WELCOME TO THE LAST CHAPTER OF HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS!
How is this even possible? Folks, we’ve broken down every single chapter of the second Harry Potter book and dived deep into the lore behind this book. And now, we’ve reached the end of another work in this fantastic series.
First of all, I hope you’ve had a wonderful holiday season so far. On Friday, 2020 will be OVER… so it felt fitting to end this book just in time for the end of the year. I hope Muggles and Mocha has provided a little light during what has been a difficult year. Starting these articles and videos has been the highlight of this year for me—thank you for coming along for the ride!
Today, our video covers a TON of subjects, from the conversation between Harry and Dumbledore to our End-of-Book feast. I love the happy ending we get in this book because, as we know from future installments, this is one of the last endings we get that isn’t tainted by the fear of the unknown.
As always, there are *SPOILERS* ahead!
But our article is what I’m extremely excited about. As you’ll remember from the last one, we’re tackling an important question brought up by one of our viewers, Parker. Here’s a little bit of what he said in his comment:
“Madison. Can we talk about how close Voldemort gets to actually returning here?… I think that this attempt at a return is the closest that Voldy comes to actually returning until we hit the fourth book. WHAT IS WILD to me is that he doesn’t seem to know how close he came to returning either… I don’t think he was aware of what happened in the Chamber… Which leads me to some VERY interesting questions and speculation. Riddle is feeding off of Ginny’s life force in an attempt to bring himself into the physical world BUT, at the same time, a fragment of soul and consciousness exists in the forests of Albania. What happens if the diary Riddle succeeds and returns to a physical body? Does the Voldemort in Albania cease to exist or do we now have two independently functioning Voldemorts? I think that there is room in the lore for this to be a possibility.”
As I said last time, this question is very fascinating to me, and I’m sure the same is true for many of you out there. I’ve been pondering this thought for a while now, and… I think I’m ready.
Let’s get started!
So, what would have happened if this Horcrux had succeeded? What would have happened if diary Tom Riddle had recovered his human body and, essentially, come back to life? Does this mean there would have been two Voldemorts (one at Hogwarts and one in Albania)? Let’s discuss.
Let it be known—all that follows are my theories and opinions based on what we know about Horcruxes and the events of later books. All of this is just speculation of course, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it! Feel free to add your theories in the comments, and we can have a good ol’ debate.
In a nutshell… if diary Tom Riddle had absorbed all of Ginny’s life force and become “human” again, here’s what I think would have happened:
First, we need to set the stage. This diary is a Horcrux, which means it contains a piece of Voldemort’s soul. The Voldemort we know from the first book is currently hiding in Albania again.
On a side note: Voldemort constantly gets mad that none of his followers “came to find him” when he was in this weakened state, both in the events before Sorcerer’s Stone and after. Why on earth was Albania his first choice, then? In a huge FOREST? He’s lucky Peter Pettigrew found him, honestly.
Anyway, back to our discussion.
My first thought when considering diary Tom Riddle succeeding is this: I wonder if this Horcrux Tom Riddle would ever truly be human, or if he would become the “dominant” Voldemort. I believe that answer comes down to whether or not there is a “core” piece of Voldemort’s soul among the Horcruxes and the soul originally residing in Voldemort. Personally, I think there is in fact a “core” piece.
Even though Voldemort was “killed” in Godric’s Hollow back in 1981, his core consciousness didn’t transfer to another Horcrux. In other words, the soul residing in his original form didn’t cease to exist when his body died, transferring his consciousness to any of the soul fragments dwelling in the locket, cup, diary, ring, or even Harry. Instead, his core soul fragment survived without a container. This is the true power of Horcruxes—they keep the core soul tied to the physical realm as long as the Horcruxes exist. They aren’t containers for Voldemort to use as a new body, per se.
So, after his body died at the Potters’, Voldemort just… flew away. We’re unsure of the exact form he was in when he fled to Albania. The books describe him as being a ghostly spirit being. The Horcruxes he had already created, instead of giving him another piece of soul to use or even another form, simply kept his spirit bound to the physical plane. He did possess animals during this time to assume a physical form while he was in hiding, but it wasn’t an effective way to live, as we’ll discuss later in the article.
Still with me so far?
Because of this information, I believe there is one soul shard of Voldemort that possesses his “core identity”—the shard that went to Romania, possessed Quirrell, and fled back to Albania during the events of the Chamber of Secrets.
If diary Tom Riddle had regained a physical form in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, would it have truly been Voldemort? I think maybe it would have been a copy of him, but never more than a copy. After all, it doesn’t hold the core identity of Voldemort. The Voldemort we know would still have existed in the form he was in at the time in Albania, and Horcruxes aren’t meant to make their creator disappear if they take on a stronger form.
Additionally, we need to realize this particular piece of soul in the diary was given a mission—to open the Chamber of Secrets and finish the work of Salazar Slytherin. Beyond that mission, would this Horcrux have come up with its own agenda after it had achieved a physical form? I personally don’t think so. As I’ve mentioned, I think this Horcrux could only ever become a copy, a false human.
Now that we’ve laid the groundwork, let’s say Tom Riddle did create a physical form. After that point, I believe that if and when Voldemort discovered one of his Horcruxes now possessed a living human vessel, the core soul fragment (true Voldemort) would have done everything in his power to use that vessel as a new human body for himself, which could mean a couple of different things.
From here, two possible outcomes could have happened:
Option 1: Voldemort could have somehow discovered how to “dwell” in young Tom Riddle’s body.
But here’s the kicker with this outcome—would Voldemort have to fuse his soul back together to accomplish this? I’m thinking that might need to be the case for him to be successful in this endeavor. As we learn from the books, whenever Voldemort tried to possess a vessel (such as the animals in Albania or Professor Quirrell), their lives were shortened in the process. Quirrell had to drink unicorn blood because the strain of having Voldemort live in his body was killing him. Because of that, I wonder if Voldemort could have truly lived in a body that wasn’t created for him and his core soul, even if it was the body of his sixteen-year-old self.
However, to rejoin with the diary soul fragment would take true remorse, which, as we learn, Voldemort is incapable of. Because of that, I’m wondering if using the vessel created from the diary as “his body” rather than simply possessing it would be possible. Would it ever accept a dominant soul that never truly belonged there?
In moments like these, I choose to look to another of Voldemort’s “living” Horcruxes as an example: Nagini. I believe Nagini would have gladly agreed to house Voldemort. However, as we’ve established, whenever Voldemort attempted to “live” in another person’s body, the body began to die. I think this would have happened with Nagini as well; if this is to be believed, wouldn’t diary Tom Riddle’s body have followed the same rules as the animals Voldemort possessed and Professor Quirrell? Would this body have steadily decayed because of the strain of housing another soul? Or would the body have accepted the core soul fragment, since this is a version of his younger self? It’s difficult to say.
I’m back and forth on whether this option could happen, but if there was any way Voldemort could use this body as his own, he would. This would mean Voldemort would have regained his body much sooner, and the events of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire wouldn’t have to happen… However, this also means Voldemort wouldn’t have used Harry’s blood to create a body for himself; as we see, this decision is one of the causes of Voldemort’s failure to kill Harry, a flaw in the plan.
Without Harry’s blood, there’s a high possibility Voldemort would have been successful in killing Harry and effectively ending the book series!
Again, this all comes down to whether or not Voldemort would have been able to use diary Tom Riddle’s body as a vessel.
Option 2: If, for some reason, Voldemort was unable to use the diary Horcrux body as a vessel, he would have used this young Tom Riddle as a tool instead.
If diary Tom Riddle had gained a body of his own, I’m of the mind that this soul fragment couldn’t have taken on its own agenda. Voldemort would have been able to still use it as he wished, just as he did when it was in diary form. So… would there have been another Tom Riddle fighting alongside Voldemort at the final battle? I don’t see why not, even though it sounds weird to say.
Again, another example to consider is Nagini, a living creature that contained a piece of Voldemort’s soul. Voldemort protected her and used her to accomplish his goals—I believe the same would have been true for diary Tom Riddle. In the end, Voldemort would have protected him, as he did Nagini, by keeping him close by.
With another Horcrux to destroy, this would have made Harry and the gang’s task even more formidable. The sixteen-year-old Tom Riddle was deadly, and he would have been a force to be reckoned with in the final battle. Who knows what would have happened if he’d been present for the Battle of Hogwarts?
But what about Ginny?
Last, I want to momentarily consider the effect diary Tom Riddle’s success would have had on Harry. Ginny, his future wife, would have died. Obviously, this would change Harry and the Weasleys’ futures immensely. Many moments in the later books would be very different, and I’m sure there were people who survived because of Ginny’s actions in all of the major battles she was involved in (Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, and Deathly Hallows).
The Harry Potter universe would be a darker place without Ginny Weasley.
So, those are my thoughts on what would have happened if Tom Riddle had been successful in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. What a fun question to examine—thanks again, Parker!
Also, as usual, I’d love to know your thoughts on this question; leave a comment below about what you believe would have happened or what you think about my theory.
And that is the END of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets! Don’t forget to check out the video above for a full breakdown of Chapter 18. After the holidays, we’ll start our next book, which is a fan favorite: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Follow me on social media through the buttons below to keep up with any new updates.
In the meantime, have a Happy New Year! I’ll see you Muggles in 2021!
Disclaimer: I do not own any element of the Harry Potter series.