It’s been awhile, I know, but it’s finally arrived. I’ve gotten my feet wet again with rereading some Harry, and now I have formulated some opinions concerning Horcruxes.
First of all, we have limited information when it comes to speculating about Horcruxes. Slughorn tells us in his memory that “‘A Horcrux is the word used for an object in which a person has concealed part of their soul’” (p 464). There is one passage that gives us the two main details about Horcruxes:
‘How do you split your soul?’
‘Well,’ said Slughorn uncomfortably, ‘you must understand that the soul is supposed to remain intact and whole. Splitting it is an act of violation, it is against nature.’
‘But how do you do it?’
‘By an act of evil – the supreme act of evil. By committing murder. Killing rips the soul apart. The wizard intent upon creating a Horcrux would use the damage to his advantage: he would encase the torn portion-‘
‘Encase? But how-?’
‘There is a spell, do not ask me, I don’t know!’ said Slughorn, shaking his head like an old elephant bothered by mosquitoes.
Here we get our only really clear information about Horcruxes: 1) through murder, the soul is naturally ripped apart and 2) a spell uses this damage to an advantage by encasing the torn part into an external object, thus creating a Horcrux. Riddle then tries to probe about creating more than one Horcrux, indicating the number seven as it’s the most powerfully magical number, and Slughorn loses his cool with the topic.
We know that Dumbledore has already destroyed one Horcrux, which was the heirloom ring from Marvolo Gaunt. We also know that another Horcrux was Riddle’s diary, which Harry himself destroyed in The Chamber of Secrets. Concerning the diary in the Second book, Dumbledore says, ‘What intrigued and alarmed me most was that that diary had been intended as a weapon as much as a safeguard’ (468). A fascinating comment – it’s been rather alarming how many times Dumbledore says things that we should be paying really close attention to. It does make me wonder about the Horcrux that was the ring – how was it used as a weapon as well as a safeguard? Oooh, I’m so curious still about Dumbledore’s withered hand…I really hope Harry asks the portrait about it.
Dumbledore clarifies a bit of information regarding how many Horcruxes he believes Voldemort possesses:
‘But firstly, no, Harry, not seven Horcruxes: six. The seventh part of his soul, however maimed, resides inside his regenerated body. That was the part of him that lived a spectral existence for so many years during his exile; without that, he has no self at all. That seventh piece of soul will be the last that anybody wishing to kill Voldemort must attack – the piece that lives in his body.’
Therefore, there are six external Horcruxes, and two of them are destroyed. Dumbledore (probably rightly) believes that two of the other Horcruxes are the objects which he stole from Ms. Hepzibah Smith: the locket (they attempted to retrieve this) and Hufflepuff’s cup. It is speculated that perhaps Voldemort used an object of either Ravenclaw’s or Gryffindor’s, but Dumbledore conclusively thinks only one may have been found and used, as he is almost confident that the sixth Horcrux is actually Voldemort’s snake, Nagini. The fifth Horcrux seems to be the one that holds the most ambiguity from what we read here.
A question that weighed on my mind while reading this information was also posed to Dumbledore by Harry:
‘Does Voldemort know when a Horcrux is destroyed, sir? Can he feel it?’ Harry asked, ignoring the portraits.
‘A very interesting question, Harry. I believe not. I believe that Voldemort is now so immersed in evil, and these crucial parts of himself have been detached for so long, he does not feel as we do. Perhaps, at the point of death, he might be aware of his loss … but he was not aware, for instance, that the diary had been destroyed until he forced the truth out of Lucius Malfoy. When Voldemort discovered that the diary had been mutilated and robbed of all its powers, I am told that his anger was terrible to behold’
Ms. Rowling is giving us a firm view that Voldemort does not know when one of his Horcruxes is destroyed. A question I think we’re all wondering is this: if You-Know-Who found out that the diary was destroyed, what prevented him from creating another Horcrux to replace it soon after?
I heard a speculation off an editorial on Mugglenet that intrigued me: Harry is one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes. Now wait! Wait! Claire, I can sense you being riled up with some form of counter-attack to this ;). Though I do not believe it very likely, as Voldemort had set out to destory Harry, and thus he’d have a cadaver as a Horcrux, there is still something significant about their connection that is more that what we’ve read so far. It has been reaffirmed throughout the books subtly that there is an odd, murky connection between Harry and his scar and Voldemort. Particularly when we remember Voldemort possessing Harry in the Ministy of Magic much in the same way that he possessed Nagini when Nagini attacked Mr. Weasley – Voldemort was controlling Nagini, and he was trying to control Harry in the Ministry, but Harry’s defence was love, and Voldemort had to reliquish his attempt of control.
Another issue that needs further clarification is Harry’s scar. In The Chamber of Secrets, Dumbledore tells Harry that he believes that some of Voldemort’s powers were transferred to him when the curse rebounded (CoS 245), and my number one question to that particular fact is this: is it normal that powers are transferred during curses? My instinct tells me no, as there has been no other indication anywhere that this is normal.
It sounds more like there are two different things going on – the killing curse itself, and another spell…most likely the spell to create a Horcrux. Let us reread Dumbledore’s interpretation of Voldemort’s first downfall:
‘However, if my calculations are correct, Voldemort was still at least one Horcrux short of his goal of six when he entered your parents’ house with the intention of killing you.
‘He seems to have reserved the process of making Horcruxes for particularly significant deaths. You certainly would have been that. He believed that in killing you, he was destroying the danger the prophecy had outlined. He believed he was making himself invincible. I am sure that he was intending to make his final Horcrux with your death.’
This is what I pose to be the situation, and I believe that there is ample evidence to support this theory: Harry and his scar are a remnant of not only the killing curse that rebounded, but also the attempted Horcrux on Harry. We know a spell is needed to make the killing to the advantage of the murderer. Assuming that it needs to be thought out beforehand (which is reasonable) and plans made for it, the spell must be started before the murder in order to indicate which external object will encase the ripped part of the soul, then the murder takes place, the final part of the spell is said to complete the process to make a Horcrux. Indeed, it isn’t much different than the spell that is used to create a body for Voldemort in the Fourth book: take the part when Wormtail has to give a part of himself – he says part of the spell, does the action, then continues to finish it. However, in Voldemort’s case with Harry, he starts the spell, but it is left unfinished. My brother speculates that Voldemort is using his wand as a Horcrux, which is a very valid speculation. I take a twist on it – perhaps he was going to make his wand the Horcrux from Harry’s murder, which could explain how powers were transferred. We have been told that Harry’s scar is not just any ordinary scar…is it a mark of an attempted Horcrux? Or, to venture into unknown territory, did Voldemort still perform the murder, only it ended up being himself instead of someone else?
In conclusion, I believe that there is some sort of connection between Harry’s scar and the Horcruxes, but I do not know what that connection could truly be. If somehow Harry himself is the connection to the Horcruxes, it would explain a great deal, and confirm my expectation that Harry will have to die (in some capacity) in order for Voldemort to be destroyed. I figure I was right about Dumbledore dying in this book, I can’t be too far off with this theory. It’s a classic myth, right? Self-sacrifice?
The question becomes not necessarily what is the Horcrux, but how.