The son of pure-blood witch Merope Gaunt and Muggle Tom Riddle, Sr., Tom was conceived while his father was under the influence of a powerful love potion. Soon after his conception, his mother released his father from the potion, and he left her and his unborn child. Tom was born a few months later in an orphanage, where his mother died shortly after relaying the child's name: Tom Marvolo Riddle. Tom was raised in the orphanage, where he knew nothing of his family or his magical potential. However, he was able to use his nascent powers to terrorize fellow orphans. At the age of eleven he was contacted by Albus Dumbledore, who informed him of his wizarding heritage and extended an invitation to Hogwarts, on the condition that Tom cease using his powers to torment others. At Hogwarts, Tom showed himself to be an excellent pupil, and soon gathered a great deal of influence amongst fellow Slytherins. He was also able to charm most of his teachers, with the exception of Dumbledore, who distrusted the boy and whose distrust was returned in kind. He was made Prefect in his fifth year and Head Boy in his seventh. He spent much of his time researching his past and family; eventually learning of the elder Riddle, he returned to his paternal home at the age of sixteen and murdered his father and paternal grandparents. He created his first Horcrux, stored in his childhood diary, at this time. Also at the age of sixteen, he unleashed the basilisk from the Chamber of Secrets, resulting in the death of a fellow student (Myrtle Warren, also known as Moaning Myrtle). He was able to foist the blame for the incident onto Rubeus Hagrid, who was expelled. After leaving school, Tom travelled to retrieve an item to create a Horcrux with, and upon his return sought employment with Borgin and Burke's, where he used his position to steal valuable items to turn into Horcruxes. Eventually he vanished from this position, resurfacing sometime later as a powerful Dark Wizard with a formidable following, called the Death Eaters. He attempted to gain employment from Dumbledore, now headmaster, as professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts, but was denied; in response, he cursed the position so that no one else could hold it for more than a year. He rose quickly to power, initiating the First Wizarding War and sending the wizarding world spiralling into chaos. At the height of his power he was made aware of a prophecy that indicated that a boy would be born who could defeat him. Eventually he identified this child as Harry Potter, and targeted the boy and his family. Despite the best efforts of the Order of the Phoenix, Voldemort was able to locate Harry and kill his parents. However, when he attempted to kill the boy, the spell rebounded and struck Voldemort instead, apparently killing him. For years, Voldemort hid away, until an opportunity to regain his body arose.
Voldemort was originally created by JK Rowling for her Harry Potter series of books. He made his first appearance in the first book in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. He made his first appearance in comics in Mad #412.
Major Story Arcs
The Philosopher's Stone
A disembodied Voldemort latches onto the body of Professor Quirinus Quirrel, who he directs to attempt to steal the Philosopher's Stone so that Voldemort might be returned to his body. He is thwarted by Harry, and is forced from Quirrell's body, which is destroyed.
The Chamber of Secrets
The fragment of Voldemort's soul in his childhood diary is passed to Ginny Weasley, sister of Ron Weasley, who it possesses. It orchestrates the release of the Basilisk, which petrifies a number of students. Harry, due to his connection with Lord Voldemort(because of the scar he gave him) is able to comprehend Parseltongue, the language of serpents. This allows him to open the Chamber of Secrets. Harry then fights Basilisk and is wounded. The basilisk is defeated and killed by Harry using Sword of Gryffindor. He stabs the book with a basilisk fang, killing that fragment of soul. Harry's wounds are healed by phoenix's tears.
The Goblet of Fire
Voldemort manipulates the Triwizard Tournament through his servant Barty Crouch Jr., manipulating events in such a way that at the end of the third task Harry Potter is brought to him. Using Harry's blood, Voldemort's follower Peter Pettigrew enacts a ritual that results in the reformation of Voldemort's body. Voldemort calls his Death Eaters to the Little Hangleton graveyard ( the place he is at) and challenges Harry to a duel. Unexpectedly, they are unable to duel because their wands are connected, and when they attempt to cast spells the wands lock together, and through Priori Incantatem the most recent spells performed by Voldemort's wand are revealed, resulting in the appearance of several of his victims, including Harry's parents. These apparitions distract Voldemort, and Harry escapes.
The Order of the Phoenix
Operating in secret, Voldemort begins to share flashes of his plans with Harry via a mind link they possess. This is apparently unwitting on Voldemort's part, though eventually revealed to be calculated manipulation aimed at getting Harry to retrieve a prophecy from the Department of Mysteries. He also orchestrates the escape from Azkaban of many of his followers. When Harry travels to the Department of Mysteries, Voldemort sends a group of Death Eaters to confront him, and later arrives himself. He and Dumbledore duel, and, nearing defeat, Voldemort attempts to take possession of Harry but fails due to his inability to handle Harry's capacity for love. He flees, having confirmed his return to the Ministry.
The Half-Blood Prince
Voldemort declares war on the wizarding world again, and orchestrates many terrible deeds, including vicious murders. Much of his past is revealed in detail. He directs Draco Malfoy to kill Dumbledore, and while the boy fails, Dumbledore is killed by Severus Snape.
The Deathly Hallows
Voldemort effectively takes control of the wizarding government and establishes totalitarian rule that persecutes Muggle-borns and those who attempt to oppose him. Obsessed with finding a wand that he can use to defeat Harry, Voldemort begins a quest to find the nigh-invincible Elder Wand. He is able to locate it, and steals it from Dumbledore's tomb. Discovering that Harry is hunting Horcruxes, Voldemort launches an assault on Hogwarts, where Harry is searching. He has Snape murdered by his pet snake in a misguided attempt to turn the Elder Wand's allegiances to himself. He allows for an hour's break in the fighting, and invites Harry to give himself up in order to prevent further bloodshed. Harry does so, and Voldemort again attempts to kill him. He fails in this, however, and only manages to kill the fragment of his own soul that had been accidentally transferred into Harry. He brings the apparently dead Harry to the school to gloat before Hogwarts' defenders, but this only restarts the fighting, in which Voldemort engages personally. Harry then reveals himself to be alive, and Voldemort and he duel. Harry suggests that Voldemort consider repentance, then informs him that the Elder Wand bears allegiance to Harry himself. Voldemort attempts to kill Harry, but the spell rebounds because of the wand's loyalty to Harry, and Voldemort is killed.
Powers and Abilities
Voldemort is an exceptionally powerful wizard, meaning that he is able to use magic to a variety of effects. He is widely considered the most powerful Dark Wizard in centuries, and has a vast knowledge of magic that is almost unparalleled. However, he is incapable of love and cannot understand or wield any magic related to it. He is a very gifted duellist. He is skilled at both Legilimency, magically reading minds, and Occlumency, magically protecting his own mind from invasion. He is capable of magical flight without the aid of a broomstick or other support. He is also notable for his ability to apparate silently. He is a Parselmouth, meaning he is able to converse with snakes. He fragmented his soul into many pieces by killing others, and was able to place these fragments into Horcruxes, external vessels which, so long as they are intact, prevent their owner from being able to die.
Harry Potter Series
Voldemort appears in seven films in the Harry Potter series. He is portrayed as a parasitic head in the first film by Ian Hart. He is portrayed as an adolescent in the second film by Christian Coulson. He is portrayed from the fourth film onwards as an adult by Ralph Fiennes. He is portrayed as a child in the sixth film by Hero Fiennes-Tiffin. He is portrayed as an adolescent in the sixth film by Frank Dillane.
Voldemort appears in numerous game adaptations of the Harry Potter series.
Harry Potter Series
Voldemort was originally created for the Harry Potter series of books. He appears in person in four books in the series, and as some form of magical manifestation or memory in a further two.
Voldemort features in numerous parodies and comedic works. Notable appearances include in the web series Potter Puppet Pals, in a sketch on comedy program All That, and in the musical A Very Potter Musical, among a wide range of other appearances.