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Lord Voldemort (born Tom Marvolo Riddle)
"I fashioned myself a new name, a name I knew wizards everywhere would one day fear to speak, when I had become the greatest sorcerer in the world!"
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)
Voiced in Brazilian Portuguese by: Luiz Carlos Persy (Goblet of Fire, Deathly Hallows Part I and II), Domício Costa (Philosopher's Stone), Mauro Ramos (Order of The Phoenix), Thiago Fagundes (Tom Riddle, Chamber of Secrets), Alexandre Drummond (16 years, Half-Blood Prince)
Voiced in Polish by: Marian Opania (Philosopher's Stone), Wiesław Komasa (other movies)
Voiced in Japanese by: Masashi Ebara (Deathly Hallows duology)

Appears in: Philosopher’s Stone | Chamber of Secrets | Prisoner of Azkaban (voice only) | 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!"

He Who Must Not Be Named. You-Know-Who. The Dark Lord. The Heir of Slytherin. The Big Bad of the Harry Potter series.

The other Sorcerous Overlord.

As Hagrid once put it, not all wizards are good; some of them go bad. And Lord Voldemort — previously known as Tom Marvolo Riddle — is about as bad as a wizard can go (and far beyond that). Riddle was once a student of Hogwarts, and seemingly one of the best and brightest that the school had ever produced. However, he was also borderline sociopathic, disgusted by his half-muggle heritage, and there were severe gaps in his knowledge — namely, he knew nothing about love. Riddle would often commit a crime, create a patsy, and let the patsy take the fall for him. Hating his given name, he came up with the name "I Am Lord Voldemort" — an anagram of his full name — while he was still in school. He disappeared shortly after graduating Hogwarts, resurfacing years later as the greatest dark sorcerer in history.

Voldemort quickly became The Dreaded among the wizards of Western Europe, referred to only as 'He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named' or just 'You-Know-Who,' his original name having faded into obscurity. 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 was seemingly destroyed 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 without a body 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.

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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  • Above Good and Evil: Invoked but subverted. Just before You-Know-Who first appears in person, one of his servants (Quirrell) rambles about how he was enlightened by his core philosophy: that power is the only thing that matters, not good or evil. The movie gives the line to Voldemort himself. However, he is as evil as they come and it shows.
  • The Ace: During his years at Hogwarts, Riddle was a profoundly gifted, charismatic, and popular student. He was talented enough at sixteen to use powerful dark magic and cunning enough to fool all of his peers and professors but Dumbledore. Dumbledore states in the present that Tom "was probably the most brilliant student Hogwarts has ever seen" and concedes his "knowledge of magic is perhaps more extensive than any wizard alive" (both statements including himself), and as Lord Voldemort, he is often considered the most powerful wizard of the modern era alongside the likes of Dumbledore or Grindelwald.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: A very minor example. While Voldemort in the movies is definitely unsettling to look at and won't be winning any beauty contests anytime soon, he isn't fully the skeletal, red-eyed stuff of nightmares he's described as in the books. This was intentional, however, as having him look more human makes him unsettling in a different kind of way.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • In the fifth book, though the duel with Dumbledore is technically a stalemate, Voldemort is noticeably frantic and rabid compared to the poised and confident Dumbledore. In the film, however, Voldemort is more confident, cackling, and uses a variety of impressive-looking spells which even keep Dumbledore on his toes. At certain points, Dumbledore is startled and even thrown to the floor. (Book Voldemort showed quite a bit of defensive spells that the movie version did not, although this obeys rather to the point that the movie version didn't need to use them.)
    • Likewise, the film adaptation of Deathly Hallows opts to go for a way more climactic and flashy final confrontation between him and Harry, with each wizard engaging in the fight of their lives instead of Voldemort accidentally committing suicide after Harry outsmarts him. The movie justifies this treatment by keeping Nagini, the final Horcrux, alive until the end of the duel; once she's killed, Harry disposes of his archnemesis rather quickly.
  • Adaptational Superpower Change: The films give Voldemort a much wider variety of offensive spells, including a giant fiery snake, a ray made of shadow energy, a giant shockwave, and a telekinetic glass attack. In the books, his main offensive spell is Avada Kedavra, and he rarely uses any other unless to defend and/or counter other attacks.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: His eyes were red in the books and the first movie, but the later movies use Ralph Fiennes's natural Icy Blue Eyes, a better hint that Voldemort Was Once a Man. Averted in Hogwarts Mystery.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: The flashback where young Tom Riddle explains his abilities to Dumbledore in the film version of Half-Blood Prince changes the line "I can do bad things to people who annoy me" to "people who are mean to me", implying the motive for some of his misdeeds was retribution for being mistreated rather than simple pettiness.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Played With. While none of the good guys are sad to see him die, a point raised by Dumbledore, and ultimately adopted by Harry, is that a person who lives like Voldemort does - unable to form any positive bond with other people and letting hatred and fear of death guide his actions - should be pitied rather than feared. The movie version puts the "pitied" part in display during his death scene, which has him in visible despair at the realization his last Horcrux was destroyed and he's surely going to die (the very fate he committed his entire life to permanently staving off at any cost), whilst a triumphant yet bittersweet score plays over the scene.
    Albus Dumbledore: Pity the living, and above all, those who live without love.
  • All for Nothing: Wizards can live a very long time using magic without going to the lengths that Voldemort did. In the end, Voldemort only ended up living to about 72. Less powerful wizards have lived for much, much longer.
  • The All-Solving Hammer: He relies on spamming the Killing Curse so heavily you start to suspect he doesn't know any other combat spells. The movies tone this trait down considerably.
  • Ambiguously Human: While he was born as a human, he sometimes used magic to transfigure himself into a snake-like humanoid.
  • Ambiguous Situation: He tells Harry that his father abandoned his mother when he found out she was a witch. While this is technically true, it's never made clear how much of the bigger picture he ever managed or wanted to find out.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Tom Riddle is essentially the picture of this trope, sacrificing his humanity and conscience for becoming the "most feared wizard of his age". He succeeds but, in the end, becomes a shell of a man and ends up in limbo. In the end, people stop being afraid of him as well.
  • Ancestral Name: At his mother's request, he is named after both his father, Tom Riddle, and his maternal grandfather, Marvolo Gaunt.
  • 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.
  • Answer Cut: Bellatrix is freed from Azkaban. Voldemort is described as maniacal, jubilant, ecstatic, triumphant, and the happiest he had been in fourteen years. Harry asks himself why he was so happy and his question is supposed to be answered, but he focuses on Bellatrix before he even reads the headline, which means that Bellatrix was the reason for his happiness.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: The main reason Bellatrix is infatuated with Voldemort is that she sees him as this. As far as Bellatrix thinks, Voldemort is the living embodiment of pure-blooded wizard supremacy and represents her ideals so heavily that she feels indebted to serve him as his top lieutenant.
  • Arch-Enemy: To Harry and Dumbledore and probably to the entire wizarding and Muggle worlds.
  • The Archmage:
    • Voldemort sits comfortably alongside Dumbledore and Grindelwald as this. At various points, Dumbledore refers to Voldemort as "the most dangerous Dark Wizard of all time" (which would include Grindelwald) as well as "probably the most brilliant student Hogwarts has ever seen" whose "knowledge of magic is perhaps more extensive than any wizard alive" (which would include himself). In the books, Voldemort is seen flying without a broomstick or a Thestral (which even Dumbledore wasn't known to do), hexes the Defence Against the Dark Arts position so powerfully that Dumbledore is unable to break it, and places a curse on the Gaunt ring so strong that both Snape and Dumbledore are helpless to thwart the curse.
    • Voldemort fancies himself as both the greatest and most powerful sorcerer in the world, though his enemies regard him as still second only to Dumbledore. But the likes of Dumbledore and Rita Skeeter consider him the most dangerous dark wizard of all time and he's defeated or killed some of the best wizards and witches of his age. Dumbledore concedes to Harry in the fifth book that even his most powerful and complex charms are unlikely to withstand Voldemort at full power, requiring him to use the most powerful arcane magic of all, The Power of Love, to keep Harry safe without having to compromise his position in Hogwarts. When Dumbledore dies, Voldemort effectively becomes the undisputed top wizard alive. Even when McGonagall, Kingsley, and Slughorn (all three being extremely strong and skilled masters of magic) fight him together in a situation where his spells couldn't properly touch them, they still lost without landing a hit. And he is only defeated due to Harry exploiting circumstances Voldemort could never have predicted.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: His title "Lord Voldemort" is merely an anagram of his real name, but he's the heir of a landed and aristocratic but untitled family on his Muggle father's side of the family tree (though he considers the Riddles 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. Harry also calls him "Riddle" at the end of the seventh book, both to underline that they're equals and to needle him about his Muggle heritage.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: Terrifyingly so. Voldemort keeps his army of murderers in line by being the strongest out of all of them.
  • 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:
    • According to Dumbledore, Voldemort "shows just as little mercy to his followers as his enemies". 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 occasion 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. By the end of it, a mixture of the two occurs: Harry was at the mansion but escaped. Instead of killing them, he opts to torture them instead. During the Battle of Hogwarts, Lucius is still suffering lasting wounds. When checking to see if Harry has died from his Killing Curse, Voldemort callously attacks Narcissa and orders her to go in his place. This screws him over, as Narcissa is finally done with Voldemort's shit and decides to betray him in secret, lying for Harry's benefit.
    • He maintains a façade 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. Wormtail's new hand ends ups killing him when he felt the slightest bit of remorse towards Harry, despite Wormtail betraying Harry's parents to him in the first place and taking care of Voldemort while he was weak and recovering.
    • In the fifth film, he tries to goad Harry into killing Bellatrix for no purpose at all except as an attempt to corrupt Harry.
    • To his knowledge, Snape is one of his best Death Eaters, giving him several juicy insider informations with which he planned his moves around as well as personally killed Dumbledore, his greatest enemy. He still killed Snape painfully just so that he gets to be the master of the Elder Wand.
  • Badass Longrobe: Sports an impressive, flowing one.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: When he was in the orphanage, he made a boy's pet rabbit hang itself from the rafters.
  • Bait the Dog:
    • His giving Wormtail his silver hand. Initially coming off as an 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 Head of Toughness: The second most powerful wizard after Dumbledore, he loses his hair when he rises to power.
  • Bald of Authority: Bald and the leader of the Death Eaters.
  • Bald of Evil: He loses his hair as a part of his transformation and doesn't even have eyebrows.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • He greatly wanted to learn about his parents and father in particular. He believed that his father would have to be a wizard due to being able to use magic to avoid death, as he saw it. When he discovers that his father was a Muggle who abandoned his mother, the witch who died giving birth to him, he's not pleased.
    • Being a thanatophobe, his greatest ambition was to become immortal and defeat death itself. His final fate has his broken, mutilated soul trapped in Limbo for eternity, unable to pass on to the afterlife.
  • 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 himself but also slowly sucked the colour from his skin, turned his eyes red, shed all the hair on his body, and flattened his features until Tom Riddle was more snake than man. Remarkably, despite his weapons-grade narcissism and vanity, he doesn't seem at all bothered by the loss of his looks.
  • 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: While pretty much anything can set him off, some things are especially inclined to provoke Voldemort's rage:
    • Unless you happen to be Albus Dumbledore, don't use his real name 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 or beat around the bush in front of him. Even as a child, he ordered people to "Tell the truth!" in such a forceful way that even Dumbledore was disturbed.
    • Failing him for whatever reason is a good way to shorten your life expectancy dramatically. This is one of the major reasons even his followers are frightened of him and reluctant to bring him back.
    • Even telling him about someone else's failure or just generally telling him anything he doesn't want to hear causes him to explode in rage, usually killing the poor soul who did so.
  • Big Bad: For the series as a whole, 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.
  • Blatant Lies: While he's generally a skilled Consummate Liar, during his first conversation with Harry at the end of the first book (when he was still stuck sharing a body with Quirrell), he tells Harry that his parents died begging for mercy like cowards. Harry immediately calls it out as a lie, to which, surprisingly and uncharacteristically, Voldemort actually folds right away and freely admits they died fighting bravely and he was just bullshitting.
  • 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.
    • During the 13 years between his first death and his resurrection, he spent some time as just a face on the back of Quirrell's head, and then as a weak and grotesque baby-sized rudimentary body.
    • Unusually, he has a spiritual case of Body Horror; he split his soul into seven pieces (actually eight, unbeknownst to him) to make Horcruxes when already making one is horrifying. His soul ends up as a sickly, grotesque deformed child lying down naked and covered in blood in a fetal position in limbo. Forever.
  • 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 gloating instead of killing Harry straight away meant that his younger Diary self ended up giving Harry a Plan B 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, although this could be explained by the fact that after he used the Killing Curse in the Forbidden Forest, he passed out and was concerned about the same thing happening again.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Despite being a halfblood himself, he champions the cause of pureblooded supremacy. Whether he truly believes in said cause or if it’s merely a front to manipulate actual pureblooded supremacists is left to personal interpretation so he’s a debatable example.
  • Break Them by Talking: To Ron in Deathly Hallows, via his Locket Horcrux.
  • Broken Ace: Tom Riddle was very handsome, was a model student, was 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 psychopath. 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. Too bad he was also an antisocial sociopath.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • As a young orphan, he was obsessed with his roots and believed that his Lineage Comes from the Father and that his father was a wizard. By his logic, his mother couldn't have been a witch if she had succumbed to the weakness of death. His discovery that this wasn't the case led to his Start of Darkness.
    • When he found out he was descended from Salazar Slytherin, he tried to find the remaining members of his family, believing they would be wealthy, aristocratic purebloods. Well, he wasn't wrong about the pureblood part, but the one family member he did find, his uncle Morfin Gaunt, turned out to be a disheveled alcoholic living in abject poverty who couldn't even muster the brainpower to realize that the Parseltongue-speaking young man standing in front of him was his relative, much less his sister's son. As soon as he laid eyes on him, Voldemort had no qualms about stealing Marvolo's ring from him and framing him for the murders of the Riddles. The Gaunts had been wealthy many years ago, but centuries of inbreeding, self-aggrandizement, and extravagance reduced them to squalor.
  • Cain and Abel: As he points out, his wand is this to Harry's. They share the same core, practically siblings, but their wielders are mortal enemies. Subverted because he points out that, because of this, they can't kill each other with similar wand
  • Came Back Wrong: Deconstructed and inverted in the sense that he died wrong and came back right. 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.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "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!")
  • Can't Take Criticism: Implying that he isn't perfect will either get you killed or tortured with the Cruciatus Curse, then killed. He showed this even as a small child, seething towards authority figures like Albus Dumbledore, who he couldn't retaliate against, for holding him accountable for childhood acts of thievery. Even criticising him in the presence of other Death Eaters is enough to warrant a gasp. In essence, he really has a low threshold for criticism.
  • 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. In book 2, 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 was. He was also extremely intellectually gifted from a young age to the extent that Albus Dumbledore, himself considered a Hogwarts prodigy, outright states that he considers Riddle to be the most intelligent individual to ever enter the school.
  • The Chooser of the One: Ironic considering his status as the Big Bad, but the prophecy of his defeat noted that he would mark The Chosen One as his equal. Voldemort panicked and tried to kill baby Harry, and sure enough Harry survived and was marked with the scar that signified him as the one who would take Voldemort's head.
  • Clashing Cousins: Voldemort and his arch-nemesis Harry are very distant cousins, due to the former being descended from Cadmus Peverell and the latter from his younger brother Ignotus Peverell.
  • 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 unparallelled 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 leads 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's niece to Remus Lupin.
    • His cursing of the Defence 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 he still doomed its-implied-three decades of turnover staff to terrible fates and bad luck, turning it into the series's 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 as 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 has to 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 and 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 troublemaker 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 remained handsome into middle age. 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 sentient, 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. Voldemort is a psychopath who shows that he cares for nothing and no one. Grindelwald at least respects his underlings and values their commitment to his cause. In the second movie, he goes out of his way to save a minion whereas Voldemort would have just let him die. Grindelwald also was capable of deep love and ultimately died for it.
  • Crazy-Prepared: He creates Horcruxes as backups, 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).
  • Create Your Own Hero: As a direct result of attempting to avert a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. When he murdered Harry's parents and attempted to murder Harry himself, he was attempting to kill his prophesized future rival. Of course, we all know how that ended for him...
  • 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's 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, if anything it's even creepier.
  • 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: He considers the only real tool he ever needs is the Killing Curse (and, to a lesser extent, the other Unforgivable Curses), rarely ever considering other spells unless he has to. This bites him in the ass when dealing with Harry, who for various reasons survives the Killing Curse. Rather than simply switching to a less lethal but still effective alternative spell, his attempted solutions consist of trying to circumvent Harry's protection through various means, such as using 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. This ultimately ends up getting him killed, as he is too stubborn to not try using the Killing Curse one last time and it's refected back on him.
  • Darkest Hour: He cites his own personal one as the period between Books 1 and 4 after he failed to steal the Philosopher's Stone and began to despair that he would never return to power.
  • 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, fulfil 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..."
  • Death by Irony: Harry finally kills him by deflecting his Killing Curse, the very spell with which he had killed countless innocent victims and tried to use to murder Harry himself twice before their final battle. For extra irony points, Harry did it by deflecting the Killing Curse with the Disarming Charm, which is explicitly designed to disarm an opponent without harming them.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Of The Chosen One and Kid Hero. Tom Riddle's younger years sound straight out of a standard fantasy about a young orphan who finds out he has magic powers and is destined for great things…but he lacks the heroic spirit of that character type, having grown up without love that could have steered him away from his natural inclination toward sociopathy. Instead of having grand adventures with no parents to hold him back, he grows up without anyone to teach him that using magic for malicious ends is a bad thing. His "friends" aren't his True Companions, loyal to him through good times and bad; they're nothing but a gang of bullies who join up with him for the chance to gain more power and social standing, who would abandon him the moment he fell from his throne (and they do). He doesn't honour his lost parents, scorning his mother for succumbing to the weakness of death, callously using his father's bone in a resurrection spell, and killing his Muggle grandparents for good measure. His great legacy turns out to be descent from a long line of aristocratic purebloods who repeatedly married their own cousins to preserve their lineage, leading to insanity and mental instability. All these things and more led to him becoming not a great hero but the most dangerous Dark wizard of all time.
  • 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. He later possesses Harry himself, in order to make Dumbledore kill him, but is repelled due to Harry's grief for Sirius (book), or Harry's love for his friends (movie).
  • Despotism Justifies the Means: There are hints throughout the series that he really doesn't care about this whole "pure-blood superiority" thing — he just wants power for its own sake.
  • Determinator: Not a positive version but Voldemort is undeniably incredibly driven and focused on his goals and never stops or gives up when he sets his mind on something, to the point of outright obsession. Even being near death and unable to use his own body for over a decade doesn't stop him.
  • 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.
    • He clearly didn't expect Harry surviving his Killing Curse in the forest.
  • Didn't Think This Through: In spite of his talent of being The Chessmaster, he often shoots himself in the foot.
    • 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 Horcrux due to the fact that only one adult could ride in the small boat that would travel to the centre 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.
      • To add to that, by using Kreacher, the Black Family house elf, he didn't think that Kreacher could apparate out of the cave as House Elf magic was different than wizarding magic. This meant he left a living witness who knew where he hid his horcrux and how to get past its defenses.
    • Really didn't think through the whole "cursing the job I didn't get" thing did he? Voldemort indirectly made Harry (you know, the kid he's trying to kill for seven books) a bigger thorn in his side than he likely would have been, by providing Harry with five of the best Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers Harry could have ever studied under. For context, let's examine these professors:
      • There was Lockhart, whose narcissism made him host a duelling club, where Harry learned his signature spell, also learned that he was a Parseltongue — which directly allowed The Trio to destroy two Horcruxes (Voldemort's most prized possessions and anchors to immortality — as well as acquainted Harry with operating in chaos (as Lockhart's classroom was always in chaos);
      • Lupin, who introduced Harry to a myriad of dark creatures, and, possibly most importantly, taught Harry the Patronus charm to fight off Dementors;
      • Fake-Moody/Barty Crouch Jr. (Voldemort's "most loyal servant" and the guy who was essential in returning Voldemort to power), who introduced Harry to the Unforgivable Curses and drilled Harry so hard against the Imperius Curse, that Harry can throw off Voldemort's own Imperius curse at 14;
      • Even Umbridge gets a nod here — she was so deliberately unhelpful, that Hermione was able to nudge Harry into creating Dumbledore's Army and teaching other students proper DADA skills, making others a problem for Voldemort and the Death Eaters, while Harry, himself, refines his skills;
      • And finally, Snape — Snape is actually responsible for teaching Harry the Disarming Charm, and whose constant bullying kept Harry on his toes, to the point that he could counter a nonverbal curse from Snape due to his superior reflexes and a nose for knowing when a curse is coming. Snape might indirectly have provided more spells to Harry's arsenal than anyone not named Hermione, and Voldemort deserves credit for that as well, as the staff rotation for DADA position for over 20 years was entirely because he threw a fit over not getting a job he didn't really want, and this allowed Harry to train under five (six including Quirrell and by further extension, Voldemort himself!) professors of various styles and experiences. Honestly, Voldemort deserves an award for his penchant of arming his enemies with exactly what they need to fight him effectively.
    • He becomes fixated on Harry Potter simply because he survived a spell that was cast on him. There was nothing special about Harry. Voldemort's magic backfired because of Lily's blessing. Even after that, Voldemort had no reason to actually go after Harry besides for petty revenge. Yet, while there was a prophecy that a kid born in July would defeat Voldemort, another kid, Neville, fit the prohecy to a tee. Ignoring everyone else in favor of focusing on Potter meant that he missed other people who could take him down. On top of that, Voldemort always had to use magic to accomplish everything. If he had just punched baby Harry or strangled him, he could have avoided dying to his own magic in the first place. Even if Lily's blessing protected Harry from such mundane means, he would have survived the attempt unlike him using a killing spell.
    • His choices regarding his horcruxes. He chose legendary items and hid them in places that are all linked to him and his background. Evidently, Dumbledore and Harry were able to identify and locate most of them. Had he chosen some random rocks and thrown them in the middle of a random lake (which is pretty much the first thing Harry believes he did), nobody would've able to find them.
  • Dirty Coward: Murdering people to create his Horcruxes, which provide a crude form of immortality, should speak for itself. Downplayed Trope in the films, where he's more filling to fight on the front lines but only when he has to and his fear of genuine opponents and his own mortality never goes away.
  • Disappointing Heritage Reveal: Through painstaking research, young Tom discovered that he was descended from the legendary wizard and Hogwarts founder, Salazar Slytherin. He tried to track down his relatives, believing they would be wealthy, aristocratic purebloods. The one living member of his mother's family he did find, his uncle Morfin Gaunt, turned out to be a violent, inbred hillbilly living in a dirt-poor shack, surrounded by trash and empty alcohol bottles. Riddle proceeded to murder his own Muggle father and grandparents, frame Morfin for the crime (complete with altering his memory to make him think he did it), and rob him of the one valuable thing he owned — the Gaunt family's golden signet ring containing the Resurrection Stone.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Voldemort once applied for the position of Defence 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 Defence 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. Rowling later stated that, while Voldemort's death lifted the curse, Slytherin's shady reputation nonetheless stands.
  • 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). His own physical decline, resulting in him going from strikingly handsome to inhuman, due to his obsession with horcruxes also call to mind drug addiction.
  • 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 (and because he of all wizards can get away with it without being Avada Kedavra'd into oblivion). 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." Nearly everyone in the magical world is utterly, pants-wettingly terrified of him to such extent that even over a decade after disappearing and being thought dead by most, no-one dares speak his name, and shudder in fright when they hear it. To give you an idea as to how feared this guy is, he's the Boggart for over 60 named series characters, including Ollivander, McGonagall, Mad-Eye Moody, Snape, and Hagrid, and even some of his followers, such as the Malfoys, Peter Pettigrew, and Quirrell. This list includes Viktor Krum, who grew up several countries away from Voldemort's reign of terror and is more familiar with Grindelwald's than his.
    • In the end, the core in Voldemort's ability to intimidate others is because he presents himself as being both extremely powerful AND utterly ruthless and cruel. But if someone is able to bypass all that and see him for what he truly is, a Dirty Coward and surprisingly rather pitiable villain, much of his intimidation will be lost. This is displayed by how many people in the Order were said to have died valiantly against him, there exists individuals who call him by his name, and by the end where he is defeated and his past is starting to be laid bare, people are now not afraid to call him Voldemort.
  • Dub Name Change: Most foreign translations alter his birth name to preserve the "I am Lord Voldemort" anagram (for example, in Spanish he becomes Tom Sorvolo Ryddle, which anagrams to "Soy Lord Voldemort").
  • Enfant Terrible: Tom "I can do bad things to people who annoy me. I can make them hurt if I want to" Riddle. When he realized he had magic powers, he started using them to torment the other children in his Muggle orphanage: killing their pets, stealing their toys, and doing something so nasty to a pair of them that they were never right again. Things sort of spiraled from there.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 like Dumbledore was considered to be the most brilliant student in Hogwarts history, (though arguably Dumbledore still surpassed him). In fact, this goes even further when Dumbledore turned out to have had 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.
      • Harry is also far more humble than Voldemort could ever be: when Harry found out he was a wizard, he couldn't believe it, because he thought there was nothing special about him, and even after he accepted it, he never bragged or boasted. The young Tom Riddle on the other hand readily accepted that he was a wizard, because he always thought he was special, and ultimately came to believe that he was the greatest wizard ever.
      • Both have a Signature Move, the Killing Curse for Voldemort, and Expelliarmus for Harry. In their last battle, Voldemort uses the Killing Curse while Harry uses Expelliarmus, which then deflects the Curse back at Voldemort, ending his life.
    • 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 (which Voldemort wanted to be and presents himself as to his followers) and 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. And, they are both distantly related as well, as the Potters family descended from the third Peverell brother while Voldemort is descended from the second. Of course, James grew out of his teenage asshole years and went down in the memories of those who knew him as a loving and courageous man, while Voldemort always remained the same selfish sociopath all the way to the grave.
    • As a student at Hogwarts, he had much in common with Cedric Diggory. Both were handsome, popular and charming students of good standing. However, underneath it all, Cedric was genuinely good-hearted while Riddle's charm was purely superficial.
  • 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 favour, 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.
    • He cursed the Defence 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 murdered 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. Justified because the overuse of Horcruxes not only turned him into a disfigured monster, it also mutilated his soul to the point he's eternally stuck in limbo courtesy of his thanatophobia. It logically follows that once he became increasingly desensitized by Horcrux creation, then it can be seen as Jumping Off the Slippery Slope. As the soul is meant to stay intact, the ultimate side-effect of this is a Fate Worse than Death, meaning that he can't move on to the afterlife or be resurrected from the dead.
  • 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. (We know he had killed his father and stolen his ring, but it isn't clear whether he's yet made the ring a Horcrux. Presumably, from his conversation with Slughorn, he was still developing the idea of making Horcruxes, so at this point his soul may still have been intact.)
    • At the time of his first defeat in 1981, he had already made five Horcruxes (diary, ring, locket, tiara, and cup), and he mostly likely looked the same as his later-resurrected self: a child mistakes his terrifying appearance for a Halloween costume.
    • 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. He is essentially the picture of Ambition Is Evil, sacrificing his humanity and conscience for becoming the "most feared wizard of his age". He succeeds, but in the end, becomes a bitter shell of a man and ends up in limbo. People stop being afraid of him as well.
  • Evil Nephew:
    • Frames his uncle Morfin Gaunt for the murder of the Riddle family by modifying their memories. That said, Morfin was an insane, animal-torturing Muggle-Hater who had previously attacked one of the victims.
    • Due to their descent from the Peverell Brothers (and any other marriages between their ancestors in the hundreds of years thereafter), Voldemort is distantly related to Harry himself, making him Harry's evil cousin six hundred years removed.
  • 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: He was deposed before the start of the series and only eventually regains Overlord status, operating more as a terrorist and cult leader for much of the books, but people still recognize him as one, including his followers using the term Dark Lord. He ends up coming back and basically taking over the Wizarding World of Britain. Of course, just declaring himself Lord in front of the entire wizarding community would be too blatant, so he still operates as The Man Behind the Man with the corrupted Minister of Magic as his puppet.
  • Evil Plan: Wipe out the Muggle-born wizards, Take Over the World, and attain immortality.
  • Evil Smells Bad: While living out the back of Quirrell's head in the first book, it's stated that a funny smell emanates from Quirrell's turban (behind which Voldemort is concealed), as if it's stuffed with garlic.
  • 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; he is repeatedly described as having a "high, cold voice" in the books. His voice is even noted to have grown higher as he created more horcruxes and became more inhuman. Ralph Fiennes also speaks in surprisingly light and airy tones for such a despicable villain in the movies.
  • 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 magical community. In the biggest difference this franchise can have, Grindelwald is also capable of love, even if it doesn’t always present itself in the healthiest way.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. His Horcrux 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.
  • Familial Foe: Many wizarding families have been enemies with Voldemort across multiple generations, but in addition to being opposed by Arthur and Molly Weasley and their six children, Voldemort also had to contend with Molly's brothers (whom his men killed) during The Great Offscreen War.
  • 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 four 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. Harry himself lampshades this in Half-Blood Prince.
      • The insane depths of his narcissism is perhaps best exemplified by his absolute confidence that the Horcrux hidden in Hogwarts is safe, because "he alone had plumbed the deepest secrets of the place". Not only is it hidden in the Room of Requirement, a place which numerous people simply stumble upon and is well known to a healthy portion of Hogwart's inhabitants by Deathly Hallows, but hidden in an aspect of the room that is "the size of a large cathedral", as literally hundreds of students over the centuries have used it to hide their contraband. His delusion was so thorough that he walked through a small city constructed of every sort of odds and ends, and convinced himself that he alone was clever enough to have found it and anything he hid there would be absolutely safe.
      • He is also quite predictable about where he hides the horcruxes. He could have hidden them anywhere, but instead he chooses places magically or personally significant to him (Hogwarts, the cave, the Gaunt shack). Once Dumbledore works this out, it becomes easier to track them down. Moreover, he leaves two horcruxes in the care of his minions, but doesn't actually tell them what they are (because he doesn't trust them) and so they don't guard them as seriously as they might have otherwise.
    • Voldemort also cannot understand The Power of Love, thanks to being a psychopath 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 parents 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. He's this to 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). Voldy's own Boggart would be his own corpse, which shows his extreme fear of death.
    • Wrath. Above all, Voldemort is a hateful, spiteful, petty man at heart, who cares for no one but himself. As a result he is very easy to anger, which rears up at the worst moments. He has a habit of killing his own subordinates whenever he's displeased. As a result, by the time of Book 7, when they have Harry captured dead to rights, they never actually contact Voldemort. Why? Because if they're wrong, he'll kill them all. As a result, Harry slips out, and by the time Tom actually gets there he's long gone.
  • 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, 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 hook, line, and sinker.
  • Final Boss: He's the final villain of the story, of course. He's also the final enemy fought in the video game adaptations of Philosopher's Stone (through Quirrell), Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix (against Dumbledore), and Deathly Hallows - Part 2.
  • 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.
  • Frame-Up: His modus operandi in his years as Tom Riddle. Commit a crime, delete all evidence, and find a patsy to pin 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 led 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 Killing 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 Fulfilment 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 him, thus showing it wasn't his background, but his choices, that made Voldemort the monster he became. Thus his excuse is more a cautionary tale than a redeeming factor.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Born December 31st, 1926, after being conceived under the influence of a love potion, he spent much of his youth in an orphanage where he terrorized the other children. His lifelong goal was to rise above his humble origins and replace that common name of his with a label 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 travelling 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.
  • Gemstone Assault: In the film of Order of the Phoenix, his last attack against Dumbledore is to use a shockwave to shatter all the glass in the windows around them and then send thousands of shards at Dumbledore and Harry like a gale force wind.
  • Genre Blindness:
    • 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. It wasn't. And his blatant disregard for the most fundamental laws of magic led to his ignominious 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 everyone.
  • A God Am I: Seems to be. He regards himself as Above Good and Evil and the greatest sorcerer in the world, and J. K. says that if he looked into the Mirror of Erised, he would see himself "all-powerful and eternal".
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Possibly. He exhibited extremely disturbing behaviour even as a child, but his discovery that the father he believed to be his magical ancestor was instead a Muggle lead to a violent reaction on learning the "awful truth". After this discovery was when his petty, bullying behaviour escalated to opening the Chamber of Secrets and outright murder of Muggle-borns, culminating in the murder of his father and paternal grandparents.
  • 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). Most notably he recieved a double blow to his psyche when possessing Harry due to his willingness to sacrifice his life for his friends. As someone both unable to understood love and terrified of death, experiencing the notion of self-sacrifice born of love was excruciating to Voldemort.
  • 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.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: In Deathly Hallows, Harry realizes that he envies the wizards who have vaults in Gringotts Bank. Growing up as a penniless orphan, Voldemort saw having a Gringotts key as a real symbol of belonging to the wizarding world. Hence why he had Bellatrix hide one of his Horcruxes in her vault there.
  • Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Had full head of hair which he lost after regaining his body.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Despite his usually cold, calculating and eerily polite demeanour, he's very hot-headed and equally trigger-happy, especially if he's provoked.
  • Hated by All: While there are devoted followers such as Bellatrix and Barty Crouch Jr., most of the Wizarding World fears and/or despises him. Almost none of his "followers" looked for him after his supposed "death" after the first Wizarding War as they joined out of fear. At the end of the final battle, most of them abandon him. When he dies, everyone rejoices and they throw his body in an unmarked vault in the school. The hex on his name also goes away.
  • Hates Their Parent: He hated his father for being a Muggle and for abandoning his mother. He would then track down and murder his father and his parents.
  • 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.
  • His Own Worst Enemy: His Fate Worse than Death is the end result of his self-defeating quest to achieve immortality via the overuse of Horcruxes. As the soul is meant to stay whole and intact, his mangled soul is eternally trapped in limbo. Due to this, he can't move on to the afterlife or come back as a ghost.
  • 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 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), its 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 had figured out how to open it.
    • His penchant for keeping things close to his chest and not trusting anyone backfired on him as well. He didn't tell Lucius Malfoy the truth about the Diary apart from being able to use it to open the Chamber of Secrets, so Lucius used it for a petty scheme and, well, see above. Dumbledore hypothesizes that if Lucius knew that he held part of Voldemort's soul in his hands, he would have been much more careful with it. Not to mention that knowing horcruxes means knowing Voldemort didn't die, giving him a Death Eater that could help him restore his body sooner. And considering Voldemort left another of his horcruxes in Bellatrix's hands without telling her what is he giving to her, he clearly didn't learn anything from the previous mistake.
    • His insistence on taking Harry's blood for his resurrection other than any other wizard is also this, as due to Lily's protection in both of them, Voldemort can't kill Harry without killing himself, which only results in the destruction of one of his Horcruxes, which he had no idea it existed.
    • 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.
    • 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 to him.
    • His Bad Boss tendencies left his Death Eaters terrified of failing him. This ends up biting him in the ass in Deathly Hallows when Bellatrix Lestrange's terrified reaction when she finds Gryffindor's sword in the hands of the Trio was enough for Harry to realize that one of the Horcruxes was in her vault. This led not only to that Horcrux being stolen (and later destroyed), but when Voldemort found out about the whole thing, he was so enraged that it temporarily broke down his mental defences, allowing Harry to enter his mind and find the location of the last Horcrux.
  • 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.
  • I Control My Minions Through...: A combination of Fear and Agenda Loyalty. He appeals to bigoted wizards' desire for power and supremacy, both over Muggles and their fellow wizards, in order to gain followers. If they begin to falter in their loyalty, he turns to direct threats of violence/death in order to maintain compliance.
  • 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.
  • I Want Them Alive!: He refuses to allow anyone to kill Harry Potter because he believes Harry must die by his hand alone.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: A rare example where this is self-inflicted. Before he started making Horcruxes, Voldemort is mentioned as extremely handsome. Despite his incredible vanity, he doesn't seem overly bothered by his current state.
  • 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.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: From the fourth film onward, Voldemort's eyes are blue, befitting his cold and dangerous personality.
  • 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.
  • Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance: Despite his encyclopedic knowledge of magic, Voldemort is ultimately defined (and defeated) by other types of knowledge which he has never bothered to understand, simply because he judges them unimportant:
    Dumbledore: [H]is knowledge remained woefully incomplete, Harry! Of house-elves and children's tales, of love, loyalty, and innocence, Voldemort knows and understands nothing. Nothing. That they all have a power beyond his own, a power beyond the reach of any magic, is a truth that he has never grasped.
  • 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.
  • Impoverished Patrician: His maternal ancestors, the Gaunts, were once wealthy, but inbreeding to preserve their Slytherin heritage and self-aggrandizement reduced them to poverty.
  • Inbred and Evil: In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, it is revealed that his maternal ancestors, the House of Gaunt, regularly married their own cousins for centuries to preserve their pureblooded lineage, which resulted in a number of mental defects. It's more than likely that Voldemort's own Ax-Crazy ways are (at least partially) the result of this tradition.
  • Indifferent Beauty: While he was certainly willing and able to use his former good looks to his advantage, it's implied that he never particularly valued them as anything more than a useful tool, considering he never once expresses any kind of negative feeling about looking like an inhuman freak.
  • Irony: For all of Voldemort's prattle about blood purity and the worthlessness of Muggles, the text implies that his own magical gifts were only able to flourish because his father was a non-pureblood (and a "filthy, dirt-veined Muggle", to boot), as his mother's family had severely stunted genes and a long history of mental illness from literal centuries' worth of inbreeding. Also, his desperation to avoid death ultimately led to him (basically) dying several decades younger than is typical for wizards.
    • Funny enough, Voldemort eventually did get the Defence Against the Dark Arts job vicariously through Professor Quirrell (depending on how much influence you believe he had over Quirrell's actions and when). Doubly ironic, as he only managed to keep the job for one year because of his own curse!
    • Also, he can't even come back as a ghost, the option other thanatophobes take, as his soul is maimed beyond all repair from all the Horcruxes he's made.
    • Despite being the bogeyman for many of the Harry Potter characters, Voldemort's personal Boggart is seeing his own corpse.
  • 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 Half-Blood 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.
  • The Juggernaut: He can defeat just about any other character with the exception of Dumbledore and Harry (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." (Although in all adaptations, it is actually Wormtail that casts the Killing Curse on Cedric on Voldemort's orders, rather than Voldemort himself.note )
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: When Tom decides to create Horcruxes. Just the first step in making one is to commit a murder.
  • 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, Trash Talk, and torture Harry. Voldemort puts Harry through the Imperius Curse and the Cruciatus Curse before staging a mock duel seemingly to entertain himself. It's partly his theatrics and a weird magical coincidence that allow Harry to escape the graveyard.
    • Averts this in Order of the Phoenix, where he seems to have learned his lesson. His first action upon his appearance at the Department of Mysteries is to berate Bellatrix for screwing up, and his second is to tersely tell Harry that they have nothing else to say to each other before immediately firing off Killing Curses.
  • 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.
    • The novel describes his death from his own Avada Kedavra spell rebounding on him, as mundane and anticlimactic. The film makes it more spectacular but no less karmic: his body cracks and breaks apart, showcasing how much of a shell he has finally become from his wickedness and maiming of his soul.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Arranges a traditional duel with Harry upon his resurrection which is complete with forcing Harry to bow, deciding that "the niceties must be observed."
  • 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 infallible 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 Lily Potter's case and Phoenix's tears in the second book when he thinks he has won. In Deathly Hallows Harry is amazed that he didn't set up the defences 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.)
  • Lack of Empathy: To an extreme degree. Not only he is completely incapable of empathy, mercy, compassion, remorse or love, he seems totally unable to even understand them except as tools of manipulation and doesnt seem to have any feelings for anyone or anything but himself.
  • 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.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • While he is not bothered by it, with his increased making of Horcruxes Evil Makes You Ugly comes to full effect, destroying his good looks and making him Obviously Evil. And there is the Fate Worse than Death which occurred as the result too.
    • Of course, there is him meeting his end while fighting someone whose parents he murdered and tried to kill as a baby. And there is him being nearly killed the first time he tried to kill Harry as the direct result of the protection Harry gained by the death of his parents.
    • In his backstory, opening the Chamber of Secrets and the attacks on Muggleborns culminating in Myrtle's death, eventually led to Hogwarts being nearly closed and him being sent back to his hated orphanage, forcing him to find a patsy. And giving his Horcrux diary to Lucius Malfoy with the instructions that it would open the Chamber again resulted in him using it in an attempt to discredit his rival, and thus the Horcrux ended up being destroyed, Dumbledore getting conclusive proof that he had created Horcruxes, and also providing the heroes with Basilisk venom, one of the few items capable of destroying Horcruxes. Also, as Dumbledore notes, had Voldemort been completely truthful to Lucius about the true nature of the diary, he probably would not have used it in such a risky scheme.
    • Breaking into Dumbledore's tomb and taking the Elder Wand for himself ended up being his undoing because when he finally duelled with Harry, Harry had gained ownership of the wand.
  • 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). Unfortunately for him, he never considered that possessing the blood of Lily might actually make it harder to kill Harry, and he didn't realize that his wand shared a core with Harry's wand, leading to further problems.
  • 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.

  • Machiavelli Was Wrong: His style of leadership epitomizes this trope as he rules through fear and nothing else with even his precious few moments of kindness and gratitude to his followers having a malevolent edge to them and everyone is constantly on edge around him, knowing he will kill them for failure, displeasing him or just because he's in a bad mood. Even those who believe wholeheartedly in his preachings are wary of following him and it's telling that almost none of his followers tried to revive him in the years he was near death. He is finally defeated when Harry and others start seeing him for what he truly is, a cowardly sadist and overgrown schoolyard bully.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Meaningful Name: "Vol de mort" is French for either "flight from death" (referring to his quest for immortality) or "theft of death" (the way he kills others in order to achieve it). It's actually not a grammatically correct phrase in French (it would at least require an article), and while "vol" indeed translates to "flight", this is only in the sense of flying, not fleeing. It's worth noting that while JK Rowling does speak French, and has herself been known to pronounce "Voldemort" with a silent t, she's never confirmed that she actually consciously crafted the name with that etymology.
  • Meaningful Rename: He renamed himself to "Voldemort", because he didn't want to use or be reminded of 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.
  • Misanthrope Supreme: He is a strange variant of one. While Voldemort makes no pretensions about despising Muggles, he also has little, if any, respect for his fellow Death Eaters and supporters, which is shown as even the lightest slight to his ego and ambition would cause him to kill anybody around him, his own allies be damned, and he wouldn't care to acknowledge that. It's interesting to note that this stems from Voldemort's own belief that he is "extraordinary" due to his talents and high opinion of himself and his desperation to prove such results in Voldemort comparing himself to everybody with him on top of a pedestal. Simply put, he loathes and disdains everything that isn't himself.
  • 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 thanatophobia is so great that his Boggart would be his own corpse. When Voldemort possesses him and his thoughts, he is driven out when Harry wishes to die, to sacrifice himself to save his friends. This desire and thought is so anathema to Voldemort that he flees when experiencing it through Harry.
  • 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.
    • His paranoia over his Horcruxes contributes to his downfall. When Harry and company return to Hogwarts at the end of the final book, they aren't really sure what the final Horcrux is. Harry thinks it could be a treasure of Ravenclaw's, but is pretty unsure, especially when the Ravenclaws he talks to say that it hasn't been seen in centuries. As a desperate attempt to gain info, he goes to Ravenclaw's house to see a statue of Ravenclaw with a replica of the treasure, a diadem. It just so happens, Voldemort ordered a Death Eater to guard the room, which confirms to Harry that the diadem is the final treasure. If he hadn't left a guard there, Harry would have likely given up on the diadem.
    • His distrust of anyone, even his own underlings, came back to bite him royally. Voldemort gave Tom Riddle's diary to Lucius Malfoy, without telling Lucius what it was and just assuming Lucius would never dare to anything more than guard it. Unfortunately for Voldemort, Lucius (under the impression Voldemort was gone for good and completely oblivious to the fact he'd been entrusted with part of his master's soul) chose to use the diary for his own plan to discredit Arthur Weasley while simultaneously disposing of an incriminating Dark artefact, resulting in the diary being destroyed, along with the part of Voldemort's soul attached to it, and Dumbledore clued into the fact he'd made more than one Horcrux. Had Voldemort bothered to tell Lucius the diary was a Horcrux, Lucius would undoubtedly have treated it with a great deal more reverence.
    • His jinx on the Defense Against the Dark Arts position. Out of the seven individuals affected during the story, only one departure (Lupin) doesn't work to Harry's direct benefit; of the other six, three were Voldemort's own servants (Quirrell, fake Moody/Crouch Jr., and Amycus Carrow), one was a Fake Ultimate Hero (Lockhart), one was Umbridge, and the last (Snape) was promoted to Headmaster, perfectly positioning him to undermine Voldemort's attempts to corrupt Hogwarts.
  • No Brows: Due to the fact that he's completely hairless.
  • No Hero to His Valet: 'No Villain To His Valet', but same principle. No matter how much he enforces his "Ultimate Dark Sorcerer of the Ages" persona, his ex-teacher Dumbledore will always see him as just Tom, the orphan that never understood love and kinship.
  • 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 Ontological Inertia: Both times he was defeated, anyone he was controlling with the Imperius curse regained their free will.
  • 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. However, 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 behaviour 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.
    • In the Dutch translation, he has a Dub Name Change from "Tom Marvolo Riddle" to "Marten Asmodom Vilijn" (so that his anagram could work). "Vilijn" is pronounced like "vilein," which (on top of being a cognate with the English "villain") means "mean" or "nasty."
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • In the fourth book, he is as astonished as Harry when the Duel to the Death he pictured as his final victory ends up in Prior Incantato. 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).
  • One-Man Army: While we don't see him fighting multiple opponents in the films, in the books he simultaneously duels McGonagall, Slughorn, and Shacklebolt. In the films, Voldemort blasts through the defenses (which had survived the sustained and coordinated attack of hundreds of Death Eaters) of Hogwarts with a single spell.
  • 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 Kill You: He is downright obsessed with the idea of killing Harry Potter 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 a Horcrux due to the events of Lily's sacrifice, Harry 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.
  • 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.
  • Out of Continues: He's able to come Back from the Dead due to his horcruxes. Once they are all destroyed (including Harry Potter himself, although he manages to come back), he is Killed Off for Real.
  • Our Liches Are Different: He excised the majority of his soul in his pursuit of immortality.
  • The Paranoiac: Voldemort is a pure paranoid psychopath. The mere fact that someone could best him and still be alive (Harry) or be his superior (Dumbledore) is utterly inconceivable 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 due 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.
  • Parasitic Immortality: Having been cast out of his original body before the events of the first book, Voldemort had to move his soul from host to host, shortening their lives in the process. It got so bad that they had to drink Unicorn's blood, which curses those who consume it.
  • Parental Abandonment: While he doesn't come off sympathetic, his incestuous background and being abandoned by both his parents (his father left before he was born, and his mother chose to die rather than live to raise him) 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: He agreed to give Lily at least a chance to step aside and be spared when he went for Harry's life only because Snape requested it out of his lingering feelings for her. This was possibly a reward for Snape who brought him the prophecy in the first place.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: He is the (or at least a) wizarding equivalent of Hitler, after all. He despises Muggle-borns, despite the fact that he is half-blooded on his father's side.
  • 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: Zigzagged and deconstructed. Voldemort's capabilities as a strategist amount to his being Too Clever by Half. Most of the decisions he makes are tactically sound, but even the most cunning moves often end up backfiring as a result of Voldemort being Voldemort. He simply lacks the humility or self-awareness to reflect on the potential consequences of any action he takes. He firmly believes that Murder Is the Best Solution, every time, all the time. He either denies the glaring tactical errors he does make, or dismisses his failures as unfortunate setbacks. That said, he does have the occasional straight example.
    • The day he murders the Potter family, he considers killing a random child just for interrupting him, but dismisses it as unnecessary.
    • He almost immediately attempts to kill the Potter family after hearing the prophecy of his eventual downfall, reasoning that killing Harry while he's still a child will ensure the prophecy never comes to pass. Unsurprisingly, this results in a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, and shutters Voldemort's plans for a solid 15 years into the bargain - but only because Voldemort couldn't keep his trigger finger under control long enough to simply stun Lily. If he'd spared her like Snape asked, Harry probably would have died that night - although this probably would have left Neville to take his place.
    • While normally he would kill underlings who failed him, when he returns in Goblet of Fire he doesn't kill the Death Eaters who show up to his resurrection as punishment for not helping him during the 13 years following his death, because if he killed them then he'd have no minions other than Peter Pettigrew and Barty Crouch Jr. (who worse than dies soon after anyway).
    • He was pragmatic enough to scatter his Horcruxes far and wide, and place them each under lock and key. He fails to consider that this makes most of them virtually impossible to actually keep safe - there's no way for anyone, even someone as powerful as him, to guard all of them at once. Even worse, Voldemort's immense arrogance, pride, and delusions of grandeur all but force him to use only the most notable, magnificent, easily traced artifacts as Horcruxes. One has to wonder how he would have ever been stopped if he'd been smart and humble enough to just use a bunch of random dross and sell it off to pawn shops the world over.
  • Pride: It's rather unfortunate that pride isn't a physical substance, otherwise he'd explode. He is so in love with himself that he can't stand the idea of ceasing to be, which is what drives his obsession with immortality. He continually underestimates Harry and refuses to countenance the idea that there are powers that he doesn't understand. He repeatedly blames others for mistakes he himself makes and is incapable of viewing others as his equal, ultimately leading to his downfall.
  • 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. By the end of the series, everyone sees him as a petulant toddler in an adult's body.
    • His Sanity Slippage has this element of his personality become more pronounced as the storyline draws to a close, with his behaviour becoming increasingly spiteful and petty. From sending Draco on a dangerous mission to punish Lucius's failure, repeatedly taunting and humiliating the Malfoys in front of the Death Eaters, to murdering an entire roomful of his own allies in a raging tantrum when hearing that his horcrux has been stolen by Harry. Even the act which ultimately killed him is an example of this. Harry explains to him in great detail why the wand in his hand will not serve him, and that its loyalty is with Harry himself. Voldemort, a highly intelligent man who was easily capable of understanding the logic, chooses to ignore everything he has just been told and fire a killing curse at Harry anyway, in what could be considered an act of pure spite. The result is incredibly predictable.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: He had these features as a young man.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: His stunted form in Goblet of Fire is described as having raw, reddish black skin.
  • 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:
    • The potion to resurrect him involves stealing one of his father's bones.
      "Bone of the father, unknowingly given, you will renew your son."
    • He breaks into Dumbledore's grave to procure the Elder Wand from him.
  • Running Both Sides: Not far into Deathly Hallows, he controls the Ministry of Magic and Hogwarts as well as the Death Eaters.

  • Sadist: Arguably the worst and most terrifying in the series. He takes blood-chilling pleasure in terrorizing, torturing, and murdering other people. J.K Rowling outright describes him as a "sadist who hurts and murders people—especially Muggles—for his own amusement." Voldemort's sadism is perhaps best displayed in The Goblet of Fire, where he talks about murdering Bertha Jorkins with cruel amusement that frightens Frank Bryce (a hardened war veteran), and later takes his time to humiliate and torture Harry before actually trying to kill him.
  • 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: He doesn't directly emote Old Nick, but still evokes him in a symbolic fashion. He started out as a beautiful and adored young person, but later turned himself into a hideous and cruel abomination in pursuit of power and greatness. He amassed an army of like-minded other members of his brethren to himself who became his servants, with the aim of overthrowing their people's ruling authority. He also has a strong association with serpents. J.K. Rowling 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. Everybody in the Wizarding World is so utterly terrified of him that they only refer to him by epithets like "He Who Must Not Be Named", "You-Know-Who", or (if you're one of his followers) "The Dark Lord". Hagrid has to force himself to say the word Voldemort while expositing to Harry in The Philosopher's Stone, and in general it's a sign of great courage when someone like Dumbledore or Harry dares speak his name.
  • 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 Rowling 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.
  • Secret-Keeper: He turns out to have known about Snape's feelings for Lily, as he tells Harry that Snape claimed he only lusted after her and wanted someone better after she was killed, making him the only person besides Dumbledore to know anything about it.
  • Self-Disposing Villain: Voldemort was defeated the first time when his Killing Curse rebounded on him. This is also how he ultimately meets his end in Deathly Hallows - his attempt to kill Harry with the Elder Wand backfires on him again because Harry had become the Wand's master by that point.
  • 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 behaviour, including his disturbing behaviour 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 and were ambitious and power-hungry. While Percy generally used his authority to help his fellow students, Tom was a bully and likely abused his position. Also Percy has No Sense of Humour while Voldemort does have a sense of humour, albeit of a very dark and twisted kind.
    • Voldemort and Harry share many things, but the most important might be that both had a hard time when they were children and had their lives completely turned around when they discovered the world of magic. But if Harry found friends and love, Voldemort found a way to gain power. And while Voldemort's desire for fame and respect ended up corrupting his soul, Harry never let his fame as "The Boy Who Lived" go to his head. The "Not So Different" Remark is often given with these two.
    • Voldemort also could be considered a shadow to Severus Snape. Both are: ambitious, magically-gifted, half-blooded, lonely young men from uncaring families; fascinated by the Dark Arts and fashioned a fancy name (The Dark Lord, The Half-Blood Prince). Snape could easily have been (and for most of the series seems to be) a Voldemort In The Making. Ultimately, it may be Voldemort's greatest weakness that keeps Snape from becoming a Dark Lord in his own right.
  • Shipper with an Agenda: A villainous variant. His locket Horcrux ships Harry/Hermione... for the sole purpose of emotionally torturing Ron.
  • 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.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Right before his final clash with Harry. It bites him in the ass really hard...
  • Signature Spell: 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."
  • Significant Birth Date: He's an Evil Sorcerer whom death often follows, so him being born on New Year's Eve, in other words, as the year dies, is really fitting.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: He apparently was only ever attracted to Bellatrix Lestrange, the mother of his daughter and his best lieutenant. She and Nagini were the only living beings he ever cared about.
  • Slasher Smile: While listening to Neville's speech.
  • 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.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: Voldemort makes snakes look bad.
  • Snowballing Threat: After his resurrection at the end of Goblet of Fire. Throughout the end of that book and the majority of the next book, the corrupt and inept Cornelius Fudge actively denies Voldemort has returned and goes out of his way to use his Minister for Magic powers to suppress any idea of such among the wizarding public, severely hampering the heroes' ability to build up countermeasures while enabling Voldemort to smoothly rebuild and expand his forces under the radar, recruiting Death Eaters and giants to his cause; for a whole year. By the time the Ministry for Magic and the wizarding public do realize that the Dark Lord has returned, Fudge's inaction has cost the Wizarding World's chances against Voldemort dearly, with Voldemort's forces easily overthrowing the Ministry and taking control of the Wizarding World in Deathly Hallows.
  • The 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:
  • 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.
  • Sorcerous Overlord: Voldemort may very well be the Trope Codifier in modern literature. Being one of the greatest dark wizards of all time, Voldemort garnered a legion of follows known as the Death Eaters, where he is known to them as The Dark Lord. Voldemort attempted to conquer the wizarding world, and by the time of the final book he succeeds, ruling Britain through a puppet Minister of Magic.
  • 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.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: As a descendant of Salazar Slytherin, he can speak Parseltongue.
  • 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 façade in front of his Death Eaters but it takes very little to make him fly off the handle.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: True to his mother’s dying wish, he looked exactly like his father Tom Riddle Sr. When Morfin encountered him as Tom Jr. went to the Gaunt house, the former was enraged thinking that Tom was his father, and only realized that he wasn’t when Tom Jr. started speaking in Parseltongue.
  • 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."
  • 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. 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.
    • 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.
    • His search for the Elder Wand shows just fine. Due to how the legend presents it, he believes the only way to gain the wand's allegiance is to kill the previous owner, and even when he encounters actual living proof that he is wrong in the form of Gregorovitch and Grindelwald (who stole the wand from the former and then lost it to Dumbledore), he remains focused on his belief - which really bites him in the ass.
  • 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 inability to conceive being wrong, he promptly does exactly that, mostly to spite Harry, and his Killing Curse rebounds, instantly ending his wretched life.
  • Toy-Based Characterization: As a young orphan, he would steal toys from the other children and hoard them in his room, including a thimble, a yo-yo and a mouth organ. Dumbledore notes that it foreshadowed his obsession with collecting bigger and more impressive things as an adult—namely, artifacts of Hogwarts history to make into Horcruxes for himself.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour: He was just as creepy and sadistic as a child, unsettling those at the orphanage and stealing from and hurting other kids with no hint of remorse or empathy, before he learned to hide his nature from people. Dumbledore never forgot it though and was never won over by his later "perfect student" act.
  • 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 am much, 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.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Gender inverted. Before he became Voldemort, Tom Riddle was described as exceptionally handsome, while Merope was cross-eyed, inbred and described in no uncertain terms as rather unattractive. Justified in that he appearance-wise took after his father.
  • 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.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Moreso in the books, where he typically just spams the killing curse over and over again. He's Strong and Skilled in the films, where he uses a much more impressive variety of magic.
  • 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.
  • Uriah Gambit: As a punishment for Lucius' failings, Voldemort assigns Draco the Impossible Task of killing Dumbledore, assuming he will die in the attempt or fail, in which case Voldemort will kill him anyway.
  • 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 spell 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 that are either very famous, like Slytherin's Locket or Ravenclaw's Diadem, or has great sentimental value to him, like his diary, his mother's locket and his grandfather'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 Decay: Voldemort undergoes an interesting case of this as the series goes on, in the sense that he doesn't stop being any less dangerous in direct combat and is even moreso once he acquires the Elder Wand, but rather the scope of his magical toolkit dwindles until the Killing Curse becomes all he uses. This is especially noticeable when comparing his actions pre-resurrection and post-resurrection; pre-resurrection Voldemort dabbled in some of the darkest magic known to man, uncovered ancient secrets about Hogwarts and was capable of placing an elaborate curse on a job position of all things. Post-resurrection Voldemort does little more than torture people for information, throw around Killing Curses and mentally communicate with Harry. This actually makes a fair bit of sense when you consider Voldemort's arrogant belief in his own superiority and hence the impregnability of the defences around his horcruxes; he doesn't even realize his defences have been breached until Harry is closing in on the last of his horcruxes, by which point he doesn't have the time or inspiration to construct a more elaborate defence around Nagini than a magical cage.
  • 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 valid 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. Of course, this is just him enforcing more control over the student population and is justifiably terrible... but the Hogwarts house system is divisive, doing nothing but enforce the founders' disagreement over who should be accepted to Hogwarts; even the Sorting Hat that was enchanted to assign new students to the houses, believed it'd gone too far and there needs to be greater unity at the school. note 
  • Villain on Leave: He was the villain in every book in the series... except Prisoner of Azkaban, where he makes no appearances whatsoever. He also technically doesn't appear in-person during both Chamber of Secrets (where the Big Bad is a Horcrux taking the image of his younger self) and Half-Blood Prince (where he's busy going about his reign of terror while actively blocking off his mind from Harry, after his plan the previous year to use their connection to his advantage backfired, so Harry doesn't see him in his dreams anymore. His main presence in the story revolves around Harry and Dumbledore diving into memories of his past).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Vocal Dissonance:
    • In the books, Voldemort's voice is described as remarkably high-pitched.
    • Ralph Fiennes' voice in the movies is also fairly high-pitched, more of a cold whisper that whatever voice one would expect a Dark Lord to have.
  • 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.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer…: After his return, Voldemort mostly relies on the Killing Curse, which suits his mindset.
  • 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! [Dumbledore shows up right on time to save Harry.]
    • The entire series is the result of this. So he finds out that a baby Harry will eventually bring his downfall. He tries to kill him and he uses, of all things the single strongest spell ever created, to end the life, of a frikkin' baby!!! Instead of...... you know, literally anything else. We're talking about a baby here, not a sperm whale. A far more mundane method like strangling, stabbing, shooting, or simply dropping Harry from a second story window would have sufficed. But no, he had to use a rocket launcher to swat down a fly, only to have said rocket reflected back to his wretched face. His over-reliance on magic, and particularly on the Avada Kedavra spell is pretty much the biggest source of all his failures.
  • Winds of Destiny, Change!: That curse he put on the Defence Against the Dark Arts Teaching post and how it works across the books would earn him a degree in this subject.
  • Would Hit a Girl: He was the one that killed Lily Potter. And apparently Amelia Bones too. He also killed Bathilda Bagshot to lay a trap for Harry. And supposedly tortured Narcissa and Bellatrix along with others after Harry escaped Malfoy Manor. Not to mention he also tortured Bertha Jorkins, a Ministry employee, in order to get info on the Triwizard Tournament.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • Brutally shown when he tries to kill Harry as an infant, which leads to his initial downfall, as it's one of the first things mentioned about him. 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.
    • He considers murdering a Godric's Hollow kid just for getting in the way. He doesn't follow through with it, though, but only because of a rare moment of genuine Pragmatic Villainy.
    • He kills a mother and her two young children while he was on his mission of finding Gregorovich merely because he went to the wrong house where he thought Gregorivich lived.
  • 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 Muggle 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 Could Have Used Your Powers for Good!: Many of his old teachers and former peers who didn't become Death Eaters shake their heads at how Tom Riddle was a phenomenally gifted and brilliant young man who could've rose above his troubled upbringing as a great and respected wizard. The multitude of flashbacks that showcase his backstory stress that performing evil was always a calculated choice of his when he could've used his intellect and talents to succeed at anything else.
  • 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. The Malfoys fall foul of this in books 6 and 7.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: He has no problems leaving followers to die if they're no longer helpful in some way, as was the case with Quirrell when his body was horribly burned. This is also the reason he kills Snape. Ironically, he never found out the much better reason he would have to kill Snape (he was a double agent working for Dumbledore).
  • Your Costume Needs Work: On his way to kill the Potters, a kid compliments his Halloween costume then near craps himself when he realizes it isn't a costume.
  • You Will Be Spared: Subverted. He intended to let Lily Potter live, since he only really needed Harry dead, and Snape pleaded for her life. Lily had other plans - she refused to stop trying to shield Harry with her body; eventually Voldemort runs out of patience and simply kills her. This winds up backfiring horribly.

"From this day forth, you put your faith... in me."


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Lord Voldemort

During his first meeting with Harry Potter, Voldemort makes a bargain with Harry: In exchange for the Philosopher's Stone, Harry will get to see his mother and father again.

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