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Cracking the Riddle in Harry
By Normal_LeStrange

The Birth of the Obsession

It all started with one paragraph, which just didn’t seem to fit;1

And while Harry was sure he had never heard the name T.M. Riddle before, it seemed to mean something to him, almost as though Riddle was a friend he’d had when he was very small, and half-forgotten. But this was absurd. He’d never had friends before Hogwarts, Dudley had made sure of that.2

Anyone reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for the very first time would probably not have noticed anything out of the ordinary in the above (I certainly didn’t!). It’s innocuous enough; a strange feeling that we’ve heard of someone before without quite knowing why – it’s something which happens even to us Muggles all the time. At this point in the book, there does in fact seem to be no possible reason for the name T.M. Riddle to mean anything at all to Harry Potter, or to the reader. In short, no reason to dwell on this particular paragraph. No reason to pay extra attention to it.

But let’s look at it in the light of what we find out in the second book itself. T.M. Riddle is none other than Lord Voldemort. And Harry had a vague recollection of a friend called T.M. Riddle. A positive association with the name, for no particular reason that he can name. A positive association with someone whom Harry knows to be the Darkest wizard of all time, the man who killed his parents and countless others? Seems extremely unlikely, even at a subconscious level.

It’s been argued that Harry might have heard the name used while still a baby. Possible, of course, but it’s unlikely anyone coming into contact with baby Harry who would openly speak of T.M. Riddle as an old friend. Nearly everyone in the wizarding world is too scared to use either his adopted or his original name or to call him simply Voldemort. In addition, most wizards have no idea about the Riddle-Voldemort connection.

It is even more unlikely because Harry had no such instinctive reaction to the name Lord Voldemort when he first heard it from Hagrid. It meant nothing to him. I think it is safe to theorise that the recognition wasn’t due to something overheard as a baby.

It has also been argued that Harry had subconsciously made the Riddle-Voldemort connection. Were that the case, he would have had no reason to think of T.M. Riddle as a nearly forgotten childhood friend, or anything resembling a friend. Quite the opposite; I believe Harry would have the feeling that T.M. Riddle was someone for whom he’d better watch out.

The simplest argument against this paragraph being of any special significance is that J.K. Rowling wasn’t really paying attention while typing those sentences. I disagree. I think she would pay very close attention to anything she revealed regarding TM Riddle; he is, after all, the surprise villain of Chamber of Secrets. It would make sense for J.K. Rowling to carefully deflect attention away from Riddle and his diary (something she manages to do for most of the book), rather than have us wondering why his name rang a bell in Harry’s mind.

Frankly, it didn’t make sense to me.

Naming It

I will explain some of the background on the Riddle-in-Harry theory and its creation. The idea first coalesced into a formal thread around June 2005,3 before the publication of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. In fact, many were hoping that Half-Blood Prince would provide, or better, confirm the answer. As it will be seen, this was not the case.

The name “Riddle-in-Harry” came about due to one of the strangest revelations in the Potter series.

“Unless I’m much mistaken he transferred some of his own powers to you the night he gave you that scar…”

“Voldemort put a bit of himself in me?” Harry said, thunderstruck.

“It would certainly seem so.” 4

Lord Voldemort transferred a bit of himself, to use Harry’s exact words, to Harry Potter, age one. This is the reason Harry is a Parselmouth, according to Dumbledore. But, Lord Voldemort is none other than Tom Riddle. Harry, at a year old, received a piece of Tom Riddle and has been carrying it within him since that time. There is, thus, a bit of Riddle-in-Harry (RiH).

It was certainly a most intriguing explanation, and complex enough to be worthy of something created by J.K. Rowling herself. Harry Potter had a strange, seemingly impossible, feeling that he had once had a friend called T.M. Riddle because T.M. Riddle was a part of him and had been for the past 10-odd years. Harry could barely remember a time when Riddle was a separate entity.

Of course, that meant suggesting that Voldemort’s transfer to Harry that night at Godric’s Hollow could have consisted of more than just powers. It suggested a consciousness, however dim, was also transferred; a consciousness that had a name of its own, carried over to its new host. A name which Harry recognised, more than 10 years after the transfer.

Any Other Transfers out There?

Before the publication of Half-Blood Prince, there was little in the first 5 books which suggested that a person could transfer a bit of his soul/consciousness/life to someone else, or would want to do so. Yet there were hints, and they were all with which I had to work. Here is what Ms Rowling had to say about her second book:

“Key things happen in book two. No one knows how important those things are … yet. There’s a lot in there. And I know how difficult it was to get it all in there without drawing too much attention to the clues.” 5

Could that strange paragraph have been the biggest of the clues?

In the second book of the Potter series, we were introduced to possibly the most fantastic villain of all time, a fifty year old memory encased in a diary. This memory could possess those unfortunates who were drawn to it, had the ability to speak Parseltongue, and the power to drain the life-source of those it possessed in order to return to life itself.

We learn of two unusual transfers in Chamber of Secrets: Tom Riddle puts a bit of himself into his diary, knowing full well what he was doing; years later, Voldemort puts a bit of himself in a baby he tries to kill, and does this accidentally. “Diary-Riddle”, the entity contained in the diary, could speak Parseltongue because of the “Riddle-bit” in it. Harry Potter could speak Parseltongue because of the “Riddle-bit” in him. Could Harry have received some of the same consciousness Diary-Riddle possessed, with the same powers? What would this consciousness involve? Most people believe they possess a “soul”; did Diary-Riddle do or say anything that suggested that he has a soul of any kind? I think that he was too “alive” to be merely a memory. There was definitely some sort of spark of life lurking in that diary. Tom Riddle gloats over how he poured a bit of his own soul into Ginny Weasley;6 it should be noted that she could speak Parseltongue also, once Riddle’s soul began to possess her. It was logical to assume that Tom Riddle used some of his soul to make the diary. After the release of Half-Blood Prince, of course, we knew for a fact that the diary contained a fragment of Voldemort’s soul.

I think that it is very possible that the “bit” Voldemort put into Harry has a lot in common with the soul fragment Riddle put into his diary. If one bit was a soul-fragment, perhaps the other was something very similar.

In fact, in Chamber of Secrets, Diary-Riddle tells Harry that they’re strangely alike – both orphans, both Parselmouths; they looked somewhat alike.7 I felt that Riddle couldn’t really put his finger on it. Perhaps what he noticed, but couldn’t quite work out, was that Harry had a bit of what he (Diary-Riddle) was, akin to seeing a blurred reflection of yourself in the mirror and, for a moment, knowing that it is someone very familiar, but not knowing why.

Why is Riddle-in-Harry Such a Big Deal Anyway?

Basically, the Potter series is a straightforward tale about a battle between good and evil; Harry Potter vs. Lord Voldemort. That’s where it stops being straightforward.

I believe that a bit of Harry Potter is Lord Voldemort (as Tom Riddle). J.K. Rowling rejects theories about a Star Wars-style “I am your father, Harry”, revelation. I agree; the Vader-Skywalker relationship is simple compared to the Riddle-Potter connection.

An evil relative, however close, is one thing, but to have a small piece of that person magically inserted within yourself, now so much a part of you that you never realised that it is there? It is, in my opinion, the revelation to end all revelations.

I was bothered by the fact that after telling us about Riddle-in-Harry in Chamber of Secrets, JK Rowling does not mention the topic again. Harry has never wondered about this part of Voldemort in himself. Dumbledore never seems to give it another thought. Harry has a bit of his arch-nemesis inside himself, something unique in the wizarding world, but no one seems unduly concerned about this strange bit of Voldemort. Harry has never wondered what else might have been transferred, what other powers or attributes of Voldemort’s he possesses.

When the link between Voldemort and Harry became dangerously strong in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, no one seems to have wondered about this strange entity/part lurking inside Harry’s mind/psyche/soul, looked into the possible dangers it posed to Harry, or how Riddle-in-Harry came to be created in the first place.

The Unexplained Transfer

In the “Potterverse”, magic makes sense; magical things happen for a reason. For every effect there’s a very clearly explained cause. It is the same in the science of physics: for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction.8

Therefore, I believe the transfer from Lord Voldemort to Harry must have happened for a reason, one which J.K. Rowling will reveal in Book Seven. Currently, it is an unexplained side-effect.

I will recapitulate what happened that night at Godric’s Hollow. Lily Potter gives her life for her son, thereby endowing him with an impenetrable protection against Lord Voldemort, her murderer. So, when the Dark Lord tries to kill baby Harry, his killing curse rebounds off this magical shield and hits Voldemort instead. He would have died, had he not made a few Horcruxes to tie him to this side of the Veil.

To this point, it all adds up just fine. Killing curse rebounds, destroying the invoker. If this had been all that happened, it would have made perfect sense. But something more happened. A bit of Lord Voldemort was transferred to Harry; it went right into Harry, and has been there ever since. Why on earth should such a transfer happen?

Nothing of Voldemort should have made its way into Harry. Lily’s protection should have kept it out, the same way it repelled his Avada Kedavra curse. Yet we know that a transfer happened. J.K. Rowling has been uncharacteristically silent about it since revealing it in Chamber of Secrets

We know very little about what happened that night at Godric’s Hollow. There could have been more than one spell at work, there could have been another wizard up to no good, a Horcrux-creation may have gone wrong; too many possibilities at this point, and not enough information available to narrow it down to one.

J.K. Rowling Wouldn’t Have Included This Transfer Had it Not Been Very Important

Millions of fanatical readers and approximately one billion dollars are tributes to the fact that J.K. Rowling is a very gifted writer. Perhaps the biggest reason why the Potter series are so special is that Ms Rowling had worked out what was going to happen in each book in the series, in excruciating detail, well before she started writing the first book. The last thing we can expect from her is an unnecessary complication. The Voldemort-to-Harry transfer never would have been included unless it were integral to the plot.

Dumbledore told Harry about the Voldemort-transfer (and Dumbledore is the voice of the author) in Chamber of Secrets because Harry was worried that he was a natural Slytherin, simply because he spoke Parseltongue. Harry already had proved that he was a Gryffindor at heart by pulling Godric Gryffindor’s sword out of the Sorting Hat. There was no need to go into the reason he spoke Parseltongue. Many possibilities come to mind; the luck of the genetic draw; a long-forgotten Gaunt in the Potter family tree, etc. In fact, it is not very important, is it? A true Gryffindor who also happens to be a Parselmouth shouldn’t worry about being naturally evil. However, the knowledge that the most evil wizard of all time had put a bit of himself into you when you were just a baby is something that would give the toughest teenager sleepless nights!

Why (from the author’s point of view) bring another transfer into the picture at all? Assuming that the key to vanquishing Voldemort lies in destroying the Horcruxes into which he has transferred fragments of his soul for safe-keeping, why run the risk of confusing readers with another transfer? The Voldemort-Harry transfer involves the two main characters in the series. It would have been much simpler to have deleted the Voldemort-Harry transfer altogether and have Harry speak Parseltongue because his paternal grandfather had been bitten by a snake while Apparating, or some other non-transfer related,and more believable, reason. If the Voldemort-Harry transfer (RiH) is crucial to the plot, it is not a fluke that happened with a few unimportant consequences. It had to be disclosed in Chamber of Secrets because its repercussions would be felt in the books to come.

How important has this transfer been to the series to date? How many plots and events have been based on it? Harry has the same wand-core as Voldemort. It is very possible his wand saw the same powers or core in him that its twin had seen in Tom Riddle many decades ago. Possessing that particular wand-core saved Harry’s life in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I believe that having Riddle-in-Harry inside saved Harry’s life in the graveyard showdown in Goblet of Fire.

It is due to the transfer that Harry gained the ability to see into Voldemort’s mind in Order of the Phoenix; the Dark Lord was able to use this to lure Harry to the Ministry of Magic, which resulted in the death of Sirius Black. Technically, Riddle-in-Harry was indirectly responsible for the death of his godfather. Riddle-in-Harry definitely has been active in the plotlines, albeit behind the scenes.

Could the Transfer Be at the Core of the Message of the Potter Series?

Could the Riddle-Harry transfer be the foundation upon which the entire Voldemort-Potter (Evil Vs Good) struggle is based? J.K. Rowling has been very clear on the basic theme of the Potter series. It is good versus evil,9 now with a delicious twist. Is it going too far to say that Harry Potter is a Voldemort creation? Harry wouldn’t be the person he is today if Lord Voldemort had left him alone, would he? By killing his parents and attempting to kill Harry the Dark Lord created, as Dumbledore put it, his own worst enemy. The prophecy which led Voldemort to attack the Potters stated that the ”..Dark Lord would mark him as his equal…”. I believe this means transferring powers to Harry so that they would be evenly-matched.

Going even deeper, Riddle-in-Harry could be a confirmation of Dumbledore’s (thus, the author’s) deeply-held conviction that it is our choices which determine who and what we are – not our abilities. The ten years of Harry’s life following Voldemort’s failed attempt to kill him weren’t pleasant. They might have been tougher than Riddle’s life had been at the orphanage. Young Tom Riddle had a room of his own with a cupboard in it; Harry had to make do with a a cupboard only, and share even that with several spiders. Courtesy of the transfer, Harry had some, if not all, of the powers with which Lord Voldemort had been blessed. Some of the powers considered dark, the ability to possess and control, for instance, have never been used by Harry. The worst act he has done, after years of grinning and bearing it, has been to inflate an aunt; even that was an accident. Tom Riddle, at the same age, had no qualms about stealing, torturing and killing animals, and drove at least one of his fellow-orphans insane, apparently without provocation.

Harry still cannot muster up the, hatred to produce an effective Cruciatus Curse. He just doesn’t have it in him, even when he is, justly, more angry than he has ever been; he witnessed the murders of both Sirius and Dumbledore. When Tom Riddle was roughly the same age Harry is now (16-17), he had killed his father, grandparents, poor Myrtle and followed that up by framing his Uncle Morfin and Hagrid.

Would Harry stand a chance against Tom Riddle, aged 16, or the present-day Lord Voldemort, who has learned much more about the Dark Arts since he was Harry’s age?

At first glance, no. Because of Lord Voldemort, the first ten years of Harry’s life resembled Tom Riddle’s to an amazing extent. Because of Lord Voldemort, Harry had access to some of the powers which Tom Riddle had chosen to misuse so spectacularly. Harry Potter should have turned out much like Tom Riddle did, but, and this is important, somewhere along the way he chose differently. He has done this repeatedly; the earliest choice we read was on the Hogwarts’ Express, choosing Ron’s company over that of Draco Malfoy.

Has that made him weak? Harry himself feels that his love is no match for Voldemort’s vast repertoire of powers and says as much to Dumbledore. I believe that if Voldemort had the proverbial second chance, he would choose death before accepting the choices Harry made willingly.

Harry has escaped the (on-paper) far superior Voldemort/Riddle four times, to date. Each time it has been something unexpected which has enabled Harry to emerge victorious: his goodness, the fact that other people are willing to risk their lives for him, etc. It is Harry’s choices which made him able to defeat Voldemort, not the fact that he has some or all of the powers that the Dark Lord. It is very like Muggle fairy tales; the hero rarely wins because of his strength or size.

Just How Similar/Different are Voldemort and Harry?

One of the reasons we know that Harry and Voldemort have startling similarities is the shared nature of the two wands which chose them. Each wand is unique to the wizard it “chooses”, and there were thousands of them in Ollivander’s shop the day Harry went to buy one. However, he ended up with a wand which had the same core as the one that chose Tom Riddle. Could their wands represent them better than anything else? A tail-feather from the same phoenix powers each wand. Harry has at his own core the transfer, due to which he shares powers and perhaps more with Lord Voldemort, something that his wand, and later the Sorting Hat, recognised.

A core alone does not a wand make, just as powers alone do not a wizard make. The wood surrounding Harry’s wand-core is very different from that of Voldemort’s. Harry’s is holly, considered holy, harmless and pure. Voldemort’s is yew, a tree which can live for thousands of years, but is considered evil; its sap is poisonous.10

Could the wood used for their wands represent the choices they made, despite their remarkably similar centers? One chose good – the other evil; the same center, but “covered” by nearly opposite natures. Were their different natures created due their different choices in life?

I believe the final battle between Harry and Lord Voldemort should see two perfectly matched adversaries, in comparison to latent talent and inborn powers. The difference is in their natures. Harry’s goodness might prove the decisive factor in the final showdown. The cores or powers will cancel each other out, to put it simply, leading to the purest confrontation possible between good and evil. Perhaps it will resemble the Priori Incantatem stand-off in Goblet of Fire.

Could We Be Talking Redemption Here?

I am not one of those who nurse a secret hope that Tom Riddle/Voldemort will see the error of his ways and repent. Before Half-Blood Prince was released, many of us wondered if there were a “good” Tom Riddle lurking in Harry’s psyche, a Tom Riddle pre-dating the choice to become Lord Voldemort. Tom Riddle, the child, just a lost, scared orphan who misused his great powers because he didn’t know any better. Could that be what Riddle-in-Harry was?

Half-Blood Prince blew that theory out of the water. At age 11, our candidate for possible redemption was torturing animals and people for fun. I do not believe Riddle was someone who was ever good. Was that his fault? It is easy to condemn a person – but could Tom Riddle have turned out differently, had he not had those wonderful, yet dark, powers of his? Would Voldemort never had existed, had Riddle had a life less harsh? It is nearly impossible to say for sure.

Tom Riddle’s core, the one recognised by Fawkes’ tail-feathers and the Sorting Hat, could be contained in Harry, who had a hard life also, who chose not to join Slytherin, and who still can’t hate enough to generate a sufficiently powerful Unforgivable Curse. This is evidence that suggests that Tom Riddle chose the Lord Voldemort path; it wasn’t thrust upon him. Riddle could have been different. Tom didn’t have to become the Dark Lord who saw nothing wrong in trying to kill a one-year old baby who might have proved a threat to him.

In a strange sort of way, Harry could be redeeming the Riddle-in-him with his choices and in doing the right thing, despite having the wrong powers or life. By doing the right thing, Harry may be righting the wrongs done by the original Riddle himself, making it possible for him to overcome Voldemort in the final showdown.

Horcrux or Not?

Potter fans learned a new word on 16th July, 2005: Horcrux. Suddenly, the world was wondering what in fact Lord Voldemort had put into Harry; more specifically, whether or not it included a bit of his soul. Many people began to share my interest.

Besides what we learned in the book itself about soul-fragment splits and transfers, J.K. Rowling clarified, in a post Half-Blood Prince interview, that nothing like a killing curse backfiring had ever been heard of before in the wizarding world.11 Its side-effects, therefore, are totally unknown; anything could have happened, anything at all. We know that a transfer happened from Voldemort to Harry. Some of the Dark Lord’s powers were definitely transferred.

Anything else? It is impossible to say. It is tempting to conclude that a bit of the Dark Lord’s soul was transferred into Harry on the basis of the following:

a. Dumbledore suspected that Voldemort planned to make his last Horcrux using Harry’s death

b. A Horcrux-creation consists of the transfer of a piece of soul to an object

c. A transfer of some kind, from Voldemort to Harry, definitely took place

d. Voldemort’s only other Horcrux that we’ve seen in action, Diary-Riddle, had a power in common with Harry

However, too many unknowns exist; how a Horcrux is made and whether anyone else was present at Godric’s Hollow that night, to conclude on the clues above that a soul-transfer definitely took place. I believe that it did. In fact, I can’t help wondering if J.K. Rowling will introduce a transfer “protocol” different from a Horcrux-creation: a “PowerCrux”, perhaps, where magical powers and a strange window into another wizard’s mind, but no soul, are transferred. This would be something unexpected from Ms Rowling.

Crazy Theories

Now for a few speculations and theories related to the transfer; I will try to fill in the missing gaps in the Riddle-in-Harry theory until Book Seven clears everything up.

Where is Riddle-in-Harry?

I refer to this this transfer as an entity/person. Where has it been hiding all these years? Is it still there? Some possibilities include:

a. Has Been Absorbed over the Years

Assuming that a bit of Voldemort’s consciousness accompanied his powers into baby Harry, why has it been so passive? If it were anything like the malevolent Diary-Riddle, it should have possessed Harry by now, or killed him in the attempt. Yet there seems to be no sign of it today but a vague memory.

Harry is pure, amazingly so. Lord Voldemort cannot possess him for more than a few seconds because of this goodness. It was because of this purity of soul/mind that he could recover the Philosopher’s Stone in his first year. How could anything with even a molecule of Tom Riddle’s soul/ consciousness/ mind be good? The simplest explanation would be that T.M. Riddle no longer exists as a separate good or evil entity. He has been absorbed by Harry, which is the reason Harry has only the memory of a friend from long ago. Yet Harry still has at least one power (Parseltongue) of this friend, therefore the entity has not been obliterated totally. Some vestige of it remains in Harry. Powers by themselves aren’t evil; Dumbledore himself says as much. Perhaps Riddle’s memory, his emotional make-up, pride, etc., whatever made him choose the path he did, were the evil bits which Harry’s personality either rejected or managed to wipe out.

b. That Voice!

Harry was the only one in his class who could overcome the Imperius entirely in Goblet of Fire, which amazed Moody/Crouch and later Voldemort himself.

Exactly what happens to Harry when he gets hit by an Imperius curse? His mind is wiped clean; he’s totally at peace and ready to do whatever he’s told. Then, a voice speaks up, a voice from the back of his mind, a voice which he never suspected was there.

Could it be our friend Riddle-in-Harry? It is quite content to lie silently and let Harry run things, but when Harry’s not in control of his mind, Riddle-in-Harry tries to wake him up and stops him from doing something harmful to both Harry and it.

It could be Harry’s will, but is a fascinating possibility: a friendly, unsuspected, barely sentient entity hiding inside Harry’s head, which has forgotten that once it used to be called T.M. Riddle and might actively assist Harry to defeat Voldemort!

This might be far-fetched, but I can’t help recalling something Ron said in Chamber of Secrets:

“Hearing voices no one else can hear isn’t a good sign, even in the wizarding world.” 12

Harry has never told anyone about his Imperius-voice. Could it be evidence of a transfer of powers (or more) between wizards?!

Does Riddle-in-Harry Make Harry an Incomplete Horcrux?

There’s one huge difference between Harry and a Horcrux. Harry is still connected to Voldemort, unlike the diary, the ring, or the locket. Something obviously went wrong during the transfer; Harry wouldn’t be as good as he is, had Voldemort succeeded. I do not believe that a complete Lord Voldemort soul-fragment made its way into him.

What could have gone wrong? Here are some possibilities:

a. Perhaps Lily’s protective shield kept out Lord Voldemort’s evil components; Tom Riddle’s less-desirable characteristics were denied entry into Harry’s mind. His evil personality, memories, etc.were denied entry but there was nothing intrinsically evil about his powers, so they found their way in. What about the friend-called-Riddle memory of Harry’s? Well, it’s possible that Tom Riddle’s earliest memories weren’t evil enough to be excluded. Perhaps the memories were those of a time when he was a year old in a Muggle orphanage. It could be those memories, now tucked away in some remote corner of Harry’s mind, which triggered positive recollections of an old friend, now nearly forgotten. Perhaps the evil part of the Dark Lord is perched on Harry’s scar, still a part of Voldemort although physically separate from him. This evil Lord Voldemort-fragment keeps thinking and feeling what the real Voldemort does; Harry, of course, cannot handle the evil. Harry’s head threatens to explode every time his scar responds to a surge of rage from Voldemort.

b. One of the essential ingredients for a successful Horcrux-creation is a death, perhaps seconds before the spell is invoked. Harry didn’t die, Lily’s death perhaps was not recent enough, and Voldemort didn’t die from the backfiring killing curse, though he came close. Perhaps that’s why a soul-fragment never completely separated from the Dark Lord, and is still attached to him.

Should Harry Get Rid of Riddle-in-Harry? Can He?

Now this is an interesting question. Why would he want to? The Riddle-in-Harry which is within him has never done him any harm. Harry gets at least one very rare power, plus insights into the mind of his arch-nemesis. Perhaps Riddle-in-Harry will help in the final fight. However, it is my opinion that it is very possibly a bit of Voldemort’s soul. If this is so, the Dark Lord cannot be killed until it is destroyed.

It is not certain that Harry can get rid of it without harming himself. He speaks Parseltongue without consciously having to try; one of Voldemort’s transferred powers, at least, is now so much a part of Harry that he never realised it was originally alien to him. It is very possible that the rest of the transfer, at least the non-evil parts, have been absorbed to such an extent that telling Riddle-in-Harry from Harry himself is next to impossible.

Of course, if Harry does discover how to get rid of Riddle-in-Harry, he will lose his Parseltongue gift, and, although this is controversial, perhaps many other powers he took for granted. It has been suggested that Harry will end up a Muggle or a Neville Longbottom, because Riddle-in-Harry could be the source of all his abilities, and that the only reason he is the “great” Harry Potter (as Draco Malfoy put it), is that he has Tom Riddle’s core “powering” him. This theory has generated a great deal of debate among Potter fans.

Could Riddle-in-Harry Be Dangerous?

There’s a slight chance that Riddle-in-Harry will pose a threat to Harry himself at some point in the future. We’ve been speculating that Riddle-in-Harry is the result of an incomplete Horcrux, and that the evil part of Tom Riddle was kept at bay because of Lily’s protection. Dumbledore seems to consider it very important that Harry return to the Dursleys’, if only for a few days, in the year to come.13 Perhaps whatever protection Dumbledore wanted to keep active relates to this evil Lord Voldemort-fragment being kept at bay.

Half-Blood Prince also saw Voldemort neither trying to kill Harry, nor harm him in any way, directly or via his henchmen. This is out of character for the Dark Lord. He didn’t seem to care who killed Harry or how a year before at the Ministry of Magic. Could Voldemort, while possessing Harry, have noticed something that made him realise that Harry would be more useful to him, or more vulnerable after his seventeenth birthday? Could he, perhaps, have seen a bit of Tom Riddle inside Harry, recognised it, and decided to bide his time? Could Riddle-in-Harry take over Harry? Is this something Voldemort knows and for which the Dark Lord is waiting?

I think that Riddle-in-Harry poses no immediate danger to Harry, because Dumbledore didn’t seem at all concerned about it. In fact, Dumbledore never discussed it directly with Harry, although he had four years from the time he told about the transfer itself to do so.

Will Harry Have to Die to Get Rid of Riddle-in-Harry?

A very pessimistic approach would be that if Riddle-in-Harry is too much a part of him to remove, the only way Harry can get rid of it is by dying. That means that in Seven, Harry might have to first find and destroy all of Voldemort’s hidden Horcruxes, then do something calculated to kill both himself and Voldemort at the same instant; for example, dragging the Dark Lord through the Veil in the Department of Mysteries. Harry could possess Voldemort, and make Voldemort combust internally. How will he possess Voldemort? The power to possess is one that the Dark Lord passed into his diary-Horcrux; perhaps Harry got it in the transfer.

In all honesty, I believe that even if Harry dies, it will be temporary. I have no real reason for this other than J.K. Rowling’s strange comment that Sirius Black had to die. Personally, I believe that Harry will need a guide beyond the Veil, someone who’ll show him how to get back.

The last chapter of Book Seven may indeed be titled “The Boy Who Died,” but I think he’ll soon be back among us! Only time (and J.K. Rowling) will confirm how right or wrong we were about the strangest sub-character in the Potterverse!


1. Arianhrod. Post #48. “Why the AK did not Kill Voldemort”. Unfogging the Future. 09 June 2005. The Leaky Lounge. 19 Jan. 2006.;act=ST;f=16;t=3205;st=40.

2. Rowling J.K. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. London: Bloomsbury, 1998. P. 174.

3. Normal_Lestrange. “Is there a part of Riddle-in-Harry?” Great Wizarding Events of the Twentieth Century. 09 June 2005. The Leaky Lounge. 19 Jan. 2006.;act=NW;f=31;t=18109.

4. Rowling J.K. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. London: Bloomsbury, 1998. P. 245.

5. CBBC. “JK thrilled by effects in Chamber of Secrets.” Newsround. 15 Nov. 2002. BBC. 19 Jan. 2006.

6. Rowling J.K. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. London: Bloomsbury, 1998. P. 228.

7. Rowling J.K. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. London: Bloomsbury, 1998. P.233.

8. Renton, Jennie. “The story behind the Potter legend: JK Rowling talks about how she created the Harry Potter books and the magic of Harry Potter’s world,” Sydney Morning Herald. 28 October 2001.Quick Quotes Quil. 03 Jan. 2005.

9. Scholastic Inc. “An Intreview With J.K. Rolwing.” Scholastic Press. 19 Jan. 2006.

10. Rowling, J.K. “Wands.” Extra Stuff. 2005. J.K. Rowling Offical Site. 19 Jan. 2006.

11. Anelli, Melissa and Emerson Spartz. “The Leaky Cauldron and Mugglenet Interview J.K. Rowling Part 1.” Interviews. 2005. Quick Quotes Quill. July 16, 2005. href=

12. Rowling J.K. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. London: Bloomsbury, 1998. P. 110.

13. Rowling J.K. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. London: Bloomsbury, 1998. P. 57


Madam Scoop’s Index to J.K.Rowling Interviews. 2004. Deborah Skinner(aka ‘Madam Scoop’) and Lisa Waite Bunker.07 Jan. 2006.

Normal_Lestrange. “Is there a part of Riddle-in-Harry?” Great Wizarding Events of the Twentieth Century. 09 June 2005. The Leaky Lounge. 19 Jan. 2006.;act=NWf=31;t=18109.

Normal_Lestrange. “Is there a part of Riddle-in-Harry?” Great Wizarding Events of the Twentieth Century. 09 June 2005. The Leaky Lounge. 19 Jan. 2006.;act=NW;f=31;t=18109.

Normal_Lestrange. “The Unexplained Transfer” Magical Theory. 22 Oct. 2005. The Leaky Lounge.19 Jan. 2006.;act=NW;f=90;t=17918.

Normal_Lestrange. “Why Voldemort did not die.” Unfogging the Future. 21 May 2005. The Leaky Lounge. 19 Jan. 2006.;act=NW;f=16;t=3498.

Rowling J.K. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. London: Bloomsbury, 1998.

Rowling J.K. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. London: Bloomsbury, 1998. Quick Quotes Quill. 2003-2005. Quick Quotes Quill. 11 Jan. 2006.

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