How to find Tom Riddle's grave in Greyfriars Kirkyard

  1. Enter Greyfriars Kirkyard.
  2. Skirt to the right of the yellow church, aka 'Kirk'.
  3. Continue the loop around the Kirk towards the Flodden wall arch.
  4. After passing through the arch turn immediately right.
  5. As you come upon a fork, where the path splits, continue straight on down. STRAIGHT ON DOWN.
    ⚠️ Please do not turn right, Edinburgh council doesn't want a muddy trail scarring the cementery, don't spoil it for everyone.
  6. At the bottom of the hill, turn right & follow the trail around.
  7. Tom Riddle is the second grave from the bottom, beside the wood fence. A place where grass won't grow.
Inside Greyfriars Kirkyard Edinburgh facing Yellow Greyfriars Kirk
Skirt to the right of the yellow church (Kirk)
Heading right of Greyfriars Kirk
This way
Main public entrance to Greyfriars Kirkyard
Stick to the loop passing the Kirk's main entrance
Approaching the Flodden wall Greyfriars Kirkyard
Continue beyond the Kirk towards the Flodden wall arch
Main public entrance to Greyfriars Kirkyard
After passing through the arch turn immediately right
Turning right away from George Heriots School Greyfriars Kirkyard
Head downhill
Following the rubble track down towards Tom Riddle's grave
At the fork continue straight down ON THE TRACK. Please don't zag off to the right, the council is going MENTAL
turning right towards Tom Riddle's grave Greyfriars Kirkyard
At the bottom turn right towards the heart of all evil
Tom & the Riddle family's grave stones in profile
Tom Riddle's grave
Tom Riddle's grave close up
Light a candle, begin incantations...
Voldemort rises from a cauldron reborn
Let wizarding war III commence
Once through the stone Flodden wall arch, turn right onto the rubble track & follow it downhill to the bottom of the graveyard. Do not follow the flodden wall around, Edinburgh council doesn't want a mud slide, they want you to use the rubble track straight down or go elsewhere
“Gulpin’ gargoyles, Harry, people are still scared. Blimey, this is difficult. See, there was this wizard who went… bad. As bad as you could go. Worse. Worse than worse. His name was…”
Hagrid gulped, but no words came out.
Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone

The desperate lives of the Riddells

Tom Riddell Senior died 72 years old in 1806. Unhappily he lived to see his son die aged 26.

  1. What was his son's profession?
  2. Where did Tom junior die?

According to Newt Scamander's Fantastic Beasts, Tom Riddell junior died the same year a Norwegian Ridgeback was reported to have carried off a Whale Calf off the coast of Norway. Co-incidence?

Riddell senior passed failing to see his daughter Christian married; she followed him 2 years later aged 31, missing the 1809 Quidditch world cup in West Siberia Russia. Which is a pity, it was spectacular.

Romanian Beater Niko Nenad, an extremely volatile man, jinxed the forrest adjacent to the pitch, the trees sprang to life and attacked the stadium resulting in mass panic and several deaths including Nenad's own.

Neither Death nor Cupid was kind to the Riddell family, but Tom's eldest child, Mary Jane Riddell, was made of sturdier stuff. She eked a life as a spinster and just as British cities began to be lit by gas lamps she snuffed it, dying in 1819 aged 47.

JK Rowling's iconic Voldemort on a Royal Mail stamp

Why is Tom Riddle iconic?

JK Rowling says "all enduring fictional bad guys encapsulate primal terrors and share certain traits. Invincible to the point of immortality, they commit atrocities without conscience and cannot be defeated by the ordinary man or by conventional means. Hannibal Lecter, Lord Voldemort and Big Brother: all are simultaneously inhuman and superhuman and that is what frightens us most".

For some time JK Rowling considered killing Harry in his final battle with Voldemort. She felt it would a neat ending and a good way to kill off the merchandise. Warner Brothers executives had to come to Edinburgh for Rowling's approval - she protects her family life. They would sweat.

Rowling decided killing Harry would have been a betrayal, because she wanted her hero to do what she thought was the most noble thing. "So I had him come back from war and try to build a better world".

Learn more about Rowling's motivations on Edinburgh's award winning 3½ hour Harry Potter tour.

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Announcement from headmistress Mcgonagall

All Gryffindor's must pay their respects today to my distant relative William.

They may then break to the Elephant House cafe (a complete guide) & the miscellaneous wonders of Hogsmeade, on presentation of their guardian's permission.
Apart from Ronald Weasley who will be cleaning the Trophy room. Thankyou.

Ron: Typical.

Or make it memorable...

Play the Dark Lord's Quiz

10 Questions.
Award 10 points for each correct answer, deduct 150 for each wrong.
Tap an answer to reveal.

You can see that Thomas Riddell jnr was an adventuring British Empire Army Officer. Who died younger: Harry Potter's nemesis Voldemort or our sacred Thomas Riddell?

Repeat after me "I am a wizard not a baboon with a stick".

In the books Thomas Riddle, son of Thomas Riddle Senior, lived to 71 years old. Clearly he must have staged his death in Edinburgh, embracing a new life as immortal Voldemort. He also spelled his name wrong. One day I’m going to have ten names and spell them all wrong.

Potterheads sometimes leave notes here for the Dark Lord, they're a joy to read... "RIP Tom, thank you for making us all believe in magic. You are an inspiration."
Another sneered "Dear idiots, you know there's a difference between fiction and reality, right?"  Ah, go boil yer head.

Where did Thomas Riddle grow up?

Well I guess we shouldn't expect too much, Potter the boy who fell off the back of a broom

In the Half Blood Prince we see how a neglected, loveless beginning in Wool’s orphanage, led Tom to a desire for domination and punishing people. Dumbledore could have perhaps shown him love and developed him much like he did for his counterpart, the unloved, parentless cupboard-dweller Harry, but he didn’t.

The name "Thomas" is the Greek form of the Aramaic name Ta'oma’, which meant "twin". Both Harry and Tom grew up unwanted & bullied & were half-bloods. If they lived in Edinburgh they might both well have been sorted into a house at George Heriot’s school, a school for poor and fatherless ‘bairns’ (kids). But Rowling has said Voldemort being a literal relative of Harry would be a bit "Star Wars".

By the time Dumbledore arrived at the orphanage to invite Tom to Hogwarts he was too far along. A loving relationship was impossible because Tom was compelled to withdraw to avoid the shame of Dumbledore’s disapproval. It’s hard to like those who distrust and dislike us, so in time Tom came to despise Dumbledore.

Rowling said everything would have been different if Tom’s mother Merope had survived and raised him herself, she says ‘love wins’.

Dumbledore is, on this occasion, a mentor by counter-example. If we treat everybody as precious, even those who have wronged, or we disagree with, then we do not drive people to become twisted in their hatred of us or our values.

Potter's touched in the head, I've seen more liveliness in Merlin’s saggy left testicle.

At Hogwarts Tom found his world. Disowning his Muggle past, Tom embraced a new identity. How is Tom’s Wizard supremacist name pronounced?

Hold your Hippogriffs! Potter's not the swiftest wand in Ollivanders.

Rowling pronounces it "Voldemoor", but she confessed she is the only one in the whole world. In JK Rowling's smash hit play The Cursed Child all the character's pronounce his name properly.

In the Chamber Of Secrets we learn that Tom Marvolo Riddle, a half blood like Harry, chose to turn his back on his Muggle side and embrace his wizard heritage declaring 'I am Lord Voldemort', which is in fact an anagram of his original name.

To preserve this anagram in the foreign translations his middle name had to change. In Iceland: Tom Trevor Delgome, perhaps Neville Longbottom's toad had a duel identity, he did go wandering a lot. Norway: Tom Dredolo Venster, half of 'dread' it sounds suitably ominous, France: Tom Elvis Jedusor, nobody can beat the French.

Except perhaps the Spanish translation, Neville's toad, which he's always losing, was translated as a turtle. "Which surely makes losing it rather more difficult" - JK.

Perhaps an interesting thing to ask about when chatting to Harry Potter fans who read them in translation.

It's a wonder Potter hasn't poisoned himself. We can all be thankful that delight awaits.

Voldemort spent his whole life striving to conquer the ‘idiot humiliation‘ of death. He slaughtered a unicorn to try and restore himself. Broke into the Chamber of Secrets riding on the back of Quirrell's head to steal Philosopher's Stone & win immortality.

The saga is driven by Tom's thirst for eternal life, a deliberate contrast to Dumbledore's attitude “To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.”

Can you guess Voldemort’s Boggart, the wardrobe dwelling creature that takes the shape of a witch's or wizard’s worst fear?

You think Voldmor feared Harry? He hated Dumbledore’s pawn perhaps, but mostly he was puzzled by him.

Dumbledore was a powerful adversary, the champion of liberalism, to be managed and outmaneuvered. He left Tom's boots quake free.

Himself as a corpse. He most fears death - “Vol - de - mort”, French for theft of death. Ferocious matriarch Molly Weasley’s Boggart is the death of a family member.

If Voldemort stood in front of the Mirror of Erised - which translates to “I show not your face but your heart’s desire” what would he see?

He would see “himself all-powerful and eternal. That's what he wants." - JKR

Rowling intended a literal lesson to all readers with the mirror of ERISED, and Dumbledore’s caution ‘it does not do to dwell on dreams Harry and forget to live’. What does this mean in your life?

To my mind the most unusual things about Voldemort is he had empathy.

General Tagge: But that's impossible! How will the Emperor maintain control without the bureaucracy?
Governor Tarkin: The regional governors now have direct control over their territories. Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battle station.
[ the Deathstar ]

Powerful line Fear. But Fear - where's the subtly? Where's the finesse?

Voldemort mastered people through empathy, preying on their fears and desires. In the Order of the Phoenix this heightened skill is called Legimency, the ability to reach in and decode peoples' minds; uncontrolled emotions render targets an open book.

But Tom's empathy is clearest in the Chamber of Secrets, when Tom Riddle's diary learns Ginny Weasley's secrets as she confides in it. It uses her fears and desires and shame to manipulate her.

In some respects it's similar to how The One Ring allows Sauron to look into Frodo, but Riddle's diary is more fully developed with the idea pivotal to the plot.

Whose diary was Tom's diary inspired by?

JKR: "My sister used to commit her innermost thoughts to her diary. Her great fear was that someone would read it. That’s how the idea came to me of a diary that is itself against you. You would be confiding everything to pages that aren’t inanimate."

Rowling's mother loved to read, their childhood cottage was stuffed with books. In fact one of Rowling's relatives was a reader for a publisher, and the Rowlings received yet-to-be published manuscripts from her.

One of Rowling greatest regrets is never telling her mother she had begun Harry Potter, and that she was never lived to see her success.

Not to our knowledge. She entertained her sister with stories and hungered for a large family like the Weasleys. She had a school friend with a large family, so Rowling had no illusions, the poverty of the Weasley family is based on her friend's situation.

Rowling liked to invent games and play them with her sister Di, who she bullied if she didn't play them to her satisfaction. She said a larger family would be more people to boss around.

Voldemort is “the one wizard who went as bad as you can go”. He has refined methods of torture and kills casually; he is without remorse. Can you tell me which tree his wand is taken from?

His wand, matched to him by Ollivander, is made of Yew, whose sap is poisonous and fatal to humans, it is supposed to endow it’s possessor with the power of life and death. Yew wood continues to be poisonous after a tree has died. There’s a circle of growthless ground surrounding his grave, perhaps Tom was buried with his wand.

Was Harry's wand. He shared a wand core with Tom, a Phoenix feather from Fawkes' tail. But Rowling's choice of wood was a deliberate contrast to Voldemort's wand. Rowling said "European tradition has it that the holly tree (the name comes from ‘holy’) repels evil".

She said that wands of Holly are matched to wizards "engaged in some dangerous and often spiritual quest"

Dumbledore's, Voldemort's and lastly Harry's wand, The Elder wand, also known as the Death stick, was allegedly made by Death and much like Frodo’s ring it chose it's owner. It is generally of opportunistic temperament choosing the wizard who has the greatest power. Ultimately it chose Harry over Voldemort. Harry had love, love wins.

‘Wand of elder never prosper’ is a witch saying, echoing a line from the Wiccan Rede, 'Elder is the Lady's Tree, burn it not or cursed ye be!’. Wiccan’s believe cutting Elder enrages the Mother Goddess, provoking her to seek vengeance.

More delightful commentary on the Elder Wand can be found in Rowling's "Tales of Beedle the Bard", a book every Potterhead must read.

Tom’s mother was from an ancient pure blood wizard family the Gaunts. Who in particular did they like to marry?

Nobody much liked Tom's mother Merope, not even her own father. She drugged Muggle Tom Riddle snr, the love of her life, with a love potion. She was a black sheep.

You lost a Galleon and found a knut. -145 points.

Great sizzling dragon bogies, how is it possible to be this hopeless?

Their cousins, to keep their bloodline pure. Prince Charles’ ears anyone?

Violence flourished through the generations due to their habit of marrying their own cousins, Tom believed ‘Magic is Might’.

Tom murdered his grandfather, a bovine-brained Muggle. What was his grandfather’s job?

Your body should just quit, pointless sloshing around those dungbrains all day.

He was the Squire of Little Hangleton, meaning a village leader and possibly a member of parliament, thus all answers are arguably valid.

‘Tomos’, is Ancient Greek for "slice" or "piece", when Tom killed his grandfather he sliced his soul in half.

Tom murdered an MP. Don’t do this at home kids.

If I was you I’d chop that Dunderhead right off, save you a great deal of trouble and embarrassment.

You’ve made a pilgrimage to the resting place of the worst wizard of modern times, perhaps we should learn some Dark Magic. How many forbidden curses are there?

Ordinarily I’d suspect you were under control of the Imperius Curse, but no Legilimency can penetrate a bone head.

  1. Instantaneous death “Avada Kedavra!” - ”Ave-a Cadaver”
  2. Excruciating pain “Crucio!”
  3. Total control “Imperio!”

Outlawed by the ministry of magic, to maintain civilisation. Punishable by trial before the Wizengamot. Sentence of life in Azkaban. Voldemort knows them like the inside of his eyelids.

Harry Potter however was hopeless. At the battle of the Department of Mysteries he was unable to effectively cast the Cruciatus Curse on Bellatrix Lestrange, despite his fury with her for the murder of his beloved godfather. Harry lacked the desire to cause pain for its own sake.

Once again Potter proves the value of a cauldron with holes, you fill him with valuable ingredients and they just shoot straight out.

Tom spent his summers at Wool’s orphanage London. Where’s Tom’s favourite station?

Tom was born in 1905. He was killed by Harry in 1998. His broken and mutilated soul is now trapped in the Limbo* of King’s Cross station for all eternity, waiting for a train-on, that never comes. Your standard London commute. King’s Cross also launched him to the only home he ever knew.

*Limbo derives from the Latin “limbus”, meaning "edge, border". So in Latin "in limbo" would mean "in a condition of neglect or oblivion".

Rowling studied Classics at university, find out more about the saga's grounding on a tour.

What can we expect? Of a boy too solid to apparate a meter.

Potter, some words of advice, don't leave anything behind. The only way you're coming back next year, is as somebodies' pet. It's perhaps fortunate that Longbottom's always losing his.

Well I think it is often the case that the biggest bullies take what they know to be their own defects, as they see it, and they put them right on someone else and then they try and destroy the other and that's what Voldemort does.  -  JKR

So you made an event out of it.
Tut, tut, I suppose you think you’re clever now Mr Potter?

There's more. There's better.
Edinburgh is JK Rowling's home, Harry Potter is in the rock, the magical world opens up down every twisted alley. Transmute your passion into an experience, come on a loving Potter tour. Or...

The Elephant House

While you’re near retire for a restorative hot chocolate or expresso in Rowling's fondly remembered Elephant House cafe. They even have a Fleur's Fantasy tipple which is just how you imagine, expensive but dreamy.

Victoria Street inspiration for Diagon Alley? Is 3 minutes walk through the bottom gates of the Kirkyard or at the weekend back out the slideshow entrance & down Candlemaker Row - Victoria Street looks most convincing from the bottom looking up.


We have free council wifi in the Old Town: EdiFreeWiFi

Watch 2 dozen Mary Poppins sail from the sky and defeat the darkest wizard of our age at the London Olympics opening ceremony. They do in three minutes what took Harry 7 years.

There was a genteel tap of the knocker and the musical voice asked, again, ‘Where do vanished objects go?’ ‘Into non-being, which is to say, everything,’ replied Professor McGonagall.
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows

Voldemort is in us all.

Not booked a tour yet?

Galloping gargoyles! Voldemort demands his name is the French Voldemor
Art Credits

Voldemort reborn by Dylan
Christian Wallenius fabulous lairy badger.



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