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  1. #1
    First Year Ravenclaw
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    The First War

    I'm getting to the point in a WIP in which I need to go through the First War rather exhaustively. We know so little about this time period, and I need to fill the gap.

    What might have been the nature of Voldemort's first rise to power? How long would it have taken before the world became aware something was wrong?

    How close would he have gotten to the kind of power that he achieved in DH?

    What kind of events would have marked his rise to power, aside from the obvious disappearances?

    I'd be grateful for any thoughts.

  2. #2
    Wembricken
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    Hi Poetically!

    I'm in the process of writing a First War fic myself and also found myself wondering the same things you are.

    What might have been the nature of Voldemort's first rise to power? How long would it have taken before the world became aware something was wrong?

    Everything in the books seems to indicate that the very worst years of Voldemort's First War were in the second half of the 1970s - while the Mauraders were in their later years at Hogwarts, and then after they had graduated. Yet, in PS, Dumbledore says that the wizarding world has had precious little to celebrate for eleven years, implying that Voldemort really started to become well known by 1970.

    Much of the early 1970s would have seen Voldemort consolidating his power. Initially, this did not likely include such bold actions as making important people disappear, but Voldemort would have be building his power in other ways. Look at history's slew of revolutionaries for inspiration. Perhaps he was writing and speaking, spreading the word of the purity of blood and the dirtiness of everything Muggle in order to gain more followers. Perhaps he was accruing financial backing from the wealthy pureblood families of the time.

    So, although Voldemort may not at first have been known by name, his actions were having an impact that people are noticing by 1970. His increasing boldness would have made itself evident in a number of ways, even if he wasn't directly controlling this. For example, in the Second War we saw with Aberforth and the Hog's Head that the trade in dark objects and potions was flourishing - this is something we might see in the First War too, as the wizarding underworld (the likes of Knockturn Alley and so forth) become more confident with the increasing boldness of Voldemort. Another example, those stirred to action by Voldemort might take it upon themselves (or, alternatively, at his request) to bait or even attack Muggles or Muggle sympathizers. This sort of increasingly dark cloud that hung over the wizarding world would have been creeping at first, hardly noticeable (except for the likes of Dumbledore) - until, looking back, it suddenly becomes so clear as to how different things were from even a few years previous.

    How close would he have gotten to the kind of power that he achieved in DH?

    Although the power that Voldemort had in the Second War was near absolute, I don't think the First War was that much different. In the Second War, of course, that power was official because Voldemort was, effectively, the Ministry itself. But although the Ministry never technically fell during the First War, I get the impression that it was near powerless by 1981, at the height of Voldemort's reign. If Voldemort could so easily get to and kill members of what should have been a secret order (Order of the Phoenix), then accessing troublesome Ministry officials should have been child's play. Had it not been for Harry, I think most of the wizarding world saw the end in sight, saw little that would have stopped Voldemort from taking absolute power. In my own fic, I depict this by having the Ministry go through seven different Ministers for Magic over the course of the 1970s - not always through assassination, but simply because each was as ineffective against Voldemort at the last.

    What kind of events would have marked his rise to power, aside from the obvious disappearances?

    I sort of began to answer this with your first question. An increase in the dark magic black market might be one thing, or in illegal meetings to discuss dark magic. Other things to consider - aside from the obvious disappearances - would be a mushrooming of espionage, with Voldemort setting up spies within all sorts of organizations: the Ministry, Gringotts, the Leaky Cauldron, international wizarding organizations, etc. More obvious examples of his rise to power might include increasing troll or giant troubles (perhaps not initially linked to Voldemort himself), attacks on Muggles or Muggle sympathizers, attempts to stir up groups with a traditional opposition to the Ministry (such as goblins, wizarding equivalents of libertarians, etc). Voldemort did not really ally himself with any groups, I think (we know he was not very nice to goblins during the First War, for example), but that doesn't stop him from potentially trying to enlist them to serve him.

    Hope some of that helps!

  3. #3
    First Year Ravenclaw
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    Thank you so much! Your reply is wonderful and very, very helpful.

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