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"Of the Horcrux, wickedest of magical inventions, we shall not speak nor give direction —"
Magick Moste Evile on Horcruxes[src]

A Horcrux was an object in which a Dark wizard or witch had hidden a detached fragment of his or her soul in order to become immortal.[1][3] As long as the receptacle remained intact, so too did the soul fragment inside it, keeping the maker anchored to the world of the living, even if their body suffered fatal damage. The Horcrux was considered to be by far the most terrible of all Dark Magic.[1]

Horcruxes could only be created after committing murder, the supremest act of evil, as a means to tear the soul. The process for the creation of a Horcrux involved a spell and a horrific act of some sort was performed soon after the murder had been committed.[1]

Given that Horcruxes were utterly precious to those who made them, there were usually protective measures made to prevent them from being stolen or destroyed, such as counter-charms and curses. Horcruxes were also extremely durable, and therefore only the most powerful and potent elements and magical spells of the wizarding world could truly destroy them, such as Basilisk venom and Fiendfyre.

Origins and documentation

The first known Horcrux was created by Herpo the Foul in Ancient Greece. The only other known creator of a Horcrux was Lord Voldemort, who was very likely the only person to have successfully created more than one Horcrux.[4]

Horcruxes were originally conceived of as being a singular act. As such, it was unknown for many centuries what the attempted creation of multiple Horcruxes would result in, as nobody thought it to be ever possible to accomplish such an act. However, Voldemort planned to create six Horcruxes in the hope that splitting his soul into seven pieces would make him stronger than just creating one, due to his belief in the power of the number seven.[1]

The nature and concepts of Horcruxes were so terrible that they were kept secret from most of the wizarding world, and very few people were ever made aware of their existence. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry banned any study of the subject of Horcruxes; Albus Dumbledore was especially adamant and fiercely strict in enforcing this rule.[1]

Secrets of the Darkest Art

Secrets of the Darkest Art was the only known book that gave clear instructions on making a Horcrux

Very few books, even those revolving around the Dark Arts, would mention Horcruxes even in the slightest detail: Magick Moste Evile, a book that contained much information of the most advanced Dark Arts, barely skimmed over the subject of Horcruxes, stating them to be a subject so evil that it should not ever be spoken of, showing that even many Dark wizards and witches were terribly horrified by them. In fact, only one book was known to provide specific, detailed instructions on the creation, nature, and consequences of a Horcrux: Secrets of the Darkest Art.

Secrets of the Darkest Art was once held in the Restricted Section of Hogwarts Library; however, due to the book's extremely dark and dangerous nature, Albus Dumbledore later hid it away in his office when he became the Headmaster of Hogwarts. It was believed that Tom Riddle had found all the required and necessary information in this book to successfully make a Horcrux before Dumbledore eventually managed to get hold of it.

No document in existence has information regarding a single individual creating multiple Horcruxes, as no wizard before Voldemort even thought of attempting such a feat; he only dared to when he asked the experienced Horace Slughorn for an expert opinion, under the guise of the idea of creating more than one Horcrux being only in theory.[1]

Nature and creation

"A Horcrux is the word used for an object in which a person has concealed part of their soul... Well, you split your soul, you see, and hide part of it in an object outside the body. Then, even if one's body is attacked or destroyed, one cannot die, for part of the soul remains earthbound and undamaged."
Horace Slughorn on the nature of Horcruxes[src]
Horcrux creation

Tom Riddle creating his first Horcrux at the age of sixteen after murdering Myrtle Warren

To create a Horcrux, a wizard first had to damage their soul. This could only be achieved by deliberately and willingly committing a murder. This act, said to be the most supreme act of evil, resulted in the metaphysical sundering of their own soul. Only a true, deliberate and conscious act of murder against another person without any regret or remorse would suffice to rend the soul; killing out of self-defence or to protect another would not work, and neither would a mercy kill.

A wizard who wished to create a Horcrux would then use that damage to their advantage by casting a spell which would sever the damaged portion of the soul and encase it in a designated object.[1] The object used to contain the soul fragment could be just about anything, even a living being or creature could be made into a Horcrux. However creating a Horcrux out of an inanimate object was preferable, as it substantially decreased the chances of it being destroyed.[1]

Voldemort and Quirrell

Voldemort's parasitic form attached to the back of Quirrell's head after his original body was destroyed

As long as that object remained intact, the soul fragment inside it would live on, keeping the maker anchored to the living world, even if their body were to take fatal damage. If the maker's body was subjected to fatal conditions, they would continue to exist in the living world in a non-corporeal shade form,[5] somewhat similar to a ghost, but technically still alive. According to Horace Slughorn, very few would want to live in such a form, and death would be much more preferable to most. He personally found the concept so dreadful that he wished not to know the process of creating such a vile object.[1] Although, there were methods of regaining a physical body, such as by using the Philosopher's Stone to produce the Elixir of Life, or by brewing a rudimentary body potion followed by a regeneration potion.[6]

According to Secrets of the Darkest Art, the only known way to truly reunite the pieces of soul contained inside one or more Horcruxes was for the creator to feel genuine regret and remorse for what they had done to make them. The process of reuniting the broken pieces of a soul was said to have been extremely painful, and even potentially fatal, to any who did so.[7]

Horcruxes were said to be essentially the opposite of a person. Where a person's container, their body, could be destroyed without any damage to their soul, the fragment of soul contained inside a Horcrux was dependent on the container for its existence. If the container was destroyed, so too would the fragment of soul within it be.[1]

As a fragment of the maker's soul, a Horcrux seemed to retain the identity of its creator at the time of its creation. Voldemort, for instance, created a Horcrux (his diary) during what was presumably his fifth year at Hogwarts. As such, the fragment of soul contained within the Horcrux took on the appearance and mannerisms of Voldemort as he had been when he was sixteen years old.[1]

Multiple Horcruxes

Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes

Lord Voldemort's multiple Horcruxes

It was indeed possible to make more than one Horcrux, and as long as at least one was intact, then the maker would remain unable to die. However, creating multiple Horcruxes rendered the soul so unstable and liable to break apart on its own if the creator of the Horcruxes was subjected to what would normally be fatal conditions and lost their physical form.[1] For instance, Albus Dumbledore explicitly stated that Voldemort's soul had become so unstable that it simply "broke apart" when he tried to murder Harry Potter for the first time on 31 October 1981 in Godric's Hollow.[8]

It was stated at one point that Voldemort had already "pushed his soul to the limit"[9] in creating his multiple Horcruxes. This implied a finite number of Horcruxes any one person may create before the process became too dangerous to attempt again. It also implied that the creation of a Horcrux used a set amount of soul and that this amount had to be the same every time the process was undertaken. However, it should also be noted that Voldemort unintentionally split his soul into eight pieces when he had intended to render it into only seven, so what the true limit is on the number of Horcruxes one can create is not truly known.


Harry Potter: "So if all of his Horcruxes are destroyed, Voldemort could be killed?"
Albus Dumbledore: "Yes, I think so. Without his Horcruxes, Voldemort will be a mortal man with a maimed and diminished soul."
— A discussion on how to go about killing Voldemort[src]
Riddle destroyed2

Harry Potter unknowingly destroying a Horcrux with a Basilisk fang

If all Horcruxes were destroyed, the anchor that kept the maker bound to the living world would be gone, and the maker would be mortal and killable again.

Destroying a Horcrux required that the object containing the soul fragment had to be damaged to the point beyond any and all possible means of physical or magical repair, which in the case of living receptacles, meant that they had to be killed.[4][10] However, Horcruxes, by their very nature, appeared to be extraordinarily durable, and seemed completely impervious to most known physical destruction methods and magical spells. Only the most powerful and potently destructive magic and processes could truly destroy them.[1] Furthermore, as a safety measure to protect one's immortality and precious soul fragment, the creator would usually place powerful enchantments onto the artefact to help prevent damage.

Riddle destroyed

The diary Horcrux being destroyed beyond repair

The only things known to be capable of destroying a Horcrux were the venom of a Basilisk, the most fearsome and deadly creature in the Wizarding world, and Fiendfyre, a dangerous and advanced curse that produced powerful enchanted flames that required extreme skill and concentration to control.[11] The Killing Curse could also be used to remove the foreign soul fragment from its vessel, though this was only seen used on a living Horcrux, so it is unknown if the Killing Curse would also work on an inanimate object Horcrux, like Marvolo Gaunt's Ring for instance.[12] The touch of sacrificial love was also effective in destroying a pseudo-Horcrux, Professor Quirrell, who at the time was being used as a vessel to house Voldemort's main soul piece.[13]

Although, it should be noted that Harry Potter was never an intentional Horcrux and so the Killing Curse may not work on a proper animate Horcrux (like Nagini). One should also consider that Harry had previously been exposed to Basilisk venom[14] (and saved through the speedy administration of phoenix tears, resulting in the soul fragment within him also being saved) and was under the protection of sacrificial love.

Locket destruction

Ron Weasley destroying the locket Horcrux with the Sword of Gryffindor

When a Horcrux was damaged to the point of destruction, it may appear to "bleed" (ink in the case of Tom Riddle's diary[14] and a "dark blood-like substance" in the case of Ravenclaw's Diadem)[11] and a ghostly scream of pain may be heard as the soul fragment perished.

It was unknown if the creator of the Horcrux would be able to sense that their soul fragment was destroyed, although Dumbledore stated that in the particular case of Voldemort, he would not feel their loss because his soul had been split too many times and had been in that state for so long that he simply got used to it.


Ron Weasley: "The bit of soul in that diary was possessing Ginny, wasn't it? How does that work, then?"
Hermione Granger: "While the magical container is still intact, the bit of soul inside it can flit in and out of someone if they get too close to the object. I don't mean holding it for too long... I mean close emotionally. Ginny poured her heart out into that diary, she made herself incredibly vulnerable. You're in trouble if you get too fond of or dependent on the Horcrux."
— A Horcrux's ability to possess and eventually control a person[src]

The main purpose and power of a Horcrux was to anchor the creator to the mortal realm for the sake of achieving immortality. As long as at least one Horcrux existed, the creator's soul would be bound to the world of the living. Hence, if the body was destroyed, the soul would remain as a lingering spirit instead of passing through to the other side. Though being in such a state of existence was what very few would prefer over death, the soul could possess other victims to regain physical form, which shortened the victim's lifespan drastically, as seen when Ginny Weasley lay unconscious in the main chamber of the Chamber of Secrets.[1] It was also possible (through a second party) to use certain potions to create a rudimentary body[15] or even the true body of the Horcrux creator's soul to possess.[6] Because of this purpose, a Horcrux was usually kept hidden and dormant, and its other powers were rarely explored or utilised.

TR diary

The diary sucking Harry Potter into itself, showing him a memory from fifty years ago

The fragment of a person's soul within a Horcrux was capable of thinking for itself and had certain magical abilities, including the ability to influence those in their vicinity and affect them mentally. When Harry, Ron, and Hermione were carrying Salazar Slytherin's locket around their necks in 1997, it brought out the worst in the trio by rapidly making them angrier and moodier, more prone to fighting, and darker aspects of them began to appear, especially Ron as he carried the locket much longer than his friends.[16]

However, when away from a Horcrux, its influence and effects would slowly begin to wane and then disappear and those influenced would return to their normal selves, as soon after leaving Ron in particular came back to his senses and regretted his actions. They were also unable to summon their Patronuses while wearing the locket since the soul fragment inside was darkening their thoughts. A person with an affinity for the Dark Arts and having a malicious disposition, on the other hand, would be greatly strengthened by the influence of a Horcrux, as Dolores Umbridge was when wearing Salazar Slytherin's locket.[17]

Ginevra Weasley Writing on the Wall

The diary Horcrux taking possession of Ginny Weasley

If a person was more emotionally vulnerable and was in physical contact with it for long enough, it was possible for the soul inside the Horcrux to take control of them, as when Ginny Weasley was put in a trance-like state during her first year at Hogwarts while in possession of Tom Riddle's diary, similar to being under the effects of the Imperius Curse. In fact, Voldemort took advantage of this possessive power over Ginny to reopen the Chamber of Secrets, using the diary as a weapon rather than a safeguard.[14] If given enough time and opportunity, the Horcrux would drain enough of the victim's life-force and soul to manifest itself into a more physical form, at the cost of killing the victim should it continue to completion. This quasi-sentient entity that was capable of depleting life-force to create a physical form differed from a "mere memory", which the diary's manifestation claimed itself to be, as no mere charmed object could achieve such a feat, though Lucius Malfoy thought that was what the diary simply was.[1]

In this way, a Horcrux could gradually feed on another person's life and negative emotions to strengthen itself and increase the ability of the soul fragment within to act independently in the physical world. The best example of this was in the case of T. M. Riddle's Diary. For decades, the diary lay dormant in Lucius Malfoy's possession, doing nothing other than safeguarding the soul fragment of Tom Riddle. When Ginny Weasley began to transcribe her fears and insecurities into the pages of the diary, the fragment of Tom Riddle's soul contained within was not only able to write back to Ginny but eventually drained enough life out of her to actually manifest itself in a semi-corporeal form and work magic with Harry Potter's wand.[14]

Umbridge locket

While she wore the locket Horcrux, the evil Dolores Umbridge grew stronger

Likewise, Slytherin's Locket gradually gained power when it was in the possession of Harry, Ron, and Hermione in the months prior to its destruction. It can be theorised that the locket gained somewhat less power from them (not enough for Riddle to fully manifest but still enough to speak and create illusions) because Harry, Ron, and Hermione were actively resisting the locket's influence instead of embracing it as Ginny had done with the diary.[14]

On the other hand, Horcruxes which had been isolated for long periods of time (such as Hufflepuff's Cup and Ravenclaw's Diadem) were passive by comparison and took no real measures to protect themselves. Even Slytherin's locket was fairly inert when it was initially discovered in a cabinet in the drawing-room at 12 Grimmauld Place. It displayed no powers and gave no indication that it possessed superior magical properties.[18]

Riddle-Harry and Riddle-Hermione taunting Ron

Sensing imminent destruction, the locket Horcrux taunted Ron as its last defence

Horcruxes also possessed some last line of defence against destruction. The fragment of soul within the Horcrux seems to be able to sense impending threats and can act to defend itself. For instance, Slytherin's locket viciously taunted Ron Weasley with visions of his deepest fears, hoping not only to prevent him from stabbing it with the Sword of Gryffindor but also to manipulate him into killing Harry Potter instead. It even attempted to strangle Harry when he was close to obtaining the Sword with the intent of piercing the locket.[19]

However, this form of defence may not be viable if the soul fragment in question is not given enough strength or chance to retaliate, as while Harry opened the locket using Parseltongue before allowing Ron to attack it, both Hufflepuff's Cup and Ravenclaw's Diadem were swiftly destroyed the moment the trio were given an opportunity.[11]

Aside from its self-defence mechanism from the soul fragment, a Horcrux is usually enchanted by the creator to have other forms of defences to prevent destruction. Marvolo Gaunt's Ring contained a deadly curse that would kill anyone who dared touch it.[20] At least Salazar Slytherin's Locket was unbreakable by even house-elf magic.[18] T. M. Riddle's Diary was completely waterproof and impervious to spilled ink.[21]

Side effects

"Tamper with the deepest mysteries — the source of life, the essence of self — only if prepared for consequences of the most extreme and dangerous kind."
— The first of the Fundamental Laws of Magic[src]

To create a Horcrux was to divide one's soul— the "essence of self" — and it was therefore in the creation of a Horcrux that one fell prey to Adalbert Waffling's first Fundamental Laws of Magic, which essentially stated that tampering with one's soul inevitably resulted in grave side effects. Creating Horcruxes was considered perhaps by far the most dreadful act possible.[22][1]


"Voldemort had entered the room. His features were not those Harry had seen emerge from the great stone cauldron almost two years ago: They were not as snakelike, the eyes were not yet scarlet, the face not yet masklike, and yet he was no longer handsome Tom Riddle. It was as though his features had been burned and blurred; they were waxy and oddly distorted, and the whites of the eyes now had a permanently bloody look, though the pupils were not yet the slits that Harry knew they would become."
— Tom Riddle's physical appearance after immersion into the Dark Arts[src]

Voldemort's state after leaving Quirrell's body

One of these such side-effects was the "dehumanising" effect the mutilation of one's soul was said to have. The more Horcruxes one created, the less human they became, both emotionally and physically; for example, in the house-elf Hokey's memory, Tom Riddle was initially shown to be hollow-cheeked and pale-skinned but otherwise normal,[23] though ten years later, after making Horcruxes and becoming Voldemort, his features looked as if they had been burned and blurred, and his skin was extremely white.[14]


Lord Voldemort after his Dark Arts transformation

One should note that it is unclear whether the red eyes and slit-like nostrils that Voldemort had after he was reborn were caused by having more Horcruxes than he did than when he applied for the Defence Against the Dark Arts position a second time,[23] whether they were characteristics of a person who had been resurrected with the help of serpents (which had continued to play key roles in his revival), or whether due to any other alterations he had made to himself. Dumbledore speculated that Voldemort underwent other dangerous transformations as well as creating Horcruxes and that it was a mixture of these, rather than just one thing, that resulted in Voldemort's hideous appearance.[1]


"You were the seventh Horcrux, Harry, the Horcrux he never meant to make. He had rendered his soul so unstable that it broke apart when he committed those acts of unspeakable evil, the murder of your parents, the attempted killing of a child. But what escaped from that room was even less than he knew. He left more than his body behind."
— Albus Dumbledore informing Harry Potter about the state of Voldemort's soul[src]

A third side effect of Horcrux creation was that the master soul itself became abundantly unstable (even with creating just one Horcrux).[1]

Voldemort Spirit

Voldemort's mangled and unstable soul

For example, the creation of Voldemort's sixth "Horcrux" (of seven) — Harry Potter — is known to be the direct result of this.[4] When Voldemort was hit by his own back-fired Killing Curse at the Potters' home in Godric's Hollow, it caused Voldemort's soul to split, with one fragment immediately seeking out the only other living thing in the room and latching onto it — Harry Potter.

The rest of Voldemort's mutilated soul fled.[8] However, this parasitic fragment of Voldemort's soul that attached to Harry did not make him a true Horcrux, since it was not created intentionally and the necessary parts of the Horcrux creation process were not carried out.[24]

Notably, Voldemort appeared to be entirely unaware of this split, as he later created a seventh Horcrux in his quest to have six, and continued to target Harry Potter despite him now holding part of Voldemort’s own soul.


"Something that is beyond either of our help..."
— The fate of those who create a Horcrux[src]
Voldemort's mutilated soul

After mangling his own soul through many Horcrux creations, the fragments of Voldemort are trapped in limbo for eternity

The final known side-effect of Horcrux creation was the inability to move on from limbo after death. This was seen when Voldemort's Killing Curse destroyed the part of his soul that resided in Harry Potter. This broken and mangled piece of soul[25] was forced to exist in the stunted form of a flayed and mutilated baby that Harry saw in King's Cross during his visit to limbo, unable to return to the land of the living as a ghost, and unable to move on to the afterlife because his soul was maimed and corrupted. The creature also appeared to be in constant agony and struggling merely to exist, as it was said to have been gasping raggedly for breath and crying in pain when Harry observed it.[8]

The same fate was implied to have been suffered by Voldemort's "main" soul piece, the one that inhabited his body; it is unknown if this was a standard fate meted out for all Horcrux creators, or if it was unique to Voldemort due to the number of his Horcruxes. Regardless, reconciliation apparently cannot occur after death, as the Horcrux-bound fragments of Voldemort's soul did not recombine with the primary fragment in his body when they were destroyed. As such, the greatest of all consequences incurred by Horcrux creation may be the possibility of eternal limbo of the soul. Voldemort's soul fragments also appeared to possess only the awareness and intelligence of the infant they appeared to be.[8]

Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes

"I, who have gone further than anybody along the path that leads to immortality...."
— Lord Voldemort to his gathered Death Eaters after his rebirth[src]

Restricted Section where Secrets of the Darkest Art was located

Lord Voldemort, obsessed with immortality and unable or unwilling to understand the importance of the soul's well-being, went further than any wizard known to history, creating seven Horcruxes — although he planned only six of them, as his intention was to split his soul in seven, the most magical number. He accidentally created a pseudo-Horcrux when he failed to murder Harry Potter in 1981,[8] and later made his pet snake Nagini into his seventh Horcrux. As a student named Tom Riddle at Hogwarts in the 1940s, he learned of Horcruxes through books in the Restricted Section at Hogwarts Library, including Secrets of the Darkest Art, and sought out Potions Master Horace Slughorn for further information about creating more than one, of which no book would have any record.

Albus Dumbledore removed all of those books from the Hogwarts Library soon afterwards, although later he suspected that Slughorn had given information to Riddle about Horcruxes, as Slughorn refused to reveal the true account of what really happened. Voldemort seemed to understand that his soul had a limit to how many times he could split it, as he ceased creating any more Horcruxes once he intentionally reached his desired six and refused to create any replacements for the ones that were destroyed. This held true even for the diary, the destruction of which he became aware of nearly two years before his eventual death, and which he could have replaced during that time.[1] That being said however, Voldemort was able to split his soul into eight fragments without noticing any ill effects despite thinking at the time that his primary soul fragment was a sixth of a soul, not a seventh.

Tom with ring

A teenage Tom Riddle wearing the ring Horcrux

Dumbledore later assigned Harry to retrieve the stored memory of it during the 1996-1997 school year, in which Harry was able to get it through the use of Felix Felicis.[1] Although Voldemort had been warned that the usage of Horcruxes would render one's soul to live a miserable existence should their living flesh be destroyed, and Voldemort even experienced this first hand for fourteen years, he nevertheless preferred to live in such a state when the alternative was death, which he feared the most because he regarded it as a shameful and ignominious human weakness, since he was willing to continue his creation of his sixth true Horcrux even in his crippled form.[5] Voldemort's streak of independence made it intolerable for him to utilise any other methods to obtain his immortality (such as the Elixir of Life); he chose to rely on Horcruxes because they were magical extensions of himself.[1]

Having split his soul multiple times, it became extremely unstable that upon his Killing Curse's first rebound on him, Voldemort's already maimed soul split apart and attached to the only living being in the room at the time: Harry Potter. It was also the creation of so many Horcruxes that led Voldemort's humanity to deteriorate severely. As Voldemort's soul fragments had been separated from him for so long, he could no longer feel them should they be destroyed.[8]

Dumbledore diary

Dumbledore holding the remnants of the diary Horcrux

This was part of Dumbledore and Harry's quest to determine, locate, and destroy, in secret, what they believed to be as many as four of Voldemort's remaining Horcruxes (two had already been destroyed). After Dumbledore's death, Harry took up the quest with his friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Hermione was able to summon the books on the subject to her from the Headmaster's office at the end of the 1996–1997 school year to aid them in their research on Horcruxes.[7]

Although Voldemort had six true Horcruxes (not including Harry) in total, no more than five existed at one time because T. M. Riddle's Diary was destroyed before Nagini was turned into a Horcrux. Concerning Horcrux Nagini, it is not known if she had to have been killed by the Sword of Gryffindor or if any other means, such as a regular sword killing her, would truly destroy the soul fragment along with her. However, as Albus Dumbledore stated, using a living being as a Horcrux was a risky business, due to it being able to move around and think for itself.[1] It is unknown if any method that would normally kill Nagini would also destroy the Horcrux. It is also unknown what would happen if Nagini had died a natural death, or if that was even possible, since Horcruxes had mechanisms in place to prevent destruction.

All of Voldemort's Horcruxes were made from objects that had extreme monetary, historical or (in as much as he could feel) sentimental value, in his desire to secure his position as the greatest sorcerer in history, and that only noteworthy items could live up to his standards and have the honour of housing a fragment of his precious soul. As such, he had originally made it his desire to collect four items of the four founders of Hogwarts; he found only three, and gave up after failing to find the Sword of Gryffindor, but made Horcruxes out of other items that had sentimental value to himself, if not as a priceless artefact of the Wizarding world. Believing that the number seven is the most powerful number when it comes to magic, Voldemort intended to split his soul into seven pieces, with six Horcruxes housing one fragment each and his body containing the seventh.


The Crystal Cave, where the locket Horcrux was hidden

He hid these Horcruxes in special locations and kept their existence and purposes from absolutely everyone. However, his arrogance had also inadvertently let him leave behind subtle hints of their whereabouts, leading to their destruction. Because Voldemort was the first (and by far, the only) known wizard to have created more than one Horcrux, both Dumbledore and Voldemort himself believed that he was the closest to true immortality than any other wizard or witch before him.[1]

A secondary reason why Voldemort chose to create multiple Horcruxes is to utilise the effects of having a soul fragment to weaponise some of these artefacts, as opposed to keeping them as hidden safeguards. Voldemort felt more comfortable placing these few Horcruxes in the risk of destruction knowing he had more hidden safely to maintain his immortality. It was for this reason he chose to use his diary to reopen the Chamber of Secrets, and sending Nagini on missions from time to time.[1]

The Killing Curse

Voldemort murdering several goblins and Gringotts employees after hearing about the theft of one of his Horcruxes.

Although Voldemort created multiple Horcruxes so that it would not be as detrimental to him in case one was destroyed, he would nevertheless be furious if any one of them were destroyed. He was wrathful at Lucius Malfoy for indirectly causing the destruction of the diary Horcrux,[1] despite intending for it to be a weapon rather than a safeguard, due to Lucius acting without instruction. When Voldemort found out that Hufflepuff's Cup was stolen, he massacred many of the goblins and Gringotts employees within the bank, including Griphook, all of whom failed to protect the cup. Discovering that Slytherin's Locket and the Gaunt family ring were taken from their hiding places infuriated him even more, though it became more understandable as he was aware that he was losing more Horcruxes as time went on.[26]

Time constraints and his arrogance prevented him from adding more protection for the Lost Diadem of Ravenclaw, which led to its destruction. He went out of his way to protect his last Horcrux, Nagini, and was totally horrified and angered beyond words when she was killed by Neville Longbottom with the Sword of Gryffindor, thus finally stripping him of his immortality.[27]

In an alternate reality where Cedric Diggory became a Death Eater and killed Neville during Voldemort's Last Stand, Nagini was not killed as a result, thereby allowing Voldemort to keep his immortality and successfully kill Harry Potter while also conquering the entire wizarding community. This timeline event was eventually undone by Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy.[28]

List of Voldemort's Horcruxes

T. M. Riddle's Diary
Tom Riddle's Diary
Hiding place Created with the murder of Location of murder Date created
In the possession of Lucius Malfoy, later given to Ginny Weasley (without her knowing it),[29][30] and eventually found by Harry Potter in the girls lavatory on the second floor[21] Myrtle Warren by the Serpent of Slytherin First-floor girls' lavatory, Hogwarts Castle June 1943
Destroyed by Destruction method Destruction site Date destroyed
Harry Potter Stabbed with one of the Basilisk's fangs[14] Chamber of Secrets, Hogwarts Castle 29 May 1993
Marvolo Gaunt's Ring
Marvolo Gaunt's Ring1
Hiding place Created with the murder of Location of murder Date created
In the Gaunt Shack[31] Tom Riddle Senior with Morfin Gaunt's wand[31] Riddle House, Little Hangleton[31] c. August 1943[31]
Destroyed by Destruction method Destruction site Date destroyed
Albus Dumbledore Cut with the Sword of Gryffindor[1] Headmaster's office, Hogwarts Castle July 1996
Slytherin's Locket
Horcrux WB F7 SlytherinsLocketHorcrux Illust2
Hiding place Created with the murder of Location of murder Date created
The Crystal Cave, later stolen by the combined efforts of Regulus Black and Kreacher;[18] moved to 12 Grimmauld Place, later stolen by Mundungus Fletcher, who gave it to Dolores Umbridge as a bribe[32] A Muggle tramp Unknown c. 1946 or later, but before 1979
Destroyed by Destruction method Destruction site Date destroyed
Ron Weasley[19] Stabbed with the Sword of Gryffindor[19] Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire[19] 28 December 1997[19]
Hufflepuff's Cup
Hufflepuff's Cup DHF promo
Hiding place Created with the murder of Location of murder Date created
The Lestrange family vault at Gringotts Wizarding Bank Hepzibah Smith[23] Hepzibah Smith's home[23] c. 1946 or later
Destroyed by Destruction method Destruction site Date destroyed
Hermione Granger Stabbed with a Basilisk fang[11] Chamber of Secrets, Hogwarts Castle[11] Battle of Hogwarts, 2 May 1998[11]
Ravenclaw's Diadem
Ravenclaws Diadem
Hiding place Created with the murder of Location of murder Date created
In the Room of Requirement at Hogwarts Castle[11] An Albanian peasant Albania c. 1946 or later
Destroyed by Destruction method Destruction site Date destroyed
Vincent Crabbe[11] Fiendfyre Room of Requirement, Hogwarts Castle Battle of Hogwarts, 2 May 1998
Nagini PM
Hiding place Created with the murder of Location of murder Date created
Always with Lord Voldemort after the cup was stolen[26] Bertha Jorkins[33] Albania Summer 1994
Destroyed by Destruction method Destruction site Date destroyed
Neville Longbottom Beheaded with the Sword of Gryffindor[27] Front steps of Hogwarts[27] Battle of Hogwarts, 2 May 1998


While he did not fit the definition of a Horcrux, as he was not created intentionally using the Horcrux-making spell for the purpose of obtaining immortality, Harry Potter essentially became a Horcrux. After Voldemort's curse rebounded on him, a piece of his mangled soul split off and latched onto Harry. Dumbledore explained that for simplicity's sake, Harry was a Horcrux.[34]

Harry Potter[35]
Harry Potter
Hiding place Created with the murder of Location of murder Date created
Harry Potter Lily J. Potter Godric's Hollow, West Country 31 October 1981
Destroyed by Destruction method Destruction site Date destroyed
Lord Voldemort Killing Curse Forbidden Forest, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry 2 May 1998


The word Horcrux may be comprised of "hor" or "hore" (old English/middle-English) meaning "dirt, evil, impurity" and "crux" or "crúce" (old English) meaning "container, pitcher(ful), jar" which would therefore mean "container of evil".

Alternatively, Horcrux can be seen as a combination of a shortening of "horrible" and "crux" (meaning "the Cross" in Latin). In this sense, a Horcrux would be something that a follower of the Cross would regard as horrible.

On the other hand, "hor" could be derived from the French "hors", which means "outside". Thus, "Horcrux" would mean something that is "outside what is permitted under the Cross".

The Greek "hor" means "boundary", which could refer to the boundary between life and death. Latin "crux" also lends way to words such as "crucify" and "excruciating", meaning "pain/torture", which may describe either the experience of ripping one's soul apart, or the terrible deeds that had to be performed in order to create a Horcrux.

Behind the scenes

  • J. K. Rowling stated in Pottermore that Professor Quirinus Quirrell served as a temporary Horcrux when Voldemort's soul possessed his body during Harry Potter's first year at Hogwarts.[36] A notable difference, however, is that the piece of soul within Quirrell was able to exist without its container, as it abandoned Quirrell and left him to die in the Underground Chambers. This is due to it being the "master" soul that serves as the awareness and consciousness of Voldemort's psyche.
    • Based on this, the animals that Voldemort inhabited during his years of exile, such as rats and snakes, can also be considered temporary Horcruxes.
  • J. K. Rowling knows exactly what the process for the creation of a Horcrux is, but has yet to reveal it. All Rowling has revealed is that a spell is performed, along with a horrific act.[4] The information was initially planned to be revealed in the Encyclopaedia of Potterworld.
    • The likelihood of the incantation to this spell being revealed is very low, as Rowling said that she could not "possibly tell [us]. Some things are better left unsaid." in an interview, on July 30th, 2007.
  • J. K. Rowling described the invention of the Horcrux as comparable to the splitting of the atom: "Something that people imagined might be able to be done, but couldn't quite bring it off, and then... and then people started doing it with sometimes catastrophic effects."[4]
  • In an interview, J. K. Rowling was asked why the Horcrux within Harry wasn't destroyed after he was poisoned by the basilisk in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. She replied that Fawkes's tears "mended" him before he could be destroyed beyond repair.[37]
  • The only Horcrux that Harry personally destroyed was T. M. Riddle's Diary, even though he was the only one clearly stated to be sent for the mission. Also, he did not even know that it was a Horcrux at the time. Marvolo Gaunt's Ring was destroyed by Albus Dumbledore, Slytherin's Locket by Ron Weasley, Hufflepuff's Cup by Hermione Granger, Ravenclaw's Diadem with Fiendfyre that was conjured by Vincent Crabbe, Nagini was killed by Neville Longbottom, and the fragment within Harry was inadvertently destroyed by Voldemort himself via the Killing Curse. In the film adaptation, however, the Diadem is stabbed with a basilisk's fang by Harry and then kicked by Ron into the oncoming Fiendfyre.
  • Of the seven Horcruxes Voldemort created (intentionally and unintentionally), four of them were destroyed during the Battle of Hogwarts, along with Voldemort himself. In fact, aside from Salazar Slytherin's Locket, all Horcruxes were destroyed within Hogwarts grounds, either during or before the aforementioned battle.
  • In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the only Horcruxes mentioned are the diary, the ring, and the locket, leaving Harry with no direction in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. In addition, Ginny hides Harry's potion book while Harry closes his eyes (as well as kissing him for the very first time), and there is no indication that Harry sees the diadem.
  • There has been controversy of the fact that, in the films, Harry, Ron and Hermione do not have any leads to find the remaining Horcruxes, apart from the locket. However, in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, it is shown that a Horcrux will leave a trace of Dark magic - this gives the person who touches the Horcrux visions of associated events and other related Horcruxes. A scene in the sixth film shows Harry touching Marvolo Gaunt's Ring and experiencing a flow of high speed visions including Tom Riddle screaming in agony (possibly due to the method of ripping his soul) and Nagini, one of Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes. This is also stated in Steve Klove's script for the film. This would ultimately lead Harry, Ron, and Hermione to know most (if not all) of the Horcruxes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.
  • A person who is a Horcrux also seems to possess some of the creator's abilities such as Harry Potter being able to speak Parseltongue which is one of Voldemort's inherited abilities. It also creates a mental link between the two the strength of which seems to depend upon the strength of the creator. For example, when Voldemort was weak and only in a spiritual form, Harry could only sense his presence when he was close by and feel his anger, but after he returned to somewhat of a body, this expanded a bit into the occasional dream vision of things happening with Voldemort. After Voldemort returned to full power, this link expanded so that Harry got full visions in his dreams of what Voldemort was dwelling upon, but the link can also be two-way and Voldemort was able to use it and Legilimency to implant a false vision in Harry's mind. The link can be shut off with Occlumency on the part of one of the two with the link, but if the Occlumency slips, the link can reopen. The only way to sever the link completely and remove the abilities the Horcrux gives is to destroy the Horcrux itself.
  • It is debatable if the Killing Curse can destroy inanimate Horcruxes, although given the extreme measures Harry, Ron, and Hermione had to go through to obtain Basilisk venom to destroy the Horcruxes they found during their search, it seems unlikely. It is also possible that none of them were capable of performing the curse, as successfully executing an Unforgivable Curse requires dark intentions along with personal pleasure, making it nearly impossible for a non-dark wizard to do.
  • According to Dumbledore, Voldemort was preserving the creation of his Horcruxes for significant deaths. However, this stands to be another one of Dumbledore's deductions being wrong, as Voldemort has used a Muggle tramp and Albanian peasant to create two of his Horcruxes, with no known significance for the two. However, Dumbledore only knew for certain of two of the murders committed to create Voldemort's Horcruxes: the murder of Moaning Myrtle (his very first killing) to create the diary, and murder of Tom Riddle Snr, his father, for the Gaunt Ring Horcrux. Both of these murders were very significant, but it turns out later that Dumbledore was incorrect that all Horcrux-related deaths were important ones.
  • J.K. Rowling's exact definition of a Horcrux is "a receptacle prepared by dark magic in which a Dark wizard has intentionally hidden a fragment of his soul for the purpose of attaining immortality."[38]
  • The concept of a "soul container" is not original to the world of Harry Potter. See Soul Jar on TV Tropes, for more information.
    • Most notably, the concept of storing one's soul in an external vessel is similar to the idea of a Lich, popularised by the role playing game Dungeons & Dragons. A lich is a spell-caster who has stored their soul in a vessel called a phylactery to prevent death.
  • It is unknown whether a Dark wizard protected by a Horcrux could still be killed by being thrown through the Veil. It's also unknown whether a Horcrux could be kissed by a Dementor, thereby presumably destroying it (although it is never clear on what happens to the soul after the Dementor has sucked it in).
  • Interestingly, no one destroyed more than two Horcruxes (counting Quirrell) and half of them were destroyed by someone other than Harry, Ron, and Hermione. (This does not apply to the films, however, as Harry (and Ron, to an extent) destroy the diadem, which is destroyed by Crabbe in the book.) The majority of the people who destroyed Voldemort's Horcruxes didn't know what they were destroying at the time. Neville didn't know what Horcruxes were when he killed Nagini, Harry didn't know about Horcruxes when he destroyed the diary, Voldemort didn't know he was destroying a Horcrux when he attempted to kill Harry Potter, and Vincent Crabbe didn't know what he was destroying when he destroyed the diadem. Hermione, Ron, and Dumbledore, on the contrary, all knew that they were destroying Horcruxes, which was exactly what they were trying to do.
  • The books previously established that Voldemort cannot feel when a Horcrux is destroyed. However, this was completely reversed in the movies. That is the reason he starts on the journey of seeing if all the Horcruxes are safe in the books, but in the movies it is unclear if he even checks his hiding spots. When Hermione destroys Hufflepuff's Cup, Voldemort, Harry and Nagini all seem to be momentarily incapacitated by pain. This also happens when Ravenclaw's Diadem and Nagini are destroyed, clearly showing that all Horcruxes and the Master Soul feel the destruction of the others.
    • Interestingly enough, this only starts to happen when the cup is destroyed, as Harry does not react to the locket's destruction and Voldemort remains oblivious when both it and the ring are destroyed. The reason for this is unclear, but it may be because the cup marked the destruction of half of Voldemort's soul, or possibly because Voldemort wasn't aware that his Horcruxes were being hunted until the cup was stolen.
  • In the fairy tale The Warlock's Hairy Heart, the main character of the story stores his own heart outside of his body via dark magic, similar to Horcruxes in both function and consequences. It was a feat considered impossible outside of the storybook, and was probably a metaphor for Horcrux-making, altered so that misguided readers may not try to imitate the exact process, but still similar enough for virtuous reader to understand the story's Æsop. This in turn resembles the Slavic tales of Koschei the Deathless.
  • According to Dumbledore, even when Voldemort's Horcruxes were destroyed, his brain and his magical power would remain intact.[1] This was demonstrated to be true during the brief period of time between the death of Nagini (the final Horcrux) and Voldemort's final death.
  • Bellatrix Lestrange and Lucius Malfoy both never learned that they were each entrusted with a Horcrux despite being told to keep them under the strictest security. Furthermore, Severus Snape was unable to figure out Voldemort had created Horcruxes despite being told that a fragment of Voldemort's soul resides within Harry. In fact, despite Voldemort surviving the first rebounding Killing Curse and telling his Death Eaters that he alone went "further than anyone on the path of immortality", none of them were able to understand that he utilised Horcruxes to achieve this. This all suggests that even among the most devoted Dark Arts practitioners such as them, they could not fathom that their master would dare mutilate his own soul for the sake of immortality. The only Death Eater who successfully learned Voldemort had created a Horcrux was Regulus Black and indeed he, despite coming from a family that had quite the affinity for the Dark Arts, was utterly horrified upon finding out and tried to destroy it.
  • In the season 12 episode The One You've Been Waiting of the American TV series Supernatural, a mystical artefact containing the soul of Adolf Hitler was described as a Horcrux by Christoph Nauhaus while explaining how it worked which protagonist Sam Winchester recognised as a Harry Potter reference. Like a Horcrux in Harry Potter, it saved the soul of the creator to ensure their survival and eventual return.
  • It is interesting to note that all of Voldemort's Horcruxes were destroyed in the same order they were created in. Even all the way down to how Harry was accidentally made a pseudo-Horcrux between Voldemort's creations of the Diadem and Nagini Horcruxes; Harry allowed himself to be "killed" by Voldemort between the destruction of the Diadem and Nagini being the last.


The Harry Potter Wiki has 8 images related to Horcrux.

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 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 1.31 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 23 (Horcruxes)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Anelli, Melissa, John Noe and Sue Upton. "PotterCast Interviews J.K. Rowling, part one." PotterCast #130, 17 December 2007
  3. JKR diary entry, 29 September, 2006
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 PotterCast Interviews J.K. Rowling
  5. 5.0 5.1 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 33 (The Death Eaters)
  6. 6.0 6.1 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 32 (Flesh, Blood and Bone)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 6 (The Ghoul in Pyjamas)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 35 (King's Cross)
  9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 14 (The Thief)
  10. J.K. Rowling on Twitter
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 31 (The Battle of Hogwarts)
  12. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 32 (The Elder Wand)
  13. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 17 (The Man with Two Faces)
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 14.5 14.6 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 17 (The Heir of Slytherin)
  15. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 1 (The Riddle House)
  16. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 15 (The Goblin's Revenge)
  17. "(Umbridge) is a very nasty piece of work. She has an affinity for this horrible object" - JK, Online Chat script, accessed 30/7/2011
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 10 (Kreacher's Tale)
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 19 (The Silver Doe)
  20. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 33 (The Prince's Tale)
  21. 21.0 21.1 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 13 (The Very Secret Diary)
  22. The Tales of Beedle the Bard, "The Warlock's Hairy Heart"
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 20 (Lord Voldemort's Request)
  24. Rowling on Pottercast
  25. J.K.Rowling Official Site F.A.Q.s
  26. 26.0 26.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 27 (The Final Hiding Place)
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 36 (The Flaw in the Plan)
  28. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  29. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 4 (At Flourish and Blotts)
  30. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 18 (Dobby's Reward)
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 17 (A Sluggish Memory)
  32. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 11 (The Bribe)
  33. J.K. Rowling and the Live Chat, Bloomsbury.com, 30 July, 2007
  34. Anelli, Melissa, John Noe and Sue Upton. "PotterCast Interviews J.K. Rowling, part one." PotterCast #130, 17 December 2007.. “But I think, by definition, a Horcrux has to be made intentionally. So, because Voldemort never went through the grotesque process that I imagined creates a Horcrux, with Harry, it was just that he had destabilised his soul so much that it split when he was hit by the back-firing curse. And so this part of it flies off and attaches to the only living thing in the room. A part of it flees in the very close-to-death limbo state that Voldemort then goes on and exists in. I suppose it's very close to being a Horcrux. But Harry was not-- did not become an evil object. He wasn't-- he didn't have curses upon him that the other Horcruxes had. [...] Now, I know that won't end the debate, but I do think that the strict definition of Horcrux, once I write The Scottish Book, will have to be given and that the definition will be: the receptacle is prepared by dark magic to become the receptacle of a fragmented piece of soul and that that piece of soul deliberately detached from the Master Soul to act as a future safeguard or anchor to life and to safeguard against death.”
  35. Harry Potter was not technically a Horcrux, as the process for becoming a Horcrux was not used.
  36. Writing by J. K. Rowling: "Professor Quirrell" at Wizarding World - Quirrell was not technically a Horcrux, as he contained the Master Soul, not a soul fragment, and was not created using the Horcrux-making spell.
  37. J. K. Rowling at Carnegie Hall Reveals Dumbledore is Gay; Neville Marries Hannah Abbott, and Much More
  38. http://www.accio-quote.org/jkrwebsite.html