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"I have seen your heart, and it is mine. I have seen your dreams, Ronald Weasley, and I have seen your fears. All you desire is possible, but all that you dread is also possible... Least loved, always, by the mother who craved a daughter... Least loved, now, by the girl who prefers your friend... Second best, always, eternally overshadowed..."
— The locket preying on Ron's fears[src]

The destruction of Slytherin's locket took place during the height of Second Wizarding War in December 1997. After Harry Potter and Hermione Granger were attacked by Lord Voldemort at Godric's Hollow they escaped by Apparition to the Forest of Dean, while in the forest Harry spotted a Patronus in the form of a doe. The doe lead him to the Sword of Gryffindor that was used by Ron Weasley in destroying the locket Horcrux.[1]


Background information

Switching and hiding the Horcrux

"To the Dark Lord
I know I will be dead long before you read this but I want you to know that it was I who discovered your secret. I have stolen the real Horcrux and intend to destroy it as soon as I can. I face death in the hope that when you meet your match you will be mortal once more.
— Regulus Black's note left in the locket for Voldemort[src]

Regulus Black, defecting Death Eater who stole the locket

Late in the 1970s, Lord Voldemort requested the use of a House-elf from his Death Eaters.[2] A young Death Eater, Regulus Black volunteered the Black family house-elf Kreacher, whom the Dark Lord used to test the locket's defences. When he had seen the cave's effectiveness in action, he left Kreacher to die on the island in the middle of the dark lake.[2] However, he overlooked the house-elves' special magic binding them to their masters, considering it beneath him and not of importance. As Regulus had instructed Kreacher to do all that Voldemort asked of him and then return home, Kreacher was able to Apparate out of the cave and back to his master Regulus. The younger Black was infuriated at the mistreatment of Kreacher, and having seen the lengths to which the Dark Lord would go, turned against Voldemort.[2]

During Regulus's time as a Death Eater, Lord Voldemort had made veiled references to his Horcruxes, believing that no one would deduce exactly how he had come to be immortal. Regulus had, by the time of his defection, concluded that Voldemort had made a Horcrux and that it was the object that Voldemort had forced Kreacher to help him protect.[3] Having reached these conclusions, Regulus told Kreacher to take him back to the cave, where he crossed the lake with the house-elf and drank the potion himself.[2] He instructed Kreacher to switch the true locket with a fake one, and to take the Horcrux home and destroy it. He ordered Kreacher to leave the cave without him, and Kreacher, with the Horcrux in hand, watched in horror as Black was dragged beneath the lake by the Inferi. After his master's death, Kreacher escaped with the locket to the Black family home, 12 Grimmauld Place.[2]

Over the ensuing years, Kreacher was unable to destroy the locket, no matter what means he tried, although he did come to the conclusion that the locket needed to be opened to be destroyed.[2] For failing to obey his master's orders, Kreacher brutally punished himself. He placed the locket in a glass case in the drawing room and left it undisturbed for many years until the Order of the Phoenix began to use the house as headquarters in the summer of 1995. The Order undertook a massive, overdue cleaning of the house, and the locket was placed into a rubbish pile to be thrown away. Kreacher secured the locket and hid it in the cupboard where he slept, along with some other Black family heirlooms that he had salvaged from the trash.[2]

After the death of Sirius Black less than a year later, Order member and career criminal Mundungus Fletcher combed the house and stripped it of many of its remaining valuables, including the locket from Kreacher's cupboard.[2] He fenced his wares to whoever would buy them, including Aberforth Dumbledore, and in Diagon Alley, where he was caught by Dolores Umbridge. The locket caught Umbridge's eye, and she agreed to let Fletcher off without punishment in exchange for it. She later used the locket to enhance her pure-blood credentials, claiming the locket to be a Selwyn family heirloom.[4]

Reclaiming the locket

Dumbledore teaching Harry about Horcruxes

For many years, Albus Dumbledore had been suspicious of Lord Voldemort's experiments with the Dark Arts, and after careful consideration came to the same conclusion that young Regulus Black had come to; namely, that Voldemort had created Horcruxes to ensure his immortality.[5] However, he had no proof until May of 1993, when Harry Potter killed Salazar Slytherin's Basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets and returned with the remains of Tom Riddle's Diary.

After hearing the peculiar way in which the diary acted, Dumbledore believed he finally had proof for his theory, although he regarded with some concern the fact that the diary Horcrux had intended to be used as a weapon as much as a safeguard, leading him to conclude that it might not have been the only Horcrux Voldemort had made.[5] He shared his theory about Horcruxes with Harry during his sixth year at Hogwarts in an informal series of lessons.

During these lessons, the pair observed memories concerning Lord Voldemort at various junctures in his life, and Dumbledore bounced more theories about Voldemort off Harry. Together they came to the conclusion that several famous artefacts that had disappeared around Voldemort had been made into Horcruxes, included Salazar Slytherin's Locket.[5]

Finding the false locket and Dumbledore's death

Albus Dumbledore spent a great deal of time in his final years attempting to locate any Horcruxes Voldemort had made, a search which proved both fruitful and disastrous with the finding of Marvolo Gaunt's Ring in the summer of 1996. Although he successfully destroyed the Horcrux, he was infected with a debilitating curse that left him only a year to live. However, Dumbledore continued his search for more clues that might lead to the discovery of the other Horcruxes.

Dumbledore after finding the magically concealed boat

Believing he had located one, Dumbledore and Harry left the school one evening in June of 1997 in the hopes of obtaining and destroying it.[6] Apparating to the cave by the sea, they made their way among the waves and spray. Upon reaching the inside of the cave, Dumbledore surmised the location of the door and made the payment himself over Harry's objections, remarking that Harry's blood as far more valuable than his own.[7] The pair ventured into the depths of the cave, walking along the shores of the vast lake. Dumbledore abruptly stopped, startling Harry, and located an invisible chain suspended above the lake. The chain raised a small boat out of the water's depths on which they sailed to the island in the middle of the eerie inferi filled lake.

Harry taking the fake locket from the basin

Once there, Dumbledore attempted to obtain the locket, but could not penetrate the green potion. Extracting a promise from Harry, he began to drink the potion, and when it became too much to bear, Harry forced it down his throat.[7] When the potion was finished, Harry attempted to conjure water to revive Dumbledore, but was unsuccessful due to the cave's defences. He then attempted to draw water from the lake, which awakened the Inferi. As Harry was about to be dragged under the lake, Dumbledore revived enough to conjure a ring of fire which drove back the Inferi, and after claiming the Horcrux, the pair fled the cave.[7]

Snape killing Dumbledore on top of the Astronomy Tower

After Apparating back to Hogsmeade village, Dumbledore was still severely weakened when they noticed the Dark Mark above Hogwarts.[8] Borrowing broomsticks from Madam Rosmerta, Harry and Dumbledore flew to the Astronomy Tower, unaware that a fierce battle was already taking place in the school's corridors. Atop the tower, they were ambushed by Draco Malfoy, who disarmed Dumbledore, but not before he could bind Harry, who was concealed under his Invisibility Cloak.[8] Soon, more Death Eaters arrived, and when Draco hesitated, Severus Snape cast the Killing Curse, killing Dumbledore and sending his body plummeting to the ground below.[8] The Death Eaters fled the castle, and Harry recovered the locket from Dumbledore's broken body. Examining it, Harry realised that it was fake, and believed that Dumbledore had died in vain.[3]

R.A.B. and Infiltrating the Ministry

Harry Potter and Hermione Granger reading R.A.B.'s note

Harry found a note in the fake locket. Signed by a mysterious "R.A.B.", the note cryptically addressed to Lord Voldemort said that he had stolen the real locket and that he planned to destroy it.[3] When Harry and his friends, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, set off to locate all the Horcruxes, they decided the first order of business was tracking down R.A.B. The trio had no luck throughout the next two months, but after they were forced to flee from both Bill and Fleur's wedding and Tottenham Court Road, they went into hiding at 12 Grimmauld Place, which Harry had inherited from the late Sirius Black.

While searching the house the next morning, Harry noticed a small sign on the door to Regulus Arcturus Black's room, bearing his full name.[2] Having discovered R.A.B., the trio searched the house, finding no sign of the locket, until Hermione recalled that it had been thrown out during their cleaning two years earlier. In a last ditch effort, Harry summoned Kreacher, who told them the whole story about the locket, including he had salvaged it and how it was later stolen by Mundungus Fletcher.[2] Harry ordered Kreacher to find Fletcher, who told them that Dolores Umbridge had taken the locket from him.[4]

Dolores Umbridge wearing the Horcrux

Over the following month, Harry, Hermione, and Ron scouted the Ministry and developed an elaborate plan to get into the building and retrieve the locket.[9] Setting out on 2 September, the trio infiltrated the premises without difficulty. Once inside, they were forced to separate, with Ron going to work on maintenance and Hermione leaving to take stenography in court proceedings, leaving Harry alone to search the building.[9] Donning the Cloak of Invisibility, Harry searched Umbridge's office to no avail. Soon after, he joined Hermione in the courtroom, where the two spotted Umbridge sporting the locket.[10] From under the cloak, Harry stunned Umbridge, and Hermione took the locket after conjuring a replacement. The trio narrowly managed to escape, but were forced to abandon 12 Grimmauld Place, as their hideout had been compromised when the Death Eater Yaxley was accidentally brought inside the house's defences.[10]

As they wandered listlessly up and down the country, they took turns wearing the locket, which began to wear heavily at their physical and emotional health.[11] While Harry and Hermione held up well against the negative forces of the locket, Ron was particularly susceptible to the locket's powers, causing him much discomfort and unexplained anger. One evening weeks into their journey, the trio overheard another band of fugitives discussing current events. In the course of the conversation, they learned that Ron's sister, Ginny was among a band of students punished for attempting to steal Godric Gryffindor's Sword from the Headmaster's office at Hogwarts.[12] This upset Ron, who was wearing the locket, but Harry and Hermione were revelling in the realisation the sword could destroy horcruxes. This pushed Ron over the top, and after a stinging row with Harry, he stormed off into the night.[12]


"The sword flashed, plunged: Harry threw himself out of the way, there was a clang of metal and a long, drawn-out scream. Harry whirled round, slipping in the snow, wand held ready to defend himself: but there was nothing to fight. The monstrous versions of himself and Hermione were gone: there was only Ron, standing there with the sword held slackly in his hand, looking down at the shattered remains of the locket on the flat rock."
— Ron having destroyed the Horcrux with the Sword of Gryffindor[src]

Weeks and a highly dangerous visit to Godric's Hollow later, Harry and Hermione were encamped in the Forest of Dean. While on guard duty, Harry followed a bright white light into the forest, and with this guidance from Severus Snape's Patronus, Harry was able to find Godric Gryffindor's Sword at the bottom of a frozen pond.[1] Stripping down, Harry waded into the freezing pool to retrieve the sword. Rather than allow him to acquire the sword, the locket around his neck tried to kill him both by strangling him and keeping him under the water, nearly drowning him. At that time, Ron returned, and rescued Harry from drowning.[1]

Ron with the locket he destroyed moments before

After a brief reconciliation, Harry decided that Ron must be the one to destroy the locket, since he recovered the sword.[1] Harry spoke the word "open" in Parseltongue, causing the locket to spring open. Inside the locket's picture windows were two eyes that resembled Tom Riddle's eyes, before his soul-severing caused his eyes to turn red. The locket then began to mentally torture Ron mocking his greatest fears.[1] Apparitions then came out of the locket, and Ron was transfixed by visions of Hermione and Harry, apparently naked, cruelly mocking him and eventually kissing, playing on Ron's fears that Harry and Hermione were in a relationship and that he would, in Hermione's eyes, never be as worthy as Harry. With the real Harry yelling at him, Ron was able to break through the cruel images and smashed the locket with Gryffindor's sword, shattering both glass windows inside the locket and destroying the Horcrux.[1] Afterwards, Harry admitted that he only loved Hermione Granger as a sister and believed that she felt the same way. Harry then picked up the locket (still largely intact save for its shattered windows and broken chain) and stored it away.[1]

Voldemort's discovery of the locket's destruction

"In a distant part of Harry's brain, that part that connected to the angry, burning scar, he could see Voldemort sailing fast over the dark lake in the ghostly green boat....He had nearly reached the island where the stone basin stood... A wrath like physical pain blazed through Harry, setting his scar on fire, and for a second he looked down upon a basin whose potion had turned clear, and saw that no golden locket lay safe beneath the surface... He could see the Inferi-filled lake sliding beneath him, and he felt the ghostly green boat bump into the underground shore, and Voldemort leapt from it with murder in his heart —"
— Harry witnessing Voldemort's discovering the locket's disappearance[src]

Voldemort reacts to the theft of the cup, one of his Horcruxes

Following Harry's break-in of Gringotts and theft of Helga Hufflepuff's cup (another Horcrux), Voldemort became aware that Harry was hunting down Voldemort's Horcruxes in an attempt to defeat the Dark wizard once and for all. With this information, Voldemort decided to return to the places he had hidden each fragment of his soul, check to see if they were safe, and redouble their protection. Deciding Marvolo Gaunt's ring was in the most danger (Dumbledore, knowing that Voldemort's middle name was Marvolo, might have made the connection between him and the Gaunt family), he checked in the Gaunt shack and found that the Horcrux was missing. He then decided to visit the seaside cave and check on the locket, and was furious to discover that the locket was gone as well. With murder in his heart, Voldemort decided to head to Hogwarts Castle, having been summoned there by Alecto Carrow and thus knowing it was Harry Potter's current location.


Behind the scenes

  • In the various video game adaptations, the destruction of Slytherin's locket has often been expanded into a boss fight, requiring Harry to assist Ron in defeating the manifestation(s) of Voldemort's soul before he can destroy it.
    • In the console versions of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Voldemort's soul manifested as a group of large snakes and spiders coming out of the locket, which Harry and Ron merely fought off with various combat spells.
    • In the handheld versions of the game, the fight was more elaborate. Voldemort's soul first appeared as a massive three-head snake. One of the heads slammed onto the ground, creating a shockwave. Harry then used the Levitation Charm to strike the head with a nearby rock before he and Ron attacked it with Stunning Spells. After it has taken enough damage, it retreated temporarily into the locket, which then spewed forth various spiders. Once all the spiders were dead, the three-headed snake re-appeared, this time striking the ground with two heads at once. After the snake was finally defeated, the locket produced a version of the teenage Tom Riddle, similar to that produced by Tom Riddle's diary, which combated Harry and Ron with various green energy balls and a red, laser-like spell.
    • In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7, Voldemort's soul fragment manifested as a massive cloud erupting from the locket. Possibly playing off the fact that the locket claimed to be able to see Ron's fears, it summoned forth a group of spiders, which frightened Ron to the point where he could not approach the locket to strike it with the Sword of Gryffindor. Once Harry destroyed the spiders, Ron could freely attack it. Unlike in the other adaptations, the locket required multiple hits from the sword to be destroyed. While this is all there was to the fight in the handheld versions, the console versions added a final phase once the locket was down to only needing one last hit. It conjured forth the illusionary Harry and Hermione, as well as a vortex that prevented Ron from getting near the locket. The two had to construct a large fan to push away these threats and stab the locket for a final time.


Notes and references

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 19 (The Silver Doe)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 10 (Kreacher's Tale)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 28 (Flight of the Prince)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 11 (The Bribe)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 23 (Horcruxes)
  6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 25 (The Seer Overheard)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 26 (The Cave)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 27 (The Lightning-Struck Tower)
  9. 9.0 9.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 12 (Magic is Might)
  10. 10.0 10.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 13 (The Muggle-Born Registration Commission)
  11. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 14 (The Thief)
  12. 12.0 12.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 15 (The Goblin's Revenge)