Why Did Voldemort Want to Kill Harry Potter?

Why Did Voldemort Want to Kill Harry Potter?

On Halloween night, Saturday, October 31, in the year 1981, a dark wizard named Lord Voldemort swooped into Godric's Hollow, a quiet village in the west country of England. He strode purposefully to a house called Potter Cottage, a house that had been magically hidden from his sight until that moment.

The dark wizard blasted the door open and cast the killing curse, Avada Kedavra, upon a wizard called James Potter, killing him instantly.

He made his way upstairs and found Lily Potter in her son's nursery. He turned his wand on Lily, who was standing in front of a crib, shielding her baby son from the dark lord's wand, and he cast the killing curse again.

Then he turned his attention to James and Lily’s son, 15-month-old Harry Potter, and cast the same curse that had just killed his parents. But this time the killing curse rebounded, causing Voldemort to disappear, believed dead for many years.

Incendio Baby Harry Potter

This made baby Harry quite famous, although he didn’t know it at the time. He became ‘the boy who lived’. The only person to ever survive Avada Kedavra.

But what drove the dark lord to want to kill Harry Potter that night? What threat could a 15-month-old Harry Potter be to such a powerful dark wizard? Let's dig deep into the wizarding world and unearth some answers.

Why did Voldemort want to kill Harry Potter? Fans can buy Voldemort's wand here.

Who is this ‘Lord Voldemort’ anyway?

Lord Voldemort was born on December 31st, 1926, in Wool's Orphanage, London, as Tom Marvolo Riddle. His mother was a pureblood witch named Merope Gaunt, and his father was a wealthy muggle (the term for a non-magical person) named Tom Riddle. Merope Gaunt had become enamored with the muggle, but he showed no interest in her until she tricked him into drinking a love potion, and they eloped together. 

Tom Junior was conceived while his father was still under the influence of this potion (or perhaps the imperius curse), which could never be expected to turn out well, and is a possible reason that Voldemort grew up to be so completely awful. When the enchantment ended and Tom Senior realized that his wife was a witch, he left her before their son was born. 

Incendio Lord Voldemort was born

Merope found herself alone and pregnant in London, and she sold off everything she owned so that she could live. One of the possessions that she sold was a locket, a family heirloom passed down for generations from Salazar Slytherin, who was one of the four Hogwarts founders. 

Merope gave birth alone in the London orphanage, Wool’s, but she passed away soon after that. The baby was raised in Wool’s Orphanage, unaware of the wizarding world or his own heritage, until the time came for him to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

It was at Hogwarts that he secretly began to use the name Lord Voldemort among his most intimate followers, as he did not want the name of his muggle father any longer.

After his time at Hogwarts, Tom Marvolo Riddle began working for Borgin and Burkes, an antique store that was known to specialize in dangerous and dark magical items. He had been viewed as a promising student, and his Hogwarts professors were surprised at his career choice, but Riddle had his own nefarious reasons to work for the shady establishment. He used his time there to track down the locket that had once belonged to his mother, and once he got his hands on the heirloom, he disappeared

What exactly was Lord Voldemort's problem?

During his time at Hogwarts, Riddle discovered his ancestry, finding out that he was descended from Hogwarts founder Salazar Slytherin through the Gaunt family. He developed some truly awful supremacist ideals about pureblood wizards and muggles despite being a half-blood wizard himself. 

He also delved deeply into dark magic, gathering Slytherin followers who would later in life become his death eaters. In his fifth year at Hogwarts, he opened the chamber of secrets and released the basilisk, resulting in the death of a student.

He believed death to be a human weakness, assuming mistakenly that his mother must have been a muggle if she could not stay alive, and his father must have been magical. He despised muggles for this supposed weakness, and he focused his efforts on finding ways to make himself almost immortal. 

Did he manage to make himself almost immortal then?

Riddle chose to push the boundaries of dark magic and use the murder of innocent people to split his own soul into pieces, hiding these pieces of his soul in objects that were important to him. These objects were called Horcruxes. This meant that he could not die as long as these Horcruxes existed. 

After his stint working at Borgin and Burkes, he is believed to have spent his time traveling the world and exploring the dark arts as deeply as possible. Once a handsome young man, the splitting of his soul altered his appearance bit by bit. The dark magic he used made him more powerful but distorted his good looks and made him appear less and less human.

Incendio Voldemort  dark magic

What did Voldemort plan to do with all this dark magic?

Voldemort held great disdain for anyone who was not a pureblood wizard. He established alliances with werewolves and giants, intent on creating a brave new world run by pure-blood wizards and witches, where muggles and half-blood wizards were either enslaved or killed. Voldemort wanted to live forever and presumably thought that he would be the leader of this new order for eternity. 

In 1970, Voldemort started the First Wizarding War, which lasted for eleven years. He and his followers, known as death eaters, were opposed by the Ministry of Magic and by many more good witches and wizards, two of whom were Lily and James Potter, Harry Potter’s parents.

They were members of The Order of the Phoenix, an order set up by Albus Dumbledore to fight against the dark lord.

If you have a dark wizard to defeat,  these incredible fire-shooting wands might help. 

But what did a baby Harry Potter have to do with that?

Lord Voldemort learned of a prophecy that had been foretold by the divination professor, Sybill Trelawney, a prophecy overheard and brought back to Voldemort by Severus Snape. This prophecy said:

“The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches. Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies. And the Dark Lord will mark him as equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not. And either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives. The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies.” [1]

This prophecy, as soon as Voldemort heard it, was the catalyst that sparked Voldemort’s obsession with killing Harry Potter. It is the reason that Voldemort targeted Harry and the reason for Voldemort killing Harry’s parents.

Harry fit the bill exactly because Harry’s parents had defied Voldemort three times, and Harry was born at the end of July, the seventh month of the year. 

Incendio Harry Potter gets Voldemort  power

Voldemort believed that killing Harry Potter there and then, while he was still a defenseless baby, would put an end to any chance of Harry gathering the necessary power to vanquish Voldemort. But he was very wrong.

His actions caused the prophecy to become real. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy, so when Voldemort attempted to kill Harry Potter, the killing curse actually did mark Harry as his equal because in giving him the scar, he passed some of his own powers on to Harry, along with the only piece of his soul that the dark lord had left.

This established a link that would last the rest of Voldemort's life. Although Voldemort was never able to figure out what had happened in killing Lily Potter while she stood to protect Harry, ancient magic was unleashed, which surrounded Harry with a protection spell. 

A mother’s love is too strong to break, but the dark lord could not possibly understand love and so he would never have been able to understand how Harry lived. Lord Voldemort’s desire to kill Harry Potter just sealed Harry's destiny to be the one to defeat lord Voldemort once and for all. 

Incendio Harry Potter  defeat Voldemort

Harry was not the only child born at the end of July to parents who had defied Voldemort thrice. There was another boy born into the wizarding world who could be the one the prophecy mentioned.

Neville Longbottom was also in the running and probably would have died at Voldemort's hands (or wand) had he not tried to kill baby Harry before him. But Voldemort attempted to kill Harry first, and that action inevitably resulted in his ultimate downfall all those years later.

From Voldemort's ambition to Harry's bravery – wield the ultimate tool in magic: our fire-shooting wand.

Back to blog