Most of this discussion involves events at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows so if you haven't read that book and don't want spoilers, then stop reading right now.

Yes, now.

After Sirus died, when Harry was trying to sort through what happened and deal with his death, he went to Nearly Headless Nick to ask him about death. Nick told him that ghosts were those who did not go on and take that final step, but that he doubted Sirus was a ghost or could come back because Sirus was brave enough he would not have stopped and tried to come back.

After Voldemort killed Harry, and Harry was not fully dead (and was talking with Dumbledore), he was in limbo. He was given a choice to go back and fight Voldemort or to go on.

If Harry had not made a choice, would he have become a ghost, existing between the living and the dead?

2 Answers 2


I am not aware of anything in canon that addresses whether or not Harry could have chosen to come back as a ghost. However, per J.K. Rowling the people that do choose to come back as ghosts are those that fear death. (Quote here.) Considering how Harry got to where he was in your question, he clearly didn't fit that description. Throughout the series, he had shown that he was not afraid of dying. This is why his wand defeated Riddle's on the night he returned. Voldemort feared death, while Harry embraced the possibility.

Therefore, while there isn't a canonical answer to whether Harry could have come back as a ghost, it is highly unlikely that he would have. (Then again, the fact that he didn't choose to come back as a ghost when maybe he could have is also strong evidence that he wouldn't, so maybe I overanalyzed it.)

  • 3
    Now you've made me wonder if Voldemort is still around as a ghost...
    – Izkata
    Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 4:08
  • 8
    There is a canonical answer to that. He couldn't have come back as a Ghost because his soul wasn't whole. It's covered on one of the pages I ran across looking for the quote I used. Unfortunately, I have to run and don't have time to look it up. Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 4:13
  • @DavidStratton: On an off-topic note, congrats on evoking cognitive dissonance in me. Down under there's a very well-known movie reviewer with your name (think Roger Ebert) so there was several seconds of me wondering whether the site had upped its game all of a sudden.
    – dlanod
    Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 4:28

I am going to say he could not have become a ghost after King's Cross.

First, as David says in another post, only those who fear death become ghosts. The very fact that he was there proves that he was not afraid of death. (Small side note: I figured out while re-reading the King's Cross scene for this that uniting the hallows does not make one a "master of death," it takes a master of (the fear of) death to unite the hallows, so uniting them only proves one already was a master of death).

Now then, Harry had to return from King's Cross eventually. It must have been at least a good 15 minutes he spent chatting, but little if any time at all passed outside. And if he were to become a ghost after KC, returning as he did would have done it. There were two ways out, "on" or "back." He did not become a ghost by returning because Voldemort kept him alive. Alive-alive, not ghost-half-alive.

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