WARNING: THIS COMMENTARY CONTAINS SPOILERS REGARDING THE HARRY POTTER SERIES
What makes a villain a villain? Without a doubt one of the top villains in young adult fiction has got to be the arch nemesis of Harry Potter. Yet, what makes Voldemort the baddie we all love to hate?
First off, without him the spectacular series that has touched the hearts and opened the minds of so many to reading, wouldn’t exist. His appearance is one we’re not likely to forget. It’s not often that you come across a villain who doesn’t have a nose. In fact, his snakelike appearance sets him apart from every other villain out there. Without a doubt Lord Voldemort is evil. His lack of remorse is evident to all of us as throughout the novels; we seem him kill, torture, and laugh at the pain he causes his victims. There is no limits to what he’ll do, making him one of the most immoral characters of all time. A characteristic of Voldemort’s is that he doesn’t know how to love, and Dumbledore explains the power of love to show the absence that Voldemort experiences when he says “to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever.” (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone). The only thing we know Voldemort cares about is his snake Nagini, and that care can be debated. When Voldemort split his soul into seven pieces, a task no other wizard has even attempted, he without a doubt shattered any trace of humanity. His care for his pet snake Nagini has nothing to do with actual love, something that Voldemort is incapable of, and everything to do with the fact that Nagini is an essential piece to his rise to power. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named only keeps this terrifying snake close because a piece of his soul resides in her.
What else can be said that makes Voldemort one of the worst? Power. Voldemort definitely does not lack in this department. He is a wizard with the charisma and strength to turn your best friends against you. It is something Voldemort tries to do within our favorite trio and he even goes to great and painful lengths to get within the mind of Harry. Voldemort does this in the hopes that Dumbledore will sacrifice Harry if it means the death of the Dark Lord. Voldemort’s ability to possess Harry is a power unseen by any other villains. Think about it, how would you feel if your worst enemy could invade your mind? He’s a powerful man who has the ability to strike fear in the hearts of the entire wizarding world, making them incapable of even mentioning his name.
The Dark Lord’s power is so menacing that even after Harry becomes The Boy-Who-Lived. We see that Voldemort still maintains a strong following of Death Eaters years after his “death.” One thing that we must take into account is that he is the only wizard ever capable of causing any harm to the great and powerful Albus Dumbledore. To list the traits that make Voldemort one of the most notorious villains, one would need their very own time turner. Without a doubt, the ability to successfully split your soul into seven pieces and to disable hundreds of wizards capable of their own magic would have to make you Azkaban’s Most Wanted. Determination is often the key to all villains, but no one takes it as far as You-Know-Who. Ridding the world of unpure mudbloods is Voldy’s purpose throughout the Harry Potter series. One can’t say that Voldemort lacks determination as we see him go through constant power struggles with Harry Potter, suffer complications, and still try to defeat the Chosen One.
J.K. Rowling has left us with a character who I can confidently label as one of the most heinous villains of all time. Unlike other villains, his path to power and destruction isn’t stopped by his long-lost son, and though he may lack a nose, he still has a body, and not once did anyone think of dropping a house on him.