It looks like Dumbledore had the ability to kill Voldemort in Harry Potter And The Order of the Phoenix (when he encased Voldemort's body in a bubble of water) but chose not to do so;

Dumbledore brandished his wand in one long, fluid movement – the snake, which had been an instant from sinking its fangs into him, flew high into the air and vanished in a wisp of dark smoke; and the water in the pool rose up and covered Voldemort like a cocoon of molten glass.

For a few seconds Voldemort was visible only as a dark, rippling, faceless figure, shimmering and indistinct upon the plinth, clearly struggling to throw off the suffocating mass –

Then he was gone and the water fell with a crash back into its pool, slopping wildly over the sides, drenching the polished floor.

My question is; what would happen if Dumbledore (or someone else) had actually tried to kill Voldemort? If Voldemort had many other Horcruxes, would he have drowned in Dumbledore's bubble of water, for example?

  • Good question. I've added in the quote and made some fairly hefty edits. Feel free to roll back if you're unhappy with any of it.
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 29, 2015 at 16:35
  • Related: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/31155/… Commented Mar 29, 2015 at 17:03
  • @Richard Indeed, you made some substantial edits, however, it gets my point across. As for, Jason, this is not natural, but brute murder.
    – Jake
    Commented Mar 29, 2015 at 17:41
  • 1
    @jake - As the original author, you always have first dibs at undoing any edits. Glad you approve though :-)
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 29, 2015 at 18:09
  • Interesting interpretation. I'd always read it that Voldemort realised he was about to lose, hence his last-ditch plan of disappearing and possessing Harry.
    – DavidS
    Commented Mar 30, 2015 at 8:51

3 Answers 3


First of all, I disagree with your interpretation of the passage you quote. Dumbledore doesn't spare Voldemort, Voldemort Apparates away from the mass of water and saves himself. The fact that Dumbledore is visibly alarmed after his disappearance indicates that he wasn't responsible for it.

But it's a moot point. Every indication is that the same thing would happen as when he was hit by his rebounding Killing Curse in Godric's Hollow: his physical body would be destroyed, but he wouldn't die. (What happens to Voldemort's original body isn't actually ever explained. But since Hagrid doesn't see it when he collects Harry, we have to assume it disappeared or disintegrated in some fashion.)

The simple canonical answer is that so long as one of Voldemort's Horcruxes are around, he can't die, period. Not by stabbing, drowning, Cursing, old age, you name it. As Slughorn tells Tom Riddle:

"Well, you split your soul, you see," said Slughorn, "and hide part of it in an object outside the body. Then, even if one’s body is attacked or destroyed, one cannot die, for part of the soul remains earthbound and undamaged."

If the destruction of Voldemort's body wouldn't have been enough to kill him, drowning surely wouldn't have done it.

  • I used the passage of a reference of drowning. My point revolved around, "If." What does happen to his being of a soul? What does he transform into? A spirit, or a formless child as in HP #4 and #8?
    – Jake
    Commented Mar 31, 2015 at 21:11

To my knowledge, the author has never commented on specifics regarding Horcruxes

The only known example of how a Horcrux works is up against a death spell. In that case, the body died, but the spirit remained, and was able to rebuild itself a body. While a death curse is pretty final and powerful and nothing stands against it, the result does strongly imply the body is not and never will be invincible.

So for my informed speculation, I would say it might take longer than you'd expect (his body DOES change a bit, and this one was custom-made), but Voldemort would have eventually drowned. He would have been in the same state as he was at the beginning of the series - a spirit tethered to the world by his Horcruxes but without a body to use and unable to affect anything except bumbling teachers and wayward minds. What would happen next would be really sketchy (could he hop back into the body if they dried it out and gave it some juice? ) but Dumbledore would have at least bought some more time.


He would have died just in the same way when the killing curse and backfired on him. His soul would have remained though. And he would have to again catch hold of Harry to reborn and the plus point in this is that we would get a new book in the HP series.

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