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Every Horcrux In Harry Potter Explained

In the Harry Potter universe, a Horcrux is an object imbued by a dark witch or wizard with a piece of that person's soul in order to obtain immortality. It's created by an act of murder, followed by a spell and a "horrific act" (many theorize this act is cannibalism, but author J.K. Rowling hasn't confirmed this). A Horcrux can be an inanimate object or a living thing, though objects are obviously more stable since they don't die of natural causes. 

Voldemort probably learned about Horcruxes through the book "Secrets of the Darkest Art," which was in the Hogwarts library before Dumbeldore hid it in his office. As Hogwarts student Tom Marvolo Riddle, Voldemort also asked Professor Horace Slughorn about Horcruxes, which Dumbledore discovered years later and was rather angry about, considering Voldemort's eventual terrorization of the world.

When Voldemort was killed in the First Wizarding War, his spirit managed to remain in a semi-alive state, allowing him to regain power, control others, and eventually return, all because many pieces of his soul were hidden throughout various Horcruxes in Harry Potter's world. In order to truly defeat Voldemort, all of the Horcruxes had to be destroyed. Voldemort's soul was divided into seven different Horcruxes, some living things and some objects. A few things went down a bit differently in the books than in the movies, but for the most part, the essentials are the same. Here are all of the Horcruxes explained.

Tom Riddle's diary

Tom Riddle first became aware of Horcruxes while a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He learned of Horcruxes and their abilities from books in the Restricted Section of the Hogwarts Library, including the book "Secrets of the Darkest Art," as well as a bit from Potions Professor Horace Slughorn. Riddle bought the diary itself in a Muggle book shop in London in the 1940s and used it as his first Horcrux. He found out about Salazar Slytherin's Chamber of Secrets and opened it using Parseltongue, hypnotizing the Chamber's Basilisk to terrorize the school and hunt the Muggle-born students.

When the Basilisk killed a Ravenclaw girl named Myrtle Warren, Riddle used that murder to transform the diary into his first Horcrux. After his success at making his first Horcrux, Riddle started asking Potions Master Horace Slughorn — who had helped Riddle learn about them — how many Horcruxes a person could use to divide their soul. After the First Wizarding War, Voldemort left the diary in the hands of Death Eater Lucius Malfoy. Voldemort also imbued the diary with special powers should he ever want to open the Chamber of Secrets again, which is how we get to the second film, "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets."

How it was destroyed

Lucius Malfoy is unaware that Voldemort turned the diary into a Horcrux and only knows that it can open the Chamber of Secrets. So, Malfoy slips the diary to Ginny Weasley, who becomes possessed while writing back and forth to "Tom" in the diary. Feeling left out as a first-year student, Ginny was emotionally vulnerable, allowing for an easy takeover of her psyche. Under the spell, Ginny writes frightening warnings on the walls of Hogwarts with blood and opens the Chamber, releasing the Basilisk again. 

Harry follows Ginny down into the Chamber, where he discovers her with a young ghostly form of Tom Riddle, who obviously explains his whole evil plan of using the giant monster to kill Muggle-born students, but doesn't reveal that the diary is a Horcrux. Harry uses Godric Gryffindor's sword to kill the Basilisk (which will come in handy when dealing with later Horcruxes) and then takes one of the dead snake's fangs, knowing that Basilisk venom is one of the few things that can destroy a powerful object. Harry stabs the diary with the fang, destroying its power and eliminating Voldemort's first Horcrux.

Marvolo Gaunt's ring

The backstory of Marvolo Gaunt's ring can get a little complicated, but the important thing to remember is that the cracked black stone in the ring's center is actually the Resurrection Stone, one of the three Deathly Hallows. In "The Tale of the Three Brothers," Cadmus Peverell was given the Resurrection Stone in a deal with Death. However, as Hermione notes when explaining the childhood fairy tale, his original plan to revive his love didn't go as planned, and Cadmus eventually joined her in death. The stone and ring were passed down the family line, eventually coming to the Gaunt family, who had their own family drama.

When orphan Tom Marvolo Riddle (aka Voldemort) returned to his hometown of Little Hangleton, he encountered Morfin Gaunt, his maternal uncle, who was in possession of the ring and explained that Voldemort's father was alive in the Riddle house with his parents. Enraged that his Muggle father abandoned him and his mother, Voldemort broke into the house and murdered his grandparents and father, Tom Riddle Sr. He used the murder of his father to transform the ring into another Horcrux, framing Marvolo Gaunt for the Riddle's deaths.

How it was destroyed

As depicted in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," when Dumbledore realizes that Voldemort had been using Horcruxes, he springs into action. His first stop is Little Hangleton, where he searches the old Riddle and Gaunt houses. At the Gaunt homestead, Dumbledore encounters charms and spells protecting the box containing the ring but promptly defeats them all, taking the ring into his possession. But Dumbledore soon discovers that the stone within the ring is the Resurrection Stone. Tempted at the thought of bringing his sister Ariana back to life, Dumbledore puts on the ring. 

This triggers the deadly curse that Voldemort had placed on the ring. Dumbledore's hand turns black and mangled, and the curse starts to spread throughout his body. Dumbledore then uses Godric Gryffindor's sword — infused with Basilisk venom after Harry used it to kill the one in the Chamber of Secrets — and destroys the Horcrux inside the ring. Snape uses potions and magic to contain the curse but theorizes that Dumbledore has only about a year to live. Because Dumbledore is such a powerful and deliberate wizard, the Resurrection Stone isn't harmed, and Dumbledore eventually seals it inside Harry's first Quidditch Snitch for his discovery of its purpose at the end of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2."

Salazar Slytherin's locket

Voldemort's biological mother, Merope Gaunt, took Salazar Slytherin's locket with her when she abandoned her brother and father. Needing money, Merope eventually sold the locket, and it landed at Borgin and Burke's antique shop where a newly-graduated Tom Marvolo Riddle was working. He recognized the locket as having belonged to his mother and felt that it was rightfully his. Afterward, he killed the shop owner, Hepzibah Smith, and framed her house elf, taking the locket as well as Helga Hufflepuff's cup — a Horcrux we'll get to later on this list.

Eventually, Riddle murders a Muggle tramp and uses the death to turn the locket into a Horcrux. He then hides the locket in a secret cave that he imbues with a number of curses. First, no one can Apparate into or Disapparate into or out of the cave. The second is a door that can only be opened with blood. Third is an Inferi-infested lake surrounding an island holding the basin where the locket was hidden. Fourth is an invisible boat that can only carry one person to the island. And finally, the basin is filled with a green potion that the locket-seeker has to drink, inflicting horrible pain and memories. Which is exactly how it all goes own on Dumbledore and Harry's quest in "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."

How it was destroyed

The climax of the sixth Harry Potter film finds Dumbledore and Harry navigating the lake, with Dumbledore ingesting the potion and the two escaping the Inferi together. When they return to Hogwarts, Dumbledore meets his demise at the hands of Snape. It is after this traumatic turning point that Harry, Hermione, and Ron realize that the locket is a fake. A note left inside by former Death Eater Regulus Black states that he stole the locket and planned to destroy it. The locket ends up back at the Black house of 12 Grimmauld Place, where Mundungus Fletcher swipes it and gives it to Dolores Umbridge.

Harry and Hermione then steal the locket from Umbridge and take it with them on their isolated quest that makes up most of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1." After Ron leaves, Harry and Hermione eventually figure out that they can destroy the locket with Gryffindor's sword. One night, Harry sees the sword glowing in a frozen river and tries to reach it, only to have the locket strangle him. Ron rescues Harry, who then encourages Ron to destroy the locket, which was torturing Ron with images of Harry and Hermione together, mocking him. Thankfully, Ron succeeds in destroying another Horcrux.

Helga Hufflepuff's cup

Helga Hufflepuff, once of the founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, created the golden cup featuring two handles and an engraved badger (the sigil of House Hufflepuff) on the front. The cup was passed down through generations and eventually made its way to Borgin and Burke's antique shop, where Tom Marvolo Riddle worked shortly after graduating from Hogwarts. He stole the cup, along with Salazar Slytherin's locket, and killed a Muggle tramp to turn the locket into a Horcrux. However, the cup was ultimately turned by the murder of the shop's owner, Hepzibah Smith.

Voldemort placed the cup in the hands of loyal Death Eater Bellatrix Lestrange, who locked it in her family vault. Bellatrix did not know that the cup was a Horcrux. Nevertheless, she placed powerful spells on the items in her vault, including one that ensures any object in the vault touched by anyone other than the vault's owner multiplies indefinitely. 

How it was destroyed

In "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1," Harry, Ron, and Hermione are captured and held at Malfoy Manor. Bellatrix Lestrange freaks out after seeing the Gryffindor sword, thinking it was locked in her vault. (The one in the Lestrange vault was actually a fake created by Dumbledore, who kept the real sword hidden, which is how Snape got it to Harry to destroy the locket.) 

Seeing Bellatrix have a meltdown over what else they may have stolen from the vault gives Harry, Ron, and Hemione the idea that another Horcrux might be left in the vault. In "Part 2," Hermione uses Polyjuice Potion to impersonate Bellatrix, and they swipe the cup. Back at the school, during the raging Battle of Hogwarts, Ron and Hemione venture down into the Chamber of Secrets, and Hermione uses a fang from the long-dead Basilisk to destroy the cup. 

Rowena Ravenclaw's diadem

Rowena Ravenclaw's diadem, a crown or tiara, was made of silver with an oval sapphire at its center. It's said to imbue its wearer with great wisdom — a trait those in House Ravenclaw aspire to possess. The diadem was stolen by Rowena's daughter, Helena, who wanted to use it to grow wiser and gain the admiration her mother had always received. She fled to Albania, where she hid the diadem in a tree, and Rowena sent the Bloody Baron after her. He found her and then stabbed her when she refused to come home. Horrified by what he'd done, the Bloody Baron then stabbed himself as well. The two ghosts haunt Hogwarts, the Bloody Baron being the ghost of House Slytherin and Helena the Gray Lady of Ravenclaw.

While at Hogwarts, Tom Marvolo Riddle charmed Helena into telling him where she'd hidden the diadem. Shortly after graduating, he traveled to Albania, obtained the diadem, and murdered an Albania peasant to turn it into another Horcrux.  

How it was destroyed

Voldemort hid the diadem in the Room of Requirement, which manifested itself as the Room of Hidden Things, the same place where Harry finds the Half-Blood Prince's copy of "Advanced Potion Making" many years later. He was probably a little negligent in just leaving a Horcrux at Hogwarts, but he wrongly assumed that he was the only one clever enough to discover the Room of Requirement.

As it turns out, Harry sees the diadem in person while leaving the Half-Blood Prince's copy of "Advanced Potion Making" in a safe place. It is only later — when he speaks with the Grey Lady during the Battle of Hogwarts — that he realizes where to look. Luna Lovegood points out the diadem on a statue of Rowena, where he saw the tiara many times before. In the book, the diadem gets destroyed by Vincent Crabbe lighting the Room of Hidden Things with Fiendfyre. In "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2," Harry stabs it with a Basilisk fang before Ron kicks it into the Fiendfyre, solidifying its destruction. Voldemort's face appears in the flames after it is destroyed. 

Nagini the snake

Voldemort's pet snake Nagini is a constant by his side after he comes back to life at the end of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." But as audiences saw in "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald," Nagini wasn't always Voldemort's beloved pet snake. Indeed, Nagini was actually a human woman at one point — a Maledictus who was cursed to transform into a snake. She appeared in human form and couldn't willingly transform into a snake, but as the Maledictus curse goes, she eventually completely turned into a reptile permanently.

Nagini was the last Horcrux made by Voldermort, even after he had unknowingly turned Harry Potter into one. The creation of Nagini as a Horcrux is also a bit fishy as at the point when she was made, Voldermort was still without fully corporeal form. But while hiding out in Albania, feeding on beasts and others, and living off of the venom of Nagini, Voldemort murdered a witch named Bertha Jorkins and used her death to turn Nagini into his final Horcrux.

How it was destroyed

The fact that both Harry and Nagini were Horcruxes holding pieces of Voldemort's soul is what made Harry able to see through Nagini's eyes at times, speak Parseltongue, and feel when Nagini attacked others. His dream about the attack on Arthur Weasley wasn't just a dream but a complete vision of what Nagini was doing at that moment. This incident is the first that tips Dumbledore off to the idea that Nagini and Harry are both Horcruxes.

During the Battle of Hogwarts, after Voldemort uses Nagini to kill Severus Snape, he realizes that his Horcruxes are being destroyed. In the books, he puts a protective magical cage around her. Once he thinks he has "killed" Harry Potter and Nagini is no longer in danger, he removes the protection, letting her roam free. It is at that point that Neville Longbottom sees the Sword of Godric Gryffindor poking out of the sorting hat, lifts it high, and beheads Nagini on the steps of Hogwarts in a triumphant moment. 

Harry Potter himself

When Voldemort tried to kill Harry Potter as a baby, he also unknowingly turned Harry into a human Horcrux. Believing Harry to be the boy of Professor Trelawney's prophecy who would defeat him, Voldemort went to the home of James and Lily Potter to kill the whole family. James died first, with Lily running up the stairs to Harry's room. But Lily's sacrifice for her child made Voldemort's killing curse bounce off Harry and kill Voldemort. Lily's murder also served as the death required to create a Horcrux. Dumbledore also thought that by creating so many Horcruxes throughout his life, Voldemort stretched his own soul so thin that when he tried to kill Harry as a baby, it effectively broke apart, leading to his own demise. 

This theory would explain why Harry always felt so connected to Voldemort as well as to Nagini — their souls were actually linked, being that a part of Voldemort's soul remained alive in Harry his entire life. It allowed Harry to speak Parseltongue and have the same affinities for dark magic as Voldemort. But Harry being a Horcrux also meant one very important thing: in order to kill Voldemort for good, Harry had to die.

How it was destroyed

Once Harry figures out that he is a Horcrux, he willingly walks into the Forbidden Forrest to face his fate. Notably, he takes the Golden Snitch given to him by Dumbledore, the same one that has "I open at the close" engraved on it. He whispers to the Snitch, "I am about to die," and the Snitch opens to reveal the Resurrection Stone. Harry uses the stone to call forth the spirits of his parents, James and Lily, as well as his godfather, Sirius Black. They offer him comfort in his time of need as Harry is about to face his demise.

Once Voldemort uses the killing curse on Harry, Harry wakes up in a place of Limbo, where he speaks with the spirit of his mentor, Albus Dumbledore, and sees the piece of Voldemort's soul that resided inside him as a bloody, wrinkled, malnourished baby lying under a bench. Per Harry Potter Wiki: "The blood Voldemort had taken from Harry to restore his physical form in 1995 still contained the Bond of Blood, anchoring him to life and protecting Harry from Voldemort's curse, and his willingness to die triggered protections on the people of Hogwarts similar to the protection he received from his mother's sacrifice."  

Hagrid carries Harry's body back to Hogwarts, where Voldemort declares victory. But Harry wakes, rises up, and rallies his army to defeat Voldemort, now a mere mortal after all of his Horcruxes are officially destroyed.