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Once Voldemort realized that Harry Potter was hunting for Horcruxes and knew were they were (e.g. after visiting the cave), why wouldn't he simply pause, and make at least one MORE replacement Horcrux that Harry wouldn't know the location of (because obviously the locations were figured out by the now-dead Dumbledore and not Harry, as far as V's thinking would go)?

This way, there's less risk for him on the chance that Harry succeeds.

We know he can make extra Horcruxes since he created Nagini.

If it was because he was racing against Harry, then why didn't he pause and create a new Horcux (say, by killing Lucius Malfoy) once Harry was "dead" and he could afford to pause?

Canon based answers strongly prefered.

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    No canon suppost but he had gone way beyond what any sane dark overlord would do with horcruxes. I think he may have risked damaging his soul too much if he did that. – AncientSwordRage Oct 3 '12 at 22:06
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    @Pureferret - it doesn't seem that he was overly concerned with the status of his soul :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Oct 3 '12 at 22:08
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    He probably assumed that no one could ever find all seven of them, and it was an insult to his obvious superiority to think they could. Same reason he assumed no one would ever find the diadem in the Room of Requirement. – Gabe Willard Oct 3 '12 at 22:12
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    @DVK you shouldn't, but he did... – AncientSwordRage Oct 3 '12 at 22:44
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    Seven is a powerful magic number. Voldie was fixated on 7 Horcruxes since he heard of them. Frankly, he's a bit melodramatic, but for all I know there's actual, magic-mechanical significance to 7 horcruxes. That's all I got. – rsegal Oct 3 '12 at 23:18

11 Answers 11

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A few points.

I don't know if in Godelot's Magick Moste Evile¹ there were directions on how to destroy a Horcrux and a list of items that were magically powerful enough to actually do so. If not, it may be possible that Voldemort believed no one would ever discover how to destroy his Horcruxes even if they were found. Of course this supposition leaves open the idea that then Voldemort himself would not know how his Horcruxes could be destroyed and wouldn't know best how to protect them. Therefore I'm not going to wholeheartedly endorse this premise.

Voldemort bet heavily -- almost 100% -- that no one would discover the diadem Horcrux in Hogwarts in the Room of Requirement. Up until the very end he continued to believe that the diadem was too well hidden for him to be at risk by someone finding it.

rsegal mentions the number seven. Tom Riddle/Voldemort was obsessed with the number seven, it being the "most magical number", and he may have been psychologically unable to move past that sacred number. Of course he didn't know he had actually, inadvertently, created an eighth pseudo-Horcrux within Harry.

Voldemort's soul was completely fractured and damaged. His body may not have survived an attempt at making another Horcrux. Further, it's never been explained why Harry wasn't killed as a baby; it's never been explained what was so magically different about Harry that caused the Avada Kedavra curse to rebound and hit Voldemort and reduce Voldemort to an essence without a body. It's always been, "Something about [Harry] stopped [Voldemort]. [Harry's] the Boy Who Lived." Is it just simply Lily's sacrifice? If so, well okay. But if not, what if Voldemort chose to commit another Horcrux murder against someone who happened to have similar inherent magical protections as Harry and the curse rebounded against Voldemort again, reducing Voldemort to a spirit state for a second time? Perhaps he wasn't willing to risk this.

We don't know how long it takes to create a Horcrux. We know it involves a murder and a spell. Creating a Horcrux is apparently painful. It's unknown how long it takes to physically recover from creating a Horcrux. It could have been time sensitive by the time Voldemort realized he was truly in danger and needed further protection.

And, finally, the usual: Voldemort was arrogant.

¹Referenced from The Tales of Beedle the Bard - The Tale of the Three Brothers

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    +1, but by Voldie's accounting, he already knew that he was AT LEAST one Horcrux short (the diary and likely the locket). – DVK-on-Ahch-To Oct 4 '12 at 1:10
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    I'm 110% sure that the reason Voldemort lost the whole game was because he moved past the number 7 :) – Voldemort Oct 4 '12 at 4:18
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    I think it is worth pointing out that V's arrogance also made him believe he couldn't be defeated in a dual (now that Dumbledore is gone), and as such his newest Horcruxe, Nagini, Would be the safest as V himself would be able to defend it. – Joe Oct 4 '12 at 15:28
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    Voldie did create another Horcrux after he failed to kill Harry: Nagini. And he certainly killed again. So it's not valid to argue that the didn't want to risk creating another Horcrux. – mort Aug 24 '13 at 8:32
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    @mort I said: what if Voldemort chose to commit another Horcrux murder against someone who happened to have similar inherent magical protections as Harry and the curse rebounded against Voldemort again, reducing Voldemort to a spirit state for a second time? Perhaps he wasn't willing to risk this. I did not say he didn't create any other kind of Horcrux, i.e. Nagini. Nor did I say he never killed again. It is valid to argue he might not have wanted to create another Horcrux under the same circumstances as his encounter with Harry. – Slytherincess Aug 24 '13 at 19:06
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Voldemort was very specific with what to use for his Horcruxes and most importantly how many to create. The entire reason Harry needed to get Slughorn's memory was to confirm (in Dumbledore's eyes) the *number of Horcruxes that Voldemort would create. So it seems unlikely that Voldemort would create more than that, he was relying on that number providing additional magical support.

To clarify, he made six* because he thought (and attempted to confirm with Slughorn) that seven pieces of soul would make the concept of immortality through Horcruxes even more powerful. Splitting his soul into more than seven pieces (in his opinion) would lessen the strength of the power.

Edit: To clarify what I am saying in my answer, Voldemort was not interested in maintaining the number of Horcruxes, but he was interested in having his soul split into seven pieces.

Wouldn't it be better, make you stronger, to have your soul in more pieces, I mean, for instance, isn't seven the most powerfully magical number, wouldn't seven — ?"

Dumbledore also specifies seven pieces of soul, and not Horcruxes:

Yes, I think the idea of a seven part soul would greatly appeal to Lord Voldemort.

Dumbledore also later corrects Harry when he makes the assumption that Voldemort would create seven Horcruxes.

"But firstly, no, Harry, not seven Horcruxes: six. The seventh part of his soul, however maimed, resides inside his regenerated body.

Voldemort was fixated on having his soul split into seven pieces, he assumed that it would provide him with additional protection. This is why he did not split his soul more by creating additional Horcruxes.

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    In the question, I was specifically asking about time period where he knew that some of the old ones (e.g. one in the cave) are whacked. So the total was under 7 by his count – DVK-on-Ahch-To Oct 4 '12 at 1:07
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    The total that he made doesn't change, the point of my answer is that he created that number because it created a strong magical foundation, changing it would remove the magical significance of 7, his soul would be split more than 7 times in that case which (in his opinion) would reduce the magical strength provided by 7. – NominSim Oct 4 '12 at 1:20
  • I had thought about this point myself and then forgot to put it into my answer, but I think Voldemort would have wanted extremely historical or magical items with which to create further Horcruxes. And I don't think those are abundant. :) – Slytherincess Oct 4 '12 at 1:42
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    @Izkata Nagini wasn't a magical artefact but I'm not sure you could say she wasn't important to Voldemort. – Anthony Grist Oct 4 '12 at 8:19
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    @NominSim - "having his soul split seven times."... if there are seven PIECES, then it'd be split 6 times. Just sayin'. *mumble* *mumble* JKR school of Maths *mumble* *mumble*. +1 anyway :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Oct 5 '12 at 1:04
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I suggest that even for a powerful wizard, there is simply a limit (either fixed by the laws of magic or limited by the strength of the wizard) to the number of horcruxes that can be made (or more specifically, the number of times you can split your soul).

The idea that 7 horcruxes leaves you with 1/7th (technically 1/8th, as your 7 horcruxes + your portion = 8/8ths) of your soul doesn't make sense (your soul would need to know ahead of time how much of itself to apportion to each), unless there is some magickal law imposing this arbitrary number.

The more appealing alternative is, if such dark magic is as violent and abhorrent as suggested, that we assume that each time a horcrux is made, the soul in fact, splits in twain (breaks more or less evenly). By horcrux 7 then, he'd not be down to 1/7 of his soul, but rather he'd be left with less than 1% of his original soul. In this extraordinarily weak state, perhaps this could explain why his eighth and unintended horcrux (Harry) ended up 'destroying' him. An interesting consequence of this would mean that his first horcrux would be the 'strongest' (containing the largest portion of his soul).

Alternatively, perhaps the math/law of horcruxes is exactly that: 1/7th (or technically 1/8th) of your soul each time - this would also somewhat explain why his eighth inadvertent horcrux destroyed him.

Ultimately I think these two possibilities are most likely: a) diminishing returns leaving even the most powerful wizard unable to withstand splitting his soul further, or b) some magickal limit preventing more than 7 splittings of the soul (without causing disembodiment).

  • No seeming canon support, but I greatly like the approach. +1 – DVK-on-Ahch-To Oct 5 '12 at 1:00
  • The idea that a horcrux is created from half of your current soul is popular, but has no canon support. See the answer to this question: Voldemort's very weak soul. The books never establish that the murder tears the soul into two even pieces. – sumelic Mar 26 '16 at 3:41
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Voldemort’s problem would have been that his soul is finite. He had already divided it into 7 parts and the stress of this was shown in his physical deformity. No one had ever successfully created as many.

Once Harry destroyed a Horcrux Voldemort did not get that part of his soul back, it was destroyed. Therefore with only (approximating for ease of maths) 1/7 of his soul remaining creating another Horcrux would have been hazardous and Voldemort feared death greatly.

Also, his Horcuxes were all specially chosen and specific items - the climax of decades of planning. To create another one would have have been to disrupt his life’s work, to officially admit that a teenage boy had scored major successes against the greatest wizard who ever lived and not just due to pure luck but due to properly out-thinking him - actually out-thinking him!!!

If I would Voldemort I would hunt down Harry and make him watch as I used the murder (by slow torture) of Ron, Hermione and Ginny to make new Horcruxes.

  • Good answer, but the last line is a bit gratuitous! – TGnat Oct 4 '12 at 13:39
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    Yeah I got carried away trying to think like voldermort – Stefan Oct 4 '12 at 17:42
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It is mentioned in the book (I'm sorry, I can't find it) that Voldemort's soul had been torn to the limit, and his sole appearance is a representation of that. If he did create another, he would probably be weakened to the point of near death (but of course death was impossible with a Horcrux) and disembodiment.

Though being a very arrogant person, Voldemort must have realised that to create another soul would've been VERY bad. Plus, it's doubtful that he had less than 1% of his sold left, being that his first Horcrux contained half of his soul, and then the next Horcrux contained one twenty fifth of his soul and so on. I'm pretty sure than being left with less than 1% of a soul isn't very good for you. :/

  • Sorry, I don't recall that mention on the book. Are you sure? – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jul 28 '13 at 14:12
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    Yes, I'm pretty sure Dumbledore says something about making six Horcruxes rendering Voldemort's soul almost beyond repair. Or maybe I'm just delusional. – death-is-inevitable Jul 29 '13 at 22:18
1

There was no reason he couldn't ATTEMPT to make more Horcruxes. He may have been successful, he may not have been. There is insinuation in the books that he had reached his limit on splitting his soul, but it is also said that he had gone further than anyone else in the effort, so it is difficult to say whether he would have been successful or not.

When he killed Harry's parents he had created 6, so far. Harry's death was meant to be the 7th. I believe this is part of why Harry actually ends up BEING the 7th Horcrux. The journal was meant to be a weapon. This is probably the oddest part of it all. Because he probably then meant to make 8, since he was going to throw one of his Horcruxes into the world to risk being found out and destroyed. I am fairly sure that Nagini is turned into a Horcrux some time after Harry's parents are killed, and that this is somewhere demonstrated in the books, though I forget and am too lazy to search exactly where. Not knowing Harry is the 7th, he made Nagini intending her to be the 7th, really making 8.

Someone above in a post stated that we never get an explanation as to why Harry survived. Indeed we do get an explanation. Harry's mother invokes a powerful magic when she sacrifices herself for her child, the magic of love, and it creates a protective enchantment on Harry that makes Voldemort's attempt to murder him rebound, killing himself instead. Voldemort was cursing Harry, not only to murder him, but to murder him/split his soul/and create a Horcrux. Voldemort picked special murders for his Horcrux creation, just as he picked special items to imbue with parts of his soul. This is possibly the most special of his killings, the boy who was foretold to be his undoing. An odd aside, but this would seem to indicate that Voldemort had an item he wished to imbue with this part of his soul on him at the time. It is never mentioned, perhaps a plot hole. There are indeed a few plot holes in the story, though very few considering how complex and interweaved and long the entire saga is.

So anyways, there is no reason why he could not ATTEMPT to make a Horcrux. The most likely explanation for him NOT doing is twofold. First he thought he had won. Arrogance. Second, he was surrounded by death eaters. He never trusted anyone, never had any friends, he rolled solo, and creating the Horcrux then would have meant revealing it to a huge group of people. I guess a third point is he had no object to imbue with his soul at that point, though I suppose he could use the elder wand?

I have read each book at least 3 times and was an English major. So while I don't have citations etc. etc. most of what I say could probably be found somewhere in the text if you bothered to look.

((To anyone who might not agree that there are some plot holes in the story, consider that in Half Blood Prince, Malfoy is stealing Polyjuice potion to turn Crabbe and Goyle into girls so they can stand lookout over the Room of Requirement, when at the same time there is also a cauldron of Felix Felicis that Slughorn shows them. So they steal Polyjuice, but not luck potion? Even though Draco tried hard to win the luck potion initially? sounds like a plot hole to me!))

  • Harry's death was meant to be the sixth, actually. As NominSim's answer explains, Voldemort wanted a seven-part soul, and since one part was in his body, that meant he planned to make six Horcruxes. It is never made clear if the Horcrux-making spell needs to be performed right after the murder, so it's not necessarily a plot hole if Voldemort didn't have the item on hand. – sumelic Mar 26 '16 at 3:46
1

From the moment Voldemort found out that his Horcruxes were being hunted until the moment he died was only a few hours. He found out about the hunt after the Gringotts break-in:

The scream of rage, of denial left him as if it were a stranger's. He was crazed, frenzied, it could not be true, it was impossible, nobody had known. How was it possible that the boy could have discovered his secret?

He immediately decided to check on and secure his existing Horcruxes:

But to be sure, to be utterly sure, he must return to each of his hiding places, he must redouble protection around each of his Horcruxes... A job, like the quest for the Elder Wand, that he must undertake alone...

While Harry was sneaking into Hogwarts, Voldemort was visiting the Gaunt shack:

Before any of them could parry the question with one of their own, Harry felt a terrible, scorching pain in the lightning scar. As he turned his back hastily on the curious and delighted faces, the Room of Requirement vanished, and he was standing inside a ruined stone shack, and the rotting floorboards were ripped apart at his feet, a disinterred golden box lay open and empty beside the hole, and Voldemort’s scream of fury vibrated inside his head.

When Voldemort was notified that Harry had been apprehended at Hogwarts, he was entering the cave hiding place:

The moment her finger touched the Mark, Harry's scar burned savagely, the starry room vanished from sight, and he was standing upon an outcrop of rock beneath a cliff, and the sea was washing around him and there was a triumph in his heart – They have the boy.

Voldemort chose to continue through to that location before heading to Harry:

Harry closed his eyes, and as his scar throbbed he chose to sink again into Voldemort's mind.... He was moving along the tunnel into the first cave.... He had chosen to make sure of the locket before coming...but that would not take him long....

Harry tells McGonagall that Voldemort is on the way:

“Yeah, I do,” Harry assured her. Somehow her panic steadied him. “Professor McGonagall, Voldemort's on the way.”

While he was still at the cave location:

In a distant part of Harry's brain, that part connected to the angry, burning scar, he could see Voldemort sailing fast over the dark lake in the ghostly green boat.... He had nearly reached the island where the stone basin stood....

When Voldemort finds out that the locket is gone as well, Harry says that he's even nearer:

As she said it, a wrath that was like physical pain blazed through Harry, setting his scar on fire, and for a second he looked down upon a basin whose potion had turned clear, and saw that no golden locket lay safe beneath the surface –.

“Time's running out, Voldemort's getting nearer, Professor, I'm acting on Dumbledore's orders, I must find what he wanted me to find!

By the time the people in Hogwarts had made arrangements to evacuate the students and fight, Voldemort had already arrived:

But then his scar seared and the Room of Requirement vanished. He was looking through the high wrought-iron gates with winged boats on pillars at either side, looking through the dark grounds toward the castle, which was ablaze with lights. Nagini lay draped over his shoulders. He was possessed of that cold, cruel sense of purpose that preceded murder.

Thus, there was no downtime between Voldemort finding out that Harry was hunting Horcruxes and the battle at Hogwarts. Once the battle began, Voldemort was focused on the battle, and on mastering the Elder Wand. He still believed that Harry did not pose a real threat to him in a duel. In his mind, Harry was only still alive due to a combination of luck, help, and technical wand issues, and Voldemort thought that killing Snape would resolve the last of those issues:

"One of us?" jeered Voldemort, and his whole body was taut and his red eyes stared, a snake that was about to strike. "You think it will be you, do you, the boy who has survived by accident, and because Dumbledore was pulling the strings?"

"Accidents!" screamed Voldemort, but still he did not strike, and the watching crowd was frozen as if Petrified, and of the hundreds in the Hall, nobody seemed to breathe but they two. "Accident and chance and the fact that you crouched and sniveled behind the skirts of greater men and women, and permitted me to kill them for you!"

"If it is not love that will save you this time," said Voldemort, "you must believe that you have magic that I do not, or else a weapon more powerful than mine?"

"You think you know more magic than I do?" he said. "Than I, than Lord Voldemort, who has performed magic that Dumbledore himself never dreamed of?"

Moreover, throughout this entire time Voldemort still didn't know that Harry had found the last Horcrux. In fact he considered it an impossibility that Harry could have found it:

As for the school: He alone knew where in Hogwarts he had stowed the Horcrux, because he alone had plumbed the deepest secrets of that place...

Generations of students had failed to find the diadem; that suggested that it was not in Ravenclaw Tower – but if not there, where? What hiding place had Tom Riddle discovered inside Hogwarts Castle, that he believed would remain secret forever?

Tom Riddle, who confided in no one and operated alone, might have been arrogant enough to assume that he, and only he, had penetrated the deepest mysteries of Hogwarts Castle.

Additionally, up until the last part of the fighting Nagini was still alive. She was only killed by Neville right before Voldemort was forced into combat:

With a single stroke Neville sliced off the great snake's head, which spun high into the air, gleaming in the light flooding from the entrance hall, and Voldemort's mouth was open in a scream of fury that nobody could hear, and the snake's body thudded to the ground at his feet –

He was searching for Voldemort and saw him across the room, firing spells from his wand as he backed into the Great Hall, still screaming instructions to his followers as he sent curses flying left and right;

Thus, up until the very last moments Voldemort still believed that he had two remaining Horcruxes. That being the case, even though he knew that Harry had been searching for Horcruxes, there was no pressing need to create new ones. By the time he realized that he was Horcruxless he was already mired in the final combat, and presumably could not have created a new Horcrux even had he wanted to.

0

Voldemort could not get another Horcrux because he did not know he had seven in the first place. When he tried to kill Harry, the spell rebounded and killed him instead. His soul became disembodied and jumped into the closest living thing in the room, Harry. That is the reason why Harry had the traits of a Slytherin (Parseltongue). In fact, the only reason the sorting hat put him in Gryffindor is that he refused to be put into the Slytherin house. The piece of soul inside Harry is the one that made him have a psychic connection with Voldemort and it was also the reason why he had to be killed by Voldemort himself. If anybody else had tried to kill Harry in the last book, the real Harry would have died and not Voldemort’s soul inside him. Also don’t think of the soul as a practical item that can be divided into proportions, it has no volume nor mass. The idea is that the more you split it the more you tear yourself apart. at some point the whole exercise would become counter-productive. As for Harry surviving, he was protected by the most powerful form of magic, love. The protection started when his mother died for him and it lasted until he reached seventeen (the age when magical people are considered adults). The curse is also the reason why Voldemort never tried to kill Harry directly during the six years when Harry was at Hogwarts. Also the spell of love was the only reason Harry was able to defeat Voldemort. Having fractured his soul seven times, Voldemort was not capable of most things that make humans special like love. He never even understood love. That was the one thing Harry had (love for himself and for others and love from others) that Voldemort could never have or understand.

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What I believe happened, and the only thing that seems to add up to me, is that Voldemort aka Tom Riddle originally planned on making 6 horcruxes all along, and based all his magic around the number 7. He did not just incrementally add horcruxes as he went; he always planned from the get-go on splitting his soul into 7 parts.

There may have been an extra magical punch to this, or it may have been simply ego (7 being an important number worthy of the world's greatest wizard). Or. most likely, it was the largest number of horcruxes possible. More would be too dangerous even for him to attempt. To this end, he made each horcrux with 1/7th of his soul, making them all equal, with the remaining 1/7 in his physical body.

Now, when he tried to kill Potter the child, and the spell backfired, the instability of his soul--having attempted magic never before performed and being in uncharted territory--caused it to spontaneously split in two, with half going into Harry. This essentially made Harry and Voldemort equals, Voldemort-soul-wise. Each had 1/14th in them.

Now, less than 1/7 of a soul still alive is just not enough soul to exist. Voldemort likely well knew this, and this was why he didn't make any more horcruxes, even when he discovered they were being destroyed.

In his original plan, he had already pushed the limits with 6, but had to be sure he could still survive with his 1/7th even if all 6 horcruxes were destroyed. Otherwise the extra horcruxes would be worthless, affording him no protection. However, he had no idea Harry now had half of that. This had thrown his whole original plan into chaos, and made him extremely vulnerable.

It would also explain why, when he used the kill curse on Harry in The Deathly Hallows, both of them temporarily left their bodies, and only returned together. Harry could kill Voldemort without this happening, because he had essentially a full soul in him, his own. He had enough soul to remain in the real world without Voldemort. Voldemort could not, because he only had 1/14 a soul left. Without the Harry-horcrux, there was not enough of an anchor left for him to remain present and alive.

The twist of all this would be that even if Voldemort had succeeded in killing Harry, he would have destroyed himself, as all the other horcruxes had been destroyed at that point. So essentially, Voldemort had lost when the snake was killed, and was then in deadly peril, alive only as long as Harry lived. He just didn't know it.

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    Hi and welcome to the site! This is an interesting answer--can you add references to back it up, eg the scene where Riddle originally asks about the feasibility of seven Horcruxes, or why you think 1/7 of a soul isn't enough to stay alive? – MissMonicaE Feb 14 '17 at 19:47
-1

The events got sped up, so the Dark Lord simply had no time.

Recall how it was only a few days before the siege of Hogwarts when the Dark Lord has found out that people even knew about his Horcruxes. This was when Harry and his friends have broken into Gringotts. The Dark Lord was very busy from that time, first verifying that his other Horcruxes were intact, then leading the attack at Hogwarts.

During the siege of Hogwarts, it would have been very unwise to make a new Horcrux, given that even at that time almost nobody on either side of the fight knew about the Horcruxes, but making a new Horcrux would give this away. It would also have been unwise leaving his troops. The Dark Lord has still had Nagini safe on his side until almost the end. Given these, it doesn't seem to me like he should have made a new Horcrux.

-1

Okay this is the most logical answer. He created 7 Horcruxes because mathematically it would be split like this 100%- 50%- 25%- 12.5%- 6.25%- 3.125%- 1.0125 % after 7 the body is left with 1.0125% of their soul and on the night at Godrick hollow when he pursues the potter family he accidentally creates a new Horcrux “Harry” which again splits his soul then his physical body is left with less then 1% of its soul which killed his body but not his soul. When Harry destroys a Horcrux I’d like to think it would destroy the percentage of the soul but I don’t think it does. Hence he can make Nagini and RAB’s letter which I quote “I am destroying these so when you meet your match you you will be whole again”. I think the soul simply returns to the body damaged. It appears Voldemort isn’t all-powerful without his Horcruxes and Harry Potter is truly the greatest sorcerer who ever lived!

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