Voldemort, also known as Tom Riddle, is the main antagonist in the Harry Potter movies, based on the books by J.K. Rowling. He is a powerful and evil dark wizard who wants to achieve immortality and rule the world with his followers. He is the archenemy of Harry Potter, who is prophesied to have the power to defeat him.
Voldemort was born Tom Riddle on 31 December 1926 in Wool’s Orphanage, London, England. He was the son of Tom Riddle Sr., a wealthy Muggle (non-magical person), and Merope Gaunt. Merope Gaunt is a witch from a poor and inbred family descended from Salazar Slytherin. She used a trick on Tom Sr. into marrying her. He abandoned her when he learned she was a witch and pregnant with his child. Merope died shortly after giving birth to Tom Jr., leaving him an orphan.
Tom Jr. grew up in the orphanage, where he discovered his magical abilities and used them to hurt and manipulate others. He also developed a fascination with his heritage and a hatred for his Muggle father. When he was eleven years old, he was visited by Albus Dumbledore, the Transfiguration teacher at Hogwarts, who offered him a place at the school. Tom accepted and was sorted into Slytherin house, where he excelled at academics and magic. He became famous and charismatic among his peers and teachers, earning the nickname “The Heir of Slytherin.”
However, Tom also had a dark side that he hid from most people. He was obsessed with discovering more about his ancestry and the secrets of the Dark Arts. He also collected objects that belonged to his ancestors or were significant to him, such as his mother’s locket, his father’s ring, and a diary that he used to record his thoughts and experiments. Voldemort also learned about Horcruxes, a dark and forbidden form of magic that allows one to split their soul and store it in an object, thus making them immortal as long as the thing remains intact.
Tom created six Horcruxes, each containing a part of his soul. To create a Horcrux, one has to commit murder, which rips apart their soul. Tom killed his father and grandparents with his father’s ring, making it his first Horcrux. He then killed Moaning Myrtle with a basilisk that he unleashed from the Chamber of Secrets at Hogwarts and made his diary his second Horcrux. He then killed Hepzibah Smith, an elderly witch who owned Slytherin’s locket and Hufflepuff’s cup, and made them his third and fourth Horcruxes. Voldemort then killed an Albanian peasant and made Ravenclaw’s diadem his fifth Horcrux. He then asked Dumbledore’s friend Professor Slughorn for advice on creating multiple Horcruxes. Still, he lied about wanting to make only two. Slughorn warned him of the dangers of splitting one’s soul too much, but Tom ignored him.
Tom graduated from Hogwarts and applied for the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher post but was rejected by Dumbledore, who suspected his true intentions. Tom then disappeared from public view for several years, traveling worldwide and gathering more followers and power. He also changed his name to Lord Voldemort, an anagram of “I am Lord Voldemort,” using the letters from his birth name Tom Marvolo Riddle. He also mutilated his appearance using dark magic, making him look pale, snake-like and red-eyed.
Voldemort vs. Harry Potter
Voldemort returned to Britain and started a war against the wizarding world, aiming to overthrow the Ministry of Magic and eradicate all Muggles and Muggle-borns (wizards or witches born to non-magical parents). He also sought to find and kill Harry Potter, born on 31 July 1980 to James and Lily Potter, two members of an anti-Voldemort group called the Order of the Phoenix. A prophecy made by Sybill Trelawney stated that “the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches … born as the seventh month dies … and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not …”. Voldemort believed that Harry was the one mentioned in the prophecy and tried to kill him when he was only one year old.
However, Voldemort’s attempt failed because Lily sacrificed herself to protect Harry. It created a powerful protective charm that rebounded Voldemort’s killing curse back at him. Voldemort’s body was destroyed, and his soul was ripped apart again, leaving him in a weakened and disembodied state. Harry survived with only a lightning-shaped scar on his forehead, symbolizing his connection to Voldemort. Harry became known as “The Boy Who Lived” and a hero to the wizarding world. Voldemort’s Horcruxes also prevented him from dying altogether. Still, he was unaware that he had accidentally made Harry his seventh and final Horcrux when his curse backfired.
Voldemort attempts to regain power.
Voldemort has tried several times to regain the power but failed. His other attempt was at the final task of the tournament. It was a maze filled with obstacles and dangers. The first champion to reach the maze’s center and touch the Triwizard Cup would be declared the winner. Harry reached the cup simultaneously with Cedric Diggory, another Hogwarts champion who had been friendly with Harry throughout the tournament. They decided to touch the cup together and share the glory. However, they soon realized that the cup was a Portkey, an object that could transport them to another location. They were taken to a graveyard in Little Hangleton. Pettigrew was waiting for them with Voldemort’s rudimentary body in a cauldron. Pettigrew killed Cedric on Voldemort’s orders and then performed a dark ritual using Harry’s blood, Voldemort’s bone, and Pettigrew’s flesh to restore Voldemort’s body.