In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Voldemort is happy to see Harry dead and in the chapter The Man With Two Faces he orders Quirrell multiple times to kill Harry.

And Quirrell, though pinning Harry to the ground with his knees, let go of his neck and stared, bewildered, at his own palms – Harry could see they looked burnt, raw, red and shiny.

‘Then kill him, fool, and be done!’ screeched Voldemort.

Quirrell raised his hand to perform a deadly curse, but Harry, by instinct, reached up and grabbed Quirrell’s face –


[Harry] could only hear Quirrell’s terrible shrieks and Voldemort’s yells of ‘KILL HIM! KILL HIM!’

Philosopher's Stone - pages 213-214 - Bloomsbury - chapter 17, The Man With Two Faces

In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Tom Riddle is determined to have the Basilisk kill Harry.

Yet by Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Voldemort is sure hell bent on using Harry's blood as part of his resurrection potion (GoF - Bloomsbury - chapter 32, Flesh, Blood and Bone).

When did Voldemort realize that the protective enchantments in Harry's blood would benefit him (Voldemort) by adding it to the resurrection potion?

  • 2
    Not sure diary-Riddle counts. Before CoS, he didn't have any firsthand experience with Harry like Voldemort did.
    – Izkata
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 3:24
  • 1
    @Izkata - Tom Riddle (diary) knew about Harry from Ginny Weasley. He says to Harry, ‘Well,’ said Riddle, smiling pleasantly, ‘how is it that a baby with no extraordinary magical talent managed to defeat the greatest wizard of all time? How did you escape with nothing but a scar, while Lord Voldemort’s powers were destroyed?’ So, no, he hadn't come face to face with Harry before the events in the Chamber of Secrets, but diary-Tom knew about what happened when he tried to kill Harry in the future, and that he (Tom) was Lord Voldemort. Thoughts? :) Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 3:34
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    I'm just thinking, he wouldn't have known about what Harry's touch did to Quirrel (since I doubt Ginny knew), which looks like it was a major clue to Voldemort
    – Izkata
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 10:49
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    I don't think there's a canon answer aside from "6 to 8 weeks" (sorry, SE in-joke). Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 13:44
  • @Izkata -- What I meant is that diary-Tom Riddle knew about Harry, that he defeated Voldemort. Diary-Tom knew that he himself was Voldemort. He clearly didn't know about Lily's enchantment because he says right in CoS "How did you escape with nothing but a scar?" I quoted that above. I did not mean to imply that diary-Tom knew about Lily's enchantments at the point of CoS -- he clearly did not. :) Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 15:43

1 Answer 1


There is no real canon answer, only speculation. One line of thinking is that Voldemort always knew that Harry had some form of protection due to his mother's sacrifice. However, Voldemort's studies of magic (and particularly his personality) deny the power of love.

Think back to Voldemort's duel with Dumbledore in the Ministry. The pre-duel banter has them both talk about what they consider to be "deep magic". Voldemort scoffs at Dumbledore's suggestion of the power of love, so one can speculate that Voldemort knew of Dumbledore's beliefs for some time.

It's entirely possible that Voldemort knew of Harry's protection, but for at least the first book, deemed the protection weak and flimsy. After Harry's survival in his first year (and subsequent survival for the next two, although Voldemort wouldn't know about the destruction of his Horcrux for some time), one might speculate that Voldemort realized that Harry's mother's protection had at least some strength to it.

tl;dr Voldemort knew about the protection but thought it was weak because he "doesn't understand love".

  • ...and then after CoS he realises it's not?
    – AncientSwordRage
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 15:09
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    I would assume that being able to burn somebody alive with your bare hands is protection enough make someone wary.
    – Steam
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 15:11
  • That's a really interesting theory -- I hadn't thought of that angle before. +1 for a good answer :) Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 15:38
  • Voldemort ... hmm. Harry told Tom Riddle from the diary in Chamber of Secrets that his mother died to save him, and Tom Riddle was a bit surprised at this and said (paraphrasing) "ORLY? That's powerful magic." So at that point, would the future Voldemort have just known? Because the diary Tom Riddle was only a memory, a memory who didn't survive to become living flesh and bone. If you want to read chapter 17 in CoS, The Heir of Slytherin, and revise your answer, I'm happy to sit on this question for a few more days. :) Commented Oct 22, 2012 at 17:39
  • I'm not quite sure what you mean. Do you mean that Voldemort somehow got information to/from his diary or that Tom Riddle believed love was powerful magic despite my argument that Voldemort believed otherwise?
    – Steam
    Commented Oct 23, 2012 at 1:32

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