Why did Voldemort kill Harry’s parents?

Harry Potter

Harry was told that his parents died in a car crash when he was little. It was just a made-up story by the Dursleys. What really happened was that Harry’s parents were killed by the Dark Lord, Voldemort. So, why were Harry’s parents killed?

After learning about the prophecy about his downfall, Lord Voldemort was hooked on killing Harry Potter. In the whole movie franchise, we see Voldemort is dedicated to killing Harry.  However, he failed to do so on every attempt.

In the course of Voldemort’s attempts to kill Harry Potter, James Potter and Lily Potter also lost their lives. James was pure blood whereas Lily was a muggle. It was never Voldemort’s intention to kill the pure blood. The Dark Lord also didn’t prefer killing witches and wizards until it was needed.

So, the question arises, why did Voldemort kill Harry’s Parents? Why he was dedicated to destroying the Potters?

Stick with us, we are going to talk about the reason why the Dark Lord killed the Potters and what the prophecy was all about.

James Potter and Lily Potter

James and Lily were both powerful wizards. They were also students of Gryffindor’s house in Hogwarts. So, this is how both of them became acquainted with each other and fell in love. They later gave birth to Harry Potter. They also joined the Order of Phoenix to fight the Dark Lord.

James was born to a pure-blood wizard, meaning that both of his parents were wizards, whereas Lily was muggle-born. Despite being born to non-magician parents, Lily was able to do magic. She was also a good friend to Snape as he was the one who helped her improve her magic.

Snape and James weren’t fond of each other. James used to bully Snape and was often outcasted by many. But Snape loved Lily a lot. He was willing to do anything for Lily.

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Why did Voldemort kill Harry’s Parents?

When attempting to kill Harry, Voldemort never had the motive to kill Harry’s parents. The Dark Lord knew that both of them were powerful wizards and can be useful tools if they join the Death Eaters.

He also knew that both of them were members of the Order of Phoenix. So, they were his enemy but that also didn’t make him kill them.

So, what made him kill them?

The answer is simple, both of them were in his way. James and Lily knew that Voldemort was after their son. So, they tried their best to protect their son from the Dark Lord.

A week before the attack, both Lily and James went into hiding along with Harry. They protected their hiding place by using Fedelius Charm. The Charm’s secret keeper was supposed to be Harry’s God Father, Sirius Black but since he was a close friend of James it was obvious for Voldemort to know that. So, Sirius persuaded the Potters to use Peter Pettigrew as the Charm’s secret keeper.

Sadly, Pettigrew betrayed them by disclosing their hiding place to Voldemort. He had already become a servant to the Dark Lord, so he betrayed his close friends.

The protection was broken and Voldemort was able to see Harry and his parents. First James, Harry’s father was killed using the killing curse ‘Avara Kadavra’. The appearance of Voldemort was not what they expected, so they were not prepared. James also didn’t have his wand with him to cast a spell against Voldemort.

Later, Voldemort found Lily and Harry locked in a room. Lily was also unarmed. Before Voldemort went to kill Harry, Snape had also requested Voldemort to spare the life of Lily, the only love of his life. So at Snape’s request, he warned Lily.

 “Stand aside you silly girl … stand aside now.”- Voldemort

Voldemort warned Lily several times but Lily refused.  She continued to plead to spare his son. So, the third time Voldemort cast the killing spell on Lily that kills her. After the death of his both parents, Harry was left alone.

So, Voldemort never intentionally set out to kill James and Lily. The good thing is that Voldemort was unable to kill Harry despite killing his both parents. Why was he unsuccessful?

Failed Attempt to Kill Harry

After killing Harry’s parents, Voldemort cast the killing curse on Harry. The curse didn’t kill Harry. It rather backfired and rebounded on Voldemort. This resulted in him losing all his powers as well as his body.

When Lily died, she cast ancient magic, Sacrificial Protection on his son. The love and affection that she had for her son saved Harry from such a powerful killing curse. Lily loved her son dearly which protected Harry. Voldemort never knew the reason because he never understood what love is.

So, the killing curse only left Harry with a lightning scar on his forehead. This made him famous among the wizarding world as “The Boy Who Lived”. No one has ever lived such a strong spell.

The aftermath of the incident not only left Harry with the thunderbolt mark on his forehead but he also got different powers from Voldemort. He spoke Parseltongue and had a psychic link with Voldemort. The psychic link allowed Harry to see the Dark Lord’s thoughts and his emotions.

Harry also became an unintentional Horcrux of Voldemort. The prophecy stated that Dark Lord will mark his enemy as his equal and have power that he would also never be aware of. So, the prophecy was also completed.

After this incident, Harry became the chosen one mentioned in the prophecy. He was going to be the one to destroy Voldemort forever. Let’s look at what the prophecy really meant.

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Voldemort’s Prophecy- The downfall of Voldemort

The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches… born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies… and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not… and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives… the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies….— Sybill Trelawney’s prophecy made to Albus Dumbledore

This was the first prophecy ever made by Sybill Trelawney. This prophecy is also called the Lost Prophecy. If we look at the prophecy, it tells about someone who can defeat the Dark Lord. The prophecy doesn’t state who that person is but it does shed light on some key points. These points can help identify the person.

Let’s look at the key points:

  • The parents of the child should have fought Dark Lord three times.
  • The child should be born at the end of the seventh month that is July.
  • The Dark Lord will be the one to choose his enemy and marks him.
  • The child possesses a power that even Voldemort is not aware of.
  • One of the either must die from the other’s hand because both can’t exist side by side.

These five points were mentioned in the prophecies. The whole storyline of Harry Potter depends on this prophecy. As we continue with the movie and the book we see how the things mentioned in the prophecy unfold.

The prophecy was made between Sybill and Dumbledore. There was no one other than those two who can hear the prophecy. So, how did the prophecy reach Voldemort’s ear?

Sybill made this prophecy when she was interviewing for the Divination teacher position at Hogwarts. Although she didn’t impress Dumbledore enough to be selected as a teacher, she did leave him with the prophecy. Something strange took over her and was struck with a vision of prophecy.

When that happened, Snape was right beside the door eavesdropping. He heard about the prophecy for the downfall of the Dark Lord. He was a loyal follower of the spies of the Dark Lord at that time. So, as a loyal follower, he went back and told Voldemort about the prophecy.

After hearing the prophecy, Snape rushed to inform Voldemort. He only listened to the beginning part of the prophecy. The part where the prophecy states the birth of a baby at the end of July to parents who have defied Voldemort three times.

So, Voldemort was never warned about the risk that attacking the chosen boy would end up transferring his power and marking the boy as his equal.

The prophecy never stated that Harry was the chosen child. There was also another boy named Nevile Longbottom who also seemed like a suitable candidate for the prophecy. But Voldemort was sure that the boy in the prophecy was Harry Potter.

Why Harry Potter, not Neville Longbottom?

neville longbottom

One of the key points of the prophecy was that Voldemort would choose the enemy himself. He could have gone to Longbottom but he chose to go to the Potter. Why?

Both the parents of Neville Longbottom ad Harry Potter had fought with the Dark Lord three times. As they were members of the Order of Phoenix, a society found by Albus Dumbledore to fight the Dark Lord. Both boy was born at the end of the seventh month, July. neville was born on July 30 and Harry was born on July 31.

So, why did Voldemort choose Harry?

When Voldemort heard about the prophecy, he missed the important part that he would choose his enemy and mark him as his equal and the enemy would also possess a power that he was unaware of. So, if he had decided to go after Neville then the prophecies would have been about Neville.

“He chose the boy he thought most likely to be a danger to him,” said Dumbledore. “And notice this, Harry. He chose, not the pureblood, but the half-blood, like himself. He saw himself in you before he had ever seen you.”- Albus Dumbledore to Harry

This statement made by Dumbledore also confirmed that if Voldemort had gone after Neville then he would have been the chosen one. But he choose Harry because he was a half-blood just like him.

It is crazy how a person like half-blood himself always wanted to eradicate those who aren’t pure-blo0d. So, Voldemort loathed half-bloods and this anger also fueled him in becoming one of the most powerful wizards in the wizarding world.

Harry, being born to a pure-blood father and a muggle-born mother, made him half-blood. This angered Voldemort and saw himself in him. He was terrified that Harry could also become an even greater wizard than him and defeat him. Voldemort knew if he can become a powerful wizard despite being half-blood, then it is also possible for Harry to be one.

So, he considered Harry more of a threat than Neville and decided to kill him before he would gain the power to defeat him. So, Harry didn’t become the chosen one because of the prophecy but Voldemort choose him.

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Now that you know the reason,

Voldemort never intended to kill Harry’s parents. He went to Godric hollows just to kill Harry. Harry’s parents loved him dearly. So, when protecting their son they had to lose their life.

After the death of Lily, seeing how Harry was protected we can know they were prepared to sacrifice themselves for their son. The Sacrificial Protection cast by Harry’s mother was so powerful that it protected him even from a powerful killing curse.

This attempt of the Dark Lord to kill Harry also fulfilled the prophecy of him choosing his enemy and marking the enemy as equal. He also gave his power to Harry.

Now you know the full prophecy and what it meant, we can see it unfold with our own eyes. How every situation in the whole Harry Potter story was meant to happen. How whole plots in the story relate to each other. This also makes J.K Rowling’s book Harry Potter one of the most interesting and popular writings.

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