Dumbledore said that Harry must die, and Voldemort himself must do it. If that were to happen, and Harry was to actually permanently die, how would Voldemort be killed?

  • I actually don’t think this is it. They want to know how Voldemort can be killed if Harry is dead. That said, the answer to that is simply exactly the way he was, because Harry wasn’t killed (at least not permanently).
    – Adamant
    Commented Aug 20, 2017 at 19:46
  • Harry had a piece of voldy stuck in him. Killing Harry along with that piece would also have helped D's plan to get rid of Voldy - then only nagini the last horcrux would have remained. After (neville or someone else) kills nagini, voldemort would've became mortal. That's why either Harry somehow survives or dies - both are fine, its a win-win situation for D.
    – user68762
    Commented Aug 20, 2017 at 19:59
  • 2
    These two questions aren't duplicates. The answers in the other question do NOT answer this question.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Aug 20, 2017 at 20:18
  • Isn't this a bit speculative? We know how he could be killed, but no who would do it, right?
    – user87732
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 16:56
  • 1
    Relevant quote from Philosopher's Stone, thanks to this question: "Nevertheless, Harry, while you may only have delayed his return to power, it will merely take someone else who is prepared to fight what seems a losing battle next time". Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 17:05

2 Answers 2


If Harry stayed dead, Voldemort could still be killed if his Horcruxes and body were killed.

By this time, all but one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes, and with Harry's death the piece of his soul inside Harry, were all killed. Nagini was the last Horcrux remaining, and once she was destroyed, Voldemort would be mortal.

“Harry sat in thought for a moment, then asked, ‘So if all of his Horcruxes are destroyed, Voldemort could be killed?’

‘Yes, I think so,’ said Dumbledore. >‘Without his Horcruxes, Voldemort will be a mortal man with a maimed and diminished soul. Never forget, though, that while his soul may be damaged beyond repair, his brain and his magical power remain intact. It will take uncommon skill and power to kill a wizard like Voldemort, even without his Horcruxes.”
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 23 (Horcruxes)

Harry had no part in her destruction, that was Neville Longbottom, so Nagini would have still been killed if Harry had stayed dead. While Harry was the one to confront Voldemort in the final battle against him, Voldemort was mortal by then, and could be killed by anyone. All it would take at that point, when he was mortal, would be for someone to cast a Killing Curse at him.

Harry's fate after he died (if he stayed dead or not) was largely irrelevant.

The important thing was for Harry to die so that the piece of Voldemort's soul inside him would die.

“Tell him that on the night Lord Voldemort tried to kill him, when Lily cast her own life between them as a shield, the Killing Curse rebounded upon Lord Voldemort, and a fragment of Voldemort’s soul was blasted apart from the whole, and latched itself on to the only living soul left in that collapsing building. Part of Lord Voldemort lives inside Harry, and it is that which gives him the power of speech with snakes, and a connection with Lord Voldemort’s mind that he has never understood. And while that fragment of soul, unmissed by Voldemort, remains attached to, and protected by Harry, Lord Voldemort cannot die.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 33 (The Prince’s Tale)

Dumbledore telling Harry he needed to die was because he would otherwise be trying to defeat Voldemort without dying (either temporarily or permanently) and if he succeeded then Voldemort would still have an intact soul piece and wouldn't be truly defeated. Killing that soul piece was the entire point of Harry having to die before Voldemort could be defeated.

If Harry lived, once the soul piece died, that was fine - Harry himself didn't need to be dead.

The only reason Harry had to die was because it was the only way to kill the piece of Voldemort’s soul inside him. Harry himself being dead didn't matter.

If Harry stayed dead, then the soul piece would also be dead, so mission accomplished.

The important part was Harry dying so the soul piece would, not Harry coming back to life afterwards. In the bigger picture of orchestrating Voldemort’s downfall, the most important thing was making sure all of his Horcruxes were destroyed. If Harry stayed dead, the most important part of him dying, the soul piece being killed, would still have succeeded. It worked out so that by the time Harry dies, all the Horcruxes except Nagini were destroyed. Nagini wasn't an object, she was a venomous snake controlled by and loyal to Voldemort, so even people who were unaware that she was a Horcrux would be trying to kill her. Neville, the one who killed Nagini, had no idea she was a Horcrux. The last remaining soul piece was in Voldemort himself. Both of them were clear and obvious targets to try to kill.

  • 8
    Adding to your answer, there is one more subtlety, which (I think) Dumbledore planned. When Harry gave up his life, he invoked that ancient magic which protects the inhabitants of the castle, just like the protection he had from his mother's sacrifice. ("Haven’t you noticed how none of the spells you put on them are binding? You can’t torture them. You can’t touch them. You don’t learn from your mistakes, Riddle, do you?"). So Voldemort was extremely vulnerable. Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 4:53
  • The most important fact was that Harry was the rightful master of the Elder wand, if Harry dies Voldermort is master of the wand and so is even more powerful then during the first war. This makes him pretty much unbeatable.
    – Richard C
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 8:40
  • @RichardC True, that is the reason why it happened as it happened: Harry just couldn't loose - not being the Master of Death could however have been a scenario where Harry dies; if, for example, it would not have been Easter when they were captured and Draco had not been at the Manor to get his wand wrestled out of his hand. Then Voldemort would not get ownership either. On the outher hand it could maybe even be a new question, whether Voldemort truly owning the Elder wand would override the magical protection by Harry's sacrifice - or if it would make the Elder wand essentially powerless.
    – BMWurm
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 18:52
  • @RichardC that might not be %100 correct, as Voldemort didn't "defeat" Harry inasmuch as Harry gave up himself. Similar to Dumbledore giving up to Snape and not being defeated
    – user68699
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 20:53
  • @user68699 I have already updated my answer (below) accordingly to add this point However I maintain Voldermort almost won the war the first time round due to his strength as a wizard, so it can be argued that even without the Elder wand and given some of the ages most powerful wizards had been killed, or joined Voldermort already, he may well have been unassailable even with the Horcruxes destroyed.
    – Richard C
    Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 10:18

If Harry had died permanently then Voldermort would have become master of the elder wand. This would have made Voldemort pretty much unbeatable so the fact the Horcruxes where destroyed would not really have mattered.

Re reading this part of the books I realise I am wrong here, Voldermort would never have mastered the Elder wand and in dying Harry would have ensured no one else held the elder wand. But the fact is still that even with the Horcruxes destroyed Voldermort was still a far stronger wizard. Remember he only lost the last wizarding war because of Harry, if he hadn't gone to kill Harry he would not have been defeated. Therefore it was only a matter of time before Voldermort could have conquered the wizarding world.

Harry had to die to destroy the Horcrux he had become but he then had to come back to life so he could reclaim the elder wand, remember Voldermort died because the wand betrayed him turning his own killing curse against him. So if Harry had died then I don't think Voldermort would have been killed, remember during the first war Voldermort almost won. Armed with the elder wand he would have created new Horcruxes and having learnt from his previous mistakes probably been unbeatable.

  • 1
    Not quite -- it was Harry's intention to die, hence the wand's power would die with him because that wouldn't entail Voldemort defeating Harry. That was one of the reasons why Harry's death being intentional was of such value (along with seeming to give the Hogwarts family the same protection that Harry's mother gave him). Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 19:11
  • I have amended the answer accordingly, after re-reading I have realised my mis remembering of the facts :). However even without the Elder wand Voldermort would probably have been pretty unbeatable seeing as the most powerful wizard (Dumbledore) was dead.
    – Richard C
    Commented Aug 22, 2017 at 16:07
  • If the Elder Wand really did make its owner unbeatable, then it would pass by inheritance when each owner died from natural causes, and not combat.
    – EvilSnack
    Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 6:27

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