This question led me to asking this one. R.A.B. takes the "real" locket out and asks Kreacher to destroy it, then puts the "fake" locket back in the basin. Why would he feel the need to do this? He knows already that Voldemort has used someone else to drink the potion (Kreacher). In fact Kreacher's story to him about his mistreatment on the island seems to push him over the edge to act.

Instead of assuring that someone else (most likely innocent like Kreacher) would have to drink from the basin, why not just leave the note outside the basin for someone to find? If Voldemort finds it then so be it, at least then no presumably innocent person would have to drink again.


4 Answers 4

  1. May have been to delay the discovery of the theft until it was too late (e.g. till he could destroy the Horcrux). Although other people had to drink the potion to reveal the contents of the basin, as Dumbledore's quote suggests:

    "Yes, I think so: only by drinking it can I empty the basin and see what lies in its depths."

    Voldemort himself did not (emphasis mine):

    "...for a second he looked down upon a basin whose potion had turned clear, and saw that no golden locket lay safe beneath the surface—"

    Voldemort turned the potion clear, therefore a locket that was placed at the bottom that looked just like the original may have satisfied him, without forcing the potion to be drank.

  2. Also, the replacement locket contained a message/taunt to Voldemort:

    "To the Dark Lord
    I know I will be dead long before you read this but I want you to know that it was I who discovered your secret. I have stolen the real Horcrux and intend to destroy it as soon as I can. I face death in the hope that when you meet your match you will be mortal once more.

  • I don't understand how putting the locket in basin or not would delay the discovery of the theft any more, one would still have to drink to find out whether it was there or not... and he could have left the taunt beside the basin without potentially leading Voldemort to use another house elf to drink the liquid.
    – NominSim
    Commented Apr 17, 2012 at 14:32
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    @NominSim - Check #1: "Look into basin, see locket is there, OK". Check #2: "Remove liquid, extract locket, look inside". The fake locket defeats check #1. He may have hoped that V. would be too lazy to do #2 - and wouldn't necessarily have been 100% wrong - witness fake Gryffindor's sword the bad guys thought was OK Commented Apr 17, 2012 at 14:37
  • From your answer to the linked question, ""Yes, I think so: only by drinking it can I empty the basin and see what lies in its depths." It doesn't seem that you could see what was in it without drinking first, so drinking would be necessary even with an empty basin. Also combine that with the fact that I highly doubt Voldemort would make the trip all the way to the island for a visual check of a Horcrux, or that it wouldn't be immediately obvious to him of all people that it was a fake.
    – NominSim
    Commented Apr 17, 2012 at 14:44
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    @NominSim - you underestimate the power of laziness:). And yes, I agree, it's clearly not the most foolproof method, but it is better than NOT leaving anything, even if by tiny margin. Commented Apr 17, 2012 at 14:55
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    Isn't it a fairly weak argument to say that Voldemort would travel all the way to the island, over the lake and all the way to the basin, bringing along someone to drink the potion so that he wouldn't have to, and then peering in and saying "Oh yep there it is, right where I left it" without picking it up or doing any other sort of test?
    – NominSim
    Commented Apr 17, 2012 at 15:02

This is purely speculative but the reasoning behind this could be that he didn't want Voldemort to get suspicious that the locket was missing, giving him time to destroy the true locket. He also would have used this as a way to distract Voldemort from know which of his secrets had been found, as Voldemort would know when one of his Horcrux's were destroyed.

  • As far as R.A.B. knew though Kreacher was going to immediately destroy the locket. Plus Voldemort would almost certainly not have come back to the island if not to make sure the locket was alright.
    – NominSim
    Commented Apr 17, 2012 at 14:29
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    Is there any evidence showing that Regulus knew that there was more than one Horcrux?
    – TGnat
    Commented Apr 17, 2012 at 14:45
  • I think the quote found in DVK's answer shows that Regulus might suspect at least one other horcrux
    – chcuk
    Commented Apr 17, 2012 at 14:55

Regulus wanted to delay discovering the secret, so he wanted to leave the message in such a way that you can discover it only if you drink the potion and want to check the locket. However, he couldn't just left a piece of paper, for the potion could damage that. He needed a watertight container for the message, so he's used a locket.

Sorry if this is very prosaic.


Regulus didn't clearly explain to Kreacher what the task entailed. He simply asked Kreacher to join him while he traded one locket for another. Perhaps he felt that this would arouse less suspicion than to simply remove a locket Voldemort had placed there. Kreacher, remember, served a family of dark wizards, and might have blabbed (as he did later when Sirius Black told him to "go away").

At the time, Voldemort was still at large. Regulus might have considered that his actions, once discovered, could endanger his family as well as himself. The extra subterfuge to avoid suspicion in Kreacher would help protect the Black family he left behind.

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