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Lord Voldemort (born Tom Marvolo Riddle)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/voldemort.jpg
Click here for him during his time at Hogwarts 

Portrayed by: Ralph Fiennes (fourth film onward), Richard Bremmer (body, first film), Ian Hart (voice, first film), Christian Coulson (Tom Riddle, second film), Frank Dillane (Tom Riddle, sixth film), Hero Fiennes-Tiffin (young Tom, sixth film), Paul Bentall (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, first West End run)

Voiced in Latin American Spanish by: Blas García (Philosopher's Stone), Irwin Daayán (Chamber of Secrets), José Luis Orozco (Goblet of Fire-Deathly Hallows), Andoni Sánchez (11 years, Half-Blood Prince), Ricardo Bautista (16 years, Half-Blood Prince)
Voiced in European Spanish by: José Luis Angulo (Order of the Phoenix-Deathly Hallows), José Antonio Ceinos (Philosopher's Stone), Lorenzo Beteta (The Goblet of Fire), Javier Lorca (The Chamber of Secrets), Iván Sánchez (11 years, The Half-Blood Prince), Germán Mozo (16 years, The Half-Blood Prince)

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Appears in: Philosopher’s Stone | Chamber of Secrets | Goblet of Fire | Order of the Phoenix | Half-Blood Prince | Deathly Hallows | Cursed Child

"There is no good or evil. There is only power... and those too weak to seek it!"

Eleven years after he was seemingly annihilated, the man was still referred to only as 'He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named' or just 'You-Know-Who.' Yet his original name, Tom Marvolo Riddle, had faded into obscurity. Voldemort had become The Dreaded among the wizards of Western Europe. He assembled the Death Eaters to bring about his will in a reign of terror. The Ministry of Magic seemed powerless before him: but before he could seize absolute power, he mysteriously vanished in an attempt to murder one-year-old Harry Potter in his crib.

Voldemort did not die: precautions he had taken using the Dark Arts left him alive, but bodiless and almost powerless. For the first four books, Voldemort is forced to employ various cat's paws and agents in a campaign to restore himself to life, and ideally to kill Albus Dumbledore... and, increasingly, Harry Potter. At the climax of the fourth book, Voldemort is restored to his full strength, and the remainder of the series is devoted to his insane ambitions and an increasingly personal vendetta with Harry.

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He acts as an inspiration for the Augurey, and haunts Harry's dreams nineteen years after the events of the series.


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  • 0% Approval Rating: He is despised and feared by everyone except for Barty Jr. and Bellatrix; it's telling that his only truly loyal followers are almost as crazy as he is. The Wizarding World fears and/or despises him. None of his "followers" looked for him after his supposed "death" after the first Wizarding War. Most stay with him out of fear or their cause and not out of loyalty. At the end of the final battle, most of them abandon his cause when he dies, instead opting to flee. When he dies, everyone rejoices and they throw his body in an unmarked vault in the school (book only, his body disintegrates in the film). Given the total jerk he is, this isn't a surprise.
  • Above Good and Evil: Before the audience even hears from You-Know-Who, one of his servants (Quirrell) rambles about how he was enlightened by You-Know-Who's core philosophy: that power is the only thing that matters, not good or evil. The movie gives the line to Voldemort himself.
  • The Ace: Since his school days. Tom Riddle was very handsome, a model student, the Headboy and was consistently at the top of his class. He was a prodigy in magic. Many teachers and students found him charming and charismatic and were sure he had a bright future, given his obvious talent. Only Dumbledore suspected him of being a sociopath. Even after becoming the Dark Lord, Voldemort retained his mastery over several branches of magic and was considered to be the sole authority on the Dark Arts. However, Dumbledore noted that despite his skill, there were huge gaps in Voldemort's knowledge, the obvious being love.
  • Adaptational Badass: During his duel with Dumbledore in the fifth book he did little more than spam the Killing Curse and was somewhat easily held at bay by his old headmaster. In the film however he uses a variety of impressive looking spells which even keep Dumbledore on his toes (even knocking him down at one point). Though he still ultimately loses, Dumbledore had to work much harder for his victory.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: His eyes were red in the books, but they're blue in the movies.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: The books heavily imply that pre-Voldemort Tom Riddle was a sociopath, but it's never directly stated what precisely is wrong with him. He sees absolutely no value in forming relationships with others unless there is some benefit in it for him, he is completely incapable of feeling love in any capacity, he enjoys working alone and refuses to confide in any of his "friends", he is disturbingly good at understanding how to manipulate people into doing what he wants, and can kill anyone, from babies to his own remaining family, without any hint of remorse. Word of God also states his inability to understand love stems from being raised under loveless conditions, and had Merope lived to raise him, he would have turned out differently.
  • And I Must Scream: His attempt to interfere with life and death leaves his soul too mutilated to move on to any afterlife. He must exist in limbo, mutilated and suffering, because of his own actions in life.
  • Animal Motifs: He can speak to snakes, looks like one, has a pet snake, descends from a guy whose emblem was a snake and, of course, studied in his House at Hogwarts...
  • Animal Eyes: His eyes are stated to resemble those of a snake. Like the snake-like slitted nostrils, it is strongly implied that these features were the result of his creating seven Horcruxes.
  • Anticlimax Boss: Purposefully enforced and foreshadowed. After seven books of Voldemort being buid-up as the most powerful, dangerous and evil wizard to ever lived, he dies easily and miserably after Harry verbally rips him to shreds, calling him "Tom Riddle" to rub salt in the wounds. The sixth book intensely foreshadows that for all his posturing and fancying himself as an invincible demigod, he is but a Genre Blind Smug Snake, whose inability to learn from his mistakes, monstrous ego and raging narcissism would cause his final downfall after having bitten him repeatedly in the butt before. And true to form it did, making said final downfall all the sweeter and more karmic.
  • Arch-Enemy: To Harry and Dumbledore, and probably to the entire wizarding and Muggle worlds.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: His title "Lord Voldemort" is merely an anagram of his real name, but he's the heir of a noble title from his Muggle father's side of the family tree (though he considers this title beneath him). And on his mother's side, he's the last descendant of a line that could be considered wizard nobility.
  • Artifact Alias: The protagonists learn fairly early on that his birth name is Tom Riddle; Voldemort considers it an unwelcome reminder of his half-Muggle heritage and would prefer that his history before being known as Lord Voldemort be forgotten along with the name. They largely continue to call him Voldemort anyway, considering it a sign of defiance since many are too afraid of him to do even that much, calling him "He Who Must Not Be Named" or "You-Know-Who" instead. This becomes a bit of an Idiot Ball in the final book where the name "Voldemort", but not "Tom Riddle", invokes The Scottish Trope. Only Dumbledore occasionally calls him "Tom", usually when addressing him directly as a way of reminding him that Dumbledore remembers when he was just an orphan schoolboy.
  • Asshole Victim: Given the atrocities he committed in the name of a "perfect wizarding world", no one, including his "followers", mourned his death.
  • Ax-Crazy: He tortures and kills people worryingly frequently with frightening nonchalance. When he gets pissed off (which is both often and easy to do), he becomes very indiscriminate and targets friend and foe alike.
  • Bad Boss:
    • It's very clear that most of his underlings — including ideological "true believers" and even those who joined the Death Eaters just to satisfy their sadism — obey him out of abject terror; in fact, it's mentioned on more than one occasions that most of the Death Eaters only came back to Voldemort out of fear of what he'd do to them if he didn't. As punishment for failure, he is not above sending their children to what he thinks is certain death, or having a psychotic temper tantrum and killing whoever happens to be nearby. He also has a nasty habit of holding onto grudges. If you upset him thirteen years ago, expect him to find and kill you. This comes back to bite him in the final book; when Bellatrix and the Malfoys have captured a facially-disfigured Harry, they're too afraid to call Voldemort. If it really is Harry, Voldemort could kill him and take out the last thing standing in his way. If it turns out it's not Harry, when Voldemort got the news and arrived, there's a high chance he'd kill everyone involved just for getting his hopes up.
    • He maintains a facade of a Benevolent Boss and gains his Death Eaters' loyalty by letting them indulge in their sadism, cruelty and thirst for power and glory. Also, he rewards them and teaches secrets to the most useful, going as far as sharing his backstory to a promising Death Eater with a similar background to make him feel special. However, any gift he offers is a way to better control them, and no matter the esteem he holds them in, they are tools to discard and nothing more, going out of his way to humiliate the servants who fell out of favour.
    • In the fifth film, he tries to goad Harry into killing Bellatrix for no purpose at all except an attempt to corrupt Harry.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: His greatest ambition was to become immortal and defeat death itself. His final fate has his mangled soul trapped in Limbo for eternity, unable to pass on to the afterlife.
  • Badass in Charge: Voldemort was hands-down one of the most powerful wizards in the series and the leader of the Death Eaters.
  • Badass Longrobe: Sports an impressive, flowing one.
  • Bait the Dog:
    • His giving Wormtail his silver hand. Initially coming off as a honest way to reward his loyal servant, the last book reveals that it was merely a way to control him, as it strangles him when he hesitates to kill Harry for a second.
    • Voldemort calls a temporary cease-fire in the final battle at Hogwarts, telling his enemies through telepathy that he's giving them time to rest and bury their dead... only to immediately follow this by saying that they now face a choice: surrender Harry Potter to him or else he will slaughter every last man, woman, and child in Hogwarts.
  • Bald of Evil: He loses his hair as a part of his transformation.
  • Beauty to Beast: Tom Riddle was a strikingly handsome young man who was also very polite, which made it difficult for people to deduce that he was a sociopath bent on ripping apart his own soul to live forever. That is, until Riddle began to take action on his experimentation into immortality, which not only irreparably damaged his self, but also slowly sucked the colour from his skin, turned his eyes red, and flattened his features until Tom Riddle was more snake than man.
  • Belated Backstory: Half-Blood Prince reveals more of his backstory than any other book in the series.
  • Beneath the Mask: As a teenager, he gave off the impression of being a kind, charming and brilliant student as a cover for the ruthless bastard he really was.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Unless you happen to be Albus Dumbledore, don't use the name "Tom Riddle" in his presence if you value your life. Harry doesn't so much press it as much as breaks it during their final confrontation, referring to Voldemort continuously as Riddle and nothing else. The book makes it clear that Voldemort had no idea how to react to it.
    • Don't lie to him or attempt to mislead him. Even as a child, he ordered people to "Tell the truth!" in such a forceful way that even Dumbledore was disturbed.
  • Big Bad: For the series as a whole, but he directly fills the role in Books 1, 4, 5, and 7. His younger self preserved through a Horcrux fills the spot in Book 2.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: With Cornelius Fudge in Order of the Phoenix. While Voldemort has properly returned by now, he's keeping to the shadows because Fudge is producing a smear campaign against Dumbledore and Harry that causes the vast majority of the problems the heroes face in the book. Voldemort doesn't get directly involved until the climax.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: As a teenager, he passed himself off as a model student, but he and his "friends" were responsible for a number of nasty incidents at Hogwarts (particularly the opening of the Chamber of Secrets), although Dumbledore was able to see through it.
  • Black Cloak: Although it's more of a really dark green colour in the fifth and seventh movies.
  • Blitz Evacuees: Tom Riddle attended Hogwarts during World War II. Luckily for him, the Blitz only lasted from September 1940 to May 1941, so assuming he stayed at Hogwarts during Christmas break, he was safe.
  • Body Horror: Especially after his resurrection in Goblet of Fire. He's completely hairless, noseless, and sickly-looking.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity:
    • Harry Potter is unique in this regard, as it successfully justifies its villain's Bond Villain Stupidity. Voldemort is one of the most knowledgeable wizards of all time (perhaps apart from Dumbledore), but he's not particularly wise with the magic he wields, particularly the older branches of magic. This might be because, as a Muggle-raised wizard, he sees magic and power as the solution to any problem or alternatively because shredding your soul into seven pieces has some potentially negative side-effects.
    • His decision to engage in monologuing instead of killing Harry straight away, meant that his younger Diary self ended up giving Harry the time to figure out how to defeat him in Chamber of Secrets, as well as making him the sole person responsible for derailing Barty Crouch Jr's evil plan in Goblet of Fire.
    • While Voldemort had insisted that he has to be the one to kill Harry, it apparently didn't extend to personally making sure that his foe was absolutely dead.
  • Boomerang Bigot: One of the goals of the Death Eaters was the elimination or marginalization of any wizard who wasn't pure-blooded, especially if they were Muggle-born, but Voldemort himself was a half-blood. Moreover, being a half-blood is probably the reason he is so powerful in the first place. He comes from a long line of powerful and dangerous wizards, but by the time he came along, most of their power had been diluted by constant inbreeding. If his father wasn't a Muggle, he probably would be just as pathetic as his uncle or grandfather.
  • Break Them by Talking: To Ron in Deathly Hallows, via his Locket Horcrux.
  • Broken Ace: As mentioned before, he was Head Boy at Hogwarts and admired by nearly every professor except Dumbledore. Too bad he was also an antisocial sociopath.
  • Broken Pedestal: As a young orphan, he was obsessed with his roots, believed that his Lineage Comes from the Father, and that his father was a wizard. His discovery that this wasn't the case led to his Start of Darkness.
  • Came Back Wrong: Deconstructed. After his Killing Curse rebounded he was never technically dead, but he existed as less than a ghost, clinging to life by sharing a body with Professor Quirrell and using Peter Pettigrew to build a hideously deformed baby-like body that forced him to drink a potion made from unicorn blood and Nagini's venom to survive. When he finally does return to full strength with the aid of a dark ritual it seems to have no ill-effects.
  • Catch-Phrase:
    • "Do not lie to Lord Voldemort. He knows... he always knows..."
    • "Tell the truth!"
    • "You dare!"
    • From the films: "NYAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!"
    • And from the first book, repeatedly: "Seize him!"
    • Let's face it, he murders so many people that "Avada Kedavra!" could conceivably be his catchphrase too... (or, from the films, "Uhhhvada kedavraaaaa!")
  • The Charmer: While at Hogwarts and as a young man, he was noted as highly charismatic and used this to sway many people into following him. Later, he abandoned subtlety altogether and simply controlled them through fear; though as his followers will tell you, he's still pretty damn charismatic. Mind you, it's a lot harder to be charismatic when Evil Makes You Ugly.
  • The Chessmaster: He orchestrated a complex but successful plot to get Harry right from under Dumbledore's nose. He systematically murdered powerful members of the Ministry of Magic and the Order starting in Book 6, and took control of the Minister of Magic's closest advisers and men. With his position, he silently overthrew the entire wizarding government. Also, he places traps for Harry throughout Deathly Hallows (Bathilda Bagshot's house, anyone?), showing he knows his enemies' thought processes. Not to mention his way of taking advantage of the shunned beasts of the wizarding world and making them a part of his already-huge army, something Dumbledore could not even persuade them to do. Book 2 anyone? Diary!Riddle leaves clues, and attacks Harry's closest friends in order to lure him to the Chamber, just so he could meet him.
  • Child by Rape: His mother kept his father drugged with Love Potions to bring and keep them together; he understandably left as soon as she stopped.
  • Child Hater: If his monologue on the night where he kills Harry's parents is any indication. He seems to have a particular dislike for infants and toddlers, having always disliked their crying in the orphanage where he was raised, and baby Harry's crying provokes him into killing Harry then and there.
  • Child Prodigy: From a young age, he could use magic without a wand or even knowing what magic even was.
  • Classic Villain: He covers every aspect listed on the trope page (though the "befriending the hero" part is only indirectly through his Diary in Chamber of Secrets). His vice is his all-consuming Pride: a desire for specialness and unparalleled power that extends to his ultimate obsession with avoiding his own death.
  • Cloth Fu: Uses his cloak to ensnare Harry during their fight in the eighth film.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: While a feared and terrible killer for the most part, the over-the-top theatrical manner in which he conducts his actions often lead him to this. Examples include:
    • He briefly considers killing a child For the Evulz when the latter mistook his natural getup as a Halloween costume, but he decides that it's "quite unnecessary".
    • There's also his creepy attempt to ingratiate with Draco and the other Death Eaters by announcing the wedding of Bellatrix' niece to Remus Lupin.
    • His cursing of the Defense Against the Dark Arts position after Dumbledore rejected his application is perhaps his crowning moment. He had little hope of getting the job, and used it as an excuse to stash another Horcrux, but still doomed its-implied-three decades of turnover staff to terrible fates and bad luck, turning it into the series Running Gag, which even Dumbledore admits is Actually Pretty Funny after a while.
    • In a film-only example, his murder of Pius Thicknesse for being slightly irritating is so abrupt and such a case of overwhelmingly Disproportionate Retribution that it's hard not to laugh.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Voldemort never stops giving shit to Wormtail in Book 4, regarding him with loathing, disgust, and total contempt, and more or less abusing him verbally and physically in every single scene they share in Goblet of Fire. Voldemort hates the fact that the instrument for his return to power is more or less a last resort for a guy who spent 12 years a rat and in the graveyard speech, he gave Wormtail a Backhanded Compliment, while giving the unnamed Barty Crouch Jr the Employee of the Year award.
  • Complexity Addiction: A serious and recurring problem for him. It's never enough for his schemes to simply work. They also have to be epic and show off how clever he is. Examples include insisting that it be Harry's blood that revives him, insisting that he and he alone be the one to kill Harry when it would be far more practical to let someone else do it, and using special and unique objects as Horcruxes, usually keeping them hidden in famous or personal locations, when he could have used any mundane object that would be difficult to find. Bear in mind, that these are the objects the immortality he is completely obsessed with is dependent upon and he still can't tone down his need to adhere to this trope.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: Despite holding similar beliefs of magical supremacy, he and his Predecessor Villain Gellert Grindelwald (the main antagonist of the Fantastic Beast films) could not be any more different. Voldemort was a model student at Hogwarts, and hid his true nature from most people, while Grindelwald was known as a trouble maker and expelled from Durmstrang (though it should be noted that Grindelwald was no less gifted a student than Tom Riddle, he was just less adept/concerned with staying on the right side of authority). The Dark Arts twisted Voldemort's appearance into something inhuman, while Grindelwald looks like Johnny Depp. Voldemort kept his reign of terror focused on Britain, while Grindelwald expanded all across Europe, and into America. As a polar opposite of Voldemort, in this regard, Grindelwald studiously avoided attacking Britain out of fear of Dumbledore. Grindelwald was also nowhere near as much a racist as Voldemort was — while he saw Muggles as inferior humans that needed the guiding hand of wizardkind, he still saw them as human, and held absolutely no prejudice against Muggle-borns, viewing them as no different from any witch or wizard. Voldemort, meanwhile, is a Boomerang Bigot who saw Muggles and Muggle-borns as less than dirt. Most notably, however, are their motivations for their countless crimes and atrocities: Grindelwald's motto was "For the Greater Good" and believed that Utopia Justifies the Means. He was the worst kind of idealist. Voldemort had many reasons for doing what he did, but ultimately he was driven by wanting to gain power for power's sake.
  • Crazy-Prepared: He creates Horcruxes as back-ups, in case he should ever die. But does he make one or two as most people would? No, he makes six. (Though this is in part due to the significance of seven as a magical number - six Horcruxes resulting in a seven part soul).
  • Creepy Child: As a kid, he was a creepy orphan who often tormented the other kids at the orphanage. Two of them even went permanently mute after what he did to them. He went around torturing little kids, killing bunnies, and stealing toys, for goodness' sakes! Hero Fiennes-Tiffin's film portrayal of the eleven-year-old Riddle looks and sounds like something straight out of a horror movie — and Frank Dillane's depiction of the teen Voldemort in Half-Blood Prince isn't much better.
  • Creepy High-Pitched Voice: Not at first, but after he makes enough horcruxes, his voice becomes unusually cold and high-pitched.
  • Creepy Long Fingers: His hands are compared to "giant pale spiders" several times.
  • Creepy Monotone: In the movies. Until he starts laughing...
  • Crippling Overspecialisation: Comes back to bite him. He considers the only real tool he ever needs is the Killing Curse (and, to a lesser extent, the other Unforgivable Curses), and when this doesn't work on Harry (for various reasons), his attempted solutions consist of trying the same thing again with different wands. He also ignored areas of wizarding knowledge that could have helped him attain his goal of immortality, as seen in the last book.
  • Dark Lord on Life Support: He spends the first four books just trying to reclaim his physical body.
  • Dark Messiah: Subverted. Although the Death Eaters see him as this, believing that he will subjugate and exterminate mudbloods and muggles and create a world where the old wizarding families will rule supreme. However, while Voldemort does share those prejudices and takes advantage of this ideology, it's quite clear that his own ambitions to live forever and achieve limitless magical rather than political power come first; it's also clear that even most of his followers obey him less out of devotion to him or the cause than because he terrifies them.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Almost constantly speaks in a sarcastic tone. Some examples include:
    • "Wormtail, I need someone with brains, someone whose loyalty has never wavered. And you, unfortunately, fulfill neither requirement."
    • "I'm going to sit here and watch you die. Take your time, Potter, I'm in no hurry."
    • "Will you babysit the cubs, Draco?"
    • When Lucius Malfoy extends his hands in the hope that Voldemort would give him his wand in exchange for borrowing Malfoy's: "You want me to give you my wand, Lucius..."
  • Demonic Possession: Voldemort had the ability to take over people's bodies and he did so with Quirrell. It's somewhat unclear how much agency Quirrell actually has while hosting Voldemort in his body — at one point Harry overhears him apparently weakly protesting Voldemort, suggesting Voldemort may have some degree of control over him. Notably this was the only skill he still had access to when he didn't have a body.
  • Despotism Justifies the Means: There's hints throughout the series that he really doesn't give a damn about this whole "pure-blood superiority" thing; he just wants power for its own sake.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Throughout his life, he had a talent for being charming, despite the fact that he was bad, bad news.
  • Didn't See That Coming:
    • Voldemort's messing with forbidden soul-destroying magic and his dismissal of inferior magic and Fantastic Racism often makes him blindsided when something truly unexpected comes his way. Most notably, his killing of The Chosen One — a simple one-year-old baby, a couple who don't have a wand, and the treachery of their best friend who is Beneath Suspicion when he attacks them, What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
    • This becomes a nearly constant Running Gag in the last book where, one by one, Voldemort's plans and gambits get foiled despite finally Putting on the Reich and taking over Hogwarts. It starts immediately when he finds out that Harry discovered one of his Horcruxes and stole it from Gringotts, and starts a Villainous Breakdown of epic proportions.
  • Didn't Think This Through: In spite of his talent of being The Chessmaster this tends to happen often.
    • When he opened the Chamber of Secrets in the backstory and attacked several Muggleborns, eventually killing poor Myrtle he clearly didn't think about the possibility that Hogwarts would be closed down, meaning he'd have to go back to the Muggle orphanage he hated. He's left scrambling to find a suitable candidate to pin the blame on.
    • He felt confident in the safety of his locket Horocrux due to the fact that only one adult could ride in the small boat that would travel to the center of the lake, and one wizard would become overwhelmed by the Drink of Despair and have nobody to aid them. Dumbledore gets around this by simply bringing Harry with him, who is underage, and doesn't count as an adult wizard.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Voldemort once applied for the position of Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts, though his primary goal was to hide the Ravenclaw diadem Horcrux in the Room of Requirement. Dumbledore rejected his application because he knew Voldemort had ulterior motives for being there and he wanted him gone. That, and he figured a Humanoid Abomination that reeked of dark magic probably wouldn't be a good influence on students. Even though he had accomplished his real goal, Voldemort still felt pissed off by the rejection. And that's why no Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher has ever managed to hold on to the position for more than a year after Voldemort's visit. Turns out the position really is jinxed. Word of God later stated that, while Voldemort's death lifted the curse, Slytherin's shady reputation nonetheless stands.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: In the films. His feet resemble talons with long, sharp toenails that appear to be blue.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In Philosopher's Stone, he outright states that he uses Quirrell as a parasite would do. This, combined with his underweight and hairless appearance and the fact that saying his name is a taboo for most of the magical community, draws a parallel between Voldemort and cancer (or, alternatively, syphilis if you consider his absence of nose).
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Whatever you do, DON'T refer to him by his birth name. Voldemort either goes by the name he made up for himself, 'the Dark Lord' by his followers, or 'You-Know-Who' by those who fear him. However, Dumbledore calls him by his real name, Tom Riddle, to his face, since he knew him from when he was a young boy and is not impressed by what he's grown into. Later Harry also starts calling him by his true name, partly to show he no longer fears him and partly because it really pisses Voldemort off.
  • The Dreaded: Lord Voldemort, AKA "You-Know-Who" and "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named." Everyone in the magical world barring Dumbledore is utterly, pant-wettingly terrified of him. To such extent that even over a decade after disappearing and being thought dead by most, no-one dares speaking his name, and shudder in fright when they hear it.
  • Enfant Terrible: Tom "I can do bad things to people who annoy me. I can make them hurt if I want to" Riddle.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Possibly. In a blink and you'll miss it moment, when Tom Riddle is discussing Slytherin's Locket with Hepzibah Smith and the manner in which she obtained it, Riddle's eyes go briefly red at the mention of his mother as a tramp who probably stole the locket before she herself bought it off of Borgin. Whether it was the insult to Riddle's mother or the fact that Hepzibah herself was in possession of what he viewed as rightfully his is up for debate. He also killed his father (and grandparents into the bargain) at least partly because he viewed Tom Riddle Senior abandoned his wife and unborn child (it's unclear if Voldemort knew of Riddle being forced into the union), causing his mother to meet a pitiful end unworthy of a witch and descendant of Salazar Slytherin.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: "Loved ones" is a stretch but Voldemort does seem to have a certain degree of fondness for Nagini that he doesn't for anyone or anything else.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Shows contempt toward Wormtail, though it's uncertain whether it's because of Wormtail's betrayal of the Potters or because he's a whiny little coward who switches sides at the drop of a hat. Most likely it's Voldemort's huge ego where he imagined loyal, competent Death Eaters like Bellatrix or Lucius to bring him back rather than a Dirty Coward with nowhere else to go. Being a last resort for someone who lived 12 years as a rat is not a pleasant truth to realize.
  • Evil Albino: He destroyed his pigmentation along with his nose in the process of ripping his soul into multiple Horcruxes.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: One of his Fatal Flaws. Because Voldemort has no concept of love or mercy and fails to understand their value, he doesn't see how such emotions could possibly threaten him. On the other hand, he understands how good people think, and knows how to exploit this to lure them into a trap.
    Dumbledore: "(Kreacher) gave Narcissa information of the sort that is very valuable to Voldemort, yet must have seemed much too trivial for Sirius to think of banning him from repeating it. Voldemort knew already, of course, that Sirius was in the Order, and that you knew where he was — but Kreacher's information made him realise that the one person for whom you would go to any lengths to rescue was Sirius Black."
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • He's Dumbledore's match in terms of magical abilities and cunning (though arguably not in wisdom). In fact, this goes even further when Dumbledore turned out to have a similar idea of wizards' superiority over Muggles during his youth.
    • Voldemort is also Harry's in terms of growing environment and personality. While Harry is born from the loving union between his parents, Voldemort is born from the completely loveless (and magically forced) union of his own parents. Also, Harry's parents, in an ultimate act of love, sacrificed themselves so that Harry may live, while Voldemort's father left his mother due to it being an abusive relationship and Voldemort's mother chose to die rather than live, leaving her son all alone in the world (which explains Voldemort's inability to understand love). Personality-wise, Harry and Voldemort are courageous and smart; however, while Harry goes out of his way to help his friends, Voldemort uses people for his own ends and throws them away when they are no longer useful. Voldemort and Harry are also both wizards raised in a Muggle world, though while Harry accepts magic has its limitations, Voldemort does not, using it as a solution to almost everything and overlooking certain kinds.
    • The fact that they share a common lineage as revealed in Book 7 (He's something like a distant great-uncle or cousin due to their shared lineage from one of the three Peverell Brothers) makes the connection that much stronger with Harry, as this isn't just a case of facing off against one's greatest enemy/counterpart (be it good or evil) it's also technically a Family Feud.
    • Also serves as this to Severus Snape. A half-blood who hated his Muggle father and identified with his mother's heritage, and who had the Hogwarts career that Snape likely aspired to. Lily's friendship and kindness to Snape probably rescued him from going too deep. Both were also Slytherins with a passion towards dark magic and were part of gangs of future Death Eaters.
    • He's also similar to James Potter, who was pure-blood and Gryffindor but ran a Gang of Bullies and escaped serious punishment thanks to good looks and sound academic standing. Alongside this, they shared a penchant for exploring all of Hogwarts' secrets.
  • Evil Genius: He's the mastermind of the takeover of the wizarding world, he manipulates all of his followers into playing power games to get in his favor, and he concealed his evil nature from all of the adults around him during his school years while orchestrating many dangerous incidents which he and his followers were never properly connected to. And this is all under everyone's nose, including Dumbledore's, and even Dumbledore could never prove he did any of it. He's also regarded as "the most brilliant student to ever enter Hogwarts." He made his first Horcrux while in Hogwarts, and hoodwinked information out of many people, as well as framed Hagrid for the killing of a girl, while simultaneously receiving an award for saving the school.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Quite subdued in the books, in which he remains composed most of the time (Villainous Breakdown aside), but still present in the grandiose ways he acts and wants to be seen as. He is even quite fond of using his own name, such as "DO NOT LIE TO LORD VOLDEMORT," just to get the message that he's high and mighty across.
  • Evil Is Petty: He's easily the most petty, vindictive and needlessly cruel character in the series.
    • Cursed the Defense Against The Dark Arts post at Hogwarts simply because he was turned down for the job that he only mildly wanted and knew that his chances were slim. Even Dumbledore is amazed at the pettiness of this action.
    • Not to mention the time he murders an entire family simply because he went to the wrong house.
    • Averted on the night he murders the Potters, but he considers murdering a small child who did nothing but briefly interrupt him.
    • Sending a follower's teenage son on a suicide mission as a form of slow psychological torture for his parent's failures may take the cake. Especially considering how horribly this backfires when it causes the Malfoys to betray him.
  • Evil Makes You Monstrous: Probably one of the best examples in popular culture.
  • Evil Makes You Ugly:
    • Snake eyes, flat face, no nose... In the movies, he has long, rotting fingernails, disgusting, sharp, yellow teeth, and looks like a corpse. Justified because of all those Horcruxes he made, as it's said that even one Horcrux can irreparably damage the soul!
    • When Harry sees a memory of Voldemort after he had made his first two (or more) Horcruxes, he notes that his former good looks now appear waxy (which could be an allusion to him killing his own soul, as new corpses often look waxy) and slightly distorted like a bad photograph. He also appears to briefly display red eyes when plotting to murder someone. Voldemort didn't look that much different even after the second Horcrux was made; in the flashback where he discussed Horcruxes with Slughorn, he was already wearing Marvolo Gaunt's ring — meaning, he'd already killed his father and made it into a Horcrux.
    • This applies even to his soul itself. When Harry travels to King's Cross we get a glimpse of Voldemort's mangled, broken soul and it's not pretty.
  • Evil Nephew:
    • Frames his uncle Morfin Gaunt for the murder of the Riddle family by modifying their memories. That said, Morfin was an insane Muggle-Hater who had previously attacked one of the victims.
    • Due to a very convoluted family tree, he may actually be an evil Great-granduncle to Harry himself, making Harry a Good Nephew to him in a hilarious turnabout.
  • Evil Old Folks: If the years he was disembodied count as living, he's in his seventies at the time of the end of the series, and one of, if not the most despicably evil wizards to ever live.
  • Evil Overlord: The hoped-for end result of his Evil Plan.
  • Evil Plan: Wipe out the Muggle-born wizards and Take Over the World.
  • Evil Sorcerer: His first stated action in the books was the murder of two people and attempted murder of their one-year-old child. He only gets worse from there.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Inverted; his voice is notable for how high it is, with Ralph Fiennes speaking in surprisingly light and airy tones for such a despicable villain. The books even outright describes Voldemort's voice as remarkably high-pitched.
  • Eviler Than Thou: To Predecessor Villain Gellert Grindelwald. Grindelwald did some genuinely terrible things and waged war against the entire magical world, but in the end he was a Knight Templar who believed Utopia Justifies the Means, and spent his incarceration in Nurmengard wondering if he was right. Voldemort, meanwhile, dressed it up as much as he could with "pureblood rights" and other racist nonsense, but in the end he was just a power-hungry madman who was taking out his Daddy Issues on the rest of the rest of the magical community. Unsurprisingly, when they finally meet, the latter wins, though admittedly had Grindelwald been in his prime, he would've been a conceivable match for Voldemort, Elder Wand or no.

    F-L 
  • Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: During his time at Hogwarts, he was exceptionally good-looking but every bit as evil and committed his first murders during that time. He was able to use his good looks in combination with his charisma to avoid getting caught.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Laser-Guided Karma strikes every single one of his attempts to kill Harry. When he killed Lily Potter, he had just signed a contract with fate for being destined to lose. Killing a unicorn and drinking its blood in the Philosopher's Stone may have added to this. In the book, it is stated that those who would kill something so innocent to survive would live a cursed life thereafter.
  • False Friend: To multiple characters. Voldemort has no concept of love or friendship but is able to win people over with his manipulation and fake charm. During his time at Hogwarts, he won over and manipulated everyone but Dumbledore by pretending to be their friend, even gaining his first followers whom he regarded as nothing but servants. He later does this to Ginny Weasley, pretending to be her friend and getting her to open up to him, all the while regarding her as nothing but a tool. Basically, if Voldemort seems like he's your friend or gives a shit about you in any way, he's using you and you're pretty much screwed.
  • Failed a Spot Check: While Voldemort makes a mountain of tactical errors in Deathly Hallows, perhaps the most egregious one was thinking it beneath him to personally confirm his kill, and instead leaving the task to a follower who happened to have a hidden agenda. Even worse considering that Voldemort - an unmatched master Legilimency - doesn't even read that follower's thoughts.
  • Fate Worse than Death: A trope beyond his comprehension; for him, nothing could be worse than death. Turns out not to save him from death. Or what comes after it, which really is worse.
  • Fatal Flaw: Voldemort has three defining flaws:
    • Pride. It's not so much petty, plain-old narcissism and arrogance than it is outright full-blown megalomania. He's the smartest and most powerful wizard in the world (except Dumbledore) and he knows it, so he tends to go out of his way to add a flair of grandeur and grace to his plans while attempting to achieve his objectives in the way he thinks will be more terrifying. For example, he challenges Harry to a duel in the graveyard sheerly for amusement, when the most pragmatic option would be to simply give the Avada Kedavra right there and then when Harry was tied up and couldn't escape. Thus, he doesn't realise that other people could learn about his Horcruxes, or find them, and he certainly doesn't realise that attempting to kill the boy destined to defeat you may result in that boy being actually able to defeat you. And thus, Harry Potter was given the weapons to destroy Voldemort.
      • It also extends to his Horcruxes themselves; Voldemort could have chosen any object to work as a Horcrux, but instead of just picking something extremely mundane that was easy to hide (again, the possibilities were literally limitless), he took it as another opportunity to feed into his already immense sense of vanity by using objects that were either very famous or had great sentimental value to him, making the search for said Horcruxes much easier for anyone looking for them.
    • Voldemort also cannot understand The Power of Love, thanks to being a sociopath without any positive relationships in his life: love itself is alien to him.
      • As a result, he doesn't understand the lengths to which people, even within his own ranks, will go, for those they love. This started even with Lily Potter. For some reason (maybe his background), it didn't seem to occur to him that, no, most moms won't just stand aside and let you kill their babies. That move signed his death warrant, and the mistakes he made with overlooking this in Regulus Black, Snape, and the Malfoys just dug the hole deeper.
    • Thanatophobia. And finally, he's this the point where anything, no matter how self-destructive, is fair game. Hence why his overuse of Horcruxes has corrupted his soul to the point he doesn't know when a bit of it's been annihilated, and thinking that just because someone is dead, they're no longer a problem. This bites him in the ass when he tries to parade Harry's body about and only pisses off the defenders of Hogwarts into a rally (which gives the still-alive Harry more than enough of a chance to sneak out of the fray and ambush him). And Voldemort's own Boggart would be his own corpse, which shows his extreme fear of death.
  • Faux Affably Evil:
    • As a Hogwarts student. He managed to fool nearly everyone there except Dumbledore, even being named Head Boy for his efforts. No longer the case by the time of the book, though any of his supporters can tell you he's still quite charismatic. In both cases, though, it seems to be an act to gather supporters and flunkies, and sycophants to feed his ego.
    • He presents a gentlemanly image throughout the books, particularly in Goblet of Fire. Notable examples include having Wormtail invite their "guest" Frank in and arranging a traditional duel with Harry complete with (forced) bowing, but he does it purely to mock and belittle people he's talking to.
    • Before and during the Battle of Hogwarts, he tries to cultivate a "benevolent dictator" image for himself, claiming that he wants to avoid spilling magical blood when, in reality, he doesn't care how many people are killed as long as Harry is ultimately one of them. Few people buy it.
  • Finish Him!: What ensues usually isn't pretty.
  • First-Name Basis: Non-friendship example. Most people call him "He Who Must Not Be Named" out of their fear for him. Those that oppose him like the Order call him "Voldemort" while his followers address him as "The Dark Lord," both titles Voldy coined for himself. Only Dumbledore still calls him by his name "Tom" because he refuses to let him make himself more than just a man. Harry subverts the trope in their final confrontation. He mostly refers to Voldemort by his last name of Riddle, but the fact that he's relying on it at all in comparison to the chosen moniker shows just how defiant he's become towards the Dark Lord and reflects how he's lost all fear that he might have previously carried. In the film adaptation, he calls him "Tom" just before making the final move to destroy him.
  • Flight: In the books, Voldemort is one of the very few wizards able to fly without the use of a broom or other aid.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: A small child compliments Voldemort on his "costume" when he goes to kill the Potters on Halloween night. He avoids suspicion by blending in with everyone else. And he seriously considers killing the kid, just for the hell of it.
  • For Want of a Nail: He could have done anything to Lily - stun her, immobilize her, even shove her out of the way - rather than killing her For the Evulz. Things would have turned out very differently if Voldemort hadn't accidentally invoked Lily's sacrifice borne of love to protect Harry.
  • Frame-Up: His modus operandi in his years as Tom Riddle. Commit a crime, delete all evidence, and find a patsy to pass his crime on while he gets away with it. Was successful in this gambit with Dumbledore not able to unearth evidence until years later for some of his crimes, with his victims suffering and dying in Azkaban. Hagrid is fortunate to be merely expelled after Riddle accused him of being behind the attacks during their school years.
  • Freudian Excuse: Not that it could even remotely soften all his atrocities, but he has some.
    • He's descended from the inbred, mentally unstable Gaunt/Slytherin bloodline and a muggle father who disappeared as soon as the Love Potion wore off. His mother succumbed to Death by Despair in his infancy, leaving him in an overcrowded orphanage where his only pleasure was terrorizing the other children. J. K. Rowling states that if his mother had survived to raise him with love and affection, he might not have been a good wizard, but he wouldn't have turned into the homicidal psychopath he became. As it happened, he came to see Muggles as contemptible, people as expendable, and death as a weakness to be overcome at any cost.
    • Voldemort's belief that magic can prevent death stems from his Parental Abandonment. He initially refuses to believe that his mother is magical because he felt that if she had magic, she would have lived to raise him (something that even Harry expresses surprise at). His fixation on his imagined magical father, and initial dismissal of his mother as weak, ultimately lead to bitter disillusionment when he realizes the truth. His mother's betrayal by his Muggle father (as he assumes it) leads him to regard love as a weakness, and it's implied that he's bitter about the fact that she didn't stay alive to raise him. These experiences, and the wrong conclusions he draws, go on to define his personality.
    • The extent to which his childhood in the orphanage defined his personality can be glimpsed in Deathly Hallows where in a flashback scene, he initially looks at baby Harry with curiosity and only uses the curse when he starts to cry, noting "he never could stand the crying in the orphanage". In many ways, his life is a subversion of a Changeling Wish Fulfillment fantasy where orphans find out they have a Secret Legacy and Orphan's Plot Trinket and that Deceased Parents Are the Best, showing that the person could end up as a monstrous narcissistic sociopath as easily as a Heartwarming Orphan.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: While his Freudian Excuse gets him in-universe sympathy, Dumbledore stresses that Harry, despite their similar backgrounds, never fell to evil like like him thus showing it wasn't just his background, but his choices, that made Voldemort the monster he became. Thus is excuse is more a cautionary tale than redeeming factor.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: His lifelong goal was to shed his common upbringing as an orphan in an orphanage with a common name into something which people would fear and respect. He got what he wanted and became the most feared wizard of his age.
  • Frontline General: Downplayed. While he does do this it's only when he deems matters important enough to warrant his attention. Notable examples throughout the series include personally traveling to Godric's Hollow to kill baby Harry, killing certain extremely talented wizards or witches like Madam Bones or retrieving the Elder Wand from Dumbledore's tomb. In most cases he's content to let others do his dirty work.
  • Gang of Bullies: He apparently was the leader of one during his Hogwarts years that consisted of future Death Eaters. He claimed they were his friends, but likely just saw them as servants. This gang would get into all sorts of trouble while Tom maintained his model student act.
  • Genre Blind: Despite his great intellect and extensive knowledge of magic, he never could let go of the childish misconception that magic could do everything and that being so much more powerful than anyone else meant that he could do anything. Spoiler: It wasn't. And his blatant disregard for the most fundamental laws of magic lead to his ignominous and miserable death.
    • His obsession with greatness and symbols of power led him to regard anything less than grandiose and flashy as irrelevant and contemptible, unable to fathom that what did not look exceptional at first glance could be worth much more.
  • Glamour Failure: Harry notes that Tom's Horcrux-self's eyes appear to turn red whenever he is plotting murder. This briefly happens to his good-looking physical self a few times in flashbacks, before Voldemort's eyes went red permanently.
  • Glory Seeker: An especially sinister example. Voldemort wants everyone to recognize him as the most powerful wizard who ever lived, and to revere him as the demigod he thinks he is. Unfortunately, he does so by crushing anyone in his path and making himself feared and reviled by pretty much everone.
  • Good Hurts Evil: For a long time, Voldemort was physically incapable of touching Harry because of a magical spell based on Harry's mother's love for him; trying to do so was enough to severely burn at least Quirrell when he was his host (outright disintegrating him in the film version). He gets over that, but it still causes him excruciating pain to possess Harry when Harry is feeling certain strong emotions (i.e. love).
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The adult, present-day Voldemort doesn't appear at all in the second, third, or sixth books, but he remains the most dangerous villain of the series, as well as the root of the threats in the three aforementioned novels.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: He's very hot-tempered and equally trigger-happy, especially if he's provoked.
  • Hellish Pupils: In the books only, although in the fourth movie, his pupils were slits for a brief time after his resurrection.
  • Hero Killer: He's the most dangerous dark wizard of the age, and, to boot, killed Harry's parents. He also killed many important characters by his hand, including Amelia Bones, Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody and Severus Snape. To quote Hagrid:
    "Nobody lived once he decided to kill 'em. No one except you! And he killed some of the best witches and wizards of the age. The McKinnons! The Bones! The Prewetts! And you was only a baby, and you lived".
  • Hijacked by Ganon: For most of Chamber of Secrets, Harry and the reader think Voldemort, Tom Riddle and the Heir of Slytherin are three different people.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Voldemort could hold some sort of record for this. Just a few highlights:
    • His decision to kill Lily rather than just stun or immobilize her causes this to happen twice. The immediate aftermath was endowing baby Harry with a magical protection that caused Voldemort's Killing Curse to backfire on him, ending his first reign. Long term this also set in motion a 17-year long chain of events orchestrated by Dumbledore that ended Voldemort's second reign with his own death.
    • In his arrogance he didn't consider the magical abilities of house-elves, which allowed Kreacher, who had been left to die, to escape from the lake with one of Voldemort's own Horcruxes.
    • His second opening of the chamber of secrets screws him over in several different ways. First it got one of his Horcruxes destroyed. Secondly it not only let Dumbledore know that he had used a Horcrux to stay alive, but that he had used multiple. Third, (and most fatally) it's events caused the sword of Gryffindor to be impregnated with basilisk venom and gave the heroes access to a dead basilisk, tools that are some of the only things able to destroy a Horcrux. The worst part? Voldemort didn't need to open the Chamber of Secrets a first or second time to complete his plans, he only did it for the sheer cruelty of it and to demonstrate that he figured out how to open it.
    • He sent Draco Malfoy on a suicide mission to kill Dumbledore purely to punish his horrified parents for their own failures, causing Lucius and Narcissa to betray Voldemort at the first opportunity, Narcissa being the one to conceal the fact that Harry was still alive.
    • His sheer determination to carve out a place for himself in history allowed Dumbledore and Harry to effectively deduce his precise means of staying immortal.
    • He completely flies off the handle and murders an entire room full of followers when he realizes Harry knows about the Horcruxes, simultaneously dropping the mental guard that prevented Harry from reading his thoughts, thus aiding him in finding the last Horcrux.
    • His pride, ego and denial cause him to ultimately kill himself with his own attack when the Elder Wand backfires, even after Harry explained this exact situation.
  • Humanoid Abomination: A rare example of a person who aspired to be this. He sees humanity as restricting and is afraid of death and wishes to transcend it by creating six horcruxes. He ends up as a pale-skinned bald man with no nose or lips, red eyes with slitted pupils, unnaturally long fingers, and blue fingernails.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: From the fourth film onward, Voldemort's eyes are blue.
  • I Have Many Names: Tom Riddle, Lord Voldemort, You-Know-Who, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, the Dark Lord.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Harry noted that he immediately accepted being a wizard, where Harry had several doubts. Dumbledore noted that Voldemort was quite eager for evidence that "he was special". This extends to his choice of Horcruxes and the places where he chose to hide them; all of them he regarded as evidence of his inevitable greatness. Harry's understanding of Voldemort in regards to this is what keeps him in good standing in his hunt for Horcruxes.
  • Immortality Immorality: Good God, is it ever. Horcruxes require him to kill someone and then fragment off a part of his soul. He makes his first at sixteen.
  • Immortality Seeker: When the orphan boy Tom learns that magic is real, he assumes without question that those with magic, like himself, can't get sick or die. Eventually, he learns that his magical parent was not the living father for who he was named, but the inbred, poor woman who died giving birth to him. Afraid and angry, Tom murdered his father and searched for immortality in the darkest forms of magic, turning his body into a colourless, serpentine parody of a human form. By the end of his "experiments," Voldemort had reduced himself to less than the smallest ghost by shredding his soul apart and forcing the remains into trinkets that made the self-proclaimed Lord feel like he was royalty and not a frightened orphan.
  • Immortals Fear Death: Even after his "experiments" with Dark Magic allow He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named to survive the theretofore unfailing Killing Curse, the Dark Lord's priority is still snuffing out any potential threat to his survival at all costs, even if the threat is a skinny fourteen year old.
  • Inbred and Evil: In the sixth book, it is revealed that his maternal ancestors, the House of Gaunt, regularly married their own cousins for centuries to preserve their Slytherin lineage, which resulted in a number of mental defects. It's more than likely that Voldemort's own Axe-Crazy ways are (at least partially) the result of this tradition.
  • It's All About Me: Even for an Evil Overlord, he has a massively overbloated ego. His backstory makes it clear that nearly everything he believes in, be it his fascination with his abilities before he knew he was a wizard, to an obsession with blood purity (with, of course, himself at the top despite his own Halfblood status), is all because he sees the world as a place where he is exceptional above all others. As a magic-user among normals in his youth, then as an immortal and unmatchable wizard. There's a strong case to be made that he only cares about blood purity and relishes in being the Heir of Slytherin because it gives him an excuse to be special.
  • It Is Pronounced Tro Pay: According to Word of God, the final "t" is supposed to be silent, following the French pronounciation of the word "mort" (death).
  • I Was Quite a Looker: A rare example where this is self-inflicted. Before he started making Horcruxes, Voldemort is mentioned as extremely handsome.
  • I Want Them Alive: He refuses to allow anyone to kill Harry Potter because he believes Harry must die by his hand alone.
  • I Work Alone: As far back as his childhood Voldemort hated the idea of relying on others in any capacity. Even his most loyal Death Eaters he considers expendable pawns.
  • The Juggernaut: He can defeat just about any other character with the exception of Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter (and only due to plot reasons for the latter). Even Dumbledore admits that even his most powerful spells could not protect anyone from Voldemort forever. One of the first things we learn about Voldemort is that nobody survives long after he decides that he wants them dead. As Harry Potter says to Cho Chang about the death of her boyfriend Cedric, "If Voldemort wants to kill you, you really don't stand a chance."
  • Just Toying with Them: Rather than simply use Avada Kedavra or Nagini for an immediate kill as he's prone to do, in Goblet of Fire he goes out of his way to humiliate and torture Harry. Voldemort puts Harry through the Imperius Curse and the Cruciatus Curse before staging a mock duel seemingly to entertain himself.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Until the very end of the book and his attack on Lily Potter, he committed five murders in his youth, framed three others and always escaped justice, with Dumbledore not able to find evidence of any of his wrongdoings beyond a lingering suspicion. By the time he became Voldemort, he was so powerful at subverting the Ministry and staying in hiding that the Ministry essentially conceded he had Karma Houdini Warranty, which he actually did.
  • Karmic Death: He ultimately dies destroyed by his own arrogance and mistakes, with the catalyst being the boy he wasted so much energy wanting dead, ruining his life but shaping him as The Only One Allowed to Defeat You he wanted to prevent in the process. Serves him right.
  • Knight of Cerebus: He's always been around, but it's his full-fledged return in the end of the fourth book that gives the series its Cerebus Syndrome.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: While there's no denying he is an Evil Genius and he did take the wizarding world's understanding of magic to new heights, he fancies himself as infaillible and omniscient while his ego seriously clouds his judgement. He neglected to learn the in and outs of anything that he considered unimportant or beneath his notice, and fails to remember things he knows like Ancient Magic in Lilly Potter's case and Phoenix's tears in the second book when he things he has won. In Deathly Hallows Harry is amazed that he didn't set up the defenses in the Horcrux cave to ensure that they would be able to prevent a house elf from disapparating from it. He does acknowledge it, but is prompt to dismiss it as irrelevant even then because he thinks he can now circumvent it. (Spoiler, he can't).
  • Large Ham: Largely only in Deathly Hallows, Part II. Ralph Fiennes noted that he originally tried not to be over the top (Voldemort is definitely far more reserved in the Goblet of Fire film than in Deathly Hallows), but conceded that Evil Is Hammy.
  • Lean and Mean: In the books, he's described as being skeletally thin.
  • Leave Him to Me: Every time he comes across Harry. Although he's proven himself quite unsuccessful when it comes to Harry, he must be the one to kill Harry (as he even says in Deathly Hallows Part One). However, considering that his Avada Kedavra curse has only hit Harry once, it makes sense that he would feel that Harry is no longer protected against him (especially when he actually possessed the blood of Lily and James Potter and thus also won't end up having the Avada Kedavra curse backfire on him like it did the last time).
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: His philosophy and primary motivation.
  • Living Lie Detector: In a very chilling way. He can invade the minds of anyone standing before him, and read their innermost thoughts or show them visions. Well, except for Snape, much to Voldemort's eventual displeasure. He doesn't bother with Narcissa either, deciding to Crucio a certain corpse to make sure.
  • Looks Like Orlok: Except without the pointy nose... or any nose at all, for that matter.
  • Love Potion: The basis of his conception. After it wore off, daddy left.

    M-R 
  • Master Actor: He fooled everyone at Hogwarts, except Dumbledore (who he met before adopting the act), into believing that he was the model student he pretended to be.
  • Manipulative Bastard: In his very first appearance, he's trying to use Harry's emotions against him to get his hands on the Philosopher's Stone, switching almost effortlessly from angry and threatening, to calm flattery. The second book might have been the most triumphant example of his ruthless manipulative skills, the fourth book had him use the terror his Death Eaters had of him to keep them under his control, the fifth book had him lure Harry to the Ministry of Magic by sending fake images of himself torturing Sirius, the sixth book showed him doing it to everyone around him in the Pensieve flashbacks, and forcing Draco Malfoy to go after Dumbledore, in a plan that he hoped would either end with Malfoy dead (the expected outcome), or Dumbledore dead. He was using the fear Malfoy had for his parents' lives against him, in order to do as he wished. Of course, this also showed how little he understands love and compassion; otherwise, he would have realized that neither Dumbledore nor Malfoy would have killed the other. The seventh book had him attempting to goad Harry into coming to face him to die by saying that the Battle of Hogwarts would end if Voldemort was allowed to kill Harry, since Harry was the only reason he came to Hogwarts in the first place. It worked but backfired spectacularly in the end. Pretty much any time he's talking, he's being this.
  • Meaningful Name: "Vol de mort" is approximately French for "flight of death/from death." Alternatively, "voleur de mort" would be "thief of death." The letters in "I am Lord Voldemort" can be rearranged to read his actual name. It's also supremely meaningful as it reveals his ultimately Fatal Flaw: Voldemort is terrified of death. If anything, he shares more than a few traits with Batman villain Ra's al Ghul where a certain exchange could fit Voldemort just as well...
    Bruce: Sure, Ra's, why not? Anything to hold off the Grim Reaper another few seconds. I take it back, you don't cheat death: You whimper in fear of it!
  • Meaningful Rename: He renamed himself to "Voldemort", because he didn't want to use the name of his Muggle father.
  • Mirror Monster: Once the Locket of Slytherin has been turned into a Soul Jar by Lord Voldemort, his young self's eye can be seen watching through the mirror inside.
  • Mixed Ancestry: Half-blood.
  • Mortality Phobia: Lord Voldemort split his soul into seven pieces, and hid them in separate soul jars to ensure that he would never die. His obsession with avoiding death is noted to be one of his fatal flaws. His fear of death is so great that his Boggart would be his own corpse.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: His life philosophy is that any problem that comes your way can be killed, partly because he doesn't think there's any Fate Worse than Death. This leads him to make the false assumption that merely killing Snape would be enough to secure The Elder Wand's allegiance (he would actually only need to defeat Snape, if Snape were actually the master of the Elder Wand to begin with).
  • Narcissist: Thinks of himself as "extraordinary" and the greatest wizarding genius who ever lived; he's totally self-centred and cares nothing for anyone or anything but himself and his own grandiose ambitions. He is also insistent that he, and he alone, must kill Harry Potter, in order to prove to the world and himself that this young boy is not better than him. He is also the leader of a cult that prides itself on its elitism and racism, and he regards himself as wholly superior even in that circle. Heck, he outright states that he is "much, much more than a man", while if anything, maiming his soul in such a way made him less than a man.
  • Never My Fault: Flies into a rage whenever something doesn't go his way and takes it out on his underlings for "failing" him. He also (wrongly) thinks of himself as being Above Good and Evil and thus he believes that he's incapable of being morally wrong in anything, because the only thing that matters is power.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: He continually screws himself over in his pursuit to kill Harry, right from the beginning: if he had spared Lily as he promised Snape, rather than kill her out of annoyance, he would have been able to kill Harry as an infant without any problem.
  • No Brows: Due to the fact that he's completely hairless.
  • Noodle Incident: He apparently did something to two of his fellow orphans while on a trip to the seaside (which was apparently bad enough to render them permanently mute), but what he did precisely is never revealed.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: In 2015, J.K Rowling suddenly revealed on Twitter that the 'T' in 'Voldemort' is silent, the same as in the French word for 'death'. You'd think she would have mentioned it some time before they made eight movies where the actors pronounced it incorrectly all the way through, including the character himself... Curiously, the Jim Dale-narrated US audiobooks did drop the 't', but only until the movies started coming out, after which he switched to the more common (incorrect) pronunciation.
  • The Noseless: The closest thing to a nose he has is the snake-like slit nostrils on his face. It's strongly implied that this as well as the serpent eyes were the direct result of his creating Horcruxes.
  • Nothing Is Scarier:
    • Invoked: When he had the Ministry of Magic in his pocket for most of book 7, Fred and Kingsley had this little exchange: "You-Know-Who's strategy of remaining in the shadows is creating a nice little climate of panic..." and "The air of mystery is creating more terror than actually showing himself."
    • The same applies to book 6, where he doesn't appear at all except in flashbacks, while he and his followers are butchering opposition left and right in the background, creating an incredibly tense and suspenseful plot right up to the Wham Chapter at the end.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Being an undead wizard who gains immortality using a Soul Jar, he's the textbook definition of a lich. Though the word is never mentioned in the franchise.
  • Obviously Evil:
    • As a child in the orphanage, to the point where even though nobody can prove anything, he scares everyone, even those who run the orphanage. By the time he gets to Hogwarts he becomes very good at hiding this, enabling him to fool everyone except Dumbledore, who met him before he adopted the act, and may have inspired him to do so by calling him out on his behavior in the orphanage when they first met.
    • After his Horcrux-driven transformation, he started to look monstrously inhuman, something that complemented his psychopathic nature quite well.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • In the fourth book, is as astonished as Harry when the Duel to the Death he pictured as his final victory ends up in Priory Incantatum. He then turns to sheer terror when the shades of his victims start emerging from his wand.
    • His reaction on learning that Harry took a Horcrux from Gringotts, that his greatest secret, the source of his immortality, was compromised, shows him seriously afraid for the first time in the books.
    • His face in the movie adaptation of "Deathly Hallows" screams this multiple times in succession when, in no small order; Nagini, his final Horcrux is destroyed, his killing curse begins rebounding on him, and finally, as he's dying, slowly disintegrating from said curse.
  • Older Hero Versus Younger Villain: Him with Dumbledore (Voldemort being 45 years younger), inverted with Harry (he is 53 years older).
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: He invokes this by making up "I am Lord Voldemort" as an anagram of his full name. Taken further when people use "You-Know-Who" in reference to "Voldemort" because they are scared to invoke his "name." Only Dumbledore and later Harry has the courage, or maybe disrespect and desire to belittle him, to call him "Tom."
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: He is downright obsessed with the idea of killing Harry himself, as he has remained incredibly angry over the years about the fact that a mere helpless infant caused his downfall. Justified in this case. Thanks to his accidentally making Harry Potter a horcrux due to the events of Lily's sacrifice, Harry Potter was the only one capable of matching up against Voldemort, at least until Voldemort unknowingly removed his horcrux from Harry, and Nagini (the final horcrux) ended up killed by Neville.
  • Only Mostly Dead: What he is in the first few books before his revival at the end of Goblet of Fire.
  • Our Liches Are Different: He excised the majority of his soul in his pursuit of immortality.
  • Orphanage of Fear: He spent his early life in one, although this is almost averted as the thing that made the place scary was him and his cruel treatment of other children. On a personal level, it still qualifies as it represented everything common about his upbringing that Voldemort loathed and Voldemort absolutely hated and feared it, with his goal of avoiding going back permanently being the only reason he called off The Basilisk.
  • Overarching Villain: Whether he appears as a Big Bad or a Greater-Scope Villain, Voldemort must still be defeated in the end.
  • The Paranoiac: Voldemort is a pure paranoid sociopath. The mere fact that someone could best him and still be alive (Harry) or be his superior (Dumbledore) is utterly unconvievable to him, and he devotes all his energy to destroy them and prove his perceived superiority. He hates Muggles as inferiors despite secretly being half-blood himself, is utterly terrified of death to the point that he can't imagine anything worse than it, believes himself to be the greatest wizarding genius who ever lived despite being repeatedly bested by a teenage boy (on whom he swore eternal murderous revenge), in no small part to his Genre Blindness, and has an explosive Hair-Trigger Temper that he often takes out on his own followers. Oh, and he's built a personality cult around himself based on his aforementioned supposed genius along with vague ideas of class and racial superiority, and yet he is incapable of tolerating even the slightest criticism of his plans or behaviour.
  • Parental Abandonment: While he doesn't come off sympathetic, his incestuous background and parental neglect does explain why he's so messed up since his childhood. J.K. Rowling has said that being raised by a loving mother would have made a world of difference in his life.
  • Patricide: Voldemort made his first Horcrux when he murdered his father, along with his paternal grandparents.
  • Pet the Dog: A straight example: when Snape asks Voldemort to spare Lily Potter in the hopes of Comforting the Widow, he was actually going to uphold his side of the bargain. He asked Lily to step aside and would not have killed her had she let him kill her son Harry instead. This proves to be the Spanner in the Works.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: He is the (or at least a) wizarding equivalent of Hitler, after all.
  • Possession Burnout: After being "killed" by Harry, any body he possessed or inhabited that wasn't his own tended to wear out, requiring things like drinking unicorn blood or using the Philosopher's Stone.
  • Power Parasite: A surprisingly milder version — he stole Dumbledore's Elder Wand to serve as its new master. Didn't quite turn out that way, thanks to Harry.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Deconstructed. Voldemort's capabilities as a strategist amount to his being Too Clever by Half. So while he tends to do logical things such as hiding evidence of his crimes by frame-ups and quickly killing most of his opponents with Avada Kedavra his sheer arrogance, pride and hubris cause him to assume his own pragmatic villainy. As a result he never has enough humility or self-awareness to reflect on what's ''actually' pragmatic even when he practices this. He's constantly in denial at the mountain of glaring tactical errors he makes or just dismisses his failures as unfortunate setbacks.
  • Pride: If pride were a physical substance, he'd explode.
  • Primal Fear: He's so afraid of death that he'll kill others and go to any lengths to avoid it.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Type C. For a start, he's obsessed with getting revenge on a small boy, because of what said boy did when he was a baby (or, worse, just because of the boy's reputation for defeating him as a baby). Besides that, he throws violent tantrums when things don't go his way, never admits he's wrong, dismisses it as irrelevant when he cannot shift the blame, and constantly blames others for his own mistakes, and has acted the way he does for most of his life. There's also a great deal of childishness in his actions, such as his keeping of Horcruxes in places significant to his childhood and early adolescence. The creation of a made-up scary sounding name is another.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: He had these features as a young man.
  • Redemption Rejection: The possibility of Voldemort being redeemed is raised by Hermione who describes that you have to feel genuine remorse in order to heal your soul after making Horcruxes. In the finale Harry urges Voldemort to try for some remorse for the first time in his life, warning him of the Fate Worse than Death that awaits him in the end. Voldemort completely brushes it off.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: In the books only; the films let Ralph Fiennes keep his blue eyes while playing the character.
  • Reminiscing About Your Victims:
    • As a remorseless killer, Voldemort shows this from time to time. His unexpected return to Godric's Hollow in the 7th book gives us a Through the Eyes of Madness look at the night he killed Harry's parents.
    • More creepily, he tells Harry about the time he murdered Tom Riddle Sr, his father, after harvesting his dead father's bones for the magic ritual that would resurrect himself, noting that it was the first time he felt at peace with his Muggle roots.
  • Removed Achilles' Heel: In Goblet of Fire, by using Harry's blood as a component in the ritual to restore himself to power, he manages to bypass the Power of Love protection that made it impossible for him to touch Harry in Philosopher's Stone. Dumbledore famously realizes however, that by removing that Achilles' Heel, he has created an even bigger one, which shows up in the final book.
  • Robbing the Dead: He breaks into Dumbledore's grave to procure the Elder Wand from him.

    S-Y 
  • Sanity Slippage: Not that he was the most level-headed wizard to begin with, but it's visible throughout Deathly Hallows. His increasing desperation to kill Harry, his discovery that the secret of his immortality has been compromised and subsequently discovering the destruction of his Horcruxes make him even more unhinged, prone to killing and cursing anyone near him at the slightest provocation (or none at all). He remains terrifyingly calm through most of the book, Harry noting that the sweetness of his voice carried greater menace than the mightiest curse, but totally loses it in the film, spending his screen-time in a demented glee or hateful frenzy.
  • Satanic Archetype: Greatly downplayed, as he does not directly emotes Old Nick, but still evokes him in a symbolic fashion. Snakes are considered vile and evil in most religions and snake-like Voldemort being descended from Salazar Slytherin bloodline, Voldemort wasn't likely to turn out decent. Though Tom Riddle was adored by those around him when he was young, Riddle scorned normality and desired power and greatness so made himself an abomination as a twisted way of escapism and fell into darkness as result. Voldemort most demonic trait is his lust for immortality which blinds him to all the other pleasures in life.
    • J.K. states that Voldemort's conception via Love Potion is symbolic of his incapability to understand love, tying into themes of Satan only understanding lust. Voldemort being the devil figure is part of a trifecta, with Dumbledore playing the God-like figure while Harry plays Jesus (literally at times).
  • Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: He tested his early powers on his fellow orphans and was behind a number of unpleasant incidents throughout his years at Hogwarts. The only one of his schoolmates we know ended up working against him is Hagrid, whom he framed for Myrtle's death.
  • The Scottish Trope: He is referenced by the current trope image.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Abandons Quirrell's body at the end of Philosopher's Stone and leaves him to die.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, it's implied, and confirmed by Word of God that his (or rather, part of his soul's) final fate is to remain in a sort of limbo (specifically, the netherworld where Harry met Dumbledore after he died) forever, incapable of harming anyone ever again.
  • Sealed Evil in a Six Pack: Voldemort had separated his soul several times and placed them in Horcruxes so that he could be resurrected if he is killed.
  • Self-Made Orphan: In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, we learn that he murdered his father and grandparents as soon as he discovered they were Muggles, and not the Wizards he imagined.
  • Serial Killer: Certain aspects of his behavior, including his disturbing behavior as a child, his deep attachment to "trophies" he took after particularly memorable murders, his stubborn insistence on killing his victims in a particular way, and of course the whole fact that he enjoys murder very much.
  • Serpent of Immortality: The closer to immortality Voldemort got, the more snake-like he seemed. Also, Voldemort took a piece of his soul and made his pet snake Nagini a Horcrux, probably making her immortal.
  • Shadow Archetype: At one point Ron mentions that Tom Riddle reminded him of Percy. Both Tom Riddle and Percy were tall prefects/Head Boys who spoke in a refined manner. While Percy generally used his authority to help is fellow students, Tom was a bully and likely abused his position.
  • Shipper on Deck: A villanous variant. His locket Horcrux ships Harry/Hermione... for the sole purpose of emotionally torturing Ron.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Right before his final clash with Harry. It bites him in the ass really hard...
  • Shoot the Messenger: One of his Bad Boss qualities that eventually comes back to bite him. Basically if you're a Death Eater and you're delivering bad news to Voldemort there's a very good chance you will suffer or won't live through it.
  • Signature Move: The three Unforgivable Curses, and Avada Kedavra above all else.
  • Significant Anagram: Lord Voldemort is actually (part of) an anagram of his birth name. Rearranging "Tom Marvolo Riddle" makes "I am Lord Voldemort."
  • Smug Snake: Almost literally, considering his appearance. Damn near every time he loses, it's because he didn't create a contingency plan in the event he screwed up or was Out-Gambitted, as he never considered those scenarios possible in the first place.
  • Social Darwinist: This philosophy is delivered by Quirrell in the book and himself in the film. "There is no good and evil; there is only power and those too weak to seek it."
  • The Sociopath: Let's see: Consummate Liar, casual manipulation of everyone around him, superficial charm and charisma, a history of childhood cruelty, remorseless violation of the rights of others, pathological egocentricity, and an inability to understand love? That's Voldemort, all right.
    • He displayed the tell-tale signs of being a sociopath even as a child, which Dumbledore chose to overlook in favour of his policy of trying to give a troubled individual a chance to prove themselves. However, Tom quickly mastered the art of becoming a deceitful, Manipulative Bastard, to the point that Dumbledore was the only person who even got a glimpse of his darker side for a long, long time.
  • Soft-Spoken Sadist: An aspect of his character emphasized in Fiennes' version of him. He generally speaks in a soft and polite (if very creepy) voice, and as for the sadist part, see above.
  • Soul Fragment: When he tried to kill the one-year old Harry and failed, he accidentally made him into a Horcrux, forging a connection between their minds.
  • Soul Jar: The Horcruxes in general.
  • Spanner in the Works: To himself, due to the whole extra Horcrux situation.
  • Speak Ill of the Dead: Has no problem talking smack about Harry's mother in front of his face. Harry tries to retort with an Expelliarmus for the remark, but Voldemort repels it without issue.
  • Speak of the Devil: In Deathly Hallows his name is jinxed so that it instantly gives away the location of anyone who utters it along with breaking any kind of defensive spells or charms. Voldemort's followers show up rather than the man himself but close enough.
  • Special Person, Normal Name: He's one of the most powerful wizards in history but Tom Riddle is a perfectly ordinary sounding name, something he absolutely hates.
  • The Stoic: Subverted. He often tries to maintain a cool, calm facade in front of his Death Eaters but it takes very little to make him fly off the handle.
  • Straight Edge Evil: Harry Potter started out as a children's series, so it avoids sex on the whole. Still, Voldemort seems to be asexual, interested only in power and magic.
  • Take Over the World: His ultimate goal, along with attaining eternal life.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: In his teenage years. His beauty is more remarked on than that of any other character, including Love Interests and Veelas. His quest for immortality has ultimately ravaged his looks — not that he seems to care.
  • Teen Genius: In the flashbacks to his teen years, he's noted to be very brilliant and expected, at least by Slughorn, to gain a high rank in the Ministry. When he chose to work at Borgin and Burkes' instead, the Hogwarts faculty were rather disappointed. Dumbledore once even stated that Riddle was likely the most brilliant student ever to be educated at Hogwarts.
  • That Man Is Dead: His opinion of Tom Marvolo Riddle boils down to this, and he loathes when Dumbledore (and later Harry) calling him by his birth name.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: As a child and teenager, there was nothing about his appearance to suggest at the monster lurking underneath.
  • Thieving Magpie: Dumbledore compares him to this, noting that in addition to hurting and killing people, he also likes to steal valuable trophies. This helps Dumbledore and Harry figure out what his horcruxes are.
  • Third-Person Person: Among many others.
    • "You will have better victims; Lord Voldemort will provide."
    • "All that is required is for you to display a little courage, courage you will find unless you wish to feel the full extent of Lord Voldemort's wrath."
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Whenever Harry is sucked into Voldemort's mind or gets a sense of his emotion, we get this. The most disturbing example is his reminiscing of the night he killed Harry's parents.
  • To Create a Playground for Evil: The Death Eaters certainly seem to believe that the world he creates will be their own personal plaything. It's implied that this is more wishful thinking on their part, however, as Voldemort's aim is to to rule the world. Anything else that happens to it is just a by-product of his means to that end.
  • Tom the Dark Lord: The Trope Namer. Depreciates his real name since it's not a unique or interesting villain name, and because it belonged to his hated Muggle father.
  • Too Clever by Half: He has the classic problem of assuming that since he thought of something, and is very smart, therefore nobody else could possibly know about it. For instance, he thinks he's the only person who knows about the Room of Requirement despite the version he hides something in being a massive warehouse of things other people have hidden there. In the last two books, as Harry and (by proxy) the reader gradually learns more about Tom Riddle, it becomes more and more surprising that Voldemort ever got as far as he did. He was a magical genius, and indeed very intelligent, but his lack of wisdom and arrogance left him vulnerable in so many ways that if it weren't for his followers and people's fear of his immense power, he probably would've been defeated ages ago.
  • Too Dumb to Live: He could have an entire page on the various ways he set himself up for failure but the ending of Deathly Hallows is the most striking example. Harry explains to Voldemort, in great detail, why the Elder Wand won't work for him and how Voldemort will kill himself if he uses it to attack Harry. What does Voldemort do? In his staggering inablity to concieve being wrong, he promptly does exactly, mostly to spite Harry, and his Killing Curse rebounds, instantly ending his wretched life.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: He was just as creepy and sadistic as a child before he learned to hide his nature from people.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: In the final book, he installs puppet regimes at Hogwarts and the Ministry of Magic. They don't last.
  • Übermensch: Remarks to Frank Bryce that "I'm so much more than a man!". He regards human morality as weak and sees love as a weakness. If the Quirrell quote is indeed his credo, he seems to see himself as beyond good and evil. The Through the Eyes of Madness glimpse of his thoughts on the night of the Potters murder shows that in his mind he is able to kill without any great feeling of anger and hatred, showing a viewpoint that doesn't seem remotely human.
  • Uncatty Resemblance: He keeps a pet snake, and looks serpentine on his own.
  • Undead Barefooter: Appears barefoot post-resurrection to signify that he's no longer human, but a monstrous being.
  • The Unfettered: Voldemort allows nothing to interfere with his goals. In his quest for power and immortality, he has slaughtered countless innocents, defied the laws of man and nature, and even torn apart his own soul. Basically, if it isn't himself or an extension of him, Voldemort has zero qualms about sacrificing it.
  • Unstoppable Rage: It's more pronounced in the film version, but near the end of the battle of Hogwarts, as the various losses and failures take their toll on him, he goes completely and utterly berserk, with his rage-filled rampage only being ended by his death.
  • Villain Ball: He winds up holding this repeatedly. He's certainly got more tricks up his sleeve than Avada Kedavra, but the Killing Curse is quite clearly his Weapon of Choice. And when he doesn't use that, he tends to fall back on the other Unforgivable Curses rather than anything else.
    • This is arguably one of his biggest character flaws, among others. Some of his biggest failures in the series can be chalked up to him needlessly overcomplicating things in an effort to make himself appear as amazing, and as evil as possible. Had Voldemort just made an ordinary rock into a horcrux and tossed it into a random lake it would have been completely hidden, instead, he chooses objects there are either very famous, like Slytherin's Locket or Ravenclaw's Diadem, or has great sentimental value to him, like his dairy and his mother's ring, purely to fuel his own narcissism. He constantly tries to kill Harry himself, even though any other Death Eater could do the job without worrying about their wand backfiring on them, and is constantly thwarted by his own inability to understand magic that isn't used for personal gain or hurting others. Even his plan to restore his physical body, which was a success by the way, was so ludicrously complicated that he actually admits that he could have completed this plan months ago, but he wanted Harry's blood simply because he believed it would get him past a spell that prevented him from harming Harry, and to fuel his own ego.
  • Villain Has a Point: Zig-zagged.
    • Voldemort claims that Harry has only managed to survive this long due to lucky accidents and hiding behind human shields, and he isn't exactly far off. However, a major counter-point is the fact that many of these so-called "lucky accidents" are activated by Harry willingly walking into the arms of death — a concept Voldemort is simply unable to understand.
    • However, he actually does bring up a good point in the last book. When giving his New Era Speech when he thinks he's won, he sets fire to the Sorting Hat and announces that from then on all students will be in Slytherin. This is presented as a terrible horrible thing... except that the house system is divisive, serves no point save to perpetuate the founders' disagreement over who should be accepted to Hogwarts, and even the Sorting Hat, whose sole purpose in life is to assign new students to the houses, thinks it's gone too far and there needs to be greater unity. The problem with the original system is that grouping students based on attributes can help them focus on their strengths, and house rivalry can make students work harder in the spirit of competition, but when you put BOTH of these together it means students are discouraged from learning anything other than their house specialty and are discouraged from befriending those outside their house. For example, a Ravenclaw might be smart, but good luck getting study tips from one when house points are on the table since you'd be asking them to help their own rivals. Putting everyone in one house could hardly make things worse, and in fact actually improve school unity.
  • Villain with Good Publicity:
    • Not him per se, but his wizard supremacist views are endorsed and backed by Ministry propaganda in the last book.
    • His ideas about militant ethnic cleansing (although implied to be a front for his true, personal aims) were popular among some during both wars — but it's implied that his extremism cost him some followers... notable among them Regulus Black, who seemed to join up because of the pureblood agenda, then turned on Voldemort once he saw what the latter was willing to do to achieve his ends. Also, Narcissa Malfoy, who was a pureblood supremacist to the letter, but couldn't abide Voldemort's attempt to sacrifice her family.
    • Played straight during his later school years, when he was made Prefect and then Head Boy as well as receiving an award for Services to the School while he was opening the Chamber of Secrets, unleashing the Basilisk on innocent students, and pinning it on Hagrid. Other than Dumbledore, no one had the slightest clue about his disturbed nature, and in a flashback in Book 6, he even successfully charmed Professor Slughorn into providing him intel on the forbidden magical art of Horcruxes.
  • Villainous Breakdown: While Harry’s focus sharpens the crazier things get, Voldemort is noticeably unbalanced by unexpected occurrences, a combination that winds up screwing him over repeatedly. To count:
  • Villainous Legacy: In Cursed Child, the primary antagonist is Delphini, Voldemort's love child with Bellatrix Lestrange.
  • Vocal Dissonance: In the books, Voldemort's voice is described as remarkably high-pitched.
  • We Can Rule Together: Hints at this with Harry in the first book, then plays it straight with Neville at the end of the seventh book. Dumbledore and the Order perfectly understand that this is Schmuck Bait. He seeks to rule alone, and the Death Eaters who believe otherwise are seriously deluded or insane, or both.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: His decision to sic Nagini on Severus Snape rather than just AK'ing him on the spot proves to be a fatal mistake, as it allows Snape to pass on vital information to Harry in his dying moments. Of course, this is just typical of Voldemort's nature as an overconfident sadist, and he likely believed Snape to be the master of the Elder Wand, which he may have thought would not harm its master.
    • Back at the climax of The Goblet Of Fire; if Voldemort had just stabbed Harry with the knife instead of releasing him and insisting on a "fair" duel, the story would've been way shorter.
    • Seems to have learned his lesson after that: the next few times he meets Harry he immediately and unceremoniously casts the killing curse. For various reasons, he still fails to kill him.
    Voldemort: I have nothing more to say to you, Potter. You have irked me too often, for too long. AVADA KEDAVRA! (and then Dumbledore shows up right on time to save Harry.)
  • Winds of Destiny, Change: That curse he put on the Defense Against the Dark Arts Teaching post and how it works across the books would earn him a degree in this subject.
  • World's Best Warrior: A clear contender for the title behind Dumbledore, he's considered the most dangerous dark wizard of all time. Even Dumbledore admits that his most powerful enchantments wouldn't be effective for long against Voldemort at full power.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Brutally shown when he tries to kill Harry as an infant, which leads to his initial downfall. In the second book, Diary!Riddle sicced a Basilisk on Hogwarts students (including Harry when he came down to the Chamber of Secrets) and nearly succeeded in draining Ginny Weasley's life force. Later on, he sends 16 year old Draco Malfoy on a suicide mission under penalty of death just to mentally torture his parents, and launches a full-on assault on Hogwarts, with many of the casualties being students. Also considers murdering a Godric's Hollow kid just for getting in the way. He doesn't follow through with it.
  • You Are a Credit to Your Race: It's implied that he has this attitude towards his half-blood and (very few) Muggle-born followers.
  • You Are What You Hate: States he is in support of blood purity, but is a half-blood himself. Mostly because it is a reminder of the father he loathes.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Dumbledore makes a point of always calling him "Tom" when they meet and Harry does it as well in their final battle. Both are to underline that neither is afraid of him anymore and see him for the sad, deluded orphan boy who never grew up that he is.
  • You Have Failed Me: If you're lucky, after you've ticked off Voldemort, he'll kill you without putting you through the Cruciatus Curse first.
  • Your Costume Needs Work: In a flashback in Deathly Hallows, Voldemort gets complimented by a Muggle child on how realistic his Halloween costume looks. The kid then has an Oh, Crap! moment when he realizes it isn't a costume.
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