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{{quote|Of the Horcrux, wickedest of magical inventions, we shall not speak nor give direction -|the introduction of ''[[Magick Moste Evile]]''|Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince}}
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A '''Horcrux''' is an object of extremely [[Dark Arts|Dark magic]]. It is defined as any item in which a [[Dark Wizard|Dark wizard or witch]] has hidden a fragment of his or her soul for the purpose of attaining immortality.<ref>JKR diary entry, September 29, 2006 http://www.hp-lexicon.org/magic/devices/horcruxes.html</ref> [[Herpo the Foul]] is credited with creating the first Horcrux.<ref name=PC>[[J.K. Rowling PotterCast Interview]]</ref>
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==Nature of a Horcrux==
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[[Image:Nagini.jpg|right|thumb|200px|[[Nagini]], a living Horcrux.]]
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The book ''[[Secrets of the Darkest Art]]'', in the [[Hogwarts]] Library, gives explicit instructions on creating Horcruxes. The creation of the Horcrux is known to involve a spell, and a horrible act.<ref name=PC/> To split one's soul, one must also commit the most supreme act of evil - murder - and then encase a portion of their fractured soul into a chosen object. The chosen object is usually one of great significance or importance, as this act can only be reversed through acts of remorse that are physically very painful.
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The process stands in violation both of profound natural laws, and common human decency: that mankind must not practices such acts upon one another, and that one's soul must remain whole and intact. For these reasons, the Horcrux is the most unnatural and darkest of magical objects. What's more, the subject of Horcruxes is banned at [[Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry]].
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A Horcrux is the opposite of a human being, in that the piece of soul depends upon its container to survive. Destruction of a Horcrux is difficult, but not impossible, and requires that the object be damaged beyond magical repair. One of the most foolproof methods of destruction is [[Basilisk]] venom. Very few other methods work, such as through a magical smelting procedure, such as with [[Fiendfyre]].
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[[Image:Riddle_Diary.jpg|235px|right|thumb|[[Tom Riddle's Diary]].]]
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[[Albus Dumbledore]], [[Ron Weasley]] and [[Neville Longbottom]] used [[Godric Gryffindor's Sword]] to destroy the [[Gaunt's Ring]], [[Salazar Slytherin's Locket]] and [[Nagini]] respectively. This was only achievable as the sword was made by [[Goblin]]s; Goblin-made artifacts can be imbued with certain qualities, so when it was impregnated with [[Basilisk venom]] when [[Harry Potter]] stabbed the [[Basilisk]] in the [[Chamber of Secrets]], it became capable of destroying all the Horcruxes.
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Harry Potter and [[Hermione Granger]] used [[Basilisk]] fangs to destroy [[Tom Riddle's Diary]] and [[Helga Hufflepuff's Cup]], respectively.
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Horcruxes can also be enchanted to provide some line of defence against destruction. For instance, a spell that makes the object appear too beautiful to destroy,<ref>Sauron's "One Ring," as mentioned in final section of the article.</ref> instilling the attacker with great fear and despair,<ref>Ron Weasley was viciously taunted and mocked by Slytherin's locket.</ref> or even direct violence against the attacker.<ref>Slytherin's locket tried to strangle Harry Potter.</ref>
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==Horcruxes of Lord Voldemort==
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[[Image:'s ring.JPG|thumb|[[Gaunt's Ring|Marvolo Gaunt's Ring]].]]
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[[Lord Voldemort]], obsessed with immortality, went further than any wizard known to history to create [[seven]] (although he actually had an eight-part soul, the eighth one lived in his own body) seperate parts of his soul. As a student named [[Tom Marvolo Riddle]], he learned of Horcruxes from some source (most likely the library books of Hogwarts) during his tutilage at Hogwarts, and sought out Potions Master [[Horace Slughorn]] for further information. At some point after that, Slughorn informed Dumbledore of their discussion, and gave him a partial [[Pensieve|stored memory]] of it. After that, all books regarding Horcruxes in the Hogwarts School Library were confiscated and stored in the Headmaster's Office, until [[Hermione Granger]] absentmindedly [[Accio|summoned]] them to her dormitory at the end of the [[1996]] school year.
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Two years later, Dumbledore and [[Harry Potter]] embarked on a quest to locate and destroy, in secret, what they believed to be as many as six to seven of Voldemort's Horcruxes.
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===List of Horcruxes===
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{| border="2" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="4" class="wikitable"
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|-
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! width="10%" | Horcrux
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! width="30%" | Location
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! width="10%" | Murder
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! width="10%" | Destroyer
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! width="30%" | Destruction
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! width="30%" | Destruction Site
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! width="10%" | Date
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|-
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| [[Tom Riddle's Diary]]
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| In the possession of [[Lucius Malfoy]]
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| [[Moaning Myrtle|Myrtle]]
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| [[Harry Potter]]
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| Stabbed with a [[Basilisk]]'s fang in the [[Chamber of Secrets]].
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| [[Chamber of Secrets]]
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| June 1993
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|-
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| [[Marvolo Gaunt's Ring]]
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| In the [[Gaunt Shack]]
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| [[Tom Riddle Sr.]]
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| [[Albus Dumbledore]]
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| Stabbed with [[Godric Gryffindor's Sword]]
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| Dumbledore's Office
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| Summer 1996
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|-
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| [[Salazar Slytherin's Locket]]
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| [[Horcrux Cave]], later moved to the [[House of Black]]
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| A Muggle tramp
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| [[Ron Weasley]]
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| Stabbed with [[Godric Gryffindor's Sword]]
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| [[Forest of Dean]]
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| December 1997
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|-
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| [[Helga Hufflepuff's Cup]]
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| The [[Lestrange]] vault at [[Gringotts Wizarding Bank]]
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| [[Hepzibah Smith]]
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| [[Hermione Granger]]
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| Stabbed with a Basilisk's fang
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| [[Chamber of Secrets]]
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| [[Battle of Hogwarts]][May 1998]
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|-
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| [[Rowena Ravenclaw's Diadem]]
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| In the [[Room of Requirement|Room of Hidden Things]] at Hogwarts
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| An Albanian peasant
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| [[Vincent Crabbe]]
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| Unintentionally incinerated with [[Fiendfyre]].
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| [[Room of Requirement]]
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| Battle of Hogwarts [May 1998]
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|-
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| [[Harry Potter]]
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| N/A
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| [[Lord Voldemort|Himself]]
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| [[Lord Voldemort]]
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| [[Killing Curse]], without harm to Harry.
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| [[Forbidden Forest]]
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| Battle of Hogwarts [May 1998]
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|-
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| [[Nagini]]
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| Always by [[Voldemort|Lord Voldemort's]] side.
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| [[Bertha Jorkins]]
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| [[Neville Longbottom]]
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| Stabbed with [[Godric Gryffindor's Sword]]
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| [[Hogwarts]]
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| Battle of Hogwarts.[May 1998]
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|}
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Although Voldemort had [[seven]] Horcruxes, no more than six existed at one time because [[Tom Riddle's Diary]] was destroyed before [[Nagini]] was made into a Horcrux. Concerning Nagini, it is not known if she had to have been killed by the Godric Gryffindor's Sword or if any other means, such as a regular sword killing her, would have destroyed the Horcrux. However, as Albus Dumbledore stated, using a living being as a Horcrux is a risky business, as the creature could die or be killed and the Horcrux lose its integrity. Thus it is likely that any method that would kill Nagini would destroy the horcrux, as death cannot be undone by magic. However, it may be possible that a corpse can be horcruxed. Voldemort may have horcruxed Nagini's body, not her life. On the topic of horcruxing lives, it may be possible to horcrux a non-solid object.
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[[Image:HarryPotter5.jpg|200px|right|thumb|Harry Potter, one of [[Voldemort]]'s Horcruxes.]]
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==Parallels in the Muggle World==
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However, the concept of a "soul container" is not original to the world of Harry Potter. For example, the legendary undead Lich could maintain immortality by concealing regeneration power in a phylactery. The Russian myth of '''Koschei the Deathless''' is another. In Native American folk tales, sorcerers could evade death by sealing their spirit inside parrots, becoming invulnerable until the parrot was destroyed. In Tolkein's '''Lord of the Rings''' series, the Dark Wizard Sauron stored his power and ability to maintain physical form in '''The One Ring'''.
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==Behind the scenes==
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*[[J.K. Rowling]] knows exactly what the process for the creation of a Horcrux is, but is not telling - yet. The information will be included in the [[Harry Potter Encyclopedia]]. She has told her editor what the process is, and revealed that the editor felt like vomiting afterwards. All she will say is that a spell is involved, and a horrific act is performed.<ref name=PC/>
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===References===
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<small><references/></small>
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[[Category:Dark Magic]]
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[[Category:Horcruxes| ]]
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[[pl:Horkruks]]
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[[ru:Крестраж]]

Revision as of 02:12, May 31, 2008

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

A Horcrux is an object of extremely Dark magic. It is defined as any item in which a Dark wizard or witch has hidden a fragment of his or her soul for the purpose of attaining immortality.[1] Herpo the Foul is credited with creating the first Horcrux.[2]

Nature of a Horcrux

Nagini

Nagini, a living Horcrux.

The book Secrets of the Darkest Art, in the Hogwarts Library, gives explicit instructions on creating Horcruxes. The creation of the Horcrux is known to involve a spell, and a horrible act.[2] To split one's soul, one must also commit the most supreme act of evil - murder - and then encase a portion of their fractured soul into a chosen object. The chosen object is usually one of great significance or importance, as this act can only be reversed through acts of remorse that are physically very painful.

The process stands in violation both of profound natural laws, and common human decency: that mankind must not practices such acts upon one another, and that one's soul must remain whole and intact. For these reasons, the Horcrux is the most unnatural and darkest of magical objects. What's more, the subject of Horcruxes is banned at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

A Horcrux is the opposite of a human being, in that the piece of soul depends upon its container to survive. Destruction of a Horcrux is difficult, but not impossible, and requires that the object be damaged beyond magical repair. One of the most foolproof methods of destruction is Basilisk venom. Very few other methods work, such as through a magical smelting procedure, such as with Fiendfyre.

Riddle Diary

Tom Riddle's Diary.

Albus Dumbledore, Ron Weasley and Neville Longbottom used Godric Gryffindor's Sword to destroy the Gaunt's Ring, Salazar Slytherin's Locket and Nagini respectively. This was only achievable as the sword was made by Goblins; Goblin-made artifacts can be imbued with certain qualities, so when it was impregnated with Basilisk venom when Harry Potter stabbed the Basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets, it became capable of destroying all the Horcruxes.

Harry Potter and Hermione Granger used Basilisk fangs to destroy Tom Riddle's Diary and Helga Hufflepuff's Cup, respectively.

Horcruxes can also be enchanted to provide some line of defence against destruction. For instance, a spell that makes the object appear too beautiful to destroy,[3] instilling the attacker with great fear and despair,[4] or even direct violence against the attacker.[5]

Horcruxes of Lord Voldemort

File:'s ring.JPG

Lord Voldemort, obsessed with immortality, went further than any wizard known to history to create seven (although he actually had an eight-part soul, the eighth one lived in his own body) seperate parts of his soul. As a student named Tom Marvolo Riddle, he learned of Horcruxes from some source (most likely the library books of Hogwarts) during his tutilage at Hogwarts, and sought out Potions Master Horace Slughorn for further information. At some point after that, Slughorn informed Dumbledore of their discussion, and gave him a partial stored memory of it. After that, all books regarding Horcruxes in the Hogwarts School Library were confiscated and stored in the Headmaster's Office, until Hermione Granger absentmindedly summoned them to her dormitory at the end of the 1996 school year.

Two years later, Dumbledore and Harry Potter embarked on a quest to locate and destroy, in secret, what they believed to be as many as six to seven of Voldemort's Horcruxes.

List of Horcruxes

Horcrux Location Murder Destroyer Destruction Destruction Site Date
Tom Riddle's Diary In the possession of Lucius Malfoy Myrtle Harry Potter Stabbed with a Basilisk's fang in the Chamber of Secrets. Chamber of Secrets June 1993
Marvolo Gaunt's Ring In the Gaunt Shack Tom Riddle Sr. Albus Dumbledore Stabbed with Godric Gryffindor's Sword Dumbledore's Office Summer 1996
Salazar Slytherin's Locket Horcrux Cave, later moved to the House of Black A Muggle tramp Ron Weasley Stabbed with Godric Gryffindor's Sword Forest of Dean December 1997
Helga Hufflepuff's Cup The Lestrange vault at Gringotts Wizarding Bank Hepzibah Smith Hermione Granger Stabbed with a Basilisk's fang Chamber of Secrets Battle of Hogwarts[May 1998]
Rowena Ravenclaw's Diadem In the Room of Hidden Things at Hogwarts An Albanian peasant Vincent Crabbe Unintentionally incinerated with Fiendfyre. Room of Requirement Battle of Hogwarts [May 1998]
Harry Potter N/A Himself Lord Voldemort Killing Curse, without harm to Harry. Forbidden Forest Battle of Hogwarts [May 1998]
Nagini Always by Lord Voldemort's side. Bertha Jorkins Neville Longbottom Stabbed with Godric Gryffindor's Sword Hogwarts Battle of Hogwarts.[May 1998]

Although Voldemort had seven Horcruxes, no more than six existed at one time because Tom Riddle's Diary was destroyed before Nagini was made into a Horcrux. Concerning Nagini, it is not known if she had to have been killed by the Godric Gryffindor's Sword or if any other means, such as a regular sword killing her, would have destroyed the Horcrux. However, as Albus Dumbledore stated, using a living being as a Horcrux is a risky business, as the creature could die or be killed and the Horcrux lose its integrity. Thus it is likely that any method that would kill Nagini would destroy the horcrux, as death cannot be undone by magic. However, it may be possible that a corpse can be horcruxed. Voldemort may have horcruxed Nagini's body, not her life. On the topic of horcruxing lives, it may be possible to horcrux a non-solid object.

File:HarryPotter5.jpg

Parallels in the Muggle World

However, the concept of a "soul container" is not original to the world of Harry Potter. For example, the legendary undead Lich could maintain immortality by concealing regeneration power in a phylactery. The Russian myth of Koschei the Deathless is another. In Native American folk tales, sorcerers could evade death by sealing their spirit inside parrots, becoming invulnerable until the parrot was destroyed. In Tolkein's Lord of the Rings series, the Dark Wizard Sauron stored his power and ability to maintain physical form in The One Ring.

Behind the scenes

  • J.K. Rowling knows exactly what the process for the creation of a Horcrux is, but is not telling - yet. The information will be included in the Harry Potter Encyclopedia. She has told her editor what the process is, and revealed that the editor felt like vomiting afterwards. All she will say is that a spell is involved, and a horrific act is performed.[2]

References

  1. JKR diary entry, September 29, 2006 http://www.hp-lexicon.org/magic/devices/horcruxes.html
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 J.K. Rowling PotterCast Interview
  3. Sauron's "One Ring," as mentioned in final section of the article.
  4. Ron Weasley was viciously taunted and mocked by Slytherin's locket.
  5. Slytherin's locket tried to strangle Harry Potter.
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