Per the title: Could Fawkes's tears have healed Tom Riddle's diary after Harry stabbed it with a Basilisk fang?

As it was pointed out to me in Why Didn't the Basilisk Bite in Book Two Destroy the Horcrux, when Harry stabbed the diary Horcrux with the Basilisk fang, the diary wasn't destroyed instantaneously; there could have been time for Fawkes to cry onto the stab "wound".

[...] without thinking, without considering, as though he had meant to do it all along, Harry seized the Basilisk fang on the floor next to him and plunged it straight into the heart of the book.

There was a long, dreadful, piercing scream. Ink spurted out of the diary in torrents, streaming over Harry’s hands, flooding the floor. Riddle was writhing and twisting, screaming and flailing and then ...

He had gone. Harry’s wand fell to the floor with a clatter and there was silence. Silence except for the steady drip drip of ink still oozing from the diary. The Basilisk venom had burned a sizzling hole right through it.

Chamber of Secrets - page 237 - British Hardcover - chapter 17, The Heir of Slytherin

So, would it have been possible for Fawkes's tears to have healed the mortally wounded diary Horcrux?

  • 3
    Is a horcrux really alive? Can a phoenixes tears heal inanimate objects?
    – Xantec
    Commented Apr 13, 2012 at 14:34
  • 1
    Probably nobody knows, because no dark wizard has ever volunteered their Horcrux to test this.
    – b_jonas
    Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 8:28
  • @b_jonas - Don't come to me with "probably" ;) We don't know if any other dark wizards have ever attempted to heal a Horcrux with phoenix tears. :) Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 20:45

5 Answers 5


Presumably, "their tears have healing powers" as Dumbledore puts it is an accurate description. You can not "heal" an inanimate object, which the diary is, so Phoenix tears would have been ineffective on the notebook.

Moreover, the tears may have been able to neutralize the Basilisk poison, but the poison ALREADY did the damage to the notebook - it wasn't like it was slowly spreading around the notebook with the blood flow (as was happening to Harry) doing more damage.

  • 1
    In your answer here scifi.stackexchange.com/a/8664/3500 you describe the diary Horcrux as undergoing a process of destruction, i.e. not instantaneous; here I'm reading it as the Basilisk venom caused immediate damage. I want to make sure I'm understanding your meaning correctly -- would you elaborate a bit about what you mean by "the poison ALREADY did the damage to the notebook"? :) Commented Apr 25, 2012 at 22:10
  • Meaning, there's no blood flow infected by poison. Commented Apr 25, 2012 at 22:38

Yes the tears would have repaired the diary

Q: When Harry was stabbed by a basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets, since he was a Horcrux, shouldn't it have been destroyed then?

JKR: I have been asked that a lot. Harry was exceptionally fortunate in that he had Fawkes. So before he could be destroyed without repair, which is what is necessary to destroy a horcrux, he was mended. However, I made sure that Fawkes wasn't around the second time a Horcrux got stabbed by a basilisk fang, so the poison did its work and it was irreparable within a short period of time.... I established early in the book, Hermione says that you destroy a Horcrux by using something so powerful that there's no remedy. But she does say there is a remedy for basilisk poison but of course it has to be administered immediately and when they stab the cup later - boy I'm really blowing this for anyone who hasn't finished the book - there's Fawkes, is my answer. And thank you for giving me a chance to say that because people have argued that quite a lot.

JK Rowling at Carnegie Hall 10.20.07


A wound is damage to living flesh. Though the diary contained a part of Voldemort's soul, it was not made of living flesh and thus could not have been "healed" in that manner. Perhaps a spell to repair a physical object (such as Hermione incessantly used on Harry's glasses) would have worked.


In Deathly Hallows - The Ghoul In Pyjamas:

“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 — “— phoenix tears,” said Harry, nodding. “Exactly,” said Hermione.

This makes me think that Horcruxes are alive enough that they can be repaired. So Fauxes' tears might have been able to repair the Horcrux diary; but as @DVK pointed out that the damage was already done to the diary.


Phoenix tears are able to seal the wound inflicted on harry and purge the poison. But there is no life left to heal, nor flesh to seal up in the Diary, only dark magic. And dark magic would have been required to 'heal' the diary.

  • 3
    Can you tell me why you think only Dark Magic could have healed the diary? :) Commented Apr 25, 2012 at 22:13
  • 1
    Not healed, I suppose but repaired. If dark magic can put part of a soul into an item and embue it with magic, magic should be able to force the soul back in and fix the object. Pure speculation though.
    – AncientSwordRage
    Commented Apr 25, 2012 at 22:20

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