Spoilers: If you haven't read or seen all of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and don't want spoilers, stop reading right now.

Yes, now. I warned you.

While asking some other questions, I've heard different interpretations of the scene between Harry and Voldemort when Harry faces him, allowing Voldemort to kill Harry. Some, for example, say he wasn't in limbo, but that whole scene was in his head.

When Voldemort uses the Killing Curse on Harry, does he actually kill Harry, or just the part of his own soul that's in Harry? Does Harry actually die and return, or is it only the part of Voldemort's soul that's killed?


According to Dumbledore's image in limbo place/King's Cross, Harry did NOT die.

“But you’re dead,” said Harry.
“Oh yes,” said Dumbledore matter-of-factly.
“Then... I’m dead too?”
“Ah,” said Dumbledore, smiling still more broadly. “That is the question, isn’t it? On the whole, dear boy, I think not.”
They looked at each other, the old man still beaming.
“Not?” repeated Harry.
“Not,” said Dumbledore.

“But... “ Harry raised his hand instinctively toward the lightning scar. It did not seem to be there. “But I should have died – I didn’t defend myself! I meant to let him kill me!”

And yes, the part of Voldemort's soul that was in Harry was of course destroyed

“I let him kill me,” said Harry. “Didn’t I?”
“You did,” said Dumbledore, nodding. “Go on!”
“So the part of his soul that was in me... “
Dumbledore nodded still more enthusiastically, urging Harry onward, a broad smile of encouragement on his face.
“... has it gone?”
“Oh yes!” said Dumbledore. “Yes, he destroyed it. Your soul is whole, and completely your own, Harry.”

  • 7
    It should be worth noting that it may not have been Dumbledore who spoke that, but on the other hand if it was in Harry's mind we would have to surmise he wasn't dead. – AncientSwordRage Feb 1 '12 at 10:03

Elisabeth: In the chapter of Kings Cross, are they behind the veil or in some world between the real world and the veil?

J.K. Rowling: You can make up your own mind on this, but I think that Harry entered a kind of limbo between life and death.


According to Rowling Harry enters a form of limbo between life and death, and according to the "Dumbledore" Harry finds in this limbo Harry can choose whether to move on or to return.

‘I’ve got to go back, haven’t I?’

‘That is up to you.’

‘I’ve got a choice?’

‘Oh yes.’ Dumbledore smiled at him. ‘We are in King’s Cross, you say? I think that if you decided not to go back, you would be able to ... let’s say ... board a train.’

‘And where would it take me?’

‘On,’ said Dumbledore simply.

This strongly leads me to believe that Harry's soul was still attached, if not fully to his body, while "death" is when the soul is removed from the body completely.

‘Without meaning to, as you now know, Lord Voldemort doubled the bond between you when he returned to a human form. A part of his soul was still attached to yours, and, thinking to strengthen himself, he took a part of your mother’s sacrifice into himself. If he could only have understood the precise and terrible power of that sacrifice, he would not, perhaps, have dared to touch your blood ... but then, if he had been able to understand, he could not be Lord Voldemort, and might never have murdered at all.

I think we can say that Voldemort himself by taking Harry's blood could have been the anchor needed to keep Harry from fully moving on. (though this part is semi-speculation)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.