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The Baltimore Sun

Tom Riddle's daughter a Harry Potter fan

Tom Riddle is the most wicked wizard in the Harry Potter universe.

Thomas Riddle has served as the mild-mannered principal for Our Lady of Victory School in Catonsville for 21 years.

Beyond their names, they have nothing in common, said Kristen Riddle, Thomas' daughter and a Harry Potter fanatic.

"He's a pretty good guy. So, I wouldn't classify him as the worst wizard in the world," Kristen said.. "That's kind of the opposite of him."

The 22-year-old Kristen, like her father a Catonsville resident, became infatuated with J.K. Rowlings' Harry Potter series at age 12.

She grew up with the books and movies, the last of which was released Thursday at midnight with special showings around the country.

Kristen was among the Harry Potter fans at the midnight showing, but for her, the experience was not new.

She had seen the movie Monday with a friend.

"I found out right before I was able to go on Monday. I was really excited. That was the best news. I've never been able to do anything like that before, so I was thrilled."

"I loved it. I really did like it," Kristen said. "A lot of people are sticklers when it comes to changing around the book. If the story changes in the movie, they get angry.

"I like to look at it as the book is the book and the movie is the movie."

Earlier in the week, she said she has seen the midnight premier of each of the Harry Potter movies, except the first, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," and often dressed as a character from the books.

She said she believes the first in the series did not have a midnight release.

Kristen, who received a degree in business and marketing from Towson University in May, said she keeps a tally of how many times she has read each book.

Some of the books, which she would purchase after waiting for hours in line the day they were released, have 15 such marks.

The Harry Potter series struck home in the Riddle household, which also includes Kristen's twin sister, Karen, and mother, Jan, because they shared the last name of the antagonist.

"It's just funny that that would end up being the name in the book," Kristen said. "The chances of that happening and it being my dad are just so small."

Kristen's sister has read all the books, but does not have the enthusiasm for the series that Kristen has.

Their father said he never read any of the Harry Potter books partly because he's bogged down with the research-based reading he does for his job.

He said he knows little about the character with whom he shares a name besides the fact he's the bad guy.

In the series, Tom Marvolo Riddle has studied wizardry at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the school where Harry Potter would later study, and is skilled in the dark arts.

One day, the character rearranged the letters in his name to spell out "I am Lord Voldemort" and became Voldemort, Harry Potter's antagonist.

Voldemort inflicted the scar that's shaped like a lightning bolt on Harry's forehead and has battled the young wizard throughout the seven-book series.

Thomas and Kristen aren't the only ones to make a connection between their names and the character in the book.

Kristen said people make comments so often regarding her last name that no specific instances stick out.

The conversation grows when she tells them about her father's name.

Her father said he mainly receives comments when he shows his identification to a store clerk.

"I just wish I could find out how I could get some royalty," he joked. "It's been a lot of fun. It really has."

Kristen has enjoyed it, too.

"I think if I wasn't a Harry Potter fan, I might get annoyed after a while," Kristen said. "You know, it's been fun.

"I was always waiting for them to come out with a Kristen Riddle character," she added. "In the fourth book, there's a chapter called 'The Riddle House.' So I always think, that if I have anything, at least my house got a shout-out, too."

With the release of the last movie, the fun may be running out.

Her father noted that younger people, including his students, rarely make the connection.

"I don't know of very many kids, at least at my school, that pick up and read Harry Potter," he said. "I find it's mostly late teens up until 30 years old."

It wasn't always that way.

"Just him being a Catholic school principal. You have all these little kids who are reading this book, and they read that Tom Riddle is the worst guy in the world," Kristen recalled about when she was a student at Our Lady of Victory, at 4416 Wilkens Ave.

She added, "It's just really funny because I'm sure that some of them were scared for a little bit."

Kristen said she can't recall any instances of her father acting like Voldemort and is disappointed the series is ending.

"It's been such a big part of my life," Kristen said.

"That's 10 years of my life that I've had Harry Potter. It was something to look forward to.

"Now all the books are out, all the movies are out.

"Who knows? You never know what J. K. Rowling is up to these days."

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