Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

by

J. K. Rowling

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Horcruxes Symbol Analysis

Horcruxes Symbol Icon

Horcruxes are objects that contain aspects of a wizard’s split soul—a means of avoiding death—but the only way to split one’s soul is by committing murder. As Harry learns over the course of the book, Voldemort has split his soul into seven, making six Horcruxes. These objects represent both the Dark Lord’s strength and his weakness. Clearly, they make it seem even harder to defeat Voldemort—Harry has to find and destroy not just one thing, but seven. However, the Horcruxes also show Voldemort’s willingness to prioritize power over humanity—besides the fact that he has to murder someone every time he makes a Horcrux, his appearance becomes more distorted every time he creates one and his ability to relate to others is further impaired with each division. Dumbledore points out that while Voldemort and Harry have similar origins, Voldemort’s actions have corrupted him and prevented him from understanding the power of love and human connection, while Harry has transcended his childhood and placed interpersonal relationships at the center of his life. In this sense, the Horcruxes emblematize the radically different choices Harry and Voldemort have made, which drive their lives in different directions. While Harry is skeptical that his “ability to love” is a strategic advantage, Dumbledore argues that it gives him powerful magical protection—and he will be proven right in the series’ final installment.

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Horcruxes Symbol Timeline in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The timeline below shows where the symbol Horcruxes appears in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter Seventeen: A Sluggish Memory
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
...boys to bed. Riddle lingers in his office and asks Slughorn what he knows about Horcruxes. Again, fog fills the room and Harry hears Slughorn say sternly that he knows nothing... (full context)
Chapter Eighteen: Birthday Surprises
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
...who loves him; but Hermione is perplexed, as even she has no idea what a Horcrux is. Ron thinks that Harry should approach Slughorn after Potions but when he shares this... (full context)
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
...the bell rings, Harry lingers behind and without preamble asks Slughorn what he knows about Horcruxes. Slughorn grows pale and immediately deduces that Harry is acting on Dumbledore’s orders; he says... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-Three: Horcruxes
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After the other students leave, Riddle stays behind and asks Slughorn about Horcruxes. The professor is taken aback, but Riddle perseveres, telling Slughorn that he’s turning to him... (full context)
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...it’s possible to split one’s soul more than once – for example, to create seven Horcruxes. Clearly repenting of the entire conversation, Slughorn tells Riddle never to speak about this again,... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
...piece of Voldemort’s soul. At the same time, the carelessness with which Voldemort treated this Horcrux – allowing it to fall into the hands of a random student – convinced him... (full context)
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
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...a potion – or the person who brewed it. He prefers to “operate alone,” and Horcruxes allow him to do that. Dumbledore is convinced that, just as Riddle suggested in the... (full context)
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To cheer him up, Dumbledore points out that Harry has already destroyed one Horcrux, the diary, while he has eliminated another – Marvolo’s ring, which he found hidden in... (full context)
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Overwhelmed, Harry points out that any object could technically be a Horcrux. But Dumbledore responds that Voldemort has always been attracted to powerful or significant objects, and... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Even if Voldemort did manage to procure something belonging to Ravenclaw, the remaining Horcrux remains unclear to Harry – until Dumbledore says he’s long suspected that it’s Nagini, Voldemort’s... (full context)
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Harry asks if Voldemort can tell when a Horcrux is destroyed, and Dumbledore responds that he’s probably dehumanized himself too much to be able... (full context)
Love and Friendship Theme Icon
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If all the Horcruxes are destroyed, Voldemort can be killed – but only by someone with “uncommon skill or... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-Five: The Seer Overheard
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...intending to confront him. However, he’s confounded by Dumbledore’s announcement that he has found a Horcrux in a coastal cave, where Tom Riddle once tormented some children from his orphanage. He... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-Six: The Cave
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Love and Friendship Theme Icon
...of the lake. Dumbledore says that Voldemort must use this boat to check on his Horcrux, and that as long as they’re inside it the creatures of the lake won’t guess... (full context)
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...frightening because they remind people of the unknown. He says that once they have the Horcrux, they will use fire to dispel the Inferi. Harry wishes he had said a proper... (full context)
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...out of the boat and examine a stone basin full of glowing green liquid; the Horcrux is inside, but they can’t scoop the potion away with their hands or use magic... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-Nine: Phoenix Lament
Coming of Age Theme Icon
...goes upstairs to find Ron and tells him that he didn’t even find a real Horcrux. He sows him the fake locket and Ron wonders who wrote the note. Harry feels... (full context)
Chapter Thirty: The White Tomb
Coming of Age Theme Icon
...she’s found some important information in the library this morning. Harry hopes it’s about the Horcruxes, which he can’t stop thinking about even when he’s asleep. (full context)
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...if it doesn’t close, he’s not returning: he has to find the rest of the Horcruxes and fight Voldemort, just as Dumbledore wanted. (full context)