Title: Voldemort's Past
Description: Fascinating or a scary thought?
HermioneRULEZ! - August 15, 2005 02:06 AM (GMT)
In HBP we delve into Voldemort's past. We learn about his mother, his father, his uncle, his grandfather. We learn that he wreaked havoc at the orphanage he went to. We learn He is a loner, saves things magpie like (reminds me of Kreacher) and was one of the "Slug Club". We see his transformation from Tom Riddle to Lord Voldemort.
This raises some interesting questions for us. We see Voldemort's family was highly dysfunctional, his mom was likely physically abused a lot by her father. Merope's brother seemed to be a bit insane, the inbreeding in LV's family was probably one of the factors.
Voldemort was not a good boy even as a child. The orphanage, as Harry said, was a grim place to grow up, but not abusive. Harry had it much worse than LV. We have to assume that LV dwelled on the fact his dad din't want him alot. It seems to trouble him.
We also see LV's features becoming strangely blurred and learn about his "job application".
What do you think? Did these lessons have a purpose other than Harry discovering about the Horcruxes? Why was LV vicious even as a child? What are the nasty incidents besides the Chamber of Secrets?
jemlibris - August 15, 2005 11:02 AM (GMT)
I think that the lessons were Dumbledore's chance to get Harry as informed as he could be. There is a saying: Know thine enemy. It is what you have to do in a military campaign.
What distinguishes Voldemort is a lack of any deep connectedness with others from growing up in an orphanage, it would seem. From JKR's description, it was a typical pre-World War 2 orphanage where there would have been regimentation of the children, no nice clothes or toys, only uniforms and other odds and ends, absolutely no consideration of "special needs" and the orphanage, though not abusive, was understaffed, underfunded and dependent on charity handouts.
Such staff as there were would have been underqualified, underpaid and overworked, staying there because of the employment, rather than because of any emotional connection with the children, especially during the Great Depression of the 1930's. I've heard it said that in general, children in orphanages before World War 2 were usually more docile and obedient than children after World War 2, who were more ready to question orders.
What I don't understand is that he was never placed with another family. An older child would have been extremely lucky to have been fostered out, but adoption was quite common for new-born babies, as far as I know of pre-World War 2. Maybe noone took to him. The orphanage would have taught him the need to be charming and pleasing when necessary, when prospective parents came visiting.
Of course if anyone wanted him it would be necessary to contact his father if that was possible. The question is, did anyone make any effort to try to find out who Merope's husband was, and why not? And if Tom Riddle Snr was ever told during the suceeding eleven years that Merope was expecting when he left, or that he had fathered a son? His eloping with her caused quite a stir in a place like Little Hangleton, but he returned to his parents' place only months after the event, when Merope would have just fallen pregnant.
Godric - August 15, 2005 06:25 PM (GMT)
I found the revelations concerning Voldie's past quite interesting. Merope seems an interesting character, smart and powerful enough to brew a powerful love potion, but stupid enough to actually use it. Emotive, supersensitive and abused by her family. her brother seems to be utterly insane and cruel, and Marvolo appears to be a dangerous lunatic. His father, well, we always knew he was unpopular from GoF, but he seems utterly dispicable here. As for his childhood, he seems well balanced- He has a chip on both shoulders. Right from the off he has a mentality that it is himself against the world, very seflish, very self-righteous, it's all me me me me me. His father's side that seems to be. But he's also remarkably intelligent, manipulating those around him, and very, very dark. But he knows his limitations, knows exactly what he can and can't get away with... for now.
The scene from Slughorn's memory is particularlyinteresting. Despite his utter selfishness, he knows how to manipulate others, or at least, many of those around him. He does eventually meet his match when confronted with the power of love, this seems to be something completely new to him.
That's my initial offering.
HermioneRULEZ! - August 15, 2005 07:39 PM (GMT)
That's an interesting point about the disconnectedness and lack of emotional connection in Voldemort's orphanage. I'm sure that contributed a lot to his temperament as a child. Also, why Riddle was never adopted, I suspect that for his own reasons, he didn't want to be. Not sure what those reasons are, probably something emotionally weird. Anyway, he could have acted horrible when people came by. And as for never contacting LV's father, the orphanage had no information other than his name and this was before the age of computers.
jemlibris - August 15, 2005 09:13 PM (GMT)
Maybe they had no computers but there were records to fill in even in those days. I know lots of orphans, including those whose parents were alive, but poor & unable to cope, according to the authorities, got sent out to Australia or Rhodesia during the 1930's and afterwards. Many of these people were the ones without records, judging by the difficulty these people had later on in tracing who their families were and in getting Australian citizenship or passports.
That particular orphanage didn't seem too horrible, but there were some in Australia that were really atrocious, especially for boys. Even at the orphanage where he was, he could have been bullied at the age of two or three while relatively a baby.
It is hard in an orphanage to think of others and their needs when nobody gives a stuff about you. Even when there are prayers said urging us to be mindful of the needs of others. The other orphans all have themselves to think of too, and usually do, though those with siblings in the same place tend to look out for each other. Harry must have got some minimal attention from Petunia when very young - I notice she seemed a bit ashamed when Dumbledore told the Dursleys how badly they had behaved towards Harry. But I think that it was Aunt Marge, Vernon and Dudley provided the main aggravation.
Merope, the name, comes from one of the Pleiades, the faintest of that network of stars. In Greek legend she died of shame because unlike her sisters she married a mortal, Sisyphus. Merope Gaunt was silly enough to use the potion, but it seems she didn't have the heart to keep using it and to let Tom Riddle have his choice. Perhaps Merope should have kept on using that love potion until the baby was born I'm thinking. Even if he had not liked Merope so much he might then have taken care of the baby.
As things stand, did he know about the baby, until Voldemort turned up at the age of sixteen and murdered his father and grandparents? If not, that was unfair, however tragic Voldemort's life was to that point. Or were they as proud and rejecting as what Merope's family was?
athenamay3410 - August 15, 2005 11:01 PM (GMT)
Just a fun TP fact- my great grandmother I believe it was (or great-great) was one of the Bernardo orphans to come over from England and into various areas of Canada. Many were abused and put to work as child slaves and back in the UK my relative used to be one of the children that would sing on the streets of England in an attempt to get money. This was somewhere between 1882 and 1939. (I can never remember the details). And jem, I think this is some of the same effort that sent children to Australia.
I always thought what was interesting about LV in his encounter with DD at the orphanage was how he seemed to just cast aside his mother as the one who was to be detested. He had found a reason to really justify him being mad at her for dying I would assume, and would therefore probably look to the dad to find somewhat more redeeming- when really it becomes the other way around. Mom is the one who has the lineage to Slytherin, mom is where the magic comes from. It is dad who is the deadbeat. Another thing I kind of found curious was the fact that she named him after two men that really treated her terribly, and abused her. Her father, and the man she loved.
HermioneRULEZ! - August 16, 2005 01:15 AM (GMT)
Yes, the names show just how delusional Merope was. It's common for abused children to respect and love their abuser above all others, so it is with Merope naming her son after her abusive father.
And I do think Tom Riddle Snr was aware of the baby, the way Dumbledore talks about it implies so.It says that Tom led the villagers to believe thay got married because Merope was pregnant and it turned out she lied. Plus, Dumbleodore said Merope probably thought Tom Snr would stay with her for the baby's sake, implying Merope told Tom about the baby.
jemlibris - August 16, 2005 08:10 AM (GMT)
|QUOTE (athenamay3410 @ Aug 16 2005, 09:01 AM)|
| And jem, I think this is some of the same effort that sent children to Australia. |
I always thought what was interesting about LV in his encounter with DD at the orphanage was how he seemed to just cast aside his mother as the one who was to be detested. He had found a reason to really justify him being mad at her for dying I would assume, and would therefore probably look to the dad to find somewhat more redeeming- when really it becomes the other way around. Mom is the one who has the lineage to Slytherin, mom is where the magic comes from. It is dad who is the deadbeat.
Yes you are right athenamae, it was. There was the Fairbridge scheme, I think it was, and Dr Barnados as you say. The Catholic boys were sent to places like Bindoon or Castledare, boys' homes infamous for their brutality. We had more localised ones, too, some, but not all, of which were for Aborigine children who had been taken from their families. For family reasons I was sent to a boarding school and periodically to a home for girls run by the Junior Red Cross.
It wasn't so much of being sent to an orphanage that is so hard, maybe, it is society's sometimes uncaring and self-righteous attitude to the children which can be so cruel, I think. They are "other people's children", to be judged more severely than those at home with parents, and the likes of Vernon or Marge Dursley, who thought Harry should have been marched off to one when he arrived at 4 Privet Drive are the "normal average" people who contribute with their attitudes to making orphanages such a hell. Kids in orphanages can feel so unwanted, disconnected, angry and upset about their lot in life, not just Voldemort. In Voldemort's case he wouldn't have been just depressed, he might have seen the Dementors around at nightfall. And he did blame his mother for dying, until he could blame his father for living and not bothering about him.
But then Voldemort's parents' families were both as bad as each other, and no improvement on the Dursleys. HRULEZ, you said that Tom Riddle Snr did know about the baby. From what we saw of Tom Riddle and his girlfriend, Cecilia, they looked down on the Gaunts; Marvolo was a tramp in his eyes even though Marvolo could at least claim ownership of his house, derelict though it was. Morfin was regarded as mad and in Little Hangleton Merope would not have had a good reputation, merely the tramp's daughter who pulled a swifty on Tom.
The Gaunts had just as lousy an opinion of Tom Riddle, and Marvolo wanted nothing to do with Merope for going off with Tom Riddle. The Gaunts were proud of their purebred wizarding descent from Salazar Slytherin, despite their broken down home. Dumbledore said that the Gaunts were inbred, marrying cousins etc. and that they were consequently unstable and violent. I wonder what happened to Marvolo's wife and was it the same abuse that Marvolo heaped on Merope which did for her.
And I wonder if it was this violent, unstable personality which caused Voldemort to have become so evil, or was it a violent, unstable, tendency aggravated by his depressing circumstances?
As for the lessons, Dumbledore needed Harry to see those memories. I noted in the first one, that Morfin and Marvolo often spoke in Parseltongue, and that what they were saying in parseltongue made what was happening a good deal more comprehensible to Harry than it would have been to Dumbledore. Or Bob Ogden, for example, even though both Bob Ogden and Harry reacted to the violence shown to Merope, and Ogden also mended her broken pot.
augurey - August 16, 2005 01:18 PM (GMT)
Something that was emphasized was how remarkable Harry was -- that he was able to love after having been through so much. Harry never considers this a remarkable feet, to him it's just reality.
It's been pointed out numerous times how similar Harry and Voldemort's pasts are and it was important for Dumbledore to show Harry how different he and the Dark Lord had become. It's our choices that make us who we are, or something like that. Harry needed to see how remarkable his choices were and how remarkable a person that makes him now.
ophie - August 16, 2005 03:14 PM (GMT)
Dumbledore's most important point was the one about the prophecy. How Harry was setting too much store by it and how not the prophecy itself, but the choices regarding it have created the situation. That made Harry see the important choice. That he has to choose to face Voldemort... instead of feeling dragged into the arena. In that confrontation, when it comes, Harry will be the only one who has made that choice. Voldemort will feel forced, driven by the prophecy. Harry will have an automatic advantage now that he's seen that difference.
jemlibris - August 17, 2005 08:16 AM (GMT)
Voldemort was mentioned as one of the Slug Club of his day. It seems he was part of a group who could expect a "leg-up" whatever he wanted to do. I wonder why Voldemort didn't want to go into the Ministry, and suggested, delicately, that he didn't have the right background.
Would that have really mattered? And wouldn't going into the Ministry be a much surer way to power?
bangzoom - August 28, 2005 01:15 AM (GMT)
|QUOTE (jemlibris @ Aug 17 2005, 12:16 AM)|
| Would that have really mattered? And wouldn't going into the Ministry be a much surer way to power? |
Power, yes - but not the kind of power Voldemort was looking for. I don't think he would want to be bothered by the mundane aspects of being part of the Ministry or the boot-licking required on the way up the ladder. He wanted to cut straight to the chase and become the most powerful, invinciable wizard that everyone feared.
Fear, intimidation, and causing great pain seem to be what appeals most to him. It was even evident in the memories that Harry saw. He had already discovered that he could make animals and people do what he wanted and could terrify his peers, manipulating them into getting things that he wanted. Discovering that he was a wizard maybe temporarily humbled him but also created a great thirst for knowledge....of harnessing this power. It probably also piqued his curiousity about his parentage. I believe Merope christened him with both names so that young Tom would be able to eventually track down his lineage.
Love and weakness are two things that LV despises. He assumed his mother was the muggle because she had died. A strong wizard, in his mind, would not have died.
He seems to have inherited his arrogance from both sides. The Riddles thought they were better than others due to their money, power, and position in society. The Gaunts thought they were better due to their heritage and status as pure-bloods. The combination of the violent, unstable personality inherited from the generations of inbreeding along with the detached, emotion deprived environment of the orphanage created the monster that became Lord Voldemort.
HermioneRULEZ! - August 28, 2005 06:53 PM (GMT)
You're right bangzoom. Voldemort wouldn't be able to stand the sucking up that is most certainly involved with becoming Minister after a while and Voldemorts goal was to harness Hogwarts magic and train the impressionable youth in the Dark Arts. He needed to be a teacher to do that.
jemlibris - August 28, 2005 09:25 PM (GMT)
Do you think Voldemort might have a third go at getting the DADA job, now Albus Dumbledore has gone?
HermioneRULEZ! - August 28, 2005 10:47 PM (GMT)
Oh, yes, McGonagall will accept him straight away.... ;)
You mean force himself into the DA job? But then no one will come to the school...I mean a student is talking in class...CRUCIO!
jemlibris - August 28, 2005 11:19 PM (GMT)
|QUOTE (HermioneRULEZ! @ Aug 29 2005, 08:47 AM)|
| Oh, yes, McGonagall will accept him straight away.... ;) |
You mean force himself into the DA job? But then no one will come to the school...I mean a student is talking in class...CRUCIO!
Yikes! He'd be worse than Umbridge or Snape! :o
But then, he might find he isn't all he is cracked up to be....Hopefully, he'll crack up. ;) Maybe there is at least one student who is more than a match for even him.
timetraveller - August 31, 2005 02:00 AM (GMT)
|QUOTE (HermioneRULEZ! @ Aug 28 2005, 05:47 PM)|
|Oh, yes, McGonagall will accept him straight away.... ;) |
:lol: It's an interestng thought, though, what with polyjuice potion flowing like wine and all. But Harry's not going back to school. At least that's what we think now. I suppose that could change.
Still, if Harry isn't in the castle, it may be a great place for Vodle to hole up, polyjuiced or hidden in the CoS.
timetraveller - August 31, 2005 02:03 AM (GMT)
|QUOTE (jemlibris @ Aug 28 2005, 06:19 PM)|
| Maybe there is at least one student who is more than a match for even him. |
:idea!: That's it! That's why we didn't see much of Neville in book six!
Wilall - February 19, 2006 02:45 PM (GMT)
As this post has mostly to deal with Voldemort's past I thought this would be the best place, even though I brings several other threads into account.
First, was Riddle permitted to stay at Hogwarts between his 6th and 7th year? That would prove to be some useful information. If he were that would probably give him almost unlimited access to the Room of Requirement and all the stuff in there.
Is that where and when he learned about horcruxes?
Since horcruxes are banned at Hogwarts then there wouldn't be a book or even mention of them in the library. Probably not even in the restricted section. That leaves the Room of Requirement.
Being muggle born and living in a muggle orphanage on holiday, wouldn't give him much of a chance to investigate horcruxes. That's why it is most likely while he was at school when he discovered horcruxes.
Maybe he talked it over with someone at the Hog's Head or on Knockturn Alley, but I can't really see him discussing it with anyone.
HermioneRULEZ! - February 19, 2006 06:49 PM (GMT)
Yes, we know for sure he was there sixth year because if memory serves, that was the year he was in in the Sluggy memory and they wouldn't kick him out because the headmaster LOVED him. Plus, DD mentioned he graduated, and got good grades on exams.
Interesting theory, him finding out about Horcruxes in ROR. We know somethin's up with that room....
Wilall - February 19, 2006 07:33 PM (GMT)
I didn't mean during term. I know he was there then and that he graduated. In CoS he asked Headmaster Dippet if he could spend summer vacation at Hogwarts. Dippet said no, because of the attacks going on in the castle, but if the attacks weren't happening special arrangements could have been made. That was when Riddle framed Hagrid for opening the Chamber. Dippet said that under current situations Riddle couldn't stay, but since the attacks stopped, would he then have allowed Riddle to stay during summer vacation?
That would have given Riddle sufficient time to search the Room thoroughly. I think that was his goal in requesting to stay during the summer holiday in the first place.
Wilall - May 12, 2006 09:45 AM (GMT)
Did Voldemort ever team up with Grindelwald? It is a simple question. Is that where Voldemort learned about the Dark Arts?
timetraveller - May 12, 2006 02:12 PM (GMT)
|QUOTE (Wilall @ May 12 2006, 04:45 AM)|
| Did Voldemort ever team up with Grindelwald? It is a simple question. Is that where Voldemort learned about the Dark Arts? |
That's a question that's been bouncing around for a few years. I just don't think we know, one way or another.
Good question though. Maybe someone will ask it in NY.
bangzoom - June 14, 2006 01:51 AM (GMT)
I imagine he was able to pick up a lot about the Dark Arts and most likely horcruxes when he worked at Borgin and Burkes in Knockturn Alley. I'm wondering how did the broken vanishing cabinet end up in the room of requirement? Was it originally put there by Tom Riddle? Since the other one is in Borgin & Burkes he is a likely candidate for being the one to have put it there and make use of it.....but....why???? Hmmm......I will have to think on this a bit.
Solattice - June 14, 2006 03:46 AM (GMT)
Wait, didn't Peeves break that vanishing cabinet in CoS? Nearly Headless Nick convinced him to drop it above Filch's office, I thought, trying to save Harry from punishment for tracking mud on the floors? That would mean it was put there well after Riddle's time...unless I'm misremembering...
timetraveller - June 14, 2006 03:49 AM (GMT)
That's right, he did. And then Montague got stuck in it. It was Draco who got it into the RoR. But it could very well have been Vodle who got it into the school in the first place. Interesting idea.