There are a lot of weird names in the Harry Potter series, from Albus Dumbledore to Xenophilius Lovegood, but one of the names we all seemed to have a good handle on was that of the story’s main villain, Lord Voldemort. It’s not a normal name, but it’s no Quirinus Quirrell, so most of the world was able to agree that it should be pronounced the way it looks: “Vol-deh-mort.” That’s how they say it in the movies—on the rare occasions that they do say it—and that’s how Ralph Fiennes (another weird name) says it in this interview clip that we dug up when we couldn’t find any good videos of people saying “Voldemort” in the movies.
However, J.K. Rowling—the person who would know—says we’ve all been pronouncing it wrong. This comes from a Twitter discussion during which one Harry Potter expert decided to flex their fandom muscles by explaining that the “t” in Voldemort is supposed to be silent. Rowling agreed, admitting that she’s “the only person who pronounces it that way.”
So, instead of “Vol-deh-mort,” it’s supposed to be “Vol-deh-more,” as in the French word “mort” meaning “death.” Our gut reaction is to say we prefer it the old way, but the new/real pronunciation does sound like the kind of evil villain alter-ego name that an angsty teenager would come up with to show how smart he is—which is where the name Voldemort initially came from. Also, does this mean there are more Harry Potter names we’ve been mispronouncing the whole time? Is it really supposed to be “Her-mee-oh-nee” instead of how they say it in the movies? Probably.