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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 7)

No. I take that last bit back. He definitely asks Slughorn HOW one splits one's soul, and Slughorn tells him there is a spell. Since he's just committed three s one can see why he is interested in the possibility of multiple splitting. I mean, why not get the most mileage out of it?

Posted by Elizabeth from Australia on January 29, 2007 12:30 AM

At the end of Book 2, when Dumbledore's explaining his theory of why Harry is a parselmouth, he says that when Voldemort tried to Harry, he transferred some of HIMSELF to Harry. In other words, Harry is a Horcrux! He must in order to Voldemort, which supports the prophecy in Book 5.

Posted by Susan from Denver, CO on January 29, 2007 11:30 AM

Um, no. Harry isn't a horcrux, and can't be. I doubt any horcrux would have the , if it had brains, to rebel against its master. Plus, the transfer that occurred that night in Godric's Hollow was only the result of the powerful Avada Kadavra curse backfire. I doubt Voldemort would choose to make Harry a horcrux before he realized how powerful he was, so therefore, after the ing curse backfire, Voldemort had no body with which to conduct the horcrux transplant, and thereafter in the story Harry would be fully aware if someone's soul was being planted in him.

Posted by Koby from New Jersey on January 29, 2007 1:38 PM

Elizabeth, perhaps the U.S. version is different but in my book, Slughorn says that you split your soul by commiting . When the Riddlett asks him how to remove and implant the piece of soul in another object is when Sluggy says there was a spell he claimed not to know.

Posted by Kevin from Wisconsin on January 31, 2007 05:54 AM

The Horcrux (plural) are 'anchors' for Voldemort's soul. ie, when he s at Goderick's Hollow his soul fragment is free floating and carries out the adventures we know of from the prior books it is kept here. All of the above comments and article pretty much agree on that premise.

So!? How come the reverse is not true? Why don't the other Horcruxes protect each other? When the diary and the Ring are 'destroyed' as Horcruxes why don't their soul fragments float about like the one from voldemort? Is there some 'majority shareholder' principle at work here? is there 'an original soul' from which the others are detached? If it is 'split' are these not seperate co-equal parts? Is a 'new body' the same thing as a manufactured Horcrux? Does the 'new body' mean that when it is destroyed it won't float free because a 'new body' is really a walking horcrux?

Posted by Charlie Tarbox from Gettysburg, Pa on January 31, 2007 5:54 PM

You are quite right, Kevin. Slughorn does tell Tom that splits your soul. The spell is only to create the horcrux, to enclose the soul in something. Sorry; abbreviated too much.
I think perhaps the act of creating the horcrux is even worse than the . One can imagine instances where a er might repent, but once having made that choice to enclose the torn portion of soul, there is no possible redemption. Which is why Slughorn tells Tom that it would be better to be . Endless life at the price of your soul... now where have we heard that before? Dr Faustus anyone? This is why it is impossible that anyone like Dumbledore would have a horcrux. I'll go that far: impossible.

Posted by Elizabeth from Australia on February 1, 2007 06:34 AM

Charlie, I think that even though the pieces from a destroyed Horcrux are not themselves destroyed, I also don't think they can "move on" unless the remaining soul also can pass on. As it seems possible that Morty is the first wizard to make more than one Horcrux, it may be imposible to predict from what is known about them how multiple Horcruxes interact, if at all.

Posted by Kevin from Wisconsin on February 1, 2007 07:54 AM

I think that Dumbeldore has a horcrux as well as Voldemort. I believe that even harry may have unknown Horcruxes of his own that his parents may have set aside for him in case he is destroyed by Voldemort in at a further date. Voldemort is not the only one with horcruxes. Harry and/or Dumbeldore has one and those be discovered in the novel.. I can not wait to get my hands on the coveted pages of that book.

Posted by Carrie from detroit Michigan on February 1, 2007 1:42 PM

After reading Kevin's article, which explains the concept of the Horcrux and the splitting of ones soul perfectly, I really doubt that either Dumbledore or harry have Horcruxes. Basically, they are just too evil. I could imagine Dumbledore as a phoenix himself, which would allow him to be reborn, but I've apready postd that thought a few times onthis site.

However, in response to the last post, I have to say that I can't imagine any parent splitting their child's soul in two for any reason. It seems so cruel.

Posted by Heather from NJ on February 1, 2007 6:52 PM

I think you are right there, Heather. Can't imagine James or Lily doing it. Besides, while the Dementors can destroy your soul, I have the impression that splitting your soul is something that you have to do yourself. It can't be done for you. Morally that is something you would have to decide for yourself, not have forced upon you. I think creating a horcrux is like setting the mutilation of your soul in concrete. Once you do it, there's no turning back. It's forever with no possibility of redemption. To put it bluntly, we're talking eternal damnation here, I suspect.
So no; Dumbledore would never have made a horcrux. As he says; "There are worse things than ."

Posted by Elizabeth from Australia on February 2, 2007 04:30 AM

To go back to something waay back on the first page, there are really no hard facts proving that Voldemort must have learned how to create a Horcrux only after he left Hogwarts (not that there are any saying that he didn't*). This is mainly a rebuttal of the main essay's take on this theory rather than of the theory in general.

I could be wrong, but I believe that somewhere in HBP, Dumbledore said that Voldemort had lost most of his interest in exterminating mudbloods and muggles. This would probably support the theory that he created the diary Horcrux while he was a teenager, unless of course, he made the diary when he was 16, infused it with his memories, learned to make Horcruxes AFTER he leaves Hogwarts, and (if he's even still interested in ing muggles at this supposed time) makes his old diary into a Horcrux.

There are several reasons why this second theory is a bit dodgy, even ignoring good ol' Occam's Razor. First off, why would Riddle bother making a Horcrux of his teenage self at the height of his power? Certainly his current form would be much more wily, knowledgeable and capable than he was as a teenager! Secondly, Voldemort would have to be pretty foolhardy to risk a piece of his soul to a few muggle-born students, especially when he's got so much at stake. Why wouldn't he just wait until he gained full control of the wizarding world until he implemented his genocidal plan? It's not like half-trained muggle-borns even pose enough of an immediate threat to merit such attentions, anyway. At the height of his power, Voldemort would be better off using pieces of his soul to infiltrate the Order of the Phoenix or the Ministry of Magic, not some piddly underage students. Finally, all the Chamber of Secrets held was a basilisk. Sure, a basilisk can wreak a lot of havoc and it has the benefit of being controllable by a parselmouth, but if Voldemort wanted to release a basilisk in a school, he probably wouldn't need to mastermind a convoluted plan that involves putting a portion of his soul at stake. Once again, he'd be better off carting over one of those African disease-jaguars-things (or something similarly ly) and just releasing it on school grounds while the children of his prewarned followers sit tight at home.

I really don't see a reason why Voldemort couldn't have mastered the art of Horcrux-making during his time at Hogwarts. Rapid learning seems more plausible than the alternative, at least. After all, we're talking about the guy who learned how to do crazy magic long before he even got a wand.

*Dumbledore's speculation is still mere speculation.

Posted by Christine from Vancouver on February 2, 2007 05:14 AM

The diary was the diary before it was a Horcrux. It did not have a piece of his soul in it until Morty turned it into a Horcrux. Morty didn't risk a piece of his soul to a few muggle-borns, Lucius did. (he couldn't have know what it was or he would have done the ritual to bring back Morty years ago...if he is indeed a better wizard that Pettigrew)
I really can't think of any other way to make myself any clearer. YES, much of what I wrote is just speculation based on the books.

Posted by Kevin from Wisconsin on February 2, 2007 06:42 AM

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