Why Did Voldemort Kill Harry's Parents? The Reason Explained (2023)

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Harry Potter, famously known as, The Boy Who Lived survived the attack by Voldemort at Godric’s Hollow. Despite Harry’s survival, Lord Voldemort’s reign of terror was temporarily ended that night. His parents, James and Lily Potter, however couldn’t survive the attack. They died to protect their son. The question here is: Why did Voldemort want to kill a one-year old Harry?

“All anyone knows is, he turned up in the village where you was all living, on Hallowe’en ten years ago. You was just a year old. He came ter yer house an’ — an’ — ‘You-Know-Who killed ’em. An’ then — an’ this is the real myst’ry of the thing — he tried to kill you, too… But he couldn’t do it. Never wondered how you got that mark on yer forehead? That was no ordinary cut. That’s what yeh get when a powerful, evil curse touches yeh — took care of yer mum an’ dad an’ yer house, even — but it didn’t work on you, an’ that’s why yer famous, Harry.”

— Rubeus Hagrid describing the attack

Why Did Voldemort Want To Kill Harry Potter

Several years before Harry Potter’s birth and the death of Lily and James, professor Trelawney was interviewing for a job at Hogwarts. Trelawney slipped into a trance during the interview and delivered a prophecy. The prophecy was revealed in the book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

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The prophecy refers to a young boy born at the end of July whose parents had defied Voldemort three times. It said that the boy would possess the power that Lord Voldemort lacked and that this boy would be capable of defeating the Dark Lord.

“The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches… born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies… and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not… and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives… the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies,”

The question that arises here is, where did Voldemort learn about the prophecy? Snape, the Death Eater, had been eavesdropping through the keyhole when the barman interrupted him, although he had already heard half of the prophecy. Snape immediately told Voldemort everything he had learned about the boy, who decided that the boy was Harry Potter, even though it could also have been Neville Longbottom.

No specific reference is made to the Potter family in Trelawney’s prophecy. Although James and Lily defied Voldemort three times, and their son was born in the summer, their names were not mentioned in the prophecy. The prophecy could have possibly referred to all together a different baby and a different family — the Longbottoms. In addition to defying Voldemort three times, Frank Longbottom and Alice Longbottom also gave birth to Neville in July.

The moment Snape discovered that Voldemort wanted to eliminate the Potter child, he begged him to spare the boy’s mother, Lily Potter. This is because Snape loved Lily.

What Made Voldemort Choose Harry and Not Neville?

Apparently, the prophecy requires a certain amount of self-fulfillment to be fulfilled. In order for Voldemort to fulfill the prophecy, he must choose his own worst enemy in order to fulfill the prophecy. This is significant because it shows that Harry’s destiny is not determined by fate but by Voldemort.

Harry was Voldemort’s first choice because Harry was more like himself than Neville. Voldemort hated his parents, a muggle father and a mundane, unexceptional mother. Although he kept his half-blood status hidden from his friends and followers, he saw that Harry’s mother was muggle-born. He saw a vision of himself in Harry, who just like him, was also a half-blood. In Voldemort’s view, Harry would be his ultimate downfall, which is why Voldemort chose Harry over Neville. James and Lily were killed directly as a result of putting themselves in Harry’s path in an attempt to save him.

What Happened After Professor Snape Asked Dumbledore To Protect Lily?

Although they had hidden since Lily became pregnant, once they realized Voldemort was after their son, the Potters increased their security measures. In the end, Albus Dumbledore recommended they use the Fidelius Charm, a powerful ancient spell meant to conceal a person’s location within the soul of another person.

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In the beginning, the Potters planned to have Sirius Black become their Secret-Keeper. The Potters knew that he would rather die than betray them. Sirius thought this was a rather obvious move since he and James were best friends, so he recommended Peter Pettigrew as the Secret Keeper. As a matter of secrecy, the Potters agreed not to tell anyone, not even Dumbledore.

The biggest mistake they made was hiring Peter Pettigrew, as he was a Death Eater. Their doom was caused by this last-minute, secret change. Pettigrew was a Death Eater double agent for over a year, and within a week of him becoming the Secret-Keeper he told Voldemort where the Potters were. With this information in hand, Voldemort travelled to the village of Godric’s Hollow on Hallowe’en in order to eliminate Harry.

The Attack at Godric’s Hollow

“The green light filled the cramped hallway, it lit the pram pushed against the wall, it made the banisters glow like lighting rods, and James Potter fell like a marionette whose strings were cut….”

— Lord Voldemort murdering James with the Killing Curse

On his arrival, Voldemort came across a Muggle boy who thought he was wearing a Halloween costume, but when he saw Voldemort’s face, he fled in terror. After briefly considering killing the child, the Dark Lord decided it was not necessary.

As Voldemort moved to the Potter family cottage, the protections were broken and he saw the Potter family. He watched James playing with Harry before entering the house.

“Lily, take Harry and go! It’s him! Go! Run! I’ll hold him off!”

— James Potter moments before his death

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As Voldemort entered the house, he confronted James in the hall. As James held off the Dark Lord, he called out to his wife to take Harry and flee. However, James had left his wand behind, and the Killing Curse quickly took him down. After he was dead, Voldemort went upstairs to kill the boy. There was furniture blocking the door to Lily and Harry’s room, and the door was locked. Voldemort was faithful to Snape’s request and asked the unarmed Lily who was standing guard at Harry’s cot to step aside. However, Lily refused to move.

She was then warned by Voldemort several times, but refused to stop protecting her son, begging him to kill her instead of Harry. As soon as she did not move for a third time, Voldemort killed her and turned his attention to the last surviving Potter. Harry, who until that moment believed it was just his parents playing a game with him, then began to cry. Voldemort was unnerved by Harry’s crying, so he pointed his wand directly at Harry’s face before casting the Killing Curse on him.

Voldemort, unable to comprehend or feel love, was unaware that Lily’s loving sacrifice protected Harry. In the act of murdering him, the spell rebounded and obliterated his body.

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What was the reason Voldemort killed Harry's parents? ›

Voldemort chose Harry because he saw more of himself in Harry than in Neville. Voldemort despised his parents because his father was a muggle and his mother was unexceptional and, in his eyes, pathetic.

Why were Harry Potter's parents killed? ›

Having been told half of the prophecy by Severus Snape, Voldemort came to believe his mortal enemy to be Harry Potter. He travelled to the Potters' home in Godric's Hollow and murdered James and Lily Potter, who died protecting infant Harry.

Why was Voldemort so intent on killing Harry? ›

Voldemort wanted to kill Harry Potter because of a prophecy that he heard, that claimed that there would be a boy whose powers would end him. The Harry Potter franchise was premised on the boy who lived, Harry Potter.

Why did Voldemort want to kill Harry and not Neville? ›

After Harry defeated him, he did not have the power to kill Neville and didn't need to because at that point he knew that Harry was definitely the chosen one. We know the reason why Voldemort chose Harry, he saw Harry as his equal because they were both half-blood.

Why did Voldemort target the Potters? ›

James and Lily were in the original Order of the Phoenix and therefore knew they were risking their lives in the war against Voldemort. Still, the Dark Lord's whole reason for trying to kill them all was to eliminate the threat posed by a certain prophecy.

Why did Voldemort want Harry dead as a baby? ›

Originally Answered: Why did Voldermort want to kill Harry Potter when he was an infant? There was a prophecy made. A prophecy, saying that there is someone born who can defeat Voldemort, the darkest wizard of all times. The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies....

Who was responsible for Harry Potter's parents death? ›

Voldemort murdered Harry's parents, James and Lily, but as a result of his mother's love and willingness to sacrifice herself for him, baby Harry survived when Voldemort tried to murder him with a Killing Curse.

Did Snape ask Voldemort to spare Lily? ›

It was Snape that persuaded Voldemort to give Lily a chance to save herself. He also protected Harry during his time at school (however reluctantly).

Why did Voldemort become evil? ›

Voldemort is motivated by immortality, superiority, racial cleansing, and more than a bit of self-hatred. Many of these things are shown in earlier books in the series, but become crystallized in the sixth. Tom Riddle has a witch mother and a Muggle father, making him a half-blood wizard.

Was Harry or Neville the chosen one? ›

Harry was the Chosen One, because Voldemort chose him to be so. The prophecy stated “the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal” meaning that Voldemort had the power to choose who to mark and who to go after.

How did Voldemort not know Harry was a Horcrux? ›

Voldemort wasn't aware of Harry being a pseudo-horcrux because he didn't plan it, and Harry didn't know either until Voldemort “killed” him, but he actually killed the piece of soul kept in him.

Why does Voldemort hate Muggles? ›

His viciousness to Muggle-borns is connected: Riddle may be half-blood, but Muggle-borns can claim no wizarding heritage, therefore to him they are as low as Muggles themselves. Riddle also hates Muggles because they remind him of his childhood and the Muggle father who deserted him.

Why was Neville not the chosen one? ›

I believe Neville isn't the Chosen One simply because he is not the one Voldemort marked as his equal. In-universe wise: Because Voldemort chose Harry Potter over Neville Longbottom of whom to go after and thus ultimately marked Harry as his equal when he tried to kill him as a baby.

Why wasn t Neville Longbottom killed? ›

While Frank and Alice were being preternaturally tortured beyond recovery by Bellatrix and several other Death Eaters, Neville was likely under the protection of Augusta Longbottom.

Why was Harry Potter the chosen one instead of Neville? ›

The only reason why Harry was the one is because Voldemort thought Harry was the child the prophecy was talking about. By targeting him and trying to kill him, Voldemort marked him as his equal, while Neville got to live his life without that burden (though that doesn't mean he had an easy life).

Why did Voldemort crumble when Harry touched him? ›

Voldemort can not comprehend love, and so it destroys him to touch Harry because Lily's love for her son runs through Harry's veins and body. ems Harry burnt Quirrell's face when he touched it.

Did Snape tell Voldemort about the prophecy? ›

It was Snape who overheard the prophecy that would go on to define Lord Voldemort and Harry Potter's lives for years afterwards. The prophecy can be seen as the catalyst for everything; it led to the death of Lily, his great love, and Snape spent the entire course of Harry's (and his own) life trying to make amends.

Who was the Harry's greatest fan? ›

Tom Felton, however, took things one (several) steps further. The actor, who played Draco Malfoy in all eight of the films in the series, is maybe the biggest "Harry Potter" fan of them all.

What stopped Voldemort from killing Harry as a baby? ›

As every fan knows, Harry survived the killing curse as a baby because his mother's love protected him. However, after Voldemort returned using Harry's blood to regain his full body, he was allowed to touch Harry without suffering negative consequences.

Why was Voldemort a weird baby? ›

Pettigrew mixed up a potion for Voldemort using unicorn blood and the venom of Nagini. With this potion, they were able to create a new body for Lord Voldemort to finally return to. However, this body was not what Voldemort needed to return to his fearful leadership form. Instead, it was that of a scaly, hairless baby.

Why did Voldemort want a daughter? ›

It is not known why Voldemort wanted a child, as he did not feel a need for love and disliked the idea of becoming emotionally attached to anyone. Harry, at one point, refers to Delphini as "The Ultimate Horcrux", implying that Delphini served as an alternative form of immortality for Voldemort.

Did Harry know when his parents died? ›

On his eleventh birthday, Harry discovers he is a wizard when Rubeus Hagrid delivers him an acceptance letter to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He learns that his parents, James and Lily Potter, were murdered by a powerful dark wizard, Lord Voldemort.

Was Harry Potters mom a half blood? ›

Print. Harry James Potter holds half-blood status in Rowling's imagined wizarding world because his mother is Muggle-born and his father is pure-blood.

Did Snape loved Harry's mother? ›

As Rowling explained in a series of tweets, Snape loved Harry's mother, Lily, and his unrequited affection drove him to resent Harry's father, James — and by extension, Harry himself.

Why did Snape treat Harry so badly? ›

A Professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Snape is hostile to Harry due to his resemblance to his father James Potter. According to the series, James bullied Snape during their time together at Hogwarts.

What was Snape's Patronus before Lily died? ›

A doe. And in his final battle with Lord Voldemort, Harry explained the significance of this to his adversary, and to us: 'Snape's Patronus was a doe,' said Harry, 'the same as my mother's, because he loved her for nearly all of his life, from the time when they were children'.

Why did Snape love Lily so much? ›

Lily brought light and warmth into Snape's life from the moment they met. He was an isolated, lonely child whose magic would have only made him more of an outsider in his hometown of Cokeworth.

What was Voldemort's biggest mistake? ›

1 Voldemort's Arrogance Was His Downfall

Perhaps Voldemort's biggest mistake was thinking he was invincible. He was extremely arrogant and believed himself to be superior to everyone around him. Ever since he was a child in the orphanage, Voldemort thought he was better than everyone else.

What is Lord Voldemort's weakness? ›

Voldemort apparently believes nothing is worse than death; perhaps his greatest weakness is his inability to love. This is because his mother, Merope Gaunt, gave Tom Riddle Senior (Voldemort's father) a love potion. Because Voldemort was conceived under a love potion, he isn't able to feel or express love in his life.

Why is Voldemort scared of Dumbledore? ›

Why Voldemort was afraid of Dumbledore? Voldemort fears Dumbledore because he knows Dumbledore is more powerful than him, having known Dumbledore and Grindelwald's duel in 1945, and he had just finished school that time. Voldemort feared suffering the same fate as Grindelwald.

Is Neville the heir of Gryffindor? ›

Harry is the Heir of Slytherin (through his mother's side) and also related to Gryffindor (through his father's side) though the current Heir of Gryffindor is Neville.

Is Harry the heir of Slytherin? ›

Neither of them is Slytherin's heir. Although, as Dumbledore says, Harry's ability to speak Parseltongue is a skill accidentally transferred by Slytherin's actual heir, Voldemort, when he tried to kill Harry as a baby. So perhaps this is one myth with a bit of truth to it.

Who is the strongest wizard in Harry Potter? ›

Formerly known as Tom Marvolo Riddle, Lord Voldemort was the most formidable evil wizard in the entire universe. Until Harry Potter, Voldemort's magical prowess was practically unmatched, and no one could stand a chance against him.

What did Draco's mom whisper to Harry? ›

In a whisper, she asked if Draco was alive. When Harry replied quietly that he was, Narcissa betrayed the Dark Lord and asserted that Harry was dead. She knew the only way her family would be reunited was as part of Voldemort's conquering army, thus proving she loved her family more than she supported Voldemort.

Did Dumbledore know about Harry being a horcrux? ›

DD was a great wizard, but not necessarily a good one. if you paie attention at all you realize that Dumbledore knew that Harry was Voldemort's unintended Horcrux but that Voldemort had to kill Harry himself in order to kill the Horcrux. The rest had to be left up to fate.

Did Harry survive because he was the master of death? ›

Harry is not immortal because he owns all three of the Deathly Hallows and becomes master of death; he is master of death because he accepts his mortality. He owes his survival to this acceptation and any other explanation goes against the moral of the entire story.

Why do the Malfoys hate Dumbledore? ›

Lucius Malfoy had a strong dislike of Albus Dumbledore. This is due to two reasons – Dumbledore believed in Muggle rights which contradicted Malfoy's pure blood beliefs. In addition, Lucius was a Death Eater, so he believed that Lord Voldemort was a much more powerful wizard than Dumbledore.

Why did Dumbledore enslave muggles? ›

4. Dumbledore's feelings about muggles. The reason Dumbledore and Grindelwald wanted to pursue the Deathly Hallows was to enslave Muggles and put Wizards in power. Due to his father going to prison for attacking Muggles, word got around at Hogwarts that Dumbledore, too, hated Muggles.

Why was Dumbledore happy Voldemort took Harry's blood? ›

Dumbledore knew it meant Harry would need to die in order for Voldemort to truly die, so he was pleased to know that Voldemort's mistake in taking Harry's blood might just save Harry's life.

Why did Narcissa save Harry? ›

Narcissa Malfoy's Very Dangerous Lie

But she was also a mother, which meant she was willing to risk everything to make sure her son was safe. When Harry survived Voldemort's Killing Curse for the second time, Narcissa pretended he was dead so she could get to Draco.

What does Snape mean by he thinks it's her son? ›

He thinks it means her son, he is going to hunt her down — kill them all —” I love how Snape says “You know what I mean!” that proves to me right there that the reason Snape didn't mention James and Harry was because he thought it was obvious and didn't need to be said.

Who is the real hero of Harry Potter? ›

Perhaps the most beloved character of the Harry Potter series isn't Harry, Hermione or Ron. Especially in the Deathly Hallows films, the real stand-out is clearly Neville Longbottom.

What did Bellatrix do to Hermione? ›

After being on the run from a bunch of Snatchers, the gang were taken to Malfoy Manor, where Bellatrix proceeded to torture Hermione using the Cruciatus Curse. It was a testament to Hermione's toughness that she was able to walk away without lasting damage.

Why didn t Neville want people to know who his parents were? ›

Ron shouts Neville's name and runs over to greet him. Neville's grandmother is shocked to learn that Neville hasn't told his friends that his parents are currently living in St. Mungo's wing long-term: "They didn't give their health and their sanity so their only son would be ashamed of them, you know!" (23.200).

Was Umbridge A Death Eater? ›

Harry describes Umbridge to Sirius Black, saying that she's vile enough to be a Death Eater, despite not being one. Umbridge is also depicted to be a prejudiced person, despising half-breeds and Muggle-born witches and wizards to the point of firing Hagrid due to his half-giant birth status.

Why did Voldemort chose Harry over Neville? ›

However, the prophecy went on to say that Voldemort would mark the child as his equal, choosing the boy that he believed would be the most dangerous to him. Dumbledore believes Voldemort chose Harry because Harry was a half-blood, just like Voldemort.

Was Neville meant to be in Hufflepuff? ›

Neville Longbottom

Neville didn't even want to be placed in Gryffindor. He was intimidated by the house's reputation for bravery and actually wanted to be sorted into Hufflepuff instead.

Did Neville know he could have been the chosen one? ›

However, Voldemort made the prophecy come true when he attacked Harry's family and attempted to kill baby Harry. However, many times Neville proved that he easily could have been the Chosen One as well. His bravery and courage were commendable in the series, which is why he is so loved.

Why did Voldemort agree to spare Lily? ›

It was intentional: Voldemort wanted Harry to know that he gave Lily the chance to live. He wants to understand that because of him (Harry), Lily made the conscience decision to die, rather than hand her son over to death.

Why did Draco's mom say Harry was dead? ›

Draco Malfoy's mother Narcissa was cold, cunning and devoted to the Dark Lord. But she was also a mother, which meant she was willing to risk everything to make sure her son was safe. When Harry survived Voldemort's Killing Curse for the second time, Narcissa pretended he was dead so she could get to Draco.

Why did Voldemort give Lily the chance to live? ›

It was intentional: Voldemort wanted Harry to know that he gave Lily the chance to live. He wants to understand that because of him (Harry), Lily made the conscience decision to die, rather than hand her son over to death.

What was Voldemort's end goal? ›

Voldemort's obsession with blood purity signifies his aim to rid the wizarding world of Muggle (non-magical) heritage and to conquer both worlds, Muggle and wizarding, to achieve pure-blood dominance.

Why did Voldemort hate Muggles? ›

His viciousness to Muggle-borns is connected: Riddle may be half-blood, but Muggle-borns can claim no wizarding heritage, therefore to him they are as low as Muggles themselves. Riddle also hates Muggles because they remind him of his childhood and the Muggle father who deserted him.

Was Lily pregnant when Voldemort killed her? ›

J.K. Rowling has revealed that Lily was pregnant with her second child, when Voldemort killed her.

Was Snape in love with Lily in the books? ›

Snape loved Lily deeply: through their years at Hogwarts; through her marriage to another wizard, James Potter; through his time as a Death Eater; and long after her murder at the wand of Lord Voldemort.


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