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Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis



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  #21  
Old February 10th, 2007, 12:50 am
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by Artemis_Fowl_2 View Post
I have studied psychopaths and Voldemort fits the description perfectly. You are born a psycholpath so Merope's love for her son could not have changed that. If she survived I believe she would have loved her son, but I also believe she would still feel sad and defeated. Though some love would be shown toward him, he would also pick up on his mother's sadness so he would still view love as a weakness. Between being a psychopath and viewing love as a weakness, I do not believe that Merope could have prevented her son from becoming what he is today.
I agree that had Merope lived, Tom would have grown to hate her--with a combination of his Father's pride and his grandfather's prejudice. Tom might have been born a psychopath but I think he might have funneled this into different activities if he'd grown up in different circumstances.

I wonder if Merope had continued to give Riddle Sr. the love potion what would have occurred? He would have grown attached to his son I'm sure. Would Tom have figured out his dad was under the influence of the love potion eventually? What would have been his views on non-magic people if the only magic person he knew manipulated someone for years with magic?

Also, If Merope had stopped the potion several years after Tom was born, would Riddle Sr. have taken his son with him? It would have been clear quite early that he was handsome and confident like his father. If he had been raised only by his muggle father what would he have thought of muggles?

I know these are all 'what ifs' but small changes (as we saw in PoA) can change events dramatically.


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Old February 10th, 2007, 1:50 am
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

I have studied psychopaths and Voldemort fits the description perfectly. You are born a psycholpath so Merope's love for her son could not have changed that. If she survived I believe she would have loved her son, but I also believe she would still feel sad and defeated. Though some love would be shown toward him, he would also pick up on his mother's sadness so he would still view love as a weakness. Between being a psychopath and viewing love as a weakness, I do not believe that Merope could have prevented her son from becoming what he is today

I have to Disagree Artemis_Fowl_2 based on the fact that Choice is a major theme of these books. I have no doubt that Tom Riddle's choices would have been very different if he was raised with Love. He would have a conscience for one thing. I also believe that Voldemort better fits the profile of the sociopath.


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Old February 10th, 2007, 2:06 am
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

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First I would like to address Merope "letting" herself die. I don't believe she could have saved herself. If any witch or wizard were able to just heal themselves with magic, then what would be the point of healers? They wouldn't need St. Mungo's, because they would all know how to do it themselves. Merope didn't keep herself from dying because she wasn't a Healer. You also have to remember that LV was born in 1946, just as us muggles didn't know much about child birth complications back then, I'm sure witches and wizards didn't either.
It is definitely implied that Merope chose to give up and essentially willed herself to die.

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We know she loved, because we see she loved Riddle Sr.
But that wasn't really love. It doesn't seem as if she even really knew him. She was obsessed with him, I think, because she saw him as a means of escape from the life she was living. He was a person who was nearby enough for her to create a fantasy around the notion of him falling in love with her and them running away together. Eventually she realized that falsely-manufactured love wasn't satisfying or fulfilling to her. In my opinion, of course.

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In conclusion I really love Merope's character. Maybe it is because I can connect with her. I found myself wanting to help her, I think what Merope needed most, was simply to be loved.
I have a great deal of compassion toward her character as well. It is very sad that she gave up precisely when she had the means to achieve what she most wanted (unconditional love) in her grasp in the form of her newborn son.

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Originally Posted by horcrux4 View Post
At least Harry knew love for 16 months before he went to be treated like dirt by the Dursleys. Perhaps that made a difference. A pity we don't know anything about Merope's mother - except that she must have been a pure-blood!
Harry had that all-important infant bonding time with people who loved him. Tom, Jr. didn't have that, and studies have shown that infants who are deprived of bonding, nurturing and love do not develop normally either emotionally or psychologically.

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I have to Disagree Artemis_Fowl_2 based on the fact that Choice is a major theme of these books. I have no doubt that Tom Riddle's choices would have been very different if he was raised with Love. He would have a conscience for one thing. I also believe that Voldemort better fits the profile of the sociopath.
I agree. I think Tom, Jr. could have been a different person if he had even one person who had shown any love towards him.


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  #24  
Old February 10th, 2007, 11:28 am
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

I think there are several levels of love and I do believe Merope genuinely loved Riddle Sr. But yes she was obsessive too. She wasn't able to see the absurdity of her plan.

We can't really judge the degree of love she really had for him though, because we can't look into her head. However I think that someone who is obsessive wouldn't just set the object of her affection free. Someone who loves obsessively is completely selfish in my opinion and wouldn't consider the feelings of someone else.


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Old February 10th, 2007, 12:11 pm
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

I can't help liking, or maybe just feeling sorry for, Merope Gaunt. She seems to me to be a kind of unfortunate Ginny Weasley - I don't know quite why I think this, only that maybe Ginny's fate wouldn't have been much different to Merope's if she had been born into that family.
Also, I agree with Nessy: there is no doubt that she loved her son, despite not having the strength of will to save herself for him. I wonder if she knew she was going to die - why else would she have chosen an orphanage to give birth in, except by chance. It is unlikely that she did it as a precaution - even in those days, death by childbirth wasn't common. And why didn't the people at the orphanage phone for a midwife? Mrs Cole told Dumbledore that Merope died about an hour after giving birth, so that would have been plenty of time in which to get help.
We'll have to wait and see, I'm sure we'll find out the answers on July 21st!!!


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Old February 10th, 2007, 12:17 pm
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by JJFinch View Post
I can't help liking, or maybe just feeling sorry for, Merope Gaunt. She seems to me to be a kind of unfortunate Ginny Weasley - I don't know quite why I think this, only that maybe Ginny's fate wouldn't have been much different to Merope's if she had been born into that family.
I feel sorry for Merope too, but I think Ginny is a much stronger character then Merope. What we have seen of Ginny is that she never lets anyone bully her. Merope seemed to accept the behavior of her father and brother. Ginny would use her sharp tongue and her magical abilities to stand up for herself.

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And why didn't the people at the orphanage phone for a midwife? Mrs Cole told Dumbledore that Merope died about an hour after giving birth, so that would have been plenty of time in which to get help.
Well we don't know if a midwife was present or not. Even when there was one, it wouldn't have been a guarantee that Merope would have survived. Even now there are women that die during childbirth due to complications, which is probably what happened to Merope.


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Old February 10th, 2007, 1:03 pm
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by JJFinch View Post
I can't help liking, or maybe just feeling sorry for, Merope Gaunt. She seems to me to be a kind of unfortunate Ginny Weasley - I don't know quite why I think this, only that maybe Ginny's fate wouldn't have been much different to Merope's if she had been born into that family.
Also, I agree with Nessy: there is no doubt that she loved her son, despite not having the strength of will to save herself for him. I wonder if she knew she was going to die - why else would she have chosen an orphanage to give birth in, except by chance. It is unlikely that she did it as a precaution - even in those days, death by childbirth wasn't common. And why didn't the people at the orphanage phone for a midwife? Mrs Cole told Dumbledore that Merope died about an hour after giving birth, so that would have been plenty of time in which to get help.
We'll have to wait and see, I'm sure we'll find out the answers on July 21st!!!
I haven't seen anyone compare Merope Gaunt with Ginny Weasley before, but when I think about it, Ginny's first, little-girl infatuation with Harry had nothing to do with knowing Harry as a real person. Ginny was infatuated with The Boy Who Lived, an idealized person she imagined him to be. Merope was infatuated with a handsome, rich young man that she didn't know at all, but imagined would rescue her from her wretched life. Interesting…

Merope Gaunt seems to have been suffering from deep depression during her pregnancy. Depression can explain her inability to do magic. Depressed people find it hard to muster the strength to meet their own basic needs, and it would be easier to simply die than try to muster the energy to go on. In such hopeless circumstances I think Merope did make one choice. She chose to stay alive until she could give birth. For a woman who was so defeated by life and prepared to die, I think there was courage and even a sad, last hope in her struggle to see her child born alive.


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Old February 10th, 2007, 1:03 pm
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

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I feel sorry for Merope too, but I think Ginny is a much stronger character then Merope. What we have seen of Ginny is that she never lets anyone bully her. Merope seemed to accept the behavior of her father and brother. Ginny would use her sharp tongue and her magical abilities to stand up for herself.
On the contrary, Ginny can be a bully, or rather aggressive girl who is ready to take someone on if they oppose/insult her. Whereas Merope wasn't like that, she was submissive and instead of rising against the situation she gave up and let the others dominate, she is a sad character that depicts the abysmal condition of women that still exist in the society...

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ven when there was one, it wouldn't have been a guarantee that Merope would have survived.
Actually I think Merope didn't want to live, I mean we know that she could have saved herself as she was a witch, this seems to suggest that it was a common muggle illness that could have been cured by magic, but she didn't do that, so what do you think are the possibilities that she asked Mrs Cole not to bring in a Doctor or somebody?


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Old February 10th, 2007, 1:26 pm
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

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Actually I think Merope didn't want to live, I mean we know that she could have saved herself as she was a witch, this seems to suggest that it was a common muggle illness that could have been cured by magic, but she didn't do that, so what do you think are the possibilities that she asked Mrs Cole not to bring in a Doctor or somebody?
I agree that she had given up on her life. I was just pointing out that if a midwife was present, it would not necessarily have survived.

I do think childbirth in the magical and Muggle way is precisely the same and that she just didn't have enough strength. She was already exhausted and weak when she came to London. Childbirth in such a state was just too much for her body.

As for brining in a doctor, I am sure she didn't care anymore what happened to her and didn't ask for anyone.


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Old February 10th, 2007, 1:52 pm
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

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I do think childbirth in the magical and Muggle way is precisely the same and that she just didn't have enough strength. She was already exhausted and weak when she came to London. Childbirth in such a state was just too much for her body.
Yeah, I agree on that one, it IS stressing and in such a weak state, I don't think many women would be able to survive it. But still I think she should have tried to save herself, for her son, I am not surprised that Voldemort has so much hatred for his up bringing.


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Old February 10th, 2007, 3:15 pm
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

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Actually I think Merope didn't want to live, I mean we know that she could have saved herself as she was a witch, this seems to suggest that it was a common muggle illness that could have been cured by magic, but she didn't do that, so what do you think are the possibilities that she asked Mrs Cole not to bring in a Doctor or somebody?
How do we KNOW that Merope could have saved herself because she was a witch? No where in the book does it say a witch can heal herself of any illness or even childbirth complications. If one could heal themselves, what exactly would be the purpose of Healers?

The only passage in the book even suggesting Merope could have cured herself was a young Tom Riddle assume that his mother must have been a muggle, otherwise she wouldn't have died. This isn't proof thyat witches and wizards can heal themselves. Its something that was stated by an uneducated child.


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Old February 10th, 2007, 3:32 pm
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

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How do we KNOW that Merope could have saved herself because she was a witch? No where in the book does it say a witch can heal herself of any illness or even childbirth complications. If one could heal themselves, what exactly would be the purpose of Healers?

The only passage in the book even suggesting Merope could have cured herself was a young Tom Riddle assume that his mother must have been a muggle, otherwise she wouldn't have died.
Isn't the Paragraph that you are talking about, enough of an evidence that Merope could have saved herself.

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This isn't proof thyat witches and wizards can heal themselves. Its something that was stated by an uneducated child.
Oh yes there is, we have seen Sirius cure his hand with his wand in Ootp while they were cleaning, then we have Snape cure Draco's wounds sustained by Sectumsempra...there are many others if I could remember. But then this proves that they can.


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Old February 10th, 2007, 3:50 pm
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

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I think there are several levels of love and I do believe Merope genuinely loved Riddle Sr. But yes she was obsessive too. She wasn't able to see the absurdity of her plan.

We can't really judge the degree of love she really had for him though, because we can't look into her head. However I think that someone who is obsessive wouldn't just set the object of her affection free. Someone who loves obsessively is completely selfish in my opinion and wouldn't consider the feelings of someone else.
Well I don't think there is any indication that she really knew him well prior to slipping him the potion, so that's why I believe in the beginning her attraction to him was more an obsession based on a desire to fall in love and run away, escaping the awful situation she was living in. She may have grown to truly love him though during the short time they were married, and actually feeling real love for him may have been why she was unwilling to continue the potion.


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How do we KNOW that Merope could have saved herself because she was a witch? No where in the book does it say a witch can heal herself of any illness or even childbirth complications. If one could heal themselves, what exactly would be the purpose of Healers?

The only passage in the book even suggesting Merope could have cured herself was a young Tom Riddle assume that his mother must have been a muggle, otherwise she wouldn't have died. This isn't proof thyat witches and wizards can heal themselves. Its something that was stated by an uneducated child.
I think Dumbledore definitely implies that Merope had a choice, but simply gave up and wasted away.

HBP, Ch. 13
"But she could do magic!" said Harry impatiently. "She could have got food and everything for herself by magic, couldn't she?"
"Ah," said Dumbledore, "perhaps she could. But it is my belief -- I am guessing again, but I am sure I am right -- that when her husband abandoned her, Merope stopped using magic. I do not think that she wanted to be a witch any longer. Of course, it is also possible that her unrequited love and the attendant despair sapped her of her powers; that can happen. In any case, as you are about to see, Merope refused to raise her wand even to save her own life."
"She wouldn't even stay alive for her son?"
Dumbledore raised his eyebrows. "Could you possibly be feeling sorry for Lord Voldemort?"
"No," said Harry quickly, "but she had a choice, didn't she, not like my mother --"
"Your mother had a choice too," said Dumbledore gently. "Yes, Merope Riddle chose death in spite of a son who needed her, but do not judge her too harshly, Harry. She was greatly weakened by long suffering and she never had your mother's courage."

So, whatever the logistics of it, whether Merope just stopped eating altogether and wasted away or what precisely was the primary cause of death, it's clearly canon according to Dumbledore that she had some choice in the matter and chose to give up and die.


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  #34  
Old February 10th, 2007, 4:32 pm
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

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Well I don't think there is any indication that she really knew him well prior to slipping him the potion, so that's why I believe in the beginning her attraction to him was more an obsession based on a desire to fall in love and run away, escaping the awful situation she was living in. She may have grown to truly love him though during the short time they were married, and actually feeling real love for him may have been why she was unwilling to continue the potion.
I think you are right on that one, she had a crush on him and decided that she would make him take her away, and when they were away she fell in love with him and decided to stop giving him the love potion.....

BTW- thanks for the quote HC.


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  #35  
Old February 10th, 2007, 7:11 pm
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

It's not surprising Merope got obsessed with Tom Snr. He lived nearby and she would see him often riding past. Who else did she get to see? He seemed cheerful (at least when we saw him in the pensieve memory) and was very handsome. All she had at home was ugliness and unkindness. He must have seemed like an ideal to her.

Having said that, it seems to me that making the love potion and slipping it to Tom Snr was the only positive thing she ever did in her life. Everything else was done with a defeatist attitude.

Odd to think that if Marvolo and Morfin hadn't been jailed for resisting the Ministry, she wouldn't have had the opportunity to run off with Tom, who would probably have married someone else. And Voldemort would never have been born! Which all shows somewhere along the line that crime doesn't pay!!


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  #36  
Old February 10th, 2007, 7:23 pm
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

Doesn't your ability to perform magic becomes hard to do when you are experiencing unwanted love? Tonks wasn't able to do her Metamorphmagus because she fell for lupin and he wouldn't except it? Why do we expect Merope to save herself when she was going through depression, lost love and pregnancy. That is major compare to Tonks' situation. I don't believe Merope had that much of a choice.

When it comes to this and Voldemort choosing to be evil, Jo is inconsistent. Maybe if Voldemort was loved by someone, he wouldn't turn out the way he did. So he didn't really choose to be evil. Tonks fell in love with someone and she becomes a mess and starts having trouble with her magic, yet we expect Merope to have saved herself when she was dealing with huge emotional problem due to abusive family and everything else.


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  #37  
Old February 10th, 2007, 8:22 pm
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

I agree Som. There are a lot of parralles bewteen Merope not using magic and Tonks being weaker.

On a side note, healing small superficial wounds is a lot different then using your magic to save your life. If it were that easy why didn't Arthur heal himself when he was bitten by the snake?

And Snape didn't cure Draco, he still had to bring him up the the hospital ward. He was just able to stabilize him so him would be ok.

I'm not saying Merope didn't want to die. She didn't even try to fight it, but when your weak its hard. DD also said that they were going on speculation, I believe that Jo has DD say this purposely, so we know that we can't take everything DD says at face value during the lessons after he says that. We know that usually DD's word is it, no doubt about it. But DD clearly states that he is speculating and that he has been wrong, and could be wrong.

So Merope gave up, but what if she had fought for her life? Personally I think it would have only delayed her death.


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Old February 10th, 2007, 9:00 pm
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by HagathaChristie View Post
Well I don't think there is any indication that she really knew him well prior to slipping him the potion, so that's why I believe in the beginning her attraction to him was more an obsession based on a desire to fall in love and run away, escaping the awful situation she was living in. She may have grown to truly love him though during the short time they were married, and actually feeling real love for him may have been why she was unwilling to continue the potion.
Hmm maybe you have point there. I doubt popular Tom Riddle (Sr) would have paid any attention to Merope, coming from an extermely strange family.

I wonder what would have happened to Merope if Marvolo and Morfin had not been arrested. Would she have had the courage to follow the same path? Or would she never have had the chance, since she was always kept close to the house (at least that is what I imagine)?


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  #39  
Old February 10th, 2007, 9:07 pm
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

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Hmm maybe you have point there. I doubt popular Tom Riddle (Sr) would have paid any attention to Merope, coming from an extermely strange family.

I wonder what would have happened to Merope if Marvolo and Morfin had not been arrested. Would she have had the courage to follow the same path? Or would she never have had the chance, since she was always kept close to the house (at least that is what I imagine)?
I think that if Morfin and Marvolo stayed out of jail, Merope would have either died in that house, or Marvolo would have married her off to someone. I could almost see Marvolo being abusive enough to sell his daughter.


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Old February 10th, 2007, 10:54 pm
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Re: Merope Gaunt: Character Analysis

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I think that if Morfin and Marvolo stayed out of jail, Merope would have either died in that house, or Marvolo would have married her off to someone. I could almost see Marvolo being abusive enough to sell his daughter.
I hope this isn't too base an observation - but I suspect Marvolo would have married Merope off to Morfin! I get the idea that the Gaunts were exclusive to the nth degree - like snakes in a snake-pit. Merope being the exception.


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