Here is the thing, Harry destroyed a Horcrux in his second year with a basilisk fang, even if he didn't know at the time. But in his sixth year, Dumbledore says to Harry, and I quote: "Horcruxes are difficult to find .. Even more difficult to destroy.", but then acknowledges that Riddle's diary was a Horcrux too.

So, why didn't Dumbledore just ask Harry how he destroyed it? Seeing as he was a wise old wizard, did that never pop into his mind? If he did, they would just have to go to the Chamber of Secrets again and pull out a tooth, like Ron and Hermione eventually did in the last one.

Dumbledore wouldn't have had to curse himself, and he wouldn't have had to die. Is Dumbledore really not that smart, or is there another reason?

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    I'm pretty sure that Dumbledore already knew how the diary was destroyed. Further more he also knew that the Sword of Gryffindor could be used to destroy them, having been imbued with basilisk venom. Commented Apr 8, 2013 at 19:51
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    Dumbledore knew how, it was still hard though as horcruxes usually had defences. Commented Feb 13, 2016 at 21:32

4 Answers 4


"Dumbledore wouldn't have had to curse himself" - that's a wrong premise. He was cursed because he put on a Hallow, without thinking things and realizing that it was a Horcrux which are always cursed. Moreover, he DID know how to destroy it, and did so (by using the Sword) or he WOULD have died from the curse right away.

When I discovered it, after all those years, buried in the abandoned home of the Gaunts - the Hallow I had craved most of all, though in my youth I had wanted it for very different reasons - I lost my head, Harry. I quite forgot that it was now a Horcrux, that the ring was sure to carry a curse. I picked it up, and I put it on (Deathly Hallows, Ch 35 - KING'S CROSS)

Now, it's a lot more interesting as to whether he realized that the fangs could destroy the Horcrux; and if he did, why didn't he arrange for the trio to have some and told them. THAT part (either of those points) don't seem to be discussed in canon.

But remember that Dumbledore is brilliant but not all-knowing, he DOES fail to think of things (e.g. that Kreacher should be watched more carefully, or that Fudge shouldn't have been allowed to become MoM, or that he shouldn't put a cursed ring on his finger, or that Gellert was Bad News, or that Voldemort would steal the Death Stick from his grave.

So it's not impossible to assume that he simply didn't think about the fangs as Horcrux destroying tool, since he had the Sword of Gryffindor for that.

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    But how would the Ministry react to Dumbledore bequeathing a dozen Basilisk fangs to Harry in his will? I think he definitely thought that one through and gave the trio just enough information to figure it out on their own.
    – TGnat
    Commented Apr 8, 2013 at 20:48
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    @DVK He could have told Harry any number of things, and probably would have. I don't think he was planning on dying that particular evening...
    – TGnat
    Commented Apr 9, 2013 at 0:47
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    Well, and also to remember, Dumbledore was actively hunting Horcruxes by the time he found the ring hidden in the Gaunt shack. I think he knew it was a Horcrux, but the fact it was also the Resurrection Stone caught him off guard, which in turn made him vulnerable to his own longing for his family and curiosity (which he talks about in King's Cross in Deathly Hallows) about the three Hallows in general. The Resurrection Stone needed to be turned over three times; why Dumbledore put the ring on instead of just turning it over three times is something I wonder about. Commented Apr 9, 2013 at 5:26
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    @DVK Nope, when Snape asks "did you think that breaking the ring would break the curse?" he says that he might have thought that as he might have been delirious, he was obviously lying (He might have destroyed it because he had summoned snape to whom he'd have to show the ring and if snape found out it's a horocrux, well that would have require a lot of explaining).
    – Siamore
    Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 10:39
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    @DVK You shouldn't say that horocruxes "always" have to be cursed, they just have to be protected carefully, laying a curse on it is just one way of protecting it.
    – Siamore
    Commented Apr 24, 2013 at 11:34

Why would he need to ask Harry when Harry had already told him how he destroyed the diary? Dumbledore being Dumbledore was the only one (that we know of) that realized that the diary was a horcrux in the first place. I doubt that he would need further explanation after Harry told him that he stabbed the book with a fang and the ink came out and it sounded like it was dying...


Dumbledore knew how Harry had destroyed the diary, and he had guessed by that time that the diary was a Horcruxe. Unlike what you suggest, he did the math "Horcuxe + Basilisk venom = Dead Horcruxe".

He even did the math "Gobelin made Sword who killed a basilisk + Gobelin made things only absorb what makes them stronger = Gryffindor sword is full of Basilisk venom and can destroy Horcruxes".

Since he had Gryffindor sword right there in his office... why bother going down to the Chamber of secrets to grab a fang? It was easier to use the sword.

And for the next Horcruxes, he even gave the sword to Harry in his will, so that Harry could destroy the other ones. Then, when the Ministry wouldn't give the sword to Harry, he arranged with Snape for Harry to find the sword. Once again, this was easier for Harry than going to an Hogwarts full of Death eaters to discreetly borrow a fang from the Chamber of secrets.

(For the last point, like it's been said, the reason he got cursed is that he let his enthusiasm get the best of him and put the ring on his finger, which was a bad idea - even clever and wise people make mistakes! Dumbledore told so himself many times).


Dumbledore already had known how to destroy the Horcruxes.

Though Dumbledore was tempted to put on the ring so he could use the Resurrection Stone to see his family again, he did know how to destroy the Horcrux within. When Snape tries to help with the effects of the curse, Dumbledore already had destroyed the Horcrux using the Sword of Gryffindor.

“Why,’ said Snape, without preamble, ‘why did you put on that ring? It carries a curse, surely you realised that. Why even touch it?’

Marvolo Gaunt’s ring lay on the desk before Dumbledore. It was cracked; the sword of Gryffindor lay beside it.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 33 (The Prince’s Tale)

Furthermore, Dumbledore most likely already knew by then how Harry destroyed the diary, as he’d held it, heard what its powers were, and suspected the Dark Lord had Horcruxes before then.

“It was this diary,’ said Harry quickly, picking it up and showing it to Dumbledore. ‘Riddle wrote it when he was sixteen.’

Dumbledore took the diary from Harry and peered keenly down his long, crooked nose at its burnt and soggy pages.”
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 18 (Dobby’s Reward)

The most likely reason Dumbledore didn’t ask Harry how he destroyed the Horcrux is that Harry wouldn’t have been able to tell him anything he didn’t know or figure out already.

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