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How does Voldemort compare with other villains?



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  #1  
Old January 16th, 2007, 4:43 am
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How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

No coming of age fantasy would be complete without the cackling villian out to imprison the world.
How does Voldemort compare with other villians, including The Emperor from Star Wars, Saraun from LoTR, Arawn from the Prydain chronicals and many more?

Is he stereotypical, or very original, and in what ways?


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  #2  
Old January 16th, 2007, 7:01 am
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

Voldemort seems to be a lot more sadistic and just generally insane from the averge run of the mill villain. But at the same time he is nothing less than a genius. I think that this combination of evil insanity and natural brillance (like DD but minus the evil part) make him a very formidable foe and an unique villain.
Personally I think he beats Darth Sidious and Darth Vader on the evildometer (thats a wrench to admit, especially from a Star Wars fan like me).


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Old January 16th, 2007, 9:47 am
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

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Originally Posted by Rell View Post
No coming of age fantasy would be complete without the cackling villian out to imprison the world.
How does Voldemort compare with other villians, including The Emperor from Star Wars, Saraun from LoTR, Arawn from the Prydain chronicals and many more?

Is he stereotypical, or very original, and in what ways?
The thing with Voldemort is that he isn't the most original of villains, but original in the sense of how we encounter him each and every time. From PS's Vapourmort, CoS's Memory Riddle, GoF's first encounter, OoTP second encounter which was a Dumbledore vs. Voldemort battle, and acting via proxies of Lucius, Crouch Jr., Bellatrix, Pettigrew and Snape...we never have really gotten the real sense of the villain that is Voldemort. We see different versions of him, but never the full on Voldemort version which is an incredibly smart way of doing it without resorting him being a villian that returns each issue/installment/episode in the same format like Pokemon's Team Rocket or Batman's Joker.

However there is a great lack of personality on behalf of Voldemort. Sure he's vicious, but never really all that scary apart from who he is. The interesting thing I find is that a great Voldemort counterpart of the Japanese anime Naruto (of which people say it's basically The Anime equivalent of Harry Potter) a simliar villain with similiar goals and aspirations and an obsession with Snakes is Orochimaru. Like Voldemort he uses people, obsesses with immortality and at one point fights a Dumbledore like figure The Hokage in a battle that actually precedes OoTP's wizard duel by months.

The interesting thing with Orochimaru is that I find him to be a much more interesting villain not because he's an anime character, but he really REALLY shows his ruthlessness. Even more than Voldemort. Whatever Voldemort could do, Orochimaru does it 7x worst (the magic number). He uses people so badly he doesn't give out empty promises of power and immorality to his followers...he actually feigns interest and even love to get people to follow him. Any magic that Voldemort does to kill or cause pain, Orochimaru has done incredibly more in evil ways. He exudes evil wereas with Voldemort you get a certain sense that he's like every tyrant...a coward at heart. With Orochimaru, you never get that sense that he's a coward or afraid of anything. He's just evil.

All in all Voldemort is a great villain, even so much that it inspired a similiar one in Japanese culture. Whether that's intetional or not, it's really up for debate but however evil Voldemort is...Orochimaru takes it to the next leve of evil.


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Old January 16th, 2007, 1:19 pm
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

Well, the most obvious comparision that comes to mind is Voldemort-Sauron.

We have the horcruxes that prevent Voldemort from dying and we have the ring that prevents Sauron from dying. After they are being defeated for the first time (Voldemort by Harry, Sauron by Isildur) they both spend an existence in spirit form, trying to gain back power and a body.
Unlike Voldemort, Sauron never suceeds in it.
Both are declaring a war to the free world. Both use slaves and dark creatures in their army.
Both have a group of elite soldiers working for them (Sauron the Nine, Voldemort the DE)
Both seek absolute power.

The difference is that Voldemort is much more human than Sauron. We never get to meet Sauron in person, he is more like an evil force of doom, but in distance. From Voldemort we get to see his past, his parents, his flaws, his youth. This makes him in a way more terrific, because we see the development of a human into some sort of supervillain.


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Old January 16th, 2007, 1:33 pm
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

Lord Voldemort is not one of my favourite villians of all time, although in terms of purely literary characters he would not be far off the mark. One of things necessary for a great villian is that they must be a three dimensional character. I am not entirely sure that Lord Voldemort is yet. There's very little grey with Lord Voldemort, he is for instance pure evil, cannot love, has practically no soul and was seemingly always like this.

HBP helped to add depth to the character, and indeed it was perhaps the only redeemable feature of that entire book. Lord Voldemort is no longer as bland as he once was but he lacks a certain humanity that allows readers to even try to understand his motivations.

When I compare Lord Voldemort to other villians I'm naturally inclined to compare him to such villians as Darth Vader from Star Wars and Agent Smith from The Matrix. The latter villians have no end to their depth, providing a range of emotions for the viewer/reader to ponder and also a necessary amount of grey in their personalities that stops them from ever becoming boring. I don't believe that Lord Voldemort, as yet, compares favourably with some of the major villians that dominate discussion. A more HP-centric comparison might be to Severus Snape, where discussions about Snape are quite varied simply because there's a lot of grey to his character, whereas Lord Voldemort is more clean cut.


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Old January 16th, 2007, 2:37 pm
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

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When I compare Lord Voldemort to other villians I'm naturally inclined to compare him to such villians as Darth Vader from Star Wars and Agent Smith from The Matrix. The latter villians have no end to their depth, providing a range of emotions for the viewer/reader to ponder and also a necessary amount of grey in their personalities that stops them from ever becoming boring. I don't believe that Lord Voldemort, as yet, compares favourably with some of the major villians that dominate discussion.
I find it hard to compare Voldemort to Darth Vader, because Darth Vader has the possibility of changing. He still has good inside, weather Voldemort has chosen another path long ago. In this saga I would much more compare to the Emperor. We see in the newer SW movies also a more human emperor, his motivations and how he rose to power.
As for agent Smith, that's difficult because in the first movie agent Smith is an employee of the machines, he does not work for himself but for others. He is not independent, not even an authority person and he does not seek power like Voldemort. However he does so in the Matrix sequels, becoming a virus with the purpose of infecting as much people as he can. This is more like Voldemort.


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Old January 16th, 2007, 2:58 pm
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

The main difference between Voldemort and Darth Vader is that Vader had a mother who raised him, though not in great circumstances since she was a slave. Part of what turned him to the Dark Side was the thought of revenge for his mother - he discovered he didn't mind killing for selfish reason. Voldemort only cares about himself, while Anakin Skywalker was obsessed with his mother and then his wife.

The literary villain who is most like Voldemort for me is Moriarty from the Sherlock Holmes stories. Moriarty is a diabolical fiend who will stop at nothing, though sometimes he seems to exist only in the mind of Holmes, which is hard for Watson to understand. That's alot like the Harry-Voldemort connection that only Dumbledore seems to understand.

Also, this description is alot like Harry's vision of the "spider" who is the mastermind of evil when he and Dumbledore are talking in HBP:

Sherlock Holmes, in "The Final Problem"

"He is the Napoleon of crime, Watson. He is the organizer of half that is evil and of nearly all that is undetected in this great city. He is a genius, a philosopher, an abstract thinker. He has a brain of the first order. He sits motionless, like a spider in the center of its web, but that web has a thousand radiations, and he knows well every quiver of each of them. He does little himself. He only plans. But his agents are numerous and splendidly organized. Is there a crime to be done, a paper to be abstracted, we will say, a house to be rifled, a man to be removed -- the word is passed to the Professor, the matter is organized and carried out. The agent may be caught. In that case money is found for his bail or his defence. But the central power which uses the agent is never caught -- never so much as suspected."


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Old January 17th, 2007, 12:24 am
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

Voldemort is quite generic and worked best as a distant yet menacing presence like in Philosopher's Stone where for instance, he mostly only appeared in nightmares rather than the day to day routine. The author knows her creative limits well enough not to overtax them.

A better context to set him in would be amongst such more consistently present villains such as Snape or Umbridge in Order of the Phoenix.


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Old January 17th, 2007, 2:35 am
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

Voldemort differs from Sauron and the Emperor from Star Wars in that they have different motivations. Sauron and the Emperor are motivated mostly by power. Voldemort has a lust for power mixed with bigotry against Muggles and Muggleborns. In this respect Voldemort is more similar to Adolf Hitler while Sauron and the Emperor are more similar to Joseph Stalin.

One other villain Voldemort has similarities to is Shakespeare's Richard III. Richard had his young nephews murdered and then asked their mother for her daughter's (the murdered boys' sister) hand in marriage. Voldemort also committed murder within his family.


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Old January 17th, 2007, 2:37 am
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

I definately think that Voldemort has more depth than Saraun from LoTR. Saraun is nothing more than a menacing vapor whom we never actually meet. As for Star Wars, Darth Vader is not the real villain in the story - as in, he's not the one who took over the galaxy (though I know that it was in his eventual plans). Emperor Palpatine is a better parallel in my opinion, and I think we have a lot more depth to Voldemort than we do to the Emporer.

Even so, I like your comparison SIP - Darth Vader had connections to real people whom he loved, even if he was totally warped about it. Voldemort on he other hand does not seem to have any real connection to other people - which is why he is not redeemable (unlike vader). I wonder why Voldemort never connected to anyone. It's very strange in my opinion.


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Old January 17th, 2007, 2:45 am
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

He is on his way to becoming the Warlock Lord Brona, a druid who has lost himself to the power of evil. He has his minions (Skull Bearers) who are leading the fight to let him take over the entire world. They are evil and his faithfull servants. He has the strongest magic with one "Good" Druid (and friends) there to stop him.
(Shannara novels by Terry Brooks)


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Old January 17th, 2007, 2:58 am
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

I really think that Voldermort is a breed of his own. I really believe that the dimensions of his character are so unique that he can't really be compared to other villans...


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Old January 17th, 2007, 3:05 am
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

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I really think that Voldermort is a breed of his own. I really believe that the dimensions of his character are so unique that he can't really be compared to other villans...
Actually, the Warlock Lord is simular in many ways to Voldermort. He may be even more evil, and he has more beings that are forced to fight his wars with him. His power is greater than any others.


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Old January 17th, 2007, 6:10 am
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

I'm older than alot of you, and I grew up in the age of "Western" movies on TV and at the theater. So I can think alot of old movies with villains every bit as nasty as Voldemort. There's one called "Once Upon a Time in the West," with Henry Fonda playing an arch villain/killer, and Charles Bronson a man who is tracking him down to revenge his brother's murder. Fonda is a totally cold hearted killer, with no feelings whatsoever - you can easily see him as Voldemort. Fonda has killed so many that he doesn't actually remember killing Bronson's brother, and doesn't understand the concept of brotherly love. Also, there's a whole subplot about a harmonica (mouth organ) which I immediately thought about when reading "The Secret Riddle" and hearing about the stuff Voldemort has hidden in his cupboard.

Another villain that comes to mind is "Khan" from Star Trek. He's the "super-human" clone discovered in one of the early Star Trek episodes, who reappears in Wrath of Khan (played by Ricardo Montalban). It's true that Khan is a bit more social, but he also has this feeling of superiority" towards regular humans, and wants to surround himself only with "perfect" people. He's power happy also, and doesn't have usual human feelings. Instead of using his super-intelligence for something good, he only wants to help those exactly like himself, and he wants to rule them


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Old January 17th, 2007, 9:53 am
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

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Voldemort differs from Sauron and the Emperor from Star Wars in that they have different motivations. Sauron and the Emperor are motivated mostly by power. Voldemort has a lust for power mixed with bigotry against Muggles and Muggleborns.
That just reminds me of another villain: The Head of the Hellebore family in the book "War of the Flowers" (Tad Williams). He is part of the fairie fraction who believe in superiority over the humans, and who have the goal to erradicate the humans. The philosophy behind it is quite similar to the one Voldemort has. (the difference is that this villain is a pure fairie ) . And he also uses dark magic to achieve his goals.


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Old January 17th, 2007, 11:24 am
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

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Lord Voldemort is not one of my favourite villians of all time, although in terms of purely literary characters he would not be far off the mark. One of things necessary for a great villian is that they must be a three dimensional character. I am not entirely sure that Lord Voldemort is yet. There's very little grey with Lord Voldemort, he is for instance pure evil, cannot love, has practically no soul and was seemingly always like this.

HBP helped to add depth to the character, and indeed it was perhaps the only redeemable feature of that entire book. Lord Voldemort is no longer as bland as he once was but he lacks a certain humanity that allows readers to even try to understand his motivations.
I would definitely agree with this (one of the few times? ). I really adore Voldemort as a creation and a character. Most villains in series become so feared or infamous through their deeds, that giving them a back-story and motives is often a killer blow. I'm thinking of Hannibal Lecter particularly in this regard. In Red Dragon and The Silence Of The Lambs he was pretty much an enigma - a human man capable of terrifying, cold and atrocious acts that chilled the soul. In Hannibal we began to be shown a little of his back-story, which put a bit of a dampener upon his impact. And now we have the new book, Hannibal Rising, which details his entire youth, obviously to detail precisely why he does what he does. A lot of critic's reviews that I've read however feel (as do I) that this was a bad move. He isn't scary anymore. True, the things he does are still pretty gross, but one doesn't have to read about them whilst looking over one's shoulder. He has become pretty bland.

However, even after we find out about Voldemort's youth and his growth, we don't get that type of smoothing over. Voldemort is still terrifying evil. He splits his soul, he is deformed by dark magic. He kills casually. He may once have been a nasty, selfish but very probably lonely and scared little boy, but that doesn't take away from his overall impact. I think in that area, Voldemort is a very successful villain.

Say if we look at Darth Vader. He is supposedly one of the best villains of all time. He's got that fantastic way of killing people with his fingers. But I never thought that he was supposed to be the main villain, persay. Star Wars was all about him, something we especially see from the prequels. But if we're going with him being a villain, it's kind of ruined once we see him as a little boy, growing up, falling in love, being seduced by the evil Emperor...even if we blame the quality of the prequels for dampening his overall impact, it still happens. We know why he does what he does and it softens us to him. I can't say that I imagine this happening with Voldemort.

guad mentioned that it would be better to compare Voldemort to Palpatine in Star Wars, and I partly agree within the conteckts (gah, I have no "ecks" button) of my argument. Palpatine is a much stronger villain than Darth Vader. His motives never change. We see the prequels, we hear of his rise along the Sith power, and we see him in the final films, yet sympathy is never given. We never feel warmly of him. In that way, he is perhaps a little more successful than Voldemort, because we may never understand his overall motivations. And perhaps that is why. Because we never learn his full back-story, we never get the chance to decide whether or not we can understand him. We do not get the chance to see him as blander, or bolder, perhaps. I think we are meant to assume that he is just evil through-and-through, which is okay, I guess. But Voldemort - we know his life, and yet we still abhor him.

Other villains...Norman Bates! Psycho remains a great film, very scary and eerie, but the sequels hold no weight or impact. Why? Because we know now that he's just a man in a dress

I could go on all day comparing other villains to Voldemort in this vein, but I'll stop now. Here's a link to the supposedly top 50 villains in film that may give anyone else some ideas


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Old January 17th, 2007, 12:08 pm
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

I wouldn't say that Voldemort is the best villain ever to enter pop culture, but he's a damn good (heh, pun) one anyway. What really makes him great is his relationship to the world of today. Villains like Sauron, Darth Vader, or the Emperor are all very effective, but in a more detatched way. Voldemort, on the other hand, is scary because he embodies the particular evils we face in our world. He's a bigoted, serial killing fanatic from a broken home, for goodness sake! We might not be able to understand how he could let himself do the things he does, but we understand the what and why of him perfectly.


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Old January 17th, 2007, 12:13 pm
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

Hmm, I was thinking now of Dorian Gray. We know that Tom Riddle was very good looking and charming too, and that he changed physically similar to how the Portrait changes, in the mesure their lifes and evilness grows (and Dorian is an orphean too, isn't he?)

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I could go on all day comparing other villains to Voldemort in this vein, but I'll stop now. Here's a link to the supposedly top 50 villains in film that may give anyone else some ideas
"Man from Bambi????" Well, the paralell would be that they kill Bambis mother ( ) too.


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Old January 18th, 2007, 2:50 am
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

He is such a typical megalomaniac. He wants to take over the world, he strikes fear into the hearts of men, he has loyal minions, and he makes mistakes. Just like Brona (Shannara), Khan (Star Trek), Darth Vader (Star Wars), Hilter (Germany), Brain (Pinkey & the Brain), Sauron (Lord of the Rings), the Borg (Star Trek), Gold Finger (James Bond).


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Old January 18th, 2007, 3:45 am
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Re: How does Voldemort compare with other villains?

I think one major difference between Voldemort and Darth Vader is the role love played in their lives. Tom Riddle never experienced love and is repulsed by it in others. Anakin Skywalker's love for Padme was used by the Emperor to manipulate him into turning to the Dark Side.

Voldemort is similar to many of the James Bond villains in that he talks too much before trying (unsuccessfully) to kill Harry.


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