Ever since the last Harry Potter book and film were released, fans of Harry Potter have always wanted the magic to continue. Either through additional books, such as The Tales of Beedle the Bard, more movies, like the upcoming movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and even Fan Theories, there is still plenty more that Harry Potter fans are able to receive. With regards to Fan Theories, some that have been proposed by fans can seem rather far-fetched. However, there also are those that when well thought out, they can seem indeed very plausible. One Fan Theory that I wish to propose (that in my opinion seems rather plausible) is the theory of Dumbledore's Horcrux.
The theory of Dumbledore's Horcrux is based upon the idea that Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, created a Horcrux at one point during his life. Even to me, at first when this theory made its way into my thoughts, it seemed almost unbelievable. But almost unbelievable is not quite unbelievable, and there are certain clues within the Harry Potter books that give way to this theory.
Before any evidence is given toward this theory, it is necessary to give the definition of what is a Horcrux:
"Horcrux - An object within which a wizard [or witch] hides a piece of his [or her] soul. This is the Darkest of magic and can only be performed after a wizard [or witch] splits his [or her] soul by committing murder, a pure act of evil. A Horcrux protects the bit of soul encased within from anything that might happen to a wizard's [or witch's] body. Once a Horcrux has been created, the wizard [or witch] who made it cannot be killed until the object is destroyed." -The Lexicon (Steve Vander Ark)
Based upon the definition of what a Horcrux is, it is deemed necessary that a witch or wizard must commit murder in order for a Horcrux to then be created. When reading this, or thinking about a Horcrux in general, it seems difficult to believe that Albus Dumbledore himself would ever commit an act of murder. However, based upon a critical analysis of what Dumbledore says, and even how it is said, it becomes plausible that Albus Dumbledore may have in fact created a Horcrux.
One clue as evidence to support this theory is the death of Ariana Dumbledore, sister to Albus Dumbledore. The death of Ariana Dumbledore was the result of a fight between Albus, Aberforth Dubledore (brother of Albus), and Gellert Grindelwald (at the time, befriended to Albus, prior to his ultimate rise to power). It is during the King's Cross chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows when Harry Potter learns more about the death of Ariana Dumbledore. When Albus Dumbledore is confessing to Harry Potter (inside his head) about his youthful plans for power and quest for the Deathly Hallows with Gellert Grindelwald, Dumbledore claims that after Grindelwald fled from the fight, Dumbledore feared Grindelwald; not out of fear but in fear of the truth.
"You see [Harry], I never knew which one of us, in that horrific fight, had actually cast the curse that killed my sister. [...] I dreaded beyond all things the knowledge that it had been I who brought about her death, not merely through my arrogance and stupidity, but that I actually struck the blow that snuffed out her life." - Albus Dumbledore (DH-Chapter 35-Pg.718)
Based upon what is written, it is to be read that Dumbledore did cast a spell, most likely intended for Grindelwald, that was deadly enough to cause mortal peril (possibly casting the Killing Curse). If when Dumbledore dueled Grindelwald during their famous duel of 1945 he discovered that it was indeed himself that had killed his own sister, Dumbledore (as would any other sane person) would feel the deepest remorse and would then have to live with that guilt inside of him for the rest of his life.
Another clue as evidence to support this theory is during The Cave chapter in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince when Dumbledore is drinking the potion that causes him to be 'driven out of his mind.' When drinking the potion, Dumbledore is sobbing and moaning phrases of remorse and plea.
"It's all my fault, all my fault. Please make it stop, I know I did wrong, oh please make it stop and I'll never, never again...Don't hurt them, don't hurt them, please, please, it's my fault, hurt me instead..." -Albus Dumbledore (HBP-Chapter 26- Pg. 572)
A year later when Harry Potter is in the Hog's Head and conversing with Aberforth Dumbledore, Harry mentions the night when Dumbledore died.
"[Albus] drank a potion that drove him out of his mind. He started screaming, pleading with someone who wasn't there. 'Don't hurt them, please...hurt me instead.' He thought he was back there with you and Grindelwald, I know he did. He thought he was watching Grindelwald hurting you and Ariana...It was torture to him, if you'd seen him then, you wouldn't say he was free." -Harry Potter-DH-Chapter 28-Pg.567-568)
If what Harry Potter says is true, and all those years ago Dumbledore did watch Grindelwald hurting Aberforth and Ariana, tortured by the sight of what he was seeing Grindelwald do to his brother and sister, Albus Dumbledore could have had murderous intentions toward Grindelwald. When the fight broke out between Albus, Grindelwald, and Aberforth, Albus could have cast a spell with murderous intentions at Grindelwald. Yet, rather than that murderous-intended spell hitting Grindelwald, it accidentally struck Ariana, thus causing her untimely death.
From these two clues, there does exist plausibility that Albus Dumbledore did kill his sister, Ariana, with a spell that had murderous intent. If this is true, then a question to follow would be, "Why would Dumbledore ever create a Horcrux?" As stated previously, if Dumbledore discovered that it was indeed himself that had killed Ariana, then he would have lived with that guilt inside of him for the rest of his life. Being that when creating a Horcrux one is splitting a portion of their soul from their own body, it would be the death of Ariana that rips part of the soul of Albus Dumbledore. Perhaps that Dumbledore did not, or could not, live with himself in knowing that part of his soul is now ripped from an act of 'pure evil;' so he decided to rip out that part of his soul from his own body.
In the case of Albus Dumbledore creating a Horcrux, it would be a very literal use of wanting to rip apart from his body a feeling or part of his body that he no longer wanted to possess. Witches, Wizards, even Muggles, would at times do almost anything to not feel a certain way, or to rip a feeling or something else from their own body just so they do not have live with such feeling. By Dumbledore creating a Horcrux, perhaps this is his way of no longer having to live with the part of his soul that now forever embeds itself with the guilt of killing Ariana.
Another question to follow in relation to why would Albus Dumbledore ever create a Horcrux is, "If he created a Horcrux, why did Dumbledore despise them so much?" It is true that Dubledore did despise the subject of Horcruxes; even Professor Slughorn brings forth this comment in the Horcruxes chapter of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince:
"[Horcuxes are] a banned subject at Hogwarts, you know....Dumbledore's particularly fierce about it...." -Professor Horace Slughorn (HBP-Chapter 23-Pg.499)
So, again, why would Dumbledore ever create a Horcrux when he despised them so? Perhaps it is because not only did he feel that a Horcrux is a selfish object to create for one's own gain, but also perhaps he knows first-hand the evil and consequences that occur when making a Horcrux.
Among the many papers that Dumbledore willed to the Hogwarts Archives were notes regarding The Tales of Beedle the Bard. Within his notes about The Warlock's Hairy Heart, Dumbledore mentions Horcuxes and their magical consequences.
"The resemblance of this action [(ripping out one's own heart)] to the creation of a Horcrux has been noted by many writers. Although Beedle's hero is not seeking to avoid death, he is dividing what was clearly not meant to be divided - body and heart, rather than soul - and in doing so, he is falling foul of the first of Adalbert Waffling's Fundamental Laws of Magic:
Tamper with the deepest mysteries - the source of life, the essence of self - only if prepared for consequences of the most extreme and dangerous kind." -Albus Dumbledore (Tales of Beedle the Bard-Pg.58-59)
Though it is not directly stated within any of the Harry Potter books, one example of a 'consequence of the most extreme and dangerous kind' when creating a Horcrux is becoming 'less than human,' both physically and emotionally. Being that the only known person within the Wizarding World to create more than one Horcrux is Lord Voldemort, it is easily noticeable to observe the changing human nature of Tom Marvolo Riddle into Lord Voldemort. Harry Potter is able to observe these changes in the Lord Voldemort's Request chapter in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince when Harry uses the Pensieve to view a memory of Dumbledore.
"Voldemort had entered the room, [...] yet he was no longer handsome Tom Riddle. It was though his features had been burned and blurred; they were waxy and oddly distorted, and the whites of his eyes now had a permanently bloody look [...]" -HBP-Chapter 20-Pg. 441
With regards to the 'dehumanizing' emotions of Lord Voldemort, along with losing his younger charisma, the loss of ability of Lord Voldemort to make repayment for his crimes is what Harry also observes by what Dumbledore says within the same memory.
"The time is long gone when I could frighten you with a burning wardrobe and force you to make repayment for your crimes. But I wish I could, Tom....I wish I could..." -Albus Dumbledore (HBP-Chapter 20-Pg.446)
If Dumbledore did create a Horcrux, though there is no observable physical change (possibly being because he only created a single Horcrux), there would still be the emotional aspect that would change, and this change, no matter how minute, would be deemed as being 'less than human.' And it is this aspect about which Dumbledore is 'fierce' when speaking to a rampaged Harry in his office after the death of Sirius Black.
Harry - "I don't want to talk about how I feel, all right?"
Dubledore - "Harry, suffering like this proves that you are still a man! This pain is part of being human -"
Harry - "THEN - I - DON'T - WANT - TO - BE - HUMAN!"
Harry exclaims repeatedly to Dumbledore that he does not know how Harry feels. But, if Dumbledore did create a Horcrux, he knows what it is like to experience 'not being human' being that Dumbledore has made himself 'less than human' through the creation of a Horcrux. Thus, Dumbledore is not only able to know how Harry is feeling but also able to properly be 'fierce' and despise the subject of Horcruxes as a result of his own personal experience in creating a Horcrux.
Now, the ultimate question regarding the theory of Dumbledore's Horcrux is able to be asked...What is Dumbledore's Horcrux?
The answer? The Elder Wand!
If the Elder Wand is to be considered as the Horcrux of Dumbledore (that is, if you have read this article up to this point), then two questions come to mind: Why would Dumbledore choose the Elder Wand as his Horcrux? as well as, What significant proof is there that the Elder Wand is indeed the Horcrux of Albus Dumbledore?
In response to the first question, one plausible explanation would be that at the timing of winning the Elder Wand from Grindelwald, Dumbledore thought that the wand would no longer have any more 'masters' over it. Dumbledore, as did probably most (if not all) of the Wizarding population at the time when Dumbledore won the Elder Wand, thought that after the defeat of the Dark Wizard Grindelwald, there would not be any more Dark Wizards that would attempt to take over the Wizarding World. Even upon meeting Lord Voldemort for the first time as Tom Riddle, Dumbledore did not know what Tom Riddle would one day become.
"Did I know that I had just met the most Dark wizard of all time? No, I had no idea that he was to grow up to be what he is." -Albus Dumbledore (HBP-Chapter 13-Pg.276)
Another plausible explanation to add in response to the question would be the intention for which the Elder Wand would be used by Dumbledore. When he won the wand, Dumbledore then defined his use of it.
"I was fit to own the Elder Wand, and not to boast of it, and not to kill with it. I was permitted to tame and use it, because I took it, not for gain, but to save others from it." -Albus Dumbledore (DH-Chapter 35-Pg.720)
By using the wand to 'save others from it,' Dumbledore is portraying the idea that no other person will be the 'master' of the Elder Wand, thus causing the power of the wand to be broken. Dumbledore even appreciates this aspect when Harry Potter says to the portrait of Dumbledore in the Headmaster's / Headmistress' Office his intentions for the Elder Wand.
"'If I die a natural death like Ignotus, [the Elder Wand], its power will be broken, won't it? The previous master will never have been defeated. That'll be the end of it.'
Dumbledore nodded. They smiled at each other." -Harry Potter (DH-Chapter 36-Pg749)
With the Elder Wand losing its power, no person would seek to control the wand again, and as it is custom to bury one's wand with the deceased, no one would ever have to be in contact with the Horcrux ever again.
This way of thinking would not last once Lord Voldemort came to power and successfully retrieved the Elder Wand from the tomb of Dumbledore. However, it is because of Lord Voldemort and his search for the Elder Wand that offers a possible answer, specifically by 'killing' Harry Potter with the Elder Wand, to the question of what significant proof there is to suggest that Dumbledore did create a Horcrux using the Elder Wand.
King's Cross, Chapter 35 of Deathly Hallows, is the chapter that J.K. Rowling herself was waiting for so many years to write just so that she could write one sentence...
"Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?" -Albus Dumbledore (DH,Chapter 35,Pg.723)
Individuals, such as John Granger and Gregory Bassham, contributors to the book The Ultimate Harry Potter and Philosophy, have commented on this chapter as Harry Potter being in 'limbo' when he meets Albus Dumbledore. The term 'limbo,' in this context, is used to describe the existence of Harry between the 'real world' and the 'spirit world,' or the afterlife. The use of the word 'limbo' is a well used word to describe the situation in which Harry resides in that particular moment.
However, rather than Dumbledore coming from the afterlife to 'greet Harry as an old friend and together depart from this life as equals,' what if the experience of Harry was him encountering the soul of Dumbledore that had been kept within the Elder Wand, and was then transferred to Harry when Lord Voldemort cast the Killing Curse at Harry?
While Harry is in 'limbo,' Dumbledore reveals everything regarding his mysterious past, the errors of an old man, and how Harry is the 'true master of death.' What Dumbledore reveals to Harry is information that Harry could never have known already up to this point, meaning that Harry received this information from Dumbledore himself, or at least his memories. Yes, Dumbledore is dead for almost a year at this point, but not his soul.
In a paper written by Gregory Bassham, entitled Harry Potter and the Metaphysics of Soul-Splitting, Bassham makes a connection between the soul and memories, specifically those of Lord Voldemort and Albus Dumbledore.
"...Voldemort survives the death of his body because his memories and personality survive intact. Likewise, the postmortem Dumbledore that Harry encounters in the limbo-like King's Cross Station (DH p. 707) is still Dumbledore because the requisite psychological continuity [(memory)] is preserved." -Gregory Bassham (Reason Papers Vol. 34, no. 1)
The idea of souls preserving memories is an explanation of how Dumbledore is able to recant to Harry his thoughts during the King's Cross chapter in Deathly Hallows. But if Dumbledore created a Horcrux within the Elder Wand, and created it prior to the rise of Lord Voldemort, then there must exist a connection between parts of souls that exist outside the body within Horcruxes and the part of the soul that still remains within the body of the living person. The evidence within the Harry Potter books to support this claim resides in observing the knowledge obtained by Lord Voldemort between his demise in 1981 and his 'rebirth' in 1995.
In Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 17, The Heir of Slytherin, Tom Riddle asks how Harry Potter, as a baby, managed to destroy the powers of Lord Voldemort. In response, Harry answers:
"No one knows why you lost your powers when you attacked me. I don't know myself. But I know why you couldn't kill me. Because my mother died to save me." -Harry Potter (CoS-Chapter 17-Pg.316)
Nearly two years later in the graveyard of Little Hangleton, when Harry Potter meets Lord Voldemort with his new body, Lord Voldemort tells the story to his Death Eaters of how he lost his powers the night he attacked Harry Potter.
"You all know that on the night I lost my powers and my body, I tried to kill [Harry Potter]. His mother died in the attempt to save him - and unwittingly provided him with a protection I admit I had not foreseen... I could not touch the boy." -Lord Voldemort (GoF-Chapter 33-Pg.652)
If Harry revealed to Tom Riddle in Chamber of Secrets how it was the sacrifice of his mother that saved him from Lord Voldemort, and in Goblet of Fire Lord Voldemort revealed to his Death Eaters this same exact information, then there exists evidence to support the idea that parts of the same soul, whether they are ripped from the body or not, are still connected. Additionally, this evidence is able to support the idea that if Dumbledore did create a Horcrux using the Elder Wand prior to the rise of Lord Voldemort, then the soul of Dumbledore contained within the wand would still preserve the memories of Dumbledore even after he created his Horcrux.
Therefore, Harry Potter is able to encounter Dumbledore in his 'limbo-like' state and learn of the memories of his former Headmaster as a result of Albus Dumbledore creating a Horcrux within the Elder Wand.
Hopefully, the evidence that I have presented is enough to consider the possibility that Albus Dumbledore may have created a Horcrux using the Elder Wand. If this claim were to be true, then as re-readers of the Harry Potter series (because we all know that true Harry Potter fans re-read the series countless times), it will indeed offer a new and interesting perspective for the reader. Additionally, it offers an invitation to examine even further the phrases of Dumbledore in order to determine a parallel between what he says and the idea of Dumbledore having possibly created a Horcrux.
But it does not end there!
Ever since the night when Lord Voldemort attacked baby Harry Potter and lost his powers, Harry has lived with two souls within him: his own and that of Lord Voldemort. During the Battle of Hogwarts when Lord Voldemort strikes Harry with the Killing Curse in the Forbidden Forest, the soul of Lord Voldemort that exists within Harry is destroyed. However, if Dumbledore did create a Horcrux using the Elder Wand, and the fragment of soul within the wand was then passed into Harry, then Harry would still have two souls within him: his own and that of Dumbledore.
If Harry Potter still has two souls within him, does that mean that perhaps he could be struck for a third time with the Killing Curse and live to tell the tale? Once he married Ginny Weasley and they had children together, did part of Harry's soul, along with that part of Dumbledore's soul within Harry, get passed on to their children?
These are questions that I intend to research in the future, and I hope that more questions will arise surrounding the theory of Dumbledore's Horcrux.