The Long-Lost Horcrux
Well, I’m prepared to bet you now, that at least before the week is out, at least one of the Horcruxes will have been correctly identified by careful re-readers of the books.” – J.K. Rowling, interview with Emerson and Melissa, 7/16/05
Jo Rowling’s interview with Emerson and Melissa raised more questions than it provided answers. The above quote, which occurred after Emerson prompted Jo about the seemingly impossible task facing Harry in Book 7, is, in my opinion, the most glaring topic the interview shed light on. It prompted me to reread the six books in an effort to find these identifiable Horcruxes, and I believe that I have found an answer.
Let’s start off with what we know:
- Multiple Horcruxes have made an appearance in the books, though at that time unknown to the reader.
- There was more than one presented (noting Jo’s use of the words “at least one”).
- Dumbledore correctly deduced that Voldemort was employing the use of Horcruxes.
- Only Dumbledore, Slughorn, and RAB are known to have awareness of the Horcruxes’ existence.
I shall start off by saying that I wholeheartedly believe, like many others, that the locket in the cupboard of the tapestry room at number twelve, Grimmauld Place is Slytherin’s locket and is one of the multiple Horcruxes that Jo mentioned in her interview. I need to get this out of the way before talking about the next Horcrux.
I direct your attention to point number 3. Dumbledore was able to work out that Voldemort was using Horcruxes. Slughorn managed to realize the consequences of his telling the young Tom Riddle about them. R.B learned of Voldemort’s plan and replaced a suspected Horcrux with a fake one. That’s three people, plus Harry. My theory depends solely on the assumption that another person gained knowledge of Voldemort’s employment of Horcruxes.
This leads us to two options: (1) Either Dumbledore or Slughorn told somebody else about the Horcruxes, or (2) There’s somebody else as bright as Dumbledore who was able to figure it out.
I’m ruling out the Dumbledore blabbed option right now, but what about Slughorn? He is a bit of a loose cannon in my opinion, but considering how protective he was of the Horcrux memory, I’m going to say that he didn’t let the word get out. No, there’s someone out there who figured out that Voldemort was dividing his soul.
Who is this mysterious person? Let’s construct a profile: We know they have to have been unusually intelligent and aware of Voldemort’s movements, which means the person was very well connected with the inhabitants of magical Britain.
Before I tell you my theory, I would like to approach the puzzle from a different angle.
Horcruxes look just like any other normal object. It’s the same idea behind a Portkey. If a Muggle was to come across a tattered old boot on top of a hill, they would think nothing of it, and the same is true for Horcruxes. What normal wizard would know that any given object contains the soul of the most powerful and evil wizard to ever live? I’m guessing not many, which adds another characteristic to our profile: This person must have been able to recognize a Horcrux, demonstrating large knowledge of and access to a number of magical objects.
Here it goes: I believe that this mystery person is none other than Mr. Ollivander.
Anybody doubting that Ollivander is not a bright fellow might as well take up reading another book series. He’s one smart cookie. He knew every witch or wizard who had bought a decent wand, and he certainly had access to a range of magical objects. And given his seemingly vast knowledge of magic, I’m prepared to bet he could recognize a Horcrux if one was sitting right in front of him.
Ollivander’s business is, of course, wands. I believe that one of the remaining Horcruxes is in fact just that… the wand of one of Hogwarts’s old founders.
Now, how did Ollivander get this Horcrux? He could’ve stolen it, but I see this as unlikely. Voldemort’s past is the key to finding the Horcruxes, but Voldemort’s past is pretty much unknown to all but Dumbledore and Harry. Plus, the Horcruxes are very well protected. I think that this Horcrux was given to Mr. Ollivander, and he just had the brains to figure out what it was.
Was it placed in his possession by a careless Death Eater or by a traitor to Voldemort’s cause? Or was it maybe some innocent witch who found it and tried to sell it for a couple of Sickles? Or even better… what if the wand, like the diary, was intended as a weapon? What if it was planted in Ollivander’s shop to do some damage? The possibilities are endless.
So at this point in our story, Mr. Ollivander had, by some means, got the wand of a Hogwarts founder and managed to figure out that a bit of Voldemort’s soul was bobbing around inside.
Let’s bring two pieces of the Half-Blood Prince puzzle together. Mr. Ollivander’s sudden flight from society put up a red flag, in my case anyway. Is it possible that somebody found out that Ollivander possessed a Horcrux? This would certainly help explain his disappearance.
So Ollivander got hold of a wand, figured out that Voldemort’s soul was inside, did away with it, packed up, and went into hiding, figuring every Death Eater in the world would be on his tail. Sounds reasonable, right? Sure, but I still haven’t answered a glaring question: How did Ollivander “do away with it”?
Yes, I thought Gran would be angry about all the publicity,” said Neville, “but she was really pleased. Says I’m starting to live up to my dad at long last. She bought me a new wand, look!”
He pulled it out and showed it to Harry.
“Cherry and unicorn hair,” he said proudly. “We think it was one of the last Ollivander ever sold, he vanished the next day.”
I find it amazingly coincidental that Ollivander stuck around long enough to give Neville a wand, and then promptly vanished. Is this the Horcrux Ollivander found? Did Ollivander hide Voldemort’s Horcrux by selling it to his last customer?
Nothing is unlikely at this point, but I feel I must point out one further thing. Of all the wizards in the world who buy from Ollivander, of all the people who could’ve walked into the shop at that exact moment Ollivander decided to sell the wand, it just happened to be one of Harry’s closest friends, Neville.
Observe the quote again. Neville mentions the immense publicity surrounding the Order of the Phoenix climax. With all this publicity, wouldn’t Ollivander have known Neville was close to Harry? Maybe he was trying to get the Horcrux close to Harry, to help him destroy it? Or if the wand was intended as a weapon, should we maybe reconsider the assumption that Ollivander is on the Order’s side?
Like in the interview, I seem to have raised more questions than answers, but with Neville’s wand and Slytherin’s locket already identified and found, one can hope that Harry’s Book 7 search won’t be nearly as impossible as it’s always seemed.