It is clear that when Voldemort attempts to kill Harry Potter in the Deathly Hallows he instead ends up killing the part of his own soul hidden within Harry Potter. Why did this happen? Was an in-universe answer ever given?

  • Only reason, Harry was the true master of the Elder Wand. and it refused to kill its master by attacking the only other life form in Harry body - the part of Voldy's soul. – Shreedhar Mar 3 '18 at 19:54

He killed the piece of his soul by using Avada Kedavra on Harry.

Dumbledore explains to Harry that the piece of the Dark Lord’s soul inside him would have been killed once he was hit by Avada Kedavra.

“So the part of his soul that was in me …’ Dumbledore nodded still more enthusiastically, urging Harry onwards, a broad smile of encouragement on his face. ‘… has it gone?’

‘Oh, yes!’ said Dumbledore. ‘Yes, he destroyed it. Your soul is whole, and completely your own, Harry.”

That piece of soul wasn’t protected like purposely created Horcruxes, nor was it tied to life by any other means - so it died once the Killing Curse hit Harry.

Harry lived because the Dark Lord used his blood.

Harry, however, survived the Killing Curse because his mother’s blood lived on in the Dark Lord and tied him to life.

“He took your blood believing it would strengthen him. He took into his body a tiny part of the enchantment your mother laid upon you when she died for you. His body keeps her sacrifice alive, and while that enchantment survives, so do you and so does Voldemort’s one last hope for himself.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 35 (King’s Cross)

That let Harry survive - even though the piece of soul died.

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    Exactly. There is no rule of priority over there nor does Voldemort somehow selected the fragment instead of Harry; Harry "died" (though he ultimately survived due to his mother's sacrifice), and subsequently the soul fragment was destroyed as it had nowhere to live. – Lefteris008 Mar 3 '18 at 20:04

In addition to Matthew's answer, Lily's protection was probably still effective, so Harry's soul was protected. Thus the AK hit the only thing in the line-of-fire, which happened to be his soul fragment.

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    I don't think Lily's protection was effective anymore against Voldemort since his resurrection/rebirth in GoF. – Shreedhar Mar 3 '18 at 19:53

Voldemort was using the Elder Wand, which by this point had switched its allegiance to Harry (after Harry disarmed Draco while escaping his house). So the wand would never have killed Harry because he is its rightful master.

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  • That's not what happened. – Valorum Mar 3 '18 at 21:21
  • It is exactly what happened. When the revived Harry faces Voldemort again, their final encounter is described like this: "... saw the Elder Wand fly high, [...] spinning through the air towards the master it would not kill, who had come to take full possession of it at last." Even if Voldemort didn't have Harry's blood in him, he would never have been able to kill Harry with that particular wand. – Carlos Arturo Serrano Mar 3 '18 at 22:11
  • The first sentence is a good description of the events that occurred. The second sentence is straight up incorrect. Harry chose not to "go on" at the limbo station but had he chosen otherwise, he would have been killed by the Elder wand. – Valorum Mar 3 '18 at 22:15

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