In Deathly Hallows, Hermione says:

Look, if I picked up a sword right now, Ron, and ran you through with it, I wouldn't damage your soul at all.

So after someone, let's say it's Voldemort, dies, could his soul keep flitting around and possessing people?

4 Answers 4


Souls (or something approximating them) can remain on Earth, but only as ghosts. As such they have no power to possess living beings. I don't have the books on me so here's some quotes pulled from the wiki (correct if necessary).

Snape's words on subject...

"A ghost, as I trust that you are all aware by now, is the imprint of a departed soul left upon the earth... and of course, as Potter so wisely tells us, transparent."

Nearly Headless Nick explains ghosts as...

Sir Nicholas: "Not everyone can come back as a ghost." Harry: "What d'you mean?" Sir Nicholas: "...Wizards can leave an imprint of themselves upon the earth, to walk palely where their living selves once trod... But very few wizards choose that path."

And he basically states that once he died he made the choice to stay on Earth as a ghost...

"I know nothing of the secrets of death, Harry, for I chose my feeble imitation of life instead..."

Harry is faced with nearly this choice in Book 7, at the train station. Since Voldemort is tying him to life though, he can come back fully, rather than as a ghost.

“I’ve got to go back, haven’t I?”

“That is up to you.”

“I’ve got a choice?”

“Oh yes.” Dumbledore smiled at him. “We are in King’s Cross, you say? I think that if you decided not to go back, you would be able to… let’s say… board a train.”

“And where would it take me?”

“On,” said Dumbledore simply.

Note that in a "natural" (ie no Horcuxes) death this is a binary choice. Choose to be a ghost or go on, no other options.

Voldemort created Horcuxes, so when his body was destroyed his soul was still tethered to this world, so it is unlikely he was faced with this choice. He was bound to Earth and as such, could not die until the Horcuxes were destroyed. Not being dead, he could still possess people and perform magic.


That has not been left open as an option in this universe. The only know post-death presences are ghosts or ghost-like resemblance (e.g. via Resurrection Stone).

Voldemort possessed people/animals, but he never died, so that doesn't count.


When Hermione says this to Ron she is talking about Horcruxes. These Horcruxes are used when you want to split your soul. Now if Ron were to have Horcruxes his soul would continue on to that object in which another part of his soul resides. Otherwise it could become controversial to say that he goes to heaven.


I think it is possible if the person is not really dead, like when Voldemort co-existed with Quirrel, but if you're dead your soul goes somewhere else, like when Sirius dies in "The Order of the Phoenix", he and his "soul" fall through the Veil in the Death Chamber.

I think someone could co-exist with someone else but not possess him unless you're a demon.

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