An observation that can make everyone watch an otherwise considered minor scene from Harry Potter: The Prisoner Of Azkaban movie again and again. A little detail that can make all of us perceive the movies (and perhaps the books) in an entirely new way. A portrait that went unnoticed (another possible Horcrux).
What if someone tells you that as early as the events in The Prisoner Of Azkaban, Voldemort resided in the walls of Hogwarts right outside the Gryffindor common room? And that he was there in plain sight being entirely undetected? If this was true, this would have given him direct intel into Harry’s life and allowed him to observe the staff and students of Hogwarts without fear of repercussion. How could that be possible?
Approximately 25 minutes into the Prisoner Of Azkaban movie, students are making their way towards their respective common rooms. Gryffindor students can be seen gathered around the portrait of the Fat Lady. This is where we notice that the portrait of the Fat Lady isn’t the only portrait in the frame, as there are also some portraits hanging on either side of the staircase. Harry, along with his fellow Gryffindors, want to share their common room password with the Fat Lady which will grant them access to the room.
But the Fat Lady at that time was preoccupied with wanting to break a wine glass by singing (horribly). In that scene, if you look towards the lower right side of the screen, you will see something you can never unsee- A portrait of Lord Voldemort. Or, at least, a figure that very closely resembles him. While the Fat Lady sings, terrorizing the other portraits (and the students) in the castle, this one portrait, in particular, is enjoying it- smiling and dancing along. Hogwarts portraits depict dead witches and wizards that have, before dying, contacted a “Wizarding Painter”- a witch or wizard who is able to immortalize them in portrait form.
“The subject of a magical portrait in sentient due to enchantments placed o the portrait by the painter. The portrait will be able to use some of the subject’s favorite phrases and imitate their general demeanor based on how the subject appears to the painter; however, they are limited in what they can say or do.”
If we take a closer look at this portrait, it resembles Voldemort in every way. It has the same black cloak, the same white color skin, which appears to be no noise and even the same head shape. Whether this is actually Voldemort or not is entirely up to viewer interpretation. It may also be possible that the portrait is of a vampire (which Voldemort resembles very closely).
The primary issue with this is that portraits depict dead people- and at this point in time, Voldemort is certainly not dead. However, Voldemort is known to practice one of the darkest sorts of magic, which results in the creation of Horcruxes. Just like Tom Riddle’s diary, where Voldemort is able to preserve a “memory” of himself that appears to be just like him in every way, there is always the possibility that Voldemort always had a secret Horcrux right inside of Hogwarts- a Horcrux that takes the form of a painting.
Voldemort began experimenting with Horcruxes at a very young age, and so it would make sense that he would immortalize himself in the finest school of witchcraft and wizardry to grace the wizarding world- the same place that his powerful pureblood ancestor Salazar Slytherin had founded. When he would have created this portrait is undeterminable, as it depicts his later, physically altered form, and not his original human-like form. However, the nature of his portrait depicting his later form would likely provide greater anonymity to the viewers and a part of the wizarding world as many did not actually know what he looked like until the second wizarding war.
This would mean that after Voldemort’s “defeat” he was still alive, spying on the students of Hogwarts for generations, always plotting and waiting to make his proper return. Although some of the people who knew what he looked like were present at Hogwarts for a good part of a year. All of them, especially Dumbledore, would have recognized Voldemort’s portrait at once unless they also thought that it was just a vampire, although this mistake on Dumbledore’s part is highly unlikely. But the possibility of the portrait being Voldemort’s and being a Horcrux placed right outside of Harry’s common room can give the creeps to anyone