Harry Potter and the Questionable Plot Hole
Here’s a Harry Potter brainteaser for you:
In Chamber of Secrets, Harry destroys the Tom Riddle’s Diary Horcrux by stabbing it with a basilisk’s fang. In Deathly Hallows, Hermione destroys the Hufflepuff Cup Horcrux in the same manner. So how is it that the Horcrux inside Harry isn’t destroyed when he is bitten by the basilisk?
I am not the first muggle to raise this question. Not by a long shot. In fact, I didn’t even think of it until I was listening to a recent episode of Mugglecast and a LeakyCon attendee brought it up.
Is it a mistake? Could the great writer J.K. Rowling have made such a glaring error?
No, there is a logical explanation to this seemingly illogical occurence.
Some people have argued that the Horcrux is actually in Harry’s scar and since the basilisk bit him in the arm, the Horcrux was not destroyed. Others insisted that Harry had to die willingly in order for the Horcrux to be defeated. But I’ll turn to J.K. Rowling herself for the definitive explanation. When asked why the Horcrux in Harry is not destroyed when the basilisk attacks, she answered:
“I have been asked that a lot. Harry was exceptionally fortunate in that he had Fawkes. So before he could be destroyed without repair, which is what is necessary to destroy a Horcrux, he was mended. However, I made sure that Fawkes wasn’t around the second time a Horcrux got stabbed by a basilisk fang, so the poison did its work and it was irreparable within a short period of time…. I established early in the book, Hermione says that you destroy a Horcrux by using something so powerful that there’s no remedy. But she does say there is a remedy for basilisk poison but of course it has to be administered immediately and when they stab the cup later – boy I’m really blowing this for anyone who hasn’t finished the book – there’s Fawkes, is my answer. And thank you for giving me a chance to say that because people have argued that quite a lot.” -J.K. Rowling
People have argued that magic is used in the Harry Potter series as a crutch. Whenever the plot doesn’t make sense, magic is used to explain it away. Moreover, they say that J.K. herself isn’t a fan of magic, otherwise it would make more sense and vary more in its potential.
I will admit, the wizards in this series only appear to have a rudimentary handle on magic. The same few spells are cast over and over again with little variation. Only a select group of wizards explore the scope of their magical powers and tweak existing spells to serve their own purposes. Snape, for example, develops the Sectumsempra. Voldemort devises a way in which to stalk wizards who say his name out loud. James Potter, Sirius Black, Peter Pettigrew, and Rita Skeeter turn themselves into animangi. Both Snape and Kingsley Schaklebolt display the ability to send their patronuses on missions. Snape and Voldemort can fly without brooms. And Dumbledore can be invisible without an invisibility cloak.
But we never see such creativity out of Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Luna, Ginny, Draco – you get the idea.
I don’t think that J.K. is disinterested in magic and the rules that govern its use and development. I just think her main focus is on the magic of love (wow, that sounds obnoxious). It’s the most powerful form of magic in the series, which is interesting because it’s the only magic both wizards and muggles can use.
So do I think magic is used as a crutch? No. But I also don’t think the Harry Potter series is about magic. And if you really believe the magic in Harry Potter can solve the greatest conflicts of the series, I don’t think you understand the story.