An Elephant Never Forgets

gbogbo

Time Turners
The memory that Harry retrieves from Slughorn is fascinating on many levels. The conversation between Riddle and Slughorn is such a strange little dance. There are many indications that Riddle has learned much in his sneaking about, and his flattery of Slughorn is so contrived that Harry sees it too.

I'd like to get your take on the following bit:

"But how do you do it?"
"By an act of evil - the supreme act of evil. By committing murder. Killing rips the soul apart. The wizard intent upon creating a Horcrux would use the damage to his advantage: He would encase the torn portion -- "
"Encase? But how --?"
"There is a spell, do not ask me, I don't know!" said Slughorn, shaking his head like an old elephant bothered by mosquitoes. "Do I look as though I have tried it -- do I look like a killer?"
"No, sir, of course not," said Riddle quickly. "I'm sorry ... I didn't mean to offend..."
"Not at all, not at all, not offended," said Slughorn gruffly. "It's natural to feel some curiosity about these things ... Wizards of a certain caliber have always been drawn to that aspect of magic ..."
(HBP, Chapter 23, Horcruxes)

Why, oh why, did JKR use that strange phrase at precisely that critical moment? We've all heard the phrase "An elephant never forgets.", and that is what keeps popping into my mind. I think maybe Slughorn did know about the Horcrux spell.

That last little bit about wizards of a certain caliber having always been drawn to that aspect of magic seems to say that Slughorn has seen it all before. Is he possibly referring to himself? He is a potions master, after all.

If Slughorn knew the spell, did he eventually teach it to Voldemort? Would that explain his fear (remember when Harry and Dumbledore go to his house and he's disguised it as a murder scene), since any knowledge of Voldemort's secret would put one at great peril. Voldemort couldn't afford the risk that would come from other people knowing about his greatest secret.

And if Slughorn knew the spell, would that imply that he has perform it at least once? He doesn't seem like the killing type ... but "an old elephant bothered by mosquitoes. "Do I look as though I have tried it - do I look like a killer?". Hmmm...has he been accused of this before? Sometimes the guilty proclaim innocence loudest.
 
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Sir Cadogan

Noble Heart, Steely Sinew
The memory that Harry retrieves from Slughorn is fascinating on many levels. The conversation between Riddle and Slughorn is such a strange little dance. There are many indications that Riddle has learned much in his sneaking about [...]
If Slughorn knew the spell, did he eventually teach it to Voldemort?
I don't think it was necessary for him to teach Voldemort.
Thanks for quoting the passage here - when I just read it, the following went through my head: By merely *asking* Slughorn whether he knew the spell, Voldemort probably made him think of it. And although Slughorn didn't say it, Voldemort might have read it in his mind, being the talented legilimens that he is.
 

gbogbo

Time Turners
Nice little twist there. I hadn't thought of Riddle possessing those legilimency skills way back when, but your idea sounds dead on. Just through the act of suggestion, Riddle could have gotten all of his questions answered. The mosquitoes could be symbolic of the "sucking" of his thoughts.
 
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tobias

Time Turners
And it also solves the problem of Riddle knowing how to make Horcruxes already (for me, anyway...) If Riddle had a horcrux and was looking to answer some other questions, get more specifics, he prods Sluggy and reads all the information he needs in the mind once the question is asked. He may have already known how to make one but got what he really wanted from the mind... Nice one Sir C.!
 

Sir Cadogan

Noble Heart, Steely Sinew
Thanks, gbogbo and tobias ;-)
And, gbogbo: I love your interpretation of the insects as metaphors for LV's legilimental rays attacking Slughorns elephantesque thoughts :)
 

gbogbo

Time Turners
Sir Cadogan (you mangy cur!), I think your interpretation is brilliant. I was just going to write a thread theorizing that Riddle actually had made a horcrux and just wanted to learn the answer of making more than one, and that all the other questions were just subterfuge for disguising Riddle's true knowledge. There was just too much falseness going on. Your interpretation reinterprets that scene in a way that explains everything in a way that feels "correct".

So, now we've got to answer the question as to why Slughorn knew such dark magic. Can one know a spell without having performed it? And if he is an old friend of Dumbledore, was Dumbledore, himself, involved in these dark arts, or was he woefullly ignorant of his friend's past and dark side?
 

gbogbo

Time Turners
Can one know a spell without having performed it?

Well, it looks silly to answer my own question, but maybe it isn't such a hard one at all:

If Dumbledore had made Horcurxes a banned subject at Hogwarts during Riddle's day, then he can't have been banning their making. The laws against murder would have taken care of that. So, the ban could only apply to the theory and/or the spell. So, perhaps one can learn the Horcrux spell without having performed a murder. And if so, perhaps the Horcrux spell isn't so hard after all. Hmmm...

That would let Slughorn off the hook, and perhaps explain his quote about wizards of a certain caliber being attracted to such things.
 
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Sir Cadogan

Noble Heart, Steely Sinew
Hey, thanks for answering your question yourself. You did pretty well :)
(By the way, I can't call you a mangy cur - I don't even know what your pseudonym stands for ... is it a double "great big Ovaltine"? ;-) )

I agree. And I also think that Slughorn is more or less innocent. Otherwise Dumbledore wouldn't have asked him back to teach.
 

jimbo716

Time Turners
since any knowledge of Voldemort's secret would put one at great peril. Voldemort couldn't afford the risk that would come from other people knowing about his greatest secret.

.

I don't think the fact that LV has horcrux's is a secret. Exactly how many and the exact objects perhaps. In GOF LV refers to his death eaters as "those who know the extent I have gone to attain my goals" (immortality)
 

serophis

Time Turners
Perhaps this has something to do with the evil wizard Grindelwald. According to my timeline (correct me if my math is wrong), based on Sir Nick's anniversary and a few other dates, we know that Harry was born in 1980. He began school in '91, and the Chamber of Secrets was opened in '92. This was the 50th anniversary of the time Voldemort opened the Chamber; therefore, the Chamber of Secrets opened in 1942, during the second world war. He was in his fifth year then.

When Voldemort finished his final year in 1944, he had already created a horcrux within the Diary...meaning that he had to learn the talent before then. Perhaps, in the final months of the second world war, Voldemort learned a few new tricks from Grindelwald. If Grindelwald matches up with Hitler in terms of his habits and actions, he would have attempted to do exactly what Voldemort did, assembling together groups of young men to act as his soldiers in an attempt to stamp out the "impurities," and although I am not suggesting a monolithic type of evil here, I don't think it is much of a stretch that in Voldemort's last few years before coming out as a dark wizard, that he learned a thing or two from the (then) most powerful dark wizard.

Of course, it is quite possible that such curses as the Unforgiveable Curses were learned in a way much similar to Mad Eye Moody's lesson in book 4. But as for the Horcrux, I doubt any smart DOD teacher would let a group of bored teenagers know the secret to eternal life.

Edit: of course, horcruxes apparently didn't save Gridelwald. But DD does seem pretty keen on what a Horcrux is long before finding out that Tom did in fact create them, so maybe Grindelwald created a single Horcrux (seeing as most wizards only created one according to how Slughorn carried on). I think he knew very well what a Horcrux was. He also knew that if Tom only made one (the diary), Voldemort's anchor to the world would be broken in Harry's second year, so there had to be a second one keeping Voldemort in his etereal form. So now DD knew that Tom had made at least two, and being as obsessive as he was, would probably create more. DD assigned Harry the task of not finding out *what* a horcrux was, but *how many* LV created.


I doubt that LV learned the horcrux spell from Slughorn directly. He may have gotten it out of him with magic, but I think that perhaps LV had some kind of mentor for awhile that he learned it from.
 
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gbogbo

Time Turners
I don't think the fact that LV has horcrux's is a secret. Exactly how many and the exact objects perhaps. In GOF LV refers to his death eaters as "those who know the extent I have gone to attain my goals" (immortality)

Jimbo, I couldn't disagree more. The Horcruxes are Voldemort's soul, and without them, he'd be gone. They are, at the same time, his greatest strength and his greatest weakness. Given their importance, and his penchance for secrecy, I cannot believe that he would have shared this with anyone else...at least not directly.

We had a very brief thread where I threw out a completely insane, baseless bit of speculation about what he might have done that would explain his quote about the Death Eaters knowing the extent to which he has gone. I think it is "Why are they called Death EATERS?", or something like that. It is wild speculation.

Back to the secret idea. If the Death Eaters knew about the Horcruxes (as opposed to his immortality, in general), then I'm sure that information would have made it back to Dumbledore, just like Voldemort's terrible rage at Lucius Malfoy upon learning of the loss of the diary. Dumbledore has spies (or is he an animagus?!! spider? ), and they keep him informed. The story indicates that Dumbledore only had suspicions about the Horcruxes that weren't fully confirmed until the recovery of Slughorn's memory.
 
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jimbo716

Time Turners
Geeze i'm an idiot! I figured HP was probably a spider, it never dawned on me that it was DD! That makes more sense to me than anything I've read here in a long time. Spiders in the cupboard, Spiders on DD's hat, spiders in the hall. Imagine me pounding myself in the head with a copy of SS/PS crying and proclaiming my studity.
But, I still think at least a few Deatheaters knew about the horcruxes. The fear of his return is how he maintained control. Not everyone was surprised at his return.
P.S
Do you think HP/DD's spider relation is connected to Ron's deep hatred of them?
 

gbogbo

Time Turners
I hadn't thought about Ron vis-a-vis Dumbledore's potential animargus form. Maybe we should start a thread on this topic. It would be best to try to assemble a list of clues to go with the thread opener.
 

Rory

Time Turners
DD was the transfiguration teacher when Riddle was there. I think being an animagus is the ultimate transfiguration. He's got to have one.

Slughorn was the potions teacher. At the very least Tom R learned he didn't need a potion, he needed a charm. If he didn't read Slughorn's mind when he was thinking about the spell, who were the charms, and DADA teachers when Riddle was there? And what's with the restricted area of the library? If those things aren't taught - why are they even there?
 

jimbo716

Time Turners
I'm down with the new thread idea. we might find some info in Character Conspiracy. "Will Ron Turn?" brings up some interesting ideas.
About the library: I don't remember the details regarding the restricted area. Is it completely off limits to students? Or, rather restricted as in by permit only. Perhaps you must be of a certain age, or have a particulair approved reason to be in/use that section. Perhaps it is a refrance section for teachers.
 

horcruxfinder

Time Turners
The restricted area in the library can be used by students with permission from a teacher. In COS Hermione gets permission from Lockhart to go to the restricted section which is where she gets the book with the polyjuice potion recipe.
 

gbogbo

Time Turners
Thinking along the lines of Dumbledore and the idea that his animargus form might be a spider... that would fit with Snape's house: Spinner's End. A spider is a spinner, and we now know how the spinner met his end.
 

Rory

Time Turners
I don't know where this is going, the whole of the idea isn't coming together, but ~
In HBP Chapter2 is "Spinner's end."

In HBP Ch. 4 when DD and Harry are leaving Slughorn's DD asks Harry what he thinks of Slughorn:

"Harry had a sudden and vivid mental image of a great swollen spider, spinning a web around it, twitching a thread here and there to bring its large and juicy flies a little closer."

DD also warns Harry that Horace will try and "collect" him, "You would be the jewel is his collection."

It's similar to the description of another Sytherin, LV, collecting his trophies.

Then they apparate and enter the "smelly spidery broom shed."

Spiders, spiders everywhere.
 

Dr Winterbourne

Time Turners
About 10 post ago, is was asked why Dumbledore would hire Slughorn if he knew he had created a horcrux. I think the reason was so he could force Harry to extract that memory from him; nothing else matters, I don't think, at the deepest level, to hrry, Dumbledore, and possibly Snape, than to defeat the Dark Lord. All other actions are subserviant to that.

On the spider thing, Dumbledore knew where to address the letter in PS because he was one of the spiders in the cupboard with Harry.
 

Sirius Potter Fan

Night Patroll
DW said:
On the spider thing, Dumbledore knew where to address the letter in PS because he was one of the spiders in the cupboard with Harry.
I like that! We do know that one way or the other DD did know quite a bit about Harry. Suppose that is as likely one way as anything else. There are certainly many references to spiders in the books, from the spiders in his cupboard, acromantulas . . . then both being mentioned again in HBP - spiders in the broom cupboard with Harry and Dumbledore, and Aragog's death.

Slughorn said:
Wizards of a certain caliber have always been drawn to that aspect of magic ..."
Just a thought, but, we know that Slughorn is about the same age as Dumbledore, perhaps Sluggy was involved with the Grindewald thing. It could be that Grindewald had a Horcrux. I think Sluggy saw a that point where Riddle was headed, but he liked being liked too much not to answer Tom. I don't think he wanted to . . . . shaking his head ("not this again!)
 
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