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So the first time that Voldemort "died", the wizarding world was in full celebration mode because they thought him gone forever. But once Voldemort returned thanks to his secret Horcruxes, panic ensued again.

So when Voldemort died a 2nd time, why was everyone so sure he was dead again? Only Harry and his friends (and maybe some Death Eaters) knew about the Horcruxes, therefore knowing that this death was the permanent one. But why didn't other people suspect that he'd just return like he did before?

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    "The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well." – Bishop Jul 5 '17 at 15:30
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    The Dark Lord will return again! – Bellatrix Jul 6 '17 at 2:06
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Well, technically he didn't die the 'first' time, he kind of diminished and became worse than a ghost who had to consume unicorn blood in order to survive. This happened due to ancient love magic which Voldemort is known to consider inferior to his brand of dark magic. Harry's mother Lily died protecting him and it was this act of selfless love that acted as a shield for infant Harry against Voldemort's death curse, which rebounded on him but couldn't kill him as he had Horcruxes.

As for his actual death, the book states

"And Harry, with the unerring skill of the Seeker, caught the wand in his free hand as Voldemort fell backward, arms splayed, the slit pupils of the scarlet eyes rolling upward. Tom Riddle hit the floor with a mundane finality, his body feeble and shrunken, the white hands empty, the snakelike face vacant and unknowing. Voldemort was dead, killed by his own rebounding curse, and Harry stood with two wands in his hand, staring down at his enemy’s shell. One shivering second of silence, the shock of the moment suspended: and then the tumult broke around Harry as the screams and the cheers and the roars of the watchers rent the air. " -Book 7 Page 744

In the films we see Voldemort burn up and vanish, while in the books it was interpreted that his body was left behind as proof that he was in fact dead.

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    And in any case, even if this information is accurate, this answer doesn't seem to explain how other wizards would have known about Voldemort's death. – David Z Jul 6 '17 at 2:57
  • @DavidZ The " as the cheers and the roars of the watchers rent the air" seems pretty clear to me – FoolishyetWise Jul 6 '17 at 20:49
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    Cheers and roars are not a clear indicator. They do imply that people thought Voldemort was dead, but not that they knew he was dead. That being said, I wouldn't be too surprised if no better answer can be given based on canon materials - I certainly don't remember anything being written about a magical autopsy or the like to ensure that he was truly dead for good. – David Z Jul 6 '17 at 20:55
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The only survivor of the killing curse was Harry. Nobody actually saw what happened in Godric's Hollow (besides Harry, and that was a green flash and a laugh), so nobody really knew what happened to Voldemort after that happened, and whether he actually died or not. There were rumours that he was still alive (which Dumbledore mentions to Professor McGonagall), and the celebrations of the people the first time round were in part due to someone surviving the killing curse.

Professor McGonagall's voice trembled as she went on. "That's not all. They're saying he tried to kill the Potter's son, Harry. But - he couldn't. He couldn't kill that little boy. No one knows why, or how, but they're saying that when he couldn't kill Harry Potter, Voldemort's power somehow broke - and that's why he's gone.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 1

Notice that Professor McGonagall doesn't say dead with reference to Voldemort, and Harry was clearly alive after the failed AK - which is proof that if someone does survive, they're definitely alive (which Voldemort isn't).


There were lots of witnesses this time to see that Voldemort took the killing curse in the Battle at Hogwarts, and that he was dead. (When Harry took it, and survived, he was crying but still alive.) As others have said, the explanation of Horcruxes keeping him around previously, and the destruction of them would have confirmed that he was finally dead.

There is also the point that the people wanted to believe that their hero had finally rid them of their nemesis.

  • This is a good answer, but it would be improved with some quotations from the books. – The Dark Lord Jul 6 '17 at 21:12
  • @TheDarkLord I haven't got them on me right now :/ any other options? – marcellothearcane Jul 6 '17 at 21:17
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They weren’t completely sure he was dead the first time.

Right after the Dark Lord loses his power at the Potters’ house, the prevalent rumor in the wizarding world was that he lost his power, not that he was actually dead.

“Professor McGonagall’s voice trembled as she went on. ‘That’s not all. They’re saying he tried to kill the Potters’ son, Harry. But – he couldn’t. He couldn’t kill that little boy. No one knows why, or how, but they’re saying that when he couldn’t kill Harry Potter, Voldemort’s power somehow broke – and that’s why he’s gone.”
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 1 (The Boy who Lived)

Hagrid tells Harry something similar, that the majority of the wizarding world believed the Dark Lord lost his power, but was still alive somewhere.

“Most of us reckon he’s still out there somewhere but lost his powers. Too weak to carry on. ’Cause somethin’ about you finished him, Harry. There was somethin’ goin’ on that night he hadn’t counted on – I dunno what it was, no one does – but somethin’ about you stumped him, all right.”
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 4 (The Keeper of the Keys)

They celebrated because they believed he’d lost his power and he wasn’t actively terrorizing them anymore. Some did believe he died, but very many didn’t.

They saw his body - they didn’t the first time.

What exactly happened surrounding the Dark Lord’s first downfall was fairly mysterious to the majority of the wizarding world. Though the Dark Lord was ripped from his body, there’s never any mention of a dead body left behind in the house - if there was, then more people would likely believe he was truly dead then since Horcruxes weren’t common knowledge. However, when Harry kills him permanently, there is a corpse left behind, and several witnesses who saw.

“And Harry, with the unerring skill of the Seeker, caught the wand in his free hand as Voldemort fell backwards, arms splayed, the slit pupils of the scarlet eyes rolling upwards. Tom Riddle hit the floor with a mundane finality, his body feeble and shrunken, the white hands empty, the snake-like face vacant and unknowing. Voldemort was dead, killed by his own rebounding curse, and Harry stood with two wands in his hand, staring down at his enemy’s shell.

One shivering second of silence, the shock of the moment suspended: and then the tumult broke around Harry as the screams and the cheers and the roars of the watchers rent the air.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 36 (The Flaw in the Plan)

In addition, after that initial fall, the Dark Lord’s body stays dead and unmoving.

“They moved Voldemort’s body and laid it in a chamber off the Hall, away from the bodies of Fred, Tonks, Lupin, Colin Creevey and fifty others who had died fighting him.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 36 (The Flaw in the Plan)

His not getting up was likely enough proof for the majority of the wizarding world, though there very well may have been some who still weren’t sure and either feared or hoped he’d return again.

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The other answers only touch on this point: In the final book, when Voldemort faced Harry, Harry defeated Voldemort. Harry was the only one left standing, holding both his wand and the Elder Wand old Voldy had been using. Harry was the victor, so whether Voldemort was alive or not, the war was over. Harry had won! Remember, at the start of the first book, there was no corpse; Voldemort had simply disappeared. This time, the finality of Riddle's corpse, coupled with his defeat, was enough.

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Harry actually does mention Horcruxes in the final confrontation with Riddle (but this of course is omitted from the films):

'Potter doesn't mean that,' he said, his red eyes wide. 'That isn't how he works, is it? Who are you going to use as a shield today, Potter?'

'Nobody,' said Harry simply. 'There are no more Horcruxes. It's just you and me. Neither can live while the other survives, and one of is us about to leave for good.'

The question then becomes: do they know what Horcruxes are? And even if they do how are they sure he didn't miss any? Or maybe there is another method of defeating death? They can't know since he actually did do some things thought magically impossible and certainly there were unprecedented events involving him. Is there an answer that will clarify this to the readers? I'm not sure there is (aside word from Rowling) and when it comes to magic some things have to be taken at face value even if it seems illogical (but it's actually logical in a sense because magic defies physics, logic etc.).

What we do know is his arrogance made him dismiss these things Harry tells him. It would be his downfall.

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    This strikes me as being more of a comment, or else another question. – marcellothearcane Jul 6 '17 at 21:18
  • Perhaps so. But without the reputation it's not possible. Then again I do offer other thoughts on it; more specifically we cannot know for certain unless Rowling says something, can we? It's not covered in the books but the closest we have is the reference to Horcruxes (or at least that's the closest I can think of). One could presume Harry would elaborate for anyone who wants to know more but that's also not mentioned. Looking at it another way: the only way we can know is if we were to ask all of them; since we see from Harry's perspective, however, we rely on his view. – Pryftan Jul 6 '17 at 21:23
  • I did think of commenting, though, but until just a moment ago I could not (or so I believe it's 50). In the future I would do that. That is when I react at all. But thank you for the suggestion either way; appreciate it. – Pryftan Jul 6 '17 at 21:29
  • I think you have enough rep now ;) – marcellothearcane Jul 6 '17 at 21:32
  • Good to know that. – Pryftan Jul 6 '17 at 21:39

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