Possible Duplicate:
Does accidental homicide cause one’s soul to split?

We know that in order to create a Horcrux, murder is necessary:

Riddle's hunger was now apparent; his expression was greedy, he could no longer hide his longing.

"How do you split your soul?"

"Well," said Slughorn uncomfortably, "you must understand that the soul is supposed to remain intact and whole. Splitting it is an act of violation, it is against nature."

"But how do you do it?"

"By an act of evil - the supreme act of evil. By committing murder. Killing rips the soul apart. The wizard intent upon creating a Horcrux would use the damage to his advantage."
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince Chapter 23: Horcruxes

Once someone commits murder, they can then use the fragmentation of their soul to create a Horcrux. But my question is, what qualifies as murder? Normally I would assume that murder is plainly using Avada Kedavra on someone, or some equally lethal spell, or by one's own hand causing them mortal injury.

But in this answer, J. K. Rowling is quoted to have said that the diary was made into a Horcrux when Moaning Myrtle died. However, she was not murdered by a spell, nor with an inanimate object, but indirectly through a Basilisk. Quite likely the Basilisk would have killed Myrtle whether or not Riddle told it to. Still, this counted as murder.

What, then, counts as a murder that splits one's soul? If someone orders a hitman to kill somebody else, does that count as murder for the first person? If someone invents a weapon intended to kill people, and somebody else uses it for murder, is the inventor's soul affected?

  • 1
    Sorry that this forced me to do a VTC -- I merely wanted the mods to look at it and see if it was a dup and the only choice it gave me was VTC. It's a great question, but just may have already been asked/answered. Jan 16, 2013 at 18:32
  • @ASlytherin Ah, before I asked this I only searched through all the questions with a "horcrux" tag, assuming incorrectly that if it was asked it would have been with that tag. I think this is probably a duplicate.
    – commando
    Jan 16, 2013 at 19:35

1 Answer 1


If killing someone with a knife qualifies as murder, why would not using a dumb animal accomplish the same? The dumb animal is no more responsible than a knife is, it has no agency. And as fantastic as the basilisk is, it seems to lack agency much as a woodchuck or a sea urchin would.

Certainly if I murdered people in the real world by siccing rabid starving bears on them, the police would arrest me for murder and I would likely be convicted.

Hitmen do have their own agency, and they share in responsibility for the murder, but hiring one certainly won't save you from conviction. The person that hires commits murder even though they themselves do not pull triggers. Whether this would qualify would be entirely up to JKR, but given the other circumstances I don't think she would see this as unqualified.

I would like to point out that it would make sense that murder is quite possibly the first and most reliable method of accomplishing the requirement, but there seem to be no rules that would prevent other (possibly undiscovered) ways from existing.

Besides, if Voldy had a choice between murder, and something more boring, he'd choose the former.

  • But Riddle didn't know that Myrtle was in the bathroom and he didn't order the basilisk to kill her. It happened by accident so it doesn't satisfy the condition to create a horcrux right?
    – Matte
    Apr 13, 2019 at 17:27

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