15

We know that a Horcrux is the object in which a piece of the Horcruxee's Soul is stored in.

But these objects were once normal (albeit special) objects before being turned into a Horcrux, and could be destroyed like any other objects.

My question is: what is it about becoming a Horcrux that makes the object (almost) indestructible?

Is it that a powerful enchantment is placed on the object upon Horcruxation? Or something else?

My thinking is that it's not so much the object, but the piece of soul which is difficult to destroy. As Hermione puts it:

"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

So in a way, the object is linked to the piece of Soul's survival.

  • 2
    Hey, it would be great if you provided the source for your quote where the trio is discussing what a Horcrux is. Which book is it from? Which chapter (chapter number and chapter name) is the passage from? That would be helpful -- some of us like to check a quoted passage in its original context. :) – Slytherincess Mar 23 '14 at 21:28
  • Sorry, forgot the reference. Done. – Möoz Mar 23 '14 at 23:26
21

The Horcrux isn't innately durable on it's own; part of the creation process (not required, but recommended in Secrets of the Darkest Art) is enchantments to protect it. From right before the quote you provide, Hermione explains:

“No,” said Ron, before Harry could answer. “So does it say how to destroy Horcruxes in that book?”

“Yes,” said Hermione, now turning the fragile pages as if examining rotting entrails, “because it warns Dark wizards how strong they have to make the enchantments on them. From all that I’ve read, what Harry did to Riddle’s diary was one of the few really foolproof ways of destroying a Horcrux.”

[...]

“It doesn’t have to be a basilisk fang,” said Hermione patiently. “It has to be something so destructive that the Horcrux can’t repair itself. Basilisk venom only has one antidote, and it’s incredibly rare—”

[...] That’s a problem we’re going to have to solve, though, because ripping, smashing, or crushing a Horcrux won’t do the trick. You’ve got to put it beyond magical repair.”


[Emphasis added]

The fact that it references 'enchantments on them' suggests that the the spell itself doesn't protect the item, but that the wizard must cast spells upon it to do so. More to the point, it seems to suggest sufficient spells to restore the item from all but irreversible destruction.

So, in general, the container is made as tough as possible by other spells; since it's not in a living body (as a general rule) that can repair itself, it's enchanted to self-repair. The situations where we see a living host, it's much easier to destroy, as it's missing (at least MOST of) the protective spells -- a quick 'kill' and the soul is freed (see Naganini & Harry); no need for greater destruction as no magic can restore the dead to life in HP. (Not really surprising that enchantments to restore non-living objects are a bit more comprehensive than those for living items; otherwise the whole Horcrux idea would be unneeded.)

  • 1
    I beg to differ. Nagini died because Neville struck it with sword imbued with the properties of Basilisk venom. A body used as a Horcrux may be a bit easier to destroy, but it is tougher to kill then normally possible. – Mouse.The.Lucky.Dog Mar 24 '14 at 1:27
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    @Mouse.The.Lucky.Dog - Perhaps; but the sword would never have reached him, had he still been protected as he was before (the glowing sphere -- probably specifically to protect him from physical assault.) It seems clear that sustaining that level of protection on a living being was either costly or somehow otherwise contraindicated, or V would have kept it on. And killing Harry was nothing more than the usual Avada Kedavra. – K-H-W Mar 24 '14 at 2:37
  • "the usual avada kedvra" I and Moody/Crouch beg to differ. It takes a skilled and powerful wizard to use it successfully. – Mouse.The.Lucky.Dog Mar 28 '14 at 0:01
  • @Mouse.The.Lucky.Dog Skill it may indeed take, but by this point in the series, it's in ridiculously common use, especially by Death Eaters. – K-H-W Mar 28 '14 at 1:03
  • jumping in late here but "the usual Avada Kedavra" is a spell that 1. cannot be blocked 2. no one can survive except Harry and 3. has no cure. Sounds like it perfectly fits the criteria for destroying a horcrux. The only reason it doesn't work on normal horcruxes is that Avada Kedvra specifically destroys life, and horcruxes tend to be inanimate objects – childcat15 Jul 28 '15 at 5:42
4

The act of making it a horcrux itself does not affect the object's durability as far as I know. Of course, it's in the dark wizard's best interest to protect it to the best of his/hers ability.

To permanently destroy the horcrux (and the soul part living inside it) it has to be destroyed to the point that it is impossible to repair magically.

This is why only very powerful agents such basilisk poison and fiendfyre have been shown to destroy a horcrux, as only those are powerful enough to render objects unrepairable.

1

Horcruxes get strength from protective spells, not the soul piece.

A Horcrux isn’t strong because of the piece of soul in it, it’s made to be strong because the wizard creating it would use spells to ensure that it’s difficult to destroy, as they’re encasing a piece of their soul in it. It’s not the piece of soul itself that give Horcruxes their near-indestructible quality. Despite the piece of soul in him, Harry shows an example of something with a piece of soul in it, but without any of the the enchantments that Horcruxes typically have. Harry is still just as vulnerable to injury as any other wizard, as he’s injured several times and isn’t either less vulnerable or quicker to heal than other wizards. He’s also vulnerable to injury by mundane means, like being hit really hard.

“WHAM!

He had stayed still a second too long. The Bludger had hit him at last, smashed into his elbow, and Harry felt his arm break. Dimly, dazed by the searing pain in his arm, he slid sideways on his rain-drenched broom, one knee still crooked over it, his right arm dangling useless at his side.”
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 10 (The Rogue Bludger)

This definitely wouldn’t work on a proper Horcrux, as they can’t be damaged by smashing - they can only be damaged by powerful substances that put the object beyond magical repair.

“That’s a problem we’re going to have to solve, though, because ripping, smashing or crushing a Horcrux won’t do the trick. You’ve got to put it beyond magical repair.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 6 (The Ghoul in Pyjamas)

Horcruxes are nearly indestructible because wizards making them also strengthen the objects they use. The piece of soul dies if the object it’s in is destroyed, so the wizard making one would want to ensure they make it difficult to destroy. The instructions on making Horcruxes warn the wizards who intend to make one that the enchantments on them have to be strong, implying that if it’s not protected strongly enough by the spells being put on it, the Horcrux can be destroyed easily.

“So does it say how to destroy Horcruxes in that book?”

“Yes,’ said Hermione, now turning the fragile pages as if examining rotting entrails, ‘because it warns Dark wizards how strong they have to make the enchantments on them. From all that I’ve read, what Harry did to Riddle’s diary was one of the few really foolproof ways of destroying a Horcrux.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 6 (The Ghoul in Pyjamas)

Therefore, it’s clear it’s not the soul piece that makes the object nearly indestructible - otherwise Harry should also be nearly indestructible because of the piece of soul in him, and there’d be no need to further strengthen Horcruxes using protective enchantments.

-5

Magic!

The Horcrux, even though outwardly looks like the object is no longer the object, but a combination of the object and the soul. Furthermore, if a piece of the Horcrux still remains intact the wizards soul can magically repair the damage magically. To destroy the Horcrux, you must destroy the connection. To destroy the connection you must destroy at least a piece of the soul.

Remember even when killing someone, the soul still goes on. The soul ( in Judeo-Christianity ) is a piece of God. It takes a lot to destroy a piece of God.

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    Harry Potter is not Judeo-Christianity, so that doesn't apply – Izkata Mar 24 '14 at 2:05
  • @Izkata - Judeo-Christianity isn't actually a thing... the official name is "Abrahamic religion".... and I'm pretty sure the "a piece of god" thing is wrong (can ask on Judaism.SE) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Mar 24 '14 at 14:46
  • @DVK, when I was growing up it was called Judeo-Christianity. I'm not going to get into debates because some politically correct dweeb had something against someone and renamed it. From Genesis 2:7 (King James) "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."So to put it crudely God breathed into man and gave him a soul. Piece of soul seems right. – Mouse.The.Lucky.Dog Mar 28 '14 at 0:08
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    I don't really think that the "LORD God" would appreciate this brand of courtesy -- in his name no less. Yes, Harry Potter is a Christian allegory according to J.K. Rowling, but a specific "God" is not part of the story. I understand you have your personal beliefs, because you've stated them here, but they may not be representative of the soul, or anything else, in the Harry Potter books. We know you're entitled to your opinion, but it's really only that -- an opinion. Here, we are looking for verifiable, hard answers to questions. Opinions, as interesting as they might be, are subjective. – Slytherincess Apr 5 '14 at 9:40
  • @Izkata -- I don't know what "Judeo-Christianity" means, but J.K. Rowling has confirmed that the HP series is a Christian allegory. I can say that much. RE: DVK's comment, I don't know what "Abrahamic religion" is either, so I think I'll just leave it at this. Just wanted to pass it along as a minor FYI. :) – Slytherincess Apr 5 '14 at 9:46

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