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There are quite a few evil wizards and witches in the world of Harry Potter, yet none of them are feared as much as Lord Voldemort. Even his Death Eaters do not cause as much fear as the Dark Lord himself. So it makes sense that Voldemort’s name would be rarely spoken in wizarding society.

Is it more than that, however? What is the real reason why people in the world of Harry Potter don’t speak Voldemort’s name? Find out, ahead.

Harry Potter cast (Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe, and Emma Watson) at the Deathly Hallows Part Two premiere
Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson at the Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 premiere | Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

Who is Lord Voldemort of ‘Harry Potter’?

Born on December 31, 1926, Tom Marvolo Riddle was scary even as a child. His mother, Merope Gaunt-Riddle, died shortly after giving birth to him and giving him his name. He, therefore, grew up in a Muggle orphanage in London. It is there that he would discover his magical powers and use them to strike fear in the hearts of the other orphans.

At the age of eleven, he went to Hogwarts, though he would reluctantly return to the orphanage every summer. While at school, he would research his family history and find out that his mother was a witch and a member of the Gaunt family, descendants of Salazar Slytherin. He would also learn of the Chamber of Secrets and use its basilisk to harm Muggleborn students. It is also while at school that he would become obsessed with making Horcruxes and splitting his soul into seven.

When would Tom Riddle become feared as Voldemort?

While in school, he managed to fool most of the teachers into thinking that he was a brilliant young boy and a good person. When he graduated, he asked the headmaster at the time — Armando Dippet — if he could teach at Hogwarts, not wanting to leave the castle. Thinking he was too young, Dippet refused Riddle, yet invited him to reapply when he got older.

After this, Riddle would go to Albania to find the lost diadem of Ravenclaw, having gotten the location from Rowena Ravenclaw’s daughter, Helena, the house ghost of Ravenclaw. Upon his return to Britain, he was offered several positions in the Ministry of Magic but accepted a job working in Borgin and Burkes instead. While there, he would meet Hepzibah Smith, a descendant of Helga Hufflepuff. She would show him Slytherin’s locket and Hufflepuff’s cup, which he would kill her to gain access to.

After killing Hepzibah Smith, Tom Riddle would disappear. His superiors at Borgin and Burkes had no idea where he went. During this 10 year period, he would travel the world, studying the Dark Arts, and it is then that he would begin using the name Lord Voldemort openly. He would also ask Dumbledore, again, if he could teach at Hogwarts.

Dumbledore, of course, said no and knew that Voldemort had no interest in teaching. Voldemort would then begin to recruit more Death Eaters in the time preceding the First Wizarding War. It is during this war that Voldemort’s name first becomes feared. Wizards would call him “You Know Who” or “He Who Must Not Be Named”.

Yet it is only during the Second Wizarding War that the real reason not to speak Voldemort’s name is revealed.

Why shouldn’t you say Voldemort’s name?

Think about it. Voldemort is clever. He knows that most wizards and witches fear him, and therefore won’t use his name. So who would?

Perhaps Harry Potter and his friends? Or members of the Order of the Phoenix? If you guessed either of those, you’re right. And Voldemort, during the Second Wizarding War, decides to use that to his advantage.


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In the last Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are caught by Snatchers and brought to Malfoy Manor. The reason they’re able to be caught is because one of them said Voldemort’s name. You see, Voldemort casts a curse that alerts his Death Eaters and other henchpeople whenever his name is spoken. This curse is known as the Taboo.

According to Screen Rant, this was going to be revealed in a scene in the movie Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One, but the scene was left out of the final cut. Though book readers knew what was going on, we can’t help but think that some movie-only fans might have been confused about how Harry, Ron, and Hermione were found so easily after such a long time in hiding. However, some clever fans might have figured it out, and the information is out there now in any case.