etymology of the word seems to be this: a combination of "hors" from
the French "dehors" meaning outside and "crux" meaning "essence." Thus,
a Horcrux is a device for keeping your soul (the essence) outside your
A Horcrux is created by manually putting part of the
soul into an object. Firstly, the soul must be split into two, where
one part remains in the human body while the other is destined for the
Horcrux. This splitting is accomplished by the "supreme act of evil,"
murder, which "rips the soul apart."
Secondly, a powerful
spell must be used to gain control over the divided soul to allow the
witch or wizard to physically move it into the object they have chosen
for the Horcrux.
Creating a Horcrux is unnatural and immoral.
Professor Slughorn notes that "the soul is supposed to remain intact
and whole...splitting it is an act against nature." Whether this means
the creation of a Horcrux is inherently evil is debatable, but it is
clearly frowned upon at the very least in the wizarding community,
shown particularly by Dumbledore's banning of its discussion at
be killed permanently and absolutely, the entirety of a person's soul
must be destroyed. When part of it lies hidden in a Horcrux, it is
impossible to kill the witch or wizard without first destroying all the
Horcruxes they created. Obviously, this is of immeasurable importance
to those dark wizards seeking immortality, particularly if the
locations of the Horcruxes they made are hidden.
significant, though, is Voldemort's use of Horcruxes. It explicitly
explains why he wasn't killed when the Avada Kedavra curse intended for
Harry rebounded and hit Voldemort instead. As Hagrid put it, "Dunno if
he had enough human left in him to die."
Dumbledore said he
believed Voldemort made six Horcruxes, with the original part of his
soul still remaining in his body. The locations were:
first five seem perfectly legitimate, but the last two possibilities
have been the subject of heated debate. Since the beginning, Rowena
Ravenclaw has been described as wise and shrewd, suggesting she
wouldn't allow an object of hers to be used for such evil. Furthermore,
Godric Gryffindor's sword and the Sorting Hat currently reside in
Dumbledore's office, and since he told Harry only a Gryffindor could
pull the sword out of the hat, it seems unlikely Voldemort would have
been able to make it into a Horcrux.
- The Gaunt Ring (DESTROYED)
- Riddle's Diary (DESTROYED)
- Nagini, the snake
Locket, stolen by R.A.B (which some have speculated is the locket that
wouldn't open from the glass cabinet in Book Five)
- Helga Hufflepuff's Cup
- An item of Rowena Ravenclaw's or an item of Godric Gryffindor's.
Thus, speculation is rife about the location of the last remaining Horcrux. Some possible locations:
The last one is particularly interesting. Voldemort couldn't have created a Horcrux from Harry because he didn't kill him, but he could have made Harry into
a Horcrux from killing Lily or James (accidentally we must assume, as
he wouldn't have created a Horcrux only to try and kill it). If Harry
is indeed the last Horcrux, this means that for Voldemort to die, Harry
must die. This could work in two ways:
Award for Services to the school (Riddle liked to collect "trophies",
which we assumed was a metaphor...but Jo might have meant for us to
take it literally!)
- The sinister box from the glass cabinet in Book 5
Potter himself (Dumbledore keeps saying Voldemort left some of himself
in Harry the night he tried to kill him, perhaps this is part of his
Naturally, this is a horrible thought, but we must consider the possibility that Harry will have to die!
- Harry destroys all the Horcruxes except himself, then kills himself and Voldemort at the same time.
- Harry kills all the Horcruxes, including himself, leaving Voldemort completely mortal so that someone else can kill him.