Guest Post: A Quest/Test Horcrux/Hallows Theory

‘Arrabella Figg’ has written me with an idea of how to understand the Deathly Hallows in relation to Riddle’s Horcruxes. She writes:

The Horcruxes are Harry’s QUEST:

Through finding and destroying the Horcruxes, Harry reduces Tom Riddle to his last soul fragment, within Lord Voldemort himself. By completing his mission to find them, Harry masters and defeats the Dark Lord.

The Hallows are Harry’s TEST:

By choosing to not pursue the Hallows, or use them once he has them for personal gain, Harry masters himself, and proves himself “the better man” of King’s Cross.

[I believe Harry received the Ring only at the end, lest he be tempted under duress to “call up” dead Dumbledore for answers. Harry needed to work through his choices on his own. Beyond King’s Cross, Harry continues to prove himself the better man by giving up the Elder Wand and Ring (which don’t belong to him by right of inheritance), letting the Hallows remain obscure legend.]

Horcrux / Hallows Equations:

Horcruxes = Quest → Mastery of Voldemort = Defeat of Dark Lord and wizarding world division

Hallows = Test → Mastery of Self = “Better Man”, Gryffindor/Slytherin Angrogyne

John talking: I like the Quest-Test Theory both because it is catchy and because it suggests that the Hallows weren’t just an arbitrary plotting device, as very good friends suggested to me over breakfast one day in San Francisco.

Your thoughts?


  1. Wow! That is elegant!

  2. Arabella Figg says

    What a lovely surprise to see this, John. Thanks!

  3. Red Rocker says

    See, I love the quest/test idea. And I do think there is textual support for it. Problem is, I don’t think that JKR built up to it adequately. And once having introduced it, didn’t work it to its full potential.

    She hardly worked it at all.

    Think about it. When does Harry formally hear about the Hallows? Chapter 21 of book 7? When does he formally renounce his weird obsessive longing with them? Chapter 24 of the same book?

    I think that the Hallows are Dumbledore’s thing – his backstory, if you will. Even though Dumbledore makes a big thing about Harry’s worthiness to be the posessor of the Hallows, they are not a big part of Harry’s story. Think of it like this: the Hallows are part of Death’s bet with the three brothers. Harry doesn’t bet with Death: he walks right past him.

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