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The Picture of Tom Marvolo Riddle

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Old January 13th, 2007, 11:04 pm
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The Picture of Tom Marvolo Riddle

Discussion for The Picture of Tom Marvolo Riddle by Dawson Smith.

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Old January 13th, 2007, 11:41 pm
loona  Female.gif loona is offline
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Re: The Picture of Tom Marvolo Riddle

very interesting. I've never actually read Dorian Gray so I wasn't aware of the parrellels. But wow they are huge!

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Old January 14th, 2007, 12:17 am
hpobsessed09  Undisclosed.gif hpobsessed09 is offline
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Re: The Picture of Tom Marvolo Riddle

I have not read the book you refer to either, but the parallels are depicted very logically.I believe that the point about Grindlewald(or how ever you spell that) is a good question...does "G" have a bigger role in Voldemort becoming Voldemort than we know? OR is he just some one that Dumbledore defeated? Also, your editorial made me think of another question. Has Knockturn Alley always been dark and creepy? That's where Borgin and Burke's is located...so that may have some relevance. After all, how could Tom keep his good reputation if he was working in a less than nice part of town?

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Old January 14th, 2007, 12:34 am
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Re: The Picture of Tom Marvolo Riddle

Excellent, superb analysis.

This is one of the best I've read so far. I have nothing more to say now, but I will later.

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Old January 14th, 2007, 1:12 am
hilere  Female.gif hilere is offline
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Re: The Picture of Tom Marvolo Riddle

I really love this. It's refreshing to have an editorial that is purely and sensibly analytical. This Dorian Gray book sounds like a good one.

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Old January 14th, 2007, 1:22 am
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Re: The Picture of Tom Marvolo Riddle

I liked the parallels you bought out in this editorial but I always thought that it was an old Jewish pawnbroker that he murdered in Crime and Punishment and felt immense guilt about it. That said Dorian Gray and Voldemort do seem to have quite a bit in common as regards to wishing for immortality and stopping at nothing to achieve this end by being thoroughly nasty evil characters. Also didn't Slughorn tell Tom about Horcruxes while he was still a student so I guess there would be some book somewhere - though not at Hogwarts apparently that would give instructions on how to make a Horcrux and so Knockturn Alley seems just the place to find a book like this and possibly at Borgin and Burkes as they had all sort of horrible black magic items in their shop so why wouldn't an evil book on Horcruxes be among them. (Sorry for the overlong sentence and rambling on like this)

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Old January 14th, 2007, 1:40 am
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Re: The Picture of Tom Marvolo Riddle

Like many other reviewers I have not read Dorian Gray so I have to assume the parallels are there. In this case this is one of the best editorials I have read recently. It will be interesting to see if the parallels play out along the same lines in Deathly Hallows as they do in Dorian Gray.

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Old January 14th, 2007, 1:49 am
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Re: The Picture of Tom Marvolo Riddle

The parallels are uncanny. This Editorial is fantastic . I read Dorian Gray years ago. I bet he found a book on Dark Arts on Knockturn alley before he lift school. To make a Horcruxs.

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Old January 14th, 2007, 2:39 am
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Re: The Picture of Tom Marvolo Riddle

Well I havent read that book but it is interesting to think that if it plays out similar. We all have been wondering how Harry will defeat Voldemort, and what that glimmer of hope in DD eyes were, and what if it has soemthing to do the fact that if Voldemort hits Harry with an Avadra Kedavra and ends up killing himself but some sort of connection we aren totally aware of yet. I like the thought!

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Old January 14th, 2007, 3:16 am
Dan21  Male.gif Dan21 is offline
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Re: The Picture of Tom Marvolo Riddle

I never read the book, but I knew what happened. You bring up an interesting point.


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Old January 14th, 2007, 3:30 am
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Re: The Picture of Tom Marvolo Riddle

Crime and Punishment deals with a man murdering a prostitute, thinking himself a "superman" who is strong enough to deal with the emotional ramifications, and who was smart enough to avoid any possible conviction.
Yeah, it was definitely a pawnbroker (we just had to read it in AP Lit class) but I don't remember her being Jewish. Otherwise it was a very interesting editorial. I haven't read Dorian Gray, but now I think I might add it to my book list for when the semester ends next week.

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Old January 14th, 2007, 10:00 am
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Re: The Picture of Tom Marvolo Riddle

Very, very interesting. I loved this Editorial (Like many others have said) It will be interesting to see whether the parellels carry on through Deathly Hallows!


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Old January 14th, 2007, 10:02 am
cenzonico  Male.gif cenzonico is offline
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Re: The Picture of Tom Marvolo Riddle

This was a very interesting train of thought and it made me think. It seems an unrelated thought but Harry knows Borgin and Burkes was responsible indirectly for Dumbledore's death. The day he Ron and Hermione listened with extendable ears while under Harry's invisibility cloak outside of B&B's is when he found this out and if he thinks about it, Borgin owes him one. Borgin is another one who may have knowledge of what objects Voldemort was interested in as well. Does he know where Harry might find the Horcruxes? Will Harry have to use persuasive techniques on Borgin? It seems out of character unless Harry goes on a rampage due to anger.

And what about Olivander? Did he take all his wands with him? Is he going to help Harry? What significance will Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley have in book 7? I am not sure how all this relates to the editorial but it made me think of these two men.


Last edited by cenzonico; January 14th, 2007 at 10:06 am.
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Old January 14th, 2007, 1:25 pm
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Re: The Picture of Tom Marvolo Riddle

Well, like a lot of people who have commented, I haven't read Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray. However, I am slightly familar with the story from watching the film The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I found the parallels facinating and I thought the opening paragraph of this editorial was brilliently written.
It'll be interesting to see if the parallels playout during Deathly Hallows, and I'm sure Voldemort's quest for imortallity will in the end be his own undoing.
I also like your theory that Voldemort didn't learn his knowlege of Horcruxes and the Dark Arts from Grindelwald. I could see Jo giving us a red herring with her mention of Dumbledore defeating the previous Dark Lord. I also like the idea that Voldemort got a lot of his knowlege when he was working in Borgin and Burke's and find it believeable that Harry and Co. might make a trip to Knockturn Alley in book seven.
Over all, a very well written, presented and thought prevoking editorial.


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Old January 14th, 2007, 2:20 pm
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Re: The Picture of Tom Marvolo Riddle

Interesting theory to Voldemort's end.. we'll never know for sure, of course, but somehow, I can see it happening...


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Old January 14th, 2007, 2:43 pm
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Re: The Picture of Tom Marvolo Riddle

Really good editorial--one that I wish I, English major that I was, had written. It's possible that Voldemort's demise will bear some resemblance to Dorian's.

You lost me on the last paragraph, though. What "futile, desperate, self-serving" acts are you thinking of in connection with Snape? When, as Dumbledore says, "he rejoined our side before Lord Voldemort's downfall and turned spy for us, at great personal risk"--apparently in an effort to save those whom his telling of the Prophecy endangered (Dumbledore, "Seer Overheard, HBP) and which would have worked if James hadn't made an insane choice for Secret Keeper? When he tried to stop Quirrell from killing Harry during a Quidditch match in Stone? When he provided one of the protections for the Stone? When he showed Fudge his Dark Mark in Goblet in an effort to help Dumbledore convince him that Voldemort was back? When he appeared in Moody's Foe Glass with McG and Dumbledore in GoF? When he contacted the Order as soon as Harry warned him that Sirius was in danger in Order? HBP is definitely a problem, but it's clear that we don't know everything about that yet.

WHY DUMBLEDORE TRUSTED SNAPE: PoA 204-5, 285, 361; GoF 588, 590-91; 709-10; OotP 363, 841-3; HBP 549 (American hardbacks). It's not because he said he was remorseful, it's what he did about it.
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Old January 14th, 2007, 4:12 pm
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Re: The Picture of Tom Marvolo Riddle

Very good editorial. You're not the first to mention similarities between The Picture of Dorian Gray and Voldemort's Horcruxes, but I believe you spotted a few additional parallels.

I especially liked your comparison between Merope's disastrous 'love story' and Sybil's fate. I think that's particularly important because it's not just a reference, or an echo, of Dorian Gray but rather the part where the stories differ in a significant way: Dorian really was once the beautiful young man who was still capable of love, but Voldemort is already born damaged, because of what his father did to his mother (or his mother did to his father, however you look at it). I think it's impossible for him to ever want to destroy his true representation because he's incapable of wanting 'back'. He never had a beautiful self to go back to.

Maybe he will get destroyed accidentally by one of his Horcruxes (Nagini?), though. Or he might destroy her accidentally and thus seal his fate, at a point when the Snake is his last Horcrux.

The French book in Dorian Gray is a reference to rebours from Joris-Karl Huysmans, who was a champion of hedonism rather than downright evil. I think this points to our dear old Potions professor Horace Slughorn as a corrupting influence. He didn't provide the means, though, just additional information. The creator of the tool in Dorian Gray is a positive character: Basil, the painter. If that's another parallel, we have to look for an innocent source for Tom Riddle's Horcrux information, someone who maybe only had an intellectual interest in the process of Horcrux creation. Someone like Ollivander, for example.

If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.
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Old January 14th, 2007, 4:54 pm
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Re: The Picture of Tom Marvolo Riddle

This is a pretty good analogy, all in all. However, I think that JKR has taken a different path here in two ways, both of which reflect a fundamentally different concept of "soul." Dorian Gray's portrait is a variant on old Egyptian and other myths, where people would take their entire soul and hide it some place. His mind and sense of self is still intact. Dorian Gray puts a twist on the original sin myth: there, humans were immortal until they began sinning; here, sinning is associated with the deterioration of the soul, so removing the soul removes the effects of sin.

In Potterverse, the soul includes the mind, including intellect and emotion (as well as magical powers for those that have it). If a Dementor removes the soul from a person, then they are mindless and witless. So, only a piece of a soul can be removed: moreover, damage to the soul results in direct damage to the Horcrux maker (here, Voldemort). Moreover, there is no indication that Voldemort's change represents "murder" per se: on one hand, it cannot represent anything else, for murder alone and no other "sin" can be used; and there does not seem to be any specific damage that we can associate with killing particular people; on the other hand, murder might tear a soul, but unless one actually severs the tear from the rest of the soul, it does not have effects: none of the DE's, for example, show any sort of deterioration from all of their murders.

However, there is a pattern that still i consistent with classical mythologies. As Voldemort damages more and more of his soul, he becomes more and more like an animal. Indeed, he becomes more and more like a particular animal with whom he has great affinity: a snake. Well, OK, he really is becoming like any squamate reptile, but the allusion is consistent with the mythologies that give rise to major modern religions: what separates people from other animals is that we have souls and they do not. So, as Voldemort damages his soul, he becomes more and more like an animal. Moreover, individuals in Potterverse seem to have magical affinities with particular animals (as shown by patronuses and animagi): so, it is unsurprising that the animal into which Voldemort is changing is a snake.

Of course, there are other major differences. It has been years since I have read Dorian Gray, but I remember Dorian himself being the protagonist, with the good guys (e.g., Hallward) effectively being antagonists. We get things from Dorian's perspective. In Harry Potter, Voldemort is the antagonist: we see him only when he interacts in some way with Harry. This limits the way that JKR can use him: "redemption" really is not an alternative because it calls for dynamic development, and Voldemort is not written in such a way that we could see dynamic development.

Finally, and this really is a side note, but the timing on Grindelwald is perfect for him teaching Voldemort the spell. Voldemort learned that Horcruxes were real and that there was a spell that could allow him to make one (or more) in 1944. He was 17 at that time, so he could freely apparate that summer. Grindelwald is not run to ground until 1945.

Moreover, we also know that Voldemort learned how to make Horcruxes prior to leaving Borgin & Burke's. Voldemort 's occassionally flashing red eyes (which even Hepzibah Smith noticed, although she could not possibly understand the cause) suggest that he has turned the Ring into a Horcrux by that time. The fact that the Ring no longer was being worn corroborates this. Also, we must remember that Horcruxes are very esoteric and arcane knowledge. There is no indication that Borgin & Burkes reposits such rare knowledge: they seem to collect things rather than ideas, and there is no indication that either B. was a particularly gifted wizard.

So, all in all, I think that this is an interesting analogy to draw, but I think that JKR took a right where Wilde took a left very early in their development of these ideas.

(It doubles for The Hobbit, too!)
If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don't put it there. - A. P. Chekhov, Gurlyand's Reminiscences, and who knew why the Dog was long before the Shack!

Last edited by Wimsey; January 14th, 2007 at 4:56 pm.
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Old January 14th, 2007, 5:01 pm
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Re: The Picture of Tom Marvolo Riddle

lord voldemort as dorian gray...interesting. now i'll reread dorian's story again so i can comment...see ya

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Old January 14th, 2007, 6:01 pm
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Re: The Picture of Tom Marvolo Riddle

I have read Dorian Gray, but as I believe that paralleles are not all that helpful in predictions, I will skip this part and only say that the parallel was nicely written.

I wanted to comment on the editorial for a totally different reason: the Diary. Tom has encapsulated his 16 year-old self there and we know that around that time he had committed four murders in a row: his grantparents, his father, and his uncle. I would assume that since in the Diary we clearly see that a 16 year-old Tom is preserved, the Diary was made a Horcrux around that time. At that time he was not working at Burkin's and Burke's. Therefore, I do not believe that he could have picked up from his work at that store everything he needed to learn how to create a Horcrux. Moreover, I also wonder how he could have had contact with Grindelwald around that time (given also the fact that Grindelwald was chased by Dumbledore).

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