Ink Black Horcruxes

Much work has been done tracing the parallels between The Ink Black Heart and The Half Blood Prince. One of more intriguing ones is the plot point of horcruxes and the search for them. Anomie’s sock puppet Twitter accounts were first identified (I think) by Sandy, here in the comments, just a few weeks after the book was published:

– The sock puppet accounts seem to parallel horcruxes, especially when both are designed to bully and torture perceived enemies

Sandy in the Hogwarts Professor Comments

Is this a viable parallel or a reach to far? Find out what the top parallel-pundits think after the jump!

Beatrice Groves picked this up eloquently in her Ink Black Vampires article at the Rowling Library Magazine:The way in which Anomie’s many online identities will keep him safe (even if his central account is closed down) strikes me as a satisfying real-world version of Horcruxes. Like Horcruxes, these accounts appear independent from their host but are animated by the same soul. And when Strike finally hunts down one of the Halvening via his multiple Twitter accounts, it feels very much like when a Horcrux is finally staked with a Basilisk fang in Harry Potter. Its days of inflicting suffering are over. One down, plenty to go.

Beatrice Groves – Revamping Trocar: Ink Black Vampires and the Half-Blood Prince

And it was a pleasure to listen to Irvin and Beatrice discuss this on the Three Broomsticks Podcast:

Irvin Khaytman: I think key connection between Anomie and Tom Riddle is of course the horcruxes. And the parallels to the horcruxes are Gus’s multiple online identities.

Beatrice Groves: I think that’s in my article, that was suggested by by a reader when we first looking at parallels, and I was thinking we really need horcruxes and Sandy said what about these. Of course they are really tiny compared to the horcruxes because he doesn’t really need his twitter personas, he needs Anomie within the game persona. Though of course Paperwhite also works for that as well. But that is absolutely a brilliant real world parallel to a horcrux, that you can stay alive even when you’ve been shut down.

Three Broomsticks Podcast Episode 5

As neat as this parallel is, I agree with Dr Groves, sock puppets and alternate accounts are such a ubiquitous feature of social media that they just don’t have the same impact in The Ink Black Heart that the horcruxes have in The Half Blood Prince. My interest has been re-ignited by a post here on the Hogwarts Professor ‘Moderator Channel’ from Prof Freeman:

I was re-listening to IBH where they were deducing Anomie’s other 4 twitter ID’s Robin comments that, after Zoltan and Scaramouche got banned, Anomie decided to spread out his aliases over more accounts, so he’d always have back-up. It really fits well, given that the revelation happens at the end of IBH.  At the end of HBP, two horcruxes had been destroyed and four remain.  Two of Anomie’s sock puppet accounts had been banned, four remain.  

Louise Freeman

Can we expect to see a continuation of this hunt for horcruxes in The Running Grave? Is there a decision to be made between horcruxes and hallows? What do you think of the horcrux – sock-puppet parallel? Let me know in the comments down below!


  1. Phew!! It’s a relief and a joy to hear that “top parallel pundits” agree with me *chuckles nervously*

    But also I’m reevaluating the idea because we’ve often speculated that Charlotte is a parallel to Voldemort, not Gus. Maybe Gus helped us think about other ways to be like a horcrux. For instance, what if Charlotte was using Madeleine as a horcrux to poison Strike’s mind and heart against Robin? I mean we know she set him up. Would we then need to reach back to other people from the other books…

    Or maybe looking forward to The Running Grave, how much might Charlotte know about what happened at that Norfolk commune? Still pondering…

  2. Susanne Visser says

    That is an interesting thought — would Strike have told Charlotte about what happened in Norfolk?

  3. Susanne,
    Good question and I think not. But we know Charlotte has a wide circle of influential “friends” and the power of money to find things out clandestinely. Even though she broke whatever lingering hold she had over Strike with her appalling lack of maternal instinct, she is not done being destructive. In some ways it’s as if she is herself a horcrux, bent on mutating in some new direction to amp up the chaotic factor. Like Voldemort she overestimates her own powers and underestimates the power of love. Robin and Strike have the strength of mutuality, which even if it’s not yet romantic, has nevertheless only gotten stronger when they argue, like iron sharpening iron, and that’s not anything Charlotte can relate to. (Am I channeling Dumbledore right now? If only…) total conjecture, obviously…

  4. I really like this, Nick. Another link: At the end of Half-Blood Prince, two Horcruxes are destroyed, leaving four to find (excluding the accidental Horcrux that is Harry, of course). Gus Upcott has two of his Twitter accounts deleted, but four sock-puppets remain at the end of IBH.

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