I've always been frustrated with this idea. As the storyline between Voldemort and Harry unfolded in the seventh book, we learned of the deep connection between the two. Since part of Voldemort's soul latched onto Harry the night at Godric's Hollow, wouldn't Harry have been able to also control the basilisk hidden in the Chamber of Secrets?

I specifically remember Harry trying to speak to the snake as it moved through the pipes. If Harry could hear the snake, couldn't the snake hear Harry as well, and shouldn't it have responded since Harry's ability to speak Parseltongue was "gifted" to him by Lord Voldemort himself???

  • 2
    No Harry didn't try to speak to the Basilisk; he just incidentally heard it as it slithered past (within the walls). – Möoz Apr 14 '14 at 2:29

Couldn't it simply be that the portion of soul imbued in the diary horcrux was greater than the portion that was in Harry? The Harry horcrux was created last. If yes, then it might be a simple diary horcrux has the larger claim to command when compared to Harry. If I recall correctly the diary was one of his earliest horcruxes. So it may have the greatest helping of Voldemort soul. Harry might have been able to command the Basilisk if the Diary horcrux hadn't have been commanding it to attack Harry.

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    The question I have always had is: when you create a horcrux is your soul split evenly between what you currently have, and the container? Do you get to selection percentage? Do all of them get linked together somehow and level out, so all of them contain an even portion? – Zoredache Jul 18 '13 at 18:24
  • I have been thinking about this a lot and I guess you always give a certain percentage, which means you will never end up with an exactly n part soul, especially not with a 7 part sould in Voldemorts case. That's why it was just a stupid idea and did yield anything new to Voldemort rather than a broken soul. – user1129682 Jul 19 '13 at 8:49

Harry might have been able to control the basilisk - he never tried.

Harry heard the basilisk in the pipes - but he never tried to speak to it, either when he heard it or when he was in the Chamber of Secrets with Tom Riddle. (In the movie, he started to try, then Tom told him “Parseltongue won’t save you now” and he stopped before really attempting to control it.) Unless the basilisk in the Chamber was different in some way from others of its kind, it would be controllable by any Parselmouth, regardless of their heritage.

“However, since Basilisks are uncontrollable except by Parselmouths, they are as dangerous to most Dark wizards as to anybody else, and there have been no recorded sightings of Basilisks in Britain for at least four hundred years.”
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

That it would require a Parselmouth to control the basilisk seems likely to be enough to spawn the legend that only the heir could, since Salazar himself was one and the ability wasn’t particularly common. Harry didn’t try, so this isn’t really proven, but it seems likely that speaking Parseltongue is the only requirement. It was the only requirement to actually open the Chamber - Ron was able to do it without any piece of the Dark Lord’s soul in him, and not being a “born” Parselmouth.

| improve this answer | |
  • The fun that could be caused by Harry and Riddle each trying to command the Basilisk... – Pryftan Aug 11 '18 at 22:59
  • Bit late here, but I agree +1, Id just like to add that Riddles comment is scary too - the only way to know if a snake is listening to you is to look to see if it responds (you REALLY can't do that with this snake). Riddle said it wont obey you and even if you still try you don't know if its still coming for you, best to assume riddle is right and just run for it – Matt Dec 3 '18 at 16:15

I cannot quite recall, but I am sure that Tom Riddle mentions that the Basilisk would not obey Harry. I would assume that the Basilisk would still recognize Harry as Slytherin's heir, but as Tom had commanded it before when he killed Myrtle and then again through the diary the Basilisk saw Tom as his rightful "master" (for want of a better word).

| improve this answer | |
  • 3
    Sorry, I just re-read that chapter and there was no mention of " Tom Riddle mentions that the Basilisk would not obey Harry". Can you please provide a proof quote of that? – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jul 19 '13 at 12:53
  • I will have to double check the book but from what I can find online the quote from the movie is 'Tom Riddle: It won't come until it's called.' I took this to imply that only Riddle could control the monster as he'd done before hence its allegiance to Riddle – BP_Phoenix Jul 19 '13 at 14:50
  • 3
    +1 At least in movie canon Tom Riddle says "Parseltongue won’t save you now, Potter. It only obeys me!" – NominSim Jul 19 '13 at 22:44

This is something I have always pointed out to fellow fans, only to be shot down. I believe that Harry certainly had the power to control the basilisk, just as Ginny was able to while she was under Tom Riddle's influence. I think it simply comes down to the fact that this idea never occurs to him. It is important for readers to remember that Harry's ability to speak parseltongue was a newly discovered talent. If he had been more seasoned, perhaps he might have thought to try.

Slytherin's heir only had an advantage over others when it came to snakes because of the communicative power between them. The snake still maintains autonomy and free will; it simply chooses to follow the wizard's bidding more often than not, because the parseltongue can understand and command him. Proof of this can be found in book 6 when Morphin, who is also a parselmouth, is singing to a snake. He says something along of the lines of "you be good to Morphin or he'll nail you to the door". There is in fact a snake already nailed to his door, suggesting that a previous snake behaved aggressively towards him despite Morphin's ability to communicate with it.

That in mind, Salazar Slytherin was taking an awful risk in assuming that just because the monster he left behind was a snake, that it would follow his heir's bidding. It could have just as easily finished the heir off and went on a rampage, killing pure bloods and muggles alike. Now that, would have been a plot twist.

| improve this answer | |
  • He also never could do it unless he was in front of a snake... And imagine if he had ... Well you know. – Pryftan Aug 11 '18 at 23:00

Parseltongues don't control snakes, they just talk to them.

| improve this answer | |

Yes.Riddle never says it in the book the only problem is the basilisk is eged on to kill Harry by Tom Riddle aka (Lord Voldemort).enter image description here

| improve this answer | |
  • 3
    Can you edit your answer to make it clearer? It doesn't really make sense. – Edlothiad Nov 5 '17 at 11:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.