He Who Must Not Be Named in the 'Harry Potter' Series Wasn't Always Nose-Less

Wait, why does 'Harry Potter' villain Voldemort not have a nose anyway? It's actually a side effect of his dogged determination to cheat death.

Katherine Stinson - Author

Dec. 27 2022, Published 10:20 p.m. ET

Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes)
Source: Warner Bros.

How did Voldemort manage to relentlessly pursue boy wizard Harry Potter for seven books anyway without a nose? Did the lack of a breathing apparatus make him more susceptible to evil?

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In all actuality, Voldemort's (played by Ralph Fiennes in the Harry Potter films) lack of a nose was a side effect of his quest to evade death for all eternity. How, do you ask?

We've got this Harry Potter mystery explained for you here. Keep reading to find out why Voldemort doesn't have a nose.

Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes)
Source: Warner Bros.

Voldemort clearly couldn't afford a plastic surgeon.

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Why does Voldemort not have a nose?

Once upon a time, Voldemort was known as Tom Riddle, who was very much a mortal man in every sense of the word.

However, Tom craved the ultimate power — the ability to cheat death. He found a way, through the darkest, darkest magic, to achieve his seemingly impossible goal.

If Tom managed to split his soul into multiple horcruxes (tailsmans that would keep the pieces of his soul intact), he could technically never die, so long as nobody discovered the horcruxes and destroyed them. The catch with making a horcrux however? Murder. Dumbledore warned Tom that anyone who created one horcrux would shatter their humanity beyond recognition, let alone someone who made multiple horcruxes.

So naturally, Voldemort made seven. (The last one was an accident!)

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Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes)
Source: Warner Bros.

Voldemort. Murderer. Wand stealer. Still nose-less.

Essentially, the more Voldemort split his soul, the more he lost all traces of his physical humanity as well. It's why he essentially looks like a walking, snake-like corpse by the time he's revived in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

And naturally, Voldemort's lack of a nose also makes him look more and more like his snake, Nagini, who also happened to be one of his horcruxes.

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Voldemort's lack of a nose inevitably led to a slew of memes roasting his appearance in the Harry Potter films. It's one of the best (unintended) running gags from the franchise.

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The great thing about Voldemort's end in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (the book, not the movie) was how Harry reduced Voldemort back to the mortal man he once was — Tom Riddle. Although Voldemort's lack of a nose became an (iconic) running joke after the film hit theaters, it was symbolic of how his soul had been irreparably shattered beyond recognition.

But that was the thing about Voldemort — he thought he was doing better in his nose-less state.

So could you argue that Voldemort's lack of a nose was his ultimate downfall, and not the Boy Who Lived? In a way, yes. A lack of oxygen to the brain really can mess with one's sense of morality, and although Voldemort had a chance to choose a better path, he decided to walk down a dark, nose-less road.

Maybe just try plastic surgery next time Voldy! You can stream all the Harry Potter films on HBO Max.

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