Why would the giant, hungry, blood-crazed basilisk obey Tom Riddle or Ginny under his influence, or really anybody, and not simply go out and eat on its own?

  • This might be a dupe, but I'm not sure
    – Edlothiad
    May 8, 2017 at 13:13
  • 5
    because it was made to obey the heir of slytherin
    – user13267
    May 8, 2017 at 13:53
  • 12
    Voldy has a very high charisma score
    – Nacht
    May 9, 2017 at 3:36

2 Answers 2


Basilisks are controllable by Parselmouths

The creation of Basilisks has been illegal since medieval times, although the practice is easily concealed by simply removing the chicken egg from beneath the toad when the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures comes to call. However, since Basilisks are uncontrollable except by Parselmouths, they are as dangerous to most Dark wizards as to anybody else, and there have been no recorded sightings of Basilisks in Britain for at least four hundred years.
Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them (2001 textbook) - Basilisk

  • 4
    "The creation of Basilisks" Wait, one can create a Basilisk? I always thought breed would be the operative word here.
    – Mast
    May 8, 2017 at 16:00
  • 28
    @Mast: The real-world legend of the basilisk is about it being hatched by a cockerel from a toad's egg -- i.e., not in the "once there were two basilisks who really liked each other" way of things. So "create" is appropriate.
    – DevSolar
    May 8, 2017 at 16:05
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    "Basilisks are uncontrollable except by Parselmouths" - I'm not sure how this answers the question. All this says is that Parselmouths are the only wizards who could control Basilisks. This doesn't say that Basilisks must to obey Parselmouths.
    – Ellesedil
    May 8, 2017 at 17:37
  • 8
    @DevSolar Pretty sure it's a cockerel's egg, hatched by a toad. This'd match the above text (remove from under the toad) and the fact that it couldn't normally happen anyway (Cockerels don't lay). May 8, 2017 at 17:56
  • 6
    @djsmiley2k: Re-read my comment, please. "The real-world legend of the basilisk..." -- Mrs. Rowling, for all her commendable work, is not gospel truth on mythology. Basilisks and cockatrix are written about since medieval times.
    – DevSolar
    May 8, 2017 at 18:15

It would appear that snakes must listen to what is told to them in Parselmouth. For instance, at the Dueling Club:

Harry wasn't sure what made him do it. He wasn't even aware of deciding to do it. All he knew was that his legs were carrying him forward as though he was on casters and that he had shouted stupidly at the snake, "Leave him alone!" And miraculously — inexplicably — the snake slumped to the floor.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 11

And when Tom Riddle tells the Basilisk to attack Harry, he's ordering the snake, and the evidence that we have is that snakes must obey a Parselmouth's orders.

  • 18
    If snakes must listen to Parseltongues, then couldn't Harry have ordered the Basilisk to stop what it was doing at any given moment?
    – LCIII
    May 8, 2017 at 13:24
  • 15
    He didn't know he could.
    – Mithical
    May 8, 2017 at 13:24
  • 28
    Harry was told by Tom Riddle that the Baselisk would only obey the Heir of Slytherin. Given the situation, I don't think Harry really stopped to try and prove Tom wrong, and he didn't know that part of an heir of Slytherin was in himself so he probably could have controlled it
    – gabe3886
    May 8, 2017 at 15:23
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    @LCIII Tom just grinded the parseltongue skill until he was levelcapped.
    – Kevin
    May 8, 2017 at 17:39
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    @LCIII I can't recall what happened in the book, but in the movie, Tom Riddle definitely ordered the Basilisk to stop listening to Harry and only listen to himself. "He only listens to me now." So Harry could have conceivably done the same thing before Tom if he were a bit smarter.
    – BlackThorn
    May 8, 2017 at 22:09

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