but he had no idea whether he had stayed loyal. He was too afraid in such a bad state, to tell Snape that he and Quirrell had joined forces in case he gave him up to Dumbledore. Snape probably knew that Quirrell and Voldemort had joined forces, and he was careful about the words he used when confronting Quirrell to stop him from getting the Stone, because Voldemort would not have trusted him enough in the future if he suspected the truth. Snape would later persuade Voldemort that he simply saw pathetic and unworthy Quirrell attempting the get the Stone and that was why he got in the way, and that he would not have done that if he knew the truth.[14]

In spring, Quirrell and Voldemort manipulated Hagrid into telling them how to get past Fluffy. They had to put him to sleep using music. Voldemort had asked Quirrell by then to go into the Forbidden Forest and drink the blood of unicorns. The price of doing that was a cursed half-life. He had to be desperate if he was willing to kill unicorns and drink their blood. Quirrell's body was suffering under the pressure of possession, and he needed him to drink the blood to keep living. Harry was serving detention searching for a missing unicorn in the Forest, and found them. They attempted to kill him, but Firenze intervened and they fled.[15]

The back of Quirrell's head

In June 1992, Quirrell and Voldemort finally managed to get past Fluffy and go through the six sections in the underground chambers. However, Quirrell had no understanding of how to get the Stone from the Mirror of Erised. Dumbledore had enchanted it to give it to a viewer who simply wanted to possess it, and not use it. Harry joined them and the mirror gave the Stone to him because he did not want to use it.[10]

Voldemort observed that Harry was the key and Quirrell asked him what he saw in the mirror. Voldemort knew that Harry's answer was a lie. Quirrell took off the turban and Harry saw Voldemort's face was sticking out the back of Quirrell's head. Voldemort taunted Harry in the hope of persuading him to give up the Stone, but that failed.[10]

He then asked Quirrell to seize him but because of the protection given to Harry from Lily, it hurt Quirrell to touch him. Harry noticed and purposely grabbed Quirrell. Eventually, Harry passed out and Dumbledore arrived in time to drag Quirrell off Harry. Quirrell was damaged and Voldemort abandoned him. He died and Dumbledore had the Stone destroyed.[10]

Eventual comeback

Before he had to go into hiding, he had given Tom Riddle's Diary to Lucius Malfoy for a shared purpose of reopening the Chamber of Secrets and taking control of the school. Lucius kept it for at least the next eleven years but thought Tom was dead. He instead used it for a personal reason of ruining Arthur Weasley's career and the Diary possessed Ginevra Weasley into opening the Chamber again.[4][5]

A version of Tom aged 16 began to siphon her life force and gain a physical body. The soul in the Diary was curious to hear of Tom Riddle's future connection to Harry Potter. Harry eventually found the Chamber, killed the Basilisk and stabbed the Diary. He had destroyed Tom's first Horcrux, eliminated the Diary's version of Tom[4] and it was proof to Dumbledore he even had Horcruxes. Tom would find out what Lucius had done two years later and he was very upset that Lucius was so careless.[16]

Second Wizarding War

Takeover of the Ministry



Tom had jet-black hair when he was a teenager.[2]

Notes and sources