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Voldemort set out to create Horcuxes to ensure his immortality, but he inadvertently created an additional one in a living being,

Harry.

Was Voldemort aware that this happened? It seems to me that if he was, then it wouldn't make sense to try and kill this being. If he wasn't, then why did he believe he had seven?

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    This is a rather serious spoiler, right?
    – HNL
    Jan 18, 2012 at 2:25
  • HNL - yeah it is a big spoiler - please edit the post if there is some standard on scifi. Jan 18, 2012 at 6:55
  • 1
    Voldemort didn't know what was going on with his own Horcruxes, let alone one he didn't know he made.
    – Möoz
    Apr 27, 2016 at 4:49

3 Answers 3

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Count of seven was 7 pieces of soul - this included his own chunk. He spoke to Horace Slughorn about dividing his soul in 7 parts, NOT creating 7 Horcruxes.

“But now, Harry, armed with this information, the crucial memory you have succeeded in procuring for us, we are closer to the secret of finishing Lord Voldemort than anyone has ever been before. You heard him, Harry: ‘Wouldn’t it be better, make you stronger, to have your soul in more pieces … isn’t seven the most powerfully magical number …’ Isn’t seven the most powerfully magical number. Yes, I think the idea of a seven-part soul would greatly appeal to Lord Voldemort.”

As far as he knew, he intended - and in the end made - six Horcruxes (Diary, Gaunt's ring, Hufflepuff cup, Ravenclaw diadem, Slytherin locket, Nagini).

He obviously wasn't aware that Harry was one, since as you noted he'd not be so quick to try and kill him before creating more Horcruxes to replace.

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  • Then the bigger question becomes, why didn't Voldemort create the seventh horcrux? Edit here if incorrect - but IIRC he wanted to create seven horcruxes and not seven pieces of his soul? Jan 17, 2012 at 23:06
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    @SudiptaChatterjee - as I stated in the answer, he wanted to create SIX Horcruxes and seven pieces of soul. Jan 17, 2012 at 23:16
  • I think that last sentence alone is more than enough proof that he didn't know.
    – Tango
    Jan 17, 2012 at 23:57
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Voldemort intended to have six Horcruxes - a seven part soul.

As Dumbledore explained to Harry, Voldemort had planned to make six Horcruxes, having his soul split into seven pieces in all, with the seventh piece being the one that lived in his body.

“But firstly, no, Harry, not seven Horcruxes: six. The seventh part of his soul, however maimed, resides inside his regenerated body. That was the part of him that lived a spectral existence for so many years during his exile; without that, he has no self at all. That seventh piece of soul will be the last that anybody wishing to kill Voldemort must attack – the piece that lives in his body.”
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 23 (Horcruxes)

He made six Horcruxes intentionally, which is the number of them he’d always planned on making.

Voldemort didn’t know a piece of his soul was in Harry.

In addition, Voldemort wouldn’t feel at all conflicted about killing Harry, since he didn’t know that Harry contained a piece of his own soul and could act like a Horcrux for him.

“You were the seventh Horcrux, Harry, the Horcrux he never meant to make. He had rendered his soul so unstable that it broke apart when he committed those acts of unspeakable evil, the murder of your parents, the attempted killing of a child. But what escaped from that room was even less than he knew. He left more than his body behind. He left part of himself latched to you, the would-be victim who had survived.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 35 (King’s Cross)

J.K. Rowling also stated that Voldemort never understood the link between his and Harry’s mind because he didn’t know Harry contained a piece of his soul.

Maura: How come voldemort was no longer employing occlumency against harry, as he was in the 6th book

J.K. Rowling: He is losing control, and unable to prevent Harry seeing into his mind. The connection between them is never fully understood by Voldemort, who does not know that Harry is a Horcrux.
- Bloomsbury Live Chat (July 30, 2007)

Though he mightn’t have changed his mind if he knew, Voldemort didn’t know that a piece of his soul was in Harry, so he wouldn’t have even taken that into consideration when trying to kill him.

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Answering your question of whether or not Voldemort knew Harry was a Horcrux: No, he did not.

‘Tell him that on the night Lord Voldemort tried to kill him, when Lily cast her own life between them as a shield, the Killing Curse rebounded upon Lord Voldemort, and a fragment of Voldemort’s soul was blasted apart from the whole, and latched itself on to the only living soul left in that collapsing building. Part of Lord Voldemort lives inside Harry, and it is that which gives him the power of speech with snakes, and a connection with Lord Voldemort’s mind that he has never understood. And while that fragment of soul, unmissed by Voldemort, remains attached to, and protected by Harry, Lord Voldemort cannot die.’

Deathly Hallows - Pages 550-551 - British Hardcover

I think Voldemort, had he known that Harry was an accidental Horcrux, might have tried to kill Harry anyway for two reasons. One, Voldemort himself had marked Harry as his equal, as the one who could vanquish the Dark Lord; I think he would have seen Harry as a threat regardless of his status as a Horcrux. Two, I think Voldemort was arrogant enough to believe that he could destroy one Horcrux (Harry) and preserve his immortality through the remaining six, and that no-one would ever be clever enough to figure out he had protected himself via a Horcrux, much less six.

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