In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Ginny Weasley carries out Tom Riddle's plan by proxy and apparently leads the Basilisk to attack four Muggleborns and Filch's cat Mrs Norris in the castle.

‘Ginny Weasley opened the Chamber of Secrets. She strangled the school roosters and daubed threatening messages on the walls. She set the serpent of Slytherin on four Mudbloods, and the Squib’s cat.’

‘No,’ Harry whispered.

‘Yes,’ said Riddle, calmly. ‘Of course, she didn’t know what she was doing at first ...’

Chamber of Secrets - page 229 - Bloomsbury - chapter 17, The Heir of Slytherin

How was Ginny able to direct the actions of the Basilisk without using her sight (so the Basilisk wouldn't be able to look her in the eyes), or without being killed or petrified herself?

Side note: Tom Riddle described Ginny as being in "a sort of a trance" while she was carrying out Riddle's orders -- would this make her more or less aware of the dangers of the Basilisk?

★ I prefer a canon-based answer if possible (the Harry Potter novels, the three supplemental books, quotes from J.K. Rowling, or Pottermore information) and do not prefer an answer from either the HP Wikia or the Wikipedia.

  • 2
    Her first words upon entering the Chamber: (in parseltongue) "Basilisk! Come on out, but keep your eyes closed."
    – Jeff
    Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 20:22
  • Do we know that the basilisk will kill everyone who looks into its eyes? Maybe the basilisk has to actively stare at its victim for the effect?
    – wrtlprnft
    Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 21:55

2 Answers 2


She didn't need to be looking at Basilisk's eyes. She merely needed to tell it in Parseltongue where to go and what to do. At most, she needed to be generally aware of:

  1. Where Basilisk was...

    • No need to look it in the eye.

      • She could hear it, or look at the bulk of the body.

      • or, Tom could have made her to order Basilisk to close its eyes when she looked in its direction.

      • or, less likely, Tom's soul was aware of Basilisk's location supernaturally.

  2. ...and where the prey was.

    • No need to look Basilisk in the eye unless she was almost directly on Basilisk=>Prey line. Presumably, Tom was smarter than allowing that to happen.

       [Ginny]   -------- [Prey]  -------- [Basilisk........]  <== bad

Please note that, based on how Basilisk hunted Harry in the CoS, it may only have had to be given rough orders and it would figure out how to get the prey itself. She didn't need to act as a navigator daemon with constant course corrections and turn by turn directions.

  • Hmm, maybe while she was possessed she couldn't be killed because she was more a memory (Tom Riddle) than a person? Just musing here. The possession would explain why she might be able to speak Parseltongue. :) Commented Nov 9, 2012 at 23:35
  • 8
    Posession doesn't make you invincible, typically. Using Occam's razor, I'm settling on more scientific explanation. Commented Nov 9, 2012 at 23:39

Ginny couldn't really see when under influence of Tom. In the fifth book she describes the periods when she was possessed as "long blank periods when you find yourself somewhere and don't know how you got there", which obviously implies she was in a kind of unconscious state, further implying blindness for the entire period.

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