The Room of Requirement One Last Time
by Shelly Taylor
A few days ago, I read the editorial “Cover Art Unveiled,” by Josh O’Rourke, and I became interested in his theories about the UK children’s cover of Deathly Hallows: that the treasure shown on the cover could be Hepzibah Smith’s, or an accumulation of items the dead left behind before entering the veil. While I was thinking about these theories, I came across a passage in Half-Blood Prince that made me think of another theory of something else the treasure could be.
I was re-reading Chapter 24, Sectumsempra, when Harry is hiding his copy of Advanced Potion-Making in the Room of Requirement. The description of the room made me instantly think of the UK Childrens cover.
He was standing in a room the size of a large cathedral, whose high windows were sending shafts of light down upon what looked like a city with towering walls, built of what Harry knew must be objects hidden by generations of Hogwarts inhabitants. There were alleyways and roads bordered by teetering piles of broken furniture, stowed away, perhaps, to hide the evidence of mishandled magic, or else hidden by castle-proud house-elves. There were thousands and thousands of books, no doubt banned or graffitied or stolen. There were winged catapults and Fanged Frisbees, some still with enough life in them to hover half-heartedly over the mountains of other forbidden items; there were chipped bottles of congealed potions, hats, jewels, cloaks; there were what looked like dragon-egg shells, corked bottles whose contents still shimmered evilly, several rusting swords and a heavy, bloodstained axe.
(HBP, Australian Hardcover, page 492)
In Chapter 20, Lord Voldemort’s Request, we learn that, after Voldemort finished his seventh year at Hogwarts, he approached Professor Dippet about remaining there as a teacher. Dumbledore, however, has a few ideas as to why he wished to stay.
”Firstly, and very importantly, Voldemort was, I believe, more attached to this school than he has ever been to a person. Hogwarts was where he had been happiest; the first and only place he had felt at home.”Secondly, the castle is a stronghold of ancient magic. Undoubtedly Voldemort had penetrated many more of its secrets than most of the students who pass through the place, but he may have felt that there were still mysteries to unravel, stores of magic to tap.”
(HBP, Australian Hardcover, page 403-404)
As Voldemort had penetrated more of the castle’s secrets than most other students, we would have to assume he would have known of the existence of the Room of Requirement. And, as Voldemort reserved the process of making Horcruxes for significant deaths, he also had significant places for hiding them as shown with the ring that was hidden in the Gaunts’ shack and the locket that was hidden in the cave at the seaside where he had terrorized Amy Benson and Dennis Bishop, two of his first victims.
If we go back to December 2006, when JKR updated her diary with some information on Book 7’s progress, she writes, “[I am] currently writing scenes that have been planned, in some cases, for a dozen years or even more” and then went on to describe a recent dream:
I was searching for a Horcrux in a gigantic, crowded hall, which bore no resemblance to the Great Hall as I imagine it. As the narrator I knew perfectly well that the Horcrux was jammed in a hidden nook in the fireplace, while as Harry I was searching for it in all kinds of other places, while trying to make the people around me say lines I had pre-arranged for them.
(JKR Website, December 2006)
The aforementioned description of the Room of Requirement from Book 6 made me think of this diary entry and the possibility that JKR was giving us a hint.
Knowing how Voldemort felt about Hogwarts, I feel the possibilities are high that he would have chosen to hide at least one of his Horcruxes in that ’stronghold of ancient magic.’