J.K. Rowling Dropped A Bomb About This Harry Potter Character's Name

Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros.
To be fair, he was usually referred to as "He Who Must Not Be Named" or "You Know Who." Therefore, it's entirely possible that someone in the wizarding world of Harry Potter may have gone his or her entire story line without ever actually having to say the Dark Lord's name out loud. Still, those of us who read the books most likely said the name to ourselves in our heads, and the actors definitely gave voice to Voldemort's name in the Harry Potter movies. You can hear them say it in this behind-the-scenes video from 2011. Everyone pronounces it "Vole-de-morte." Guess what, though? If you've been pronouncing that final "t," you've been saying it wrong this entire time.

For confirmation of this fact, go straight to the source. MTV News drew our attention to a reply J.K. Rowling tweeted in response to some Harry Potter trivia yesterday. Twitter user @mhenrylucero wrote, "One piece of Harry Potter trivia I always forget to mention: the 't' is silent in Voldemort, according to @jk_rowling." Rowling confirmed this to be the case, though she acknowledged that she's a lone wolf in the proper pronunciation at this point in Harry Potter history, due to the fact that everyone in the films says that final "t."
Advertisement

It turns out the monicker and its pronunciation have a pretty clear etymology. Per MTV, "Voldemort has its roots in French — the word 'mort' literally means 'death' — the 't' should be silent, so we should all be saying it 'Vol-de-more.'"

Apparently, Jim Dale, who narrated the audiobooks for the series, originally pronounced the name as Rowling intended. After the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone came out in 2001, though, he added the same hard final "t" as the actors use in the movies. When it comes to pronunciation peer pressure, it seems that Hollywood outweighs the dark arts. Someone tell He Who Must Not Be Named. On second thought, better not. Don't let him know we're talking about him. (MTV News)
Advertisement

More from Movies

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Documentary
Five love stories behind diverse, multicultural marriages.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Life experiments, 5 days at a time.
Watch Now
Fashion
The style of subculture.
Watch Now
Beauty
Viral trends, tried and tested.
Watch Now
Documentary
From vibrators to lipstick, learn how your favorite products are made.
Watch Now
Documentary
Extraordinary, one-of-a-kind individuals
Watch Now
Documentary
The latest stories to watch.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Inside the homes of millennial women — & what they paid for them
Watch Now
Comedy
Let's talk about sex, baby.
Watch Now
Documentary
Female artisans around the world
Watch Now
Politics
Made by and for smart, opinionated women.
Watch Now
Film
We helped 12 female directors claim their power.