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If Tom Riddle had succeeded at returning as a living person from the diary, would he have been a Horcrux?

In thinking about it, it seems pretty black and white. Either diary Tom Riddle -- a manifestation of the diary which was a Horcrux -- would have been a Horcrux himself when free from the diary, or while, yes, a product of a Horcrux, he would not have been a Horcrux once he was free of the diary.

But, which would it have been and why?

For example, if one were to rip a page from the Horcrux diary, would that page on its own be a Horcrux? Or is a Horcrux always a sum of its parts? The diary is the only Horcrux, I believe, that can be examined like this. The remaining Horcruxes were all inanimate objects, aside from Nagini.

★ An answer from canon, any of J.K. Rowling's interviews, or Pottermore would be great. An answer given within the spirit of canon is perfectly fine.

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    Since it takes a scad of power to kill a horcrux, does it stand to reason that the pages couldn't be ripped without basilisk-fang-gloves? Removing the jewels from the Ravenclaw crown would likely be difficult for the same reason. – Gorchestopher H Nov 25 '12 at 0:17
  • @GorchestopherH - I think that could definitely stand to reason, but I don't know for sure. The diary is the only Horcrux that is different -- it's a Horcrux and it's also a weapon. I was actually using the example of ripping a page from the diary Horcrux, and wondering if that page would be a Horcrux as a stand alone as an example of the concept of a thing being the sum of its parts. With the portion of the diary Horcrux that was Tom Riddle removed, would that removed portion still be a Horcrux? Would the remaining diary have still been a Horcrux? :) – Slytherincess Nov 25 '12 at 4:22
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    @Slytherincess Since you can't subdivide your soul without the whatever associated with murder, it stands to reason that you can't split a horcrux and have both halves remain significant entities. If not, why not horcrux up a jigsaw puzzle and get 1000 pieces without killing 1000 times. Without delving too deep, the "Tom Riddle of the Diary" appears to me to be an enchantment on the diary, likely placed on it after it was horcrux-ed. JKR most likely didn't actually think that one out, sort of like the all-powerful Marauder's Map. The diary seems too powerful a magic. – Gorchestopher H Nov 25 '12 at 4:59
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    @GorchestopherH - I'm not sure! I keep going back and forth on it. To create a Horcrux, a murder is needed. If diary Tom Riddle had succeeded, Ginny Weasley would have been killed due to Tom Riddle's actions. That would have technically been a murder. We know a murder can split the soul, but can it split again a piece of soul that's already been split away from the main soul? Ah, I'm afraid I'm not making sense. I can't seem to articulate my thoughts on this very well. ARGH! :) – Slytherincess Nov 26 '12 at 4:17
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Either diary Tom Riddle -- a manifestation of the diary which was a Horcrux -- would have been a Horcrux himself when free from the diary, or while, yes, a product of a Horcrux, he would not have been a Horcrux once he was free of the diary.

But, which would it have been and why?

He would still have been a Horcrux. The diary would, most likely, be emptied and have become a normal diary - I say this because, so far, we have never seen evidence of souls being cloned, only divided. So:

  • The soul could not divide (complexity of spells and requiring murder to perform the division)
  • The soul could not clone itself (no evidence it is possible at all)
  • Therefore, the soul could only move.

Move where? To a brand new body and leave the old diary behind. Thus, the Tom Riddle that is seen would still be the horcrux itself and the diary becomes useless.

To have a body means nothing: this Tom Riddle would have still been a horcrux. Perhaps, he would have become more powerful than the normal Voldemort (if only he had as much experience as the original): this "body" would share the properties of a normal horcrux, meaning it would be nearly indestructible.

For example, if one were to rip a page from the Horcrux diary, would that page on its own be a Horcrux? Or is a Horcrux always a sum of its parts? The diary is the only Horcrux, I believe, that can be examined like this. The remaining Horcruxes were all inanimate objects, aside from Nagini.

This scenario is not possible. A property of the horcruxes is that they are extremely hard to damage - if they are indeed damaged, then they "break" and are "destroyed" and no longer are horcruxes.

You should not be able to rip a page of the diary with your bare hands. If you did it with, say, Gryffindor's sword, you would be able to do it - and the horcrux would be no more since you managed to damage it.


To reinforce this, I'd like to say that it was unlikely that we could have ended up with two horcruxes:

Murder is not the only requirement. It also needs a complex spell. Clearly, Tom already knew the spell, but I doubt he would have tried to do it, because:

  • It was risky - he simply did not know the result of splitting himself (an actual horcrux) again.
  • It was imprudent - the situation was crazy, he was merely coming back to life - why rush things into making yet another horcrux? He can do it later, preferably once he gets out of Hogwarts.
  • Up to this Tom's knowledge, doing so would break his "seven-horcruxes-lucky-charm". I'd hate to have 8 instead of 7 :)
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  • I love this answer! Thanks for taking the time to write it out. Regarding your first points, where Tom Riddle would have separated from the diary as the Horcrux and the diary would then be left as a non-Horcrux, as just an object. I'd point out that in order for Tom Riddle to free himself from the diary, Ginny Weasley would have to die; that would be a murder, and we know that Tom Riddle planned multiple Horcruxes from a very young age. I think he might have attempted the Horcrux spell after leaving the diary and having killed Ginny Weasley, but of course this is just a guess. (cont) – Slytherincess Dec 3 '12 at 18:38
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    (cont) Totally agree with you regarding the difficulty in damaging or destroying a Horcrux. The diary showed itself to be immune to water immersion -- something that would normally destroy a normal book -- and when Harry's dormitory room was torn apart by Ginny, when she was searching for the diary, there were no pages of the diary strewn about. Imprudent? Yes. Tom Riddle's purpose in life was to become immortal, though. I can see it both ways. Yes he could certainly wait to make a new Horcrux until later. JKR never seemed to set a time limit between the murder and the Horcrux creation. :) – Slytherincess Dec 3 '12 at 18:45
  • @Slytherincess: I still doubt he would have attempted the spell at that given moment. Riddle wasn't an idiot, he knew that something bad happened to the original Voldemort and he needed to research it before doing something as risky as yet another Horcrux. The only tempting thing about the situation was the fact that Gryffindor's sword was in the scene - he would have loved to make a Horcrux out of it. But then again, he can kill Ginny and Harry and steal the sword and escape Hogwarts - then do a new Horcrux with it in a calm place with a better plan. – Voldemort Dec 3 '12 at 22:51
  • Of course, had he made the horcrux in the Chamber of Secrets, it would have been extremely tempting to hide it right there (the chamber was legendary, with a high-value in magical history, and secret!). But it was still too risky: if these kids managed to get into the chamber, it is very likely that other wizards already know of it. Making/hiding an horcrux there would be quite foolish - first, no doubt future wizards will come and explore the place and, second, no doubt help was on its way to the chamber. Too dangerous. Riddle needs to escape as soon as possible. – Voldemort Dec 3 '12 at 22:57
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    All excellent points. Thanks for an interesting discussion on the "what-ifs" regarding Tom Riddle escaping the diary. It just occurred to me ... what if, upon fleeing the Chamber of Secrets, 16-year-old Tom Riddle encountered Albus Dumbledore? There's no way Dumbledore would've forgotten Riddle's face; I wonder what would have happened. Would Dumbledore or Riddle have killed one or the other? All speculation, but with Dumbledore out of the picture, the present day Voldemort would have indeed been strengthened. :) – Slytherincess Dec 4 '12 at 1:34
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I don't think Tom Riddle could have ever returned as a living person from the Diary. Riddle did suggest that to intimidate Harry, but he was lying.

As I explain in my answer to How come Nagini had magical powers , I believe the Riddle that came out of the Diary was an illusion created by the Diary Horcrux. The body looked real, and could fool Harry who did not expect anything of that sort, but it was not a living person and would never become one. The Diary used convincing illusions similar to the ones the locket and the snake Horcrux used.

Had the Riddle body gotten out to the word and caused mayhem, it would still have been tied to that Horcrux and would have perished when that Horcrux was destroyed.

Update: see also If diary Tom Riddle had succeeded, would there have been two Voldemorts?

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  • I do tend to agree that whatever Tom Riddle escaped from the diary might have been destroyed along with the diary itself. I do think that a full blown corporeal Tom Riddle definitely could have emerged from the diary - that's probably where we differ. If you read ch. 17 in CoS, it explains how he grew strong by feeding on bits of Ginny Weasley's secrets and deepest thoughts (her soul, essentially): "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." [Tom Riddle] He planned to take Ginny's life to recreate his own. :) – Slytherincess Dec 3 '12 at 19:06
  • I wonder if Riddle was truly lying just to intimidate Harry. In fact, I wonder if Riddle needed to intimidate Harry in the first place. I think Harry was wandless at the moment (not sure, but doesn't matter anyway), he was just a teen, who killed the Basilisk using a sword instead of any kind of epic magic (as Riddle could have expected after hearing the tales of Harry Potter defeating Voldemort). Riddle had no reason to be afraid, since Potter did not seem to be as great (magically) as the stories suggest. Riddle was confident - why lie/intimidate? – Voldemort Dec 3 '12 at 23:03
  • @Omega - Could you clarify really quickly exactly what you think Riddle was lying to Harry about? Just the whole thing, about how he could come back via Ginny's thoughts and soul? And yes, Harry was wandless at the time. :) – Slytherincess Dec 4 '12 at 1:42
  • @b_jonas - Forgot to say +1 for a creative theory. :) – Slytherincess Dec 4 '12 at 1:43
  • @Slytherincess: b_jonas suggested that Riddle was lying to Harry regarding coming back to life as a normal person just to intimidate Harry. I don't think that's the case though. I don't think he was lying at all. Oh, and the fact that Harry was wandless just made things simpler: absolutely no need to intimidate a wandless child (just kill him right away). – Voldemort Dec 4 '12 at 4:55

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