Vanquishing Voldemort

by Zach and Jessica

While sitting at home during winter break, and having nothing else to do, a sudden realization hit us. After discussing this for ten minutes, we’re nearly certain that Voldemort will NOT die. Here’s what the prophecy says:

…and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives…the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies… (OotP pg. 841)

This prophecy has been dissected countless times. J.K. Rowling has said that she spent a long time with the prophecy because it needed to be carefully worded. It seems that few people take into account the choice to use the word “vanquish” as opposed to anything else. results for vanquish…

1. To defeat or conquer in battle, subjugate
2. To overcome or subdue, suppress
Some synonyms are: humble, master, overcome, overpower, quell, reduce, repress, etc.

Vanquish doesn’t necessarily mean “to kill.” In fact, it seems unlikely that Harry would be the type of person to kill someone. He can’t even perform the Cruciatus Curse on Bellatrix Lestrange because his anger is “righteous anger” (OotP pg. 810).

Does Avada Kedavra need some sort of hatred and malice behind it to work, as well? InGoblet of Fire, Barty Crouch Jr. as Mad-Eye Moody explains that it “needs a powerful bit of magic behind it” (pg. 217). It’s possible that this could include such a merciless and ruthless attitude. If so, it’s doubtful that Harry would be able to use it to kill Voldemort, since he isn’t such a sadistic person, and he would be avenging so many people and be doing something to better the entire world.

How poetically just would it be for Voldemort to suffer for eternity? We already know that he believes “there is nothing worse than death” (OotP pg. 814). How appropriate would it be, then, for him to realize that there are things that are MUCH worse than death, stuck in some sort of limbo, vanquished but very much alive?

If this were to be the case, Harry would have to sacrifice himself somehow to ensure that Voldemort would forever be kept in this state, and to fulfill the part of the prophecy that says “neither can live while the other survives.”

This sequence of events would resolve the hanging conflicts while, in Rowling’s style, leave us with something to think about.