Throughout the Harry Potter films, we've gotten to see glimpses of Voldemort during various stages of his weird, non-linear degeneration into a demented, serpentine, less-than-human being.
To name just a few of his many memorable moments: There’s the unicorn-blood-slurping cloaked wraith from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001), the rather debonair Tom Riddle from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), and the revolting, feeble skeleton baby from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005).
By 2010's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Voldemort had thankfully settled into one of his more normal corporeal forms (albeit a nose-less one). He also apparently made time in his busy schedule of malice and murder to pay a visit to Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions, as he flaunted a well-tailored set of black wizarding robes for most of the series' two-part conclusion.
As the action ramps up and Harry, Ron, and Hermione race to discover and destroy Voldemort’s Horcruxes, you may or may not have noticed that the villain himself starts to look increasingly disheveled.
It turns out that Voldemort didn’t just forget the incantation for the Scouring Charm (it’s Scourgify, by the way) or decide to embrace a grunge-chic look for fun. Instead, Digital Spy reports that the costume designers intentionally made Voldemort’s robes shabbier as the film progressed.
Wizarding World explained in an Instagram post that “Voldemort’s robes faded in color every time a Horcrux was destroyed, to give the impression he was slowly fading away.” It’s quite a clever instance of the old writing adage “Show, don’t tell.” After all, it would’ve been a little too on the nose (pun intended) and out of character for Voldemort to simply tell us that he didn’t feel so good.
Can’t get enough Harry Potter trivia? Here are 35 other things you might not know about J.K. Rowling’s iconic series.
[h/t Digital Spy]