The Harry Potter movies were a staple of many people’s childhood, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t still learning new things about the fantasy movies. Take the main Harry Potter villain, Voldemort. You probably know that you’re not really supposed to pronounce the ‘T’ in his name but do you know what Voldemort means?
Well, Voldemort itself means absolutely nothing. It’s gibberish, but if you break down the Harry Potter character’s name to ‘Vol de mort’ and translate it from French into English, you get “Flight of death”. This is a rather apt name for He Who Must Not Be Named, a character who spent the vast bulk of his life terrified of dying and trying to become immortal.
JK Rowling has previously acknowledged the French translation. in 2009 she apologised to the French people. “I want to thank my French readers for not resenting my choice of a French name for my evil character,” she said. “I can assure you that no anti-French feeling was at the origin of this choice… I needed a name that evokes both power and exoticism.”
Fans on Reddit were shocked when they learned the translation of Tom Riddle’s chosen sobriquet. “I’m surprised I never caught onto that… amazing,” wrote one user, while another added, “I studied French for years. I really should have noticed this.”
However, some pointed out that it’s technically French, but the grammar is all over the place. “French person here, the above phrase is meaningless in French,” they wrote. “Le vol de la Mort would be a grammatically correct sentence and could mean either ‘the theft of death’ or ‘the flight of death.'”
I mean, yeah that’s a good point but let’s be honest ‘Lord Levoldelamort’ doesn’t quite have the same ring to it now does it? If you love the Wizarding World, check out our guide on the Harry Potter cast.