by Nemorosa Knopp
“The thing Wormtail had been carrying had the shape of a crouched human child, except that Harry had never seen anything less like a child. It was hairless and scalylooking, a dark, raw, reddish black. Its arms and legs were thin and feeble, and its face no child alive ever had a face like that it was flat and snake-like, with gleaming red eyes.”
(GoF, pp. 555-556, UK paperback)
I think the fact that Harry first thought it was a baby is interesting in itself. I, for one, thought we where going to witness some kind of infant sacrifice. Obviously I was wrong. The thing that intrigues me is that in the first chapter, Voldemort kills the old, Muggle gardener, Frank Bryce, personally. When we see baby-Voldy in Chapter 32, he seems quite unable to do anything by himself, let alone kill anyone. This, of course, is only my assumption, and may very well be wrong. If it is true, however, it means that Voldy did some changes during the year which we know nothing about.
The thing that made me remember this pre-restruction Voldy was Sprout’s class on mandrakes in CoS.
“Instead of roots, a small, muddy and extremely ugly baby popped out of the earth. The leaves were growing right out of his head. He had pale green, mottled skin, and was clearly bawling at the top of his lungs.”
(CoS, pg. 73, UK paperback)
Now, I am not going to theorize that Voldy really is a mandrake. (He does not have leaves for hair or green skin after all). I think, however, that this may be a hint. I know, it sounds far-fetched, right? Just hear me out.
“Mandrake, or Mandragora, is a powerful restorative…It is used to return people who have been transfigured or cursed, back to their original state.”
(CoS, pg. 72, UK paperback)
Thanks to Hermy, this is what convinced me. What has Voldy been? Cursed. What does the mandrake do? Uncurses people. If there was nothing to it, why would you not just say petrify? Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think Voldy looks like that because he used the mandrake. I just think that his shape is a deliberate hint from JKR to make us think about them.
Of course I may be wrong, but if I am right, we are one step closer to finding out exactly how Voldy got his body back. And we all want to know that, right?
But let’s move back to the creepy subject of this editorial, the snakefaced baby. To me, he sounds most of all like a piece of rotting meat. (Always glad to have that picture in my head). Now, the snakeface obviously comes from good old Voldy as we know him, as he had the same face in PS/SS. The question is where did he get the body? Of course, your guess is as good as mine, but I have a few theories.
The first is the most obvious one. There might be some powerful, dark magic that Harry knows nothing about, which allows Dark Lords to have a new body after 13 years of undeadness.
The second one is that this might simply be the (undesirable) after-effects of unicorn blood. I mean, we have not seen much of its so-called curse, have we?
The third one is that this body is some kind of Frankenstein thingy, which Wormtail created on his master’s command using whatever body parts available (it would explain the bad looks, anyway). We don’t know what happened to the body of Frank Bryce, so that is as good a theory as any, but if this is the case, I doubt it will ever be revealed in the books. (Young audience, you know…)
The last thing I have been wondering (directly related to the Voldy post chainsaw massacre) is: what is the purpose of the body anyway (if it was intentional, that is)? The answer might be as simple as Voldy having a corporeal form before the restruction could take place, or perhaps there was something more complex at work.
There is no guarantee that we will ever know anything more about this being, but I think we will. If not, what was it doing there?