Now, the Half-Blood Prince movie had far too many flaws, but the most nonsensical and unnecessary change is Dumbledore's surprise at the Horcrux memory.

In the book Dumbledore already knew about the Horcruxes and needed the memory only as confirmation to how many there were. In the movie, though, it seems as though he's shocked by the discovery after he sees the memory and yet he's already destroyed the ring. So that doesn't really make sense IMO. I mean, how come he's already destroyed the ring if he didn't know about the Horcruxes?

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    I had the impression he was shocked by the amount of horcruxes, not that they were created, as he already knew about ring and diary.
    – HollyK
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 7:41
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    "So that doesn't really make sense IMO" you can say that about all the movies
    – user13267
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 12:08
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    This is either not a question or a duplicate of scifi.stackexchange.com/q/21679/4918 "Why do Harry and Dumbledore need to get the memory from Slughorn?"
    – b_jonas
    Commented Nov 29, 2016 at 12:12
  • @b_jonas I don't see anywhere in the other post where this question is addressed.
    – Alex
    Commented May 31, 2019 at 21:40
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    Well not forget that Gambon's performance as Dumbledore was at most times irrelevant to the books. He himself had said that he was not interested in reading the books to understand the character and help his performance; he was just playing for the sake of it (to get the job done). Commented Mar 13, 2021 at 7:33

1 Answer 1


It seems from the context that Dumbledore was indeed already aware of Voldemort making a Horcrux. Here is the dialogue (in the movie) between Dumbledore and Harry after viewing the memory

Dumbledore: This is beyond anything I imagined.

Harry: Do you mean to say he succeeded, Sir? In making a Horcrux?

Dumbledore: Oh yes, he succeeded all right. And not just once.

Harry: What are they exactly?

Dumbledore: Could be anything. Most commonplace of objects.... A ring, for example. Or a book.

Harry: Tom Riddle's diary.

Dumbledore It's a Horcrux, yes. Four years ago when you saved Ginny Weasley's life in the Chamber of Secrets, you brought me this. I knew then this was a different kind of magic — very dark, very powerful. But until tonight I had no idea just how powerful.

In this scene he shows Harry the destroyed ring and diary, and he seems to be certain that they were Horcruxes. This means that he was aware of Voldemort's Horcrux plan prior to viewing this memory. Additionally, as in the book, Dumbledore has already seen the tampered memory which mentions Horcruxes, so the idea of Voldemort making a Horcrux is certainly not new.

There are two lines in the dialogue that need some bit of explaining though. The first line seems somewhat overstated if Dumbledore already new about the Horcruxes. We would have to assume that Dumbledore was either exaggerating, or that creating six Horcruxes is so much worse than creating one Horcrux such that it could be truly beyond anything Dumbledore had imagined.

The last line as well is somewhat difficult to understand. If Dumbledore already knew that Voldemort was making Horcruxes, why was it just "tonight" (i.e. after viewing the memory) that he found out just how powerful the diary was? the memory didn't contain any secrets about how powerful Horcruxes are.

We would have to then assume that though Dumbledore knew that Voldemort made a Horcrux, he did not yet know that the diary was a Horcrux.(He presumably must have thought, then, that the ring was the only Horcrux, as if he already suspected multiple Horcruxes then there wouldn't have been anything in the memory to specifically confirm the diary as a Horcrux. The novelty contained in the memory was that there were multiple Horcruxes, and that being the case it was then obvious to Dumbledore that that's what the diary was.

Of course, this too is a deviation from the book (albeit a lesser one), as in the book Dumbledore clearly describes that he knew the diary was a Horcrux, and was pretty certain that there were others even before seeing the memory; the memory just confirmed the precise number.

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