Recently, me and a buddy of mine were discussing the differences between novel villains, and their big screen counterparts. We were having a good ole chat until he came up. The dark lord, he who should not be named. You guessed it. Voldemort.
In the book version, Voldemort is portrayed as a dark, more threatening wizard capable of killing at a moment’s notice. That’s good and all, but it’s a tad bit too clichè for me. What I want in a good villain, especially a magic wielding one, is personality. Ralph Fiennes’s portrayal of the iconic character was the perfect fit to break up the stereotypical trend of evil wizards.
Now don’t get me wrong, he was definitely awkward, but it was by design. All the small quirks Voldemort displayed had to have been a result of his resurrection. I mean how would you act after being resurrected after nearly 20 years? Voldemort had an extreme, pathological fear of death, which of course led him to create the horcruxes. After being killed by his own spell, Voldemort’s biggest fear became reality. He was dead. Just like with any crippling fear, it broke him. When he returned to life in the Goblet of Fire, he wasn’t the same dark wizard.
People tend to think that the movie portrayal made Voldemort out to be almost childish in nature, but I saw character development. Let’s take a look at a few examples.
Voldemort Touching Harry’s Face
Now this is a prime example. After being resurrected in the Goblet of Fire with Harry’s blood, Voldemort pokes his scar in an enthusiastic display. Harry thinks he’s safe because Voldemort won’t be able to touch him, but like all good villains, Voldemort finds a loophole. If he is resurrected with the blood of Harry, he essentially becomes a part of him breaking the protection.
Now think about it for a second. Voldemort was killed knowing that if he were to return, he wouldn’t be able to touch Harry. Imagine the satisfaction he must feel knowing he defied Harry’s protection, and can now do what they claimed he couldn’t. I’d act extra too in that regards.
Awkward Hug With Draco Malfoy
Oh yeah, you knew this was coming. In the Deathly Hallows Part: II we find Draco Malfoy at a cross roads with his morality. He is torn between his family, which has sided with Voldemort, and his class mates, who have banded together in the defense of Hogwarts. During this scene we see Draco give into Voldemort’s lure of comfort.
Voldemort is brilliant in this way, because he plays upon Draco’s one prominent weakness: the desire to have the love of his father. Through out the entire series we see Lucius Malfoy belittle his son, making him believe he isn’t good enough to bare the Malfoy name. This severely compromises his moral compass leading us to the final battle at Hogwarts.
Knowing this, Voldemort uses the lure of finally being welcomed to the family. However, Voldemort doesn’t know how to love. Let alone hug. Why would he? He’s an evil wizard that’s looking for eternal life. Malfoy was caught in a trance like state trying to choose between his morality and his family. That’s what led to the awkward hug. It’s honestly one of the most developed scenes in the movie from a film making perspective.
Was Voldemort awkward during the movie series? Of course he was. Ralph Fiennes’s portrayal gave Voldemort true personality to a rather bland villain. Whether it was his weird noises, missing nose, or the cringe fest of a hug, the movie Voldemort will forever be on the podium for most personality.