Harry Potter Wiki
Harry Potter Wiki

Minerva McGonagall: "Is that where — ?"
Albus Dumbledore: "Yes. He'll have that scar forever."
— Talk of Harry's lightning-bolt scar[src]

Harry Potter obtained a number of scars over his lifetime, as well as a few injuries that may have resulted in scarring. The one he was most well known for, and the first he received, was on his forehead and was shaped like a lightning bolt (possibly the shape of the wand movement required for the killing curse); it was the result of a Killing Curse striking him when he was an infant, and played a role in his conflict with, and eventual defeat of, Lord Voldemort.

Lightning-bolt scar[]


"Never wondered how you got that mark on yer forehead? That was no ordinary cut. That’s what yeh get when a powerful, evil curse touches yeh — took care of yer mum an’ dad an’ yer house, even — but it didn’t work on you, an’ that’s why yer famous, Harry."
Rubeus Hagrid regarding Harry's forehead scar[src]
Harry's scar burning

Harry's scar on his forehead as a baby

A scar on Harry Potter's forehead in the shape of a lightning bolt[5] was the result of a failed murder attempt by Lord Voldemort on 31 October 1981, when he struck 15-month-old Harry with the Killing Curse.[1][7] Harry was the only known person to survive the curse,[7] surviving because his mother's loving sacrifice protected him.[8] Unbeknownst to Voldemort, the incident also inadvertently made Harry into a Horcrux, as a piece of the Dark Lord's soul embedded itself in Harry.[6]

The scar on Harry's forehead prompted his enemy Draco Malfoy to come up with and use the mocking nickname of "Scarhead" for Harry, which he first uttered during the Quidditch match of Gryffindor vs Slytherin in 1992,[9] and used multiple times afterwards too.

Realising the connection[]

"I guessed, 15 years ago, when I saw the scar on your forehead, what it might mean. I guessed that it might be the sign of a connection forged between you and Voldemort."
— Albus Dumbledore regarding Harry's lightning-bolt scar[src]

In the years to come, Harry's scar hurt whenever Voldemort was close, or whenever he was in danger from the Dark Lord or his followers, the Death Eaters, such as when one set off the Dark Mark near him in 1994. When Harry was forced to confront the newly returned Voldemort in the graveyard in Little Hangleton in 1995, his scar burned terribly.[5]

Harry's vision

Harry's scar gives him a vision of Arthur Weasley being attacked by Nagini

At this point, it became clear to Albus Dumbledore and to Harry that the scar was part of a link between his mind and that of Voldemort. It would hurt Harry whenever Voldemort was experiencing strong negative emotions, and sometimes Harry was able to see into Voldemort's thoughts directly. It was through this connection that Harry saw Nagini attack Arthur Weasley in December 1995.[10]

This incident was what highlighted the need for Harry to learn to block the connection that existed, as this vision was more intense than previous ones. To try to prevent Voldemort from invading Harry's mind, Dumbledore had him take Occlumency lessons with Severus Snape,[11] though they were ultimately unsuccessful, because Snape and Harry could not put their animosity towards each other aside and perform the necessary steps required in teaching and learning this art.[11][12]

Voldemort possessing Harry's mind

Harry's scar plays a part in him being possessed by Lord Voldemort

In June 1996, Voldemort used the link to send Harry a false vision of his godfather being tortured with the Cruciatus Curse in order to lure him to the Department of Mysteries.[13] Once within the department he and his friends were attacked by Death Eaters and a battle ensued.[13] Voldemort briefly possessed Harry at the end of this battle, but when Harry focused on feelings of grief for his beloved, murdered godfather, Voldemort experienced great pain and pulled out from his mind.[14] Dumbledore theorised that Voldemort would never attempt to enter Harry's mind again.[15]

Using and destroying the link[]

"The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well."
— The connection with Voldemort was destroyed[src]

Although Harry never mastered Occlumency, he did eventually learn to exert moderate control over the connection between himself and Voldemort. While searching for the Horcruxes with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, he felt his scar burn many times, on the occasions when Voldemort was angry, and was able to glimpse his thoughts and perceptions at those times. For example, when Harry questioned Mr Ollivander about the existence of the Elder Wand, he had seen a vision from the past in which Ollivander was telling Voldemort that Gregorovitch had the Elder Wand.[16] He also saw Voldemort ordering Draco Malfoy to torture Thorfinn Rowle through Voldemort's eyes.[17] When Harry focused on feelings associated with love, such as his anguish over Hermione being tortured by Bellatrix Lestrange or his grief over Dobby's death, he was able to block out his link to Voldemort.

B7C36M2 Voldemort vanquished

Harry's final defeat of Lord Voldemort and the closing of his scar

After Harry learned that he was a Horcrux, he willingly went to what he believed would be his death. Voldemort's Killing Curse, however, only destroyed the piece of his own soul that was inside of Harry, thus eliminating their link.[6] Harry survived,[6] and went to defeat Voldemort once and for all.[18] Since the pain from his scar was caused by the portion of Voldemort's soul within him trying to escape,[6] Harry did not feel any more pain from the scar once Voldemort had eliminated that portion of soul.[19] until the year 2020, when Voldemort's daughter, Delphini, was plotting his revival via the use of time travel.[20]

Scars on Harry's hand[]

Ron Weasley: "The old hag! She’s sick! Go to McGonagall, say something!"
Harry Potter: "No, I’m not giving her the satisfaction of knowing she’s got to me."
— Conversation regarding the scars on Harry's hand[src]

The words "I must not tell lies" carved on the back of Harry's hand

Dolores Umbridge, a Ministry employee, became Defence Against the Dark Arts professor and High Inquisitor of Hogwarts in Harry's fifth year. She pushed the Ministry's position that Lord Voldemort had not returned, and that Harry and Dumbledore were liars or nutters for saying otherwise. Harry argued with her about this on numerous occasions, resulting in her assigning him detentions. She made him write lines with a Black Quill, which used his own blood as ink.[2]

As a result, Harry was left with scarring on his right hand reading "I must not tell lies" that showed up white against his skin when he clenched his fist.[2] The scars tingled whenever Harry heard or touched Umbridge's name, or any reference to her.[21]

Other possible scars[]

There are some injuries which Harry received that may have left scars.

Nagini's bite scar[]

"The snake bit you too, but I've cleaned the wound and put some Dittany on it..."
— Harry now has a snake bite scar on his forearm[src]

When Nagini attacked Harry when he and Hermione ventured to Godric's Hollow on 24 December, 1997, the snake bit him on the forearm. After they Apparated away from there, Hermione put some Dittany on the wound. By the time Harry woke up, the bite was "half-healed".[3] It is unknown if this left a scar, because although Dittany generally repaired damage to the skin, Nagini was a venomous snake, which may have exacerbated the injury. When she bit Arthur Weasley in December 1995, the Healers at St Mungo's had a difficult time keeping the wound closed because her poison dissolved his stitches[22] and was immune to common magical forms of healing. Nagini may not have given Harry as severe a bite, because Voldemort ordered her to hold him, not to kill him. Harry's own nature as a Horcrux may also have been a factor.

Cheekbone scar[]

"The famous lightning scar has company: Potter is sporting a nasty cut over his right cheekbone. Requests for information as to its provenance merely produced the usual response from the Ministry of Magic: ‘We do not comment on the top secret work of the Auror department, as we have told you no less than 514 times, Ms. Skeeter.’"
— Rita's commentary[src]

While commenting the final of the 2014 Quidditch World Cup, Rita Skeeter reported spotting a new scar upon Harry's right cheekbone, the origins of which were unknown.[4]

See also[]

Behind the scenes[]

Harry's scar on his forehead (Concept Artwork by Mary GrandPre)

Concept artwork by Mary GrandPré, showing the scar on Harry's forehead located in the centre

  • According to J. K. Rowling during a web chat, the lightning scar no longer burnt or hurt after Voldemort's defeat.[23]
  • J. K. Rowling stated that the pain from Harry's scar on his forehead was caused by the piece of Voldemort's soul trying to leave his body through the wound it entered to rejoin its master's soul.[24]
  • J. K. Rowling during a web chat stated that she could not sport her hero with a doughnut-shaped scar and so she gave Harry the lightning bolt scar on his head because she felt it was cool.[25]
  • In the films, Harry's scar is off-centre on his forehead. This was done at J. K. Rowling's insistence, because many fans believe that the scar is in the middle of his forehead, since this is where illustrations in the American books depict it; however the British books depict it off-centre, but the scar's location is never mentioned in the books' text. It is, however, hinted to be on the right side of his forehead (in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix it says Harry received pain above his right eye). It was also mentioned that it was in a location easily covered by his hair.
  • In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the scars on Harry's left hand read "I must not tell lies". Also, he has scars on his right hand saying "I will not break rules" (done after Umbridge found out about Dumbledore's Army).
  • Prince William, Duke of Cambridge revealed that he has a scar similar to Harry Potter's on his forehead. He calls it his "Harry Potter scar" because it glows sometimes, and some people notice it, while at other times they do not notice it at all.[26]
  • Before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released, J. K. Rowling stated that the last word of the book would be "scar."[27] She changed her mind in the end,[27] and the last word is "well", although Harry's scar is mentioned in the penultimate sentence of the book.[19]


The Harry Potter Wiki has 70 images related to Harry Potter's scars.

Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 1 (The Boy Who Lived)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 13 (Detention with Dolores)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 17 (Bathilda's Secret)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 2 (The Scar)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 35 (King's Cross)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 4 (The Keeper of the Keys)
  8. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 17 (The Man with Two Faces)
  9. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 10 (The Rogue Bludger)
  10. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 21 (The Eye of the Snake)
  11. 11.0 11.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 24 (Occlumency)
  12. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 28 (Snape's Worst Memory)
  13. 13.0 13.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 35 (Beyond the Veil)
  14. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 36 (The Only One He Ever Feared)
  15. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 37 (The Lost Prophecy)
  16. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 5 (Fallen Warrior)
  17. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 9 (A Place to Hide)
  18. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 36 (The Flaw in the Plan)
  19. 19.0 19.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Epilogue (Nineteen Years Later)
  20. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Act One, Scene Nine
  21. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 11 (The Bribe)
  22. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 23 (Christmas on the Closed Ward)
  23. Web chat with J.K. Rowling
  24. J.K. Rowling PotterCast Interview
  25. Webchat with J.K. Rowling
  26. Who gave Prince William his 'Harry Potter scar'? Royal reveals friend hit him with golf club
  27. 27.0 27.1 A Last Word, Revised, on Harry Potter - The New York Times