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Pursuant to this question, if you were to free a soul from the Horcrux or another container (i.e. Harry) without destroying the soul, what would happen to it?

This is what appear to happen to Voldemort when some of his soul binds to Harry, except Voldemort's half was never in a Horcrux. His half floats off with his consciousness.

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In Deathly Hallows, Hermione explains that a fragment of soul inside of a Horcrux cannot exist without its container. If the container is destroyed, that piece of soul is as well. However! She also goes on to explain that the piece of soul within a Horcrux can slip out from its receptacle and into the body of a receptive person, who has somehow connected emotionally with the Horcrux, and it can inhabit another's body in that way. That's how the fragment of soul in the diary Horcrux was able to possess Ginny Weasley.

‘While the magical container is still intact, the bit of soul inside it can flit in and out of someone if they get too close to the object. I don’t mean holding it for too long, it’s nothing to do with touching it,’ she added, before Ron could speak. ‘I mean close emotionally. Ginny poured her heart out into that diary, she made herself incredibly vulnerable. You’re in trouble if you get too fond of or dependent on the Horcrux.’

‘I wonder how Dumbledore destroyed the ring?’ said Harry. ‘Why didn’t I ask him? I never really …’

Deathly Hallows - page 91 - UK Hardcover - chapter 6, The Ghoul in Pyjamas

The soul piece cannot live without a receptacle to hold it; if there were no receptive person to latch onto, the piece of soul would presumably die.

  • Makes me think of the Demon Azazel from Fallen -- I almost wish JKR had added the same limits/details to possession: There are some he cannot possess, but when his own existence is in danger, he can possess ANYONE, but has a limited distance to cover to get to them. (How far he can travel in the 'Blink of an Eye', or perhaps a single breath.) Harry probably would have remained safe, due to Lily's protection.. But Dumbledore's destruction of the ring could have gone an entirely different way.. The same for the Cup and Diadem :) – K-H-W Apr 25 '12 at 20:02
  • That quote is interesting because Dumbledore was emotionally close to the Resurrection Stone. – b_jonas Apr 26 '12 at 14:55
  • I wonder, if there were no person or other living being around, could the Horcrux "flit in and out" of an object with the appropriate properties? Maybe if the object were partially sentient or filled with emotion? For example, if two Horcruxes were near each other, would they be able to interact? – trysis Mar 12 '14 at 19:51
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It would be annihilated. Without a container, the soul is lost.

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    Nata2ha, great straight forward answer, but have you got anything to back it up? – AncientSwordRage Apr 26 '12 at 7:06
  • sadly enough, the reference to back it up has been used in the previous answer, but I'll just put it here: Deathly Hallows, chapter 6, The Ghoul In Pyjamas – Nata2ha Mayan2 Apr 26 '12 at 22:50
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The only way is if its creator felt remorse and repaired their soul.

The only way that pieces of soul in Horcruxes can be released from the object they’re bound to is if the person who created it feels enough remorse for their actions to repair their soul.

“Isn’t there any way of putting yourself back together?’ Ron asked.

‘Yes,’ said Hermione, with a hollow smile, ‘but it would be excruciatingly painful.’

‘Why? How do you do it?’ asked Harry.

‘Remorse,’ said Hermione. ‘You’ve got to really feel what you’ve done. There’s a footnote. Apparently the pain of it can destroy you.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 6 (The Ghoul in Pyjamas)

As it is possible to rejoin your soul after making Horcruxes by feeling sufficient remorse, in that case the piece of soul would presumably be ‘released’ from the object it had been bound to, and it would then rejoin the main soul it had been split off from, making it whole again.

Typically, a Horcrux can’t be ‘released’ once bound to an object.

Except for the possibility of the Horcrux’s owner feeling remorse and repairing their soul through it, the pieces of soul in Horcruxes can’t be ‘released’ to go on and live in something else. Hermione explains this to Ron when he asks her exactly that question - Horcruxes don’t work like that.

“But even if we wreck the thing it lives in,’ said Ron, ‘why can’t the bit of soul in it just go and live in something else?’

‘Because a Horcrux is the complete opposite of a human being.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 6 (The Ghoul in Pyjamas)

As Hermione explains, the piece of soul in a Horcrux can’t survive without the object it’s bound to.

“But my point is that whatever happens to your body, your soul will survive, untouched,’ said Hermione. ‘But it’s the other way round with a Horcrux. The fragment of soul inside it depends on its container, its enchanted body, for survival. It can’t exist without it.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 6 (The Ghoul in Pyjamas)

This means it would be impossible for the piece of soul to be released from the object it’s bound to, as it wouldn’t be able to survive without the object - the only ways that the piece of soul can be removed from their object is either if they’re destroyed by irreparably damaging the object, or if their creator feels sufficient remorse to repair their soul and they rejoin the main soul.

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