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Magick Moste Evile - What is (and isn't) a Horcrux

by Kevin McDonald

A Horcrux is a container in which the witch or wizard who makes one puts a piece of their soul to keep safe in the event that their body is destroyed. A Horcrux prevents the soul from "passing on" and thereby holds the witch or wizard's consciousness earth bound. That's it. From that point on, steps would have to be taken to re-establish ones self in a body.

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Reader Comments: (Page 2)

Great article... now maybe people quit posting theories of Dumbledore or James Potter creating horcruxes. To quote Tolkien... horcruxes are "altogether evil", so no way a good guy would even consider creating one.

Posted by Sharon from California on January 17, 2007 11:30 PM

Ken -- Except that the diary was made 50 years earlier.

Posted by Kevin from Wisconsin on January 18, 2007 05:53 AM

yes, horcruxes are most evil only Voldemort have the guts to split his soul to pieces because he himself is evil. good work! this article has surely enlightened most of us on horcruxes.

Posted by nalie from Bellflower, CA on January 18, 2007 09:17 AM

In one of your postings you said harry potter's invisibility cloak might be a horcrux of james potter... but if it is so important why would dumbledore leave it with harry? i mean if it so important he would have kept it very safely... and after knowing that harry is bound for rule breaking and danger bound (i mean in his activities harry might lose it or it might be stolen or something) atleast at that point of time dumbledore should have mentioned it to harry that it is of great importance or else he should have taken it back... so the bottom line of my opinion is the chance of the invisibility cloak to be a horcrux of james potter is very very less or may be zero...

I have got a strange thought that the invisibility cloak might be a horcrux of harry potter i mean think of it harry might accidentally ed someone when he is a little boy and james potter knowing that harry is in danger of voldemort created a horcrux for harry so even if voldemort s him he might be alive again and hence james potter might have left the invisibilty cloak with dumbledore... so dumbledore gives it to harry so that even if he is ed by voldemort in hogwarts the cloak can be used to make him alive...

Posted by S.Nagesh Yasaswy from Mumbai,Maharashtra on January 18, 2007 10:44 AM

Being a father myself, I cannot imagine any circumstance where James would remove a piece of Harry's soul.

I can't believe that James would make a Horcrux, or Dumbledore would hold one for someone else.

Posted by Kevin from Wisconsin on January 18, 2007 11:42 AM

I certainly do not think that James, Lily or Dumbledore had ever made a Horcrux. It is the most evil right? They were all good people. Removing a piece of your own soul let alone someone else�s is EVIL through and through.

In addition, if for some odd reason the cloak was a Horcrux, why is James still ?

Posted by Krystal from Ottawa on January 18, 2007 5:16 PM

hi kevin, i'm sorry, but i still don't get the point why horcruxes do not get "used up".
I mean, an evil wizard creates one horcrux. when he does so, his soul is divided into two parts.
one part of the soul remains in the wizards body the other part in the horcrux.
now the wizard is ed by avada kedavra. soul and body . the soul-part in the horcrux is the only thing left. what happens now? the soul in the horcrux needs a new body doesn't it? so the horcrux-item is "empty" after the soulpart has a new body isn't it?
could you please explain...:)

Posted by pete from london on January 18, 2007 7:23 PM

Pete, I don't think someone with a horcrux (or six) is like a cat with its supposed nine lives. Say your cat gets bitten by a snake and survives, but you tell everyone she's used up a life. If that sort of thing were true the cat would be a life short. (Actually, the vet's bill was so big, we figured she'd used up several lives!) The horcrux is more like an anchor holding you to life. Using an anchor doesn't destroy it. It continues to exist and function. Not a perfect analogy, but I hope it helps.

Actually there is a terrific book by Diana Wynne Jones about a boy with nine lives. It's a hoot. "The Lives of Christopher Chant". Worth a read while you're waiting for ly Hallows.

Posted by Elizabeth from Australia on January 18, 2007 8:55 PM


Let's look at an example of a wizard with a whole soul who gets ed by AK. AK only s the body and not the soul. If there's no body for the soul to possess, then the soul "goes on."

Now with LV, he made several (6!) horcruxes as we all know. When his AK curse rebounded off of Harry, the AK curse ed his body, not his soul. Remember the line something like he was less than the meanest ghost. Doesn't that imply that piece of soul is still alive? That's because his horcruxes were earthbound, and they were keeping the rest of his soul earthbound as well. (I say earthbound for lack of a better word.) They would need to be released in order for LV's soul to "move on." I like Elizabeth's analogy to the anchor because in a way, that's exactly what horcruxes do: they anchor you to life and prevent you from going on.

So if the soul that just lost its vessel is also earthbound, then that need a new vessel. That is exactly what LV creates in GoF. His soul that was released when the AK curse rebounded on him gained a new body using dark magic (I assume its dark magic). None of the horcruxes were used up. You're thinking of Riddle's diary from CoS, but that was an odd object... I still don't quite understand that one. It was a memory and it contained part of LV's soul, and it was activated somehow. Didn't Dumbledore even say it was odd? I don't remember...

Posted by Nadia from Texas on January 18, 2007 11:58 PM

kevin, great job! I enjoyed your article. However, i respectfully dissagree about one thing---I would think that once you activate your horcrux that portion of your soul is "used up" and the vessel is no longer necessary. It doesn't make sense to me at this point that one could continue to reuse a horcrux. Maybe you (or others) can convince me otherwise.

I would think that Voldy must have told Bellatrix about his Horcruxs b/c she was adamant in his return. And yes, intructions were probably given to her (or someone else) as to how to bring one of his souls back to life. But still I would think that after that soul was reestablished in a body, and then perhaps Voldy d again, Bellatrix would need to move to the next Horcrux.

Perhaps Snape was in on Voldys secret before he switched and become loyal to DD (yes, yes, Snape is good). Maybe Snape has been helping or guiding DD in DD's quest for the Horcruxs. It does seem like DD thought Snape could help w/ the counter-curses.

Posted by Heather from NJ on January 19, 2007 07:05 AM

We base everything we say (at least on Beyond Hogwarts we do) on clues in the books. The biggest clue in the books that horcruxes don't get used up is that, through the course of the books, Voldemort has come back from several times. Yet, in book 6, Dumbeldore tells Harry Voldemort split his soul into seven peices, and there are six horcruxes to find. He never added anything like, "but you can forget about 3 of them because Voldemort already used them".

It just makes sense. Your immortal soul never s. (It's immortal!) When you , your soul leaves this earth. (Consult your respective religion to find out where it goes.) But if you have a horcrux around, your immortal soul cannot leave this earth, so as a result, you do not . The piece of your soul in a horcrux does not bring you back to life when you . It's mere presence prevents you from ing. Because that's so, it can do that as many times as you need it to.

The confusion is that Voldemort has made six of them. He did not do this because they are used up as they are used. He did this for safety, in case one (or more) of his horcruxes are destroyed by outside forces, he still has others around he can depend on.

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on January 19, 2007 07:18 AM

Let's not forget, Morty believes 7 to be the most magically powerfull number. He asks if splitting ones soul into 7 pieces (6 Horcruxes) would some how increase a wizards power. He sees his soul, not as some thing to be protected and reveared, but as just a tool he can manipulate to his own, evil ends.

Posted by Kevin from Wisconsin on January 19, 2007 07:50 AM

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