Character Journey: Tom Riddle – The True Terror

Character Journey

Tom Riddle: The True Terror


The time may not have come yet for Harry to be able to fight Voldemort on his own. Harry’s not even half as proficient in magic as this evil tyrant. Lord Voldemort is undeniably strong – stronger than any other wizard alive in their time, except for Dumbledore – and he is cunning. He is the Slytherin. A descendant of Salazar Slytherin himself, one of the four founders of Hogwarts, he upholds Slytherin’s main ideology obsessively: the only wizards that matter, the only magical folk that should be allowed to exist, are those with pure blood.

Ironically, Voldemort is far from having ‘pure wizarding blood’. He revealed himself to be the result of a union between a witch and a Muggle man. He resents his father’s blood that runs inside his body and seeks to become greater and more powerful than any other magical being. So ambitious was he that he turned to Dark Magic and aimed to conquer Death.

Thanks to his ambitions, he went through various transformations until his physique is thoroughly altered. Voldemort is the only character whose appearance was never the same in every Potter movie until he finally became corporeal in the fourth movie. The first time we laid eyes on him, he was a parasitic tumor on the back of Professor Quirrell’s head. Then there was his youthful version, whose real name was Tom Marvolo Riddle (which provided the anagram for the name he uses to terrorize the wizarding world, “I am Lord Voldemort”), a handsome Hogwarts prefect with slick wavy black hair and nicely squared jaws. His disgusting shape in Goblet of Fire that resembled a deformed, overgrown infant being carried on the arms of Peter Pettigrew was the penultimate form he had before being revived into his current body. And despite having an actor as fine as Ralph Fiennes in his robes on screen, Voldemort is still not very desirable either even now. After all, he does have the face of a snake, with red orbs for eyes and slits for nose. There are very few mythical creatures that can surpass the creepiness of this man’s countenance.

Even more terrifying than his looks, however, is his operation. Voldemort is basically a terrorist. Just from the way people refuse to say his name, referring him to as “You-Know-Who” and “He Who Must Not Be Named”, is an indication of how fearful his influence is, let alone his actual presence. He has torn families apart, pit friends against friends, made enemies out of allies, and not hesitated to sacrifice human life for the sake of his ambition before. And he will continue to do so again. One family, in particular, is about to become his next victim. As irony continues to lace this villain’s existence, that family is none other than the one who has served him loyally thus far.

That kind of makes you think, doesn’t it? About what sort of man he really is. About where he came from. About what is it that turned him this way. Harry and Dumbledore are thinking about that, too. That’s why we can expect Voldemort’s enemies to try harder to delve into his past. The answers, they will find in Half-Blood Prince.



Credits and disclaimers: This article was written for FiRST Movie Magazine Indonesia, issue 18, July 2009. Pages scanned from FiRST Movie Magazine Indonesia and are not for commercial use. Images are copyrighted by Warner Bros. Indonesia. Do not hotlink and/or use without permission.

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