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In the wizarding world of Harry Potter, Horcruxes are powerfully dangerous magical objects that house a portion of a witch or wizard’s soul after they have committed the ultimate crime — killing someone. One fan theory surrounding Horcruxes bothers author J.K. Rowling so much, she called it “strangely upsetting.”  

J.K. Rowling
J.K. Rowling | TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images

In the ‘Harry Potter’ books and movies, Lord Voldemort creates Horcruxes by committing murder 

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince revealed how the pre-Voldemort Tom Riddle discovered Horcruxes.

Before he rose to power, Tom Riddle carefully selected inanimate objects to house the severed pieces of his soul. This is best practice when creating Horcruxes, as it makes them more difficult to destroy. In order to end Voldemort, Harry first had to destroy all of his Horcruxes.

Voldemort’s Horcruxes were: Tom Riddle’s diary, his grandfather’s ring, Salazar Slytherin’s locket, Helga Hufflepuff’s cup, Rowena Ravenclaw’s diadem, and Nagini the snake. Later, he would unknowingly place a piece of his soul in Harry Potter himself, creating yet another Horcrux.

J.K. Rowling will never confirm how to make a Horcrux 

In the books and films, Tom Riddle sought out Professor Slughorn after reading Secrets of the Darkest Art — the book that contained directions for creating a Horcrux.

From what fans have surmised, a Horcrux is created in three steps: murder, severing the soul and storing it in another vessel, and an unconfirmed third step. One user on Reddit thinks the third step is cannibalism, and that a person’s flesh or blood must be consumed. 

The process of creating a Horcrux is based entirely on fan theories and has never been confirmed or published by Rowling. In an interview with PotterCast, she said her editor felt physically ill when reading how to create a Horcrux. Rowling has never gone into more detail about how the evil objects are made, for fear of sparking debate. 

“That’s been the case with most of ‘Harry Potter,'” Rowling said. “I gave my explanation and it just fuels more debate.”

Some fans think Albus Dumbledore accidentally created a Horcrux when his sister, Ariana, died

Knowing Horcruxes are borne out of death, some fans have theorized that Dumbledore’s phoenix, Fawkes, could be a Horcrux. 

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the loss of Dumbledore’s sister is explained. During a fight involving his brother, Aberforth, and his then-friend, Gellert Grindelwald, Ariana was killed by a misfired spell. 

It’s unclear who cast the spell that killed Ariana, but Dumbledore takes the responsibility. “I never know which one of us, in that horrific fight, had actually cast the curse that killed my sister,” Dumbledore says in Deathly Hallows. “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.” 

According to Jonathan Carlin, a host on the Super Carlin Brothers YouTube, because Dumbledore assumes the blame for Ariana’s death, he could have been capable of creating a Horcrux. If Dumbledore did create a Horcrux, some fans believe it to be Fawkes the phoenix. 

J.K. Rowling denies that Albus Dumbledore would ever create a Horcrux

After several Harry Potter fans tweeted Rowling regarding the Dumbledore Horcrux theory, she addressed the rumors. 

“The idea that anybody believes this is strangely upsetting to me,” she tweeted


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Dumbledore may have blamed himself for his sister’s death, but that doesn’t mean he would create a Horcrux.

In the books and movies, Dumbledore served as the voice of reason for Harry. While he had a dark past — he wanted to become the Master of Death and possess the Deathly Hallows — Dumbledore always vehemently disapproved of dark magic and never embraced it the way Voldemort did. 

Despite how much sense it might make for Fawkes to be a Horcrux of Dumbledore’s, Rowling has explicitly clarified he would never dabble in such a thing.