As teenager Tom Riddle is speaking to Harry Potter in the Chamber of Secrets, both he and Harry are refering to the real Voldemort in the third person. If Tom Riddle had succeeded in sucking all the life energy out of Ginny and had come back alive, wouldn't that have meant there were two Voldemorts in the world? The wraith one which had lived in Quirrell, and the newly constituted one?

This Tom Riddle clearly doesn't have the memories of the wraith version.

As a bonus: If they both existed, would they have competed against each other?

  • 2
    Horcruxes are exactly as dangerous for the wearer as for any victims exactly because of such headaches. Considering that the horcruxes were supposed to be backups, it's likely that they wouldn't do anything while there is a strong incarnation of Voldemort around. Tom Riddle would have turned the wraith into another horcrux or something like that.
    – MauganRa
    Dec 2, 2016 at 15:03

10 Answers 10


I go back and forth on whether the purpose of the diary Horcrux was to reincarnate Tom Riddle (and note the difference between reincarnate -- to give another body to; to incarnate anew -- and to protect a person, Voldemort, from death). The purpose of a Horcrux is not to create a new individual, but to protect its creator from death.

That said, the diary Horcrux is the only of Voldemort's Horcruxes to serve two purposes:

"What intrigued and alarmed me most was that that diary had been intended as a weapon as much as a safeguard," [Dumbledore]

"I still don't understand," said Harry.

"Well, it worked as a Horcrux is supposed to work -- in other words, the fragment of soul concealed inside it was kept safe and had undoubtedly played its part in preventing the death of its owner. But there could be no doubt that Riddle really wanted that diary read, wanted the piece of his soul to inhabit or possess somebody else, so that Slytherin's monster would be unleashed again."

"Well, he didn't want his hard work to be wasted," said Harry. "He wanted people to know he was Slytherin's heir, because he couldn't take credit at the time." (Half-Blood Prince -- Chapter 23)

However, canon is a little inconsistent. In Chamber of Secrets, Tom Riddle clearly becomes corporeal in some form, feeding off a "strong diet of [Ginny's] deepest fears and darkest secrets." He grew powerful enough to feed a bit of his soul back into Ginny. Tom Riddle says about Ginny, "She put too much into the diary, into me. Enough to let me leave its pages at last . . . " (Chamber of Secrets -- Chapter 17). While Half-Blood Prince references the diary as a weapon to possess someone else to work on Tom Riddle's behalf, Chamber of Secrets shows that he was able to return to some kind of form.

Tom Riddle is aware that he is also Voldemort and seems to possess Voldemort's future knowledge and memories:



"Twice -- in your past, in my future -- we have met. And twice I failed to kill you. How did you survive?" (Chamber of Secrets -- Chapter 17)

Specifically, if Tom Riddle had indeed been reincarnated, he would have taken the form of Tom Riddle, who at sixteen years old was not yet Lord Voldemort, although he had decided on the moniker for himself while still a student at Hogwarts. Therefore, Tom Riddle would have co-existed with Voldemort as separate entities of the same life force; it would not be Voldemort clones running around.

Would Tom Riddle and Voldemort have competed against one another? Not in the sense of, "Hey, let's grab a pick-up game of Quidditch!" Dumbledore says:

"Voldemort likes to operate alone, remember. I believe he would have found the thought of being dependent, even on the Elixir [of Life] intolerable [ . . . ] Therefore, I am convinced, he intended to continue to rely on his Horcruxes: He would need nothing more, if only he could regain a human form. He was already immortal, you see . . . or as close to immortal as any man can be." (Half-Blood Prince -- Chapter 23)

I think Tom Riddle would not be a match for Voldemort; at sixteen, Tom Riddle simply had not developed his magical abilities to Voldemort's level. My guess is that the magically superior Voldemort would have used and exploited the reincarnated Tom Riddle for every possible purpose (whatever purposes those might have been) and then killed him. I postulate that the reincarnated Tom Riddle, born of the diary Horcrux, would not himself have been a Horcrux, just as Ginny Weasley was not a Horcrux even though Tom Riddle's soul occupied and possessed her -- it was the diary itself that was the Horcrux. Therefore, Voldemort could have disposed of the reincarnate Tom Riddle without harming himself.

There ain't room in this world for the both of them ;)

  • 44
    Great answer. I don't think it's clear that diary-Tom-Riddle does have any of Voldemort's future knowledge and memories from after the diary was made. Sure, he knows that "Twice... we have met", but that doesn't require knowledge from Voldemort - Ginny knew that, and we can make a very likely guess that she'd been writing what she thought of Harry in the diary. If Tom had all of Voldemort's knowledge, he should have known more than he did, and been harder to beat.
    – Tynam
    Jan 9, 2012 at 12:18
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    @Tynam - That's a great point about Ginny -- she certainly could have given Tom Riddle enough information about Harry that TR had a general idea of what had happened, hence his line about Harry's past and his future. Thinking more about it, I tend to think you're right, that TR did not have Voldemort's knowledge or power. He created the Horcux when he was fifteen or sixteen, thus could have only allowed him to record in his diary when he knew up until that age. As we know, Voldemort immersed himself in Dark Magic after leaving Hogwarts. :) Jan 10, 2012 at 13:22
  • Its not unlikely for a 12 year old girl to write in her diary about the popular boy at school she has a crush on.
    – user20155
    Feb 2, 2015 at 6:06
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    I am having trouble with the idea of Tom Riddle at sixteen being used, even by his older self. He might not have had his magical abilities but he certainly already had his arrogance and sentiment of self-importance, maybe even more so than his older self (teenagers..). So I agree that they'd end up fighting but see the facedown coming a lot more quickly !
    – Cartolin
    Dec 2, 2016 at 13:46

The general consensus, supposedly from JKR, but I can't find the quote, is that there could only be one Lord Voldemort. He would have been stronger than the Voldemort that was later resurrected.

I think what the pseudo-vodemort would have first done was to combine his soul with the wraith Voldemort, such that there was one somewhat more powerful Voldemort.

There was a quote, pre-book 6, which started to address this, that stated:

In 'Chamber of Secrets', what would have happened if Ginny had died and Tom Riddle had escaped the diary?

I can’t answer that fully until all seven books are finished, but it would have strengthened the present-day Voldemort considerably.

  • 4
    Do you really think the wraith voldemort would allow the psuedo voldemort to combine with him? Part of the purpose of the psuedo voldemort was to act as a horcrux and if they combined together that would defeat part of the point of creating the diary in the first place.
    – Dason
    Jan 22, 2012 at 1:33

I don't think there is a canonical answer. However:

  • the "wraith" Voldemort chunk of soul was obviously the "main"/"master" one, as evidenced by the fact that the chunks in individual Horcruxes could be "killed"/destroyed via assorted means, yet the wraith one could NOT be killed until the Horcruxes were all gone.

  • As such, it can be presumed that the main chunk had some sort of control/supremacy over the Horcrux one, and upon encountering it would be able to either absorb it, or to force it to submit.

UPDATE: Found a sorta-conclusive canon statement, that addresses this although not fully, on defunct JKR FAQs:

In 'Chamber of Secrets', what would have happened if Ginny had died and Tom Riddle had escaped the diary?

I can’t answer that fully until all seven books are finished, but it would have strengthened the present-day Voldemort considerably.

  • Do you know if she actually answered that question, now that all seven books are finished... ?
    – Clockwork
    Aug 25, 2018 at 19:53

He wouldn't be a completely new and separate Voldemort. He would have remained a piece of the original, merely an embodiment of a sliver of his soul. No doubt he would have still been powerful, but I don't think he would have been an independent reincarnation. Remember that the horcruxes could be destroyed, but the "wraith," the real Voldemort couldn't be, at least until the other pieces were. I don't think sucking the life out of Ginny would have changed that fact. It follows, to answer your second question, that the diary Voldemort would be completely at the mercy of the real one.


The reason diary Tom was a physical being when the other Horcruxes weren't is because he had taken real life essence from Ginny and that was forming his ghostly body into a real one. The other Horcruxes hadn't possessed anyone like that so they remained ghostly remnants. As for if he'd succeeded and absorbed all of Ginny's essence well that is precisely what would have happened to him.

He would have searched out Voldemort by entering his mind ala Harry and seeing where he was. Then he would have been absorbed by the main part when the two reunited. And Voldemort would have taken over the body available ala Quirrell. The dark lord would have been 2 of the 8 soul pieces in a fully formed and healthy body that had the appearance of his 16-year-old self until if and when he used an aging spell to make himself older. They would not have existed separately. They would have been reunited as one as once the soul is free of the Horcrux it will either die or logically search out the main part with them only being pieces and not the whole thing. Tom had already shown us it was possible to absorb a soul as he'd partically done it to Ginny. We were given our answer when you think about.

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    But the only way to reabsorb it would be to feel remorse, right? Jun 9, 2016 at 19:31
  • 1
    @EmilyCampbell not necessarily, remember the diary is still the Horcrux, its possible to absorb the power (got from Ginny) into himself while the actual Horcrux did the same again with another person, over and over. He would only need remorse to merge with the diary itself not the powerful being created from the diary
    – Matt
    Aug 28, 2017 at 19:53

I tend to agree in the most part with the first answer from Slytherincess, but I think a main point to remember is that diary Tom is formed of 16 year old Tom Riddle’s memories, while the diary itself contains part of the soul and that those two are completely different. It was not Riddle’s soul that was manifesting, but his memories.

I agree with the Tynam’s comment that diary Tom probably didn’t have Voldemort’s memories, but had learned of his future encounters with Harry and their outcome through Ginny, who definitely would have written about them.

I believe that had diary Tom manifested completely, Voldemort’s “mother soul” would have somehow sought him out/called diary Tom to him to possess him, similar to how he possessed Quirrell, though probably physically different since they are technically the same person. In this way, Voldemort would have his 16 year old body, his Horcrux still safeguarding his bit of soul and all his memories/magical knowledge, making him a quite formidable enemy.

Sorry for the lack of quotes to back this up (though the second two paragraphs are more deduction/opinion), but I do not have my books with me and have lately been listening to the audiobooks.


I don't think it would have been a whole Voldemort if he succeeded. Just like in Goblet of Fire where he comes back to life, he doesn't have his entire soul. But I think Rowling knew what she was doing in not bringing him back to life through the diary. The Voldemort that was being carried around by Quirrell was the part of him that Harry defeated when he was little, plus that Voldemort was defeated before the diary situation in the first place.


Diary Tom was a manifestation of Voldemort at the time of the creation of the horcrux. I think the diary was his first horcrux that he ever made(1943, he was 16) after learning their powers and properties from Slughorn. Diary Tom is also the only horcrux that has thoughts, feelings, etcetera (save maybe the locket that Harry opens with Parseltongue that beseeches Ron with terrible visions), so I assume that if it was set free, it might be autonomous...JKR hasn't really elaborated on this one. Maybe if Diary Tom is set free, the "wraith", the main soul, would absorb this younger manifestation... The weird thing about Diary Tom is that he is shown as a physical being, while none of the other horcruxes are. The two pieces of Voldy's soul could indeed combine, but, then again, why would a horcrux set itself free? Maybe, this being his first horcrux, Tom didn't do it quite right somehow...

The soul might be permanently split because of the age difference as well. Horcruxes don't age or learn as the original wraith does, so they may have become so different that they wouldn't match up anymore, making Diary Tom almost a completely different person from the current Voldemort, sharing a part of his power, living as a fraction of a soul.


The original question has been answered quite thoroughly, so I'd like to focus on the "how this particular horcrux has thoughts and feelings and form" bit.

Based on a very loose assumption that the soul is split exactly in half when you kill someone, this means that the first horcrux Voldemort created would contain half of his soul. This is significantly more soul than any following horcruxes would have (2nd horcrux would have 1/4 soul, 3rd would have 1/8). Since this horcrux has a full half soul it stands to reason it would be more powerful and capable of independent action.

  • it stands to reason it would be more powerful and capable of independent action - Why? It doesn't have a brain. And Voldemort himself wasn't reduced mentally like that by having 1/256 soul, if that is how it works...
    – Izkata
    Sep 19, 2013 at 10:55

I believe that no, there would not have been two Dark Lords, because the diary could not have created a real person at all, but only an illusion of a person.

The Horcruxes have a way to magically create illusions of humans, and to some amount affect viewer's minds to convince them that those illusions are real. We have seen this ability three times in the series: the diary has conjured an image of the young Riddle, the locket has conjured an illusion of Harry and Hermione, and the snake Horcrux has created an illusion of Batilda Bagshot. These illusions were quite lifelike, and even solid, as evidenced by the Riddle illusion stealing Harry's wand, but they are not real persons. An illusion of Riddle could definitely not be as powerful as the real Dark Lord, and possibly it may not be able to cast magic spells. They might be somewhat similar to ghosts, or to the echos created by the reverse spell effect in Goblet, or the illusions the Resurrection Stone creates.

See the later question If the Diary Tom Riddle Had Succeeded, Would He Have Been a Horcrux? , How come Nagini had magical powers , Was Nagini Technically an Inferi When She Possessed Bathilda Bagshot's Body? , and Why could Voldemort's memory from the diary horcrux take physical form?

  • 1
    Bathilda wasn't an illusion - Nagini was wearing her corpse
    – Izkata
    Sep 20, 2013 at 2:05
  • @Izkata: I don't think so. If you find canon proof for that, perhaps mention under scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/22033 or scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/14562
    – b_jonas
    Sep 20, 2013 at 9:42
  • @b_jonas - what's wrong with canon proof I provide in answering your first link? Sep 20, 2013 at 16:08
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    @DVK: I don't think that proves it was really Bathilda's body they used. Harry might have believed it was, but he didn't go back afterwards to check. If anything, the snake coming out from “inside” the body makes me think it was a magically created illusion. I don't think it's easy to hide inside a dead human body and play puppets with it, but you could do it with a magical illusion that obeys your commands. And given how the illusion Riddle is solid enough to hold a wand (and Myrtle is solid enough to be flushed down the toilet), the Bathilda illusion can be solid enough to “collapse”.
    – b_jonas
    Sep 20, 2013 at 17:25

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