Tom Riddle is a British dark wizard. He is best known as the infamous Lord Voldemort who led a series of terror attacks on Magical Britain in the 1970s in what is known as the Wizarding War. He then disappeared for almost a decade after his own attack on infant wizard Harry Potter backfired on 31 October, 1981, a day now celebrated as Harry Potter Day.

Tom Riddle assumed a number of false identities over the years and even rose as one of Voldemort's strongest opponents during the Wizarding War under the stolen name of David Monroe. In 1991-1992, Riddle taught at Hogwarts as Professor Quirrell in a scheme to steal the Philosopher's Stone. In June 1992 he defeated Albus Dumbledore before being himself defeated by Harry Potter.

Tom Riddle killed a large number of people, including more than 100 people whose deaths he used to build a network of Horcruxes that protects him from dying.


Early life

Tom Riddle is born on 31 December, 1926. He is a descendant of Salazar Slytherin.

Riddle studies at Hogwarts in Slytherin house. During his time there, he opens the legendary Chamber of Secrets (canon) in which Salazar Slytherin's basilisk (canon) gives him access to Slytherin's secret lore. In 1943, Riddle uses the basilisk to kill Abigail Myrtle in order to make his first horcrux.

Before he kills Myrtle, Riddle begs Albus Dumbledore to introduce him to Nicholas Flamel in order to become his apprentice and learn to make the Philosopher's Stone, but Dumbledore refuses. In 1992, Riddle will claim that this episode was his "last attempt to be a good person" and that Dumbledore's refusal pushed him towards his evil life choices and Myrtle's murder.[1]

Riddle will also claim that at age 13, he wanted to be the next Dark Lord and made a list of rule he would follow so as not to make the same mistakes as past Dark Lords.[2]

Still according to Riddle, he studied martial arts at a muggle dojo in Asia, achieving 6th dan.[3] In this dojo he also learns the attitude of losing which he teaches to Harry in Defence class in September 1991. In 1969, he would come back as Voldemort and torture and kill the students and the master of the dojo, an event known as the Oni Affair by the Department of International Magical Cooperation (canon).[4]

Yet again according to Riddle, he freed a small country from a dark lord under the name Alexander Chernyshov. He protected it from others and spent money for it. However, even though the inabitants loved him, this did not bring him happiness.

Riddle will also tell Harry that he applied for the position of Defense Professor at Hogwarts around 1950 but that Dumbledore rejected it.

Wizarding War

Main article: Wizarding War

At the end of the 1960s, Riddle seeks to take power in magical Britain, both as a challenge to himself and to protect it from muggles whom he sees as a threat to the world. He devises a plot to take political power by staging a conflict between a hero and a dark lord, both parts being played by himself. He uses the identity of David Monroe (whom he killed in 1945), heir to the Noble and Most Ancient House of Monroe, as a heroic persona.

Riddle plans to do a trial run before creating a great dark lord that Monroe will defeat. As such, he creates the crude, cliché Lord Voldemort, senselessly cruel, blood purist (canon), with scary physical appearance and cheesy names for himself and his followers the Death Eaters. As Voldemort, he orchestrates several terror attacks on magical Britain. However, the Ministry (canon) fails to defeat Voldemort who gains the support of Bellatrix Black and then Lucius Malfoy. In 1971,[5] Riddle gives up the idea of a second, stronger vilain and starts opposing Voldemort as Monroe.

As Monroe, Riddle gets annoyed at bureaucracy and having to follow ethics, whereas his Voldemort persona allows him to kill and torture people. He is disappointed by how little support and authority he and Dumbledore receive in fighting Voldemort (it is not clear whether Monroe was formally part of the Order of the Phoenix (canon)). Riddle considers that playing the part of Voldemort is easier and he enjoys it more. In 1973, he stops playing David Monroe and thereafter works at taking power as Voldemort.

The conflict goes on for several years during which Riddle and the Death Eaters commit a large number of murders, acts of torture, and other atrocities. Riddle will later admit that he could have seized power more quickly and silently but that he enjoyed playing against Dumbledore more than he expected to enjoy actually ruling.


In 1980 or 1981, then-Death Eater Severus Snape reports to Riddle (as Voldemort) Sybill Trelawney's prophecy about infant Harry Potter having the power to vanquish him after getting marked as his equal.

Riddle thinks of fulfilling the prophecy on his own terms by using the old Horcrux spell to imprint the child with his own personnality. Riddle hopes that this way he can create a person that will later be like him, to talk to and possibly to rule the world together. As a precaution, Riddle invokes a curse upon himself and future copies of him to prevent them from killing each other.

On October 31, 1981, Riddle goes as Voldemort to the home of the Potter family in Godric's Hollow (canon). He kills James and Lily Potter and tries to make Harry into a horcrux of himself. However, by shaping the baby’s spirit to be like his own, he causes their magics to be dangerously resonant with each other. And instead of throwing his wand and protecting himself he tries to control this new magical effect, but fails and "dies" (his body dies), leaving only Harry to survive. The public opinion will be that Voldemort tried to use the Killing Curse (canon) on Harry and therefore that infant Harry Potter accomplished the impossible feat of surviving this curse.

Pioneer 11W, carrying Riddle's horcrux

Riddle's mind is caught by his network of horcruxes. To his surprise, he cannot leave it in search of a body to possess. Instead, he must wait for someone to find one of the horcruxes. He has however access to some perception from the horcruxes and spends time looking at the stars. One of the Horcruxes being Pioneer 11W's golden plaqueW, Riddle could be considered the first wizard to go to space, in mind though not in body. Riddle stays imprisoned in his network of horcruxes for 9 years and 4 months.

As Quirinus Quirrell

Sometime around March 1991, Quirinus Quirrell finds one of Riddle's horcruxes. Riddle then possesses Quirrell's body and assumes his identity.

In a scheme to obtain the Philosopher's Stone owned by Perenelle Flamel, Riddle gets hired as Hogwarts' Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher for the next school year. He then makes Flamel believe that he can find the Stone anywhere she hides it, so she instead leaves it to Dumbledore to protect in Hogwarts using the Mirror of Perfect Reflection.

While going as Professor Quirrell, Riddle leaves hints that he is his former, Wizarding-War-hero identity David Monroe in disguise.

Mentoring of Harry Potter

Tom Riddle's snake animagus form

Riddle quickly becomes Harry's mentor. Later in the school year, he hears Sybill Trelawney's prophecy about Harry ending the world and resolves to counteract it "at every possible point of intervention", including by killing Harry.


Riddle disregards the theoretical aspects of Defense Against the Dark Arts that constitue a large part of the standard curriculum. Instead he mostly teaches students how to fight other wizards alone and in groups. In particular he creates the Armies, an after-school activity in which three groups of students from each year fight in three-way battles throughout the school year. Riddle, as Professor Quirrell, is considered by students of all years to be the best Defense teacher they've had.

With these activities Riddle intends to prepare the students to follow an authoritarian ruler such as himself or Harry and to fight in the future war he expects to happen between the muggle and magical worlds.

"The students of Hogwarts are a valuable resource, whom I have already spent much time training."
— to Harry after revealing himself as Riddle.


Professor Quirrell in comatose state

From at least the beginning of the school year, Riddle (in Quirrell's body) seems sick. He is often seen in a comatose, "zombie" state in between active periods. It is unclear how much is due to actual sickness and how much is acting as part of his Professor Quirrell persona.

In the spring, Riddle drinks unicorn blood to sustain himself. He doesn't care about the side effects as he expects to change body after getting the Philosopher's Stone.

At some point during the winter or spring, Riddle obtains the Resurrection Stone (canon) and integrates it to his network of horcruxes which allows him to leave his body at will. It is unknown whether he uses this ability at any point.


"Killing idiots is my great joy in life, and I’ll thank you not to speak ill of it until you’ve tried it for yourself."
— to Harry on June 13th, 1992.


  1. Ch. 110
  2. Ch. 19, Ch. 108
  3. Ch. 19
  4. Ch. 84
  5. Ch. 84