Discounting the fact that you have to commit homicide to create one,

Is it illegal to create a Horcrux?

Or just like, frowned upon?

By illegal I mean forbidden or outlawed by the Ministry of Magic (or any of its international counterparts).

I have not found mention of this in any canon I've read (HP 1-7, Fantastic Beasts, Tales of Beedle the Bard and Quidditch through the Ages).

  • 15
    I don't see how you can discount the part where you murder people. It's an integral step in the creation of a Horcrux.
    – Valorum
    Oct 25, 2015 at 9:17
  • 10
    Of course it's illegal. There is no canon information on this because it's just obvious. Would an author say "The orange fruit was orange in color"? No, because it would explain something that doesn't need to be explained...If murder is illegal and creating a horcrux requires murder then, well, the orange is clearly orange. Oct 25, 2015 at 9:59
  • 3
    @LordVoldemort And YOU should know!
    – Rand al'Thor
    Oct 25, 2015 at 12:29
  • 6
    @LordVoldemort Requiring murder doesn't mean there can't also be a separate, specific crime for creating a Horcrux, which they'd be charged with in addition to murder. Oct 25, 2015 at 14:35
  • 6
    I think downvoters are not thinking very deeply about @AnthonyGrist 's point: there are many crimes that rely on another crime to also be present. You can batter someone, for example, and that is illegal. But battering someone with a weapon, or because they are a protected minority class, etc. are separate crimes. The OP is asking whether making a horcrux is itself a separate (additional) crime to the murder.
    – Lexible
    Oct 25, 2015 at 19:49

3 Answers 3


Yes, it is illegal, at least because it involves murder and dark magic.

As a reminder, here’s Slughorn’s explanation of horcruxes:

“How do you do it?”

“By an act of evil – the supreme act of evil. By committing murder. Killing rips the soul apart. The wizard intent upon creating a Horcrux would use the damage to his advantage: he would encase the torn portion –”

Murder is a key part of the process; I’m not sure it makes sense to consider the legality of creating a horcrux without considering the associated murder.

However, I think it unlikely that there is a law specifically forbidding the creation of horcruxes separate from the murder, because this is a very unusual and poorly-known branch of dark magic. I’m not sure they’d ever get round to legislating against such a specific and unusual act; it’s probably covered by broad laws forbidding dark magic and evilness. Most lawmakers probably haven’t even heard of horcruxes, let alone thought about legislating against them.

Voldemort is only the second known user of horcruxes (after Herpo the Foul). If nobody in the Ministry has heard of them, and there are no instances of their usage, it would be unsurprising if nobody had thought to legislate against horcruxes in particular.

Since horcruxes seem to involve dark magic and some unspeakable and horrible acts, it would probably be verboten as a form of dark magic. Creating a horcrux is liable to incur more punishment than a simple murder. But I don’t think you’d find a law saying “thou shalt not create horcruxes”, more “thou shalt not practice dark magic”.

  • 1
    @Lexible I’ve tried to tweak the answer to de-emphasise the murder aspect. I think the point about rarity still holds – assault and battery is a fairly common and well-known crime, whereas horcruxes are astonishingly rare and poorly known.
    – alexwlchan
    Oct 25, 2015 at 20:46
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    spoiler alert Technically Harry killed Voldemort at the end of the Deathly Hallows. It didn't seem to tear his soul apart. I would suggest that it must be premeditated murder, not self defence.
    – Jane S
    Oct 25, 2015 at 21:32
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    @alexwlchan I appreciate your consideration and work, but I don’t think you’d find a law saying “thou shalt not create horcruxes”, more “thou shalt not practice dark magic”, is still, to my my mind, quite unrealistic. (A) It treats all dark arts as equal before the eyes of the law (e.g. legilimency = as illegal as aveda kevadra = as illegal as making horcruxes… the fact that in Rowling horcruxes are buried secrets, whereas aveda kedavra is front page news would seem to belie that), & (B) actual criminal codes do not aim at simpler (i.e. they do not get by on Thou shalt not be bad. Done!)
    – Lexible
    Oct 25, 2015 at 22:30
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    @Lexible I’m not suggesting that’s the actual wording of the law, or the only law involved, just that you’re unlikely to find a law specifically outlawing horcruxes. Dark wizards are inventive, and you need scope for punishing dark acts you haven’t thought of yet. A blanket ban on dark magic – in addition to more specific laws about crimes like murder, assault, kidnapping – gives you wriggle room when something like horcruxes show up.
    – alexwlchan
    Oct 25, 2015 at 22:55
  • 1
    @JaneS Well In my view Technically The Elder wand killed Voldemort because his curse backfired since it was cast by Elder Wand which wouldn't kill its own Master (Harry). Oct 27, 2015 at 5:58

I think I'll disagree and say, no. I don't think making horcruxes are specifically illegal.

Dark magic in general is frowned upon, in the books... but horcruxes are not very well known, and seem to be discouraged by lack of knowledge, not legislation. Splitting a person's soul is, according to Slughorn, abhorrent and evil, yet while he is calling it evil he does not mention laws against mutilating the soul. Bear in mind that Dementors also suck out souls, which should be equally dark and horrifying, yet they aren't illegal either. They're actually legal punishments.

As to murder... both the prior answers think that the illegality of murder would make horcruxes illegal to make, but I don't think it's ever laid out just what murder would be, what's actually illegal in the wizarding world. I'm sure the wizarding world has laws against the murder of witches and wizards, but we don't know what the requirements are for killings that would split a soul. If the person killed was a muggle, or house elf or goblin or werewolf, I'm not sure if they would be equally protected under law - but they might work for the magic. There's an element of speculation to that, sure. I don't think they ever said that killing a muggle, house elf, or such wasn't murder - but muggle baiting is a relatively minor crime, and erasing memories or meddling with people's minds, is routine.

The attack on the family at the world cup was brushed aside, there was no mention of compensation, or that they might give testimony or anything that treated it like a crime instead of something to be covered up. The caretaker at the Riddle house, and other muggle casualties are deemphasized in favor of any wizarding casualties. The crimes laid at Pettigrew's feet are serving Voldie and betrayal of his friends... the extra muggles he kills are not mentioned. I wonder if any attack, even a fatal one, might be illegal under the statute of secrecy rather than individual rights. House elves also have very little in the way of rights, between Dobby's abuse and death threats, and Kreacher's being left to die by Voldie seemingly without consequence, I wouldn't be surprised if killing one was not actually illegal. Buckbeak's trial and careless order of execution, even though the fact he was 'proud' or 'insulted' might mean he had a higher degree of self awareness than anyone should disregard as the ministry did. In short, the wizarding world is prejudiced, and careless with the lives of any species considered 'lesser'

Back to the point, what the magic of the horcrux ritual requires as a murder might not coincide with what wizarding law says is one. There might be laws against dark magic more generally, but without mentioning horcruxes specifically or damage to the soul (which would put the ministry in a bad place regarding dementors) it might be easy to break laws in making a horcrux, but I suspect it is possible to make one, without violating ministry of magic laws... so it might not be itself illegal.


Yes, it is. Though the blatantly stated reason is that it involves murder, there remains the fact that the person is splitting their soul.

And as Slughorn says, the soul is meant to be whole. Splitting it is considerred abhorrent.

Tom Riddle: "And how exactly does one split his soul?"

Slughorn: "Well, you must understand that the soul is supposed to remain intact and whole. Splitting it is an act of violation, it is against nature."

Tom Riddle: "But how do you do it?"

Slughorn: "By an act of evil — the supreme act of evil. By committing murder. Killing rips the soul apart." ...

So I would say, yes, it is illegal, murder aside(hypothetically).

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