In the Harry Potter series, it is known that Voldemort has used horcruxes in an attempt to make himself almost indestructible.

Later when Harry looks into a Pensieve during one of his sessions with Dumbledore, he finds out Tom Riddle already knew how to make horcruxes but not how dangerous they were. That wasn't mentioned.

Hermione says later in Deathly Hallows that if someone has too many horcruxes, the person becomes very highly unstable soul wise. She also says that the only way to make yourself whole again is to be remorseful, but because you were remorseful, the impact of all the soul parts rejoining can in fact kill you.

But other than it makes you unstable soul wise, why is it so dangerous to have more than 6 horcruxes... as Voldemort has 7?

  • 1
    – BCdotWEB
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 9:55
  • Where in the film is that all mentioned, especially the things with about being remorseful and the rejoining parts killing you? The choice of the number 7 seemed rather arbitrary in the films. Can you name the scene where the above dialogue ocurs?
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 13:16
  • I also indirectly answered this here (the physical "why not" as opposed to the moral "why not"), as it pertains to side effects of Horocruxes: movies.stackexchange.com/questions/84294/… Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 17:35
  • @NapoleonWilson 7 is considered to be a "lucky" number by superstitious people - and probably was used for magical significance...
    – HorusKol
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 0:13

3 Answers 3


A Horcrux is a soul container for a fragment of the creator's soul. The creation of the container requires the splitting of the soul, but whether each ritual halves the soul every time or the split is carried out evenly is never determined. In any case, Voldemort is running around with at most one-eighth of his soul for much of the series.

Presumably a diminished soul does affect one's mental capability, given the many warnings of the dangers of creating a horcrux. We know Herpo the Foul (who invented the first horcrux) did not create multiple horcruxes, because Tom Riddle shocked Professor Slughorn when he asked about the best number in which to split his soul, taking number seven to be correct from the conversation.

He does have seven soul fragments in existence at all times, despite not realising that Harry Potter is one of his horcruxes. Initially, he has the Diary, the Ring, the Locket, the Cup, the Diadem, Harry Potter, and himself. Once the Diary is destroyed, he makes Nagini into his final horcrux (believing he needs one more for seven), giving him the Ring, the Locket, the Cup, the Diadem, Harry Potter, Nagini, and himself.

So what are the dangers of having one or more horcruxes?

Does having so little of his soul remaining affect Voldemort? It's hard to say, but it can be argued that he was more of a sociopath in his teens at Hogwarts and slowly devolved into a complete psychopath in later days. Whether this can be attributed to the effects of continually dividing his soul, to other rituals he undoubtedly performed, to gradual mental impairment as an evil overlord, or to sheer mental breakdown from living as a possessing spirit for over a decade is impossible to determine.

A lot of Dumbledore's arguments turn out to be incorrect. He claims Voldemort's soul was so unstable it broke apart when he attacked Godric's Hollow. We know this to be untrue (though Dumbledore may have believed it to be true when he said it) because Voldemort is still around, and he later splits his remaining soul to create the Nagini horcrux.

The whole Hermione argument is also questionable because we never see it realised in any way. In any case, asking a psychopath to be remorseful is quite impossible, and if turning into a psychopath is the effect of one or multiple horcruxes, then it is a fallacious argument.

Are the dangers of horcruxes real? Or are they exaggerated by a Ministry unwilling to see the rise of more invulnerable Dark Lords? Only J. K. Rowling really knows.


As is mentioned in the novel, even splitting your soul into two pieces by making a single horcrux make your soul highly unstable, not withstanding the fact however great a wizard the person is.

Also, making horcruxes makes you less aware of how safe the other pieces are as the person becomes detached like Tom, and as you may remember, it was very late until Voldemort realized that they were hunting his Horcruxes.

If there had been any wizard like Dumbledore or Grindelwald in his prime, Voldemort wouldn't have stood a chance (nor did he at the hands of three children, but oh well).

Also, if the person dies like Voldemort, they are at the mercy of their confidante or followers to ressurect them, which isn't a cheerful thought either.


I think of it like diluting your being. Lets say you have a grain of salt. By itself, it is a grain of salt. Split that grain of salt, and you still have salt. But lets say you drop that grain of salt into water. Now that grain of salt ceases to be salt because it has diluted into the water.

Essentially, you cease to be.

Voldemort presumable is capable of 6 splits because he had a very strong soul, or perhaps will, that held him together. Thus each piece of his soul was able to act somewhat autonomously. But perhaps a lesser person would lose their sense of self and thus cease to be.

  • But why was it dangerous? This doesn't attempt to answer the question.
    – natural
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 14:13
  • 3
    I don't see how ceasing to exist is not dangerous. You're effectively dead.
    – ViggyNash
    Commented Feb 20, 2018 at 14:51

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .