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Of Dumbledore, Tom Riddle and Voldemort

By Devina (The Charmed One)

    Hi everyone! In this article, I'll be trying to explore the reasons behind Tom Marvolo Riddle turning into the evil Lord Voldemort and Dumbledore's role in it.

    We've seen many examples of this turncoat business in many other folklore. As a mad (I really mean it) fan of the Star Wars series, the first example that came to mind was Anakin Skywalker who was seduced by the Dark Side and became the feared Darth Vader. Even in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of The Rings, Saruman, the White Wizard, betrayed his good comrades and helped Sauron try taking over Middle-Earth.

    So here, we see Tom Marvolo Riddle shedding his skin (like a snake!) and turning evil. However, in the above two examples, the people who 'turned to the Dark Side' (for lack of a better phrase) were all serving a higher power. Darth Vader was serving Lord Palpatine a.k.a. The Emperor, and Saruman was serving Sauron. Could it be possible that Lord Voldemort is serving a higher power? It has to be someone with greater power than him and who has either not entered the series yet, or has been there from the beginning, waiting to be revealed. In the other two examples, the only people whom Vader and Saruman are slightly afraid of are The Emperor and Sauron respectively.

    Note the parallels: in this series, the only wizard whom Voldemort is afraid of is Dumbledore. Could Dumbledore be the higher power he serves? Before you start throwing rotten eggs at me, hear me out. I know Dumbledore is the good guy and he's Harry's closest elder confidante right now since Sirius is gone (sad but true). But in The Goblet of Fire, when Harry told Dumbledore that Voldemort could touch him now, he said he saw "a gleam of something like triumph in Dumbledore's eyes". What was that all about? Why, oh why, would Dumbledore have a gleam of triumph? Shouldn't he be feeling down? And then, in the Order of The Phoenix, Dumbledore tells Voldemort that there are some things worse than death. Like what? For a power-hungry egotistical person like Voldemort, it could be stripping of his power (which perhaps, Dumbledore as the greatest sorcerer could do) or being subjugated. To whom? Dumbledore perhaps. These, of course, are all speculations so don't start hating me.

    After Tom Riddle/Lord Voldemort left Hogwarts, he apparently immersed himself in the Dark Arts and underwent many changes. We know that much from Dumbledore. How did Dumbledore know this anyway? He probably had spies. How come Voldemort didn't realize there was someone reporting back to Dumbledore? Voldemort is, whatever else you want to call him, not dumb. If someone were spying on him, he'd probably blow his brains out in an instant. Voldemort and Dumbledore could have been in touch. (Hey, it's possible!)

    Tom Riddle mentioned to Harry in CoS that the Transfiguration teacher, Dumbledore, kept a close watch on him. Yes, to make sure he didn't open the Chamber again. However, what if he wanted to make sure Riddle's powers didn't overcome his own and throw him off his seat of power by setting the basilisk on him? (Technically, there's no seat, just Dumbledore's supposed power over Voldemort)

    Voldemort might just be so bitter towards Dumbledore for making his life a hellhole by encouraging it rather than trying to nip it in the bud. If anybody can try and help a person choose the right path, it's Dumbledore. So why didn't he? Professor Trelawney comes to mind. Dumbledore didn't have to hire her even after the prophecy was made. She was valuable and not likely to be killed by anybody. So why did he keep her on? To see if she made any more prophecies about who would win? So he could shift his balance of power accordingly?

    All in all, this might be a whole lot of bull considering the infinite stuff Dumbledore has done for Harry and for the Order and if he really wanted to kill Harry or anything dark, he would have done it by now. Oh well, it was fun speculating.

    Anyways, why did Tom Riddle change? Professor Dumbledore remembers him in The Chamber of Secrets as an excellent student and a Prefect. Yes, he did let loose the basilisk, but how was he before he did that? He obviously was smart. He could have used his brains and abilities for good. Why did he change then?

(1) Probably the most important reason was that he knew he was the heir of Slytherin through his mother's side. He was just fulfilling his destiny. He could have chosen not to, but he didn't, which just shows his weakness more than anything else. He was probably force-fed the fact that not fulfilling his destiny (Remember the famous Star Wars phrase - "It is your destiny") only meant him not rising to his potential.

(2) Next, he needed revenge on his Muggle father who so cruelly abandoned his mother. Psychologically, that meant a pathogenic family pattern. He didn't know his Mum, hated his Dad and lived in an orphanage. That has to be awful. Blaming environment for faults has been an oft-used tool. But in this case, it really was true. His growing-up surroundings must have eaten away at him. (This presents an excellent case for Harry to also go the Voldemort way, considering his life with the Dursley's isn't exactly a cup of tea; hopefully, he won't)

(3) He was in Slytherin. Ok, how is this a reason for his uber-badness, you ask? An age-old saying that probably goes down in Hogwarts must be - "There's not a wizard who was in Slytherin who didn't go bad". He probably heard it as well. Haven't you ever experienced the feeling that if people think you're bad, you might as well be bad? Everyone labels him as evil so he feels he should be evil. (This might be a reason why Snape acts so evil; he was a Slytherin and no one gave him a decent chance)

    Although I trust Dumbledore, I still want to know what the gleam of triumph meant. That would explain a lot. Then again, it might not...

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