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We know that a Horcrux is the object in which a piece of the Horcruxee's Soul is stored in.

But these objects were once normal (albeit special) objects before being turned into a Horcrux, and could be destroyed like any other objects.

My question is: what is it about becoming a Horcrux that makes the object (almost) indestructable?

Is it that a powerful enchantment is placed on the object upon Horcruxation? Or something else?

My thinking is that it's not so much the object, but the piece of soul which is difficult to destroy. As Hermione puts it:

"Because a Horcrux is the complete opposite of a human being.”

Seeing that Harry and Ron looked thoroughly confused, Hermione hurried on, “Look, if I picked up a sword right now, Ron, and ran you through with it, I wouldn’t damage your soul at all.”

“Which would be a real comfort to me, I’m sure,” said Ron. Harry laughed.

“It should be, actually! But my point is that whatever happens to your body, your soul will survive, untouched,” said Hermione. “But it’s the other way round with a Horcrux. The fragment of soul inside it depends on its container, its enchanted body, for survival. It can’t exist without it.”

-Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - the Ghoul in Pyjamas

So in a way, the object is linked to the piece of Soul's survival.

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Hey, it would be great if you provided the source for your quote where the trio is discussing what a Horcrux is. Which book is it from? Which chapter (chapter number and chapter name) is the passage from? That would be helpful -- some of us like to check a quoted passage in its original context. :) –  Slytherincess Mar 23 at 21:28
    
Sorry, forgot the reference. Done. –  Mooz Mar 23 at 23:26
    
Thanks, that helps a lot :) –  Slytherincess Apr 5 at 10:42
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3 Answers 3

up vote 14 down vote accepted

The Horcrux isn't innately durable on it's own; part of the creation process (not required, but recommended in Secrets of the Darkest Art) is enchantments to protect it. From right before the quote you provide, Hermione explains:

“No,” said Ron, before Harry could answer. “So does it say how to destroy Horcruxes in that book?”

“Yes,” said Hermione, now turning the fragile pages as if examining rotting entrails, “because it warns Dark wizards how strong they have to make the enchantments on them. From all that I’ve read, what Harry did to Riddle’s diary was one of the few really foolproof ways of destroying a Horcrux.”

[...]

“It doesn’t have to be a basilisk fang,” said Hermione patiently. “It has to be something so destructive that the Horcrux can’t repair itself. Basilisk venom only has one antidote, and it’s incredibly rare—”

[...] That’s a problem we’re going to have to solve, though, because ripping, smashing, or crushing a Horcrux won’t do the trick. You’ve got to put it beyond magical repair.”


[Emphasis added]

The fact that it references 'enchantments on them' suggests that the the spell itself doesn't protect the item, but that the wizard must cast spells upon it to do so. More to the point, it seems to suggest sufficient spells to restore the item from all but irreversible destruction.

So, in general, the container is made as tough as possible by other spells; since it's not in a living body (as a general rule) that can repair itself, it's enchanted to self-repair. The situations where we see a living host, it's much easier to destroy, as it's missing (at least MOST of) the protective spells -- a quick 'kill' and the soul is freed (see Naganini & Harry); no need for greater destruction as no magic can restore the dead to life in HP. (Not really surprising that enchantments to restore non-living objects are a bit more comprehensive than those for living items; otherwise the whole Horcrux idea would be unneeded.)

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I beg to differ. Nagini died because Neville struck it with sword imbued with the properties of Basilisk venom. A body used as a Horcrux may be a bit easier to destroy, but it is tougher to kill then normally possible. –  Mouse.The.Lucky.Dog Mar 24 at 1:27
    
@Mouse.The.Lucky.Dog - Perhaps; but the sword would never have reached him, had he still been protected as he was before (the glowing sphere -- probably specifically to protect him from physical assault.) It seems clear that sustaining that level of protection on a living being was either costly or somehow otherwise contraindicated, or V would have kept it on. And killing Harry was nothing more than the usual Avada Kedavra. –  KHW Mar 24 at 2:37
    
"the usual avada kedvra" I and Moody/Crouch beg to differ. It takes a skilled and powerful wizard to use it successfully. –  Mouse.The.Lucky.Dog Mar 28 at 0:01
    
@Mouse.The.Lucky.Dog Skill it may indeed take, but by this point in the series, it's in ridiculously common use, especially by Death Eaters. –  KHW Mar 28 at 1:03
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The act of making it a horcrux itself does not affect the object's durability as far as I know. Of course, it's in the dark wizard's best interest to protect it to the best of his/hers ability.

To permanently destroy the horcrux (and the soul part living inside it) it has to be destroyed to the point that it is impossible to repair magically.

This is why only very powerful agents such basilisk poison and fiendfyre have been shown to destroy a horcrux, as only those are powerful enough to render objects unrepairable.

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Magic!

The Horcrux, even though outwardly looks like the object is no longer the object, but a combination of the object and the soul. Furthermore, if a piece of the Horcrux still remains intact the wizards soul can magically repair the damage magically. To destroy the Horcrux, you must destroy the connection. To destroy the connection you must destroy at least a piece of the soul.

Remember even when killing someone, the soul still goes on. The soul ( in Judeo-Christianity ) is a piece of God. It takes a lot to destroy a piece of God.

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Harry Potter is not Judeo-Christianity, so that doesn't apply –  Izkata Mar 24 at 2:05
    
@Izkata - Judeo-Christianity isn't actually a thing... the official name is "Abrahamic religion".... and I'm pretty sure the "a piece of god" thing is wrong (can ask on Judaism.SE) –  DVK Mar 24 at 14:46
    
@DVK, when I was growing up it was called Judeo-Christianity. I'm not going to get into debates because some politically correct dweeb had something against someone and renamed it. From Genesis 2:7 (King James) "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."So to put it crudely God breathed into man and gave him a soul. Piece of soul seems right. –  Mouse.The.Lucky.Dog Mar 28 at 0:08
    
I don't really think that the "LORD God" would appreciate this brand of courtesy -- in his name no less. Yes, Harry Potter is a Christian allegory according to J.K. Rowling, but a specific "God" is not part of the story. I understand you have your personal beliefs, because you've stated them here, but they may not be representative of the soul, or anything else, in the Harry Potter books. We know you're entitled to your opinion, but it's really only that -- an opinion. Here, we are looking for verifiable, hard answers to questions. Opinions, as interesting as they might be, are subjective. –  Slytherincess Apr 5 at 9:40
    
@Izkata -- I don't know what "Judeo-Christianity" means, but J.K. Rowling has confirmed that the HP series is a Christian allegory. I can say that much. RE: DVK's comment, I don't know what "Abrahamic religion" is either, so I think I'll just leave it at this. Just wanted to pass it along as a minor FYI. :) –  Slytherincess Apr 5 at 9:46
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