According to the tour guide for the Edinburgh Ghost Tunnel Tour, J.K. Rowling came up with Voldemort’s real name after visiting the Greyfriars Graveyard.
So, naturally, a friend and I raced to Greyfriars Kirk on a quest to find the gentleman who would become a legend over a hundred years after his death.
Unfortunately, finding The Dark Lord’s gravestone proved to be more difficult than we were hoping for.
We tagged along on a Harry Potter tour that we probably should have payed for but didn’t *shrugs* to see if the tour guide would give us a hint as to where the tombstone was. However, he seemed more interested in showing us awkward ring tricks than assisting us on our quest, so we decided to venture out on our own.
This must be said: European cemeteries are infinitely cooler than American ones.
It’s unfair to compare them, really.
For one thing, Europe is impossibly old compared to America. Therefore, you will find gravestones and monuments that date back to the 1500s or even the 1300s.
Here are a few that we stumbled across:
And then, finally, we found the man of the hour:
Even while taking pictures of this, I imagined what this man would think if he knew his name was used for one of the most powerful villains in literary history.
My head cannon is that when J.K. Rowling dies (hopefully at a very old age) she will arrive in Heaven to find a very cheesed-off Scotsman wearing a regiment coat with his arms folded and his foot angrily tapping.
“Who are you?” Rowling will ask.
“You-Know-Who,” he’ll hiss.
Yes, it’s bad enough this man died at such a young age (26), but it would seem that some drunk idiots found it appropriate to tag his plaque.
Not only did this person think it was acceptable to graffiti a dead man’s plaque, they couldn’t even be bothered to spell Voldemort correctly.
Fortunately, some kind soul left a bouquet of flowers at the foot of the plaque. I did not have any flowers on me, nor did I know of a nearby florist to buy some from, so I picked a wild flower that was growing a few feet away and dropped it on top of the bundle.
So, Mr. Riddell, I’m sorry you’ll forever be known as The Dark Lord.
However, as a writer, I don’t think I would have been able to pass up on such a unique name either. Riddell (or Riddle, as it was in the novels) implies mystery and intrigue. Romance even.
At least you may take solace in the fact that some woman from the 20th century took a look at your name and thought “Huh. Cool.”
May you rest in peace.
Unless you were a dick.
In which case, this scenario would become infinitely more funny.