You are watching: Why does voldemort look the way he does
While he was born Tom Riddle, the most powerful Dark Wizard in the history of magic is better known by the name of Lord Voldemort, although he was so feared that he was mostly known as He Who Must Not Be Named. Trained at Hogwarts under the watchful eye of Albus Dumbledore, he learned much about the Dark Arts and soon set off on his own to build his own army of followers. Soon, he amassed more and more power until he became a threat to not only the wizarding world but to all of mankind - wizards and Muggles alike.
RELATED: 10 Unpopular Opinions About Severus Snape (According To Reddit)
However, as his powers grew, his body took on a fascinating transformation, both in appearance and power, making Voldemort one of the most horrifically recognizable villains in modern pop culture history. While fans were originally introduced to him in J.K. Rowling"s Harry Potter book series, the rest of the world met him through the movie adaptations, with Ralph Fiennes portraying the Dark Wizard. However, there are many things about the villain and his body that even the biggest Harry Potter fans don"t know.
Updated Nov 8th, 2021 by Rose Graceling-Moore: Voldemort has lost his status as the current big bad of the Harry Potter universe, now that the Fantastic Beasts series is focusing on Gellert Grindelwald (and of course, his history with Dumbledore). For original fans, though, The Dark Lord is the one true villain of the wizarding world - even if his story (and his physical appearance) don"t always make perfect sense.
The Dark Arts Changed His Handsome Appearance
When Tom Riddle began to dabble in the Dark Arts, his appearance started to change over time. The good looks that defined him soon faded, and it all started with his eyes. Though they were at first dark and striking, they soon became sunken and always had the appearance of being blood-shot. In the books, they eventually become entirely red, although this was a detail left out of the movies.
The change in his appearance happened before his "death" and resurrection, and was due to his dealing with the Dark Arts and the fact that he had started to experiment with this form of magic - something that changed him psychologically and physically.
He Is Half-Blood
If anyone ever wondered why Voldemort hated Muggles as much as he does, it is because he is actually half-Muggle himself and hates that side of his lineage. He was born to a Muggle named Tom Riddle and the witch named Merope Gaunt, who used a love potion to ensnare the wealthy Riddle.
However, when she decided to test their love by no longer using the potion, Riddle is assumed to have refused to remain with her and left while she was pregnant with their only child. After the baby was born - and named after his father - Merope passed away and young Tom Riddle was sent to orphanages. By the time he ended up at Hogwarts, he had developed an intense hatred of Muggles based on the betrayal by his own father.
As the Harry Potter movies show, most wizards need a wand in order to cast their spells. When a wand breaks, as has happened on numerous occasions throughout the movies and books, the wizard or witch becomes incapable of casting spells (or only casts ones that don"t work!). Of course, many magical children find that they have magical outbursts at a young age, without the use of a wand, but these are uncontrolled - and the wand is used to direct and control their abilities.
RELATED: Harry Potter"s Order Of The Phoenix, Ranked Least To Most Likely To Win Squid Game
However, a young Tom Riddle had figured out that he had special abilities - and he had a shocking amount of control over them. He could move things with his mind and he could speak to and occasionally control animals, among other things. As an adult, he was accomplished at non-verbal and wandless magic, using it to move and control people with a hand gesture alone on many occasions.
Once Voldemort was defeated after failing to eliminate Harry Potter as an infant, he no longer had a body to return to. However, he was still alive - mostly. As fans know, he had created Horcruxes, which held parts of his soul on Earth so that he couldn"t truly perish. Outside of that, Voldemort remained in existence in a ghostly form. Harry saw him in the forest as a spectral form, what Voldemort himself called "mere shadow and vapour".
While he could not return in his own body, he was able to possess living creatures and did so with animals on occasion - although he could create little magic as an animal. It wasn"t until Voldemort found and possessed Professor Quirinus Quirrell that he found his way back to the Wizarding World and started to regain power.
Tom Riddle was an attractive young man as a boy, but over time became more and more snake-like in appearance, as his work with the Dark Arts changed him. He ended up tall but skeletally thin. His face was pale white and his eyes were large and red. His nose became as flat as a snake"s, and he developed slits for his nostrils. His hands also transformed. He now had long, spider-like fingers with sharp blue fingernails.
His appearance looked very similar to a snake"s, and the symbolism of this is fairly obvious. In this universe, snakes and "evil" are strongly connected, with the "bad" House represented by a snake, the most terrifying monster of the Basilisk being a snake, Nagini as a snake... Voldemort"s snake-like appearance is representative of his inner evil.
As shown throughout the Harry Potter series, wizards can"t fly without support. Most use brooms, which is the classic way for magic users to fly. However, there are other magical objects and creatures that allow wizards and witches to fly. Hagrid has his flying motorbike, and other characters mention magic carpets, and use everything from the Flying Ford Anglia to Thestrals.
Unlike other wizards, Voldemort can actually fly without the use of any support. He trained himself to fly just by using magic and thus he doesn"t need the help of a broom. He also taught this skill to a number of Death Eaters, which is how they were able to swoop in for attacks without using anything to support themselves.
Voldemort has two major magical powers that help him control other people. These are Occlumency and Legilimency. Occlumency is the ability to shield one"s own mind, while Legilimency refers to the ability to penetrate the minds of others. By the time Voldemort was an adult, he was arguably the most powerful Legilimens in the entire Wizarding World.
Snape said that Voldemort could not only read minds, but that he could also control them. He did this to Harry Potter in the movies when he placed realistic visions in Harry"s mind to try to lure him to find his prophecy. Very few people are strong enough in Occlumency to shield their minds from Voldemort - Snape is one of the only wizards who is able to do this.
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, two of Voldemort"s followers worked together to help him regain his body. These were the wizard Peter Pettigrew and the snake Nagini. Pettigrew mixed up a potion for Voldemort using unicorn blood and the venom of Nagini. With this potion, they were able to create a new body for Lord Voldemort to finally return to.
RELATED: Harry Potter - Death Eaters, Ranked Least To Most Likely To Win Squid Game
However, this body was not what Voldemort needed to return to his fearful leadership form. Instead, it was that of a scaly, hairless baby. He was still cunning and smart and knew what needed to be gathered to bring his body back to its full form - a bone from his father, the flesh from one of his servants, and the blood from an enemy (Harry Potter, of course).
While attending Hogwarts, Tom Riddle used his striking appearance to win over many of his teachers, as he was very convincing in his manipulations. He became one of the top students at the school, and was named both a Prefect and the Head Boy during his time there. He used his leadership skills and charisma to win over followers, both in school and later as the Dark Lord.
When asked about Tom Riddle, Dumbledore said that he was likely the most brilliant student to ever pass through the doors of Hogwarts, and was possibly only surpassed by Dumbledore himself. When Riddle left the school and became Voldemort, he proved that to be a fact when he was able to mastermind two of the most devastating wars in Britain"s Wizarding World.
Before Voldemort, the two greatest wizards in the Harry Potter universe were easily Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald. As a matter of fact, the greatest wizarding battle in history was reportedly one between the good Dumbledore and the dark Grindelwald. When Voldemort rose to power, he soon surpassed even the power of Grindelwald - who was spending the rest of his life in prison after his capture.
Voldemort has mastered countless Dark Arts spells and is strong enough when casting them to overpower even the most powerful wizards. For example, he"s even able to control Bartemius Crouch Senior for almost half a year. He also cursed all of the Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers at Hogwarts after he was rejected the job, which involved a spell so powerful that not even Dumbledore could lift it.
While Tom Riddle could use magic without a wand, he was able to gain even more power when he did choose to use his wand. Voldemort became possibly one of the most skillful duelists in the entire Wizarding World, proving his mastery of the wand time and time again against the best wizards and witches in the world.
Voldemort was able to win duels against Horace Slughorn, Kingsley Shacklebolt, and Minerva McGonagall - all three of these wizards and witches are considered master duelists. Voldemort also overpowered Alastor Moody and Amelia Bones in fights. The reason why Voldemort was able to defeat so many wizards and witches was that he was unpredictable and aggressive, which allowed him to change fighting styles without warning. He also used the Dark Arts, of course, which created an unfair advantage.
When Voldemort learned from Snape that there was a prophecy that would vanquish the Dark Lord, he immediately sought to find out more. Knowing that a child would be born that could beat him, he set out to eliminate the child - not knowing if it was the half-blooded Harry or the full-blooded Neville, who were both born on the same day. He went after Harry due to the fact that he and the child had something in common: they were both half-bloods.
RELATED: The 10 Strongest First Order Of The Phoenix Members In Harry Potter
When Voldemort showed up and attacked, he took out both James Potter and Lily Potter - however, Lily"s love cast a protective spell on Harry and therefore Voldemort"s Avada Kedavra spell backfired. When he was "destroyed" (or when his body was, in any case) it was the result of his own spell, and this protection of a mother"s love.
When Voldemort possessed Professor Quirinus Quirrell, he ordered the professor to drink the blood of unicorns. These unicorns were found in the Forbidden Forest and there was a specific reason for this demand. Unicorns possessed healing abilities - and since Voldemort was rendered almost powerless after his Avada Kedavra spell backfired, he needed to heal in order to start regaining his strength.
This was also needed to help keep Quirrell from expiring the longer Voldemort possessed him. Even after Voldemort returned to full strength in his own body, he was still forced to drink unicorn blood in order to remain alive and strong. To do so, he was able to create a specific potion using unicorn blood and venom from the snake Nagini.
When Lily Potter cast the protective spell on Harry when he was an infant, the Avada Kedavra spell that backfired had another effect. Voldemort learned that he could not touch Harry without feeling intense pain. This was a major plot point in Harry Potter and the Philosopher"s Stone when Professor Quirrell - who was still possessed by Voldemort - battled Harry for the Philosopher"s Stone. When Quirrel tried to touch Harry, he felt immeasurable pain.
In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Voldemort found a way around this. He was able to lead Harry, and along with him Cedric Diggory, to a graveyard where he immediately eliminated Cedric and then turned to Harry. With the information that he gained from Bertha Jorkins, he made a potion and was able to finally recreate his body using Harry"s blood. This also eliminated one layer of Lily"s protection, as Voldemort could finally touch Harry without feeling pain.
After Voldemort regained his body in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and used the blood of Harry Potter to create a potion that finally allowed him to physically attack the Boy Who Lived, the two had a duel. While Voldemort was a master duelist who had defeated some of the best wizards and witches in the world, he was unable to beat Harry Potter.
This was because there was another protection set up to save Harry"s life. Voldemort"s wand was unable to overpower Harry"s wand, which came as quite the surprise to Voldemort. This was due to the fact that the two wands had the same core - that of Fawkes" phoenix feathers - which meant that they shared a connection. This helped Harry survive, as the shades of his mom, dad, and Voldemort"s other victims showed up to help him escape from Voldemort.
Lord Voldemort and Harry Potter shared a special skill: they are both able to speak and understand Parseltongue. Harry used this early on when he spoke to a boa constrictor and helped it escape the zoo. Voldemort used it for more nefarious purposes, though he mostly used it to communicate with his snake servant Nagini. This power allows wizards and witches to speak to and influence serpents, and is very rare.
Almost all Parselmouths are descendants of Salazar Slytherin, and there are only very rare exceptions - with Harry Potter as the most obvious example, as he gained the ability when Voldemort attacked him when he was a baby - part of Voldemort became a part of Harry. Speaking Parseltongue is often seen as the sign of a dark wizard or witch - although Dumbledore has mentioned that there are a few good individuals who can speak it as well.
While Voldemort could invade the minds of others, implant memories, and control them, he was unable to do so with Harry Potter after a few first attempts - or chose not to. At first, Voldemort didn"t realize that when he was using his abilities on Harry, the connection went both ways. However, in time he figured it out, and then decided to sever this connection himself, because he was afraid that it would allow Harry to know what he was doing.
This may have been a usual hazard of Occulumency, with powerful wizards able to create a two-way connection between minds, but it seems that this was only seen in the series with Harry - there is no mention of Voldemort having this issue with any of the other witches or wizards that he influenced over the years.
Another magical skill that Voldemort possesses is Transfiguration, which is a type of magic that is used to alter the appearance of a body or an object. This is something that can be done to almost any object, but it can be a very difficult spell to cast, depending on what is being Transfigured.
Voldemort proved that he could not only master Transfiguration, but he could also use it for long periods of time. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Voldemort used the spell to transform the snake Nagini into Bathilda Bagshot in order to eliminate Harry if he ever tried to pay her a visit, and he kept Nagini in this form for a long time. He was also able to turn Dumbledore"s fire-rope into a snake and gave Peter Pettigrew a silver forearm to replace the one he lost.
When it comes to Lord Voldemort, most people got to know him after his first defeat, when his body was basically destroyed. However, as is shown in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, he was not always the noseless and frightening Dark Wizard we recognize today.
As a matter of fact, before changing his name to Voldemort, Tom Riddle was an attractive young man. J.K. Rowling described him in her books as tall and handsome with pale skin, dark eyes, and jet-black hair. Rowling explained that he looked like his father and had no trace of the Gaunt family in his appearance. This, of course, all changed when Tom Riddle began to experiment with Dark Magic, which gave him immense power but took a toll on his physical appearance. And this shift may be representative of the ugliness within him overcoming his external appearance.
At the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Voldemort thought that he had the perfect weapon to finally defeat Harry and win the war - and that by killing Harry, he would fulfill the prophecy. However, he didn"t realize that he had made Harry a horcrux, and killing Harry would destroy part of himself (and fail, given Harry"s possession of the resurrection stone).
See more: 5 Tips On How To Make A Blunt Burn Slower, How To Make Your Joints Burn Slower
When Harry was in "limbo" in the form of King"s Cross, he met Dumbledore for a wisdom-filled conversation, but his old Headmaster wasn"t the only other thing on the platform. Harry also saw what looked like a flayed child - a representation of the part of Voldemort"s soul that had lived inside him. When he left, he left this behind to die, and was no longer a Horcrux, allowing Voldemort to be defeated.