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A friend told me that in the French versions of Harry Potter, they had to make Voldemort's middle name "Elvis". They said that they did this in order to make the "Tom Marvolo Riddle" to "I am Lord Voldemort" anagram to work.

Now I don't know French that well, but I thought this was too funny to be true.

Did this really happen, or is one of my friends lying to me? If it did happen, can anyone show how?


NB: This is a movies and TV site so answers should be about the movies, not the books. This was correctly raised here.

  • 3
    HP Wikia has a full list of such changes. Can't fetch it now because I'm boycotting HP Wikia, but the list is hilarious! – Gallifreyan Apr 12 '17 at 18:02
  • I always thought it was odd how his name anagram included 'I am' in it. Without including those two words translation issues aren't really an issue in my opinion. Though, I'm betting 'I am' came as a result of wanting to have 'Riddle' as the last name, as a foreshadowing that his name is actually some sort of Riddle. – user200857 Apr 12 '17 at 19:03
  • In the Russian translation, Voldemort is changed to Volan-de-mort, so your question definitely sounds plausible. – alexgbelov Apr 12 '17 at 22:35
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    @ThisGuy The original title wasn't a question and didn't really describe the contents of it (virtually every other question tagged with harry-potter has a question in the title). It was also a Hot Network Question and so I felt it should be changed to showcase a higher standard of quality for this site. It was never a pun anyway (it wasn't two words that sound the same), but I did keep the name in the title. – Thunderforge Apr 13 '17 at 4:29
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It's true that the second name is Elvis, but the last name is also different in French. To make the anagram work there are many different versions of the name in other languages.

In other languages, translators replaced the entire name to preserve the anagram. In French, Riddle's full name becomes Tom Elvis Jedusor (...) which forms an anagram for "Je suis Voldemort" ("I am Voldemort").

From Wikipedia

  • 3
    So… Marvolo Gaunt is Elvis Gaunt in France?! – Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 12 '17 at 19:33
  • he is actually elvis marvolo gaunt – fonfonx Apr 12 '17 at 19:52
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    To give another example of such an anagram where it's even more different: In Dutch, he's called Marten Asmodom Vilijn, which swaps around for "Mijn naam is Voldemort". – Nzall Apr 13 '17 at 6:25
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    @Nzall any relation to Asmodean? – muru Apr 13 '17 at 6:52
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    Tom Rojvol Raddle in Czech, which swaps around for "Já, Lord Voldemort"... – vojta Apr 13 '17 at 7:02
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Lot of names were actually changed in the French translation of the books. It is the case of Tom Marvolo Riddle which is translated to "Tom Elvis Jedusor" to make the anagram works, but Snape (Rogue in French), Mad-Eye Moody (Maugrey Fol Œil in French), Hogwarts (Poudlard in French), Muggle (Moldu in French), Crucio (Endoloris in French) and so many other names or spells have been changed by the French translator in order to preserve the puns.

Note that the French "Jedusor = Jeu du sort" means "game of spell" or "game of fate" as you want, which does not exactly mean riddle but which keeps the idea of playing with words.

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    I wonder why the French publishers just didn't have Harry go to Beaubatons. ;) – krillgar Apr 13 '17 at 11:20
  • @krillgar isn't it exclusively a school for girls? are they going to also rename the main character to Harriet Potter? – immibis Apr 15 '17 at 11:20
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    @immibis in the movies Beauxbatons is indeed a girl school but (at least only girls are shown) but this is not the case in the books – fonfonx Apr 15 '17 at 12:29
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Yep, they do. If not, the anagram doesn't work. In spanish, for example, his name is "Tom Sorvolo Ryddle" (Soy Lord Voldemort). Here's the spanish version.

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