What is Voldemort Missing?
I’ve been thinking a lot about the different theories that others have discussed regarding Voldemort’s state of being. Does he have his “soul”? Is his soul in another body, Harry’s perhaps? What exactly IS Voldemort? I have pondered the theories, especially the one about Harry containing both the souls of himself and Voldemort, and, like Meredith E (see her essay on “Soul Theories, a Rebuttal”) I cannot jive with them. I thought I would go back to the beginning –Sorcerer’s Stone– and see what I could come up with. I was intrigued by several ideas in this book, which have led me in a different direction in attempting to answer the questions about Voldemort’s existence. There have been ideas about a soul separate from the body, and even some have mentioned that Voldemort is only memories like Tom Riddle in CoS. However, I think that there is an additional piece of the humanity puzzle that I may have overlooked.
I believe that when one “dies” – muggle or wizard – the soul is separated from the body. The body, being only a case, a vessel, is now defunct. The soul then moves out of the physical world, and on to some other “place”. Where is not important in this discussion, but it is not of the human world. The soul does not just “cease to be”. Part of a person must go on, I realized, especially after Dumbledore’s statement that “to the well organized mind, death is but the next great adventure” (SS 297). So what has Voldemort’s attempt always been? Not to preserve his original human body, as far as we know- the vessel is not of the utmost importance. Immortality is the ability to keep one’s soul retained in the human world forever. Memories of the person, as we see in the portraits, and in Tom Riddle in CoS (what exactly was he was stealing from Ginny?) , are not enough. When Voldemort possessed a body, such as Quirrel, that was not enough either. He was always seeking something more. Why was it important for him to keep drinking the unicorn blood and to obtain the elixir of life? Why did he need all the materials in OotP (blood of the enemy, etc). All these things contained the one thing he is missing- the one thing that will keep his soul tied to this world. I believe that the missing piece is what I will call “life force”. The life force is some type of energy force that keeps body and soul tied together in this world. Once this life force is “snuffed out” (such as from a AK curse) or slowly fades away in natural death, soul, body, and memories are broken from each other. The body, as I said before, is now nonfunctional and is therefore buried, etc. Memories are retained, for example, in photographs and in the minds of those who knew the person. The soul passes out of the human world.
So, if Voldemorts body was vaporized somehow, what remained? Well, his soul obviously remained or he would NEVER be able to return to full humanity, being an integral and unchangeable part of a human’s existence. Some, as I have said, would suggest that his soul is in another, such as Harry and that Voldemort is simply memories (like Tom Riddle in CoS) But could pure memory have killed others, such as Bertha or Cedric? (I don’t think anyone would hang around old wizard photographs if this were true!) I believe it is Voldemort’s soul, which has retained just enough life force to remain, by a tiny thread, tied to this world. What is important is that Voldemort must continue to seek to “fill his tank” with life force, so to speak. He must have an amount that will make him totally human again, body, soul and memory, tied tightly together and bound to this world. I believe that more of this life force was given to him at the end of GoF, allowing him to take a somewhat human form. But why was that not enough? Why must he ALSO kill Harry? Harry must have something he needs.
Almost everyone seems to think that SOME part of Voldemort was transferred to Harry on the night he killed James and Lily. Perhaps most of Voldemort’s life force (or maybe all – maybe he retained a special backup of some kind) got transferred to Harry in trying to kill him? Perhaps another’s life force, like the unicorn blood, only temporarily sustains you, and does not allow you to have full human existence. Perhaps Harry has some special type of lifeforce, gifted to him by his mother that would allow Voldemort full humanity and immortality. Perhaps extinguishing Harry’s life force would free his own that has remained in Harry. Maybe this energy even seeks to return to its original owner, explaining the pain Harry feels at its original point of entry? Of course, no one can really answer these questions until the rest of the story is told. Whether I am somewhat on the mark or completely off, I can’t wait to find out the answer.