Lord Voldemort is one of the most complex characters in the Harry Potter series and is infamous for being Harry’s nemesis. It is no secret that he had no problem killing others, especially those who did not think like him or stood in his way. But why exactly did Voldemort want to kill Harry and his parents?
Voldemort wanted to kill Harry because a prophecy stated Voldemort’s downfall would come from a boy who had strong powers. Voldemort was sure that boy was Harry Potter, so he set out to kill him. Harry’s parents were merely pawns. They were in the way when Voldemort tried to kill baby Harry, so he killed them.
But what were the details of the prophecy? How did Voldemort know it was Harry that would threaten him? How did James and Lily Potter meet their inevitable demise? Keep reading for the answers to all of these questions.
What Were The Details of The Prophecy?
Dumbledore was interviewing teachers for a position at Hogwarts when he met Professor Sybill Trelawney. She did not get the Divination teacher position, but she did leave Dumbledore with some wisdom. She foretold that a child would be born who would have the power to defeat the Dark Lord (Voldemort).
But the prophecy did not name the child, so how did Voldemort determine that it was Harry Potter? Professor Trelawney gave some other details in the warning that helped Voldemort zero in on Harry. The specific points were as follows:
- The parents of the child would have already defied Voldemort three times
- The child would be born at the end of the seventh month (July)
- Voldemort would determine precisely who this enemy was
- The child’s power would be far greater than Voldemort could imagine
- One of the two would die at the hands of the other because both could not coexist
Since the prophecy did not name a child or family, two families met these criteria: the Potters and the Longbottoms. Both sets of parents defied Voldemort three times. Neville was born July 30, and Harry on July 31. However, part of the prophecy was that Voldemort would choose his foe.
Voldemort learned of the prophecy through Severus Snape. Snape was working with the Dark Lord at that time and had overheard the prophecy. He went back and told Voldemort, who decided that Harry Potter must be the child from the prophecy and vowed to kill him.
This is where the part of the prophecy comes into play in which Voldemort chooses his enemy. He could have easily gone after the Longbottom family, but instead, he decided on the Potters. Why?
For one thing, Voldemort despised anyone who wasn’t a pure-born wizard. He viewed them as weak and pathetic. Though both of his parents possessed magic, Harry was only a half-blood wizard. Although his father, James, was pureblood, Harry’s mother Lily was a muggle-born, meaning her parents were muggles.
But, Voldemort himself was only a half-blood wizard, which was crazy since he wanted to eradicate anyone who wasn’t a pureblood. But his own anger at being a half-blood wizard is a lot of what fueled that decision, and he ended up becoming one of the most powerful wizards in the wizarding world.
Neville Longbottom was a pureblood wizard born to pureblood parents. He was born at the time the prophecy claimed, the end of July. And his parents had directly defied Voldemort three times.
However, Voldemort saw part of himself in Harry, which angered him and made him hate Harry even more. He was also terrified that if he could become the great wizard that he was while being a half-blood, then Harry could become even greater and would be the one to defeat him.
Therefore, the Dark Lord saw Harry as the more significant threat out of the two and decided that he would kill him before Harry got the chance to defeat him.
Why Did Voldemort Kill James And Lily Potter?
So if Voldemort was after Harry, why did he kill James and Lily? Especially James, since he was a pureblood wizard, which Voldemort held to a high standard. Basically, what it came down to was that Voldemort had made up his mind to kill Harry, and they got in the way.
Once Voldemort learned of the prophecy and who his possible enemies could be, he made his choice based on who he thought was a more significant threat to him. He wanted to kill Harry to eliminate the threat against him, but he never intentionally set out to kill James and Lily.
However, Harry was only a baby when Voldemort went after him. So, of course, when the Dark Lord showed up trying to kill their infant son, James and Lily fought back with everything had-including their own lives.