The Eyes Have It
by Eric Ianson
I recently submitted an editorial proposing a possible connection between the invisibility cloak and the sword of Gryffindor. In that editorial I touched on the much-debated subject of Harry is a Horcrux. I did not go into great detail on that particular aspect of my theory, because it is more germane to another theory I have. And that theory is the subject of this editorial.
Let me start by reiterating one of the things I believe to be true: Nagini is definitely NOT a Horcrux. I believe this was an intentional red herring from Dumbledore to force Harry to address the other Horcruxes first (thereby gaining knowledge and Horcrux-destroying experience), before facing Voldemort and the Horcrux within himself. By giving Harry this knowledge too soon, Dumbledore would have created too great of a burden on Harry for him to handle. When Harry finally reaches his arch-nemesis, it will be revealed to him (probably by Voldemort) that the final Horcrux is within him. This will set up The Moment Of Truth where Harry must decide whether or not to sacrifice himself for the good of the wizarding world.
The best argument against Harry being a Horcrux is that the Harry Potter series is aimed at children and Harry cannot die. I agree with the fact that Harry cannot die, but argue that he can still be a Horcrux. There must be a loophole that will allow Harry to live, but still destroy the Horcrux contained within him. There is no doubt in my mind that Harry will believe he must die (for no other reason than dramatic effect), but something will allow him to wriggle out of it.
After several re-reads of the books, without question the one item that was gnawing at me most, was: What is the deal with Harry having Lily’s eyes? Then finally, it hit me like a punch in the face. It all comes back to love (HBP, Chapter 23, pg. 509)*, the love that Harry received from his mother. Her love is in his soul. BAM! THE EYES ARE THE WINDOWS TO THE SOUL! Somehow Lily’s soul is within Harry, protecting him.
As crazy as that might sound, think about this: Perhaps, just as the supreme act of evil (HBP, Chapter 33, pg. 498) can rip a soul in two, the ultimate act of love (Lily sacrificing herself for her son) can fuse two souls together, a sort of reverse-Horcrux.
Before I go too much into the arguments for and against, let’s return to the scene of the crime.
Without rehashing too much of my previous editorial, it seems clear that Voldemort went to Godric’s Hollow with two intentions:
- Kill Harry Potter
- Create his final Horcrux
What LV intended to make into a Horcrux remains up for debate. In my previous editorial, I proposed that it was the sword of Gryffindor. However, for the purposes of this editorial, the specific target Horcrux is irrelevant.
One of the many mysteries of what happened at Godric’s Hollow is:
What specifically caused the killing curse to rebound off Harry? If my earlier supposition is true, when Lily sacrificed herself for Harry, her soul “merged” with Harry’s, rendering her love for her son powerful enough to physically repel the Killing Curse.
Since the specific method for creating a Horcrux is unknown, it seems possible to me that with the Killing Curse repelled, the targeting of the Horcrux could go awry. The way I envision Horcrux-making is that A kills B and the soul piece goes into object C (it is not necessarily a separate spell). When the Killing Curse rebounded, it messed up the aim of the Horcrux aspect of the spell. I believe the Horcrux spell hit Harry in the forehead (Harry was never the intended target), but it could not penetrate his body any further due to the Harry/Lily soul protection.
The end result of the night at Godric’s Hollow was Voldemort being ripped from his body and the Horcrux inadvertently ending up in the scar of his intended victim. Up to this point, I had always scoffed at the notion that the Horcrux could be Harry’s scar. However, if what I propose regarding Lily is true, then the scar argument makes more sense. Lily is protecting Harry’s soul from the piece of Voldemort’s soul that is in him, stuck in the scar.
The Moment of Truth
OK, let’s get back to the main event. Harry is facing Voldemort and now understands that he is the final Horcrux (or at least thinks he understands this). I don’t believe even Voldemort realizes that the Horcrux is contained only in the scar. However, if I am correct, Dumbledore knew the truth about Lily’s soul and this is the key to the “gleam of triumph” (GOF, Chapter 36, pg. 696). When Voldemort used Harry’s blood to regain his body, he also allowed some of the Lily/Harry bond into him. This, I believe, will be his undoing. The very thing Voldemort believes makes him stronger will be the key weakness to his defeat. I haven’t worked out a precise series of events that will allow Harry to survive, but I think the crack in the door is wide enough for Harry to find a way out.
Here are a few things that come to mind that I believe lend credence to my theory:
”The eyes are the window to the soul” is an English proverb and it seems like something JKR would like to use. There are countless references to Harry having his mother’s eyes. Clearly this is significant. Look at the eyes of other characters:
- Tom Riddle (mid-20s) – permanently “bloody look” (HBP, Chapter 20, pg. 441); an injured soul?
- Lord Voldemort – ”livid scarlet eyes” (GOF, Chapter 32, pg. 643); a hate-filled soul?
- Dumbledore – ”blue eyes were light, bright, and sparkling” (SS, Chapter 1, pg. 8); an energetic soul (or calm soul, or any other thing that blue may symbolize)
- Snape – “black, cold and empty” (SS, Chapter 8, pg. 136); soulless?
If Harry’s soul is merged with Lily’s, it could explain why Petunia (perhaps because of Dumbledore’s correspondence) will allow Harry to stay at her home. Petunia has never once threatened to throw Harry out; it is always Vernon. Perhaps by returning to her family every summer, Lily’s soul is strengthened. While it appears that Petunia didn’t like her sister, it does not necessarily mean she didn’t love her.
“For he has been better protected than I think even he knows, protected in ways devised by Dumbledore long ago, when it fell to him to arrange the boy’s future. Dumbledore invoked an ancient magic, to ensure the boy’s protection as long as he is in his relations’ care. Not even I can touch him there.”
(GOF, Chapter 33, pg. 657)
From the prophecy: “And the Dark Lord will mark him as equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not” (OOTP, Chapter 37, pg. 841). It seems logical that since Voldemort is so preoccupied with tearing his soul into pieces, that he doesn’t even consider that the soul can be made stronger. Voldemort may realize that old magic was used, but may not have the insight into love to understand its full capacity.
In the Ministry of Magic, Voldemort attempts to possess Harry, but cannot remain in his body for long (OOTP, Chapter 36, pg. 816/OOTP, Chapter 37, pg. 844). I am certain that Voldemort believed Harry to be vulnerable because he could now touch Harry (GOF, Chapter 33, pg. 652). However, Voldemort’s ability to touch Harry superficially did not apply to Harry’s soul, where Lily is still standing guard.
Now let me try to preemptively address one of the main arguments against the Harry is a Horcrux theory (I know there are others, but I think this is the big one): If Harry is a Horcrux, why is Voldermort trying to kill him?
Nowhere does it say that a Horcrux must be “alive.” In fact, since every other known Horcrux is an inanimate object, it stands to reason that Harry’s corpse could contain the Horcrux just as well as his living body (especially if it is in his scar). The fact that Voldemort wants to be the one to kill Harry (several references throughout the series) strengthens the argument in that he could remove the Horcrux himself once Harry was dead. Also, the fact that Voldemort’s remaining soul moved from vessel to vessel (GOF, Chapter 33, pg. 654) implies that a Horcrux soul fragment could do the same.
Of course nothing is a certainty when we are dealing with JKR’s imagination. However, I think I have proposed a reasonable theory to explain the significance of Harry having Lily’s eyes. To summarize my theory:
- Lily’s sacrifice merged her soul with Harry’s
- The final Horcrux is in Harry’s scar
- Voldemort taking Harry’s blood will ultimately lead to his demise
- Harry will believe he must die to defeat Voldemort
- Harry will survive in the end thanks to his mother’s protection
*All references from American hardback edition