The Piece Left Behind
An original editorial by Paul.
In The Sorcerer's Stone
, we find out that there is something that can make
a wizard immortal, presumably with repeated doses over the course of the time
the wizard wishes to remain living (The Sorcerer's Stone). We were also given
a clue VERY early in the book, thanks to Hagrid. When Hagrid was explaining to
Harry the basics of what happened the night he received his scar, he says something
to the effect of "... some say he died. Codswallup in my opinion. I don't reckon
there was enough human left in him to die." We see, also that some wizards have
the ability to turn, at will into an animal (Professor McGonagall in the beginning
of the book meeting Dumbledore on Privet Drive as a Cat). We don't receive a full
explanation for this yet until book 3. We also find out that Unicorn Blood can
sustain a wizard "even if he is within a inch of death, but at a terrible price"
(thanks, Firenze, see you in book 5), and that Voldemort is not above paying that
price to survive. Lastly, we find out that LOVE is an incredibly powerful magical
force and is the very reason that Voldemort is still alive: the loving sacrifice
of Lily to save her son Harry.
In The Chamber of Secrets, we find out a few more details. We find
out that it is possible to leave a sort of imprint of one's self in an object
(does a piece of the bestower actually stay there?). We find out that Voldemort
was a half-blood and was originally known as Tom Marvolo Riddle. We also find
out that it is possible to transfer powers (such as parseltounge) from one person
to another. Toward the very end, we find out from Dumbledore that Tom underwent
numerous transformations to become Voldemort.
"Very few people know that Lord Voldemort was once called Tom Riddle. I taught him myself, fifty years ago, at Hogwarts. He disappeared after leaving the school... traveled far and wide... sank so deeply into the Dart Arts, consorted with the very worst of our kind, underwent so many dangerous, magical transformations, that when he resurfaced as Lord Voldemort, he was barely recognizable. Hardly anyone connected Lord Voldemort with the clever, handsome boy who was once Head Boy here."
This is the first time we have actual mention of magical transformations of
a wizard, though we learn a great deal more about them in the next book. We
also see that Tom Riddle tried to revive himself and regain a body by taking
Ginny into the Chamber. It also served as a useful lure to get Harry into the
Chamber as well. I would presume that once Tom had a body (had he been successful),
he would seek out that part of him that remained after the attack on Harry and
somehow re-integrate the two parts to become, once again, a full strength Lord
Voldemort. This is never clearly stated, however, I cannot see Tom Riddle wanting
to go through all he had previously (and it may not work out as well the 2nd
time around) to regain his strength and knowledge. There is also the matter
of what actually WAS left behind after the attack. It is not JUST his soul (or
not all of it anyway) because he did not actually die. If he had died but left
his soul there, would he not have been a ghost, or perhaps a poltergeist with
his temperament. So could a newly re-born Tom Riddle have survived for long
without the re-integration? I don't think so, but again there is no precedence
for this, more of a gut-feeling.
In The Prisoner of Azkaban, we find out a great many things about magic,
though not too much more about Voldemort specifically. Most important is that
we find out there is something called the Animagus Transformation. After successfully
performing it, a wizard is able to change from his human form to an animal form
(chosen by fate according to the individuals soul/personality/etc, which should
have given James a clue when peter became a RAT) at will. We also learn that
it can go terribly wrong and can be very dangerous, hence the ministry keeps
a close eye on those attempting the transformation. We also are introduced to
Seers and the art of Divination. We find out that many in the wizarding community
disregard this entire branch of magic. We learn that Trelawny is the great grand-daughter
of a true Seer and that she has made at least one other true prophecy before
the night of Harry's Divination exam and the whole escape of Petegrew/Wormtail.
We also, however, find out that seeing the future is a very murky, hazy, difficult
task (of which Prof. Trelawny should be a good example). We also learn a great
deal more about the developing personalities and backgrounds of all our main
characters. Oh, I almost forgot, we also learn that a body can survive without
a soul. We learn this as the effects of the Dementor's "Kiss" is described.
In The Goblet of Fire, we see the beginning of the re-birth of Voldemort.
There is a great deal of Character development in this book as well. We find
out about the 3 unforgivable curses. We learn that Harry, while he did have
help, is certainly a formidable Wizard for being able to compete in the triwizard
tournament against 3 much older students and hold his own. We find out that
Voldemort did indeed know about the power of Love, but dismissed it as he always
does, thereby miscalculating and causing the spell to backfire and rebound upon
himself. Voldemort admits that the spell that rebounded SHOULD have killed him
(and who would know more about that spell and what happened that night than
he). He states that one or more of the steps he took so long ago to ensure his
continued survival must have worked. He also mentioned that he was painfully
(I am SOOO glad it was painful) ripped from his body. He mentions the use of
unicorn blood (remember that from book 1) and snake venom in a potion of his
own creation which restored him to a rudimentary body (obviously he had a body
as he was able to hold a wand). And he describes the potion that enabled his
re-birth as an old piece of Dark Magic, requiring 3 key ingredients. We also
see for the first time that Harry has potential BEYOND that of Lord Voldemort
(I mean we always kinda knew it had to be, but....). Being as knowledgeable
in Magic as he is, Voldemort should have known more about what was going on
when the Wands connected than did Harry. And yet, when one-on-one, wand to wand,
HARRY was able to, even though he didn't know why, send those beads of light
back into Voldemort's wand and create the Priori Incantatem phenomenon from
In The Order of the Phoenix, we learn about a few other branches of
magic, such as Occlumency and Legilimency, which are Branches of magic that
deal with what us muggles call "mind reading". We learn about the Many REAL
prophecies that occur and are kept recorded in the MoM. We also learn the details
of one such prophecy, the one about Harry and Voldemort. And we learn all about
what Dumbledore knows for certain about the events that took place the night
James and Lily were killed by Voldemort. Again we are reminded of the Power
of LOVE, which must be the power that is kept locked in that room in the Dept.
of Mysteries. We have seen Time being studied, as well as brains, the planets,
and even Death itself. We see an attempt by Voldemort to possess Harry (as opposed
to merely planting thoughts into his head as was happening all through the book).
And then there was the mysterious instrument in Dumbledore's office ("Yes, but
in essence divided").
Now that we have a solid background in the wizarding world as created by JKR,
we can begin our speculation. It is so hard to speculate on the exact nature
of the what Voldemort did to prevent his death as there are so many infinite
possibilities available to the imagination. Now, if I were a Legilimens, I could
read the imagination of JKR and see which possibility SHE prefers, but alas,
I am not a Legilimens. After all, what we are really trying to predict, is the
inner workings of JKR's mind and imagination.
I am going to take an educated stab at it, however. I think we can piece together
a few things from all these clues to get a reasonable estimation. Obviously,
one or more of Voldemort's transformations did the trick. I think they made
him somewhat less than Human, and possibly bound his soul to the earthly realm.
Now, consider also that when a spell is rebounded it is as if the spell was
originated from the original target. There is precedence for this in OotP when
Harry rebounds the spell at Prof. Snape. Had professor Snape been hit with the
spell exactly as he had cast it, well, Snape would have read his OWN mind (that
would have been intriguing). But, it was rebounded as though Harry had cast
it, hence Harry saw into Snape's mind. So the rebound upon Voldemort meant that
the Avada Kedavra spell hit him as if it were cast by Harry. That creates a
connection between Harry and Voldemort. As Voldemort was RIPPED from his body,
perhaps he was about to be absorbed INTO Harry, but struggled to escape and
mostly did, but at the same time leaving a small part behind. That small part
gave Harry the scar. It gave him the power of Parseltounge. It linked their
two minds at times of intense emotion once Voldemort had a body again. It would
also explain the cryptic "in essence divided" comment by Dumbledore.
So, If we assume we are correct up to this point, it seems plausible that
only Harry has the power to vanquish Voldemort because only Harry has a piece
of Voldemort within him. Dumbledore said that it is love that will finally finish
Voldemort for good. Perhaps it is love that Harry must use to crush the piece
of Voldemort inside him. Or perhaps that piece of Voldemort is just the conduit
(like a floo network for the soul) to Voldemort and Harry must channel all the
love he feels for others, and that he feels from his friends,... etc. and channel
that all through the use of some form of Legilimency into Voldemort through
that conduit created by the piece of him inside Harry.
I could certainly see it taking the full two years remaining for Harry to
develop the skill and self-control required to perform such difficult magic.
Along the way there will most certainly be many trials and tribulations testing
and strengthening his humanity and ability to love.
This is one possible option. I am sure there are MANY others. I will enjoy reading the other possibilities.