|Tom Marvolo Riddle|
|Born|| 31 December, 1926, Wool's Orphanage, London |
|Died|| 2 May, 1998 (aged 71) |
Great Hall, Hogwarts Castle
|Blood status|| Half-blood |
|Also known as|
|Species|| Human |
|Gender|| Male |
|Hair colour|| Black (later bald) |
|Eye colour|| Dark (later Red) |
|Skin colour|| Pale (later White) |
|Boggart|| His own corpse |
|Occupation|| Assistant at Borgin and Burkes |
|House|| Slytherin |
Tom Marvolo Riddle (31 December, 1926 – 2 May, 1998), later known as Lord Voldemort, was the most powerful Dark Wizard of all time. He was a half-blood wizard, the son of wealthy Muggle Tom Riddle Sr., and witch Merope Gaunt, who died shortly after childbirth. Tom Riddle Sr. left his wife soon after she became pregnant with their son, having been released from the enchantment of a love potion which had started their relationship. Their son, Tom Marvolo Riddle, was born and raised in a Muggle orphanage, but eventually attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and was sorted into Slytherin house. Tom Riddle was once thought to be the most talented pupil to ever attend Hogwarts. To the school at large he appeared to be an exceedingly handsome and polite child. In reality, however, Riddle was cruel, sadistic, manipulative, sociopathic and megalomaniacal. Having achieved outstanding grades in every examination he took, Riddle left Hogwarts and went on to a brief employment at Borgin and Burkes, before disappearing from public view completely.
- "Only I can live... forever."
- —Lord Voldemort.[src]
Having embraced the Dark Arts he encountered in his travels, the former Tom Riddle, now known exclusively as Lord Voldemort, raised an enormous army comprised of followers he recruited both at school and afterwards, as well as many dark creatures. This army, known as the Death Eaters began a campaign of terror and violence never before seen in Britain. After hearing half of a prophecy referring to a single being with the power to destroy him, Voldemort set off to kill Harry Potter, to whom he believed the prophecy referred. After murdering Harry's parents, Lily and James, Voldemort turned his wand upon the boy. However, due to Lily Potter's loving sacrifice, Voldemort's curse rebounded upon him and his body was destroyed. Stripped of his power, Voldemort fled to a far flung forest in Albania, to await the day when he could regain a body and return to power. After thirteen years of waiting that day would finally arrive, and with the use of Potter’s own blood, the Dark Lord rose again.
Although he initially lay low, Voldemort was soon forced into the open, and began his bloody conquest of the wizarding world anew. After two years of constant warfare, Voldemort finally gained control of the Ministry of Magic, and ruled relatively unopposed, save for a few pockets of resistance. Despite his hold over the country, Voldemort was still unsatisfied, as he had yet to remove the danger the prophecy presented to him. After learning of Potter's location, Voldemort set out to destroy the boy at once and for all launching his entire amassed force against Hogwarts. Upon arriving at the school, Voldemort was met by a full scale rebellion of Hogwarts staff and students, along with the members of the Order of the Phoenix and the residents of Hogsmeade. As the battle progressed the Death Eaters were driven into the Great Hall, where Voldemort engaged Harry Potter in a duel, and, because all of his Horcruxes were destroyed, Tom Marvolo Riddle was finally killed once and for all.
Tom Riddle's mutilated soul was then trapped in limbo for eternity, unable to move on or return as a ghost.
Tom Marvolo Riddle, was born on 31 December, New Years Eve, 1926 at Wool's Orphanage in London. His pure-blood mother, Merope Gaunt, a direct descendant of Salazar Slytherin, died shortly after his birth. Soon before her death, she named the child after his father, Tom Riddle Sr., and Marvolo Gaunt, her father. Tom Riddle Sr. was a wealthy Muggle living in the village of Little Hangleton who was tricked into a relationship with Merope through possible use of a Love Potion. After a time, it is thought that Merope discontinued her use of love potions on Tom, in the hopes that he had really fallen in love with her, or would at least stay for their child's sake. To Merope's great sorrow, he abandoned her and their unborn child.
- "I remember she said to me 'I hope he looks like his papa', and I won't lie she was right to hope it, because she was no beauty — and then she told me he was to be named Tom, for his father, and Marvolo, for her father — yes, I know, funny name, isn't it? We wondered whether she came from a circus — and she said the boy's surname was to be Riddle. And she died soon after that without another word."
- —Mrs. Cole tells Albus Dumbledore about Merope Gaunt's last words
Tom Riddle grew up in a dingy orphanage, completely unaware of his wizarding heritage. He did have some grasp on his abilities beyond that of normal magical children of his same age, however, as well as an unusually high degree of control over them. Tom could move objects with his mind and cause them to travel floating wherever he wished, manipulate animals and creatures as he wished, speak Parseltongue, and use his power to inflict harm on other orphans. After getting into a fight with one boy, he used his powers to hang the boy's rabbit from the rafters. On one occasion, he took two orphans, Dennis Bishop and Amy Benson, into a cave, where he performed an act so horrifying that the two orphans were traumatised into silence. Young Tom Riddle also stole from fellow orphans and hid their possessions in his cupboard like trophies.
- "I can make things move without touching them. I can make animals do what I want them to do, without training them. I can make bad things happen to people who are mean to me. I can make them hurt if I want to...I can speak to snakes too. They find me, they whisper to me. "
- —Eleven-year-old Tom Riddle to Albus Dumbledore[src]
Discovery of being a wizardEdit
When Tom was eleven, Albus Dumbledore, a professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, talked to Mrs. Cole first, who informed him of how unusual Tom was, sharing tales of his extraordinary influence over the other children. When Dumbledore was at last introduced to the boy, Tom at first believed him to be a doctor or psychiatrist of some sort, come to take him to an asylum. He was convinced after Dumbledore demonstrated his power by using a Flame-Freezing Charm on Tom's cupboard, and when he revealed that Hogwarts was a school for people with magic, which Tom realised his abilities were.
- "His powers...were surprisingly well-developed for such a young wizard and — most interestingly and ominously of all — he had already discovered that he had some measure of control over them, and begun to use them consciously...they were not the random experiments typical of young wizards: He was already using magic against other people, to frighten, to punish, to control."
- —Albus Dumbledore on Riddle's abilities as a child[src]
At a very early age, it is clear that Tom displayed a desire to be different and set apart from others (as is hinted when he mentions his dislike of his own name, because it is such a common name). He was not surprised at all upon being informed by Dumbledore that he was a wizard — he was, in fact, eager to believe that he had special gifts that no one else had. Tom also showed an eminent fear of death, considering it a human weakness. He claimed that his mother couldn't have been a witch, because if she was magical than she would have been able to avoid dying.
Tom's abuse of his wizarding powers alarmed Albus. He resolved to keep a close eye on him, "something I should have done in any case, seeing as he was alone and friendless." Dumbledore also warned Tom that at Hogwarts he would be introduced to the laws that controlled the usage of magic in the wizarding world, and that law-breakers were punished with severity not by Hogwarts but the Ministry of Magic. Riddle's demeanour changed after Dumbledore reprimanded him; he became more guarded and shielded his reactions. Dumbledore provided Riddle with enough information to find Diagon Alley and Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. Riddle bought some second-hand robes and spell books for himself, along with his wand-thirteen and a half inches; yew; phoenix feather core—at Ollivander's. Mr. Ollivander later said that the wand was very powerful; Voldemort was very pleased with it until the wand failed him during his confrontation with Harry Potter in the Little Hangleton Graveyard, many years later. Riddle also mentioned that he was a Parselmouth, which surprised Dumbledore.
Tom was educated at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from 1938 to 1945, and was Sorted in Slytherin House, a nod to his ancestor Salazar Slytherin himself. During summer breaks, he was forced to return to the Muggle orphanage, which he despised and dreaded more than any other place on earth.
Tom described the way he was seen as "poor, but brilliant, parent-less, but so brave, a school prefect, a model student." This opinion was also shared by the professors, including Horace Slughorn, who was taken in by Tom's charisma and who taught him about Horcruxes. The sole exception to this was Albus Dumbledore, who was, at that time, professor of Transfiguration. Dumbledore remained suspicious about Tom's true nature; Tom, in turn, despised and feared Dumbledore. Riddle has gathered himself a gang of Slytherin thugs, a motley composition of "the weak seeking protection, the ambitious seeking some shared glory, and the thuggish gravitating toward a leader who could show them more refined forms of cruelty," most of which would become the first Death Eaters. Riddle claimed they were his friends, and would make it appear so in public, but in truth, he cared very little for them, using them as servants. He manipulated them to do his darker deeds in discreet manners, which led to nasty incidents that were never connected to them.
Tom became obsessed with his heritage and began researching it with an insatiable hunger. He learned of his Slytherin ancestry, discovered the existence of the Chamber of Secrets under Hogwarts, and tamed the basilisk which dwelt within. As the Heir of Slytherin through his mother's family, Tom was able to open the Chamber Slytherin had left behind in order to "purge the school of all those who are unworthy to study magic" — in Tom and Slytherins' eyes, Muggle-borns.
The basilisk injured many at Hogwarts in 1943. The last victim was a student named Myrtle, who was killed in the girls' bathroom when she saw the basilisk's yellow eyes. Hogwarts was to be closed, but Tom did not want to return to the orphanage. During that year, he even made a special request that Headmaster Dippet would allow him to stay at school over the summer break. To keep the school from shutting down, he framed fellow student Rubeus Hagrid and his pet Acromantula, Aragog. Tom convinced then-Headmaster Armando Dippet that Aragog was the monster that had terrorised the school. Hagrid was expelled, and Tom received an engraved trophy for Special Services to the School.
Dumbledore, distrusting Riddle, kept a close watch on him after that. Because it was no longer safe to open the Chamber of Secrets, Tom created a diary to preserve a part of his soul, the very first of seven Horcruxes hoping it would one day lead someone to finish Salazar Slytherin's "noble work."
While researching his heritage, Riddle focused solely on who his father was, thinking him to be the magical parent, as he felt his mother could not have been a witch if she had died. He searched for his father's name in the school trophy room, in the records of Hogwarts prefects and in records of wizarding history, but found nothing to suggest his father had even attended Hogwarts. He was eventually forced to accept that his father was the Muggle parent, and that his mother was the magical one. It was around this time that Tom Marvolo Riddle gave himself the alias "Lord Voldemort," to spare himself of the reminder of his "filthy Muggle father."