Nature vs nurture is one of the oldest debates there is, and no child is born evil. However, one fan’s theory as to where Voldemort picked up his cruel streak has been given J.K. Rowling’s seal of approval.
As Redditor Obversa points out, most Harry Potter fans put Tom Riddle’s negative character down to his mother’s side, the Gaunts, a family of in-bred wizards. However, perhaps some of the blame should be given to the Muggle side of the family – the Riddles.
A lot of people claim that part of Riddle’s personality came from the Gaunts, but honestly, I think that it came from Tom Riddle Sr. and the Riddle (Muggle) side of the family. Tom Riddle Sr. was already a wealthy fat-cat who liked to make fun of poor, “strange” people (the Gaunts) before Merope ever drugged him with a love potion. That wouldn’t have changed after Merope weaned him off the drug. I think Tom Marvolo Riddle inherited his father’s tendencies in not just his looks, but his father’s personality as well, including the arrogance, egotism, elitism, haughtiness, and more.
It’s an interesting theory, and suggests we mere Muggles have as much to do with Tom’s darkness as the wizards.
Now Obversa feels vindicated by J.K. Rowling herself, pointing to a new article on the official Pottermore website titled ‘The Sad History of Merope Gaunt’. In it, it’s noted that…
…[Merope Gaunt’s] dying wish that the baby should resemble his father was granted. She couldn’t have known that the second Tom Riddle would go on to inherit his father’s callousness, too.
So what do you think? Did Voldemort take after Ma or Pa?
Either way, we blame the parents.