Consequence, Redemption and the Point of No Return

By Coach

I'm trying to examine what happens to this community when a maniac tries to take over . . . and the reality of how evil it is to take a human life, and to torture, and to attempt to control.1

- J.K. Rowling

What I will explore in this essay is the reality of how evil it is to take a human life. I want to examine that evil and try to understand the consequences of it, and what that will mean to Harry in his quest to defeat Lord Voldemort. I will also investigate aspects of redemption as they apply to killing, and the existence of a point of no return.


The definition of homicide that is used for legal, medical, and other purposes is, the killing of one person by another.2 That is what killing is. That simple definition represents the fact that when circumstances are taken away, the bottom line is that someone is dead at the hands of another. Though the reality of the act is simple, the reality of the human condition is complicated. We then choose to classify the act in different ways.

Legal classifications are different from the definition. They are not as cut and dry, and take into account circumstances. These differ from country to country, but since the adventures of Harry Potter take place in Great Britain, I will look at examples from British common law. This is the basic system in place in not only the UK, but also most of the United States and Canada.3 Specific wording aside, they are classified like this:

Intentional murder. This is a killing that is more or less planned and intended. In the Potterverse, this can be associated with the Avada Kedavra curse. Which is cast with only one intention, to kill.

Unintentional murder. This is a killing that happens because of violent behavior, where the killing was not intended or expected. This can also be used to include a death that happens during the commission of a violent crime. This could be akin to someone dying while being attacked with the Cruciatus curse.

Self-defense. This is a death that occurs when someone feels that his or her life is in immediate danger. In some cases, this has been extended to include instances where the person thought their life was in danger, just not at that moment. The former would be like a police officer killing someone who is shooting at him, the latter could be an abused spouse who believes their partner will kill them eventually based on a pattern of violence. Harry defending himself against Quirrell is an example of someone in immediate, mortal, peril.

Manslaughter. This is accidental death, with cause. It can be negligent or not. The main point is that someone dies because of the actions of another person. They key to this is that someone is directly responsible for the death. I cannot think of any specific instances in the Potterverse that fit this exactly. Yet, it must be listed in this discussion because it could apply at some point.4

The complexity of our human interactions require us to consider the circumstances of an action, but the bottom line remains the same, one human ended the life of another. I am defining it this way because that is the root of the action. This definition applies to not only the Muggle world, but to the wizarding world as well. The abilities, customs, and circumstances of a society do not change the definition of the act. Those factors apply to the categorization I described above and how the consequences are applied.


The way I see it, there are three categories of consequence, Legal, Societal, and Moral. Keeping it simple, the legal consequences are prosecution, possible imprisonment or execution. In the Potterverse, anyone convicted of killing someone is sentenced to a life term in Azkaban,5 or possibly having his or her soul sucked out by a Dementor.6 This is what Sirius Black faced. He was sent to Azkaban as a result of the deaths of 12 Muggles.7 It did not matter that he was actually innocent.8 What matters is that the killing of those people came with consequences. In this case, the wizard legal system applied them to the wrong person.

The societal consequences are more myriad, and exist even in the absence of legal consequences. Take Frank Bryce for instance. He was questioned in connection with the deaths of the Riddles, but never charged.9 However, his innocence in the eyes of the law did not carry-over to the eyes of society. Everyone in his little town believed he did it, based on very little, and circumstantial evidence. He was from then on shunned, labeled and mistrusted.10 Like in the example of Sirius Black, it matters not that he did not do the actual killing. The consequences of the young Tom Riddle's actions were applied to Frank. The consequences of the action exist, even if society misplaces them.

Hopefully you are beginning to see the problems with the legal and societal categorization and consequences of killing. In the case of the categorization, there is no perfect way to break up all the circumstances that lead to death by another's hands. Even the UK, and US who derive their laws from the same source, British common law, do not categorize them the same way. The British government, even today, is looking at reforming how they categorize murder for purposes of prosecution.11

At least in the law there is documentation and rules that ensure some consistency of application of consequences for killing. Society varies from time to time, region-to-region, and person-to-person.12, 13 I do not have time or space to even scratch the surface of this, but I'll try to look at it in the context of the Potterverse. I have already looked at Frank Bryce, let's look at Hagrid for a moment. Here we have someone who was accused of causing the death of a girl.14 The legal consequences were that he was kicked out of school.15 That is pretty lenient if one thinks about it for a moment. How must Myrtle's parents have felt? I doubt that knowing the person accused of causing her death was kicked out of school was much comfort. They probably were outraged he wasn't thrown in prison.

Hagrid was 13 years old, and already much bigger than most men.16 In the eyes of society, he would not have been regarded as a child. How then is it that he not only stayed out of prison, but also was allowed to stay at the school as an employee? That seems preposterous. Yes, the court of public opinion does not enforce the laws, but it can influence how the laws are enforced. In this case it worked to Hagrid's advantage. Hagrid had the confidence and trust of Albus Dumbledore. In the eyes of the wizard world, and in the eyes of the court of the wizard world, that was enough to keep Hagrid out of prison, and in close proximity to the monster alleged to have killed Myrtle. If Dumbledore had not vouched for him, or had not had the respect he did, Hagrid's fate could have been much worse.

One might say, "But Hagrid didn't do it." And, one would be right. Neither did Frank Bryce or Sirius Black do it. The reason I have used those examples is to show, not the specific failures of society and law, but to demonstrate that the law and society are capable of failing. The bottom line is that someone died; and when someone dies there are consequences. The problem with legal and societal consequences is that they can be applied errantly. This is because society, and by extension the law, are not concerned with actual guilt or innocence. They are only concerned with the perception of guilt or innocence. That is why Peter Pettigrew and Tom Riddle can get away with murder, in the legal and societal sphere.

So where does this leave us? If the only realms that the consequences of death were applied were legal and societal, the outlook would be pretty bleak. Yes, in the wizarding world they would be applied right most of the time, but the application would not be infallible and universal. However, we are not left with only those realms. There is another. The moral realm.

Professor Horace Slughorn gives the best descriptions of the consequences of killing in the moral realm. When the young Tom Riddle asks him about Horcruxes, they have this exchange.

"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..." 17

That is not quite as good as a full-blown study reported in a medical journal, but it is still a great deal to go on. My interpretation of this is that anytime anyone kills, his or her soul splits. I believe that in the Potterverse, this consequence is universal and occurs without any respect to motive or circumstance. This could be, and probably will be, argued with. Slughorn uses two words here, murder, and killing. It is my belief that they are used interchangeably. I believe that in this context they mean the same thing. The reason I believe they are the same thing goes back to the definition in the beginning of this essay. Killing is a universal concept, one human taking the life of another, murder is not a universal concept. It is a concept created in the mind of humans and is subject to the whims of different cultures and ages. If we are to consider the universal moral consequences, then we must consider them in the context of a universally applied definition, one that is not dependant on semantics.

When Voldemort killed his father, his soul split.

When Mad-eye Moody killed,18 his soul split.

When Snape killed Dumbledore, his soul split.

If Harry kills Voldemort, his soul will split.

This is a horrible thing to think about. It is all the more horrible because it is an inescapable consequence of killing. Tom Riddle gets away from the legal and societal consequences of killing his father by pinning it on both Frank Bryce and Morfin Gaunt.19 Mad-eye Moody gets away with killing because he has been given a license to kill by the Ministry of Magic.20 Snape, at least in the immediate future, gets away with killing Dumbledore by escaping Hogwarts. Harry will likely get away with killing Voldemort because it will be justified as self-defense and for the greater good. However, none of them can escape the moral consequence of their actions. Killing splits the soul.

Now, allow me to digress a bit. We need to think about the soul, what it is, and how it is a part of us. The first and most important characteristic of the soul in the Potterverse, as opposed to the real world, is that in the Potterverse the material existence of the soul is a fact. We have clear proof of its existence. It can be manipulated and removed from the body. For instance, the soul is nourishment for the creatures called Dementors. They consume a person's soul by removing it from the victim through their mouth. This is called the Dementor's Kiss.21 No doubt inspired by this, someone, somewhere, invented the horcrux: a method for removing a piece of one's soul from the body, and depositing it into a foreign object.22 This is important because it is what the consequence of killing hinges on, the fact that not only does the soul exist, but also that it can be manipulated, or in other words, harmed. It is also what makes the investigation of what happens to the soul when one kills so exciting and fascinating. We have evidence of empirical proof of the consequences. This allows the investigation to branch out of the realm of pure philosophical inquiry and include the realm of scientific reason.

Why is it supreme evil to kill, though? So the soul splits. So what? There are plenty of things we can do to defile and pervert ourselves. Why is killing so different? What make it supreme? Because of the dual nature of the violation. Both the actor and the victim are affected.

The first part of the duality is what happens to the victim. Their soul is banished from the earth prematurely. Nature must be allowed to take its course. Violating this is wicked. The second part is what it does to the killer's soul; it is split. It is rendered unwhole, perverted. This is a horrible moral state to have to exist in, and it is against nature.


What about times when one has no choice but to kill, like in war or self-defense? The consequences remain the same. If they don't apply in all cases, then they apply in no cases. Does this imply that there is no hope of redemption? Why should someone who simply defends their own right to survive have to suffer these consequences? They have to suffer the consequences because the action is unnatural; however, a split soul does not have to be a permanent state. Nature is a cycle of rebirth, of starting over. Redemption is natural, just as killing is unnatural.

What, then, is redemption? How is it possible and how does it work? Redemption is simply, the reversal of consequence, or rather, the repair of the effects of consequence. Redemption is possible, and evident in the legal and social spheres.

But, like I showed with the consequences of the real world, redemption in the real world is superficial. It is as arbitrary and capable of being misplaced as the consequences are. Snape asked Dumbledore for forgiveness and sought redemption. Dumbledore gave it.23 There is no way to know for sure if that redemption was genuine, or if it was misplaced.

The only way the soul can heal is to be redeemed. The instant a person is redeemed, their soul heals. What does it take to achieve this? Well, that depends on the person and the nature of the killing. There is no process that we are aware of in the Potterverse for redemption. That is the problem with understanding it. We can't check things off a list and say, ok, you've served your time and done everything you need to, your soul is whole again. However, we can speculate about what it involves. We can assume that it involves love. The reason the soul stays split after killing is that one does not truly forgive themselves. Part of this is that they don't truly love themselves after the fact. Once a person can forgive themselves for the damage they did to their own soul, what they did to another, and learn to feel true love again, they will be redeemed. This can't be a simple statement, or an intellectual admission of the evilness of the action. This is a personal, internal activity. The outcome of which, is only known to the affected person.

Even though we can't know, we can look to clues as representative of the existence of redemption. For instance, the soul of a person who does not feel remorse for killing someone else will continue to be torn. However, the ability for the soul to heal will always be there. Even if that person does not feel remorse, they are still redeemable. Snape is redeemable. Moody is redeemable. If Harry kills Voldemort, he will be redeemable.

This begets another question though. Is there a timetable? How long does it take for the soul to heal? What I would argue is that there is no timetable for redemption. There is no waiting period; likewise, there is no statute of limitations. If the soul splits instantly when one kills another human, then it stands to reason that it also heals instantly when one is redeemed. This can happen immediately after the action, or many, many years afterward. The effect is the same, the soul becomes whole once more.

Let's look at some examples. Moody has killed as an auror. When he did that, his soul split. In fact, it split each time. We can't know if he has truly repented of this, but we can speculate. I think that his soul has healed. Here is why. He shows and expresses no need/desire/tendency to want to do it again. It is even implied that he did not kill wantonly, but only when he felt he had no other choice.24 His behavior is our biggest clue to suggest that his soul has healed. Yes his physical appearance has changed, but those are only flesh wounds. If he were still damaged at a deeper level he would be a much more disturbed character, he would be deformed on the inside. This would show through his actions and attitudes.

Bellatrix Lestrange has killed. We don't know how many times, but we know of one instance for sure, Sirius Black.25 When she killed Sirius, her soul split. Has her soul healed? No, I don't think so. She has displayed no remorse whatsoever. In fact, she is proud of it.26 Everything she has said and done in the books since having killed Sirius has indicated that she not only doesn't regret it, but also is ready to kill again. This does not mean that her soul cannot heal. It simply means that we can infer that it has not happened yet.

Probably the most affecting death in all the books is the most recent one, Snape's murder of Dumbledore.27 At that moment on the tower, Snape's soul split. We can't know if his soul has healed or not; we can't even speculate. Well, we can and do, but there is very little evidence and it is not conclusive either way. The reason I bring this up then is to show that there still is the possibility that his soul is whole, or can be. If he repented immediately, his soul healed even before he left Hogwarts. His repentance is something that is only known to him. This is the same for Moody and Bella. Only they know for sure.

These instances serve to show that redemption is possible and universal, but not guaranteed. It is available to everyone, no matter which side they are on, no matter how many times they killed, or how heinous their actions were. Just as the moral consequences are universal, so to is moral redemption. It does not happen on its own though. A person has to sincerely regret their actions and want to be redeemed for it to happen.

The Point of No Return

Here we get to the crux of the matter. In the Potterverse, there is a point of no return. There is a way to permanently forsake any chance of redemption. It is by taking, so-called, advantage of the supreme act of evil. By creating a horcrux, a person forsakes redemption. That is why it is called "the wickedest of magical inventions." 28

The horcrux is the final step toward the permanent destruction of the soul. Death does not permanently destroy the soul. In the Potterverse there is most certainly an afterlife. When someone dies, whether by murder or old age, their soul leaves their body, and goes somewhere. Luna believes that she will see her mother again, and tells Harry as much.29 Nearly Headless Nick basically confirms the existence of an afterlife, although he doesn't know what it is like.30 The most convincing and powerful representation of the existence of an afterlife is from Dumbledore in the Sorcerer's Stone.

... After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure...31

The soul then, if it remains within the body, goes on to an afterlife. Whether this is like the Christian notion of Heaven and Hell, or reincarnation, or some other idea we don't know. In the Potterverse this is shown as going beyond the veil. We don't know what is beyond the veil. The point is there is someplace where the soul exists beyond the body and after death, whether or not it is split at the time of death.

The only way to permanently destroy a soul is to remove a fragment of it from the body and encase it in a foreign object. This is the final step. Once the soul has been permanently rent asunder, it cannot be made whole, it cannot be redeemed.

That is why a horcrux is the wickedest of magical inventions. The soul is supposed to remain whole and pure. To remove any chance of nature being able to make the soul whole again is the most evil thing one can do. One has destroyed that which makes them human, that which was pure and good. I wish there were a stronger word than evil to describe this; unfortunately, I am limited by language to properly convey the magnitude of this evil.

Why is this so against nature? The most basic human instinct is survival. At a physical level this means we have an instinct to survive as an animal and a species. At a metaphysical level, this means we have an instinct to make sure our soul survives, for eternity. This is the most basic law of nature.32 To violate it is to set oneself against nature, and to pervert nature and one's soul so badly that there can be no redemption. There is no going back.

That doesn't simply mean there is no going back to the body, or becoming whole again. That is part of it, but is not the worst part. The worst part is that the soul cannot cross over; it cannot go beyond the veil. The only thing prolonging its existence is encasement into an earthbound vessel. Once that vessel is destroyed, the piece of soul ceases to exist.33

Part of the perversion of a horcrux is that it actually defeats its own purpose. The person who created the horcrux has created the mechanism for their total destruction, and assured it as well. There is no going back. A horcrux is supposed to make one immortal. It does just the opposite. It ensures that the soul of the person who created it will cease to exist. Whether that is after 100, 1000, or 100,000 years doesn't matter. It is still much less time than infinity. Even the earth is finite.

When is Killing Worthwhile?

Given the consequences of killing, is it ever ok, or, more to the point, worthwhile, to kill? This is a tough question. The moral consequences for the soul are the same no matter the circumstances or motive, so, strictly from that point of view, killing is never right. A death by killing does two things. It banishes the victim's soul and splits the killer's soul. Neither is right or good. However, an action can have worth, or be worthwhile, even if it is not right. Understanding that, let's try to answer the question, when is it ok to kill?

This is where circumstances and motive do come into play. One circumstance I think we can all agree makes killing worthwhile is self-defense. For the purposes of this essay, I am considering self defense in a very narrow sense. Self defense is only when someone is being physically attacked. There is no preemptive self defense.

Why can we consider killing in self-defense worthwhile? If we look at it from a value perspective, the net results of the consequences are equal. If the victim were not to fight and allow themselves to be killed, the result is one soul is banished and one is split. If the victim does fight back and kills the attacker, one soul is banished and one is split. This is a balanced equation based on the strict consequences of killing.

How then do we place more worth on one side than the other? We do that by looking back at one of the basic laws of nature: Our instinct to survive, both as an individual and as a species. The defense of our survival has more worth than acts against that survival. The act of attempting to kill is against nature. The side that is upholding nature and nature's law is the side that has greater worth. This is how we can justify killing in self-defense. Not because the defender does not suffer the consequences of killing, they do suffer; but rather because the defender is acting with nature rather than against nature.

That is the basic equation to determine the worth of an action that involves killing. It is very simple in a dyadic context. When that gets extended to involve more people, more variables, it is much, much harder to determine the worth of the action. I will explore this more in the next section. Basically, any time one human's life is taken by another, there is an equation involved that can more or less be reduced to murder versus self defense. The motives that prompt the initial attack do not weigh very heavily. To be the one that initiates the supreme act of evil is morally inexcusable. That is what I will try to explore and understand in the next section.

Harry Potter v. Lord Voldemort

Harry and Voldemort are on a collision course. This is unarguable in my opinion. It would be against the internal literary logic34 of the story for that not to happen. Just because they will fight, does not mean they have to. This is why the first question I want to look at is, does this fight need to go down? Does it have to happen? If we can determine that, then we are much closer to determining the relative worth of either killing the other.

Before I can answer that question, we need to look at some other things first. Why are they set against each other in the first place? This is an easy answer, the prophecy. Would Voldemort have eventually gone after Harry's family? Maybe, we'll never know. What we do know is what prompted the original attack. Voldemort was taken word of the prophecy, and he concluded Harry was the one who was supposed to have the power to defeat him.35

The prophecy does not mean that their battle needs to happen. Dumbledore points out to Harry that just because a prophecy is made, does not mean that it will be fulfilled.36 He tells him that most of the prophecies in the hall were never fulfilled. A prophecy only has weight or value if the people who it is about give it weight or value by believing in it, and acting on it. If they choose to ignore it, then it does not apply. The prophecy itself does not mean that one or the other needs to kill each other.

This leads us to another factor that contributes to answering the question of does it need to happen, revenge. Revenge is unarguably a motivating factor for Harry. He wants Voldemort finished because of what he did to his parents, because of what happened to Sirius, and because of what happened to Dumbledore. I am not going to place any value on this motivation, because it doesn't matter if this is good or not. It doesn't matter if revenge is right or wrong. What matters is that it is one of the things that drives Harry, and is one of the things that may make sure that their battle does happen.

Revenge though, no more than the prophecy, is a factor that makes their battle required. Revenge is not something that has to happen. If, like was argued above, redemption is natural and available, then so to is forgiveness. Like redemption, forgiveness is not automatic. In this case Harry would have to choose to forgive Voldemort and not pursue vengeance. Will that happen? I don't know. For the purposes of this essay though, it does not matter whether he will or not. It only matters if Harry continues to hold onto it. If he doesn't, it no longer matters. That means that revenge is not a factor that requires they battle.

So far, we are not finding any reason that they need to battle each other. Before concluding one way or another, I'd like to explore another motivating factor. It revolves around the question, am I my brother's keeper? That is to say, whose responsibility is it to battle Voldemort? In the interest of brevity, suffice it to say that it is the Ministry of Magic's job to battle Voldemort. They are the only entity with the authority to enforce the legal consequences of his crimes. In specific regards to killing, he has already suffered the moral consequences. No other organization or individual has the authority to enforce society's laws. In this sense the Ministy is not only the enforcer of the consequences for past transgression, it is also the defender of society against Voldemort's attacks. To the point, this means that Harry is not duty bound to defend society, neither does he have the authority to take that power.

Harry and others do not believe that the Ministry is capable or good at defending society. So, can there be another defender? Should there be another defender? If a person is not able to defend themselves, is it the responsibility of their brother, their neighbor, to step up and act in their defense? From the argument above, I concluded that self-defense has more worth than an attack, because it preserves the natural law. This is more difficult question to answer though. It encompasses a huge range of circumstances and possibilities. If someone attacks your child, will you defend your child? Absolutely. Without question. What about if it is your neighbor, a stranger in the street? Remember, we are not talking about whether something is right or wrong. We have already established that killing is wrong. There is no escaping that. We can only haggle about the relative worth of an action. So then, how do we measure the worth of these scenarios?

This can be describe pretty simply, in relation to isolated incidents that involve 3 people. The person who instigates the initial attack, I have shown is acting against nature. The person being attacked has a right to defend themselves. A third person, outside this original action, has some choices. One of those choices is to intervene. Any intervention on behalf of nature has more relative worth than an action that is against nature. The relative worth is less if the outcome of the intervention is that the first actor is killed, rather than just stopped. This is because if they are stopped, then no souls are affected. If they are killed, two souls are affected; and that is still the least desirable outcome.

This is how it works in an isolated incident. In the larger case of the entire wizarding society of Great Britain, they have chosen to allow the Ministry of Magic be their defender. That gives the Ministry the right to fight Voldemort on behalf of society. The Ministry of Magic is the willful, intended actor for society. Harry or anyone else has the right, and one could argue duty, to defend an individual who is being attacked. Harry does not have the right to seek out and kill Voldemort because of what Voldemort may do.

This takes away the third motivating factor that would have suggested that Harry needed to battle Voldemort to the death. The prophecy does not require that they fight. They only have to ignore it to make it invalid. Harry's thirst for revenge does not require that they fight. He could abandon that at anytime. It is not Harry's duty to finish him. This said, we can conclude that a fight to the death between Harry and Voldemort does not need to happen.

So, the fight doesn't need to happen, but, I think we all know it is going to happen anyway. What does this mean for Harry and Voldemort? It means they have some choices to make. Harry has to decide if he will kill him, or not. What he really must decide is whether or not it is worthwhile to do it. Is it worth the price he would pay? Is killing Voldemort worth splitting his soul? Is it worth going against nature? Remember, the soul is supposed to be whole and pure.

At first glance, the answer seems easy. Of course it is worthwhile. Voldemort is evil. He does evil things. His followers do evil things and it is seemingly only a matter of time before he conquers. However, the answer is not that easy. How does Harry's soul weigh against the potential acts of evil that Voldemort may do? Should Harry sacrifice the wholeness of his soul to prevent actions that Voldemort may, or even likely, will do? These books have already shown how difficult it is to predict the future, and how fraught with peril any actions taken based on future implications are. Prophecies are not true and binding. The centaurs look to the stars, but admit that they can be read wrong.37 That said, how can Harry, or anyone, know what Voldemort will do in the future? He can't, no one can. They can make an educated guess or speculate, but is Harry's soul worth no more than an educated guess?

Well, that is a question that I don't think I can answer. In the end it will be Harry who has to make that choice. It is my hope that he finds a way to bring about the defeat of Voldemort without suffering the moral consequences of killing. Harry's soul, no one's soul, is a commodity to be used as it serves a particular purpose, no matter how noble. For someone other than Harry to suggest that it's ok for him to do it, that he can repent and be redeemed afterward with no harm done, is no better than the Ministry of Magic asking Harry to be their poster boy and say that everything is going to be ok.38 He would be selling out his soul. To willingly and intentionally sell out one's soul is the supreme act of evil. Will Harry decide that is worthwhile?


1. Ballard, Nigel. "Interview with JK Rowling" BBCi. 12 November 2001. Quick Quotes Quill.
27 April 2006.

2. "homicide." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition.
Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 27 Apr. 2006.

3. "Common law." West's Encyclopedia of American Law. The Gale Group, Inc, 1998. 27 Apr. 2006.

4. The Law Commission. "A new homicide act for England and Wales? An overview."
28 November 2005. The Law Commission. 27 April 2006.

This overview from the UK Law Commission has an excellent description of the current laws governing homicide in the UK. Part 2 deals specifically with the current law that was in place at the time of the events in the Harry Potter books.

5. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. New York: Scholastic, 2000. p217.

6. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. New York: Scholastic, 1999. p247.

7. Ibid. p.38.

8. Ibid. p.363.

9. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. New York: Scholastic, 2000. pp2-4.

10. Ibid. p.5.

11. BBC News. "US-style murder ˜grades' proposed" 20 Dec. 2005. BBC News. 27 April 2006.

12. Aislinn. "Behavioural Standards, do we judge characters equally?" Obscurus Books.
12 February 2006. The Leaky Lounge. 27 April 2006.

13. Teatime. "Murder and Self-defence". Obscurus Books. 12 February 2006. The Leaky
Lounge. 27 April 2006.

14. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. New York: Scholastic, 1999. pp246-247.

15. Ibid. p.250.

16. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. New York: Scholastic, 2000. p455.

17. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. New York: Scholastic, 2005. pp497-498.

18. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. New York: Scholastic, 2000. p589.

19. Ibid. Chapter 1.

20. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. New York: Scholastic, 2000. p527.

21. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. New York: Scholastic, 1999. p247.

22. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. New York: Scholastic, 2005.

23. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. New York: Scholastic, 2000. pp590-591.

24. Ibid. p.532.

25. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. New York: Scholastic, 2003. pp805-806.

26. Ibid. p.810.

27. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. New York: Scholastic, 2005. p596.

28. Ibid. p.381.

29. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. New York: Scholastic, 2003. p863.

30. Ibid. p. 861.

31. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. New York: Scholastic, 1998. p297.

32. Cox, Richard. Second Treatise of Government Locke, Arlington Heights, IL: Harlan Davidson, 1982. pxxviii

Nature's Law is a concept that has been chased by philosophers for thousands of years. This is a huge idea that cannot be adequately described in this space without completely hijacking this essay. A good, short description of what I am referencing when I refer to natural law can be found in the introduction to the Harlan Davidson edition of John Locke's Second Treatise of Government. ". . . Locke insists that men in the natural state have ˜liberty' but not ˜license'; that they are under the law of nature, . . . and that they therefore are neither subject to one another nor entitled ˜to destroy one another.' In short, the dominant principle seems to be the natural duty of men to do ˜justice' and to ˜preserve the rest of mankind.'" Locke himself speaks specifically of this in chapter 2, sections 6 and 7.

33. Anelli, Melissa and Spartz, Emerson. "The Leaky Cauldron and MuggleNet interview Joanne Kathleen Rowling: Part Three." The Leaky Cauldron. 16 July 2005. Quick Quotes Quill. 9 March 2006.

34. Davidenglish. "That can't happen!, Internal literary logic" Obscurus books. 10 February
2006. the Leaky Lounge. 27 April 2006.

35. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. New York: Scholastic, 2003. pp841-844.

36. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. New York: Scholastic, 2005. pp509-510.

37. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. New York: Scholastic, 1998. p259.

38. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. New York: Scholastic, 2005. pp344-346.


Cox, Richard; Second Treatise of Government Locke, Arlington Heights, IL: Harlan Davidson, 1982

Perry, Marvin, An Intellectual History of Modern Europe, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1993

Rowling, J.K, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, New York: Scholastic, 1998

Rowling, J.K., Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, New York: Scholastic, 1999

Rowling, J.K., Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, New York: Scholastic, 1999

Rowling, J.K., Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, New York: Scholastic, 2000

Rowling, J.K., Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, New York: Scholastic, 2003

Rowling, J.K., Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, New York: Scholastic, 2005
Quick Quotes Quills. "The Largest Archive of J.K. Rowling Quotes on the Web." 2003-2005. Quick Quotes Quills. 11 Jan. 2006.

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