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Who is to blame for Voldemort going bad?



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  #461  
Old August 16th, 2011, 8:23 pm
SlytherinZolf20  Undisclosed.gif SlytherinZolf20 is offline
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Re: Who is to blame for Voldemort going bad?

But, the thing with Voldemort is that he appear to be the only character that we know that was concieved under a love potion and never gained the ability to love. Every other characters had the capacity to love, even Bella who was demented and sadistic loved Voldemort in her own way. To me, Voldemort is a unique execption to Dumbledore's idea that we have choices. The fact that from the moment he learned he could do magic at such a young age, he was already hexing the other orphans and showing his true nature. I don't think that a loving family would have any impact on him not wanting to dominate the wizarding world for it goes against his nature of being powerful and in control. Being a CEO would most likely bored him to death for he couldn't use the magic and power that he held in his hand. Voldemort would be like Michael Meyers in the sense that pure evil just lived within them and that they were destined to end up so twisted and warped. I don't think anybody in real life could ever relate to young Tom Riddle for everyone is born with the ability to love whereas Tom Riddle never had that choice. That is why to me his character is far different from everybody and he is such a monster. The only person who I could consider worse than Voldemort would be Fenrir Greyback due to his crimes against children.


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  #462  
Old August 17th, 2011, 6:11 am
MCDahB  Male.gif MCDahB is offline
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Re: Who is to blame for Voldemort going bad?

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But, the thing with Voldemort is that he appear to be the only character that we know that was concieved under a love potion and never gained the ability to love.
It's true that we don't really have a precedent for conception by love potion, but, at least in the muggle world it is quite possible for love to redeem children conceived even under the most morally reprehensible circumstances, with there morality and humanity intact. Also, I don't think I'm in a position to say the Riddle never had the ability to love at all. We don't see him expressing love, but there's a lot we don't see about his personal development. He certainly seems to be devoid of love as we see him for most of the Harry Potter story, but that is Harry's story, not Tom's.

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Being a CEO would most likely bored him to death for he couldn't use the magic and power that he held in his hand.
Psychopaths in business and politics tend to find ways to keep themselves entertained and wield whatever power they can get their hands on. Usually this takes the form of ethically questionable high-risk personal and commercial behaviors. They aren't the best role models, but at least they tend to manifest their antisocial tendencies in better ways than the sadistic psychopathic type.

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...everyone is born with the ability to love whereas Tom Riddle never had that choice.
I do agree with you that Tom never had the choice to love, however, I believe that this is a circumstantial reality rather than a natural element of Tom's being at birth. What choices was Tom given in terms of who he could love or learn how to love from? His dead mother? His unknown father? Tom was born into and grew up in a grim orphanage. If you've known or heard about children who start their lives in austere orphanages, you will will understand the sever emotional deficits and deviant behavior that can result from emotional deprivation. Fortunately, these cases can be counteracted, over time, through sustained love and support. As a young child, Voldemort was likely very similar to many of his muggle orphan peers, except for the important fact that his peers couldn't retaliate against the circumstances and amplify their anger through magical powers.

For all that we see, Tom may have not had an experience of someone accepting him or acting kindly toward him until Dumbledore comes into the picture when he is 11 years old. In fact, at this point in the story, we may see the beginning of the closest thing to a loving relationship that Riddle ever had, not with Dumbledore but with Hogwarts itself. In Hogwarts, Tom finds a stark contrast to his earlier life and all things denied him at the orphanage: the promise of greater power, knowlege, belonging, a heritage, freedom...as well as love. But tragically love was something that he had never learned to recognize or understand.


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  #463  
Old September 5th, 2011, 9:09 am
HallowHead  Undisclosed.gif HallowHead is offline
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Re: Who is to blame for Voldemort going bad?

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Originally Posted by firth4eva View Post
I couldn't find anything on this so...
Who is to blame for him going bad?
I think Marvolo Gaunt because of his attitudes towards his daughter
It's like that Lady Gaga song. He was just born that way.


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  #464  
Old September 9th, 2011, 7:01 am
owlio  Female.gif owlio is offline
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Re: Who is to blame for Voldemort going bad?

I wouldn't really blame anyone, because it was his choice to follow the path he chose. Just like how Harry chose to follow the opposite path.


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  #465  
Old September 9th, 2011, 2:21 pm
Lotoc_Sabbath  Male.gif Lotoc_Sabbath is offline
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Re: Who is to blame for Voldemort going bad?

It is the choices we make who determine who we trualy are:

Harry made his choices and was good yet having no parents.
Voldemort made his choices and was bad, having no parents too.


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  #466  
Old September 13th, 2011, 6:50 pm
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Re: Who is to blame for Voldemort going bad?

I know it is too simplistic to blame it on the teachers but I do blame Dumbledore for partly what happened to Tom. He was his teacher and you can see right from the beginning, he does not quite take a liking to the boy and at 11, even if Dumbledore's could see what he was thinking (Occlumency), he was still young enough to be changed. That having been said I think ultimately Voldemort alone is responsible for what happened to him. Period. The point of growing up is that at one point you stop blaming everyone else for all the problems in your life...


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  #467  
Old September 13th, 2011, 11:50 pm
NiteShade  Female.gif NiteShade is offline
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Re: Who is to blame for Voldemort going bad?

IMO Voldemort could have turned out very differently...because I believe no one is evil from birth. It's just the how the outcomes of the events of a person's life affects him/her that make him/her who they are. The outcomes could be determined by others and the person alike. (somethings in life are things that we can't change, such as our family background. Other things are the products of our own decisions.) There is an idea in the 17th Century named tabula rasa, meaning "blank slate" (describes the state of mind when a baby is born), by John Locke. I think Tom Riddle could have been better had the people around him was nicer to him, or if his family background had been better.


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  #468  
Old September 14th, 2011, 12:19 am
JohanT  Undisclosed.gif JohanT is offline
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Re: Who is to blame for Voldemort going bad?

I agree, NiteShade, and I personally really like Locke's philosophy about how human beings are born empty, waiting to be sculpted. However, I do believe that nature plays a large part in how a human being grows up. I think it revolves around personality and emotions, and I can say for a fact that Voldemort, even if he had been raised in a loving environment, would never have been a nice person.

In my opinion, we have to distinguish between the average person and those born with some sort of mental situation (in Voldemort's case, it was psychopathy). Average people are born with inherent personality traits that may be hereditary, but their life situations would determine how they turn out. The point is, the average person is born with the full spectrum of human emotions, and is therefore more easily sculpted by life experiences, as they have the ability to connect with other humans and learn from one another.
I do not think that the psychopath has this luxury. As their emotions are muted, and they have trouble empathizing, it is difficult to determine if any love or affection would have an impact on their psyche. I personally think Locke's philosophy applies to the general human being, but cannot be applied to a psychopath, whose emotions are suppressed from the start.


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  #469  
Old September 15th, 2011, 3:10 pm
Samee  Male.gif Samee is offline
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Re: Who is to blame for Voldemort going bad?

I always thought it was his mum for using the love potion on Tom Riddle Sr. I thought that is what caused Voldemort's inability to love? Then again, Rowling did say that had his mum stayed alive things might have turned out very differently.

I still blame her though.


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  #470  
Old September 16th, 2011, 12:21 am
DarMaster98  Male.gif DarMaster98 is offline
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Re: Who is to blame for Voldemort going bad?

I would say himself. He became bad since he started the research about Horcruxes.


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  #471  
Old September 16th, 2011, 3:18 am
JohanT  Undisclosed.gif JohanT is offline
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Re: Who is to blame for Voldemort going bad?

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I would say himself. He became bad since he started the research about Horcruxes.
I would say that it started even before that. I am generally hesitant to write off a child as a "bad seed", seeing as children are still in a developing stage, but it is my personal belief that little Tom Riddle was born with stunted emotions, and therefore never had the capacity to evolve into a loving human being.


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  #472  
Old September 20th, 2011, 1:28 pm
radiant  Female.gif radiant is offline
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Re: Who is to blame for Voldemort going bad?

I believe that because he was born and raised without love is the main cause for Tom Riddle's selfish and Macchiavelian character. A famous psychiatrist, Scott Peck, in his book "The Road Less Traveled," he underscores the importance of love in the character development of a child. In fact, when a child grows up without being physically touched, they don't grow up right in other words, they form some kind of psychological disorder.

After all, Harry and Tom had similar backgrounds but what made them different was that Harry had love. Isn't that what Dumbledore (and Rowling) has been telling us all along?


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  #473  
Old September 23rd, 2011, 4:10 am
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Re: Who is to blame for Voldemort going bad?

Some people are just born without the ability to empathize with other people. It's a birth defect that can't be fixed by any amount of love or nurturing. Tom Riddle was one of those in my opinion. It's not really a question of going bad, he was born defective, with the inability to love.


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  #474  
Old September 23rd, 2011, 6:55 am
MCDahB  Male.gif MCDahB is offline
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Re: Who is to blame for Voldemort going bad?

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Some people are just born without the ability to empathize with other people. It's a birth defect that can't be fixed by any amount of love or nurturing. Tom Riddle was one of those in my opinion. It's not really a question of going bad, he was born defective, with the inability to love.
All people are "born without the ability to empathize with other people." Typically, elements of empathy develop rather early on and others are learned as the individual grows. It is quite true that there are disorders, genetic or otherwise, that inhibit or delay empathic development. The best guesses on the issue hold that the worst of "fundementally bad" people get that way due to a "double-hit" of genetic dysifunction and environmental factors. You'd be hard pressed to find psychopath that didn't have some serious "nurture" issues along with any natural iclination they might have. In the case of Voldemort, it's very tempting to say that his degree of evil must mean that he is naturally and fundamentally different from others. But it's also complicated by the fact that we do have evidence of significant early environmental factors and have no way to tease out the influence of the two sets of potential factors. Maybe he still would have been a bad guy if he'd been brought up in a loving, stable environment. But we can't really say. Even if he was still predisposed to darkness, he might have just been a cranky and slightly evil cauldron dealer.

I mainly bring this up because I think that it is morally dangerous to assume that there is such thing as someone born without the ability to have any empathy or goodness. Some people have various degrees of ability or disability, but we are simply not qualified to categorically define the inborn nature of any person (or group of people). Dumbledore may have made a mistake in giving Tom Riddle the benefit of the doubt (albeit cautiously), but I think the alternative would have actually had far more dangerous implications.


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  #475  
Old September 24th, 2011, 12:15 am
JohanT  Undisclosed.gif JohanT is offline
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Re: Who is to blame for Voldemort going bad?

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All[/i] people are "born without the ability to empathize with other people." Typically, elements of empathy develop rather early on and others are learned as the individual grows. It is quite true that there are disorders, genetic or otherwise, that inhibit or delay empathic development. The best guesses on the issue hold that the worst of "fundementally bad" people get that way due to a "double-hit" of genetic dysifunction and environmental factors. You'd be hard pressed to find psychopath that didn't have some serious "nurture" issues along with any natural iclination they might have. In the case of Voldemort, it's very tempting to say that his degree of evil must mean that he is naturally and fundamentally different from others. But it's also complicated by the fact that we do have evidence of significant early environmental factors and have no way to tease out the influence of the two sets of potential factors. Maybe he still would have been a bad guy if he'd been brought up in a loving, stable environment. But we can't really say. Even if he was still predisposed to darkness, he might have just been a cranky and slightly evil cauldron dealer.
This is how I perceive it as well. I do believe that people are born without the ability to empathize, and they gain the ability later in life through interactions with other human beings. For example, imagine for a moment that a single person existed in the universe. This person would neither develop in intellect nor in emotional ability because there would be no one to teach them. They would remain an empty shell with no purpose and no sense of identity. A person's development is highly dependent on the society that raises them.

However, I also believe that a true psychopath, who, like other children, was born without the ability to empathize, will never be able to develop a bond with humanity due to a genetic component of their brain. In certain studies that I have read, it seems that there are significant differences between the mind of a psychopath and the mind of an average joe. I personally think that the psychopath, even if he/she was raised in a nurturing environment, will never be able to develop a full, broad understanding of human emotions due to the make-up of their brain and their muted emotions from birth.

Now this does not mean that they are evil. They have the capability of becoming evil, but I agree with most people that no human being is born evil. However, since they seemingly lack the emotional capacity that allows someone to truly be called "human", they are viewed as monsters.


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  #476  
Old September 24th, 2011, 12:30 am
LisaA  Undisclosed.gif LisaA is offline
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Re: Who is to blame for Voldemort going bad?

Although Voldemort was born via a love potion given by a witch to an unsuspecting muggle and Harry was born from two consenting, loving people, I think that, in a way, Harry's upbringing was worse than Voldemort's.

Neither could really remember their parents, Tom not at all, and Harry, barely, if at all. But Tom was raised in an orphanage. While probably not the most loving place in the world to grow up, he had children all around him who could have been his friends and who were all probably treated equally good or bad by the orphanage's staff. Harry, on the other hand, was treated horribly by his aunt and uncle and had to watch Dudley get everything. And he was treated badly by Dudley and Vernon's family as well.

So who had the worst upbringing? Who should have been more likely to turn out badly? I think Voldemort may be the "victim" of the Gaunt's inbreeding. His mother, uncle and grandfather were all deranged physically and emotionally. Maybe some of his inherent badness was genetic.


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  #477  
Old September 24th, 2011, 12:34 am
WelkinCooper  Female.gif WelkinCooper is offline
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Re: Who is to blame for Voldemort going bad?

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I mainly bring this up because I think that it is morally dangerous to assume that there is such thing as someone born without the ability to have any empathy or goodness. Some people have various degrees of ability or disability, but we are simply not qualified to categorically define the inborn nature of any person (or group of people). Dumbledore may have made a mistake in giving Tom Riddle the benefit of the doubt (albeit cautiously), but I think the alternative would have actually had far more dangerous implications.
I think it can be physically dangerous to assume that there isn't such a thing. 99.9 percent of the population may indeed have varying degrees of ability to relate positively to other people, but I do believe the other .1 percent exists, and not wanting to believe there's no hope for redemption for the .1 percent isn't going help them, and certainly isn't going to help me if I run across one of them. I'd just be easy prey for evil, whether it's intentional or not. To bring it back to topic, I think Dumbledore wanting to give Tom the benefit of the doubt was noble, since he was a small child, but obviously Dumbledore's attempts to influence him towards good didn't work, and it's hard for me to see how D. wouldn't have seen how much more warped and psychotic he was becoming as the years progressed. Of course, if he had stepped in sooner, there wouldn't have been much of a story I suppose...


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  #478  
Old September 24th, 2011, 2:49 am
MCDahB  Male.gif MCDahB is offline
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Re: Who is to blame for Voldemort going bad?

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However, I also believe that a true psychopath, who, like other children, was born without the ability to empathize, will never be able to develop a bond with humanity due to a genetic component of their brain. In certain studies that I have read, it seems that there are significant differences between the mind of a psychopath and the mind of an average joe. I personally think that the psychopath, even if he/she was raised in a nurturing environment, will never be able to develop a full, broad understanding of human emotions due to the make-up of their brain and their muted emotions from birth.
I largely agree with you, Johan, but I do think that those sorts of studies (behavioral and neuropschological) have definite limitations. We don't really have brain scans and assessments from psychopaths as infants, since they are such a small portion of the population and the risk factors aren't well known. We can say that adult psychopaths have significant brain and mind differences, but we can't tell how much of those differences have always been present and how much has developed in response to experience.

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Originally Posted by LisaA View Post
Although Voldemort was born via a love potion given by a witch to an unsuspecting muggle and Harry was born from two consenting, loving people, I think that, in a way, Harry's upbringing was worse than Voldemort's.

Neither could really remember their parents, Tom not at all, and Harry, barely, if at all. But Tom was raised in an orphanage. While probably not the most loving place in the world to grow up, he had children all around him who could have been his friends and who were all probably treated equally good or bad by the orphanage's staff. Harry, on the other hand, was treated horribly by his aunt and uncle and had to watch Dudley get everything. And he was treated badly by Dudley and Vernon's family as well.

So who had the worst upbringing? Who should have been more likely to turn out badly? I think Voldemort may be the "victim" of the Gaunt's inbreeding. His mother, uncle and grandfather were all deranged physically and emotionally. Maybe some of his inherent badness was genetic.
I also wish we had more information on Riddle's upbringing. It's impossible to say, but certainly there have been children who grow up in orphanages much better and much worse than Harry's conditions at the Dursley's. Also I think that "maybe some" is a very responsible was describe the naturalness of Voldemort's evil.

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Originally Posted by WelkinCooper View Post
I think it can be physically dangerous to assume that there isn't such a thing. 99.9 percent of the population may indeed have varying degrees of ability to relate positively to other people, but I do believe the other .1 percent exists, and not wanting to believe there's no hope for redemption for the .1 percent isn't going help them, and certainly isn't going to help me if I run across one of them. I'd just be easy prey for evil, whether it's intentional or not. To bring it back to topic, I think Dumbledore wanting to give Tom the benefit of the doubt was noble, since he was a small child, but obviously Dumbledore's attempts to influence him towards good didn't work, and it's hard for me to see how D. wouldn't have seen how much more warped and psychotic he was becoming as the years progressed. Of course, if he had stepped in sooner, there wouldn't have been much of a story I suppose...
I don't think I see how believing that some minute portion of the population are born inherently and irrevocably bad has is any benefit for the safety of a person and a society. Certainly, acknowledging that dangerously antisocial people do exist is a smart thing to do, but nothing is added by including the claim that this is genetic and or unavoidable in some cases (a claim which, I will repeat, we don't have any hard evidence for). I'm not saying that I think you should just walk up to Voldemort and cuddle the evil out of him because, deep down, he's really not bad. I also don't think that Harry, for instance, would have been any better of if he had know for a fact that Voldemort was destined to be absolutely evil from conception. It seems Dumbledore gave Harry lessons so that he would understand how Volemort's mind worked, not to show Harry that he had always been bad and couldn't have been otherwise.

Welkin is right that, if some people are born entirely hopeless and irredeemable, it is not helpful to anyone for us to have hope for them or try to redeem them (though we might still do something to help them). If this sort of person doesn't exist, however, it is certainly worth trying and would be bad for everyone to give up hope or effort. Even if this category of (sub)human exists, there is potential harm to those who are not in this group but who are lacking in empathy or acceptable behavior to the degree that people will think or expect that they are one of the damned. We humans have a bad track record of presuming some people are innately different from "us" and treating them unjustly.

There may be a practical reason to hold such a belief, but I haven't encountered one that has convinced me. If anyone has an example of why it is good presume that such people exist or that Voldemort is such a person, I'd be open to it.


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  #479  
Old September 24th, 2011, 6:01 am
WelkinCooper  Female.gif WelkinCooper is offline
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Re: Who is to blame for Voldemort going bad?

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Originally Posted by MCDahB View Post

There may be a practical reason to hold such a belief, but I haven't encountered one that has convinced me. If anyone has an example of why it is good presume that such people exist or that Voldemort is such a person, I'd be open to it.
Well...there was the Holocaust. I can't prove that there was genetically anything wrong with Hitler, but I think the results of his actions kind of speak for themselves. Evil is as evil does, and it tends to snowball. Starts out small and escalates until it destroys everything and everybody it touches. I actually see a lot of parallels between Voldemort and Hitler, except Voldemort was a less charismatic speaker perhaps. I have often wondered if Rowling intended to pattern the anti-Muggle thing on Hitler's rise to power and genocide crusade.


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Old September 24th, 2011, 4:55 pm
MCDahB  Male.gif MCDahB is offline
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Re: Who is to blame for Voldemort going bad?

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Well...there was the Holocaust. I can't prove that there was genetically anything wrong with Hitler, but I think the results of his actions kind of speak for themselves. Evil is as evil does, and it tends to snowball. Starts out small and escalates until it destroys everything and everybody it touches. I actually see a lot of parallels between Voldemort and Hitler, except Voldemort was a less charismatic speaker perhaps. I have often wondered if Rowling intended to pattern the anti-Muggle thing on Hitler's rise to power and genocide crusade.
I don't think that there was any deliberate modeling of Voldemort and his campaign on Hitler and the Nazi holocaust (I'm pretty sure JKR has explicitly said this), though there are necessarily some parallels due to the thematic similarity.* As regards my previous point, I think that the idea, that evil "[s]tarts out small and escalates," is very important and instructive. That is a much more important notion that the idea that, perhaps, the "little" evil at the start is inborn and can't be derailed in the person of origin. So I do see Hitler as being much like Voldemort, but in neither case do not I see value or sufficient reason--for us in retrospect or for their contemporaries--to deem their evil inherent and inborn.



*I think the major difference, which Welkin gets at in pointing out public speaking ability, is that Hitler was able to create conditions in which he was backed by large segments of the, altogether normal and presumably not otherwise evil' population who participated in or were complicit in his evil. This makes Hitler's evil more dangerous, perhaps, and may make Grindewald a better analogue for Hitler than Voldemort (see applicable existing threads).


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