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Merope Gaunt

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The Harry Potter Canon
Merope Gaunt

Merope Gaunt was the daughter of Marvolo Gaunt and mother of Tom Riddle. Eighteen-year-old Merope’s hair is lank and dull and she has a “plain, pale, rather heavy face.” Her eyes also gaze in opposite directions. Merope’s father is extremely abusive to her and derisively calls her a “Squib” (and other dreadful things). It is no wonder that Harry observes that she looks “defeated.” In addition to ragged clothing, Merope wears a heavy gold locket with an “S” made from emeralds that belonged to Salazar Slytherin (HBP10). While she never spoke Parseltongue, she definitely passed on the ability to her son, Tom.

Merope was intensely attracted to the wealthy Muggle Tom Riddle, the handsome but vain son of the local gentry. She knew her father would be violently opposed to a match with a Muggle, but even had he approved, she knew that Tom saw her as an object of derision and disgust. However, after her brother and father were sent to Azkaban, Merope tricked Riddle into marrying her, most likely using a love potion. It is unknown why, but after she became pregnant she allowed the potion to wear off and Riddle abandoned her. Merope went to London, but was so destitute she sold her priceless gold locket to Caractacus Burke of Borgin & Burke's for a mere ten galleons. Later she gave birth at a Muggle orphanage and died after naming her child Tom Marvolo Riddle (HBP10).

Commentary

Etymology

Merope=Eyes or face turned (Greek). "The Pleiades are called seven in number, but only six can be seen. This reason has been advanced, that of the seven, six mated with immortals; the seventh was said to have been the wife of [mortal] Sisyphus ... On account of her other sisters she was placed among the constellations, but because she married a mortal, her star is dim." - Hyginus, Astronomica. An unrelated Merope was a Queen of Corinth and Oedipus' foster mother.

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Tags: gold infatuation misery poverty sadness

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