We know that Kreacher told Regulus Black what happened in the Horcrux Cave. It seems to me, then, that Regulus Black could have better prepared to go to the cave and not doomed himself to die a horrible death if he'd just done one or both of these things:

  1. Brought some water with him to counteract the horrible wasting thirst from the potion until he could get back out of the cave and get help, like Dumbledore.
  2. Side-along apparate away with Kreacher out of the cave, since elf magic is not limited by the cave, as proved by Kreacher's apparition when called.

It seems like such a simple solution to avoid death. Why didn't he do either of those things? Was he just not thinking clearly, or am I overlooking something here? Is there any canon explanation?

  • 18
    Just had to say, your question title could be the prequel novel's title.
    – Jeff
    Jul 20, 2012 at 20:45
  • 1
    @Jeff Heh...unintentional brilliance perhaps?
    – morganpdx
    Mar 24, 2014 at 23:25

3 Answers 3


Remember what exactly happened after Professor Dumbledore drank the potion. Harry conjured some water in the goblet, but it disappeared when he gave it to Dumbledore.

I believe that if Regulus had brought water with him, then that water would also have disappeared when he tried to drink it.

Further, Dumbledore says

‘The protection was … after all … well designed,’ […] ‘One alone could not have done it … you did well, very well, Harry …’

Makes you wonder how Regulus could drink all the potion, when Dumbledore had to rely on Harry to force-feed it to him. I don't think he would have ordered Kreacher to feed him. Maybe Regulus was prepared more than you imagine.

  • 2
    Ok, that would explain why bringing water might not work, but what of asking Kreacher to apparate out and bringing him along?
    – morganpdx
    Jul 24, 2012 at 20:36
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    @morganpdx: Did Regulus know you can side-along apparate with a house-elf? We haven't seen anyone do that before HBP, and it's such a rare event that likely Regulus hasn't known about it either.
    – b_jonas
    Jul 25, 2012 at 20:09
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    True, but that doesn't imply it wasn't common knowledge. Sidealong apparition was known, and Regulus knew that Kreacher was able to apparate out of the cave...putting two and two together doesn't seem like a stretch.
    – morganpdx
    Jul 27, 2012 at 21:31
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    Not sure it was common knowledge, since wizards could apparate by themselves. House Elves were often looked down on, and I don't know that they were trusted with such risks. I don't know that the idea would have been that likely to come up, much less be thought of by someone under the stress he was under by that point. Also, RAB knew the cave was protected -- not sure he could have been ported out by an elf; Kreacher had done it once, solo, on orders, but trying it with a human might have triggered possible destruction of them both. Voldy discounted elves, so the protection might have too.
    – K-H-W
    Oct 7, 2012 at 3:16

I figure there are three possibilities as to what exactly Kreacher told Regulus, all three are based off of what exactly was Kreacher's experience in the cave:

  1. Kreacher relays to Regulus that after drinking the potion, one would need only drink the water in the lake and then apparate out of the cave (e.g. Kreacher didn't see the Inferi).

  2. The potion doesn't affect Kreacher the same way it does wizards. We know that Voldemort underestimated house-elf magic in relation to their ability to apparate in the cave where a wizard could not. It stands to reason that he may have underestimated the potion's hallucinogenic effects on a house-elf as well. Kreacher may have just told Regulus that he drank a liquid, and then apparated when the Dark Lord left (e.g. If Kreacher did see the Inferi, Regulus would assume he will have plenty of time before they are close enough to be dangerous).

  3. Kreacher relays the exact same experience that Dumbledore goes through, Regulus is overconfident that as a trained wizard he will have no problem handling the cave's defenses, and goes in with no preparation.

No matter which outcome happened, it is safe to say that Regulus, in his potion-induced hallucination, stumbled to the waters edge in an attempt to quench his thirst, and was promptly dragged under. Most likely, Kreacher wouldn't have had a chance to disapparate with him if he wanted or tried to.


However, even if he didn't figure out the side apparation thing:

  1. He could have made Kreacher drink the potion (for the last and final time and reward him handsomely later) and then ordered him to apparate and get help like the last time.

  2. Death could have been avoided; no need for the 'noble sacrifice' of either of them.

  3. True its a bit cruel, but it's certainly better option than losing a life. I guess we just found a hole in Rowling's plot or R.A.B. was just dumb and hence deserved to die.

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