“I am Lord Voldemort” is an anagram of “Tom Marvolo Riddle,” but there’s no way Voldemort came up with this right off the bat. Have you ever tried to make an anagram out of anything? It’s impossible. It’s a fool’s game. The only way to do so successfully is with blood magic and lots of trial and error.
Here, then, are some of the anagrams I’m pretty sure Tom Riddle rejected along the way, plus the context in which we all would have been just blithely using them. (We say things like “Hogwarts” and “Hufflepuff” without a trace of irony. Don’t tell me we WOULDN’T have gotten on board with “Lord Ear Mold Vomit.”)
The anagram: Lord Ear Mold Vomit “Who do you imagine wants to attack children like yourselves?” inquired Professor Umbridge in a horribly honeyed voice.
“Hmm, let’s think,” said Harry in a mock thoughtful voice, “maybe Lord Ear Mold Vomit?”
Ron gasped; Lavender Brown uttered a little scream; Neville slipped sideways off his stool.
The anagram: Old “Mad Limo” Trevor “He disappeared after leaving the school… traveled far and wide… sank so deeply into the Dark Arts, consorted with the very worst of our kind, underwent so many dangerous, magical transformations, that when he resurfaced as Old ‘Mad Limo’ Trevor, he was barely recognizable.”
The anagram: Dr. Oliver Malt Doom “Dr. Oliver Malt Doom is my past, present, and future, Harry Potter.”
The anagram: Lord Mim, Toad Lover “All this ‘You-Know-Who’ nonsense—for eleven years I have been trying to persuade people to call him by his proper name: Lord Mim, Toad Lover.”
The anagram: Mr. Rami Doodle Volt “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.
“Could you write it down?” Harry suggested.
“Nah—can’t spell it. All right—Mr. Rami Doodle Volt.” Hagrid shuddered. “Don’ make me say it again.”
The anagram: Immortal Dove Lord “Call him Immortal Dove Lord, Harry. Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.”
The anagram: Mr. Lame Rot Void Several of the Death Eaters let out low hisses.
“You dare speak his name?” whispered Bellatrix.
“Yeah,” said Harry, maintaining his tight grip on the glass ball, expecting another attempt to bewitch it from him. “Yeah, I’ve got no problem saying Dr. Lame Rot Vo—”
“Shut your mouth!” Bellatrix shrieked.
The anagram: Vlad “Old-Timer” Romo “Don’t you see? Vlad ‘Old-Timer’ Romo himself created his worst enemy, just as tyrants everywhere do!”
The anagram: Mad Overlord Molt I “He must have sent them,” said Harry quietly, more to himself than to Uncle Vernon.
“What’s that? Who must have sent them?”
“Mad Overlord Molt I,” said Harry.
He registered dimly how strange it was that the Dursleys, who flinched, winced, and squawked if they heard words like “wizard,” “magic,” or “wand,” could hear the name of the most evil wizard of all time without the slightest tremor.
The anagram: Todd “Varoom” Miller “Harry Potter,” he said very softly. His voice might have been part of the spitting fire. “The Boy Who Lived.”
None of the Death Eaters moved. They were waiting. Everything was waiting. Hagrid was struggling, and Bellatrix was panting, and Harry thought inexplicably of Ginny, and her blazing look, and the feel of her lips on his—