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Voldemort's Positive Qualities In Harry Potter

The "Harry Potter" franchise's big bad, Lord Voldemort (Ralph FIennes), has many deplorable qualities. He's power-mad, fascistic, merciless, and murderous. The character who started his journey as a talented young boy changed into an ambitious young man and eventually grew to become a monster in likeness and personality. There's not really a single thing about He Who Must Not Be Named that you'd consider a redeeming quality. But that's not to say he doesn't have any positive qualities. Dare we say, there are some aspects of Lord Voldemort that, when viewed through a properly warped lens, would be considered downright admirable, were it not for how he chose to use them. As always, context is key.

Hear us out a bit before calling an auror. This isn't some kind of twisted pro-Death Eater nonsense; we did call Voldemort a monster, after all. But it would be disingenuous to say everything about the man was awful. His deeds were horrendous and cruel, this is true, but that's simply a matter of what he chose to do with his prodigious talents. As Professor Albus Dumbledore himself told Harry, "It is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices." Not convinced? Well, as Professor Horace Slughorn told the titular hero, "When I first met young Mr Riddle, he was a quiet albeit brilliant boy, committed to becoming a first rate wizard. Not unlike others I've known. Not unlike yourself."

With that in mind, here are Voldemort's most positive qualities in the "Harry Potter" series, presented with utter seriousness.

There's no denying Voldemort's talent

Even as a young boy, Tom Riddle displayed an extraordinary amount of magical talent. As Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) learned with the help of the pensieve in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," Professor Dumbledore (Michael Gambon) went to visit the orphanage where Tom was living as a young boy. By that point, having never received a single lesson in magic and without the benefit of a proper wand, Tom had already accomplished some tricky things. As he said himself, "I can make things move without touching them. I can make animals do what I want them to do, without training them." Of course, in the same breath, he also displayed his penchant for vengeance and cruelty, saying "I can make bad things happen to people who annoy me. I can make them hurt if I want to." Tom also revealed to Dumbledore a somewhat alarming ability: he was a parselmouth and could talk to snakes, something Harry himself was able to do prior to attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

With the training he receives at Hogwarts, Tom Riddle grew even further in talent, eventually becoming a prefect for Slytherin House. In his fifth year, he opened the Chamber of Secrets and tamed the basilisk. He learned how to split his own soul and create horcruxes during his sixth year and was named Slytherin House's Head Boy in his seventh year. One doesn't become an existential threat to the wizarding world as a whole without talent.

You Know Who also showed a lot of dedication

In addition to natural magical talent, Voldemort has an incredible amount of dedication. If Tom Riddle set his mind to something, by Merlin's beard, he's going to do it. He wanted to become a powerful dark wizard and that's exactly what he did. When Tom found out he was a descendent of Salazar Slytherin, he looked to take up his legacy; as such, he set the basilisk on killing muggle-born students so as to rid the school of those he felt unworthy of studying magic. In fact, he only closed the chamber because he realized that if the school closed, he'd have to return to the orphanage, so he framed Rubeus Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) and his pet acromantula, Aragog.

Perhaps Voldemort's most dedicated pursuit was his quest for immortality; he'd become a powerful wizard but now he needed a way to live forever. His discovery of horcruxes led him to the knowledge that he could split his soul and attach pieces of it in objects as a way of living on. He was so dedicated to immortality that he committed multiple murders in order to split his soul into seven pieces, as seven was a powerful magical number — he unintentionally made a seventh horcrux in the scar on Harry Potter's forehead, resulting in eight pieces. Creating the horcruxes and experimenting with dark magic took its toll on his body and resulted in his twisted physical appearance, but Voldemort was unbothered by the deformity. 

He was also dedicated to destroying Harry Potter; let's just say he treated it as something he'd either accomplish or die trying.

Voldemort's resilience is impressive

In addition to talent and dedication, the dark lord is also pretty darn resilient. When Voldemort learned of Professor Sybill Trelawney's (Emma Thompson) prophecy that a wizard powerful enough to destroy him was to be born, he went to destroy Harry Potter, only to have his killing curse rebound and annihilate his body as a result of Lily Potter's sacrifice to protect her son. Fortunately for Voldemort, his spirit remained as a result of all those horcruxes he created. As such, he was able to survive physical death in an ethereal form, possessing lower life forms. After years of this existence, Voldemort set about regaining physical form and eventually latched onto Professor Quirinus Quirrell (Ian Hart), though his soul departed at the end of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone."

After the events of the first three films, Voldemort was once again able to take a corporeal form in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." Having existed in a rudimentary form and resembling an infant ventriloquist dummy wearing a Jigsaw mask from the "Saw" films, He Who Must Not Be Named became a real boy again with the help of his father's bone, Peter Pettigrew's newly severed hand, and Harry's blood, which was taken by force. Nearly a decade and a half of seeming oblivion and Voldemort could finally begin his second ascent to greatness.

The dark lord had no shortage of confidence

For a half-blood orphan with humble beginnings, Tom Riddle sure had plenty of confidence. We guess it helps when you develop powers on your own and a wizard comes and takes you to get the best magical education money can buy on scholarship. And then finding out that you're a direct descendent of one the co-founder's of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry probably doesn't hurt. On his path to becoming Lord Voldemort, the most powerful dark wizard in history, Tom certain found plenty of factors to give him faith in his own abilities. Without that confidence, it's unlikely he would have managed to achieve such horrible things.

Of course, much like the thin line between pride and vanity, we would call an overabundance of confidence hubris. Perhaps Voldemort was a bit too self-assured; hubris can become recklessness when confidence allows someone to underestimate their opponents. After all, He Who Must Not Be Named was eventually defeated by a teenager whom he underestimated, allowing himself to be outsmarted along the way. Had he simply let one of his many capable followers off the little brat at one of the myriad opportunities they had along the way, he'd still be alive and would have won. Insisting he be the one to kill Harry Potter was probably his biggest downfall.

Despite his dark tendencies, Voldemort had plenty of charisma

It's one thing to set about becoming the most powerful wizard in the world. It's something different to convince an army of likeminded dark wizards to help you do it. And it's something else entirely for an orphaned half-blood wizard to attract the massive following of pure-blood supremacists Lord Voldemort would come to command. Despite his many seeming character defects, there's no denying the dark lord had moxie. That it factor. Charisma. While it's true that his Slytherin heritage must have helped and he doubtless kept the fact that his father was a muggle as a closely guarded secret, that's a tall order.

With his talent, ambition, and dedication, Voldemort was able to build a cult of personality around himself and dark witches and wizards flocked to his side. Would a timid young man be able to amass such a flock of devotees? Not likely. But even as a young boy, Tom Riddle presented himself as charming and likable. He was able to endear himself to Professor Slughorn (Jim Broadbent) in order to get the potions master to reveal the secret of horcruxes. Voldemort counted members of the wizarding world's aristocracy among his most loyal Death Eaters in Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter) and Lucius Malfoy (Jason Isaacs). You can't pull that off without a magnetic personality.

It doesn't hurt when you're handsome

As viewers learned in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," Tom Riddle (Christian Coulson) was a handsome man when he was younger. The part of his soul that was attached to his diary managed to charm Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright) and when he appears to Harry Potter in the Chamber of Secrets it's in the form of a handsome young wizard. Even the young Tom (Hero Fiennes-Tiffin) whom Professor Dumbledore met that the orphanage was a good-looking kid, though perhaps he had some awkward years in the middle, as seen in the memory of Professor Slughorn. With the charisma he demonstrates, in addition to his natural magical gifts and easily recognizable dedication, it's no wonder Voldemort was able to charm so many dark wizards into his service. 

Of course, good looks don't last forever. Everything fades with age and it certainly doesn't help when you're messing around with dark magic. As Voldemort continued his quest for immortality down that path, his good looks went away. It's all laid out in the text of "Half-Blood Prince": "Lord Voldemort has seemed to grow less human with the passing years, and the transformation he has undergone seemed to me to be only explicable if his soul was mutilated beyond the realms of what we might call 'usual evil.'" His creepy, mangled exterior was simply a physical reflection of the internal corruption his soul had endured.

At the end of the day, Voldemort is a sympathetic villain

This last one is less a positive quality as it is a mitigating factor. As difficult as it may be to feel empathy for someone who's committed acts as monstrous as the ones Voldemort has committed, he is a sympathetic villain. Understanding the circumstances of his birth is key to understanding Voldemort's tragedy. His mother, Merope Riddle, was born Merope Gaunt, the daughter of Marvolo Gaunt and a descendant of Salazar Slytherin who became obsessed with a rich and handsome man named Tom Riddle. It's believed Merope gave him a love potion; they were later married and she became pregnant. Prior to the birth of her son, her husband escaped the spell's influence and ran away. When Merope died in childbirth, young Tom Marvolo Riddle had no one and became a ward of the state.

It's understandable that any child whose father ran off and whose mother died would have abandonment issues. Then to develop strange abilities while being cared for by strangers in an orphanage? A lot more makes sense. Now consider the fact that Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has said that anyone conceived by someone under the power of a love potion would be unable to feel love (via Fandom) because it was the result of deception and not out of true love. 

None of these factor excuse anything Voldemort did in his quest for immortality and absolute power. But they do help explain how he was tragically fated to live the life he did and why he could not have turned out differently.