Hey, I'm Michael. I'm 22, and I'm from Australia. I think too much.
Go All the Way | The Raspberries | Raspberries
My thoughts just sort of poured out here so bear with me if things are worded poorly. Also keep in mind this is my opinion, nothing more:
I think about this all the time, because I feel like no one ever gave Voldemort a chance to be anything other than the villain. Like there is such a difference in the way Harry was handled and the way Tom Riddle was handled once they ended up at Hogwarts. Dumbledore regarded Tom suspiciously and treated him as guilty right off the bat, whereas Harry was treated pretty gently (outside of Snape). That affects a kid. If your words and actions constantly tell a kid “You’re bad, you’re bad, you’re bad”, they can internalize that and their self-worth and how they view themself can become warped. True, Tom was already showing signs of being dangerous, but let’s not pretend like that’s not reversible. Contrary to popular belief, Voldemort was not incapable of love. Instead, he refused to view the emotion as valid. And why should he view it as valid? It was an emotion no one ever afforded him, so it must not be important. I think it’s pretty sucky that Dumbledore knew to an extent what was going on with Tom and didn’t try to reach out to him. I also think it’s a huge a reason why he DID reach out to Harry, because he understood he made the mistake of not doing that once, to horrible consequences.
For the record, I don’t think any of this excuses Voldemort’s actions as an adult. At some point, you have to shoulder the responsibility of your choices and try to better yourself so you don’t continue the cycle of neglect. Which we all know Voldemort did not choose to do. And I also accept the possibility he could have turned out just as awful had Dumbledore reached out, but we’ll never know because even at 11, he saw Tom as a criminal to be controlled, and not a child to be better guided.