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Nagini Is Voldemort's Mother - Query the Theory!

VO: Ashley Bowman WRITTEN BY: Sean Harris
Nagini was at Voldemort's side throughout the "Harry Potter" books and movies, but the "Fantastic Beasts" series has since tried to give the character a backstory. Naturally, the fan theories have been steadily flowing ever since the maledictus character was added to the series in "The Crimes of Grindelwald". But, wait? What's that? Nagini is actually the Dark Lord's mother?? Voldemort's mum is actually his snake??? Is this real, or have you just been on the butterbeer again?

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Nagini is Voldemort’s Mother: Query the Theory

Welcome to “Query the Theory”, the show where we pick apart prominent pop culture ideas and hypotheses to deliver you a definitive decision on the possible, improbable, feasible and far-fetched. Today, we’re doubting the Dark Lord’s lineage as we debate whether Nagini is Voldemort’s mother??

As usual, we’ve lined up five important aspects of this fan theory, to debate its pros and cons, and to make some sense of its implications. Every aspect will be awarded a maximum of three up or down votes on our Scale of Plausibility, until a final score is achieved – and the theory’s credibility is calculated.

In more ways than one, there’s a riddle to be solved – so let’s get started!

#5: Merope Gaunt

Let’s start with what we know (or think we know) for sure; that Voldemort was birthed by a heartbroken, down-and-out witch on New Year’s Eve in 1926. The life and times of Merope Gaunt were bleak, to say the least. She endlessly toiled under the abusive eye of her pureblood, inbred father (and equally awful brother), all while becoming unhealthily infatuated with a rich, high-ranking muggle chap who lived nearby. Eventually, she ensnared the muggle man by magical means (probably a love potion, possibly the Imperius Curse), they married, and she fell pregnant. But, when Merope removed whatever charm she’d placed on her husband, he promptly packed up and left – leaving the desolate Gaunt daughter to desperately travel to Wool’s Orphanage, give birth to Tom Riddle, and die shortly afterwards.

It’s hardly a story to fill you with happiness, but there are no snakes to speak of. Yet.

#4: The Circus Stops By

But, wait! Stray from the original series into the “Fantastic Beasts” films, and we know that shortly before December 31st 1926 (Voldy’s D.O.B.) the Circus Arcanus was on a world tour bound for Europe – boasting none other than Nagini as one of its main attractions! A Maledictus well on her way toward permanent transformation at the time, the link between her and Merope isn’t immediately clear. But, fans have frantically quoted “The Half-Blood Prince” to create the connection. In the sixth book, via the Pensieve, Dumbledore and Harry meet Mrs Cole (the matron at Wool’s)… who, when recalling Tom Riddle’s mother, ‘wonders whether she came from a circus’. A seemingly throwaway line, supposedly said to show how muggles perceive magical people, could there be more to it?

The circus stuff is kinda curious, but we’re a long way from convinced.

#3: Splitting from the Snake

It could all tie with another theory doing the rounds on Reddit, led by the user Paleoman12. It says that Nagini the woman and Nagini the snake are not one and the same, and can be separated from each other. Perhaps this is where Newt Scamander enters the fray, as he’ll be the one to pull them apart. Say Newt manages to remove the maledictus curse, we’re potentially left with a severely weakened, possibly pregnant woman and a soulless, horcrux-ready, magical snake. All of a sudden, the idea that Nagini and Merope are the same person doesn’t feel quite as flimsy. And the clearly close connection between Voldemort and his slithery sidekick takes on a whole new meaning.

The Dark Lord’s snake is 50% of his mother. It’s crazy, but it’s picking up plus points.

#2: Credence Barebone and Queenie Goldstein

Naturally, Nagini isn’t the only “Fantastic Beasts” character to have been placed as Voldemort’s parent. There was some suggestion that Credence the Obscurial is actually the Dark Lord’s dad, but the idea falls flat mostly because Credence clearly isn’t a muggle (or a wealthy British bloke). And then there’s the even more outlandish concept; that Queenie is Voldemort’s true mother. Sure, she passed through the fire to join Grindelwald, so her surprise allegiance seems fairly set, but quite how her treachery translates into the tale of Merope Gaunt is anybody’s guess. Maybe Jacob is the muggle father Voldemort so despises? Or maybe that’s just a bridge too far – even in the Wizarding World. By contrast, Nagini looks an ever-likely candidate.

The Credence and Queenie whisperings feel way off, so are we being swayed by the snake?

#1: Motherly Love

If Nagini really is Voldemort’s mum, then it’s a monumentally messed up mother/son relationship to give even Norman Bates a run for his money. Theory advocates bring up Book Four for probably the most disturbing bits of evidence, when the Dark Lord is ‘reborn’ – thanks to Wormtail ‘following instructions’ with ‘a little help’ from Nagini. So, we have Peter Pettigrew (presumably in rat form) somehow re-conceiving his malevolent master with the now-permanently snake-like Nagini. It’s all too gross for words. Throw into the equation that Voldemort subsists off of Nagini’s venom (aka his mother’s milk), and you don’t need puking pastilles to quickly feel quite sick. It’s a long way from poor old Merope Gaunt to here, and it’s a fair way from here to Neville Longbottom and the sword of Gryffindor, but the Dark Lord’s backstory is clearly creepy as hell.

It doesn’t bear thinking about, though it’s impossible to ignore. Our stomachs are churned, but a point is earned.

Despite all the dark marks against it (and there are many), there’s at least a smidge of plausibility about this one. But, it mostly rests on the fairly sketchy idea that Nagini’s maledictus curse can be lifted, and that creature and carrier can be split. It’s not exactly Standard Book of Spells, page one, is it.

Which theory should we query next? Let us know in the comments, and hit subscribe for more film, TV and pop culture questions, put to the test!


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