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Lord Voldemort

Lord Voldemort is the arch-villain of the Harry Potter books. He is so feared by magical people that most refer to him as "You-Know-Who" or "He-Who Must-Not-Be-Named" rather than saying his name out loud. He is also referred to as the "Dark Lord", although generally only by his followers.

Voldemort murdered Harry's parents when he was a baby, and Harry's mother Lily died trying to defend him. This act of loving sacrifice served as life-long protection for Harry. Nonetheless, Harry got a lightning-shaped scar on his forehead when Voldemort tried to curse him.

It is possible to break the name Voldemort into the French phrase "vol de mort" which has multiple translations. The most commonly cited is "flight of death", but other meanings include "flight from death" and "theft of a dead body." Voldemort's followers are called death eaters, and they are hiding from the Ministry of Magic. Voldemort himself fled when he couldn't kill Harry. His goal is to achieve immortality through the practice of dark magic.

Warning: Wikipedia contains spoilers

Voldemort is confronted by Harry three times in the first four books. He takes up residence under the turban of the nervous Defense Against the Dark Arts master in year one, but he can't touch Harry and is defeated. As Tom Riddle, he lures Ron Weasley's younger sister, Ginny, into using dark magic to turn a cat and some people into statues but is defeated when Harry's loyalty inspires Fawkes, a phoenix, to provide him a sword in the nick of time (see Chamber of Secrets). In his scariest confrontation with Harry Potter yet, Voldemort reanimates a body and attempts to kill Harry with magic in front of his reassembled Death Eater followers, but Harry's wand is linked to Voldemort's and undoes Voldemort's spells.

Voldemort has an unfortunate tendancy to forget details which have lead to his undoing. In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone he states that he had forgotten the ancient magic which protected Harry from him, his mother giving her life; in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets he forgets that the tears of the phoenix have healing power. It has been suggested at the Harry Potter Lexicon that Voldemort having Harry's blood, from his reviving ritual in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, will play an important part in the future of the series.

Voldemort's real name is Tom Marvolo Riddle; in the second book he explains that Voldemort is derived from an anagram of his name:

TOM MARVOLO RIDDLE = I AM LORD VOLDEMORT

In translated versions of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Voldemort's true name is changed to accommodate the anagram:

Czech language

TOM ROJVOL RADDLE = JÁ LORD VOLDEMORT

Dutch language

MARTEN ASMODOM VILIJN = MIJN NAAM IS VOLDEMORT

Finnish language

TOM LOMEN VALEDRO = MA OLEN VOLDEMORT

French language

TOM ELVIS JEDUSOR = JE SUIS VOLDEMORT

German language

TOM VORLOST RIDDLE = IST LORD VOLDEMORT

Greek language

ANTON MORVOL HERT = ARHON VOLDEMORT

Italian language

TOM ORVOLOSON RIDDLE = SONO IO LORD VOLDEMORT

Norwegian language

TOM DRODELO VENSTER = VOLDEMORT DEN STORE

Spanish language

TOM SORVOLO RYDDLE = SOY LORD VOLDEMORT

Swedish language

TOM GUS MERVOLO DOLDER = EGO SUM LORD VOLDEMORT

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