The Two-Way Mirror #23: Harry and Nagini: Voldemort’s Living Horcruxes?
Before the Half-Blood Prince came out, I wrote an editorial about the steps Voldemort took towards immortality in the editorial Does Dumbledore Know Why Voldemort Didn’t Die? The evidence that I used as I developed the editorial was Dumbledore’s interest in Harry’s point of view when he possessed Nagini in the Department of Mysteries, and Dumbledore’s subsequent interaction with the silver instrument and his mysterious question “But in essence divided?” I found Dumbledore’s enigmatic answers and questions suggestive of the fact that Voldemort must have a divided soul.
Interestingly, after reading HBP, I realize that the argument I used to suggest that Voldemort might have a divided soul can also be used to show that Harry is a Horcrux.
I will quote certain parts from my previous editorial that I find useful. The first part deals with the question of possession:
I think there may be something that we are taking for granted, and for that reason we don’t see what Dumbledore sees. Just like Harry, we don’t know much about the magic world. Once we found out there were all these spells possible in the Potter universe, we started believing that just about anything is possible if you’re a wizard. Harry, for example, was not at all surprised to be able to talk to snakes. You have to be an old-time wizard to know how rare and possibly dark the gift of being a Parselmouth is. Is there similarly something we are taking for granted in this Harry – Voldemort – Snake triangle because we are not wizards to know what is possible and what is strange in the magic world?To return to Dumbledore, I think that in addition to wanting to know where Harry was, he really wanted to know where Voldemort was, and how in the world he could be there. Dumbledore draws the conclusion that Voldemort was in the snake’s body, since Snape tells Harry later on that Voldemort was possessing the snake at the time. The possession aspect probably unnerved and intrigued Dumbledore. Why was this information so precious? Hasn’t Voldemort been possessing creatures from time immemorial? Or rather, since he lost his body 13 years ago? Was he able to do it before? […] Can a wizard who has a body possess another body? I am willing to bet that Voldemort’s possessing the snake in the DoM was something very unusual indeed or it wouldn’t have been so thought provoking for Dumbledore.
The simple fact of possession (of Quirrell, for example) did not seem to lead Dumbledore towards any great theories. But now Voldemort has a body. So I bet that in Potterverse, once you have a body, it’s not normal to be able to possess a different body ? unless there is something about your body or soul or the relationship between your body and soul that is different from that of a normal wizard being… and in Voldemort’s case, we would know the difference was acquired through certain steps. […]
When Voldemort attains a new body, he says he has settled for his “old body,” by which I take it he means his mortal body. So if Voldemort has returned “back to normal” he really ought not to be able to possess creatures… I don’t know about you guys, but Voldemort looks anything but normal to me, and I really doubt Tom Riddle had red eyes with slits for pupils. The new creature that Voldemort has become bears upon it the traces of the steps he took at some point in the past.
If Voldemort is a Parselmouth, why not just tell Nagini what to do, rather than possess her in the DoM? But he couldn’t, because he would have to be in the Ministry of Magic to speak Parseltongue, and he doesn’t want to enter it. We know he doesn’t want to reveal himself, which is why he is not going after the prophecy himself. That means that he can possess from a distance (and without a scar?) How? In fact, didn’t he possess Harry from a distance also in the MoM, since his body was supposedly “gone from the hall”? How did he do that? Is there any similarity between the two possessions?
In the same editorial, I reconstructed Dumbledore’s dialogue with the instrument, and I am proud of what I said, considering it was pre-HBP:
Dumbledore: You heard what the boy said. He was inside the snake. Where was Voldemort?Instrument: Do you see this snake? It’s obvious!
Dumbledore: Naturally, naturally. But I’m sure you know what I’m aiming at, so don’t give me the obvious. He couldn’t have been all in the snake. That new body of his. He must be… in essence divided… right? I don’t see how else… Show me! I have to see this with my own eyes.
Instrument: Right you are! He was in two different places at the same time. And check this out: he was essentially a snake in both places. What do you think of that?!
I know the “Voldemort is essentially a snake” part may look like a silly conclusion, but I wonder if by splitting his soul Voldemort has not diminished it down the evolutionary scale, so that now the part of his soul that resides inside his body resembles the soul of a snake, which explains his animal-like facial features.
In my conclusion to that editorial, I included this paragraph, which contains some suppositions that are not true, but which also gets very close to the nature of what Voldemort has done:
Voldemort the doubleI have found an interesting piece of trivia: the name Tom, based on Thomas, means “twins.” And if the conversation about Voldemort brought up the twin serpents, perhaps there is something essentially divided, essentially “twin” about Voldemort. This essential division may help him possess a snake while still inhabiting his own body, and continue to live although his body is destroyed. He is double in two ways: double natured, human and snake, and double bodied, in that he can divide, like a snake shedding its skin maybe, into two souls, one of which has the potential of growing a new body, and one of which may be just the image of his soul, like the trace left in Harry’s scar… Voldemort’s soul would be able to divide in two at the moment of “death” like a unicellular organism creating two identical halves from the original cell. Because of some law of unity, as in the soul must be whole to pass to the other side, it would be impossible for Voldemort ever to die, because his soul would always be divided. It fits that Voldemort the divider should have a “divided” soul. I imagine that having a divided soul is worse than death.
The most interesting aspect of my past editorial after reading HBP is that even as I was trying to understand the nature of the connection between Voldemort and Nagini, I could not leave out the nature of the connection between Harry and Voldemort. In fact, I followed up “Voldemort the double” quoted above with “Voldemort the triple” to explain his connection to both Harry and Nagini… Harry’s scar kept creeping up here and there in the editorial as essentially connected to the same mystery. What I realized is that the value of the evidence and the arguments I used to deduce the steps Voldemort took towards immortality can now be used again to prove that Harry, like Nagini, is a Horcrux.
I. Nagini is a Horcrux.
To summarize very quickly the evidence and arguments presented in the previous editorial:
1. Harry in his scar dreams travels to where Voldemort is.
2. Harry traveled to the Ministry of Magic.
3. The snake was in the Ministry of Magic.
4. Voldemort was not in the Ministry of Magic: he did not want to go for the Prophecy himself.
5. Voldemort possessed Nagini although he has his own body.
6. Voldemort was in the Ministry of Magic.
This evidence presented some obvious dilemmas to Dumbledore. How could Voldemort be inside and outside the Ministry at the same time? And how could he be inside the snake and inside the body at the same time? Dumbledore wanted especially to know Harry’s point of view, which means that he was especially interested in whether Voldemort was inside the snake. Voldemort’s being inside the snake clearly presented an interesting logistical problem to Dumbledore. There was nothing new about Harry dreaming about Voldemort, because Dumbledore had already heard that story. There was nothing new about the simple act of possession because Dumbledore had known about that with Quirrell’s story. But what if there was something new? Voldemort now had a body, but was still able to possess. Voldemort could be in two bodies at the same time. Worse, he could be in two places at the same time. The only solution to Voldemort being in two places and/or two bodies at the same time was that Voldemort was “in essence divided.”
The interesting part is that the dilemma is exactly like the one in the Chamber of Secrets, when at the end of the book Dumbledore said about Tom Riddle’s diary that the question was not who but how. We all know Voldemort was inside Hogwarts, but how in the world was he there, if his body wasn’t? We all know Voldemort was inside the Ministry, but how in the world was he there, if his body wasn’t? And both times the answer was that Voldemort’s soul was divided, and if his body wasn’t present, his Horcrux was.
II. Harry is a Horcrux.
I think the fact that the only concrete power we know with certainty that Voldemort has transferred to Harry is Parseltongue serves to emphasize a symbolic connection between Harry and the Snake. We are supposed to see that Harry and the snake have something in common, and perhaps that something is that they are both Horcruxes. But there is something else that Harry and Nagini have in common: Voldemort has possessed them both.
1. Voldemort possessed Harry in the Ministry of Magic.
2. Voldemort’s body was “gone from the Hall.”
3. Voldemort possessed Nagini and Voldemort’s body was not in the Ministry ==> Nagini is a Horcrux.
The most important piece of evidence I relied on in the previous editorial was the fact of “possession.” Why was Dumbledore intrigued by Voldemort possessing the snake? It must be that one cannot possess another being if one already has a body, especially if one is far away from the being he is possessing. This implied Voldemort could only do it if his soul was somehow divided. Now we know Nagini is a Horcrux, and thus Voldemort could possess her because he was linked to her through that part of his soul. Now, since Voldemort can possess Harry like he could possess Nagini, even while being “gone from the Hall,” it is very likely that he can do it because part of his soul is inside Harry. Therefore, Harry is a Horcrux.
Although the soul is divided, the pieces are connected on some level. Otherwise, why would the soul remain “alive” when the body is destroyed just because a piece of it is attached to some object miles away? Harry asked Dumbledore a very interesting question: can Voldemort tell when one of his Horcruxes is destroyed? Dumbledore doesn’t say that Voldemort can’t tell because that’s not how it works. He says Voldemort can’t tell because he has immersed himself so much in Dark Magic and mutilated his soul so much that he may be out of touch with some of its pieces.
I believe, however, that Voldemort is very much in tune with the piece of his soul that is inside Nagini. He is very aware of everything that happens with the snake. That is why, when Harry visited the snake, his presence constituted such a powerful incursion upon the Dark Lord’s mind that he realized the nature of the connection between himself and Harry. Although far away from the Ministry, Voldemort’s soul was connected with the part of his soul that was inside Nagini, and could sense a foreign presence inside Nagini.
It appears that the connection between the pieces of the soul that are inside living beings is stronger.
We are all curious about the nature of the connection between Harry and Voldemort. How was Voldemort able to possess Harry in the MoM, although Voldemort has his own body? How could Harry in turn feel what it was like to be inside Voldemort’s bestial body? How could Harry feel Voldemort’s mood? How could Harry speak with Voldemort’s voice inside his dream and have Voldemort’s thoughts and feelings?
Harry definitely has his own soul. His soul is whole and it has not been replaced with Voldemort’s. But some piece, I don’t know how big a piece, of Voldemort’s soul ended up inside Harry. It could be a “botched up” Horcrux. Perhaps only a “trace” of Voldemort’s soul has somehow attached itself to Harry.
We don’t yet know the spell that produces a Horcrux. We don’t know if it needs to be performed before or after a murder, if it needs to be performed immediately or if it can be performed later. We don’t know if it can happen inadvertently. My own belief is that the soul is split when murder is committed, but the pieces are connected still somehow, just like the pieces of the soul are connected even after Horcruxes are made, which connection ensures that the piece inside the body is not destroyed if the body is attacked. Slughorn would have said the soul is diminished by murder if a portion of the soul were to disappear unless it were made a Horcrux immediately. But he said the soul is split. I think the Horcrux can be made any time, although sooner may be better than later. Perhaps the soul can mend itself again with time, good actions or repentance…
We do know that an unexpected magical phenomenon happened when Harry was saved from the Avada Kedavra by his mother’s sacrifice. We know that is no ordinary scar on his forehead. We know some of Voldemort’s powers were transferred to Harry and that there is a mental and soul connection between the two. Most interestingly and tellingly, we know from the Prophecy that Voldemort has marked Harry “as his equal.” What can be more equal to Voldemort if not Voldemort himself? What can be a better example of equality than that Voldemort himself – that is, a part of his soul, is inside Harry?
People can make up all kinds of interesting theories about “what” got transferred to Harry, but in the context of the books so far, including the HBP, I think the most interesting theory is the Horcrux. Why?
For one thing, Harry has felt contaminated by his tie to Voldemort all his life. He felt polluted because he could speak Parseltongue in the CoS. He felt tainted even by the fact that his wand was the brother of Voldemort’s wand. I can’t imagine a worse contamination than Harry discovering that he actually houses a part of Voldemort’s soul.
Rowling says that she got the idea for the Harry Potter books when she thought of a boy who didn’t know he was a wizard. This question of Harry’s identity has been important throughout the series, and I think the biggest challenge yet Harry would have to face would be this kind of “soul crisis.” Harry’s “whole and untarnished soul” would share the same body with the darkest shred of soul the wizarding world has ever seen.
It would also be an interesting parallel with the first book, in which Quirrell had Voldemort’s soul sticking out the back of his head. Harry has Voldemort’s soul on his forehead.
The theme of choices has also been very important in the books. Imagine the choices Harry and Voldemort would have to make upon the discovery that Harry is a Horcrux. In fact, what if Voldemort figured out that Harry is a Horcrux when he possessed him in the Ministry? What if it is for that reason that he has given a categorical instruction to all of his Death Eaters to neither kill nor harm Harry Potter? I am sure it is a pride thing, too, but what if there is more to it? He may be trying to make up his mind what to do with the unexpected Horcrux.
If Harry is a Horcrux, then he is in some mysterious way connected to all the other bits of Voldemort’s soul hidden in the other Horcruxes. Perhaps if Harry really concentrates, since he also has the power of a whole soul behind him, he can sense where the other Horcruxes are simply by virtue of having a bit of Voldemort’s soul inside him. I also expect Harry to start performing Legilimency on the Dark Lord. I think it would be very ironical, that he could defeat the greatest Legilimens ever. Voldemort is on the defense with Harry, practicing Occlumency against him. Harry was never able to become a good Occlumens, but I bet he’ll become a good Legilimens. After all, he proved himself more powerful than Voldemort in the Priori Incantatem scene. And what did he do then if not symbolically perform some kind of Legilimency on Voldemort’s wand? I wonder if Harry will ever need to be good at Occlumency, the lesson Snape found so important. Harry’s heart is too open for him to be good at it. Maybe Harry’s openness will be a power that will help him open everything that is closed to him, including anyone practicing Occlumency against him, such as Snape or Voldemort, and/or any reluctant object, like the locket that wouldn’t open…
In Harry’s Scar and the Prophecy, I thought that one day Harry would possess Voldemort. Well, at this point, I think Legilimency is another definite possibility. I don’t rule out possession though. We may need a soul battle in the end between Harry and Voldemort. Voldemort’s brain and magic are not affected by the weakness of his soul, which makes it difficult for Harry to battle him with his wand. But if Harry engages Voldemort in soul combat by possessing him, then Voldemort will not be able to use magic against Harry. What will Voldemort do then? Dumbledore said Harry could enter Voldemort without doing damage to himself, but that Voldemort could not handle being inside Harry. What if Dumbledore was hinting that Harry will need to take another trip inside Voldemort, and that he will be able to do so safely?
If Harry is a Horcrux, who needs to die first: Voldemort or the Harry? What if Harry is the only one who can kill Voldemort through possession? But he can’t kill Voldemort until all of his Horcruxes are destroyed? What would be the solution to this dilemma? For one thing, since Harry is human, it seems there is some kind of strange equality between himself and Voldemort. Maybe it doesn’t matter which human body is killed first… Will the fact that Voldemort has taken Harry’s blood play a role in this question? The equality is even worse: Voldemort has a piece of Harry’s body and Harry has a piece of Voldemort’s soul. Who must die first in order to destroy Voldemort?
It is possible that Harry could die and then Snape would kill Voldemort like he killed Dumbledore… I think Snape could find it in his heart to do kill Harry, if Ron couldn’t bring himself… Snape could push Ron roughly out of the way like he once pushed Draco, and he could utter the Avada Kedavra. We don’t need to set too much store by the Prophecy. Dumbledore reminded us of that. Snape could be the one to battle Voldemort with wand magic and kill him. In fact, it would be interesting if Harry trusted Snape to kill Voldemort for him. That would be the mother of all duels. We would see Snape’s brilliance at work. It might be the last magic he will ever do.
Snape the gray man will have killed both the white and the black king. And then, in my humble opinion, he will turn into a gray bishop: “gray bishop” because he will become a “real monk.” I think his name “Severus” is suggestive of a monastery… And if he comes to feel true remorse, and if he can’t forgive himself, he might feel the need for the strictness and self-denial of a religious order and the soul-saving forgiveness of Christianity. I don’t know if that would bring too much religion into Potterverse though, but then the wizards do celebrate Christmas.
I think we may be able to see whether Harry can survive being a Horcrux by observing what will be done with Nagini, since she is in the same boat as Harry. Does Nagini have to die in order for the Horcrux to be destroyed? Where exactly is the soul inside Nagini? Harry has a scar. Is there any trace on Nagini? I think whatever happens to Nagini could be a hint before the end of the seventh book about what might happen to Harry, although it doesn’t have to follow that if Nagini dies Harry will have to die. But if Nagini can survive the removal of Voldemort’s soul, then there may be hope for Harry.
The only thing that troubles me though is that Dumbledore doesn’t tell Harry that he fears Harry himself might be a Horcrux… He only talks about the “control” Voldemort has over the snake, and we know that possession is total control. Did Dumbledore realize Harry was a Horcrux? Why didn’t he tell him? Did he realize what problems that might cause?
I don’t think Harry is the Heir of Gryffindor (I believe we will find out that Dumbledore was, though, so that my editorial Heirs and Inheritances may have some value after all, minus the Half-Blood Prince part), but Harry is a true Gryffindor, having pulled Gryffindor’s sword out of the hat. Then, as ‘ SheRa’ posted in the forums, Harry could be the “something of Gryffindor’s” that Voldemort turned into a Horcrux. Harry would be a symbolic Gryffindor, a Gryffindor by soul. I am convinced the Mirror of Erised is a Horcrux, and even if it is not technically a Ravenclaw heirloom (which would explain why Dumbledore didn’t think of it), it may be a true Ravenclaw object the way Harry is a true Gryffindor person. It may have been a Ravenclaw who created it.
Voldemort then would have seven Horcruxes, which is one more than he intended. Four Horcruxes would be Slytherin symbols: the ring, the locket, the diary and Nagini. And three Horcruxes would be symbols of the other three houses: Harry (Gryffindor), the Mirror of Erised (Ravenclaw) and the cup (Hufflepuff). Having four Slytherin symbols is like realizing a dream of Salazar’s: that all four houses within Hogwarts should be Slytherin… The real Hogwarts and the Hogwarts as Salazar Slytherin wanted it would both be represented in Voldemort’s Horcruxes.