I am currently loading all my bags onto the Disney cruise liner Wonder so that I may get lost at sea for the next week with Mickey Mouse and the entire cast of Disney characters. Although I’ll be off the grid, I’ve set up the blog to keep you updated while I’m away. I do hope you’ll continue to stop in and comment.
Today I have an extra special treat for you! Jessica O’Neal has graciously agreed to be my guest and delight you with a topic she knows all too well – He Who Must Not Be Named – a.k.a. Voldemort! Whenever you have a question or debate involving the world of Harry Potter as created by J.K. Rowling, Jessica is your go-to girl! She currently covers the topic every Monday on her own blog – The sexy little nerd. You should pop over there and check out her work, if you haven’t already. It’s with great excitement that I welcome Jessica to Immortal Monday.
I would like to thank Debra for inviting me to take part in her Immortal Mondays. I love reading this series and am honored to contribute to it. Let’s go ahead and jump on in.
You Know Who, He Who Must Not Be Named, The Dark Lord, Tom Riddle, Voldemort – he goes by many names, but no matter which one you use nearly everyone will know exactly who you are talking about. In her Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling created one of the most complex and unforgettable villains around. The thing that has always fascinated me the most about Voldemort is, even though he has the stereotypical “bad guy” goals (take over the world, make everyone bow to his will, etc.), those do not serve as his primary driver. The thing that propels him forward in his bid for power, rather, is an overwhelming compulsion to defeat death. He wants to be immortal.
From the time he was a child still called Tom Riddle, Voldemort looked at death as a weakness. He didn’t even consider it a possibility that his mother was a witch simply because she succumbed to death after giving birth to him (Half-Blood Prince, 257). Left to be raised in an orphanage surrounded by ordinary children with the common name of Tom, Voldemort lusted for power. He wanted to be feared, respected, extraordinary.
In order to accomplish this he had to get rid of everything he construed as a weakness – including mortality. By the time he was only sixteen years old he had already begun his quest to conquer death in earnest. He had committed three murders and was ready to dive head first into the dark magic surrounding Horcruxes.
A Horcrux is an object in which a witch or wizard encases a part of his soul. This is accomplished by causing the soul to be ripped apart through the act of murder and then casting a spell to encase the torn portion of soul into the chosen object. As long as that piece of soul inside the Horcrux is kept safe, the witch or wizard to whom it belongs can not die. Even if the body is destroyed, the piece of soul that lived inside it is tethered to the earth by the part bound inside the Horcrux. (Half-Blood Prince, 463-465)
For Voldemort, the idea of the Horcrux was very appealing. It was a way in which he could avoid a true death without having to rely on anyone other than himself. He knew that he was a wizard of great skill and because of that he was full of arrogance. He believed that it would be impossible for anyone to make it past the protections that he would put in place around the object turned into a Horcrux. But even then he wasn’t completely satisfied.
Voldemort would not be satisfied until he had gone “further than anybody along the path that leads to immortality” (Goblet of Fire, 366). He believed that seven was the “most powerfully magical number” and that by splitting his soul into seven pieces he would actually make himself stronger (Half-Blood Prince, 466). By the time he faced baby Harry Potter he had succeeded in creating five of the six Horcruxes he wanted. He had intended to create that final Horcrux with the death of the one prophesied to destroy him, but instead he was very nearly destroyed himself.
That night in Godric’s Hollow, when the killing curse rebounded off of Harry and hit Voldemort, he should have died. But he did not. He was “ripped from [his] body, [he] was less than spirit, less than the meanest ghost…but still, [he] was alive” (Goblet of Fire, 366).
The Horcruxes had worked. He could not die.
Of course, he was also without a body. It’s kind of difficult to kill and maim without a hand to hold a wand. He attempts to regain a body through the use of the Philosopher’s Stone, but is foiled once more by Harry. It is not until Goblet of Fire that Voldemort is able to return to a corporeal body through the use of ancient, dark magic. No matter what he thought, though, he was not truly immortal. He could still be killed if one were able to destroy all of his Horcruxes first. But like many of the Greek heroes, Voldemort fell victim to his own hubris. He did not think it possible that anyone knew about his Horcruxes, let alone that they could find and destroy them all. Especially Harry Potter.
He was wrong.
Thanks to the help of Dumbledore and his faithful sidekicks, Harry was able to ensure that all six Horcruxes were destroyed and then kill Voldemort. With nothing to tether his soul to earth, Voldemort was truly and irrevocably dead. He failed in his goal to conquer death. He failed in his quest for immortality.
*All page numbers are from the UK editions
Thank you, Jessica, for that great analysis on He Who Must Not Be Named! Although Voldemort failed in his quest for immortality, he gave it a good go. What do you, the readers, think of the idea of using Horcruxes to split the soul into multiple pieces for the purpose of safe guarding the whole? It is worth it? Is the cookie the same when it is broken into crumbs?
Speaking of cookies – it wouldn’t be a proper Immortal Monday if I didn’t bring you something yummy to nibble at. Voldemort wasn’t always so… facially challenged. I give you Ralph Fiennes – yum. It’s quite alright to lick your fingers, ladies. You don’t want to miss a single crumb. 😉
Would you look at that! He cleans up nicely. He could be my sexy double agent any day.
Jessica O’Neal types away at her keyboard in Florida, where she resides with her husband and beloved Jack Russell named Moses. Graduating with a BA in Psychology and minor in English, she found that she harbored a love for the written word. She decided to see if she could pull together the words floating around in her head and give them purpose. Success! She recently finished the first draft of her first novel. Kudos, Jessica! You can find out more about Jessica by visiting her blog, following her on twitter or friending her on Facebook. In addition, you can find her updating her Writer’s Page on Facebook and co-hosting the podcast Glee Chat on Hypable.com. Make sure you swing by and say “Hello!”
32 thoughts on “Immortal Monday ★ He Who Must Not Be Named ★ Guest Post by Jessica O’Neal”
Interesting write up on Voldy 🙂 Personally, i dont think voldy failed in his quest for immortality… i just think his time was up. After all, he lived too long already.
Huh, what a unique take on Voldemort, Jeyna. It’s always fun to hear the different viewpoints people have on things. Thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂
It’s quite strange to see that picture of the wicked cast and there’s Voldemort, smiling like he enjoys being near Harry. But, of course, it’s just Ralph and Daniel, still it’s unnerving. Now, those pics of Ralph as Ralph, Mmmmhmmm, yes please.
What an excellent write up of Voldemort. You covered some facts that I guess I missed in the books (didn’t realize his mom died while giving birth). Probably because Voldemort scares me and I read his sections fast.
Thanks for guest blogging while Debra has an awesome and amazing adventure on the high sea!
I thought that picture of the cast together was very mind boggling, too. When I first saw it I was like why are they hugging and smiling?! Lol! I must also agree that Ralph as himself is very yummy 😉
I’m glad that you enjoyed my post and that I was able to teach you something new about Voldemort. There is just so much hidden in JK Rowling’s story that it is nearly impossible to catch it all. I’ve read the entire series over 10 times and still find things I’ve missed.
I guess I need to finish reading the HP series. I stopped at Goblet of Fire, with both the books and the movies. Interesting analysis, Jessica! Thanks for the guest blog!
Oh my goodness, yes!! Keep going!! You haven’t even read my two favorite books of the series yet (Order and Deathly Hallows). I’m glad to know that even without having read the entire series you were able to enjoy my discussion of Voldy. Be sure to let us know if you finish and why you think!
Ok, this post actually makes me want to read the books. Or at least see the rest of the movies. I stopped with the second book because it felt repetitive. I think I have seen three movies, but I can’t be sure. Maybe it’s time for a Harry Potter movie marathon. Great post!
Please give the books another try!! Chamber of Secrets is my least favorite of all of them. They seriously get so much better as you go along. Glad you were able to enjoy this post even without having read. Let me know if you do give the books another shot!!
Great post Jessica! Voldemort is a great villain–and I’ve always loved the description–he who must not be named–so simple and yet so brilliant!
Thanks Debra and hope you’re cruise is awesome 🙂
Thank you, Coleen! I agree, the names that people used to describe him without naming him were great. It added so much to his menace that all you had to say was You Know Who or He Who Must Not Be Named and everyone knew exactly who you were talking about. He was just THAT evil.
Hi Jessica. Good write up about Voldemort and a great picture of them all smiling – I love to see the people behind films enjoying what they do.
Voldemort’s never seemed that scary to me, but my daughter has taken time to get used to him. We broke down and let her see the final film this christmas before she has read the book, Its an emotionally satisfying ending to the whole series. One of the great things about the books (and films) is that despite their flaws they’re interesting and engaging and work overall. Bit like the Clash, not great on their own, but together they’re brilliant … well, if you like the Clash!
I’m curious, why the UK page numbers?
Hahaha, it’s actually a very simple reason. I own a full set of the US and UK editions. My husband and I had to move somewhere about a year ago where space was very limited. I could not justify keeping BOTH sets of the books unpacked, so I packed the US and kept out the UK. I like reading the UK versions better since they are the way JK Rowling actually wrote them. The differences are minimal, but they are there.
I’ve read all the books twice and have watched each movie several times 🙂 You can say I adore the HP series and I really appreciate your wonderful analysis, Jessica 🙂
I kept smiling while reading the post – you transported me back to Hogwarts, Hogsmeade and a muggle-infested London 🙂
Yay!! Oh, I am so glad that you enjoyed it. I love HP way more than most of my family and friends think is normal, so writing these posts about it is a true joy. Thank you so much 🙂
Jessica! This was great. By now, I hope Debra is enjoying her time on the boat with all the beautiful people. And by that I mean Ralph Fiennes without the Voldy make-up. He really is spectacular in real life is he not? 😉
Thank you so much, Renee! And yes, Ralph is most certainly a spectacular specimen. Whenever I see him in something else it is hard to believe that he is the grotesque creature that is Voldemort.
I had a great time on the boat. Thanks Renée. But now I think I’m feeling landsick! LOL Ralph Fiennes is very yummy, isn’t he?
I didn’t realize that’s the actor who played the big “V-man.” Too cool :0)
Awesome Jessica!!! Thank you so much for this well thought out guest post. I really appreciate you looking after my Immortal Monday while I was away. I really enjoyed reading it. Thank you, everyone, for showing your support of Immortal Monday and Jessica’s guest spot.
It was such a pleasure to do! Thank you so much for hosting me. You know how I love any excuse to talk about the world of Harry Potter. 😀
I did not know Ralph Fiennes played Voldemort. I’ll never think of him the same again. He looks much better with a nose.
😀 I would have to agree with you on that one! Out of costume he takes on a WHOLE different look. LOL Obviously, he’s good at what he does. Thank you for stopping in, Julia.