Vessels of Evil
By Donna Hosie
Is Harry a Horcrux?
If Dumbledore was in fact wrong about either Nagini or the object belonging to one of the founders, another possibility that has gained strong support is the notion that Harry Potter, himself, is a Horcrux.
The basis of this theory depends on whether the spell to create a Horcrux is done before, or after, the murder. If the spell is done after the murder, then Harry cannot possibly be one. Lord Voldemort lost his corporeal body after the Avada Kedavra spell backfired in Godric’s Hollow, and was therefore not able to make the spell.
However, what if the spell is cast first and the murder merely completes it? If this is the case, then it is possible for Harry to have become a Horcrux. Lord Voldemort, having discovered the secret whereabouts of the family from the Potters’ Secret-Keeper, Peter “Wormtail” Pettigrew, could have prepared the incantation for making the Horcrux first and then attempted to murder Harry, but it went wrong because he did not realize that with Lily’s sacrifice, Harry was protected by her love. This opens up even more questions. Did Lord Voldemort prepare the incantation in the Potters’ house or would he have needed more time and preparation and done it elsewhere? Is this Dark magic done by incantation or perhaps potion? If the incantation was done in the Potters’ house, will Harry find a clue to help him when he visits Godric’s Hollow in the final book?
There are several indications that a piece of Lord Voldemort’s soul does reside inside Harry. One of Harry’s most famous features is the lightning bolt scar on his forehead that he received after the Avada Kedavra spell aimed at him by Voldemort backfired. This scar is Harry’s connection to Voldemort. When the Dark Lord is feeling angry, or even happy, Harry feels it too, via that scar which hurts. As the books have progressed, Harry’s connection to Voldemort has become even stronger. They have been able to read each others minds, and one night Harry dreams that he is looking in a mirror, but instead of his own reflection, he sees Voldemort. Harry can see scenes that are clearly happening, although he is not there. In Goblet of Fire, Harry sees the murder of Frank Bryce, as well as Wormtail and Voldemort plotting his (Harry’s) death. And in Order of the Phoenix, Harry sees Voldemort talking to one of his Death Eaters, Rookwood. Dumbledore tells Harry that Voldemort put “a bit of himself” in him when he gave him that scar.15 If that “bit” is a piece of soul, that might be the explanation for Harry’s connection to Voldemort.
If Harry is a Horcrux, then how can he destroy it without killing himself? Enter, those soul-sucking fiends, the dementors. We know how Jo loves to introduce characters and ideas into these books long before their real purpose is revealed. Sirius Black was briefly mentioned in the Sorcerer’s Stone book, and then did not appear again until the eponymous Prisoner of Azkaban. We read about Vanishing Cabinets in early books, but it wasn’t until the appalling events of Half-Blood Prince, with the Death Eaters using them to get into Hogwarts, that the true worth of the cabinets became known. It is entirely plausible that soul-sucking monsters have been introduced because our hero is going to have to give himself to one to receive “the kiss.”
Would Jo put Harry through this? She has shown herself to be quite capable of this. Throughout this story, Jo has killed off Harry’s parents, his godfather, and his mentor, nearly killed his best friend with poison, broken Harry’s bones in accidents, had him defy Death Eaters and Lord Voldemort several times; he’s been stabbed with a basilisk fang and a dagger… it’s a wonder he hasn’t run off screaming into the Forbidden Forest never to be seen again! Giving him to a dementor would be one more in a long line of torments already visited upon this young hero.
However, as important as the introduction of the dementors was the introduction of the way to stop them: the Patronus Charm. This shield protects a person from and repels a dementor. Because dementors feed on happy thoughts, it takes a happy thought to produce a Patronus, and in Order of the Phoenix Harry teaches several students to produce one.
So picture the scene, Harry gives himself to a dementor, in the hope that Lord Voldemort’s soul is sucked out before his own. He has to use Occlumency to close down his mind, leaving Voldemort’s soul vulnerable. Ron, Hermione, Ginny, and hopefully as many other members of the Order of the Phoenix as possible are there as well, and as the scar, that visible connection to Lord Voldemort, starts to fade, before completely disappearing, the Horcrux is destroyed. Then before the dementor can get to Harry’s soul, everyone must produce their best Patronus and stop the dementor in its tracks. A truly awful prospect for any fan, but we know Jo is capable of putting us through such torture.
However, if this is too much even for Jo, what other ways could Harry destroy the possible Horcrux within? In the Ministry of Magic, there is a room which is always locked—it melted Harry’s penknife when he tried to open it—and Dumbledore has described this room as containing “a force that is at once more wonderful and more terrible than death, than human intelligence, than forces of nature. […] It is the power held within that room that you possess in such quantities and which Voldemort has not at all.”16 In other words, it contains the force of love, the power to love, and to love back.
If Harry walked into this room, because he is able to love and be loved, then perhaps his pure soul would remain untouched. However, what would happen to the soul of Lord Voldemort if he went into this room? Voldemort was unable to continue possessing Harry after he felt Harry’s surge of love for Sirius in the Atrium of the Ministry. If Voldemort was in a room dedicated to the power of this force, then could that destroy his soul fragment?
Another possibility for destroying a Horcrux residing in his body would be for Harry to use the Veil. This veil also resides in the Ministry of Magic and we saw its devastating power when Sirius fell through it in Order of the Phoenix. It appears to be a doorway to death, and there also appears to be no return. However, this is Jo’s world and nothing should ever be taken for granted. Could it be possible for Harry to walk into the veil and leave the Horcrux there and somehow find a way back? It appears unlikely. Jo has often talked about death being final and if Sirius couldn’t find a way back to his beloved godson, then it is doubtful Jo would recreate the Lazarus story and bring Harry back from the dead.
One thing is certain, though. Harry is going to have to draw on friends, and possibly foes, in the final book. He will need to determine what the Horcruxes truly are, where to find them and how to successfully destroy them—for they must be truly destroyed in order to leave Lord Voldemort vulnerable in the final battle we all believe is coming. Dark and dangerous times lie ahead for our hero in Deathly Hallows.
1. Rowling, Half-Blood Prince, 374.
2. Ibid., 497.
3. Ibid., 498.
4. Anelli & Spartz, TLC/MN interview Part One, paragraph 28.
5. Mzimbo, “Interview with Steve Kloves and J.K.Rowling, 24.
6. Rowling, Half-Blood Prince, 609.
7. Anelli & Spartz, TLC/MN interview Part Two, paragraph 83.
8. Rowling, Order of the Phoenix, 116.
9. Ibid., Official Site, “What is the significance, if any, of Mark Evans?”
10. Anelli & Spartz, TLC/MN interview Part Three, paragraph 144.
11. Rowling, Sorcerer’s Stone, 82.
12. Ibid., Chamber of Secrets, 206.
13. Ibid., Official Site, “The Sorting Hat is a Horcrux.”
14. Ibid., Chamber of Secrets, 334.
15. Ibid., 333.
16. Ibid., Order of the Phoenix, 843–44.
Anelli, Melissa and Emerson Spartz. “The Leaky Cauldron and Mugglenet interview Joanne Kathleen Rowling: Part One.” The Leaky Cauldron, 16 July 2005. http://www.leakynews.com/#static:tlcinterviews/jkrhbp1.
———. “The Leaky Cauldron and MuggleNet interview Joanne Kathleen Rowling: Part Two.” The Leaky Cauldron, 16 July 2005. http://www.leakynews.com/#static:tlcinterviews/jkrhbp2.
———. “The Leaky Cauldron and MuggleNet interview Joanne Kathleen Rowling: Part Three.” The Leaky Cauldron, 16 July 2005. http://www.leakynews.com/#static:tlcinterviews/jkrhbp3.
J.K. Rowling Official Site. “Rumours: The Sorting Hat is a Horcrux.” http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/rumours_view.cfm?id=43.
———. “FAQ: What is the significance, if any, of Mark Evans?” http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/faq_view.cfm?id=49.
Mzimba, Lizo, moderator. “Interview with Steve Kloves and J.K. Rowling.” Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets DVD, February 2003. http://www.accio-quote.org/articles/2003/0302-newsround-mzimba.htm (accessed 19 November 2006).
Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 1999.
———. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 2000.
———. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 2005.
———. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 2003.
———. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 1999.
———. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 1998.