Lord Voldemort

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Films

Harry Potter character
Lord Voldemort
Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Lord Voldemort
Gender Male
Hair colour None
Eye colour Red
House Slytherin
Parentage Half-blood
Allegiance Himself
Film portrayer Ian Hart [HP1]
Richard Bremmer (voice) [HP1]
Christian Coulson (Tom Marvolo Riddle) [HP2]
Ralph Fiennes [HP4] [HP5]
First appearance Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Lord Voldemort is the fictional arch-villain of the Harry Potter series. He is a Dark wizard bent on securing unmatched power and achieving immortality through the practice of the Dark Arts. The name "Voldemort", roughly translated, means "flight of death" in Latin, French and Catalan, or "steal death" in French.

Voldemort is so feared in the Wizarding world that his name is considered to be ineffable. Most characters in the novels refer to him as "You-Know-Who" or "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" rather than saying his name aloud; although the protagonist, Harry Potter, who was not conditioned to fear his name, speaks the name freely except when attempting to be sensitive to others' fears. Some other young characters, like Hermione Granger and Ginny Weasley, after some hesitancy, begin to follow Harry's lead; Remus Lupin, Sirius Black and Albus Dumbledore never hesitate to speak his name. Again others, such as Rubeus Hagrid and Minerva McGonagall have at least once spoken the name, when urged to by others. His followers, the Death Eaters, do not use his name but instead refer to him as the "Dark Lord", and address him as "My Lord" or "Master". Most in the Wizarding world flinch or protest when they hear his name spoken openly. The Death Eaters also take offense when others refer to their master in his ineffable name.

Within the series, Voldemort is considered one of the most powerful wizards alive. It has been said that the only wizard he ever feared was Albus Dumbledore, former Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, though Voldemort has repeatedly denied it.


Voldemort was born Tom Marvolo Riddle on December 31, 1926. "I am Lord Voldemort" is an anagram of "Tom Marvolo Riddle". (See "name and anagram" below.) He began to assume the identity of 'Lord Voldemort' during his latter years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, using the title amongst his close "friends". More information on him during this period can be found under the article for the Riddle family.

Rise to power

Lord Voldemort rose to power in the late 1960s or early 1970s; Cornelius Fudge claimed to the Muggle Prime Minister in 1996 that the Ministry of Magic had been trying to capture Voldemort 'for nearly thirty years'. When Voldemort first appeared, he persuaded his followers that his campaign was based upon the idea of "purifying" the Wizarding race by purging people with Muggle blood (notably despite, or perhaps partly because of, his own " half-blood" heritage), which appealed to some of the old Wizarding families. Later he showed more of "his true colours" and lost support from some of those old magical families who supported him when they realised that they, as much as Muggles or Muggle-borns, were targets. There have only been hints at the full horror and violence of his attempt at control. Fear spread as many of Voldemort's followers, the Death Eaters, became infamous for using Unforgivable Curses against those who stood against them, and through the Dark Mark, used to "mark" a site after committing a murder. Voldemort himself used brutal punishments to ensure that the Death Eaters remained loyal to him.

Prior to his open reemergence, Voldemort briefly resurfaced to contact Dumbledore, then the Hogwarts Headmaster, again asking to teach Defence Against the Dark Arts. Ten or so years had passed since he had left the school; thus it was about 1957. Voldemort was appearing much less human, and asked to be called by his assumed title rather than his given name, which Dumbledore would not do. Instead, Dumbledore confronted Voldemort with his actions since leaving Hogwarts. He believed that a wizard with Voldemort's excellent abilities would not repeatedly apply for a teaching job unless he had ulterior motives, and refused to grant Voldemort the job. From that time on, no person has held that post for more than one consecutive year, due, or so it is said, to a jinx placed upon it by Voldemort. Ironically, this curse has at times worked to Voldemort's disadvantage, as two of the teachers it interfered with, Professor Quirrell and Barty Crouch Jr., were in his service; Quirrell died and Crouch Jr. received the Dementor's Kiss.

After being rejected from Hogwarts, Voldemort's plans became much more ambitious. He used spies, either Death Eaters or people under the effect of the Imperius Curse, to infiltrate places of significance, particularly the Ministry of Magic. Many Aurors and members of the Order of the Phoenix were murdered while trying to organise resistance against him. Much fear, chaos and suspicion spread throughout the Wizarding world; many people were being questioned as to whether they were under the Imperius Curse, or purposely doing Voldemort's bidding. Many of these victims were set free after it was discovered they were cursed, but it was never entirely clear whether wizards such as Lucius Malfoy had acted freely or under a curse.

It is unclear thus far in canon when exactly Voldemort became an open threat known to all, rather than an underground conspirator known only to Dumbledore. One would not expect Dumbledore to have simply waited for Voldemort to declare himself between 1965 and 1970, several years after Dumbledore had already gained evidence, through the jinx and his memory research, of Voldemort's ruthlessness. Until the publication of the seventh book, the matter is unlikely to receive further clarification.

Until early 1980, despite efforts by both the Ministry of Magic and the Order of the Phoenix, Voldemort appeared to be on the verge of victory. It was not until his encounter with James, Lily and Harry Potter that he fell from this position of power.


In 1979, Sybill Trelawney, great-great-granddaughter of a famous and gifted Seer, Cassandra Trelawney, entered into a trance in the presence of Dumbledore and uttered a prophecy:

Lord Voldemort
The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches ... born to those who have thrice defied him, 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 ... and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives ... the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies ...
Lord Voldemort

Two boys were found to fit the description of the prophecy: Neville Longbottom (born July 30) and Harry Potter (born July 31). Severus Snape, then a Death Eater, overheard part of Trelawney's prophecy, but his eavesdropping was interrupted by the barman of the Hog's Head Inn (Aberforth Dumbledore, Albus Dumbledore's brother). Oddly, Snape was not obliviated or neutralised, thus allowing him to pass on the first half of the prophecy to Voldemort; however, he did not manage to hear the second part of the prophecy, and so Voldemort missed key details about his future foe. (Trelawney's recount, however, may suggest otherwise) Voldemort saw the infant Harry as a more likely threat than Neville, even though Neville was a pure-blood (and thus in Voldemort's view a "better" wizard), while Harry was a half-blood like Voldemort himself. He thus "mark[ed] him as his equal". As Dumbledore later explained, it was this act of Voldemort's that confirmed Harry as the one to whom the prophecy referred. Also, it was surmised by Dumbledore that Voldemort had considered Harry the one the prophecy referred to because he was a half-blood, like himself, and therefore had seen him as a bigger threat; Voldemort, who is regarded as one of the most powerful wizards ever, most likely realised that because he himself was half-blood, Harry might be just as effective and talented in magic as he was, and to date still is.

On October 31, 1981, Voldemort arrived at the home of James and Lily Potter, prominent members of the Order of the Phoenix who had defied him three times (as stated as a condition of the prophecy), in Godric's Hollow. The Potters knew Voldemort was searching for them, and had gone into hiding by means of the Fidelius Charm, a very powerful enchantment that hides a secret inside a single, living soul ("Secret-Keeper"). Originally, family friend Sirius Black was to be the Secret-Keeper, but he switched roles with another, Peter Pettigrew, to try and throw Voldemort off. Pettigrew, however, betrayed the Potters and gave Voldemort the knowledge of their whereabouts. James Potter was killed in the confrontation, and Lily sacrificed her life attempting to save her son. This act of love granted Harry a charm of protection which Voldemort had not expected, foiling his attempt to murder the baby.

Harry was told by Albus Dumbledore that Voldemort had intended to use Harry's murder to create a Horcrux. However the Killing Curse backfired on Voldemort due to the protection spell, and the one-year-old Harry survived the attack. The backfired curse left the lightning bolt-shaped scar on Harry's forehead, and created a link between their minds which sometimes allows Harry to detect Voldemort's presence and "see" Voldemort's thoughts. It also gave Harry Voldemort's ability to speak Parseltongue, the language of snakes. The backfired curse caused Voldemort to be reduced to a barely-alive shell of his former being, and he fled to hide in a forest in Albania. Voldemort only survived the backfiring of the curse because of the Horcruxes he had already created, protecting portions of his soul in various objects.

The protective charm bestowed on Harry by his mother's sacrifice - importantly, a sacrifice she chose to make but need not have made - afforded him a lingering protection against direct attacks by Voldemort. This charm was kept active as long as he had a home among Lily's blood relatives and only until he came of age (at 17). For this reason, Dumbledore took the rescued baby Harry and left him in the indifferent and even neglectful care of his aunt and uncle, the Muggles Vernon and Petunia Dursley.

The news of Voldemort's downfall spread fast through the wizarding community. Without his personal power to back them up, many of his supporters defected or gave themselves up. A few faithful followers attempted to find him, but were unsuccessful and were caught and sent to Azkaban. The atmosphere of terror that had held sway so long over the wizarding community (not just in Britain, but all over the world - Voldemort had international followers such as Antonin Dolohov and Igor Karkaroff as well) was lifted (though perhaps never truly dispelled). Overnight, Harry Potter became a celebrity, popularly called "The Boy Who Lived".

Years of exile

Voldemort led a shadow life in a forest, where even continued existence was a struggle for him. His only remaining power was the ability to occupy the bodies of others, and he frequently possessed snakes. Animal bodies made it difficult for him to perform magic, a crucial obstacle to regaining his strength and restoring his physical form.

In the early 1990s, Professor Quirinus Quirrell, teacher of Defence Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts, encountered Voldemort in the forests of Albania during his travels. Whether tempted by promises of power or overcome by trickery, Quirrell submitted to the Dark Lord's service and allowed Voldemort to possess him. He travelled to London and attempted, with the help of his new master, to steal the Philosopher's Stone, which would have allowed Voldemort to regain his former power and to become immortal. Voldemort planned on drinking from the Elixir of Life enough to restore him to a body, in which he would continue to rely on his Horcruxes. Finding that the Stone had been moved from Gringotts to Hogwarts, Voldemort/Quirrell set about finding ways to break through the many layers of security now around the Philosopher's Stone. Voldemort's plans were, however, thwarted by Harry, now a first-year student at Hogwarts, and Voldemort was forced to flee his host's body - Quirrell had failed to kill Harry due to the pain of Harry's touch, and died when Voldemort left his body, pitilessly abandoning him. Voldemort returned to hiding, angry that his Death Eaters had forsaken him, and afraid that he would not be able to find another wizard to possess. He remained in hiding for two years in Albania.

Lord Voldemort
The Dark Lord lies alone and friendless, abandoned by his followers. His servant has been chained these twelve years. Tonight, before midnight ... the Servant will break free and set out to rejoin his Master. The Dark Lord will rise again with his servant's aid, greater and more terrible that ever he was. Tonight ... before midnight ... the servant will set out to rejoin his Master... Sybill Trelawny [HP3]
Lord Voldemort

Luckily for Voldemort, a series of incidents forced Peter Pettigrew, who had betrayed Harry's parents to Voldemort, to leave hiding and to go in search of Voldemort. While seeking his one-time master, he kidnapped Bertha Jorkins, from whom Voldemort learned of Barty Crouch Jr, a Death Eater who had been smuggled out of Azkaban and was privately confined at his father's house. Using Pettigrew's help, Voldemort created a rudimentary body, corporeal enough to perform magic with. He also formulated a plan to re-create his original physical body, albeit stronger than before, a plan to which the kidnapping of Harry Potter was vital. His plan, or at least the framework, was overheard by Frank Bryce, a Muggle, whom Voldemort then killed. According to Albus Dumbledore, Voldemort then created his final, sixth Horcrux using the effect of the murder on his soul; as a result, his soul would have been left ripped into seven distinct sections (although he had committed many, many more murders). The sixth part of the soul was believed by Dumbledore to have been housed in Nagini.

It was later on when Harry and Cedric Diggory entered the graveyard that the Dark Lord was reborn. Pettigrew killed Cedric with Avada Kedavra using Voldemort's wand and tied Harry to the tombstone of Voldemort's father. He then used an ancient ritual of Dark Magic to recreate the body he had possessed before his downfall fourteen years before. This process required three key ingredients: "Bone of the father, unknowingly given", "Flesh of the servant, willingly given" and "Blood of the enemy, forcibly taken". Harry's blood formed a part of the process of Voldemort's rebirth, preventing the terrible effects unleashed by his murder attempt in 1981. Many Harry Potter fans, however, suspect that the use of Harry's blood will eventually prove to be Voldemort's undoing; when Harry was telling Dumbledore about how Voldemort had removed the charm over Harry, Dumbledore had in his eyes a look of triumph, seeming to know something unknown by both the reader and the majority of magical practitioners (though it has been suggested that since Voldemort figuratively shares Harry's blood, and by extension that of Lily Potter, he is magically equivalent to the family of Harry's mother, along with all the relevant ramifications). After being reborn, Voldemort summoned the Death Eaters back to him, and attempted to kill Harry — but Harry escaped the Dark Lord yet again (see below).

Second War

The preceedings of the Second War featured the British Ministry of Magic refusing to believe that Lord Voldemort had risen again. Cornelius Fudge had begun a campaign to discredit both Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore, by playing upon the ambiguities in their statements: Fudge claimed that Dumbledore was a senile old fool, and that Harry Potter was an unstable teenager obsessed with attention.

Dumbledore responded by reforming the disbanded Order of the Phoenix, setting up headquarters in Sirius Black's family home at Number 12, Grimmauld Place, London. He also sent envoys to warn and persuade the giants, and other non-human magical beings away from Voldemort's side. Unfortunately, some of the giants, Dementors and werewolves had already allied with Voldemort.

Lucius Malfoy, who had returned to Voldemort's service, sought to gain influence within the Ministry by bribes and donations, encouraging Fudge to believe that the real threat to his authority came from an overly-powerful Dumbledore, not a resurgent Voldemort. Meanwhile Voldemort was waiting and plotting carefully. Only a handful of wizards – the Death Eaters and the members of the Order of the Phoenix – knew or believed Voldemort had returned, allowing him a free hand in his schemes against both the Ministry, the Order and, most importantly, Harry Potter.

After engineering a plot to secure the break-out of some of the Death Eaters from Azkaban, Voldemort embarked on a scheme to retrieve the full record of Trelawney's prophecy regarding Harry and Voldemort, stored in the Ministry's Department of Mysteries. Voldemort, not wishing to reveal himself to the Ministry when they so fervently denied his existence, sent a group of Death Eaters to retrieve the prophecy, rather than risk going himself. The plot failed, and the only accessible copy of the prophecy was destroyed. All but one of the Death Eaters sent to retrieve it fell into the hands of the Order of the Phoenix after a battle inside the Ministry building. There was a wizarding duel between Dumbledore and Voldemort, who had come upon hearing the cries of Bellatrix Lestrange, until finally Voldemort was able to escape, taking Bellatrix with him. However, he was seen by the Minister of Magic, who finally accepted that Voldemort was back. This led to a return of the earlier fear and suspicion among the wizarding community, which was fuelled by Voldemort's continuing attacks and schemes as he regained strength.

Voldemort's next step was to engineer an assault on Hogwarts, and Dumbledore himself. This was accomplished by Draco Malfoy, who managed to arrange transportation into Hogwarts by means of a pair of Vanishing Cabinets, which bypassed the extensive protective enchantments placed around the school. The cabinets allowed Voldemort's Death Eaters to enter Hogwarts, yet it was Severus Snape who used the Killing Curse against Dumbledore when Draco was unable to do so himself. With Dumbledore dead, the scales of battle seem to have tipped in Voldemort's favour, with Harry now out to avenge the deaths of his parents, his godfather Sirius and finally his mentor Dumbledore.


Personality and traits

Voldemort is described as having very pale skin, a chalk-white, skull-like face, snake-like slits for nostrils, red eyes and cat-like slits for pupils, a skeletally thin body and long, thin hands with unnaturally long fingers. Earlier in life, Voldemort was described as very handsome. The transformation into his monstrous state is believed to have been caused by practising extremely advanced Dark magic, for example in creating Horcruxes to split his soul, and as a result of his downfall.

Voldemort, like most Dark-leaning wizards descending from pure-blood wizarding families, hated Muggles and non-pure-blood wizards and witches, known derisively as " Mudbloods". However, his actions towards other Pureblood families during his periods of power (e.g. the Prewetts), and his acceptance of wizards such as the halfblooded Severus Snape in positions of authority, suggests that his beliefs are more complex than those of his followers. Riddle ultimately changed his name, by way of an anagram, from "Tom Marvolo Riddle" to "I am Lord Voldemort", as a way of removing his own heritage and of exalting himself, and he killed the Riddle family, partly because they were Muggles, and partly because they abandoned him and his mother.

Voldemort's knowledge of magic is perhaps more extensive than any wizard alive, though in his arrogant belief in his own superiority, he has a tendency to forget seemingly unimportant details from the past, which has led to his undoing on several occasions. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, he states that he had forgotten about the ancient magic which protected Harry as his mother died to save him, the magic Voldemort cannot understand because he has no concept of love. In particular, his use of Harry's blood to resurrect himself seems to involve such a detail, something that is conjectured to play a vital part in Book 7. (J.K. Rowling describes a "gleam of triumph" in Dumbledore's eyes when Harry describes to him how Voldemort used his blood in Goblet of Fire, and while trying to capture a Horcrux in "The Half Blood Prince" Dumbledore states that Harry's blood was worth much more than his own.)

After much speculation, J.K. Rowling, author of Harry Potter, revealed that Voldemort's greatest fear is " ignominious death," and that his boggart would be his own corpse. What Voldemort desires most is to be all-powerful and to live forever – which is what he would see if he were ever to look in the Mirror of Erised. Dumbledore also stated in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince that Voldemort secretly possesses extreme cases of both necrophobia and nyctophobia. However, "it is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more."HBP Ch.26 He also fails to understand that there are other ways to destroy a man than death.

In terms of personal ability, he is a suave, cunning and (relatively) patient strategist. Additionally, Voldemort's other plots shown in the series are highly intricate and byzantine (almost to the point of convolution) and display of a high degree of patience. These include the plot during Harry's fourth year, which enabled Voldemort to get around the (fan-surmised) strictures against unauthorised Portkeys on the Hogwarts grounds, and the plot during Harry's fifth year to obtain the prophecy, which failed only in its conclusion.

Voldemort's complete lack of care towards humanity, with particular emphasis on relationships, is at the core of his personality. He is almost incapable of any type of love or mutual respect, caring only for power and considering no-one to be his equal. This probably derives from his upbringing.

It is difficult to know how much "nature" rather than "nurture" contributed to Voldemort's personality. His maternal ancestors, the Gaunt family, were described by Dumbledore as having "a vein of instability and violence which flourished through the ages" HBP Ch.10through inbreeding. His paternal forebears, the Riddles, were noted in passing in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as being disliked in their home village of Little Hangleton for their arrogance and snobbery. However, Rowling once claimed that Voldemort's motives and actions were his own and chosen; this would not be the case if he were simply doomed by his family.

Magic and skill

Voldemort is a Parselmouth; something he inherited from Slytherin (it seems that most of his Gaunt ancestors have inherited this highly unusual trait: such traits are commonly passed down through families through inbreeding, a practice employed by the Gaunt Family) and passed on to Harry Potter through the backfired curse that forged a lifelong connection between them. He is also known as one of, if not the greatest, Legilimens in the world and a highly accomplished Occlumens - being able to read minds, as well as shield his own from penetration.

He is attributed as being one of few wizards ever able to create and comprehend Horcruxes (not only that, he is believed to be the first wizard in history to ever succeed in creating more than one Horcrux) to such an extent that he attempts to gain immortality through them. This is similar to those used by fantasy creatures known as liches, although the liches' phylacteries require neither the user to "split" his/her soul, nor does it require a portion of said practitioner's soul to remain in his/her body.

Voldemort's magic wand is made from yew, a wood associated with death and rebirth, has innate destructive workings and is well suited for use in transfiguration. It is 13½ inches long, has the feather of a phoenix at its core. The wand's maker, Mr Ollivander, got this feather from Dumbledore's pet Phoenix, Fawkes. Fawkes gave just one other feather to be used in a wand, and ironically this wand "chose" to belong to Harry. Because the two wands have a core coming from the same source, they tend to work improperly when used against each other. If they are forced into battle, a Priori Incantatem or "reverse-spell" effect occurs, where one wand forces the other to regurgitate echoes of previous spells it has cast, in reverse chronological order. All of this plays an important part in Harry's escape from Voldemort at the end of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It is unknown how Voldemort recovered his wand between his downfall and his discovery by Wormtail.

The wand connection is yet another symbolic connection between Harry and Voldemort; their minds are also connected: in The Goblet of Fire Harry first discovered that he could access Voldemort's thoughts and emotions, and from then on whenever Voldemort was extremely angry, happy or in pain, Harry's scar would burn painfully. Similarly, Voldemort also discovered their connection in The Order of the Phoenix and used it to lure Harry into the Department of Mysteries to recover Sybill Trelawney's prophecy. It seems that, in many ways, Harry's and Voldemort's lives are tied to each other's.

Voldemort's duelling skills are formidable, conjuring spells, counter-spells and Apparating/Disapparating in a matter of seconds. It is widely believed his skills are matched only by Albus Dumbledore. Dumbledore even stated that his most complex spells would be useless if Voldemort came back to power, although this may be attributed, according to Minerva McGonagall, that Dumbledore is "too noble" to use these powers.

Representation in film

Characters seem more comfortable hearing Voldemort's name in the films than in the books. Hermione speaks his name three and a half years before she does in canon in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, and only Hagrid flinches at the sound of the name, early on in the first film.

In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone he is merely a face on the back of Quirrell's head. This was achieved by computer generated imagery voiced by Richard Bremmer. In that film, he was also shown in a flashback sequence when he arrived at the home of James and Lily Potter to kill them. In this scene Voldemort is played by Ian Hart, the actor who played Professor Quirrell in the same film. As Voldemort's face was not shown in the flashback, there was no confusion by Hart's playing of the two roles. Voldemort's appearance is also slightly different than described in the book; he is shown with red eyes with normal pupils and an almost normal looking nose.

Voldemort does not appear in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, book or film.

In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which is the first time Voldemort is seen in his actual physical form, he is played by Ralph Fiennes. Voldemort is shown robed in dark black robes, tall and skeletal, with no hair and yellowish teeth; his wand has a white tone and the handle appears to be made of bone; his finger nails are long and pale blue while his toe nails appear to be infected. Unlike in the book, his pupils are not snake-like and his eyes are blue (producer David Heyman felt that his evil would not be able to be seen and would not fill the audience with fear), but he has no nose, and snake-like slits for nostrils; "If you leave a good chunk off of human, it would seem less scary", said director Mike Newell. He is also a lot more energetic in the film, than he is depicted in the book, and he has unpredictable, wild mood swings. Fiennes' performance was generally praised as terrifying and the highlight of the film. He has said that he will reprise his role as Voldemort in the upcoming Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Resurrected Lord Voldemort does not make an appearance in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and pre-production has yet to begin on 2008's film adaptation.

Family tree

Salazar Slytherin
Thomas Riddle
Mary Riddle
Marvolo Gaunt
Tom Riddle Sr
Merope Gaunt
Morfin Gaunt
Tom Marvolo Riddle
(Lord Voldemort)

Name and anagram

Voldemort's given name was Tom Marvolo Riddle. In the second book he explains that the appellation "Lord Voldemort" is derived from an anagram of his name:


This is also a play on words, as his name, Tom Marvolo Riddle, is also itself a riddle.

Like a number of other names in the Harry Potter novels, "Voldemort" seems to have French origins. Indeed, Vol de mort can mean, rather appropriately, either "flight of death" or "theft of death". The word de can also translate as "from", giving "flight from death". Given Voldemort's fear of death and quest for immortality, this meaning is also appropriate.

J.K. Rowling personally uses a French pronunciation for his name, i.e. [ˈvɒldəmɔː]) (with a silent t).

Alternatively, Voldemort may also be a form of Valdemar, a Germanic form of Slavic Vladimir, meaning "Great ruler" or "Ruling with fame". Valdemar is also the name of the main character in Edgar Allan Poe's short story The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar, about a man equally desperate to avoid death who elects to enter a hypnotically-induced coma in order to extend his life. "Voldemort" also sounds a bit similar to the German word der Völkermord (the German word for " genocide"), and to Vortigern, an evil ruler in Arthurian legend.

The only characters in the Harry Potter books who pronounce Voldemort's name regularly are Harry Potter, Albus Dumbledore, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, Mad-Eye Moody, Lord Voldemort himself and Hermione Granger (starting in Book 5). Ginny Weasley said his name at the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, but it is not known if she will continue to do so.

In translated versions of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Voldemort's original name is changed to accommodate the anagram. In the Polish edition, however, translator Andrzej Polkowski decided not to make any changes, presumably because of the difficulty of translating the anagram into a meaningful sentence. In the Portuguese edition (as distinct from the Brazilian edition), the name was similarly left untranslated.

Language True Name Anagram Translations/notes
Danish ROMEO G DETLEV JR JEG ER VOLDEMORT I am Voldemort; The G. is short for Gåde, i.e. "Riddle"
Dutch MARTEN ASMODOM VILIJN MIJN NAAM IS VOLDEMORT My name is Voldemort; "Vilijn" (Voldemort's last name) and the Dutch word "Vilein" are equally pronounced, while the word "Vilein" means "evil" or "mean". It resembles the English word villain.
Finnish TOM LOMEN VALEDRO MA OLEN VOLDEMORT I am Voldemort; "Ma" is an archaic form of "Minä" meaning "I" or "me". Also, "Valedro" begins with "vale" which equals to "lie" - or, "riddle".
French TOM ELVIS JEDUSOR JE SUIS VOLDEMORT I am Voldemort; "Jedusor" is pronounced the same way as "Jeu du sort", stroke of fate.
Greek ANTON MORVOL HERT ARCHON VOLDEMORT Lord Voldemort: "NT" in Greek is equivalent to "D"
Hebrew TOM VANDROLO RIDDLE ANI LORD VOLDEMORT I am Lord Voldemort: the word lord is transliterated from the English and not translated.
Hebrew spelling טום ואנדרולו רידל אני לורד וולדמורט
Hungarian TOM ROWLE DENEM NEVEM VOLDEMORT My name is Voldemort: The W is split to form two Vs in order to make the anagram possible
Italian TOM ORVOLOSON RIDDLE SON IO LORD VOLDEMORT Lord Voldemort is me (a slightly archaic style)
Мacedonian ТОМ РЕДЛОВ




Red from Redlov means order
Portuguese (Brazilian) TOM SERVOLO RIDDLE EIS LORD VOLDEMORT Behold Lord Voldemort
Slovenian MARK NEELSTIN MRLAKENSTEIN In this case, the name was changed to sound like Frankenstein, while Mrlak should have an allusion to death
Swedish TOM GUS MERVOLO DOLDER EGO SUM LORD VOLDEMORT I am Lord Voldemort, in latin. "Dolder" is drawn from a somewhat archaic name for "someone hidden"
Ukrainian TOM YARVOLOD REDL YA LORD VOLDEMORT I am Lord Voldemort (the '-volod' part of the name may be connected to the name Volodimir, where 'volod' equates to ruler).
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