Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

by

J. K. Rowling

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Merope Gaunt Character Analysis

Voldemort’s mother. A member of the ancient but now impoverished Gaunt family, Merope is physically and emotionally abused by her father, Marvolo, and brother, Morfin. When they are sent to Azkaban, she’s able to freely exercise her powers for the first time, using her abilities to cast a spell on a wealthy Muggle, Tom Riddle, Sr., with whom she is in love. Under the force of her enchantment the two get married and she becomes pregnant, but when she releases him from the spell, he immediately abandons her. Merope gives birth to her son, Tom Riddle Jr., at an orphanage and dies, apparently of despair and heartbreak.
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Merope Gaunt Character Timeline in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The timeline below shows where the character Merope Gaunt appears in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter Ten: The House of Gaunt
Politics and Paranoia Theme Icon
...the stove, a “defeated-looking” teenage girl stirs a pot; Mr. Gaunt briefly introduces her as Merope. (full context)
Family Theme Icon
...stern voice, Ogden accuses Morfin of performing magic in front of a Muggle last night. Merope suddenly drops a pot and Mr. Gaunt excoriates her, calling her a “useless sack of... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
...as theirs. He brandishes an ugly black ring, which represents his family lineage, and drags Merope over to show off her necklace, which once belonged to Salazar Slytherin. As Slytherin’s last... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...out the date of Morfin’s hearing, a loud carriage filled with laughing people passes by. Merope looks out the window in keen interest. Everyone inside can hear a young woman complaining... (full context)
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...her. Mr. Gaunt asks Morfin what he’s talking about, and the son says viciously that Merope is always “hanging out the window” waiting for Tom Riddle Sr. to pass by. Furious... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Now completely unhinged, Mr. Gaunt throttles Merope, eliciting a yell from Harry. Ogden jinxes Gaunt, causing him to fall back; but when... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Immediately, Harry asks if Merope survived. Dumbledore responds that Ogden soon returns with reinforcements; both Morfin and his father, Marvolo,... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
Moreover, Dumbledore reveals that the Muggle attacked by Morfin is Tom Riddle Sr., Merope’s secret love and Voldemort’s father. Harry can’t believe that two such mismatched people got married,... (full context)
Family Theme Icon
...his release. While it’s hard to tell exactly what happened between To Riddle Sr. and Merope, Dumbledore explains that some months after his elopement, Tom returned to the village claiming to... (full context)
Chapter Thirteen: The Secret Riddle
Family Theme Icon
...that he will perform a thorough investigation into the incident. He turns the subject to Merope Gaunt, saying that after her husband’s abandonment she was left alone in London with her... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Harry is indignant that Merope didn’t get more for the necklace, and wonders why she didn’t use magic to help... (full context)
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...Hogwarts. Although she’s initially distrustful, the overlooked matron Mrs. Cole opens up about Tom’s history. Merope gave birth in the orphanage and died an hour later; Tom has been strange for... (full context)
Chapter Seventeen: A Sluggish Memory
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...visitor that he looks like his father, who has returned to the village after leaving Merope. He calls his sister a “slut,” saying she “dishonored” the family. At this, Morfin’s memory... (full context)