Harry as Horcrux 101 (A): What They are, Why He is One

My new book, Unlocking Harry Potter: Five Keys for The Serious Reader, because it is published in the last days of the Interlibrum, has an unfortunate amount of speculation in it. I say “unfortunate” not because I am an Ivory Tower wonk that despises Fandom and the excitement of waiting on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; as you know, I love a good theory as much as the next Tweenie. The number of pages in Unlocking Harry Potter devoted to speculation, however, are all pages I will have to throw out in August. This book, unlike Who Killed Albus Dumbledore?, is about what Harry Potter is about, which is to say, why we love the books, why they are so good, the artistry and genius of the author, etc. The post Deathly Hallows version, sans speculation, will be the finished product — and a book that should stay in print as long as folks are reading and thinking about Harry and the attendant Potter Mania.

Having said all that, I think you can understand why my editor at Zossima Press made the painful decision to cut a speculative chapter out of Unlocking. It’s fun but it didn’t advance the purpose of the book significantly. My frenetic guesswork from 2005 about what happened in Godric’s Hollow doesn’t tell us anything essential about the Five Keys a Serious Reader wants and needs.

So I’ll post this speculative chapter here for your pleasure and reflection before Deathly Hallows appears. It comes in three parts: part 1 is just a review of Horcrux thinking, part 2 explains how Harry became a Horcrux, and part 3 answers the first reactions I got to this theory in 2005 and 2006 on my private boards. The theory is a lot simpler than the Red Hen’s brilliant explanation of the Horcrux creation/killing curse with Voldemort’s skill at possession. The advantage it has, if any, beyond simplicity, is that it makes Lord Voldemort’s wand a Horcrux, too (which would explain why he doesn’t seem to understand right away that Harry’s scar is a Horcrux). While I dread the inevitable destruction of a pet theory, I put it up here for you all to reflect on, support, or tear apart as the spirit moves you. Please pardon the references to the book of which this chapter was the last word or end cap.


Animampono Baculum: How Harry Became a Horcrux (Part 1)

“I wanted him to be physically marked by what he has been through. It was an outward expression of what he has been through inside. I gave him a scar and in a prominent place so other people would recognize him. It is almost like being the chosen one, or the cursed one, in a sense. Someone tried to kill him; that’s how he got it. I chose the lightning bolt because it was the most plausible shape for a distinctive scar. As you know, the scar has certain powers, and it gives Harry warnings. I can’t say more than that, but there is more to say.” http://www.quick-quote-quill.org/articles/2001/0301-houston-thomas.html

Cathedral: Don’t want to ruin the ending, but will we be finding out more about the significance of the shape of Harry’s scar in future books?
JK Rowling replies – The shape is not the most significant aspect of that scar, and that’s all I’m going to say!

Josh from Cottenham Village College: Right at the beginning, when Voldermort tried to kill Harry, how did Voldermort and Harry both survive?

JK Rowling replies – That is the crucial and central question and if I answered it there would be hardly any point writing books six and seven… so I won’t!

Now that we’re done with the heavy lifting, this is the best time to point out how weird what we are doing really is. Besides the rarity of having the opportunity to speculate about how a book will end, what is strange about we’re doing here, in this book, is how we’re going about our business.

There are literally thousands of Harry Potter internet web sites on which millions of fans every day read the latest news about Harry and the Potterverse. Some of these sites reflect great thoughtfulness; I think immediately of The Leaky Cauldron, Steve Vander Ark’s The Harry Potter Lexicon, Travis Prinzi’s Sword of Gryffindor, Pauli Fry’s Muggle Matters, Joyce Odell’s Redhen-publications.com, and Maline Freden’s North Tower and Daniela Teodorescu’s Two Way Mirror essays on Mugglenet.com. Other sites include those that are simply fanzines or frightening examples of unbridled media and slash fan fiction. In contrast, there have only been a handful of scholarly works published which discuss Harry Potter and all these collections of essays by academics don’t attempt to explore the series as a whole.

The reason for this scarcity of comprehensive criticism from professional literary types in our Universities is probably just prudence. We don’t have the whole series, so nothing definitive can safely be said about the books (beyond sociological reflections on Pottermania) in keeping with the empirical standards of the academy. Any one who dares risks being laughed at later.

I have tried here, though, prudence aside, to write a book that simultaneously (1) meets the need for serious critical parameters by which the series can be judged at the conclusion of the final book and (2) satisfies the curiosity of the legions of fan-readers for ideas and clues about how the books will end. My hope is that in filling the vacuum of scholarship left by University professors unwilling to leap into the breach I can also interest Harry’s avid followers in what is probably terra incognita to most (Literary alchemy? Narratological perspective? Metanarrative?) by daring to make plot-point predictions in the context of or as consequences of these ideas.

This approach is not for the squeamish.

What we are doing here is using tools that are invaluable for after-the-fact interpretation for the purpose of what-will-happen-next speculation. Outside of the wacky devices you see on late night infomercials that will gut your fish, clean your kitchen floor, and give you a killer workout for six-pack “abs,” most tools don’t do double duty. Literary alchemy and analysis of the Harry Potter books as postmodern story telling will definitely play a huge part in explaining the genius of the author and the popularity of the books when she is done. I suspect there are doctoral dissertations being prepared in anticipation on just these subjects at Universities all over the world. I kid you not.

But using these tools to figure out what might happen before the stories are all with us, that is a different story.

I’m thinking there are a couple of great reasons to share these critical approaches in Keys for the Serious Reader (check out the cover; it’s the title) before we have all the answers. Most obviously, interest is higher now than it will ever be in what the books are about and what might happen in the last installment. Any hint or news on the Harry Potter front, be it on Ms. Rowling’s website, from the production of the movies, or from her rare interviews, is immediately broadcast to a Harry-wild reading population.

I want to say, too, that, when the books are already out, we know the ending, and the show’s over except for the last few movies, what will be the glory of interpreting and dissecting the books? Sure, the millions of Harry readers will be interested, I’m sure, in the Silmarillion back story Ms. Rowling will write and the inevitable critical biographies and scholarly essays on the subject. But where is the fun and daring in that?

If the interpretative tools are really good and reveal the patterns of the book in dramatic fashion, they should also help with the speculation. Hence, all the effort we made in going through the five keys in the pages above. These interpretative tools tell us a lot about the weave of this story-tapestry.

In this chapter, though, we’re off-the-clock. I can argue all I want that Harry’s scar has to be a Horcrux because it makes him a Gryffindor/Slytherin androgyne and conductor of love. I have already argued at length that Ms. Rowling’s postmodern realism point to this possibility as well.

The problem is, these theories don’t explain how Harry’s scar could have become a Horcrux. The best the patterns can do is explain, if the scar is a Horcrux, how it’s an excellent fit with the alchemy and the themes of postmodern writers. To understand how the scar could be a Horcrux, that is, how Voldemort could have made a scar Horcrux accidentally and not even know it on the night he murdered James and Lily, you have to use different tools. Logic, grasp of canon, familiarity with how Ms. Rowling writes, etc.

Frankly, many people have told me, rightly or wrongly, that these aren’t my strengths. There are fourteen year-old girls, legions of them, in fact, who know the books and interview details better than I ever will.

Nonetheless, I want to throw off the heavy mantle of scholarly pretense here and speculate wildly on a plot point. Time to let the hair down. I want to talk only about one seemingly off-the-wall possibility, namely, that Harry’s scar is a Horcrux of Lord Voldemort’s soul.

Certainly I’m not the only person to think Harry’s scar is a Horcrux and I’m sure there are several theories about how it could have been made accidentally in Godric’s Hollow. The following theory, which I call Animampono, though, is all mine (if it has been much improved by the critical and sometimes derisive feedback from friends) and can stand or fall on its own independent of anything else I’ve written. Here’s hoping that it isn’t groundling fare for which I am forever after remembered, no matter my alchemical and other insights to these books. Certainly, if I’m wrong about the scar-o-scope Horcrux, I know the name of the albatross I’ll always wear will be ‘Animampono.’

What’s a Horcrux? How many do we know about?

Let’s do a quick review of what a Horcrux is before jumping into why Harry’s scar probably is one and how it could have been made as one. All references are to Half-Blood Prince, the Scholastic hard cover edition, unless otherwise noted.

The Horcrux, we are told in a memory of Horace Slughorn, is “the word used for an object in which a person has concealed part of their soul….[Y]ou split your soul, you see,” said Slughorn, “and hide part of it in an object outside the body. Then, even if one’s body is attacked or destroyed, one cannot die, for part of the soul remains earthbound and undamaged” (Chapter 23, pg. 497). The “horror” in Horcrux is that splitting the soul is only possible “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” by a spell into an object (Chapter 23, pg. 498).

The nightmare of Voldemort’s immortality experiments is that he has six (6) Horcruxes outside of his body for a total of seven soul fragments that must be destroyed to kill the Dark Lord.

The word “Horcrux,” assuming it is a Rowling invention, is an interesting combination of Latin and French derivations. Ms. Rowling is both a Classicist and former French teacher so this should not surprise us.

‚ÄúHor-crux‚Äù from the Latin would be “frightening or horrible‚Äù (horreo) and ‚Äúcross” (crux) inviting the interpretation as a cross founded on murdering others rather than one’s own ego concerns, in contrast to the way to immortality found in the life-saving sacrifice of Christ. The English reading from assonance (“whore cross”) suggests the meaning of the Latin.

Mugglenet.com, a popular Harry Potter internet fan site, gives this definition from the French:

The etymology of the word seems to be thus: a combination of “hors” from the French “dehors” meaning outside and “crux” meaning “essence.” Thus, a horcrux is a device for keeping your soul (the essence) outside your body.
[‚ÄúLevel 9: Mysteries Explained” section of http://www.mugglenet.com]

If the word ‚ÄúHorcrux‚Äù is a Rowling invention, the idea of encasing part of the soul or one‚Äôs essence and power into a physical object apart from the body is not an innovation in literature, folk tales, and myth. It is the backdrop of Tolkien‚Äôs The Lord of the Rings (Sauron’s ring), the heart of the story in Sir Gawaine and the Green Knight (how the Green Knight survives a beheading), the secret of Korschei the Deathless in the Firebird saga (his heart hidden in seven layers of containers), and reflects obliquely the Christian teaching on the nature of a saint’s incorrupt body at death (i.e., the grace filled power of relics).

Rowling’s brilliant spin on this literary topos or clich?© is to say the soul is “rent” by sin and “split” by the greatest of sins against love for others (their murder, physically or spiritually). Lord Voldemort, the arch villain, pursues an individual immortality apart from God and His means to our salvation (the Cross) by means of a pouring of his soul into physical objects apart from his body. In this, Voldemort is simultaneously a materialist and a dualist. He also is no longer human, as Dumbledore says, because he fails to understand the power of a human being that is whole, an integer of body and soul, and pure (cf., Chapter 23, pg. 511), which is to say, “not rent or split.”

To destroy Voldemort, then, Harry must find and destroy the four remaining Horcruxes and Lord Voldemort (if the Order has not already gathered and destroyed them) while at the same time remaining “pure of heart.” Dumbledore or Snape-Dumbledore warns Harry that, even after the Horcruxes are destroyed, “while his soul may be damaged beyond repair, his brain and his magical powers remain intact. It will take uncommon skill and power to kill a wizard like Voldemort even without his Horcruxes” (Chapter 23, pg. 509). This power, Dumbledore tells Harry, is Harry’s love.

Our clues about the possible Horcruxes have been summarized by Pat Henderson of Seattle this way (for which, “thank you, Pat!”):

We know that Slytherin’s Ring that belonged to Voldemort’s grandfather was a Horcrux and that Dumbledore destroyed it, apparently at great injury to his wand hand.

The second one was Tom Riddle’s diary from Chamber of Secrets was a Horcrux, destroyed by Harry when he plunged the basilisk fang into it.

One of the 7 pieces of Voldemort’s soul must still be inside Lord Voldemort to animate him–I don’t know if that actually qualifies as a Horcrux or not. But that takes care of 3 out of the seven that are sure things.

Moving from the realm of surety to speculation:

We suspect that one of the Horcruxes is the Slytherin necklace that was in the basin in the cave, that was replaced. We suspect that it is now the locket that was in Grimmauld Place that they found when they were cleaning–the one that no one could open. We aren’t sure where it is–still there on the shelf, hidden away by Kreacher, or thrown away by Sirius, or nicked by Fred & George or Mundungus (and now in Hogsmeade with Aberforth).

That’s four.

Helga Hufflepuff’s cup is a likely one, but we don’t know that for sure, and we don’t know where it is. If it found it’s way back to Hepzebah Smith’s family, it could be in Zacharia Smith’s house somewhere–why else have him mentioned so many times when he was such a minor character?

That is five.

Number six and seven are the problems, as we don’t really know what Harry is trying to find, nor does he.


The Tiara in the Room of Requirement that Harry put on the statue when he hid his potions book there (the one that had been Snape’s). We don’t know of anything that belonged to Rowena Ravenclaw, but as the other founders have all been mentioned, I’m sure there is something of hers that Voldemort might have got hold of and made a Horcrux. Perhaps the Tiara in the Room of Requirement is hers.

……or it could be the Tiara that is mentioned when Molly says that Aunt somebody or other will lend it to Fleur when she marries Bill. Since the Weasleys are a pure-blood family and they were all in Gryffindor House, it’s possible this could be the lost Gryffindor Horcrux. Or not.

That takes us to seven. And I’ve no idea. Harry or his scar? I don’t think so, but many people do. Gryffindor’s sword? Maybe. The Sorting Hat? Maybe.

The sword and hat both have the same sort of problem though. Both were brought to Harry to help him in the Chamber of Secrets. If part of Voldemort’s soul was neatly tucked inside already, would those items have been positive things to help Harry? And the scar seems improbable because Voldemort wouldn‚Äôt have made it intentionally.

Is there something else hidden at the Malfoy mansion? Wouldn’t surprise me, but I’ve no idea what.

Or something else in Dumbledore’s office or at Grimmauld Place or at Godric’s Hollow–I’m guessing that Harry will find something important when he goes there, not just his parents’ graves.

The only canon possibilities that Pat neglects are Dumbledore’s speculation that Voldemort used Nagini, his pet snake, for a Horcrux or that there are more than six physical objects made into Horcruxes. After concluding that the Dark Lord had been frustrated in getting the objects from all four Hogwarts Founders he wanted, Dumbledore shares his suspicion with Harry (and Voldemort):

“The snake?’ said Harry, startled. “You can use animals as Horcruxes?”

“Well, it is inadvisable to do so,” said Dumbledore, “because to confide a part of your soul to something that can think and move for itself is obviously a very risky business. 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 would certainly 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 he was intending to make his final Horcrux with your death.

“As we know, he failed. After an interval of some years, however, he used Nagini to kill an old Muggle man, and it might then have occurred to him to turn her into his last Horcrux. She underlies the Slytherin connection, which enhances Lord Voldemort’s mystique; I think he is perhaps as fond of her as he can be of anything; he certainly likes to keep her close, and he seems to have an unusual amount of control over her even for a Parselmouth.”

“So,” said Harry, “the diary’s gone, the ring’s gone. The cup, the locket, and the snake are still intact, and you think there might be a Horcrux that was once Ravenclaw’s or Gryffindor’s?”

“An admirably succinct and accurate summary, yes,” said Dumbledore, bowing his head. (Chapter 23, pgs. 506-507)

Evidence that Harry’s Scar is a Horcrux

Nagini is a possibility in Dumbledore’s mind because he is convinced that Voldemort came to Godric’s Hollow to make a Horcrux and failed. Assuming the snake Horcrux is a MacGuffin or red herring Рit would make three Slytherine Horcruxes alongside the ring and the locket Рand Ms. Rowling includes this passage as an instance of Snape/Dumbledore trying to deceive Voldemort into thinking they are clueless about Horcruxes or to make the point that Voldemort wanted to make a Horcrux after Harry’s murder, we’re left with the possibility that something went wrong with his plans that night and Harry’s scar was made inadvertently as a Horcrux.

Why does this seem so likely a possibility? Because of all the questions answered by Harry’s scar being a Horcrux. Here’s a quick list:

Doppelganger connection: Harry has an amazing link to Lord Voldemort through his scar. Until Half-Blood Prince, it acted as something of a mood ring (a mood chain-saw?) by which he could feel Voldemort’s emotional state Рjoy, anger, etc. Рor even see what Voldemort was seeing. As Cornelius Fudge noted at the end of Goblet in the infirmary wing, this scar doesn’t behave like any other sort of curse scar (“You’ll forgive me, Dumbledore, but I’ve never heard of a curse scar acting as an alarm bell before….” Goblet, Chapter 36, pg. 706).

Beyond the mood ring effect, Harry is also a Parselmouth and has strange likenesses with Tom Riddle that both Riddle’s Horcrux memory notes in the Chamber of Secrets (Chamber, Chapter 17, pg. 317) and Dumbledore confirms in his end of year meeting (Chamber, Chapter 18, pg. 333). They act the same, they have similar, rare powers, they even look alike. Dumbledore goes so far as to say out right to Harry:

“Unless I’m much mistaken, [Voldemort] transferred some of his powers to you the night he gave you that scar. Not something he intended to do, I’m sure…”

“Voldemort put a bit of himself in me?” Harry said, thunderstruck.

“It certainly seems so.” (op.cit.)

A scar Horcrux certainly answers the question of how it is that Harry and Voldemort are joined.

Sorting Hat confusion: The Sorting Hat has a hard time sorting Harry. It said when placed over his head:

“Hmm,” said a small voice in his ear. “Difficult. Very difficult. Plenty of courage, I see. Not a bad mind either. There’s talent, oh my goodness, yes Рand a nice thirst to prove yourself, now that’s interesting…. So where shall I put you?”

In effect, the Sorting Hat balks at making a decision until Harry answers its question with the thought, “Not Slytherin, not Slytherin” (Stone, Chapter 7, pg.121). If Harry’s scar contains a piece of Lord Voldemort’s soul, a soul in direct descent from Salazar Slytherin, it is little wonder the Hat seemed to have been Confundus charmed.

Dementor madness for Harry: The Dementors have an unusual taste for Harry Potter. If given a choice of targets (with the one exception of the attack in Little Whinging), they swarm to him or choose him before other possible targets. A scar Horcrux explains the preference; Harry is not just a one-souled creature, he is something of a Dementor buffet table.

Ability to Out-will Lord Voldemort in Goblet’s graveyard battle: Harry not only fights the Dark Lord to a stand still at the end of Goblet, he seems to out will him when their wand cores lock and the cage of Phoenix Song is created. I thought this was because of the effect of Phoenix Song on good guys and bad guys (cf., Fantastic Beasts, pg. 32) until Prince; now it seems clear that it was because Harry’s will and soul have a Horcrux super-charger exactly equivalent to one part that Voldemort is missing, a sum that gives Harry the edge in battles reduced to will power rather than magical skill.

It should also be recalled that the “wand chooses the wizard.” Both Harry and Voldemort have wands with Fawkes feather cores. A scar Horcrux is one explanation for why Harry’s wand chose him; the same reason Tom Riddle, Jr.’s wand chose him.

And Harry’s ability to resist the Imperius Curse in Crouch/Moody’s classroom and the Little Hangleton graveyard? It makes a lot more sense if the “voice in the back of his head” is a semi-independent soul fragment. The real Moody, Barty Crouch, Sr. (and Jr.), and Viktor Krum aren’t equal to resisting this curse except after long stretches of time. Harry would have to be something of a super-hero wizard to have this power without some kind of boost. The Horcrux scar is an obvious possibility.

Why Lord Voldemort stops manipulating Harry through their mind-link in Half-Blood Prince or allow anyone to kill him: The Dark Lord traps Harry in the Department of Mysteries in Phoenix after planting a dream image via their mind-link of this passage for the better part of a year. Incredibly, at the beginning of Prince, we learn that Harry’s scar never hurts anymore and he isn’t able to detect Voldemort’s emotions or thoughts. The man who seems to be Dumbledore tells Harry it is Occlumency.

This is either a necessary plot device to allow Harry and Dumbledore the tutorial meetings that are essential to this book’s closing events or a sign that Voldemort knows that Harry’s scar is a Horcrux. After a year of learning how to use it to look through Harry the way Harry saw the attack on Mr. Weasley, the Dark Lord can see Harry’s world in Prince without sending him into a rage like he did in Phoenix. By practicing Occlumency just as Dumbledore/Snape says!

Knowing that Harry is a Horcrux (and useful mini-cam in the camp of his enemies) is the reason Voldemort ordered his Death Eaters not to kill Harry, orders saying that, as Snape says, “Potter belongs to the Dark Lord Рwe are to leave him!” (Chapter 28, p. 603).

Harry’s ability to destroy Horcruxes when Dumbledore can’t: Harry thrusts a Basilisk fang into Riddle’s Diary Horcrux at the end of their battle in Chamber. Nothing happens to Harry and the Memory Horcrux dies in a blood red bath of ink. If we believe the Headmaster’s tale in Half-Blood Prince, it seems that Dumbledore, greatest living wizard (TM), tried to destroy the Ring Horcrux and only the combined genius of Dumbledore and Snape could save him, even temporarily.

Dumbledore/Snape says that he is “much less valuable” than Harry at the Green Bird Bath in the Cave (Chapter 26, pg. 570). Other than Harry’s ability to destroy Horcruxes, I’m at a loss to see how Harry is more valuable in the war against Voldemort than Dumbledore. The Headmaster certainly doesn’t buy into the idea that Harry is the only possible vanquisher because of the Prophecy Рexcept for how the Dark Lord has marked him “as his equal.” Harry’s scar, if a Horcrux, could explain why the booby traps set on these items do not affect him.

Or it could just be that Harry’s “greater value” is in his carrying a Scar-o-Scope through which the Dark Lord can be deceived into trusting Snape as his most faithful servant, the mistake that will create an opening for Snape to get him in the end.

How Lily’s sacrificial love saved Harry: Dumbledore explains to Harry that his mother’s love saved him and Riddle’s memory says “So. Your mother died to save you. Yes, that’s a powerful counter-charm.” But how does this wandless, wordless counter-charm work if it is cast by a person having died? That something went wrong with the Dark Lord’s death curse because of the sacrifice of Lily Potter means there may be a more satisfying explanation of how her death saved Harry, more satisfying at least than “Love conquers all.”

To be continued…


  1. John, Thanks for putting this up, as it won’t be included in the book.

    The “Physics”:
    One of the things I think is interesting about the conjecture of Harry’s scar being a Horcrux is that it has been the locus of a lot of speculation on what I would call the “psychical physics” of magic in Rowing’s Potterverse. Things of this line included speculation on what exactly happens in spell casting ‚Äì in short, what is the “physics” of magic. This has been particularly intense in the area of the AK curse. Several options have been presented as to the HOW of the big question, “if the scar is a Horcrux, how did that portion of Voldy‚Äôs soul get there?” One is your theory of the portion being in a sort of free-roaming state by having been placed in the wand; another is Red Hen’s and Swythyv’s speculation on the import of Voldy’s unique power of possession and some role of that in Horcruxing that put his soul in uniquely close proximity to Harry (I.E. IN him) when the deal went south.

    I would suggest another possibility based in what seem to me to be some of the possibilities in the texture of the images and descriptions of magic she has in the works (and I’m pretty sure I am not the only one to discuss these qualities ‚Ķ which I do not say in a defensive way, but rather in a way of “I know that all of my own thinking has not been solely to my own credit, I’m pretty sure I have read others out there with the same idea who have done a much better job at discussing it than I have, I would like to give them credit, but, at this point, my memory for ‘secondary sources’ is even worse than my memory for the ‚Äòprimary source‚Äô of canon”). If murder tears the soul, it seems me that there is something that happens with the soul at least in AK magic, that it is being torn in the very act of killing, beginning with the conscious intention and completed in the act of the will wherein one carries out that intention. We have seen that SOMETHING happens with psychic substance in the AK. The Priori Incantatem effect in the graveyard in GOF does not simply produce static and inanimate “object” records ‚Ķ it produces shades, images of the person that can speak, think and act for themselves IN THE WAY that the original person would have. I am not saying I think those to be “portions of soul” in the same way or level that a Horcrux is, which would make them unable to leave the earth, but that they are something more than mere ‚Äúrepresentation‚Äù or “record” ‚Ķ not portions of the soul itself of the murdered person, but something distinctly MADE BY psychic connection in the AK, something formed in the wand by a direct contact with the soul of the person (it may be that, within the “psychic physics” of the potterverse, which is something I think we will only ever be able to think and speak of as “implicit” or “latent” or distinctively “underpinning” unless she comes out and makes concrete statements, and even then I am of the “New Criticism” mind that says ‚Äúbeware committing the fallacy of ‘authorial intent'” and think the stuff is objectively there in the text regardless of conscious intention, but I would also say we should not slight authorial intention, that there is something to it, it may be that in order for a portion of the soul itself to be torn off so that it is “moveable” apart from the rest, that the soul has to be “prepared” for such through the internal violence of a conscious intention to commit the violence of murder and an act of the will in committing oneself to the actualizing of that violent intent in and through the act/spell itself, something a victim does not have ‚Äì even if they die with murderous thoughts in their soul, they are not making the concrete action of actualizing them). All of this seems to me to present some quality in the specific image of the AK curse wherein it involves psychic dimensions. Voldy’s commitment of himself (I.E. his person, his psyche) to a/the murder may leave the portion of soul torn off in committing the murder sort of “free-floating,” so to speak, that puts it in a position, IF the circumstances are right, to follow the magical connections with which it is “in touch” (the magical action in which one soul, Voldy, killed another person, separated their soul from their body) and attach to another physical body even without the other specifics of Horcruxing magic (the spell) being present.

    Two things present themselves to me as of interest in this regards. The first is that we have seen images of elements of the human person that have some interesting qualities. I am thinking particularly of the removal of memories from the mind (the mens, which has in much medieval thought been discussed under the heading of the “rational soul”). I think we have probably seen it most directly in Slughorn’s removal of the crucial memory in HBP but I think we have probably seen it elsewhere (but, like you, my ability for calling canon readily and concretely to mind is spotty). I think we see there a certain “elastic clinginess” in the image of the way the silver memory is pulled from the temple by the wand, indicating a certain reluctance to leave. I am not saying this is of the level, or even the nature, of violence that murder and Horcruxing is, just that we see something of Rowling‚Äôs “psychic physics” in this instance is that the images at least possibly show certain qualities of how the soul/mind enters into, or reacts or functions, in at least certain levels of magic. I think that the same sort of thing is possibly true of the soul in acts like the AK, and in particular in the way in which Harry‚Äôs received a Horcrux on his forhead (the soul is torn; the soul, like the things created by it such as memories, has an elastic and clingy quality to it – its natural tendency is to remain in the body and yearn for reunification with the rest of the soul; placing it into an object by making the object a Horcrux does further violence; unlike the case of maybe a Death Eaters murders, where the torn portion remains in-body but is prevented from re-unification by the Death Eaters own, “ill-souled-ness,” Horcruxing radicalizes the separation; in the case of the attempt on Harry’s life the body was destroyed and so no place for the fragment to reside and so it follows the magical psychical connection of the AK to the other end, to the nearest physical matter/body to reside in)

    (Aside: as far as the fact that the silvery clingy thread of memory is ONLY a memory, and not a portion of soul, I would only note that the images are “travelling together,” so to speak. I won’t go into the development of the thought in Western philosophy that notes the role of the “self” in the “formation” of “objects of knowledge,” such as concepts of things in out actual perceiving of them, and maybe even moreso for something like a memory – the statements that the world I preceive is only eever “the world” for me and how this does not necessarily undo a belief in God or the external world, partially because after five weeks of reading the likes of Wittgenstein, Husserl and Heidegger and their responses to Kant and Neitzche [for a PhD level course in “philosophy and contemporary theology”), I don’t understand it allthat well… but I do know they’re the backdrop for folks like Derrida and Lyotard, whom you have mentioned [and whom I am guessing Rowling would have smoe, at least limited exposure to], and thus I would say that I would feel comfortable in saying that Rowling’s world probably includes SOME more connection between the knower (here the soul) and the known [here the memory] than a simple statement of “here is the ‘subjetc’ and here is the ‘object’ and the two only meet mechanically and statically” as in, say, a more “naive realist” conception of things)

    The second thing is something that just came to me in thinking while reading this chapter. It seems to me like there is a connection between the specific action needed for making a Horcrux and the desired result of it ‚Äì splitting the murderer‚Äôs soul. In short: if you want to split your own soul, the action that does it is violently forcing a “soul split” on another, in the form of forcing the split, or rather separation, of the soul from body that is called death. In other words, the image seems to me (at least possibly) to contain some reciprocity: forcing that separation on another produces a separation in the one doing it. I would disagree that THE horr-ible thing in making Horcruxes is that it requires murder, but only if it is staying on that sort of mechanical level, which doesn’t seem to me to be what you were doing (I read “the” as mainly a tag of one central idea under which to encapsulate all the various shades of what is wrong with Horcruxing ‚Ķ not in the legastic manner of, “well, TECHNICALLY there would be nothing wrong with Horcruxing if it did not involve killing somebody”). The horrible thing about Horcruxes begins with the goal of the whole endeavor in the first place, destroying the unity/integrity of a human person (yourself), and from there the natural way to achieve that end is to destroy the integirty of another human person by forcing body-soul separation, forcing them to leave this world.

    The reason I find this important is that, even given the fact that not the series is not complete, that we don‚Äôt have all of the elements of the story (I was recently talking ton one friend who was recently moved to the NYC area to teach TESOL, and who has just rocketed through books 1-4 and is now on 5 pursuant to us talking, who objected “but how can you have all this speculation on a work that is not even finished yet?”), I still think there are tenets and qualities in the amount of the work that we have seen thus far that can be discussed, such as the consideration that what we have seen in the physics of magic, particularly certain levels of magic, there seem to be certain qualities to the images that present a particular way that the human soul of the wizard operates in the magic. I had one friend who, after reading book 5, was taking a rather dim view of the works. My impression was that she was doing so out of over-consideration for the feelings of a member of her family who, from what I heard, takes a very dim view of the books, but that she also was consciously trying to avoid either the reality or the perception of a “knee-jerk” fundamentalist response. Her “fall-back” and way of navigating that strait was to say “well, I won’t be able to say until the works are completely done.” In that particular situation the upshot of such a statement was “we can’t say ANYTHING decisive of the quality and tenets of the works until they are all done,” and my reaction was “true, in the last books she COULD take things in a direction radically different from what I think is in there now ‚Ķ but don‚Äôt think that this would prove the elements already I have discussed were never in there, but rather that it would be a radical re-appropriation of those elements. I think that it would be, and that we CAN justifiably SAY that it would be, a re-appropriation distinctly inconsistent with the way she has developed those elements in the first 6 books. In short, I think that we CAN say SOMETHING about the works based on what we have so far.” (I myself think it is a mark of the Christian quality of the works that the “meaning” be played out so well in the concrete details of the physics. Just as, in the Incarnation, divinity was wed to humanity, in ALL ways, including soul being wed to a body in a way much more holistic than Descartes’ ‚Äúghost in the machine,‚Äù so in good lit, what I would call “incarnational literature,” the ‘meaning’ is “en-fleshed” in the physical/material details of the texture of the images and the movement of the plot etc. Of course, the Incarnation is a mystery proper, and the same holds true for such literature as for it: we are free to probe the mystery and obligated to be edified by it, but part of being able to be edified by that wonderful mystery is having the respect of not trying to nail everything down too tightly, not strapping to this or that Procrustean bed).

    What I think is of value in all the “detective” theories is that they pay attention to what is their alreayd in the text. I think the stuff is really there and that trying to “predict the outcome” is a valid way of delving into them (I believe it is Abraham Heschel who is famous for his insight on prophecy in the old testement that prophecy is not primarily “foretelling” but “forth-telling” …. the ability to “predict the future” not coming simply from some mechanical drop of material information about what will happen, but rather the revelation that allows a glimpse into the future BY revealing the inner dimension of what is really going on in the present, a glimpse into the real logic at work in present events, and thus where that logic logically leads(. In the end I would not call any of the detective theories “wrong” … they will simply be other ways that the story could have been written based on what has already been written. They do not, for me, lose their value simply because they “did not get it right” in regards to , they have already gotten it right or wrong by virtue of how much sense they have made of the already known themes and the realtions of those themes to material action and plot (but I agree with your editor from a practical standpoint of the “staying power” of such a book, when, for good or ill, after July 21 the value of reading such a chapter will pretty much be probably be judged solely on whether it “got it right” in regards to the specifics of material plot and action … for which I cannot necessarily fault your “common reader” as you have admitted to looking forward to the day when the “speculation” phase is over and I myself did not make it through certain parts of The Hidden Key that dealt more with specific possible plot developments [but I do seem to emember something in one of the charts about Cho’s family and some possible form of martial arts involved? which I thought was interesting, but the main point is, even though she didn’t go anywahere near that in the books, unless she does in book 7, Cho WAS, I think, important at a level beyond “just some stupid teenage love thing Rowling decided to throw in for some reason, maybe to hold the attention of her hormone-riddled adolescent readers” … but more on that below – my point here is: Cho and Harry’s interaction with her does have some connection with the main themes and elements of the works] ).

    The “Whore-Cross”:

    On a first reading my gut reaction is that such a reading is not as likely ‚Ķ although not out of opposition directly to such a thing or any type of knee-jerk reaction “oh, good grief, why does everybody have to take it there?!?!” It‚Äôs more that, as I said, on an initial gut reaction it seems like a stretch.

    BUT, Rowling is a native English speaker in a developed country and could not be unaware of the “sound-alike” AND some other things hit me of how that fits in with what seem to me like a major, although latent, theme in some of the language: the perception of the feminine and feminine virtue. It really jumped off the page at me the first time I read Morphin calling Merope a “little slut” ‚Äì pretty harsh stuff for a “kids book” (although I think the series is more and more aimed as well at adolescents and I think she rides that line of what is appropriate pretty well ‚Äì her philosophy seems to me to be maintaining respect for the level of her audience while at the same time seeing that this stuff, these struggles, these instances of how rough the world can be, are out there and teenagers really experience them and go through them, so no use using “kid gloves” or not dealing with them at all).

    If you look a little further you have some interesting usages of feminine imagery that is, from our cultural vantage-point as Post-Modern Christians, interestingly ambivalent. Not only do we have some pretty “scheming” teenage girls who are not necessarily bad but we would do well to heed Hermione‚Äôs cautions about not falling into their schemes and the drastic measures they employ (IE Ramilda Vain), But no less a “holy man” tha Dumbledore himself quips jovially to Harry, “let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure” (HBP 56). The speaker‚Äôs disposition toward the person is much more clear when they say “whore” or “slut” than “temptress” but I think the diversity in images referring to “feminine virtue” shows that Rowling is encouraging the reader to re-examine their own thinking. Not that she is saying you should drop all concern for a girl or woman acting in a certain way and take everything and anything and just fine (after all, we do have one of the darkest magics known, Horcruxes, named in such a way that it resembles the word “whore”), but that we should tread carefully in such matters, with the utmost concern for fairness and truth (Interstingly, while the Rabbi’s do not use a word tied specifically to POSSIBLY negative connotations of “temptation” their stance towards the Jewish Scriptures do bear some resemblance to DD’s personification of the “flighty temptress” ‚Äì they speak of places that seem to be “inconsistencies” in the text as the “beckonings” of a female lover. She pops around a corner or allows a glimpse of her face through a small window and then disappears, drawing her lover on to follow her, drawing the religious reader to delve deeper into the world of the Scripture, to fall more and more in love through longing, through catching little glimpses and following after, further and further into the world of the beloved).

    All that having been said,

    I am very appreciative that you put this chapter up (for one, it seemed as though there were numerous references to it in some of the pieces in WKAD, which made some portions a more difficult read, and it‚Äôs cool to be able to get a look at the chapter). Your editors choice to exclude seems to be a good choice given the nature of the timing of the book and how the “scene” will change on July 21, 2007 ‚Äì but there is some great stuff here and I think I would not have wanted to miss out on it..

    1. I liked the information on the French of “Horcrux,” which I had not heard before, and it makes a lot of sense.

    2. I liked the mention of Tolkien. And the Silmarillion. I have heard many phrase it that the Silmarillion is the “myth backdrop‚Äù for LOTR, which I think it is (Tolkien himself having said that that was what he was doing in writing, creating a myth for England) but I also think it is a lot more than that in relation to LOTR. I see the two works as really king of “the Old Testament and New Testament” of Tolkien (IE in a specifically Biblical Mode, not just “myth” and “tale”). LOTR is a morality tale like Gawain (cf point 3), with the locus more directly in specific characters. The Silmarillion, on the other hand, is, like the Old Testament, a history of a people. To be sure there are particular personages, but the “characterization” is in broader strokes: there is the “People of Israel” entering the promise land, there is the unified kingdom under David and Solomon, there is the Northern and the Southern Kingdom after the divide (with ‚Äúhead‚Äù or “king” figures like Josiah and his attempt at reform) ‚Äì there are the elves who go over and the elves who stay, the elves who come back and the elves who stay in Valinor, there are wars and tensions between different families of elves.

    If Rowling did write a background work I would be perfectly happy with the “encyclopedia” style, but would find it really neat if she did go beyond that and did it more in the style of the history of wizards as “a people” with varying group developments and tensions and things like that (between countries, between groups within a particular groups within particular countries/cultures ‚Ķ you already have a little of this in the character of Karkaroff and the Durmstrang school, the fact that they are in alliance with Dumbledore and Hogwarts and England but take a different ‚Ķ even in the book 7 this might make Krum a good candidate for information on Horcurxes, since Draco, I believe, makes specific mention of the fact that Durmstrang specifically studies the dark arts themselves).

    3. In regards to what I just said about the Morality Tale quality of LOTR, I liked your mention of Gawain and the Green Knight, which was definitely studied heavily by Tolkien (the famous lecture on the tale, included in the Monsters and the Critics book), and it would be HIGHLY irregular if Rowling had not studied it heavily as a classics major. Correct me if I am wrong (and I may well be ‚Ķ this is not my field per-se, I only did a BA in English and it was not that strong of a BA at that), but that tale is a morality tale, just as I was saying about LOTR as technically a morality tale, in contrast to the OT quality of Silmarillion as the story of a people ‚Ķ and I think the Potter series is basically a morality tale (but with some uniquely modern element, for instance, I think that a central question of the works is, on the moral plain, how do you respond to “psychic illness?” I will not call psychic illness an “evil” because of the danger of painting the individual with psychic illness as “bad,” but I will say that they present certain instances in the world where there is “un-wellness” and sometimes very drastic un-wellness. I think the main question of the works is how you respond to them, How the ministry responds to Voldy, How DD responds to Voldy [in addition to the unfortunate task of having to rid the world of him, there is a deeper underlying . These considerations are flavored by what I would call the “modern form of alchemy,” the modern science of studying the soul ‚Äì post-Freudian psychology. There are numerous questions and areas where one could justifiably disageee, or agree, with Freud but the fact is that some advances have been made in that discipline that have concrete profitable applications in helping people to overcome particular struggles. I am not saying “buy into Freudian psychology and the scientific mentality and replace your religion with it,” I am saying I think there is some real value in it and that Rowling presents an instance of how art can show a unified path that melds those positive developments with more traditional Christian methods/models of understanding the human person, such as alchemy).

    Anyway, one of the things I really like in the Gawain-Tolkien-Rowling connection is the role of romantic love. In Gawain you see that how Gawain at least doesn‚Äôt concretely cross the line of violating another Knight’s marriage bed, given in three instances of “attempted seduction,” correlates to the virtue of courage in the final “showdown” when the Green Knight (who is the self-same Knight whose wife Gawain was tempted by, only under different guise) offers him 3 chances to beg for his life, beg for being let out of the deal ‚Ķ and the Green Kight spares him specifically because he does not (in other words, I would argue that had Gawain failed the tests of respecting the marriage bed and then lied to the knight, he would have been unable to have courage in the Green Knight’s chapel and been blubbering like a baby-mort begging for his life and gotten his head severed from his shoulders in a much more decisive manner than ‚Ķ this end of the story is in direct contrast to eh other end of the story, the childish revelry of Arthur’s “court,” which is what almost gets Gawain in trouble: according to those foolish “courtly” rules the knight never refuses the lady her request, even if it goers against morality and true respect for the marriage bed and TRUE “courtly love” ‚Ķ The Gawain Poet was every bit as much a social critic as Ms Rowling and the PoMos). In Tolkien you have 3 instances of courtly/romantic love that I think each show a quality of romantic love as symbolic of Grace (Eowyn-Farmir = Grace heals, Rosy and Sam = Grace perfects, in that they are the one instance in which, within the scope of the story itself, we concretely see their love come to fruition in a child, and Aragorn and Arwen = Grace elevates, in that their love is symbolic of the larger battle of good and evil, their betrothal completion of Midsummer eve closes out the inclusio proper in that the direct attack by evil began one year ealier on midsummer eve when the Nazgul crossed the Fords of Isen disguised as riders in black ‚Ķ but good is always more than merely the negation of evil, Just as Harry must not only rid the world of Voldy but must further unite the fractured wizarding world, and thus the true culmination of LOTR is not the betrothal on midsummers eve, but the actual wedding on Midsummers Day). In Rowling you have ‚Ķ teenage love and the shipper wars. I would not say that the shippers were right and that that is the main deal to be concerned with, just that we should not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Book 5 was not just the long dark night of the hormones that for some reason she made us wade through. To be sure, it was painful reading at points, but in the way that conveyed to us the readers how those elements are legitimately part of the long dark night of THE SOUL and somehow connected with the larger battle, with our struggles to be good in a world that tempt us to join the evil side and amass power etc (as an example here I would use Ron and Hermione as the “arguing couple” of alchemy ‚Ķ those two were meant to be together romantically as a way of symbolizing that ‚Ķ I started to see that in POA when Hermione starts to call Ron, “Ronald” just like Mrs Weasely does ‚Äì I don‚Äôt think Freud was right that each man has some specific erotic desire for his mother, but I do think it true that, for men, the mother forms the thinking on “feminity as such” ‚Äì maybe that is why Voldy is such a loner and obviously never had even a girlfriend: he never knew his mother as a mother, never had any concept of the feminine outside of Mrs Cole, who is ONLY a part of the system of authority, which I am not say she is bad, just that his relationship to her could never take on any of the dimensions of “motherly love” so crucial to early development, which is why I think he spent so much time stopping to offer Lily a chance to step aside, he has a certain “morbid curiosity” about mother that drives him to distraction, and who does he look to late? A Female snake called Naginni ‚Äì That’s an image of Tiamat, the snake/sea monster mother goddess from the Babylonian Enuma Elish, if I ever saw one)

  2. Hi John (we met at Lumos)
    I am the webmaster for Accio Quote! which has superseded the Quick Quotes Quill and Madam Scoop’s Index. I just wanted you to know that all the URLs have changed and the QQQ doesn’t really exist anymore.

    AQ News is posted here: http://madam-pince.blogspot.com/

    I really enjoy reading your blog!


  3. Sorry, left a thought incomplete: meant to say that had Gawain not passed the three temptations by the wife of Sir Bertilak (who is the Green Knight), he would not have passed the three tests of courage by the Green Knight and had his head severed from his shoulders in a much more decisive manner than Nearly Headless Nick.
    Also wanted to say, the whole connection between the three temptaions with the lady and the three test in the chapel of the Green Knight, may be simply the standard intepreatation that I picked up from the usual sources and forgot that I picked it up there (and thence go around making non-sensical statements like “I would agrue that …” – to which the proper sarcastic reply would be “and exactly which windmill, Mr Quixote, are you going to argue this against?”) … so, if it is the standard reading, please chalk it up to those who have gone before and are much better than myself, and if it seems outlandish, then feel free to chalk it up to me (I’m pretty spotty on some of this stuff sometimes … can’t even remember if the scarf she gave him was considered a disctinctively good or bad thing by the Green Knight … but I do remember that Tolkien spent considerable time on the fact that Gawain goes to confession before).

  4. Gryffindor_Spirit says

    Yes, Virigina, There is a Harry Potter.

    I know I have told others this and I apologize very very much if it sounds like I’m repeating myself. I just want people to know this. I greatly apologize if I come off as rude, I’m truly not meaning to. People need to look around at the people in their lives and not what they have or want to have. Just because it’s the last book doesn’t mean it’s the end isn’t that what Dumbledore has tried to tell Harry by saying “To a well-oragnized mind death is the next greatest adventure.” (Sorcerer’s Stone Book 1) People need to realize the end doesn’t mean the end.

    If people let the magic and spirit of the books die then yes it will be the end. It’s not like we can’t go back and re-live the adventure and re-live the magic for as long as we want.
    A great example is that the Stars Wars movies and LOTR movies and books have long since finished the true hardcore fans aren’t mourning because of it. They are still letting the magic live on for them for them it hasn’t ended but continued. They look around and see what’s around them embracing something they love so dearly.

    I think some Potter fans need to look around and if they truly enjoy Harry Potter they should embrace it not let it slip from their dreams that’s how souls die because people let loved ones’ spirits be forgotten not remembered so the loved one truly dies. Nowadays it’s Harry’s going to die and nothing else matters. It’s like people are ready to drop the series and get it over with then there’s some who feel lost that it’s the last book. It’s like they are the big kids who tell the little children that Santa isn’t real. They have lost the magic so they need to make people feel just as miserable as they are. If they can’t believe why should other people is their train of thought.

    I am a Gryffindor I want Harry to live and Voldemort to die I do however get mocked because I want that and believe in good winning and matters of love and true friendship.

    A good friend that I had the absolute honor blessing and beyond privilege of meeting in real life this past New Years Weekend. Rae Carson, theorist and writer of Harry Gets Even explains her theory beautifully in her well written and well-organized fanficton. this theory we both have spent many many discussions on, I asked for perrmission post her theory in her own words again, this is HER thoery not mine.

    “I believes that Harry has to die in order to vanquish LV. Why? Harry is obviously an ‘accidental horcrux’ and with or without the spell used to make a horcrux, a piece of LVs immortal soul resides inside him. Since there is no known way to prove that Harry is a living horcrux,the young wizard would be forced to sacrifice himself to make absolutely certain LV cannot ever return to life again. How this will happen is the real mystery.

    Regardless, I believes that Harry will be the one to return from the dead at the end of book seven, and it will involve a sojourn of someone going beyond the black veil in the Dom to retrieve him. the one who does,or at least initiates this dangerous retrieval will be none other than Ginny Weasley–it would only be right,especially since Harry saved his own future by rescuing her in the Chamber of Secrets. So yes my friends…I fear Harry Potter will have to die in book 7. But due the unfailing power of love, once again, he’ll live to tell about it.”-Rae Carson. (Please don’t take this theory and call it your own thank you)

  5. You are on the money with the Harry is Horcrux theory. I would like to add that I believe that the absolutely final horcrux is the one within.

    This puts the entire final battle on a spiritual plane – Harry’s soul vs. Voldemorts.

    When the release date was announced to be 7/21, the first thing I though of was Romans 7:21…
    “I find then the evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.”

    In alchemy, the regulus is when the stuff to be purged sinks to the bottom. Therefore, I think that Regulus (R.A.B) is the guy reponsible for the Horcrux that was once in the locket to be inside of Harry. Voldy’s soul remnant represents gunk to be purged out of Harry.

    When Harry finds the “real” locket, it will be empty. (except, of course, for a portrait of R.A.B. who then spends a few moments in plot exposition explaining how it all came to be.)

  6. I have an alternate version to your theory; namely, that Harry being a Horcrux is NOT accidental. And this leads to a drastic re-reading of the Prophecy. Neither dies …

    The ultimate resolution of the series -Harry Potter, title hero, exemplar of Good, triumphing over the Dark Lord, anti-hero, epitome of Evil – seems indisputable, in a story whose core is based on the essential issue of morality (and here, also inextricably tied to the notion of MORTALITY).

    But the thorny prophecy: how will Harry dispose of Voldemort without blood on his wand, so to speak; without enacting on his nemesis the selfsame ‘supreme act of evil’ of murder? Even as a pre-destined, ‘Chosen’ hand, he would be taking life.

    The dilemma is further complicated by that other controversial question: If Harry is a Horcrux, how can he destroy without dying himself?

    I propose here an off-color theory that may be warped enough for J.K. Rowling‚Äôs love of twists ‚Ķ for as Jeeves says, we must examine ‚Äòthe psychology of the individual.‚Äô The individual here being, Tom Marvolo Riddle vis-?†-vis his six choices for Horcruxes:

    1- The Diary: (i.e. ‘Book’); represents Riddle’s respect for Knowledge as a means to Power.
    2- The Ring: (i.e. ‘Heirloom’); symbolizes Riddle’s reverence for his Ancestry on the pureblood maternal side.

    Because Riddle considered Hogwarts his ‘home’, it follows he would wish to identify himself with all four Houses as a whole, by selecting relics belonging to each of the original founders:

    3- The Locket: House of Slytherin
    4- The Cup: House of Hufflepuff
    5- The [?]: House of Ravenclaw
    6- The [?]: House of Gryffindor

    As for Dumbledore’s hypothesis that Voldemort, having failed to create his sixth Horcrux prior to his downfall, would later resort to entrusting a part of his soul in a live creature (Nagini), I doubt that Voldemort (and Rowling!) would be so tacky as to disturb the perfect symmetry & symbolism of the ‘Houses of Hogwarts’ coat-of-arms. Three simply is not four; it ruins the balance, makes it lacking, asymmetrical, devoid of full meaning. A big black snake (even if it does call to mind Voldemort’s serpent/skull Dark Mark) is a poor substitute for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Riddle’s home. All four relics must be present to create this symbol. How can one become a Dark Lord if one is not obsessive about his image? : )

    So what can Ravenclaw & Gryffindor’s relics be, according to canon hints? I agree with what many have suggested: Rowena’s wand, which we encountered in our first trip to Diagon Alley, sitting in its prominent position in Ollivander’s shop window like a set of antique jewels. Maybe Ollivander’s mysterious disappearing act in HBP is due to Voldemort’s wish to provide a safer hiding place for his Horcrux-wand, following the failed Ministry mission and his exposure? The object itself has intrinsically symbolic value, as the most crucial instrument of magic.

    Gryffindor’s relic, as Dumbledore tells us, cannot be the sword, having been under safe lock in the headmaster’s office during Riddle’s schooldays and subsequent years before/after his fall. But the sword is said to be the only ‘known’ relic of Godric Gryffindor … might not have Voldemort managed to find an ‘unknown’ one? Especially, as GG holds an unusual correlation to SS (according to the Sorting Hat): best friends AND worst enemies.

    For purposes of symmetry in the series, it seems crystal-clear that Harry Potter is to Lord Voldemort as Godric Gryffindor is to Salazar Slytherin. Knowing Voldemort is Slytherin’s last living descendant, from his pureblood mother’s side; Harry would have to be Gryffindor’s from his pureblood father’s side. Two half-blood orphans, two extraordinarily talented wizards: logically, who else could possibly be ‘born’ to vanquish the Heir of Slytherin but … the Heir of Gryffindor? (further canon support for this symmetry is that Riddle visited his hometown where Merope Gaunt lived and Harry plans to visit his birthplace where James Potter lived. Thus Godric’s Hollow can be read to indicate the Potters’ ancestral namesake).

    If the above premises are correct, Voldemort would absolutely be compelled to find a Gryffindor relic as a Horcrux. Perhaps he would esteem it the most important one, to be chosen with care, taking time to procure, and so wish to leave the best for last (i.e. the sixth trophy).

    Let’s now examine a very probable scenario: having already created five Horcruxes, Voldemort hears the prophecy and identifies the candidates: Neville Longbottom & Harry Potter. Voldemort, putting so much store by the prophetic possibility of doom, would not make his choice between the two infants arbitrarily. He would do his homework on parentage. And perhaps learn of James Potter ancestral line leading to Godric Gryffindor, making young Harry Potter not only the obvious ‘prophesized enemy’ but also … a prime relic for the last Horcrux. What could ensure immortality more emphatically than to entomb the final fragment of his soul in the corpse of his vanquished nemesis, the Heir of Gryffindor?

    My theory is that Voldemort made Harry into a Horcrux with pre-meditated purpose. Not ‘accidentally’ (as some have suggested to be the case after backfiring of the Killing Curse on the baby –and others have pointed out that casting the complex spell needed to create a Horcrux is impossible to perform after losing his body, sapped of strength and sans wand). Voldemort sought out his relic/enemy that fateful July night, killed James & Lily, used their murders to create a Horcrux in Harry’s body (thus carving the scar), and in triumph over the prophecy, shot the lethal Avada Kedavra at the baby boy, knowing a mortal can die but retain the Horcrux in its corpse (morbid enough?!). We know what happens next. Power Voldemort knows not, and could not expect, ancient magic evoked by Love, gives Harry Potter protection to survive the curse as an unprecedented exception in the history of wizardkind.

    The crux is that Voldemort, now back in power, well remembers what he has done. His rage to kill Harry arises not only from his desire to win the prophecy, but to safely repossess a cherished Horcrux: the lightning-bolt scar wherein one-seventh of his soul resides. How else could the scar be such a powerful conduit between Harry and Voldemort’s moods, emotions, innermost chambers of mind? How else could Voldemort’s talents (e.g. Parceltongue) have been transfused into Harry’s essence? Why does Harry’s scar burn, if not with the lava wrath of the Dark Lord’s soul?

    As a last thought, we have heard much but not yet seen that worst of punishments, the infamous Dementor‚Äôs Kiss. Maybe when the other three Horcruxes are destroyed (locket, cup, wand), as well as the last bit in Voldemort‚Äôs physical body (Ideally, Snape will fire the AK like he did at Dumbledore, as per his ironclad trusted vow), and only Harry himself remains a Horcrux … he can have a Dementor kiss his scar. The empty shell of Voldemort‚Äôs soul will live in it until the end of Harry‚Äôs life, yes; but perhaps that is why ‚Äòscar‚Äô is rumored to be the last word of book seven‚Äôs epilogue: the prophecy will be fulfilled by Harry living and Voldemort failing to survive ‚Äìin the sense of immortality. There is good reason why the prophecy wording is not ‚Äòneither can live while the other lives.‚Äô Voldemort may live, but not have the eternal survival he had planned ‚Ķ Dumbledore did warn him there are worse ways of destroying a man than death. Being soulless is the best example of such destruction. Also, as per law, a Dementor‚Äôs Kiss is not illegal like an Unforgivable. This way, Harry will not technically be a murder, either, because he does not ‚Äòkill‚Äô Voldemort, but lets his scar act rather like a cell in Azkaban.

    Your thoughts …?

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