Basilisk venom is one of the few substances in Harry Potter that can destroy horcruxes, which contain fragments of the soul. So if one dies from the venom, does the venom destroy their soul as well?

There is (sort of, depending on how you view Harry's visions) an afterlife in the HP world, so if a wizard is killed by a Basilisk, is their soul entirely destroyed, completely erasing them, not allowing them to move on to the afterlife, or does their soul remain intact?

  • 11
    Destroying a horcrux is not the same as destroying a soul.
    – NominSim
    Jan 30 '13 at 4:32
  • True, but would it have any affect? Same for the sword of Gryffindor; if you're killed with that, would it damage your soul? Once a horcrux is destroyed, that part of the wraith is completely gone. I just want to know if it would have similar consequences for a whole being. Jan 30 '13 at 4:46
  • 11
    It isn't destroying the soul, it is destroying the vessel in which the soul is kept (meaning the soul is no longer accessible by the living). In that sense, destroying someone with the "powerful magic" required to destroy a horcrux does nothing to their soul (implicitly implied in canon).
    – NominSim
    Jan 30 '13 at 5:37
  • 1
    Generally when this type of plot element is encountered, the soul dies because the container is destroyed and the soul has nowhere to go. There are some exceptions to where the soul can latch onto another living being nearby (Such as what happened when Voldemort created the Harry horcrux), but it does not explain why the portion of Voldemort's soul in Harry did not return to him when he killed him in the woods.
    – JohnP
    Feb 1 '13 at 16:53
  • 1
    A Horcrux is not "fragments of the soul..." merely a container for said fragment.
    – Möoz
    Apr 7 '14 at 5:53

When you destroy a Horcrux, you are not necessarily destroying the soul.

Destroying a Horcrux involves destroying the object beyond physical repair, at which point the soul inside "leaks out" and is destroyed.

A Horcrux is "the exact opposite of a human", as mentioned in the books1, and "depends upon its container to survive". This pretty much answers your question: Basilisk venom/Fiendfyre are tools to destroy the container, the fact that the soul gets destroyed is a secondary effect, if indeed the soul gets destroyed.

We've already answered the question, but we can dig deeper:

An interesting case to analyse would be when Harry is killed. The soul fragment in him isn't destroyed, rather it comes to the "afterlife" as well, though it is ill-equipped to survive there. Since Nagini's death counted as the "destruction" of a Horcrux in the typical sense, Harry's death does too. So, when you destroy a Horcrux, the soul fragment does pass on to the afterlife anyway. Just as a soul fragment.

1. Which I don't have with me right now, so if anyone can get the exact quote, it would be much appreciated :)

1. Exact quote:

"Because a Horcrux is the complete opposite of a human being.”

Seeing that Harry and Ron looked thoroughly confused, Hermione hurried on, “Look, if I picked up a sword right now, Ron, and ran you through with it, I wouldn’t damage your soul at all.”

“Which would be a real comfort to me, I’m sure,” said Ron. Harry laughed.

“It should be, actually! But my point is that whatever happens to your body, your soul will survive, untouched,” said Hermione. “But it’s the other way round with a Horcrux. The fragment of soul inside it depends on its container, its enchanted body, for survival. It can’t exist without it.”

-Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - the Ghoul in Pyjamas

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