Voldemort was looking to reach immortality when he was still in school. He desired to live forever, be the greatest wizard of all times, and rule over other, preferably pure-blood witches and wizards.
He started the journey in the Restricted Section of Hogwarts Library, where he learned about preserving his soul from the book Secrets of the Darkest Art.
What are the Horcruxes?
A Horcrux is a name of an object that contains a piece of a witch or wizard’s soul.
The object used to conceal one’s soul should be an inanimate one and of extraordinary strength, as the dark magic used to create a Horcrux could destroy the object, rendering Horcrux useless.
One can create a Horcrux by committing murder with premeditation to split the soul, then performing a terrible act of which nobody really knows, and casting a spell to lodge the piece of the soul into an object.
The whole creation of a Horcrux was developed by one Herpo the Foul and described in the Secrets of the Darkest Art. One could find the book in Hogwarts Library before Dumbledore confiscated it and hid it in his study.
How Many Horcruxes are There?
Tom Riddle created eight Horcruxes, but one of them was only temporary, as Voldemort vacated it after its failure.
- Number one was the diary of 16-year-old Tom. He used Myrtle’s death (by Basilisk stare) to create it, and the piece of his teenage soul held the memories of the events of the opening of Chamber of Secrets and framing Hagrid. Tom created the first Horcrux on June 13th, 1943. He entrusted the diary to the hands of Lucius Malfoy.
- Second Horcrux was Marvolo Gaunt’s ring stolen from the finger of Tom’s uncle, Morphin. To create this Horcrux, Tom used the death of his own father, Tom Riddle Senior. The Horcrux was hidden in Marvolo Gaunt’s old house.
- Horcrux number three was the Cup of Helga Hufflepuff. Tom stole the Cup (and the next Horcrux) from Hepzibah Smith. Straight after graduating from Hogwarts in 1944, Tom Riddle worked for Borgin and Burkes, and Hepzibah was his client. After stealing from Hepzibah, Tom killed the old witch and framed her tiny, old house elf. The Cup was hidden in Bellatrix Lestrange’s Gringotts Vault.
- Number four is the Slytherin Locket. The Locket was the second object Tom stole from old Hepzibah. He used the death of a Muggle tramp to create a Horcrux in the Locket. Tom went to a great effort to hide this Horcrux in the Crystal Cave, nearly killing an old house-elf, Kreacher.
- The Horcrux number five is Rowena Ravenclaw’s Diadem. Tom coaxed the location of the Diadem from the ghost of Helena Ravenclaw when he was still at school. After killing Hepzibah and quitting his job at Borgin and Burke, Tom went to Albania to find the Diadem. He killed an Albanian peasant to create it. He hid the Horcrux in the Room of Requirement when he visited Hogwarts applying for Defence Against the Dark Arts position.
- Horcrux number six is our famous Harry Potter. Tom never intended to create this particular Horcrux, and he never knew he did so for what we know. To create this Horcrux, Voldemort used Lily Potter’s death on Halloween night of 1981. When the killing curse bounded back to him, his fragmented soul split again, and part of it lodged itself in infant Harry.
- The Horcrux number seven was a temporary one. Voldemort’s soul inhabited Professor Quirrel’s body. As far as we know, nobody had to die to create this Horcrux, but it wasn’t a lasting one. Tom made this Horcrux sometime in August 1991 after Quirrell failed to steal the Sorcerer’s Stone from Gringotts.
- The last Horcrux, number eight, was Voldemort’s pet snake Nagini. Tom created it after killing Bertha Jorkins. It happened sometime in 1994 when poor Bertha was traveling in Albania and stumbled upon Peter Pettigrew in a pub.
How were the Horcruxes Destroyed?
Dumbledore suspected what Tom Riddle was up to, and after figuring out Harry destroyed the first Horcrux, he set out to destroy them all. Dumbledore entrusted Harry to continue the mission. It was the only way to defeat Voldemort.
Harry destroyed the temporary Horcrux in Quirrell during the scuffle for the Sorcerer’s Stone. Quirrell couldn’t stand Harry’s touch. The reason, as Dumbledore was kind to explain, was that Harry’s mother’s sacrifice still protected Harry. As soon, as Voldemort realized the failure of Quirrell’s body, he vacated it, leaving Quirrell to die.
Unknowingly to Harry at the time, he destroyed another Horcrux, Tom Riddle’s diary, in the Chamber of Secrets. Harry stabbed the diary with broken Basilisk’s fang, which still contained the snake’s venom.
Dumbledore discovered Marvolo’s Ring in Gaunt’s old, falling-down house. He destroyed the Horcrux with the Sword of Gryffindor, but not before he put the Ring on and activated a deadly curse.
Salazar Slytherin’s Locket put up a good fight. We reckon that it suspected what was about to happen, and it tried to possess both Harry and Ron to stop them from destroying it. Fortunately, Ron turned out to be braver than we gave him credit for and finished the Horcrux with the Sword of Gryffindor in the Forest of Dean.
Hermione Granger got the pleasure of stabbing Helga Hufflepuff’s Cup with broken Basilisk’s fang. One of Ron’s brilliant ideas was to sneak into Chamber of Secrets to gather some fangs from the body of the dead Basilisk just for the occasion.
Rowena Ravenclaw’s Diadem burned in a Fiend Fyre that engulfed the Room of Requirements, destroying everything else and irreparably damaging the Room itself. During the Battle of Hogwarts, Gregory Goyle cast the curse surprising everyone with his knowledge of the complex spell but predictably couldn’t control it.
After learning about his destiny, Harry Potter gave himself up to Voldemort, who unknowingly destroyed his own Horcrux by casting the killing curse on Harry. As we well know, it didn’t work again. The Boy Who Lived lived for the second time.
Neville Longbottom showed his true bravery in a fit of rage and went at Nagini the Snake with Godric Gryffindor’s Sword cutting the snake’s head with a clean strike. All we can say is, well done, Neville!
Many wizards and witches don’t know about Horcruxes, but wizards that do know about them consider them the darkest of magic because of the terrible things one has to perform to create one Horcrux.
It is also an awful thing to split one’s soul into pieces just to gain immortality. Voldemort has done it multiple times, eight to be precise, but after all, he didn’t get to live even an average, wizarding life. Wizards and witches enjoy prolonged life as it is, far longer than Muggles.