The movies never really touched on Voldemort's family. In the books, readers were taken back in time to view the Gaunts, a very ancient wizarding family from which Voldemort's mother belonged. They were obsessed with the idea of pure blood status and had therefore practiced the act of marrying their cousins in order to ensure pure blood status. Merope Gaunt, Voldemort's mother, had fallen in love with a Muggle, Tom Riddle. She put a love spell on him and together they had Tom Riddle Jr., better known as Lord Voldemort. Just before giving birth, Merope felt guilty about using a potion and released Tom Riddle Sr. from the spell. She hoped his love was real, but she was wrong and he left his wife and unborn son. Merope died shortly after childbirth and Tom Riddle Jr. was sent to an orphanage where he stayed until he was eleven. Years later, Voldemort returned to the home and murdered his remaining family before taking their family heirloom, a ring. Dumbledore later discovers the ring, then a horcrux, in the Gaunt house.
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