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A Potterverse musing -- What is Voldemort's real agenda? - Persephone Yavanna the Entwife

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May 31st, 2006


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04:35 am - A Potterverse musing -- What is Voldemort's real agenda?
This Potterverse essay started off as a comment I made to innerslytherin, the writer of a Snupin fic I've been enjoying reading in the lupin_snape community. I thought I'd expand it a bit and see what thoughts, if any, people have on the subject.

What is Voldemort's real agenda?

I've seen the whole Dumbledore versus Voldemort as more of an internal power struggle within the Wizarding World and less of a real ideological one, since the whole anti-Muggleborn agenda came in well after Voldemort started his rise to power. He aspired to Dumbledore's position as King of the Wizarding World's Hill well before he was able to mount a credible challenge to Dumbledore.

It may even be something of a red herring for him -- simply a means to an end, that end being gathering more followers to his banner. He may simply have found it an expedient flag to fly, one that made it easier for him to recruit followers by using the pre-existing anti-Muggleborn bias of the purebloods and any wannabe half-blood arrivistes who aspired to join the Wizarding World's almost-exclusively-pureblood upper class.

This anti-Muggleborn bias is one that I believe may be founded in the belief that Muggleborns weren't assimilating into wizarding culture and were instead diluting its ancient traditions with their new-fangled Muggle attitudes and ideas. (Witness Hermione and S.P.E.W., for example . . . ) The anti-Muggleborn fanatics may see this issue as a struggle for the heart and soul of wizarding culture.

The analogy I'd like to draw here is the anti-Western-culture bias of certain parts of the Muslim world, where things considered normal in the West are denounced as being "un-Islamic" and serve as recruitment fodder for Islamic fundamentalists, including those with terrorist tendencies. The Death Eaters are Voldemort's own personal terror squad, bent on creating mayhem and sowing discord, but with a political agenda. Their agenda is to sap Dumbledore's public support, much as the Madrid terrorists' train bombing was a factor in Spain's elections and subsequent withdrawal from the situation in Iraq once the newly-elected Spanish government was in place.

Voldemort's real agenda may simply be to usurp Dumbledore's place as primus inter pares in the Wizarding World.

It certainly seems to be more in line with Rowling's portrayal of him as a megalomaniac. In psychiatric terms, Voldemort suffers from narcissistic personality disorder, apparently co-morbid with schizoid and/or antisocial personality disorder. (Compare his behavior, description and personal history in canon with the DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria for each of these personality disorders if you don't believe me.)

Some of the hallmarks of narcissistic personality disorder are a sense of entitlement and of being "special" and inherently superior. Since Voldemort is the Heir of Slytherin, he feels entitled to lead the Wizarding World.

Unfortunately for him, Albus Dumbledore is the de facto ruler of it, a situation that grates on the former Tom Riddle. This is something he cannot allow to continue and so Voldemort seeks power, by whatever means he can find, to usurp Dumbledore and become the new leader of the Wizarding World.

The fact that Muggles and Muggleborns are eliminated along the way is merely the icing on the cake, not the cake itself, since he never cared for them in the first place anyway. Voldemort seeks power for personal reasons, not ideological ones -- anti-Muggleborn ideology is simply a means to an end for him, albeit a means he exploits ruthlessly in furtherance of his personal goals. It is important to also not forget either that he had almost achieved those goals before he made his capital error of going after the Potter family, something which I am sure spurs him on to try once more to achieve his ultimate goal -- dominion over the Wizarding World, his rightful domain.
Current Mood: pensivepensive
Current Music: "Dueling the Basilisk" -- Harry Potter & the CoS soundtrack

(25 seeds eaten | Eat a pomegranate)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:beyond_pale
Date:May 31st, 2006 06:48 pm (UTC)
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Vapourmort was an anomaly from the rebounded curse. I'm pretty sure a bullet or other mortal wound would not bother him at all. I have research to back this up, but would have to hunt it down. I'm not sure if HorcruxImmortalRiddle would be immune to another purer AK; as I understood it, what rendered him insubstantial was the destruction of his body, not his "death."

Remember, he has NEVER DIED.
[User Picture]
From:courtaud
Date:May 31st, 2006 07:20 pm (UTC)
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Can you tell something of your research? I'm curious!

He is sure of the immortality of his _soul_, or he never would have possessed Harry in front of Dumbledore. His body is another matter.

With all his Horcruxes, his old body was destroyed (by his own AK rebounded? are we sure? and by the way, were did this corpse go?), but the Vapourmort state of being sound very uncomfortable and he didn't like it a lot. And Vapourmort can't do almost nothing. He managed to reincarnate first and then created a new body in extraordinary circumstances, but he was powerless for years and had to live in rats. If the Diary was a way to bring himself back, it failed.

Remember, he has NEVER DIED.
No, he didn't, else he could not have come back. Death is final in the Potterverse, whatever force animate the Inferi. He never died and he want things to stay this way.
But deathlessness is not immortality. The body he is now in is safe from death? And does it age? His old body was sixty, more or less, at the moment of its destruction; how aged is the new one? And could he exchange it with a younger one, should the need arise? An immortal must plan for a long, long life ^_^

(by the way, I'm the only one to believe that Baby!Voldemort stole the body of Bertha Jorkins unborn son?)

[User Picture]
From:beyond_pale
Date:May 31st, 2006 07:43 pm (UTC)
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I checked my gmail cache, but no luck. I've a big stash of book quotes and canon support for my offbeat Horcrux theories living on my home computer. The file is called "A Horcrux is Not..."

I'm actually in the process of shaping five or six pet Horcrux/nature of Vapourmort/nature of the Tom-Harry link/impact of horcrux-prophecy mess musings into something coherent enough to post in hp_essays, but when I get off work, I'll see what I can dig up in my files specific to this quandry.

I think the Diary is NOT a NORMAL Horcrux AT ALL, and that it's really erroneous to start from a place which assumes it is. However, if DiaryTom had attained corporeality, Vapourmort probably could have gotten permanent control of that physical body (sort of as per Jo's incredibly vague FAQ-poll answer).

um, I'm not even sure I want to touch that last!
[User Picture]
From:courtaud
Date:May 31st, 2006 08:35 pm (UTC)
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Thank you for looking. I'm waiting for your essays!

I think the Diary is NOT a NORMAL Horcrux AT ALL, and that it's really erroneous to start from a place which assumes it is.
You do? So do I! I think that the 'official' list of Horcruxes is all wrong, and IF - a big IF - the Diary is an Horcrux it's an highly unusual one.

As a device for helping Vapormort to come back, it makes no sense. Yes, Young Tom in the Chamber of Secrets says that Voldemort is his 'past, present and future', but he is not the kind of boy who gladly leaves his body to his older self, and if someone knows that is Older Tom. No, I think it was the first experiment Tom did, before he even know about Horcruxes, and it reminds me, if anything, of the Marauders' map with its sentient voices. (I admit that the 'past' bit bemuse me, though).

(sort of as per Jo's incredibly vague FAQ-poll answer)
Which one? I just reread the FAQ but I found only the one speaking about a discovery Harry made in COS that will be recalled in HBP...
[User Picture]
From:beyond_pale
Date:May 31st, 2006 08:49 pm (UTC)
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wow! brain-twins!!

I think the Diary was experimental, and HAVE to believe that it's a Horcrux (because my strongest HorcruxHarry evidence is tied to this). But, I think it's Tom being cocky, experimental, and trying to "improve" upon what a Horcrux is. I don't think other Horcruxes work like this. I think, maybe, that Tom put too much of himself in this one, if that makes sense...?

I completely agree that the magic used to animate the Diary and Map are very close cousins, if not stronger/weaker variants on the exact same spell. I've actually always been very skeptical of the twins' motivations for giving Harry the map for this exact reason: after seeing what happened to Ginny after her sentient-paper-product fiasco, there's a suspicion in me that they wanted the Map as far from themselves as possible.

Here's Jo's nonanswer to the question about DiaryRiddle.
[User Picture]
From:courtaud
Date:May 31st, 2006 09:11 pm (UTC)
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I think the Diary was experimental
As if Kid Tom was trying to reproduce something he just had heard about, but without recipe?

But, I think it's Tom being cocky, experimental, and trying to "improve" upon what a Horcrux is.
You know, it looks more a Save Point in a game than an Horcrux...
And if Tom began so soon to make Horcruxes, with two made at Hogwarth, why his look changed dramatically only later? I suspect that he poured less, not more, in the Diary. A copy of his memories and personality. A pattern to remake himself, like a magical DNA waiting to be duplicate. But there was no energy in the Diary; it needed the lifeforce of a victim to work.
Later he did Horcruxes according to the rules, and the price was high.

Little newborn theory: Pensieves, Time Turner and the Diary share in part the same basic mechanics. They are all devices to go back to the past. The Time Turner does is freely; the Pensieve anchor itself in a memory and has limited range; the Diary range is shorter still, but we _see_ it work as a sepia-toned éensieve. Maybe Older Voldemort could syphon its energy, if it managed to gather some, through time?

[User Picture]
From:beyond_pale
Date:May 31st, 2006 10:15 pm (UTC)
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intreigingly interesting newborn theory.

But to my Horcrux-ponderings, here's some quick cut-and-pastes from my brainstorms. But first:
    "The diary had been a Horcrux. But this raised as many questions as it answered. What intrigued and alarmed me most was that that diary had been intended as a weapon as much as a safeguard."

    Dumbledore HBP USHC 500
SO, we have Dumbledore telling Harry that the Diary DOES NOT BEHAVE THE WAY HORCRUXES ARE SUPPOSED TO; they are not meant to be interactive and offensive in this manner!!

Then, we have Jo telling us to (for the most part) trust the dead Headmaster's assessment:
    It's not all of it. Obviously it's not all of it, but still, that is the way to kill Voldemort. That's not to say it won't be extremely an torturous and winding journey, but that's what he's got to do. Harry now knows — well he believe he knows – what he's facing. Dumbledore's guesses are never very far wide of the mark. I don't want to give too much away here, but Dumbledore says, 'There are four out there, you've got to get rid of four, and then you go for Voldemort.' So that's where he is, and that's what he's got to do. ...It's a huge order. But Dumbledore has given him some pretty valuable clues and Harry, also, in the course of previous six books has amassed more knowledge than he realizes. That's all I am going to say.
I don't agree that Dumbledore corrected id all the Horcruxes (because I think Harry is a Horcrux), but there it stands.

Now, back to the Diary:

First things first: A Horcrux is not a 1-up. It is not an Extra Life. You CANNOT "use" a Horcrux to return from the dead, thus rendering the physical object useless.

It is AN OBJECT that a piece of your soul is BOUND TO. How I think this works is that Horcruxes are like sandbags; your life is a sort of hot-air balloon. Most people just have their SINGLE soul weighing them down to the earth, and a Horcrux gives you extra ballast.

It CANNOT RESURRECT you; it merely prevents you from dying. REMEMBER what Voldemort said, "I would not know; I have never died."

"Well, you split your soul, see," said Slughorn, "and hide part of it in an object outside the body. Then, even if one's body is attacked or destroyed, ONE CANNOT DIE, for part of the soul remains earthbound and undamaged." (US HBP 497)

Anyone could AK Voldemort and he wouldn't die, because his soul wouldn't leave this mortal realm, or maybe not even his body, if it remained intact (this is one of the zillion reasons I think Tom Riddle's body was destroyed in the Hollow). He'd just laugh at you. Dumbledore himself points out that EVEN WITHOUT A BODY, VOLDEMORT IS IMMORTAL (US HBP p502). Not dead. NEVER dead. Regaining his body had very little to do with the operation of the Horcruxes; they just kept his soul earthbound until he could find a new container. None of the soul-fragments in the Horcruxes poured into his new body. Horcruxes don't "transfer" life that way.

They simply DO NOT work that way. This is another common misconception, I think.

I would contest that the diary was NOT a "normal" Horcrux. Horcruxes simply aren't "interactive" to the extent the diary was. The Diary was a young Riddle experimenting and attempting to press boundaries. Even he was a bit surprised at how it functioned. There is no way that anyone could depend on someone's willingness to pour out a sould into the object, because Ginny's interaction with the book altered the nature of the original diary, and "young Tom" says as much.

Voldemort likes to operate alone, remember. I believe that he would have found the thought of being dependent, even on the Elixir, intolerable. [...] Therefore, I am convinced, he intended to continue relying on his Horcruxes: He would need nothing more, if only he could regain a human form. He was already imortal, you see..."

What the diary was doing, with the energy of Ginny's soul was, yes, creating a new, corporeal BODY for Voldemort.

The difference is, the body that this Horcrux generated for him was DEPENDENT ON the generating Horcrux. LV would not have liked that at all. That wasn't how it was supposed to go down. He was young though, a mere kid. I'm sure he got the hang of it eventually.




[User Picture]
From:courtaud
Date:June 1st, 2006 05:09 am (UTC)
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SO, we have Dumbledore telling Harry that the Diary DOES NOT BEHAVE THE WAY HORCRUXES ARE SUPPOSED TO; they are not meant to be interactive and offensive in this manner!!
Absolutely; also, the Diary was not protected at all. Dumbledore destroys the Horcrux in the ring, and is grievously wounded; Harry pierces the Diary and is spattered in ink! (unless Harry has some weird power on the Horcruxes; but then, why DD didn't wait for him?)

Then, we have Jo telling us to (for the most part) trust the dead Headmaster's assessment
She should be forbidden to give interviews... I'd like to know what is the knowledge that Harry has amassed without knowing. But please note that Harry 'believes to know' what he's facing.

I don't agree that Dumbledore corrected id all the Horcruxes (because I think Harry is a Horcrux), but there it stands.
I don't understand the Peverel ring, neither. If the Diary was an Horcrux, how could Tom ask Slughorn about multiple Horcruxes while wearing the ring? Unless you can wait a long time between the killing and the making of the Horcrux...

First things first: A Horcrux is not a 1-up. It is not an Extra Life. You CANNOT "use" a Horcrux to return from the dead, thus rendering the physical object useless.
That's not what I meant when I said that the Diary is 'like a Save point'. I wanted to say that Horcruxes anchor your soul, is not a snapshot of a moment in time.
The Diary was trying to give material form to a Tom Riddle that no longer existed, a boy of sixteen whose 'real' identity was at the moment Vapourmort. Yes, later Vapourmort can take his reborn body, but at the moment he is Tom Riddle, aged sixteen.
If all the Horcruxes were like this, then there was a seventeen-year-old Tom in the Peverel ring, a twentysomething one in the Hufflepuff cup, and so on... but they don't work that way.

(this is one of the zillion reasons I think Tom Riddle's body was destroyed in the Hollow).
Also because nobody says that they saw the corpse. It would have made a powerful argument against Dumbledore when he warned of Voldemort's return. ('He cannot be back! He is buried six feet under!')

Regaining his body had very little to do with the operation of the Horcruxes
Absolutely nothing, in fact. The Horcruxes keep anchoring his soul before his body's destruction, during his Vapourmort moment, and after his rebirth, and will do so until destroyed.

I would contest that the diary was NOT a "normal" Horcrux. Horcruxes simply aren't "interactive" to the extent the diary was. The Diary was a young Riddle experimenting and attempting to press boundaries.
The Diary has two goals. One, to keep a 'backup image' of Tom relatively safe and carry it through time, no matter what happened to his body AND soul; and two, to actively seek out someone to sacrifice for giving this image a new body. I say actively, because like other similar artifacts (the Map, and I suspect the Half Blood Prince's book) the Diary seems to let itself be found by the right people at the right moment. Yes, waiting for a victim to pass may be risky, but then spiders hunt like this and they are successful predators...

The difference is, the body that this Horcrux generated for him was DEPENDENT ON the generating Horcrux.
The process was interrupted, though, when Ginny was still alive and before the body could become really solid. If the Diary were not destroyed, who can say? (And anyway there was a little success. The Diary poured a part of Tom Riddle in Ginny.)

That wasn't how it was supposed to go down.
LV was beside himself when he discovered that the Diary had been destroyed. And what if it was, also, his backdoor to go back to the past?




[User Picture]
From:beyond_pale
Date:May 31st, 2006 10:15 pm (UTC)
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There is a "horcrux function" thread I find quite interesting. I believe that it is not necessary for LV to actually have a Horcrux article in his possession to continue his immortality. As long as a single Horcrux (fragment of soul) exists separate from his body, he remains immortal. The body may be destroyed again and again but can be "recreated", as we saw in GOF with a little help from his friends.

This is why, according to the text anyway, every horcrux and the soul it contains must be destroyed before LV is again "mortal", as the message in the locket states, so he can be killed, or vanquished or whatever.

Remember that thing we called "Vapourmort"? How it just floated around in anticipation? That is was "less than the meanest ghost"? A ghost is a disembodied soul...a disembodied fraction of a soul would certainly be less than the merest ghost. What Voldemort's state of being WAS between Godric's Hollow and Goblet of Fire was the piece of soul. His essence, memories, force, and will remained tied to this earth only because of his soul being bound. Does that make sense? It felt obvious to me as soon as we learned how he kept from being killed.

As far as the number of pieces, well, that was just overkill. There was no need for a septumpatre soul, Voldy just likes his symbology.


And the rest will have to wait till I "package" it in essay form!
[User Picture]
From:courtaud
Date:May 31st, 2006 10:53 pm (UTC)
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As long as a single Horcrux (fragment of soul) exists separate from his body, he remains immortal. The body may be destroyed again and again but can be "recreated", as we saw in GOF with a little help from his friends.
Yes, a single Horcrux can make Voldemort immortal, but I think he will try to set himself free from the risk to have to wait for his friends to gain his body back. Last time he discovered that he had far fewer friends than he believed to have.

This is why, according to the text anyway, every horcrux and the soul it contains must be destroyed before LV is again "mortal", as the message in the locket states, so he can be killed, or vanquished or whatever.
Despite Dumbledore's strenuous efforts, I don't think that 'vanquish' must be read as 'kill' here. Or anywhere.

His essence, memories, force, and will remained tied to this earth only because of his soul being bound. Does that make sense? It felt obvious to me as soon as we learned how he kept from being killed.
Yes. I think this kills all the theories about every Horcrux holding a different part of Voldemort's soul. Vapourmort was still Tom Riddle, with all his memories and charming personality. (I like him, personally ^_^)

As far as the number of pieces, well, that was just overkill. There was no need for a septumpatre soul, Voldy just likes his symbology.
Voldemort is a very traditional Wizard. I could say that he has a Muggle's superstitions. He thinks that Seven is a Perfect Number. He tried to kill Harry at Halloween, and I have the idea that he resurrected at St. John's Eve. And personally I'm not sure that he made six Horcruxes. He may have made seven. What counts is not the number of soul pieces, after all, is the strengtt that the Perfect Number can give to his anti-death devices.

And the rest will have to wait till I "package" it in essay form!
I'm a little wary of theories about Horcrux!Harry, but now I'm waiting eagerly!
[User Picture]
From:beyond_pale
Date:May 31st, 2006 11:05 pm (UTC)
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yes; I'm a HUGE fan of the notion that simply destroying the Horcruxes fulfills Harry's part in the prophecy and Harry won't be doing the killing. Note the passive voice; Voldemort will "be killed," but I would argue NOT by Harry!

definitely on his superstitions; he seems to be ruled by silly notions of symbols and significance. This limits him, his strategies, and his creativity, while at the same time giving his enemies one of the only dependable means by which to predict his manouvres and actions.

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