8

During 1st Wizarding War, Voldemort came to know about The Prophecy. He tried to challenge it (although he unknowingly supported it) and he not just failed, but lost his body too.

Then, what was the point of challenging it, again? He could have simply waited until Harry died naturally (or, killed by someone... probably Death Eaters).

After this, he would have confidence due to The Prophecy (which I don't think changes.. Think record spheres). Nobody would be able to stop him, then..

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    Play it safe because of a stupid little good-for-nothing boy? That's not Voldemort's style. – Dason May 30 '12 at 3:09
  • Harry would have had a more leisurely time to seek and destroy all the Horcruxes then. – b_jonas May 30 '12 at 19:53
  • If Harry didn't fight Voldemort, wouldn't Nevell then become the chosen one? – OghmaOsiris Jun 4 '12 at 3:57
  • @OghmaOsiris 'Then — it might not be me?' said Harry. 'But you said — Neville was born at the end of July too — and his mum and dad —' 'You are forgetting the next part of the prophecy, the final identifying feature of the boy who could vanquish Voldemort. . . . Voldemort himself would ‘mark him as his equal.’ And so he did, Harry. He chose you, not Neville. He gave you the scar that has proved both blessing and curse.' So..no. Voldemort chose Harry and if Harry didn't fight he would have lost - as would many others. – Pryftan Jul 27 '18 at 22:43
  • Another reason or two particularly the latter: who knows when Harry would die and if he still had living followers? More important is he would be accepting defeat by a 1 year old! Do you really think a powerful wizard - powerful and brilliant - would do THAT? – Pryftan Jul 29 '18 at 17:07
10

Why should he wait? He has literally nothing to lose.

Right now, he is bodyless, his soul bound to the world of the living only by his Horcruxes.

He has nothing else to do than to try to get his body back. If he manages to make his comeback and is defeated again, he is back to square one, bodyless and Horcrux-bound. But he did not lose anything.

So the worst thing that can happen to him is having to create a new body for himself. If he can return once, he can return twice.

18

Voldemort knew that there was a prophecy, but as far as I know never learnt the full contents of the prophecy. In Order of the Phoenix he attempted to retrieve it from the Department of Mysteries, but was unable to do so. Harry only learnt the full contents because the prophecy had been made to Dumbledore, who was able to recall the memory using the Pensieve.

As far as Voldemort was concerned, Harry had no power of his own. He'd survived due to a combination of the sacrifices and knowledge of others (his mother dying for him, Sirius dying for him, Dumbledore keeping him protected whilst at Privet Drive, etc) and pure luck. Voldemort simply didn't consider Harry capable of winning based on his own merits as a wizard, so had no reason to fear challenging him again.

Not to mention that wizards have a considerably longer lifespan than Muggles. Waiting for Harry to die would likely have taken decades, if not a century or more, at which point a large number of his loyal supporters would also be dead. I doubt he was patient enough to want to wait long enough for that to happen, or would want to have to start recruiting supporters again.

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    The most solid point is the last one, that his followers were all just going to age and his less loyal allies would simply move on. Best to strike while he's still feared. Also, yeah, the ego thing. – Jane Panda May 30 '12 at 13:32
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    The second point is also very valid. On his own Harry wouldn't have survived. It was only due to a very lucky series of events that Harry was able to best Voldemort. – Xantec May 30 '12 at 13:44
  • What about Voldemort himself, who is older than most of his followers? Or did he expect to live forever? – N Unnikrishnan May 10 '14 at 22:18
  • @NUnnikrishnan Yes, that's exactly the point of his Horcruxes. While they exist he couldn't die as his soul would be anchored to the living world. – Anthony Grist May 10 '14 at 23:20
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    @AnthonyGrist Yes, he couldn't die as his soul would be anchored to the living world, but would his original body not have deteriorated as it would for a wizard (albeit one of his prowess)? Wizards (like Dumbledore and Marchbanks) are known to have prolonged life upto 150-200 years. That might enable him to bypass Harry. But taking the question further,how far does it go? It cannot be that life can be prolonged indefinitely (without Philosopher's Stone, I mean). Does the physical body recognise the existence of Horcruxes? I suppose this is matter for a separate question. – N Unnikrishnan May 24 '14 at 11:59
5

The less grim analogy would be what if a singer's career was ruined, and they waited until their enemies were dead to make a comeback and their style of music was no longer popular? But here is the grim truth.

The social policies of the wizarding world were changing. Look back at Voldemort's school days and the opinions of Sirius's parents, the Malfoys, etc, back then being less than pureblood meant you were somehow not only inferior, but less of a person. Then in Harry's parents generation attitudes were more accepting of muggle borns and half bloods. In Harry's school days blood supremacists were viewed as all out nasty people.

This mirrors the shift of attitudes toward non-Christian whites in the real world. The Death Eaters are like a mix of the klu klux klan, the Spanish Inquisition, and Nazis in WW2. Just like (at least in the American social circles I am part of) neo-nazis/white supremacists, and other extremist right wing movement, there is just too much of a gap between those beliefs and the mainstream.

That means that Voldemort would be WITHOUT A PLATFORM. If he waited to come back to power, the next generation of Death Eaters would probably be like the Klan today, viewed as a domestic terrorist group, members would be ostracized if discovered by the public, a bit like the way communists and socialists were treated during the McCarthy era. I'm just looking at this from a political point of view, but these parallels were intentional on Ms.Rowling's part. I don't have the articles on hand, but they are very easy to find. Harry Potter is as much a series about acceptance as it is a series about friendship, doing what is right, and bravery.

(edited for formatting)

5

Another point worth mentioning is that to be able to resuscitate in GoF, Voldemort needed the blood of an enemy, namely Harry Potter. Waiting for Harry to die would mean that lots of his enemies would be dead too.

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    Voldemort needed Harry's blood to mislead the effect of Lily's protection to Harry.. – Captain Cold May 30 '12 at 17:54
  • @SachinShekhar That was why he wanted Harry's blood, but it could be that the 'ressucitation magic' invented/perfected by Voldemort requires all three ingredients, Flesh, Blood and Bone, the second one of some enemy. – N Unnikrishnan May 24 '14 at 11:44
  • @NUnnikrishnan That's just a non-canonical guess.. – Captain Cold May 24 '14 at 14:18
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    @SachinSekhar I infer it from this: “I knew that to achieve this — it is an old piece of Dark Magic,the potion that revived me tonight — I would need three powerful ingredients.""But the blood of a foe . . . Wormtail would have had me use any wizard, would you not, Wormtail? Any wizard who had hated me . . . as so many of them still do. But I knew the one I must use, if I was to rise again, more powerful than I had been when I had fallen. I wanted Harry Potter’s blood." _ GoF, Ch.33. – N Unnikrishnan May 26 '14 at 21:06
2

He didn't have the time to wait. His followers were all older than Harry Potter by a generation and if he'd waited for Harry to die then all the powerful people who could help him would have been dead. The younger generation knew nothing about the Wizarding War and would not have feared Voldemort enough to have been intimidated into helping him or seduced by his power - as at the point he is first introduced to us in the HP stories his power is mostly gone. He needed to strike whilst his followers were still there and in positions of power to remain useful to him and whilst his reputation still struck fear into the heart of the wizarding community.

2

In addition to the answers above, he was actually hurting when he was a ghost. He had to possess animals and move from one body to another to keep on living. He said it himself that he was even less than the most wretched ghosts and he was merely "not dead".

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