Harry Potter and his nemesis Lord Voldemort – AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle – are two halves of the same coin, with their lives mirroring each other but also diverging when it comes to the choices they made. But their connection also runs a lot deeper than most may realize, thanks to revelations J.K. Rowling has made after the completion of the books/movie series. For instnce, did you know that the enemies are actually distantly related?
The shared family in their history is the Peverells. The name should be familiar to Potterheads, as the three Peverell brothers are the protagonists of The Tale of the Three Brothers, as told in The Deathly Hallows (Part 1). When the trio encountered Death, they each requested an item: Antioch, the eldest, got the Elder Wand, Cadmus Peverell had the Resurrection Stone and Ignotus, the youngest, the Invisibility Cloak.
Harry is obviously a descendant of Ignotus, with his cloak passing through the generations – his granddaughter Iolanthe married Hardwin Potter, hence how it came into the Potter family. As for Voldemort, his mother Merope was of the House of Gaunt, descended from both Cadmus (the Gaunts’ signet ring housed the Resurrection Stone) and Salazar Slytherin. So the pair’s ancestors were brothers, making them very distant cousins.
It’s interesting to note that both Harry and Voldemort share the central traits of their forebears. Like Ignotus, Harry is unselfish and wise while Riddle, like Cadmus, is arrogant and vain. As with his ancestor, Harry truly managed to cheat death – if only for a regular human lifespan – while Voldemort’s wish to master death brought him an early demise, like both Cadmus and Antioch. And remember that, in common interpretations of the tale, Death represents Dumbledore.
This has to be amongst the most fascinating additional details Rowling has unveiled about the Harry Potter world in recent years as it enriches the central hero/villain dynamic of the saga and strengthens the feeling that everything in this universe is connected.