ep-209

Episode 209: Horcruxes – Voldy-Bits

It’s time to examine one of Wizarding World’s darkest and most mysterious concepts. We’ve graduated from splitting hairs to splitting souls. Grab your copy of Magick Moste Evile and join Alison, Eric, Michael and returning special guest, Grace, as they go deep into the heart – or rather, the soul – of Horcruxes.

On Episode 209 we discuss…

→ Making a Horcrux: How Do You Even?
→ Horcrux pies and chocolate bars
→ Body and soul
→ The first kill
→ The Seven Horcrux Sins
→ Hot-Demort
→ Did Grindelwald make a Horcrux?
→ Rowling’s least favorite Horcrux question

To listen to the show, simply click the player below or direct download the episode. You can also subscribe to us on iTunes. For more information about the podcast and to find out how to be on the show, check out our Be On The Show! page.

Skype users can send us a message to username AlohomoraMN. And as always, be sure to continue the discussion below!

Listen Now: | Download


RECAP: EPISODE 208

On this recap we discuss…

→ Peter and the Hat
→ “Heads or tails?”
→ Sorting Families
→ Houses through the years

Listen Now: | Download

  • caput-malfoynis

    I wonder if a dementor could be used to suck the soul fragment out of a horcrux?

    • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

      dementors don’t like canned food.

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        BahHaHAHA!

  • UmbridgeRage

    Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
    Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
    Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
    One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
    In the land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

    In answer to Michael’s question at 13:38

  • UmbridgeRage

    As far as I’m aware killing/murder doesn’t split the soul. It damages the soul and then part of making a Horcrux is to use that damage to split the soul.

  • Luna874

    I think the Diadem was the true origin of the DADA curse following its transformation into a Horcrux. It seems likely since the curse on the DADA position started when Voldemort hid the Diadem at Hogwarts, and the DADA curse ended following Voldemort’s death. The Diadem was the only Horcrux that was hidden at Hogwarts, making it even more possible that the reason the DADA position was cursed was because of the Diadem Horcrux.

    If Voldemort himself cast a spell on Hogwarts itself to jinx the DADA position, then either it would fail or it could have still remained a cursed position even after Voldemort’s death.

    It also answers the unanswered question of what powers did the Diadem Horcrux have, since the other Horcruxes all have some additional effect to them aside from being containers for Voldemort’s soul. Ravenclaw’s Diadem was made to grant its wearer increased knowledge yet as a Horcrux , it did the exact opposite by reducing the quality of education at Hogwarts, thereby limiting knowledge and basically making those affected by the Diadem get a worse education by making their DADA professors last only one year.

    • Silverdoe25

      I LOVE the idea that the diadem was originally connected to knowledge, and that Voldemort used that to curse the DADA teaching position.

      • Rosmerta

        Same, this does make sense.
        Has there been any other explanation for the DADA curse?

  • DoraNympha

    Finally caught up on the past four podcasts! Missed Alohomora so much!

    I agree, The Picture of Dorian Gray is a great literary example of a Horcrux-like phenomenon!

    Haggard’s She is also interesting to consider: in many ways while I was reading, Ayesha’s character reminded me of Voldemort, She is like as if Voldemort could feel passion or devotion to a person but other than that they are oddly similar in their seeking immortality by magic, fascination and exploitation of death and dead bodies including bringing them back but not truly (inferi) while not being able to accept the finality of death, the snake motive, their hunger for power, the ending up as a weird shrivelled up shrunken shadow of their full selves…

    I wonder if we can collect more Horcrux-like objects from liteature.

    Actually, I just finished my semester and I took a class about British literature at the turn of the century and so that meant quite a lot of talk about immortality in fiction, whether it’s magic like in She or in Dorian Gray or good old vampirism, and the thing that stuck in my head the most about it because of its connection with how we interpret Harry Potter is that these gothic, grotesque kinds of rebirth or immortality such as vampirism are so uncanny because they subvert the Biblical story of the resurrection of Jesus, and that becomes quite interesting to analyse if we remember that Harry is supposed to be the self-sacrificing martyr in the whole story, the character who dies for everyone else, and he then comes back to life, aka he is kind of a Jesus-figure, whereas his polar opposite Voldemort is the one who subverts/perverts the act of resurrection so we have a Christ-Antichrist opposition even in the theme of immortality/rebirth/resurrection when it comes to the two of them.

    [now going to finish the episode because I’m only 23 minutes into it yet! good to be back!]

  • SpinnersEnd

    Wow…excellent discussion this week! You guys rock!

    For creating a Horcrux, the idea of cannibalism, of drinking the blood or eating the flesh of the victim, is a strange perversion of the Catholic Mass (I’m Catholic, so this is my reference point. If anyone else has a different viewpoint, I’d love to hear it. But a lot of Christian derivatives use the same symbolism.). During the Mass, people eat and drink the literal body and blood of Christ. We do this in part to be saved.

    I really like the idea of turning that completely on its head. In this case, the consumption of flesh and blood is destructive. If that is indeed part of the ritual of making a Horcrux, I think it would be a very deliberate reflection of the accepted use of ritual cannibalism.

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      I like this connection. Plus, the act of consumming has long been associated with lore involving quests for immortality. The Elixer of Life made from the Philosopher’s Stone, most obviously, but there are plenty of others- vampirism and the drinking of blood, in Hinduism, the drinking of amrita, Chinese legend speaks of the eating of a particular “magic” mushroom, etc.

    • Silverdoe25

      If cannibalism is part of the ritual, what about Nagini? Unless consuming her venom was sufficient?

      • Elizabeth Jack

        And also, when Voldy killed his father/grandparents, it was said that there were no marks/anything weird on their bodies. So how can cannibalism happen if there is no cutting or marks of any kind?

  • SpinnersEnd

    Also, is there no other act that could fracture one’s soul to the extent that murder does? What about Bellatrix Lestrange and Barty Crowch Jr. torturing Frank and Alice Longbottom, leaving them to a fate that is, arguably, worse than death.

    • Lisa

      Perhaps their souls were fractured but unless one makes a Horcrux then nothing else would happen to that soul. It might be “chipped” but not actually torn apart. There must have been plenty of wizards and witches who committed murder yet they didn’t all have Horcruxes, of course.

    • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

      of the crimes that are in a leage with murder, my guess is that they damage the soul, but not in the same way as murder does. If I picture a soul as something that can be split, maybe it can also be punctured, compressed, diffused at the edges, or it can rot.

      • SpinnersEnd

        That’s a great point. The idea that Bellatrix Lestrange’s soul is rotting and corrupt because of what she did to the Longbottoms is wonderful and poetic.

    • SnapesManyButtons

      I think the reason that murder fractures the soul in a way that nothing else does, is that only death separates the victim’s body from their soul. Other acts are horrific, but the soul within the victim remains intact and present. (That’s why Dementors are so bad, they not only separate the soul, but prevent it from moving on to the afterlife.) Nobody can know the state of another person’s soul, so killing them removes any chance they may have had at redemption for their bad acts. Even people who seem good may have hidden darkness and people who seem all bad can redeem themselves at any time. So killing is an irreversible act that has an eternal impact on the victim’s soul, and thus eternal destiny, that other acts do not have.

      On another topic, I would argue that Frank and Alice’s condition is not worse than death. They are able to live in a way that doesn’t seem to be painful or traumatic to them. Alice seems to know that Neville is someone to her, though she doesn’t know who, because she gives him the gum wrappers. And Neville is able to see them and have a sort of relationship with them that is not available to Harry with his parents dead and gone. He keeps the wrappers because they are a sign from his mother that she knows at some level that he is important to her. I admit my opinion is colored by the fact that my daughter’s father died when she was 2 and she will never receive so much as a gum wrapper from him, nor ever hear his voice or see his face. She has only photos and he is just an idea to her. I don’t believe having the real him to visit, even if only a pale shadow of who he was, could be worse than having nothing at all. Or that he would rather be gone than able to see her, even if he wasn’t sure who she was.

  • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

    I have an alternative way of conceptualizing how the soul is split, which I think fits nicely with Grace’s theory connecting the seven deadly sins and the loss of their corresponding virtues. Rather than the soul being split into fractions of the whole, I’ve been thinking about it as the loss of particular elements that make up the soul. Using the chocolate bar analogy, we can liken those elements to ingredients of the chocolate bar- so it isn’t pieces that are being broken off, but instead, it would be like removing the sugar, for instance. What would be left would still technically be chocolate, but no longer the same. It would be gross and inferior to what it was before. With each split would be the removal of another ingredient, resulting in an increasingly deconstructed, less recognizable, product. Likewise, with each splitting, Voldemort’s soul is deconstructed, distorted, and deteriorated beyond recognization (think gross Voldy-baby).

    Tying that to Grace’s idea, the elements/ingredients lost would be those things associated with the loss of his humanity with each sin- so kindness, charity, love, etc. He loses then, not fractions of his soul, but rather the elements that make it a human soul and bind it together. What is left would be less human and increasingly less stable, which would make sense given what he becomes and what Dumbledore says in regards to his soul becoming so unstable that the backfiring of his curse causes part of it to attach itself to Harry.

    • Lisa

      I like this idea, but the thing is that I didn’t see much difference between Voldemort and Tom Riddle, to be honest. Voldemort was definitely less stable (so maybe the Horcruxes would also affect mental sanity) but in terms of emotions it’s not like Tom Riddle could feel more or was kinder than the post-Horcrux Voldy. We don’t see much of Tom Riddle, it’s true, but what we see is pretty consistent with how Voldemort acts as an adult. The way he treats people has not changed much except that he’s a bit more trigger-happy with the curses but that could just be related to his mental instability not so much to a loss of humanity. He was never very human, imo.

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        I agree that Tom Riddle never possessed the kinds of behaviors or emotions associated with basic human decency, but I think he was still “human” in that he did exhibit more of the worst aspects of humanity- things like pride, greed, selfishness, desire for control and power. You’re right though, that this never changed much for him; he was always pretty terrible. I do think there is a difference between behavior/emotions and the soul, though. So while he as a person may arguably have never been very human, he still had a soul. I don’t think the argument here is that Voldy, as a person, was ever kinder, etc., pre-Horcruxes, but that his soul was more whole. My view of the human soul in this context is that it is comprised of all capacity for both good, evil, and everything in between. This doesn’t mean that the person themselves is actually capable of all those elements. What a person demonstrates in their behavior isn’t necessarily a reflection of their soul, but of their environmental and psychological factors. So Voldy could be psychologically damaged/a sociopath/ just plain being an a-hole- however you want to view him- but his soul is still just a regular soul, neither evil nor good. It is all things kept in a state of equilibrium together. The actions that Voldemort chooses to take then, are what have bearing on the state of his soul, versus the other way round. An act like murder is damaging to the soul in that it pulls things out of balance- the more evil one commits, the more goodness within the soul is lost. The soul though, does not have bearing on the whether or not he chooses to commit murder. Basically the way I see it,the idea of the loss of his humanity in terms of the soul is a bit more abstract and distinct from the idea of a loss of humanity in terms of his behavior and personality.

        • Lisa

          Yeah I see what you mean (I think). However, to me, it’s still a bit of weakness in the writing that while we’re supposed to think Horcruxes are this great and unnatural evil and take away a person’s humanity, Tom Riddle is still not very different from Voldemort in terms of personality. It’s not that I think Tom should have been portrayed as a nice dude pre-Horcruxes because obviously no one who’s nice would want Horcruxes. But I do think he could have been portrayed as a more human kind of evil whereas post-Horcrux Voldemort would have been devoid of any hint of humanity Tom had. Dumbledore tells us that Voldemort’s Horcruxes have made him go beyond what people normally consider evil. And then we have the “baby” at King’s Cross. All of this should have been shown to have some effect on Voldemort. Maybe he could have been a different type of evil after the Horcruxes. Maybe before the Horcruxes he could have been sort of a Bellatrix-y type of evil who doesn’t have any moral qualms about anything but who can still feel things. After the Horcruxes he could have been shown to be pretty much just dead inside without any feelings except self-preservation. As it is now he’s pretty much the same except for being less icy than he was as Tom because he’s much more emotional about everything.

          • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

            Yeah, it seems like Rowling mostly tied any loss of humanity in Voldemort to his change in physical appearance rather than development through his character. I think you’re right that he didn’t really become more evil, or a different kind of evil. If young Tom Riddle back in the orphanage had believed he could get away with murder, and had something to gain from doing so, I believe he probably would have. We don’t really know what he did to those other kids in the cave, but its pretty clear even then he was had no qualms with doing nasty things. He only “played nice” as a youth to keep the pressure off himself getting found out for what he was before he had the power to murder with impunity. I’d agree that it wasn’t so much a change in who or what he was, just what he was capable of getting away with. It would have been interesting to see more of a change in HOW evil he was okay with being. I think all the ties to any loss of humanity are purely symbolic and involve his soul, rather than a reflection of who he actually is.

      • rousodim rousod

        First of all, excuse me for my english. I think or I’m pretty sure to be honest, that Tom Riddle didn’t act full bad in his young age (he actually did killed his grandfathers and father in the age of 16, opened chamber of secrets, made a horcrux etc..) but he didn’t show it to the world because he knew he or the world wasn’t ready. He was building up his character, he went abroad after he stole Slytherin’s locket and Hufflepuffle’s cup for 10 years. He had to learn more things about magic. He played it very smart if you want my opinion. Doing all these things lowkey, using his good appearance, acting and magic skills to get what he needed, until he would finally express his ideas to the world which is basically facism.

  • Silverdoe25

    I’m only just getting into the part of the discussion in which Grace makes her connections to the 7 Deadly Sins, but so far, this has been one of my top 2 topic episodes. Great analysis and discussion. Regarding the changes in Riddle’s appearance: I always thought the most drastic changes (no nose, hairless, red slit eyes) came with the rebirth in GoF. I thought the snake-like qualities came from the fact that Nagini was heavily utilized in the resurrection process. While he was in the Voldy-baby form, Peter was milking Nagini to feed Voldemort. Gotta run and read how to become an animagus!

    • SnapesManyButtons

      Exactly! I always thought his snake-like qualities came about because he lived on the snake venom (or whatever came from the “milking” process…) until he was able to gain his adult body. I think it’s implied that he becomes less human due to the breaking up of his soul to make Horcruxes, but I never thought that was where the snake qualities came from.

  • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

    If Tom had had someone to discuss horcruxes and the optimal number besides Sluggy (who has a rather theoratical idea of how they function) would they have found seven to be the right amount? Teenage Tom might believe it was smart, but it has enough drawbacks that could have come up in an informed dialogue. His library research gave him the instructions but not the sound advice not to be excessive. More horcruxes would be easier to fin because people will stumble upon them. All this “I have gone farther than anyone” draws attention and makes Dumbledore suspicious.

    • SpinnersEnd

      Tom Riddle making that “gone further than anyone” comment to Dumbledore is definitely a tip off that he’s doing something extraordinary. But I have a hard time believing that Riddle had an informed discussion with anyone about creating seven Horcuxes. That would have meant revealing his grand plan to someone and I don’t think he would have done that.

      I definitely think he might have discussed making one Horcrux with someone, specifically the mechanics of creating one, but I doubt he would have raised the idea of making more than one with anyone he deemed less than his equal. And there is no one who Riddle views as his equal.

      • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

        maybe not someone who is his equal, but who has firsthand experience on making horcruxes. Let’s say, Tom would have found a way to have a chat with the guy who invented horcruxes. Would he have encouraged Tom or warned him?

        • UmbridgeRage

          I dont think there was anyone with a Horcrux who he could talk to. It wouldn’t be something you advertised or even told people if they asked. I might be wrong but i heard somewhere ( a youtube video maybe) that J.K had said that only the original creator of the Horcrux and Voldemort had ever successfully created one. It takes a wizard of exceptional skill to remove a piece of their soul without killing themselves.

      • Lisa

        He viewed Dumbledore as his equal. Of course he would never actually admit it but from his behavior it’s clear that he considered both himself and Dumbledore to be head and shoulders above everyone else. And they were.

    • Lisa

      Was it ever explained what the number seven actually does to the Horcruxes? It’s the most powerful magical number, but what does that mean for the Horcruxes? Are they harder to find, harder to destroy, more efficient in their ability to keep Voldemort tethered to life?

      • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

        as far as I remember there is no explaination in the books, and apart from the symbolical meaning of seven there is no further reason mentioned why seven would be better than any other number. In this case, Voldemort got the seventh horcrux “for free”, but a discount was not what he had in mind.

        • Lisa

          The seven number thingy appears to have been only a plot device so that the readers or Harry don’t wonder whether there’s one more or several more Horcruxes lying around somewhere. Technically, Voldemort could still be alive if there’s a Horcrux somewhere which Harry missed. And I thought Harry was the eight Horcrux not the seventh? If Voldemort believed he’d only made six Horcruxes wouldn’t he have made one more?

          • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

            Dumbledore says that when Voldemort came to Godric’s Hollow, he was still one horcrux short. Killing baby Harry should have been the murder for his final horcrux. When he was killed in the process, Voldemort believed that he still was lacking that final horcrux, not knowing that a piece of his soul have come off and was residing in Harry. That’s why he made Nagini into a horcrux later, so that he would have his soul in seven pieces. By doing so he ended up with eight pieces.

  • Silverdoe25

    This episode has given me so many ideas to think about! I can see the diary as the first Horcrux, especially as this was the “Can I do this?” experiment. I can so see Tom down in the Chamber. Soon after, he learns of the Gaunts and the Riddles in Little Hangleton and makes his murderous plans. About that time, he decides to ask Slughorn about multiple horcruxes. He goes through with the murders, creates the 2nd horcrux out of the ring, and when that is successful, he goes back and decides to manipulate the diary to become a tool. Later, when he obtains both the Cup and the Locket, he immediately makes the Cup a horcrux. Perhaps he holds onto the Locket as a relic of Slytherin’s. But down the road, Voldemort has the idea of the elaborate trap in the cave. He feels like the Locket would be great in this place of honor, so killing some Muggle tramp in order to put his plan into motion seems reasonable.

    • Silverdoe25

      I also wonder if Riddle decided to make a horcrux to begin with because he saw Grindelwald in power and knew he’d have to outlive him.

      • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

        that might have been his plan. they have a 43 year age difference and Riddle outlived Grindelwald for a couple of months.

    • Soc.forRescueofVanishedAnimals

      Great insight on why the locket was given such elaborate protections. We’ve discussed the potential imbalance in how the various horcruxes are protected, but I’ve never thought about the fact that Slytherin’s artifact would be the most prized and therefore be guarded with extra special care. Voldemort seems to value certain horcruxes more than others. If the diary came first, and was a sort of experiment, I can definitely imagine him regarding it as dispensable, like, “This old thing? I was merely playing around.” That’s being facetious of course, since he has way too much self-regard to see a part of his soul that way, and he did dedicate it to an important purpose of opening the Chamber. But I definitely think he would have wanted the locket to be in a magnificent shrine to his ancestor.

  • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

    Fantastic episode you guys!! I have a couple of thoughts:

    1) I think it’s quite significant that Tom made so many horcruxes in 1946. He graduated Hogwarts in 1945, so he had more free time. But I think it was more highly motivated by Grindelwald being beaten and his arrogant notion that he could “do it better” (aka be the next ‘most dark wizard of all time’). He wasted no time diving right into his new persona.

    2) I’m just as curious as Eric about what was done with Voldemort’s body. And, let’s not forget that he actually left two bodies behind. In DH pg 709, Dumbledore confirms that he left a body behind in Godric’s Hollow as well:
    “But what escaped from that room was even less than he knew. He left more than his body behind. He left part of himself latched to you, the would-be victim who had survived.”
    I hope they were cremated and scattered in secret locations ala Hitler, but we’ve never been told. I agree that the next Grindelwald/Voldemort wannabe would be enticed by using leftover Voldebits™ to perform some dark magic. And depending on which body they used (as one was infused with Harry Potter’s blood and the other was not), I feel it could have drastically different effects.

    • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

      And for that matter, now I’m curious what happened to Grindelwald’s body and if he and Tom interacted at all before he was beaten. We know Tom didn’t visit him in prison until he came looking for the elder wand, but I don’t think that rules out the two of them meeting before he was imprisoned. I can’t wait for more Fantastic Beasts!!

      • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

        did we ever get any information if Grindelwald had family members left after his defeat? We know that Riddle doesn’t, but Gellert was not orphaned as far as I’m aware. If he had any family who cared about him during his time in prison and after he died, I wonder if they were informed at all or if the people responsible for Nurmengard just made sure his body could not be found.

        Something that crosses my mind just now: are relatives allowed to visit the graveyard of Azkaban?

  • SnapesManyButtons

    I fully believe that Voldemort’s death in the movie was done strictly for the 3-D effect and to be more theatrical. No deep meaning. But his death in the book was purposely designed to show that in the end, Voldemort was just a man. No better than anyone else. Certainly not the exceptional being he believed himself to be. The choice of wording, “Tom Riddle hit the floor with a mundane finality, his body feeble and shrunken, the white hands empty, the snakelike face vacant and unknowing.” Mundane, ordinary, unexceptional. He dies like any man and even his body looks shrunken and feeble. I think just the fact that he died would cause most of his followers to defect and few if any would be interested in trying to resurrect him or use his body for anything after seeing how anticlimactic his ending was. The curtain was pulled back and there was just a man behind the curtain.

    • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

      I would agree that none of his followers would want to use his body immediately after his death, but time has a way of distorting the truth and people forget. We have Neo-Nazis today who would probably treat Hitler’s grave as a shrine if he had one. It wouldn’t surprise me if decades after Voldemort’s death, Neo-Death Eaters did the same.

      • SnapesManyButtons

        That’s true, I didn’t mean to imply that they’d give Tom Riddle a grave. Just that disintegrating his body like in the movies wasn’t necessary and that there was a deliberate meaning behind his death as portrayed in the books. In fan fiction they usually vanish Riddles body once the public is convinced that he’s really dead or at least banish it to some place that is not disclosed. Of course that wouldn’t stop people who forget the lessons of history from reviving his ideas and using him as an icon to follow, even without a body.

        • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

          I don’t read fanfic but that is interesting because I was wondering if just Vanishing the body would be a viable option. Would someone be able to make it reappear in that case, or would it really be gone forever? I agree that having the body isn’t the only means his followers would have of restoring him as an icon. Plus what really would anyone be able to do with his body, besides just upholding as if it were a sacred artifact. I suppose it could be turned into an Inferi…*shudder* Who knows though, we don’t know a lot about the extent of possibilities using Dark Magic, or the kinds of things horrible people would WANT to do using the dead body of a powerful dark wizard.

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            I completely agree that turning him into Voldyfetti in the movie was completely unnecessary and that there was a deliberate meaning behind his death as portrayed in the books. They never showed the body he left behind in Godric’s Hollow in the movies either – when it should have been right beside Lily Potter’s. Both of those choices did a disservice by not showing his ultimate humanity.

            You’re also right that future dark wizards could revive his ideas without a body. But knowing what he did with the bones of his own father, I have to imagine there are a multitude of other spells that could include bones/body parts. If he could find them, so could others. I like the idea of vanishing the bodies if that is actually finite.

          • SnapesManyButtons

            I always thought that vanishing things was permanent because of the Ravenclaw door’s riddle, “Where do vanished objects go?” Prof. McGonagall says they go, “into non-being, which is to say, everything” To me that sounds like they are just gone and can’t be recovered.

            One thing I hadn’t expected when I started reading fan fic is that the writers have to think about these kinds of things in order to write about things beyond the scope of what happened in the books. So they have to deal with what is done with the body if they write a story that continues on after that. I’ve been very pleasantly surprised at the level of writing, much of it better than a lot of novels I’ve read. (I don’t just pick them at random, though, I usually google, “Best of” and look for recommendations so I just get the cream of the crop.)

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            Good point about McGonagall’s answer to the riddle. I’d forgotten that. It reminds me of the law of conservation of energy:

            “In physics, the law of conservation of energy states that the total energy of an isolated system remains constant—it is said to be conserved over time. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; rather, it transforms from one form to another.”

            And in looking that up, I came across this which I fell in love with and had to share:

            “Empedocles (490–430 BCE) wrote that in his universal system, composed of four roots (earth, air, water, fire), “nothing comes to be or perishes” instead, these elements suffer continual rearrangement.”

            I’m actually quite curious now why wizards don’t vanish away dead bodies and instead, bury them. I suppose it’s to do with customs which are hard to let go of, but I think it would be a great way to go. All of your energy would immediately go into everything, instead of the years it takes decay and earth to do the job.

          • SnapesManyButtons

            I think the customs that call for preserving the body via burial have to do with the idea that the body should be treated with the same respect that the living person deserved. Vanishing could seem more like something you’d do with someone you want to forget and pretend never existed. Preserving the body is in a way preserving the memory of the person and honoring their existence. A lot of burial methods these days don’t even allow the body to decay, it is preserved in that air-tight coffin and liner for some reason. Anyway, I think it is just a matter of custom and each person should be able to decide for themselves what kind of final arrangements they want to have. Unfortunately, our society is so afraid of death, it is a topic too rarely discussed while we’re still around to decide.

          • Slughorn’s Trophy Wife

            My husband and I love to discuss the crazy ways in which we’d love our bodies to be disposed of (if they were obtainable and legal). His latest wish is to be pushed out into space and let his body cremate itself upon re-entry into the atmosphere…lol 😀 I can imagine a character like Luna wanting something other than a typical burial, and she can’t be the only hippie witch.

            BTW, do any of you think that the remains of a witch or wizard retain any magical properties? For instance, Fleur has the hair of a Veela as her wand core. I’m guessing Veela’s are considered beings, not beasts, yes? So could you use, say, a strand of Dumbledore’s hair as a wand core?

  • SnapesManyButtons

    Regarding Harry as a Horcrux, the complete process of making a Horcrux is not known, but Rowling has made some things quite clear. From the interview quoted in the podcast, she say that a Horcrux is a container that is specifically prepared to hold the bit of soul and then protected with Dark spells. These things must be in place for something to be a true Horcrux and thus she herself has said that Harry is not a true Horcrux. I look at it like the difference between your local bank branch and a piggy bank. A bank branch is a true bank because it was built to hold large amounts of money and methods of protecting the money are in place with the vault, alarms, and guards. A piggy bank is a bank in that you can put money into it, but it does not have the protections in place and it was never meant to hold large amounts of money. Harry is like a piggy bank that someone accidentally put a valuable, rare coin into, not even realizing what they’ve done.

    It is not actually the bit of soul that makes a Horcrux dark and dangerous, but rather the Dark spells that are put on the Horcrux to protect the bit of soul. I can’t find the interview right now, but I did read where Rowling was asked about the fan theory that the Dursleys were so bad because they lived all those years with a Horcrux. She said that it wasn’t true because Harry didn’t have the Dark spells cast on him that the other Horcruxes had, so he didn’t have a bad influence on the Dursleys like the Locket did on the Trio. They were just that bad on their own.

  • SnapesManyButtons

    Regarding the Horcrux creation process: I always thought you’d need to have the receptacle with you when the murder is committed, because I pictured the split off soul detaching at the time of the murder, but I don’t think so now. Clearly Voldemort didn’t have a receptacle when he killed the Potters, or it would have been found. I now think that the murder splits the soul, but doesn’t remove any of it. It just damages the soul enough so that a bit can be removed at the time the Horcrux is created. Rowling says that it’s because Voldemort’s soul is so tattered that a bit of it flies off when he is hit with the rebounded curse that was meant for Harry. So ordinarily none of the soul would have detached if his soul had been less damaged. Since a soul won’t heal, I would guess there is no time limit to when you have to create the Horcrux after the murder is committed, but if you wanted to tie a specific murder to a specific Horcrux, it would seem like you’d need to do it before you committed too many other murders.

    Part of the process then has to be removing a bit of your own damaged soul and having it go into the receptacle you have prepared for it. Either of those processes could be the terrible act Rowling declines to reveal. We know that the rebounded curse detached a bit of Voldemort’s soul. Could it be you have to curse yourself almost to the point of death, but not beyond? Something bad enough to almost kill you, after which you have to heal yourself somehow?

    Of course it could be just a powerful spell that removes the soul bit and it’s getting it into the container that is the bad part. It occurs to me that Rowling said the bit of soul went into Harry because he was the only living thing around and that it entered through his scar. Could it be that the Horcrux receptacle has to be somehow inserted into a living being so that the soul bit is attracted to it and there has to be a wound of some sort to be the entry point? She didn’t say Harry was the only living human around, so hopefully this wouldn’t have to be done with people… I certainly don’t want to imagine how this would be accomplished, especially with Nagini… but I think that process would be enough to sicken her editor…

    Okay, I don’t think I want to think about Horcruxes anymore.

  • Rosmerta

    Superb episode, loved the fun voldybits too and reading the great comments!

  • IveConfundedTheSortingHat

    Random question here;
    Do you think all ghosts can see thestrals? They have died, and have in a way seen death. Or do they have to see death in their “lifetime” as a ghost? If so, wouldn’t most of the Hogwarts ghosts be able to see thestrals after the Battle of Hogwarts?

    • SnapesManyButtons

      Good question! Rowling says you have to see death in a way that allows you to understand what you have seen. That’s why Harry didn’t see the Thestrals after seeing his mother’s death, but only after seeing Cedric’s death. So just being dead in itself wouldn’t allow you to see a Thestral. If you died suddenly you wouldn’t have really “seen” your own death, but if you were sick or injured and were aware as you died, that might be enough to do it. Also, if a ghost had seen someone die in their lifetime or after becoming a ghost, then they would certainly be able to understand it and then see the Thestrals. I imagine if they hadn’t seen a death before the Battle, they would certainly have seen it then and there are probably few, if any, who were there during the Battle who couldn’t see Thestrals afterward.

  • DCOSJosh

    In the recap there was mention of Voldemort setting a curse on the DADA position. Does anyone have thoughts on how this might reflect on his assigning the Carrows (specifically Amycus) to the DADA post? It is noted on the Harry Potter wikia that neither of them searched for him after his first downfall. Perhaps this was a punishment for that?