Albus Dumbledore and J.K. Rowling have two different opinions on that. Let us start with the books.

SECTION 1: Albus Dumbledore

Albus Dumbledore clearly tells us, that Nagini was created by killing an old Muggle male:

" (...) I am sure that he was intending to make his final Horcrux with your death. As we know, he failed. After an interval of some years, however, he used Nagini to kill an old Muggle man, and it might then have occurred to him to turn her into his last Horcrux. She underlines the Slytherin connection, which enhances Lord Voldemorts mystique; I think he is perhaps as fond of her as he can be of anything; he certainly likes to keep her close, and he seems to have an unusual amount of control over her, even for a Parselmouth."

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince; 23rd Chapter; Albus Dumbledore

I'm just wondering: who is the old Muggle man who had to be killed? As far as I understand it, he tried to make Harry's death his 7th Horcrux. But then he was defeated because of Lilly Potters sacrifice. He needs a wand to use powerful magical spells:

"I was ripped from my body, I was less than spirit, less than the meanest ghost (...) Nevertheless, I was as powerless as the weakest creature alive, and without the means to help myself . . . for I had no body, and every spell that might have helped me required the use of a wand. . . ."

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; Chapter 33 (The Death Eaters); Voldemort talking to his Death Eaters.

So, as far as I see it, he had to make the Horcrux while he was Quirrel or after he used black magic to create an interim body.

So I took on the Priori Incantatem section:

"(...)then something much larger began to blossom from Voldemort’s wand tip, a great, grayish something, that looked as though it were made of the solidest, densest smoke. . . . It was a head . . . now a chest and arms . . . the torso of Cedric Diggory (...) More screams of pain from the wand . . . and then something else emerged from its tip . . . the dense shadow of a second head, quickly followed by arms and torso . . . an old man (...) “He was a real wizard, then?” the old man said (...) The shadow of Bertha Jorkins (arrived) (...) The smoky shadow of a young woman with long hair fell to the ground as Bertha had done, straightened up, and looked at him . . . and Harry, his arms shaking madly now, looked back into the ghostly face of his mother. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; Chapter 34 (Priori Incantatem); Voldemort and Harry Potter in a battle

So the order of death by Voldemorts wand started with the last:

  • Cedric Diggory
  • Old Muggle Man
  • Bertha Jorkins
  • Harry's Parents
  • etc.

So I guess that he old Muggle man (first quote) is Frank Bryce:

"Frank Bryce was the Riddles’ gardener. He lived alone in a rundown cottage on the grounds of the Riddle House. Frank had come back from the war with a very stiff leg and a great dislike of crowds and loud noises, and had been working for the Riddles ever since (...) Wormtail beckoned Frank into the room (...) And then the chair was facing Frank, and he saw what was sitting in it. (...) he never heard the words the thing in the chair spoke as it raised a wand. There was a flash of green light, a rushing sound, and Frank Bryce crumpled. He was dead before he hit the floor."

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; Chapter 1 (The Riddle House); Voldemort killing Frank Bryce

So is it possible - or even certain - that the Frank Bryce is the man who was killed to make Nagini a Horcrux?

SECTION 2: J.K. Rowling

J. K. Rowling, on the other hand, tells us that Nagini became a Horcrux after killing Bertha Jorkins:

J.K. Rowling: The diary – Moaning Myrtle. The cup – Hepzibah Smith, the previous owner. The locket – a Muggle tramp. Nagini – Bertha Jorkins (Voldemort could use a wand once he regained a rudimentary body, as long as the victim was subdued).

Bertha Jorkins is not old, not a Muggle and not a male. While man also can refer to a human on English, she would still not be an old Muggle.

SECTION 1: Conclusion and Final Question

Albus Dumbledore and J.K. Rowling tell us two different things. While Dumbledore might have been wrong on this, he sounds very sure; in the 6th book, he point out where he is sure and factual and where he guess. I am very sure that Albus Dumbledore is right on this.

Bertha Jorkins, on the other hand, won't make sense at all! While he killed her, he still hadn't a body yet (it was first summoned some time after he killed Bertha Jorkins). And it wasn't Nagini killing her. Not to mention that it would take very long time to prepare to create a body for Tom Riddle; and as far as I know, you have to be very fast with banning your soul into an object, else it will just find the next living thing (like Harry) to live off.

So, who was killed to create the Nagini Horcrux?

  • 2
    @Skooba that's what makes him a candidate, voldemorte performed the murder needed to make nagini a horcrux. The diary, locket, cup, ring and diadem certainly didn't murder anyone, at least not before they became horcruxes.
    – Escoce
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 16:38
  • 1
    Frank Bryce, the Riddle's gardener.
    – ibid
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 16:57
  • 2
    I'm not sure why it's even a question. We have in-universe speculation vs. the author's explicit statement. There's not even a contradiction.
    – Kevin
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 17:02
  • 1
    Sorry to be late to the party but I don't understand the confusion about Frank. JKR and Dumbledore can agree. Dumbledore said that Voldemort used Nagini to kill an old Muggle man, not that he used the old Muggle man to create Nagini. That murder inspired Voldemort to make Nagini a Horcrux, which he did when he killed Bertha. (I agree that the phrase "used Nagini" is used loosely. Actually he learned of Frank's presence from Nagini and then killed her himself.)
    – Bishop
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 19:20
  • 1
    This has been the most thorough question of an apparent, um, plot hole, I've seen on here. Naturally, Superfans (FYI: I usually count myself as one) rush to brush it away. JK Rowling has said time and time again that she makes mistakes, but somehow that's the only thing her Superfans will not take as gospel. The Questioner has laid out the issue explicitly only to have his question marked as a dupe (it most certainly is not). Why are people so determined to be obtuse? JKR said information given by Dumbledore & Hermione ought to be considered as correct. Now, apparently, Dumbledore is wrong. Commented Sep 2, 2017 at 21:29

2 Answers 2


Bertha Jorkins, on the other hand, won't make sense at all! While he killed her, he still hadn't a body yet (it was first summoned some time after he killed Bertha Jorkins). And it wasn't Nagini killing her. Not to mention that it would take very long time to prepare to create a body for Tom Riddle; and as far as I know, you have to be very fast with banning your soul into an object, else it will just find the next living thing (like Harry) to live off.

Why wouldn't Bertha make sense? As far as I know, Voldemort had the rudimentary, baby-like body before Wormtail stumbled across Bertha Jorkins. That means that both Bertha and Frank Bryce were killed between Voldemort returning to a physical form and regaining a new, adult body at the end of Goblet of Fire. If you accept that he's capable of creating a Horcrux when killing Frank Bryce then you also have to accept that he was capable of doing so when killing Bertha Jorkins.

There's also no canon evidence that suggests you have to be very fast to create a Horcrux. Murder splits your soul, and only true remorse is capable of putting your soul back together; if the only requirements for making a Horcrux are that your soul is split (so there's a fragment to bind to the object) and that you perform the necessary spell, then provided you don't heal your soul by experiencing true remorse for your actions there's no reason you'd be limited in how much time you have.

While an argument could be made for Frank Bryce, and Dumbledore certainly thought that was the case, Word of God has to trump what a character who is ultimately guessing says. Bertha Jorkins was the person Voldemort killed to turn Nagini into a Horcrux.

As an aside, the situation with Harry is different. For a start, he's not a true Horcrux, he's just Horcrux-like in the sense that he was housing a piece of Voldemort's soul. He wasn't created using the requisite Horcrux spell nor was he imbued with any of the defensive magic that is normally applied to a Horcrux (because it's not a good idea to just leave something that contains a piece of your soul around undefended). Voldemort's soul latched onto him because his soul was fragmented and no longer had a physical shell to contain it (his body having been destroyed when his Avada Kedavra curse failed to kill Harry).

  • Going against your answer: The fact that JKR says info given by Dumbledore & Hermione are to be considered as being factual. 2nd, Voldemort did NOT have rudimentary body when Peter got to him. He said as much that he couldn't use a wand without a body and that Wormtail helped. How can a spirit kill a unicorn for its blood & milk a snake for its venom? Third, Harry was indeed a Horcrux, per the book. By the time Voldemort killed Harry's parents, a piece of what remains of his maimed & unstable soul latched onto the only living thing in the house. The other piece was the Spirit Voldemort itself. Commented Sep 2, 2017 at 21:47
  • @MermishEssence 1. Provide a quote for JKR having said that the information (what information?) is factual. It contradicts what she's said elsewhere about who Voldemort killed to make each Horcrux. 2. I didn't say Voldemort had a body when Peter got to him. I said Voldemort had a body when Peter found Bertha Jorkins - those two things didn't happen at exactly the same time, there was time for Voldemort to regain his rudimentary body by the time he'd need to kill Bertha. 3. Harry was not a true Horcrux, as stated by JKR - that's Word of God canon so I would consider it not up for debate. Commented Sep 2, 2017 at 22:19
  • Well, one by one then, shall we?: Maura: How come voldemort was no longer employing occlumency against harry, as he was in the 6th book J.K. Rowling: He is losing control, and unable to prevent Harry seeing into his mind. The connection between them is never fully understood by Voldemort, who does not know that Harry is a Horcrux. (the-leaky-cauldron.org/2007/07/30/…) Commented Sep 4, 2017 at 5:38
  • Another one: Lizo: Steve, Hermione is a character that you have said is one of your favorites. Has that made her easier to write? JKR: Absolutely right, I find that all the time in the book, if you need to tell your readers something just put it in her. There are only 2 characters that you can put it convincingly into their dialogue. 1 is Hermione, the other is Dumbledore. In both cases you accept, it's plausible that they have, well Dumbledore knows pretty much everything anyway, but that Hermione has read it somewhere... accio-quote.org/articles/2003/0302-newsround-mzimba.htm Commented Sep 4, 2017 at 5:49
  • Thirdly (not in order): Voldemort: His filthy little friends told him there was a place, deep in an Albanian forest, that they avoided, where small animals like themselves had met their deaths by a dark shadow that possessed them. . . . “But his journey back to me was not smooth, was it, Wormtail? For, hungry one night, on the edge of the very forest where he had hoped to find me, he foolishly stopped at an inn for some food . . . and who should he meet there, but one Bertha Jorkins... Book 4, Chapter 23: The Death Eaters. (As Dumbledore, and later, Fudge, say, there's nothing like evidence) Commented Sep 4, 2017 at 5:59

So your question certainly has a lot of detail to it, which is great. I was actually under the impression that Voldemort actually unintentionally did make his 6th and intentionally last horcrux out of Harry by killing his mother first. By Voldemort not knowing he already made a 6th horcrux is one of the reasons for his doom by making a 7th, which is I recall Slughorn explained to Tom Riddle would spread out a soul too thin and fragmented.

But to answer your question directly, yes I believe it was frank Bryce the Gardner who was the murder victim needed to make nagini the last horcrux.

  • 4
    HARRY IS NOT A HORCRUX!!!! -signed all HP Fanatics.
    – Skooba
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 16:42
  • That's interesting, there was a piece of voldy's soul within him, and Harry had to be killed first before voldy could. Sounds horcrux like to me. Maybe he wasn't a classic horcrux, but he held a fragment of voldy's soul, so that made him horcrux like and voldy's soul was split more than 7 ways. 8 fragments, himself plus 6 horcruxes plus Harry-not-a-horcrux.
    – Escoce
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 16:46
  • @Skooba -- Thank you for screaming in frustration what I was about to scream in frustration! Harry is indeed not a Horcrux. I believe Voldemort killed at least two Muggles that went on to become Horcrux fodder. Frank Bryce (as noted above), and an Albanian peasant. :) Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 16:46
  • @Escoce read the answer here... scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/11530/…
    – Skooba
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 16:47
  • 1
    Yeah I read it, I still stand by it that he was an unintentional horcrux or horcrux like. Dumbledore says it, and even JK when saying he isn't a proper horcrux that he is still functionally the same. As far as him not being tainted by being a horcrux, I think a lot of Harry's trials were indeed about him struggling with his inner voldy, but he simply was capable of making his own choices despite the fact. All evidence, INCLUDING JK's statement against the fact still supports that Harry is indeed a horcrux, whether a proper one or not.
    – Escoce
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 16:52

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