In the end of Half-Blood Prince Harry explains to Ginny why they can't be together anymore:

"Voldemort uses people his enemies are close to. He's already used you as bait once, and that was just because you're my best friend's sister. Think how much danger you'll be in if we keep this up. He'll know, he'll find out. He'll try and get to me through you."

I assume this is referring to the time when Tom Riddle took Ginny into the Chamber of Secrets.

However, I don't see any indication that in that case he was using Ginny as bait because she was Harry's best friend's sister. He didn't have any control over who ended up with the diary. It happened to be Ginny because Lucius Malfoy chose to give it to her. If it had been Colin Creevey who had used the diary, Riddle would presumably have been unable to bring Ginny into the Chamber. He explains how he got her in:

"So I made Ginny write her own farewell on the wall and come down here to wait.

This makes it sound like he was able to force her to go into the Chamber because he was possessing her; had he been possessing someone else, though, he would not have been able to force Ginny to come.

Additionally, if Riddle could theoretically have forced anyone into the Chamber, then why would he use Ginny (who was only the sister of Harry's best friend) and not Ron (who was actually Harry's best friend? This again would seem to indicate that he used Ginny because that's who he had access to.

Furthermore, Riddle actually tells Harry what the primary bait was:

From everything Ginny had told me about you, I knew you would go to any lengths to solve the mystery – particularly if one of your best friends was attacked.

This seems to be referring to Hermione. Ginny would still have to be taken into the Chamber, but only in order for there to be a purpose for Harry to go there.

Also, while it is certainly possible that Ginny would have mentioned to Riddle that her brother was Harry's best friend, it's not actually mentioned anywhere that she told him this.

In light of the above, is there actually any evidence that Tom Riddle had targeted Ginny specifically because she was Harry's best friend's sister?

  • 1
    I would say there definitely is. Or rather, she wasn’t targeted as such (because that wasn’t really an option for Diariddle – he could only control whoever was using the diary), but her being Harry’s best friend’s sister and having presumably somewhat exaggerated her closeness to Harry in her writings was what made Diariddle conjure up and carry out the plan to begin with. If she’d been some student who had no contact with Harry, it’s very unlikely she’d have ended up in the Chamber as she did. So the plan, rather than Ginny, was targeted because she’s Ron’s sister. Sep 23, 2018 at 10:18

3 Answers 3


Ginny was used as bait, but likely because Tom could control her.

From what Tom says, he did use Ginny Weasley as bait to lure Harry to the Chamber. He made her write her farewell (‘her skeleton will lie in the Chamber forever’) then wait down in the Chamber for Harry. He’d been waiting for Harry to come to the Chamber since he and Ginny got there, so he clearly seems to expect that having Ginny would provide a reason for Harry to go there quickly.

“But I knew what I must do. It was clear to me that you were on the trail of Slytherin’s heir. From everything Ginny had told me about you, I knew you would go to any lengths to solve the mystery – particularly if one of your best friends was attacked. And Ginny had told me the whole school was buzzing because you could speak Parseltongue …

‘So I made Ginny write her own farewell on the wall and come down here to wait. She struggled and cried and became very boring. But there isn’t much life left in her: she put too much into the diary, into me. Enough to let me leave its pages at last. I have been waiting for you to appear since we arrived here. I knew you’d come.”
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 17 (The Heir of Slytherin)

He did use Ginny as bait, but that she was Harry’s best friend’s sister was probably just a fortunate coincidence for him. The reason that he used her rather than anyone else as bait to bring Harry to the Chamber was more likely because he could control her. He got her to the Chamber because he was still able to control her since she’d poured out so much of her soul to his diary. While he could use other people as bait in other ways (like killing or Petrifying all of Harry’s friends), he likely only would be able to bring someone into the Chamber alive and make them wait if he controlled them.

Hermione was most likely the best friend Tom was referring to.

Though Ginny was most likely chosen by chance but happened fortunately to be close to Harry’s friend, Hermione was probably targeted specifically and likely the best friend Tom was referring to when he said he knew from Ginny that Harry would do anything if one of his best friends was attacked. Though he wouldn’t want Ron’s sister to die, he barely knew Ginny, so she could hardly qualify as one of his best friends. Therefore, it’s much more likely he meant Hermione. The timeline matches up as well - first, Harry realized the diary is gone (meaning Ginny stole it back).

“Riddle’s diary’s gone,’ he said in an undertone to Ron.


Harry jerked his head towards the dormitory door and Ron followed him out. They hurried back down to the Gryffindor common room, which was half-empty, and joined Hermione, who was sitting alone, reading a book called Ancient Runes Made Easy.”
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 17 (Cornelius Fudge)

A day after Harry realized he didn’t have the diary anymore, Hermione is Petrified while she’s researching in the library.

“And on the bed next to her was –

‘Hermione!’ Ron groaned.

Hermione lay utterly still, her eyes open and glassy.”
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 17 (Cornelius Fudge)

It seems very likely that Hermione was the best friend Tom was referring to, and that Petrifying her was how he was trying to ensure Harry would be determined to solve the mystery of the Chamber. Hermione is Petrified only a day after Ginny stole the diary back so Harry wouldn’t learn her secrets, so it’s very likely Tom would have realized that Ginny had the diary again instead of Harry, and began his plan to get access to Harry again. Since he would have still been able to control Ginny, he would have been able to have her set the basilisk on Hermione.

Harry was probably just mistaken on why Ginny was used as bait.

Though Harry seems to think that Ginny was chosen as bait because she was Ron’s sister, there’s nothing that suggests he’s actually right. Hermione does refer to Ginny being used as bait, but she doesn’t seem to think it was necessarily because she’s Ron’s sister.

“I’m trying to say – Voldemort knows you, Harry! He took Ginny down into the Chamber of Secrets to lure you there, it’s the kind of thing he does, he knows you’re the – the sort of person who’d go to Sirius’s aid!”
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 32 (Out of the Fire)

It of course would have worked better because Ginny was Ron’s sister and therefore more significant to someone Harry cares about. However, there’s nothing suggesting she was actively singled out for this reason specifically rather than a target of opportunity other than Harry thinking it. Therefore, it seems more likely that Harry is simply mistaken about why Ginny was used as bait. Harry likely remembered that the Dark Lord (though a younger version of him) had used Ginny as bait, and was afraid it’d happen again - his reason for breaking up with her is he was concerned she’d be more of a target if they were dating. It’s likely he just thought of how she’d been used as bait, and didn’t really think properly through the reasoning behind why she was.


As has already pointed out, there is no evidence that Riddle used Ginny because she was Ron's sister, instead he used her because he didn't have anybody else.

But we have to look at the context of when and why Harry says this. The key here is

Think how much danger you'll be in if we keep this up.

Harry thinks that Ginny will be in danger if she is known as his girlfriend (which might be true). But for some reason he thinks that that her not being his girlfriend will make her safe.

So he does what most people do, he tries to find arguments that support his opinion. Harry may or may not be aware that logic doesn't support his argument here. Given that Harry is not the most logical person and that it is a very emotional situation already (Dumbledore's funeral, his upcoming mission, his breakup with Ginny) I think that Harry believes what he says.

There are many problems with Harry's way of thinking here, but they are not directly related to the question. If you interested, I can elaborate.


Ginny wasn't chosen as bait by Tom Riddle, but Lucius Malfoy slipped the diary into her cauldron to sabotage the job Arthur Weasley was working for, and Ginny wrote in it, and Riddle wrote back, using Ginny for his plan.

  • 2
    Can you back up these bold statements with any evidence?
    – Valorum
    Jan 5, 2022 at 19:06

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