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How does Voldemort compare with other villains?



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  #21  
Old January 18th, 2007, 8:45 am
Valkonde  Male.gif Valkonde is offline
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

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Voldemort is similar to many of the James Bond villains in that he talks too much before trying (unsuccessfully) to kill Harry.
That is so true. In GoF, I was thinking, "Why doesn't he just kill Harry now, and make up some gloating story later? The Death Eaters aren't going to contradict him, after all!"


Personally, I don't care much for Voldemort. He talks too much, doesn't do enough. He is a good villian, being utterly insane and power hungry and enough of a genius to get power...But I like the Death Eaters better.


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  #22  
Old January 18th, 2007, 8:24 pm
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

I really like all the insight we got in HBP; I think it actually made Voldemort scarier, seeing him advance on the path of evil, from human to the sort of creature whose name is feared by all (I always thought that a great touch btw). I like the combination of power-mania and realistic bigotry, the power and weakness (the greatest, not knowing his own real weaknesses - i.e. love). It's also great that he's not just scary - he's a good example of tyrant, of the way backgrounds influence people (but choices trace the paths in the end) and of how pure evil can only survive through people weak enough to follow (the Death Eaters are always interesting, even moreso than Voldemort: the way they are humiliated and tortured by Voldemort and then they do the same to those they hate, feeling powerful). But back on topic, I like the Dorian Gray comparison; I think it works best as to how evil unquestionably degrades man. Voldemort probably has elements similar to Sauron but more human and contemporary ones too; he achieves much of what he wants through terrorism. However like all tyrants addicted to power he lacks perspective and wisdom, he has great fears that he never learned to overcome and surely that will be a part of his downfall.


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  #23  
Old January 19th, 2007, 2:41 am
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

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Originally Posted by Valkonde View Post
That is so true. In GoF, I was thinking, "Why doesn't he just kill Harry now, and make up some gloating story later? The Death Eaters aren't going to contradict him, after all!"


Personally, I don't care much for Voldemort. He talks too much, doesn't do enough. He is a good villian, being utterly insane and power hungry and enough of a genius to get power...But I like the Death Eaters better.
Like they said in the Incredibles, the villians always spend too much time monologing!


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  #24  
Old January 19th, 2007, 9:38 am
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

Thinking on it, the Voldemort/Sauron comparison is fairly apt. Both started as just men, in the shadow of some other great evil (Voldemort was around when Grindelwald was big, Sauron worked for some other lord of Mordor whose name I can't recall right now...started with an M....). They both took over as the evil overlord after the previous evil was defeated, and became even more powerful and feared. Both tied their very existance to small objects that they are obsessively protective of, both grew armies around them to do their bidding, both seemed defeated for a while, but then returned with a vengance....You get the point.

The thing is, with Sauron, you never see his ascent to power in the books. In fact, you rarely ever see him. In the Potter books, there's some incarnation of Voldemort in all but PoA. And has been pointed out, HBP looked at the transition from a small, odd, but incredibly talented boy to the man that became Voldemort.


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Old January 19th, 2007, 10:30 am
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

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Thinking on it, the Voldemort/Sauron comparison is fairly apt. Both started as just men, in the shadow of some other great evil (Voldemort was around when Grindelwald was big, Sauron worked for some other lord of Mordor whose name I can't recall right now...started with an M....). They both took over as the evil overlord after the previous evil was defeated, and became even more powerful and feared. Both tied their very existance to small objects that they are obsessively protective of, both grew armies around them to do their bidding, both seemed defeated for a while, but then returned with a vengance....You get the point.

The thing is, with Sauron, you never see his ascent to power in the books. In fact, you rarely ever see him. In the Potter books, there's some incarnation of Voldemort in all but PoA. And has been pointed out, HBP looked at the transition from a small, odd, but incredibly talented boy to the man that became Voldemort.
Sauron was never a man. He was a lesser God, a Maia (that's explained in the Simarillion). We do not know whether Grindelwald was ever as evil and powerful as Voldemort. On the other hand, Sauron was certainly never more powerful than Melkor. Granted, they share their obsession (hunger for domination, lust for power) and they both returned. But Voldemort is an evil you can grasp. Sauron is basically discarnate and represents a huge destructive power. Voldemort got rid of his human side but he still has some part of a human soul. He cannot see everything or dominate others by will alone. Comparing the two, I would always pick Sauron as the more powerful and scary one. An evil you cannot see and grasp is more frightening than a villain you know the family of. Or his days at school.


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  #26  
Old January 21st, 2007, 2:15 am
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

Where Voldemort and Sauron differ is in their motives. Sauron simply wanted to dominate all life. Voldemort also has certain bigotries.

The schemes of Emperor Palpatine are more grandiose. After all, he started a war in which he was the supreme commander on both sides.


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Old January 21st, 2007, 2:20 am
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

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The schemes of Emperor Palpatine are more grandiose. After all, he started a war in which he was the supreme commander on both sides.
They're similar in that they tried to manipulate the other side and stay anonymous until they gained power. They both have a talent for sowing discord.


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Old January 21st, 2007, 9:50 pm
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

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Originally Posted by Madron
But Voldemort is an evil you can grasp. Sauron is basically discarnate and represents a huge destructive power. Voldemort got rid of his human side but he still has some part of a human soul. He cannot see everything or dominate others by will alone. Comparing the two, I would always pick Sauron as the more powerful and scary one. An evil you cannot see and grasp is more frightening than a villain you know the family of. Or his days at school.
You're probably right generally speaking, but to me it always seems that knowing Voldemort's past makes him even scarier, and definitely more complex than before HBP (although we found out about it gradually). To see a teenager so cruel and determined, to understand the germs of what will become his obsessions and will influence the whole world, that makes for a creepier character than the linear, absolute evil who often acts in a slightly silly way (f.e.,letting Harry escape ). I also find it disturbing (in a good way) to follow his choices, his gradual loss of human traits - it's scarier to think the 'evil incarnate' of the series was once just a man (and how similar his backgrounds are to Harry's is a strength of the book). I also feel there's enough mystery left around Voldemort's becoming, so that you always feel you don't know and can't imagine all the dark deeds that marked his way to power. Of course there are also things I don't like so much about Voldemort's depiction, like the need to talk and gloat a lot (but in book 5 he was better).
I'm not saying he's scarier or a 'better villain' than Sauron, you can't really compare them - I think each fits his own universe. For example HP needs a villain who would resemble real-life tyrants and their bigotries, and also an example of decay (the rise of LV is simultaneous to his actual inner fall), of how choices matter; that way LV fits into the message of the books. LotR is connected to real life in a more subtle way, so Sauron is the best for that universe; I like the fact he's so 'abstract', the pure power of destruction that makes the tale happen, in a way. In Tolkien's universe he's very complex because of the inherent symbolism of a 'pure evil', because of the mythological feel of that world, while in HP a Voldemort without a complex human past would be too weak a character, imo.


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  #29  
Old January 21st, 2007, 11:11 pm
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

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Originally Posted by Madron View Post
Comparing the two, I would always pick Sauron as the more powerful and scary one. An evil you cannot see and grasp is more frightening than a villain you know the family of. Or his days at school.
See, I would pick the villian who started out human, because reading it, you see qualities that you recognize in people you see every day, and you have to wonder if losing yourself in power and bigotry is really possible. Voldemort scares me so much because his policies are a mix between Nazi policies, and the policies of Hutu extremists during the early 1990s, two very real powers.


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  #30  
Old January 22nd, 2007, 6:36 am
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

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See, I would pick the villian who started out human, because reading it, you see qualities that you recognize in people you see every day, and you have to wonder if losing yourself in power and bigotry is really possible. Voldemort scares me so much because his policies are a mix between Nazi policies, and the policies of Hutu extremists during the early 1990s, two very real powers.
Voldemort is, in a way, scarier to us because we know that he could exist in real life (of course, he wouldn't have horcruxes and immortality, but still...). He was born poor, and grew to hate everything and everyone, because he wanted to be better than them. He is constantly trying to prove that he's superior to the rest of the world (seeking immortality) and he has the power and the ability to conquer certain sectors of the population that think like him, that hold some resentment to the 'normal people' (like werewolves and giants). In my opinion, he's scarier than Sauron because he's more 'real', he has motifs that make sense if you take a look into his past, and his feelings are the same feelings that any social outcast could feel.


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  #31  
Old January 22nd, 2007, 8:58 am
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

You'll forgive me, Madron, for my misinterpretation of Sauron. I've never read Simarillion, and in fact barely made it through the indexes at the end of Return of the King.

I would find Voldemort the more frightening villain, personally. In LotR, I always found the Nazgul to be more frightening than Sauron (perhaps because a giant eye doesn't seem too spooky). Both the Nazgul and Voldemort are similar, losing their humanity to their lust for power, both blindly taking that power at whatever cost, even if that cost is yourself.

What's even more frightening about Voldemort, I think, is that from a young age, he showed that he had great powers already, and that he could control them to harm others. As he proudly tells Dumbledore, he can make people do things, hurt them if he wants. The knowledge of what it is to be human also grants the knowledge of how best to harm those still in possessoin of their humanity. Voldemort is a master manipulator, like all sociopaths.

What's scary also is how well he can twist his meanings to get people to follow his insane ideas.
What's worse, some didn't need much convincing.


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  #32  
Old January 22nd, 2007, 10:14 am
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

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See, I would pick the villian who started out human, because reading it, you see qualities that you recognize in people you see every day, and you have to wonder if losing yourself in power and bigotry is really possible. Voldemort scares me so much because his policies are a mix between Nazi policies, and the policies of Hutu extremists during the early 1990s, two very real powers.
I see your point but this understanding would make the villains less scary for me. If I understand their motives and their very human greed and lust for power I can despise them for being corrupted and cold-hearted but at least I know they have a heart. A villain like Sauron in LotR or the God Torak in Eddings' Belgariad is different. One cannot understand their thinking because they are not human. Their is no human pattern of thinking and one cannot rationalise their actions. Their evil is as inconceivable and arbitrary as a natural catastrophe. We know that Voldemort's loveless childhood is the reason that his ability to feel love, mercy and compassion shrivelled. But all these superhuman, near-divine villains never had this ability in the first place. We cannot hope that they remember a time when someone was nice to them because it doesn't matter anyway.


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Old January 23rd, 2007, 5:02 pm
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

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We know that Voldemort's loveless childhood is the reason that his ability to feel love, mercy and compassion shrivelled. But all these superhuman, near-divine villains never had this ability in the first place. We cannot hope that they remember a time when someone was nice to them because it doesn't matter anyway.
That's why I think Voldemort is more dangerous than other 'super villains'; because he knows about feelings, and he knows that he can manipulate people who feel (just like he did with Harry and Sirius in OotP). Other villains, such as Sauron, don't know about human feelings, not being humans themselves, so they don't know that they (the feelings) can be powerful weapons, to be used in favor of, or against them.


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  #34  
Old January 23rd, 2007, 11:09 pm
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

Dumbledore had Harry learn about Voldemort's past so that he would know him better and be better equipt to fight him. I think that knowing one's enemy takes away the fear that comes from mystic.

Remember though that Frodo was never expected to fight Saraun - so Frodo didn't have to know so much about him.


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Old January 24th, 2007, 5:36 am
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

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Dumbledore had Harry learn about Voldemort's past so that he would know him better and be better equipt to fight him. I think that knowing one's enemy takes away the fear that comes from mystic.

Remember though that Frodo was never expected to fight Saraun - so Frodo didn't have to know so much about him.
That is why, I think, Harry is more involved in his mission than Frodo was.
Frodo never knew much about Sauron, that's why he couldn't resist the power of the ring; because he never knew much about it, and about it's true nature.
On the other side, Harry would never dreamt about making a horcrux, for example, because he knows Voldemort, he knows his true nature. And he knows that nothing good can come from following his footsteps.


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  #36  
Old January 24th, 2007, 7:29 am
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

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Frodo never knew much about Sauron, that's why he couldn't resist the power of the ring; because he never knew much about it, and about it's true nature.
This is not true in the LOTR world. Gandalf's purpose in life was the defeat of Sauron, he knew and understood more of Sauron's true nature and evil than any other being in Middle Earth. Yet he categorically refused to take the Ring himself because he knew he could not resist it. The same is true of Galadriel the Elf Queen, another powerful, knowledgeable, and wise figure of Good in Tolkien's world. Frodo was remarkably capable of resisting the Ring, succumbing to it only at the very end, on the brink of accomplishing his quest. (Tolkien has explained his purpose in this - Frodo was a remarkable hero, but a mortal, and Tolkien as a religious man felt that Divine Grace was needed for success in such a significant endeavour, hence the little accident of Gollum's).

It's not that Frodo was ill-prepared, while Harry is well-prepared. It is that they are on different types of quests. Frodo did not have to fight Sauron, because the destruction of the Ring alone would destroy him. Whereas there is a prophecy that Harry and Voldemort must fight.


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  #37  
Old January 28th, 2007, 10:15 pm
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

Voldemort shares a similarity with the head computer Skynet in the Terminator movies in that both create their worst enemy while trying to destroy such enemy. Voldemort turned Harry into his worst enemy when he tried to kill him as a baby. Skynet caused the birth of John Connor by trying to kill his mother before his birth. If Skynet had not sent the terminator back, the humans would never have sent Kyle Reese back to stop it. Kyle Reese then conceived John Connor with Sarah.


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  #38  
Old January 29th, 2007, 5:20 am
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

I sort of relate Voldemort more with Adolf Hitler more than any fictional antagonists. One of Hitler's parents was Jewish (compared with Voldemort's muggle father), and he strived to eliminate whole sections of people: Jews, gays, people who opposed him, ect. This can be related to Voldemort by saying he wanted to destroy muggleborns, 'blood-traitors', people who opposed him, etc. Of course, now we've been introduced to a whole new aspect of Voldemort: His quest for immortality. I don't know of any fragment of Hitler we can relate this to, but who knows?


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Old January 29th, 2007, 10:12 pm
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

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Originally Posted by JimmyPotter
Voldemort shares a similarity with the head computer Skynet in the Terminator movies in that both create their worst enemy while trying to destroy such enemy.
Yes, I've always found that interesting. There's also a similar idea commonly found in mythology, about the prophecies that only ever get accomplished because the one named by them heard them and tried to stop them from happening. That's what happened, I think, to Cronos, Oedip and a lot of other mythological figures I can't remember. It's a sort of vicious circle; they chose the exact actions that lead to the prophecy coming true, and that's what Voldemort did too. Maybe their greatest mistake, but also an intervention of fate. Probably they just didn't get the part that human will plays in the course of destiny (which Dumbledore makes Harry understand, and he accepts the challenge willingly).

I like the idea of Voldemort creating his enemy while trying to destroy him, though I think Harry was not 'created' as an enemy for him by that scar; he would have still been Voldemort's enemy without it, because the way this man scarred him and the world was deeper: his parents' death and his childhood, his tendency to get involved for the good make him an enemy for Voldemort already. However, that 'marking' was very important as it made Harry Voldemort's 'equal' - it was like the universe creating the balanced setting needed to end evil, the overwhelming principle that had destroyed the balance. Thus Harry was raised in similar conditions to Voldemort, yet his choices were very much different, and all the similarities add balance, complexity and give both a human and a symbolistic approach to the story. The two principles represented by Voldemort and Harry cannot exist separately (i.e., Voldemort cannot dominate the world without his equal showing up) and yet they cannot live together when they are both powerful (they defeat one another), so death and rebirth of each of them creates the final balance. *feels she may be rambling at this point* I'm always amazed by the symmetry of this story, its mythology-like balance and message, its powerful symbols, and even more by the way all these are approached from a human point of view, emphasising personal choices, traits, and everything variable in human nature; the everlasting and everchanging combine beautifully, I think, especially in the Voldemort/Harry relation.
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Originally Posted by kluvhp
I sort of relate Voldemort more with Adolf Hitler more than any fictional antagonists. One of Hitler's parents was Jewish (compared with Voldemort's muggle father), and he strived to eliminate whole sections of people: Jews, gays, people who opposed him, ect. This can be related to Voldemort by saying he wanted to destroy muggleborns, 'blood-traitors', people who opposed him, etc.
I completely agree, I've noticed that too. It seems typical for tyrants to fight and opress something that they have too, or rooted in their past. I find that very weak and yet capable of doing an awful lot of harm... Voldemort being a half-blood is very realistic, it's one of the things that makes me see him as a very complex character.


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  #40  
Old January 30th, 2007, 2:39 am
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

Hmm...never made the connection between Brain in Pinky and the Brain and Voldy before.

Just a quick addition to the Sauron / Vold comparison. To me Voldy seems scarier in the flesh; but that's in large part because Sauron was barely shown in the books and movies in the flesh. However, Sauron is a far more powerful force in his spirit form than Voldy - he can still control a large part of the world rather than being barely alive.

Interesting that almost every villian mentioned here has an achilles heel of sorts - Sauron's ring, Voldy's inability to recognize love as a power, Palpatine's trust in Vader (a weakness he should have seen - he (evidently) killed his own mentor...seems a Sith tradition of sorts), Vader's family loyalty, etc. I can't say what the other villian's achilles heels are without having read them :-P. Maybe if they didn't have an achilles heel they could never be killed / gotten rid of...


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