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In the first book, Voldemort realizes that Harry has the Philosopher's Stone. He essentially asks Harry to join him. Was this a real offer, or was Voldemort just trying to manipulate Harry into giving him the Stone?

Clearly, Voldemort is ruthless, sociopathic, and self-centered to the extreme; he saw people mostly in terms of their usefulness to him. Clearly, he wouldn't see his word as an obstacle to killing Harry, and he obviously blames Harry for what happened to him. However, he was willing to work even with wizards that disgusted him

(such as Wormtail/Peter Pettigrew, who Voldemort kept around because he was useful, in spite of knowing full well that he was a treacherous coward who wasn't truly loyal to him).

So, on the one hand, Harry was (potentially) useful to him. On the other hand, both him and Harry were eager to get revenge on the other. That being said, was Voldemort actually making a real offer based on Harry's potential usefulness, or was he merely trying to manipulate Harry into giving him the Stone?

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    Related, not a dupe - Is Voldemoet a liar?
    – user68762
    Jan 14, 2018 at 11:50
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    @Morrigan That's an interesting question as well. One example I can think of for that was when Voldemort framed Hagrid for opening the Chamber of Secrets. (I added that as an answer there, actually - surprisingly, none of the other answers mentioned that). Jan 14, 2018 at 11:57
  • no, but there was this hilarious comment there about Tom Riddle framing Aragorn and Hagrid
    – user68762
    Jan 14, 2018 at 12:30
  • Voldey killed Snape even though he thought Snape was one of his truest minions. That should answer your question right there.
    – RichS
    Mar 28, 2020 at 16:32

4 Answers 4

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Probably not - he’d have to kill Harry because of the prophecy.

The Dark Lord would have been unwilling to leave Harry alive, since he believed the prophecy that said Harry (or Neville technically) would be the one with the power to defeat him. He only knew the first part, but considered it enough to require him to kill Harry.

“The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches … born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies …”
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 39 (The Lost Prophecy)

It’s unlikely he’d be willing to risk leaving someone he thought could threaten his power alive, even if they’d joined his side.

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    That's a good point - Voldemort would presumably kill him eventually because of that. Any chance he'd let Harry live for awhile to help him rise to power (or do you think that he wouldn't take the risk and/or his desire for revenge would get the better of him)? Jan 15, 2018 at 6:08
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    This is a good point but it doesn't mean that Voldemort wouldn't let Harry serve him for a time. "He shows as little regard for his followers as for his enemies" etc. Jan 15, 2018 at 10:33
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    @EJS I think he wouldn’t take the risk of leaving Harry alive. Harry was “the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord”, so he wouldn’t want to take the chance of leaving him alive to possibly cause his downfall - even if Harry had supposedly joined him. He was too cautious and believed the prophecy about Harry too much to let him live.
    – Obsidia
    Jan 15, 2018 at 15:51
  • @TheDarkLord I agree that he’d be willing to work with wizards who he disdained or hated. However, Harry is different - Harry was foretold to be the one to defeat him. Because of that, I think it’s unlikely he’d let Harry live for long.
    – Obsidia
    Jan 15, 2018 at 15:56
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    Seems like working with Harry would have been a good way to at least keep tabs on him. As for the prophecy, Harry couldn't just surprise-fulfill it - not with all the horcruxes still in place. That's what horcruxes are for, really.
    – Misha R
    Jan 16, 2018 at 5:55
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I doubt it. Voldemort was just trying to get the Philosopher's Stone. He would have killed Harry when he regained power to prove to his followers that he is mightier and to be rid of the person the prophecy said would be his downfall.

In Book 4 when he is revived, he does go through a lot of trouble to make sure the death eaters see. to prove that he is more powerful. and in books after, he is constantly expressing to them that harry's survival is due to his mistakes rather than Harry's power.

Snape also expresses to Bellatrix that the death eaters did harbor ideas of Harry being possibly a very powerful dark wizard.

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I would like to mention that when Harry arrives at Hogwarts Malfoy tried to get him to choose the dark side. And throughout the novels he tells Harry he chose the wrong and losing side, to pick his friends more wisely. Maybe Lucius tried to get Draco to get Harry to come over to the dark side. Also, Dumbledore praised Harry that he never had the temptation to join Voldemort.

"Despite your privileged insight into Voldemort's world (which, incidentally, is a gift any Death Eater would kill to have), you have never been seduced by the Dark Arts, never, even for a second, shown the slightest desire to become one of Voldemort's followers!" "Of course I haven't!" said Harry indignantly. "He killed my mum and dad!"
(HBP pg 510)

So there was more to it. Harry really did have the choice to become a Death Eater. Voldemort would have considered him a powerful ally. And if later on he saw a danger that Harry was converting to the good side or saw a threat that Harry would want to become the true leader of the Death Eaters he would of then, of course, have tried to kill him. He heard the prophecy, but people can change the future by their choices. Like Dumbledore said, not all prophecies come to pass.

“If Voldemort had never heard of the prophecy, would it have been fulfilled? Would it have meant anything? Of course not! Do you think every prophecy in the Hall of Prophecy has been fulfilled?”
(HBP pg 512)

Voldemort was intelligent, and he saw an alternative. It would have been easier to try and convert Harry and get him on his side than to fight and die again and risk losing any horcruxes. He was nearly destroyed once because of Harry. If Harry were one of his faithful Death Eaters then he wouldn't need to fear the prophecy as much as he did.

So the offer was real, but Harry declined. We all know why.

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    I'm not sure that Malfoy was speaking for Voldemort or even his father when he made the offer. It's a decent point, though. I think that Malfoy was genuine when he made the offer. Jan 25, 2018 at 10:21
  • Thank you :) I've read all 7 books over and over so I try to pick out little details in Canon that are rarely noticable.
    – Flitoangel
    Jan 25, 2018 at 20:07
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Honestly yes I think Voldemort would let Harry live. Think about it....his greatest revenge to Dumbledore would be turning the Boy Who Lived to the dark side. He would have had a powerful ally and thus the prophecy would not come to pass. Harry might be able to throw off an Imperius Curse but I do believe it’s on how powerful the witch and or wizard is. Tom would easily put Harry under his control. And their link would be more usefull to Voldemort then to Dumbledore.

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  • Voldemort wanted revenge on Harry more than he wanted revenge on Dumbledore, though, didn't he? Also, would he really want to risk having an ally that both a strong motive and, according to the Prophecy at least, the ability to kill him? A powerful ally could become a powerful enemy. Mar 28, 2020 at 16:45

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