By order of: 
Appearance/mentioning | Name (alphabetical) | Family/Group

The gaunt Family
Gaunt, Marvolo Gaunt, Marvolo
Marvolo Gaunt, father of Morfin and Merope, descended from the proud line of Salazar Slytherin. He was an oddly proportioned man who looks more like a monkey with broad shoulders and long arms, though he was shorter than his son. He had bright brown eyes, short scrubby hair and a wrinkled face. His ancestors squandered their gold, so he and his children lived in a dirty little house on the edge of Little Hangleton. Their family inherited the ability to speak Parseltongue from Slytherin. Marvolo detested Muggles and thought himself superior, though he lived in poverty. His most precious possessions were the heirlooms that proved their relation to Slytherin: a ring and a locket. Marvolo wore the ring until he died.

When Morfin got in trouble with the Ministry of Magic for using magic on a Muggle, Marvolo thought he had done nothing wrong. However, he became enraged when he discovered his daughter, Merope, had taken a liking to said Muggle, Tom Riddle. The Ministry official, Bob Ogden, tried to stop him from abusing Merope. With both Marvolo and Morfin attacking him, Ogden went for backup. Marvolo spent six months in Azkaban, which was not good for his health. He returned to his home to find it empty and was shocked to learn his daughter had eloped with the Muggle. He died not long afterward.

Gaunt, Morfin Gaunt, Morfin
Morfin Gaunt, son of Marvolo, came from the ancestral line of Salazar Slytherin. From Slytherin, he inherited the ability to speak to snakes, Parseltongue. His penchant for playing in trees contributed to his thick hair being so matted with dirt, the color was indistinguishable. Each of his small, dark eyes stare in opposite directions, and he has missing teeth.

Raised to despise Muggles, Morfin decided to punish a local Muggle, Tom Riddle, because he knew his sister, Merope, liked him. His indiscretion brought a Ministry official, Bob Ogden, to his house with a trial date. Morfin had no patience for the man, so he hexed him. He would get three years in Azkaban for attacking Muggles and Ministry employees.

After being released from Azkaban, Morfin lived alone in the Gaunt home, both Marvolo and Merope dead. One day, a teenage boy visited looking very much like the Muggle he had attacked years ago. Tom Riddle Jr. learned from Morfin that his father and grandparents still lived in town. The next day, the Riddles were dead, and Morfin had the memory of murdering them. When the officials came, he happily admitted to the crime, earning himself a life sentence in Azkaban. In the last weeks of Morfinís life, Albus Dumbledore extracted the memories from Riddleís visit. Upon discovering that Morfin had been framed, Dumbledore tried to get him released, but Morfin died before a decision could be made. He spent the remainder of his days worried that he had lost his fatherís cherished ring.

Riddle, Merope (Gaunt) Riddle, Merope (Gaunt)
Merope Gaunt, daughter of Marvolo, was one of the last remaining descendants of Salazar Slytherin. She wore a locket that was an heirloom of his. Living in filth and mistreated by her family, Merope had limp, dull hair and a pale, heavy face. Like Morfin, her eyes stared in different directions. Her father thought she was a Squib, but she was merely terrified of him.

Merope did not quite share the hatred of Muggles that her family had, at least not when it came to Tom Riddle. An attack on him and subsequently a Ministry official put Marvolo and Morfin in prison. Left to her own devices, Merope decided to encourage Riddle into falling in love with her by using magic (either a love potion or the Imperius Curse) on him. Demonstrating that she was not indeed a Squib, she and Riddle ran off to elope. When she became pregnant, she stopped using magic on him in hopes that he would stay with her of his own accord. He didnít. He returned to Little Hangleton renouncing the marriage and had no interest in the baby. Meanwhile, Merope stopped using magic either because she did not want to be a witch anymore or her unrequited love sapped her of her powers. Alone in London, she naively sold Slytherinís locket at Borgin and Burkes for a mere 10 Galleons. Merope no longer cared about her ancestry, she was too depressed to do anything. She gave birth to a baby boy within an hour of entering a Muggle orphanage and then died within another hour. Though the lineage she passed on to her son, Tom Marvolo Riddle Jr., was a source of pride; the fact that she chose death over her baby incurred his scorn. Leaving him like a cast off with Muggles, Merope had given birth to the future Dark Lord, Voldemort.

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March 15, 2009
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