Born Tom Riddle Jr. at Wool’s Orphanage, Voldemort goes on to become the most feared dark wizard in existence by the end of his life. It’s difficult to imagine how someone could descend to such lows as Riddle does throughout his lifetime, and how he could be capable of living without compassion, empathy or love. But a look into his past reveals a lot about how he came to be known as the Dark Lord.
There’s a lot of information in Voldemort’s past that the wizard would probably prefer to hide from his followers, as well as the people who fear him. And interestingly, he has a lot in common with Harry Potter, who goes on to become his arch-nemesis.
Keep reading to find out these unnerving details about Voldemort’s past.
20 He Used His Powers On Other Children In The Orphanage
Like Harry, Voldemort didn’t grow up with his parents around him. Instead, he grew up in an orphanage, and as he got more comfortable with his magical powers, he would use them on the other orphans. On one occasion, he literally silenced two other orphans after luring them into a cave and showing them something unspeakably scary with his powers.
19 He’s Distantly Related To Harry
If you trace his family tree back far enough, Voldemort can be linked to the Potters. He is a descendant of Cadmus Peverell, one of the three brothers in the story of the Deathly Hallows who received the resurrection stone. We know that Harry is a distant relative of Ignotus, the brother who received the invisibility cloak, so the two are linked.
18 He Got A Retail Job After Graduation
It looks like the Dark Lord may be more relatable than we thought! After being rejected from becoming a teacher of Defense Against the Dark Arts and turning down several offers of work from the Ministry of Magic, Voldemort decided to work at Borgin and Burkes. That’s more or less retail!
17 He Often Manipulated The Teachers At Hogwarts
While he was at Hogwarts, Tom Riddle stood out for his brilliance and flair for magic. But he used his influence to manipulate some of the teachers at the school. The most well-known instance of this was when he used his charm to find out information about Horcruxes from Professor Slughorn.
16 His Lineage Isn’t All Pedigree
It’s ironic that Voldemort should align with the values of Salazar Slytherin and look down on people who don’t come from magical families because he himself was born of a muggle father. While his mother, Merope Gaunt, came from a pureblood family with a high opinion of themselves, his father, Tom Riddle Sr., was a lowly muggle.
15 And His Purebred Line Was Tainted By Dark Realities
The House of Gaunt may not feature muggle blood, but it was far from perfect. As a result of inbreeding designed to keep the blood pure, his matrilineal line was tainted with violence and mental instability. Nothing about Voldemort’s birth or childhood was easy, thanks in large part to the Gaunt family and their many issues.
14 Not All Of His Relatives Were Bad
Lots of bad eggs were born into the House of Gaunt, but that doesn’t mean they were all bad. Rionach Steward, who was a descendant of Salazar Slytherin and one of Voldemort’s relatives, did not agree with the values of discrimination and magical snobbery shared by her family. She purposely had no children to avoid continuing the line of Slytherin.
13 He Founded The Death Eaters While He Was Still At School
While at school, Tom Riddle was a model student in many ways, but his tendencies for the dark side were already showing. He banded together with other likeminded wizards who eventually became his followers, and started referring to him as Lord Voldemort before they even graduated. Many of them went on to become Death Eaters years later.
12 At The Orphanage, Voldemort Was A Thief
Not only did Voldemort use his powers on his fellow orphans when he was a child, but he also showed other signs of lacking a conscience. By the time Dumbledore came to meet him at the orphanage, he was in the habit of stealing things from the other children and hiding them. If only stealing was his worst habit …
11 He Put A Curse On Defense Against The Dark Arts
Fans of the series are well aware that Hogwarts has serious problems with maintaining its Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher for longer than a year. Many believe that this is because Voldemort cursed the position when he was denied the role himself for a second time. Dumbledore always saw right through him.
10 Like Harry, Voldemort Was Misunderstood As A Kid
There are quite a few similarities between Voldemort and Harry, one of them being their similar upbringings. While Harry was misunderstood, neglected, and mocked by the Dursleys, Voldemort experienced similar treatment from the kids at the orphanage, who were afraid of him. Of course, after his adventures in theft and worse, this isn’t hard to understand.
9 Warning Signs About His Personality Began In Childhood
Along with thieving and taking out certain people in order to steal their possessions, Voldemort displayed other signs of his malicious nature as a child. On one occasion, Riddle hanged the rabbit of a boy who was teasing him. Just like in the real world, those who can hurt animals as children don’t tend to grow into nice people.
8 He Was Born From A Love Potion
Unlike Harry, Voldemort wasn’t born out of love. His mother, Merope Gaunt, used a love potion to win the affection of Tom Riddle Sr, and that way, became pregnant with his son. Some fans believe Voldemort is incapable of love because he was born out of a potion and not the real deal.
7 Tom Riddle Sr. Abandoned Him
Merope eventually stopped using the love potions on Tom Riddle, but she was disappointed to learn that he hadn’t grown to love her. As soon as the effects of the potion wore off, and Tom fully realized what had happened, he abandoned the family.
6 Dumbledore Noticed Him Before Anyone Else Did
Many of the teachers at Hogwarts fell for Tom Riddle’s charms, but Dumbledore wasn’t one of them. Dumbledore knew there was something off about the young wizard from the moment he met him in the orphanage. Over the years, Dumbeldore kept an eye on him and reinforced the rules to him, but it wasn’t enough.
5 His Time At School Wasn’t All Negative
Voldemort started dabbling in the dark arts from a young age, but he also displayed some positive qualities at school. A student with a lot of promise for magical excellency, he was made a school prefect and then Head Boy. Although he was intelligent, this likely had more to do with the way he was able to charm the staff.
4 He Eliminated His Entire Family
Voldemort didn’t always know that his father was a muggle. Originally, he believed Merope Gaunt was the muggle and his father was a wizard. When he learned the truth, he was so enraged that he went to his father’s house and took the lives of everyone inside, including his grandparents.
3 And Also His Family’s Gardener, Frank Bryce
After Voldemort had taken the lives of the Riddle family, their gardener Frank Bryce was accused of the deed. Though he was never convicted, he did suffer because of this. He was shunned from his community and lived his life in solitude until Voldemort returned many years later to take his life in The Goblet of Fire.
2 He Was Never A Fan Of His Own Name
Voldemort rid himself of the name Tom Riddle as quickly as he could. One of the reasons why he didn’t like it was because it was common, and he always wanted to be different from everyone else. Instead, he wanted a name that instilled fear in people, and one that wasn’t associated with muggles.
1 His Mother Lost Her Life Giving Birth To Him
Merope gave birth to Tom at Wool’s orphanage, where the staff helped her through various complications. Though she delivered a healthy baby, the birth was too overwhelming for her body, and she lost her life not long after. Because of this, Voldemort was alone from the very beginning of his life.