Looking for Horcruxes: Harry’s Dream in Sorcerer’s Stone

QuirrellI wish I had time to do a lengthy study on all of Harry’s dreams, because I bet they’d reveal a good deal to us. I plan to, eventually. For now, I want to revisit a dream Harry had his very first night at Hogwarts after being sorted into Gryffindor:

Perhaps Harry had eaten a bit too much, because he had a very strange dream. He was wearing Professor Quirrell’s turban, which kept talking to him, telling him he must transfer to Slytherin at once, because it was his destiny. Harry told the turban he didn’t want to be in Slytherin; it got heavier; he tried to pull it off but it tightened painfully – and there was Malfoy, laughing at him as he struggled with it – then Malfoy turned into the hook-nosed teacher, Snape, whose laugh became high and cold – there was a burst of green light and Harry woke, sweating and shaking. (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Scholastic, 130).

Let’s unpack this; there’s a lot here.

Specific Elements of the Dream
He was wearing Professor Quirrell’s turban, which kept talking to him – We know that Quirrell ends up being the evil one, and that he was hiding Voldemort under that turban. In the book’s climax, Voldemort speaks to Quirrell from under the turban, and then the turban is removed to reveal the Dark Lord.

telling him he must transfer to Slytherin at once – The Sorting Hat’s placing of Harry in Gryffindor instead of Slytherin is a key point in the books, significant enough to be repeated in Chamber of Secrets. It is the earliest example, and a central one, of the lesson Harry must learn about the importance of his choices.

because it was his destiny – It is no accident that Rowling would employ this language here, since we learn about prophecies, fate, and choice from Half-Blood Prince. It is clearly Voldemort who puts stock in the prophecy and makes the choice to mark Harry, but Dumbledore explains to Harry that prophecy or not, he would go after Voldemort.

Harry told the turban he didn’t want to be in Slytherin – The choice theme is key.

he tried to pull it off but it tightened painfully
– This sounds vaguely like his experience with the scar. (Or is it just me?)

then Malfoy turned into the hook-nosed teacher, Snape – If the above is a scar reference, the pain in Harry’s head as he tried to take the turban off would easily lend itself to the appearance of Snape in the dream, since just hours earlier, Harry had experienced scar pain when his eyes met Snape’s for the first time.

Snape, whose laugh became high and cold – “High and cold” is how Voldemort’s voice/laugh is always described.

there was a burst of green light – Harry’s flashbacks to the night his parents died includes the high and cold laughter and the burst of green light (avada kedavra).

We also get from this dream the first inkling of a mental connection between Harry and Voldemort, since Harry gets a glimpse of Voldemort’s very plan of hiding in Quirrell’s turban.

Parsing it Out
What does it all mean? And what does it have to do with horcruxes? Aside from this dream being a brilliant set-up for many of the series’ key themes, it just might be a pointer to the Harry’s-scar-as-horcrux theory. Let’s make a few pertinent observations and ask some questions:

This is no random dream. Certainly one could parallel Harry’s conversation with the Sorting Hat to Quirrell’s turban and make sense out of that; but it seems too deliberate for coincidence (though JKR might just be going for playful irony). But add the (possible) veiled reference to the scar, the plan (hiding under Quirrell’s turban) and point of view (join Slytherin, destiny) of Voldemort himself, and the “high, cold laugh,” and then tie that to the memory of the night Voldemort went after the Potters (green light), and you just might have our first reference to Harry’s scar being a horcrux.

So let’s put together a dream interpretation and relate it to horcruxes: Voldemort shares Quirrell’s body and hides under the turban, but in the dream, it is Harry who is wearing the turban, pointing to the strong connection that exists (and that we learn about in Order) between Harry and Voldemort. Harry, had he remembered the dream, even gets some insight into Voldemort’s plan. Harry makes the choice to not obey the turban and go to Slytherin [parallel between Sorting Hat and Turban] and tries to remove the turban, but experiences pain [parallel to scar pain] when he does so. Malfoy derides him, but Malfoy soon turns to Snape [in association with the scar pain], who laughs like Voldemort [who would also be associated with scar pain]. We get a quick glimpse of Avada Kedavra [are we getting the theme of “scar pain” here?], and the dream ends.

If You Could Read My Mind…
If you think I’m really stretching here, ask youself this question: how on earth would all of these thoughts, including the revealing of Voldemort’s secret plan (hiding in Quirrell) make its way into Harry’s mind? In fact – and I think this is an incredibly relevant question – how is there this strange mental connection between Harry and Voldemort in the first place? It does seem to lend support to the Harry’s-scar-as-horcrux theory.

Then again I could be crazy, and Rowling might have just been employing a healthy dose of irony.

Update: LaShawn Barber has bounced off this post to discuss the dream as well, and I appreciate her comments, so go read them! I tried to comment on her site, but I’m getting an error message, so here’s a quick clarification: I’m not entirely convinced that this is evidence for Harry’s scar being a horcrux. I was initially quite opposed to the idea. Discussions with John Granger have pushed me in the other direction, however, and I thought I’d work the idea out and see where it gets me. But let’s just say that if the Harry’s-scar-as-horcrux theory were the dropoff of a great big cliff, I’d be hanging onto the edge by one hand.

39 thoughts on “Looking for Horcruxes: Harry’s Dream in Sorcerer’s Stone

  1. That’s pretty good, Travis. Thanks for giving me blogging material. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll respond and link to this post with my own theories later today.

  2. I wonder what’s up with the error message? I hate that. ๐Ÿ™

    Thanks for giving me a post idea, Travis. I was suffering from blogger’s block. I thought I’d be reduced to blogging about casting news for “Order of the Phoenix.” ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I don’t know what the deal is with the error message. Every time I try to access your site from my home computer, I can bring up just one page, and if I try to link anywhere else on the site, I get a “Precondition Failed” error.

    I hate blogger’s block. Glad I could help!

  4. does any body see the link between the turban tightening as harry tried to get it off and in OOTP when harry was “locked in the coils of a creature” when LV was possesing him. something that sprang to my mind but i haven’t got time right now to explain too much . Hope somebody else see’s the same as i do or i may be classed as a outsider, but hey.

  5. Matt, you must never have seen the mad stuff we come up with if you think that seeing that connection makes you an outsider.

    I think all this stuff is great. I’m sure Travis is right and that all the stuff in the Harry dreams is most likely highly significant both for the particular book as well as the series. Matt’s comment also makes me think it would be good to take note of anything in the books that resembles a snake, like the turban.

    Quirrell is the first of the bad guys who openly serve Voldemort that we get to meet and we start getting the flavor of the dark lord’s errant philosophy from his words and actions at the book’s end. This pattern continues in each book, Riddle in the next, then Pettigrew (3), Junior Crouch (4), the death eaters (5), Draco (6)…

  6. Great stuff.

    I’m sure that the dreams are highly significant. Additional to this I think that Trelawney’s soothsaying (besides the prophesy) is going to be highly significant. eg, when she says that she sees the Grim what she really is seeing is Sirius in dog form, or Lupin, or looking further forward- Fenrir Greyback. I think this is part of JKR’s take on divination, prophesy and dreams: that we can interpret symbols to mean anything at all and we shouldn’t base our decisions on these.

    Matt

  7. Matt, I’d want to say yes and no to your comments. I think you have a very interesting point in your Trelawney comments (she saw symbols, but missed their importance), but I tend to think her intention is to pick on divination/the need to know the further, rather than on symbology. She has employed some very clear symbols that are intended to have meaning (phoenix, white stage, etc.), and I doubt she’d want us to think those symbols “can mean anything.”

  8. Travis,
    I agree that JKR has been very specific in the selection and meaning of the symbols she has used.

    I will restated my idea as-

    JKR is suggesting that divination/astrology/dream analysis tends to be so ambiguous in both meaning and interpretation that the people concerned either make the forseen events happen becasue they wish the situation to be true or the outcome is as general as the divination and can be make to fit anyone’s life and situation. Seen in Trelawny stating that “one of us will leave us forever.”.

    I haven’t included prophesy in here as I believe that JKR and myself see prophesy as divinely inspired. I think it interesting that the only times in the books where “magic” seems to be coming from some outside agency ie. supernatural, is when Trelawny is prophesising.

    Matt

  9. I also think that the scar is a Horcrux. My question is, if the scar is a Horcrux and this means there is a part of Voldemorts soul in the scar, could a Dementor suck the soul out of a Horcrux?

  10. Dan, that is a great question!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ If they HAVE to perform “the kiss” the way that it has been discribed to us thus far, maybe not. However, it may be possible that they have other means available to them with which to receive souls that has not been revealed just yet.

    Deborah

  11. I’m not sure it would take anything special. How do they draw out a soul? No idea, doesn’t really say other than it comes out a persons mouth. Does that mean it has to come out of a mouth? I doubt it.

  12. Dan, Harry’s scar being a horcrux does help explain why Dementors like him so much – two souls! That is a really interesting question! Would a Dementor be able to suck a soul out of the scar, if indeed it’s a horcrux?

  13. Hi all! I know I’m a newbee to this site, (That’s what living in Romania for 3 years, searching for dragons will do to you) but I LOVE HP, and enjoy discussing it.
    First the dream: These are great theories, but if we look at how we actually dream, and then how to interpret our dreams, many people believe that we assign meaning in our own minds to “couple up” with things that we have experienced, to try and sort them out in our sleeping time. For example, the turban telling Harry that he should transfer to Slytherin. Harry had just gone through a very difficult sorting process for him, even arguing with the hat. He had made a VERY important choice, but certainly…as we see later…was not completely at ease with his choice. He already knows that Snape is the head of Slytherin, so therefore, he couples Snape (and Malfoy for that matter) with Slytherin, thus they shows up in his dream, laughing at him. This is just the part of his brain that is uneasy with the decision.
    he has made, trying to get him to re-think it, and maybe even change his mind…”weighing heavily” on his thoughts, so to speak.
    “But what about the turban?” I can hear you saying. Well, I admit, I have a problem just chalking that up to “crazy headgear.” Although, it’s not too far a reach, that Harry would be able to couple both sets of new and strange headgear together, and assign them meaning in his own dreaming world. Harry’s mind could have also brought back the image of the green light, as he now knows that this is associated with Voldemort, and evil.
    The sticking point here, however, becomes his scar. Why does it “tingle?” There are only 2 expalnations. 1. It is psychosomatic. (did I spell that right..is there a spell check on here?) Again, due to the fact that Harry has assigned meaning to his scar, his brain couples any “touch of eveil” to his scar, and the bodily reaction is to “remind” him that it is there.
    2. It is, indeed Voldemort either however he is, or better, as “part of himself” in the horcrux, which IS, indeed, Harry’s scar. For example, do we really think that in the weakened state that Voldemort is in, in this book, that he really could have been tapping into Harry’s mind already? AND, Dumbledore has said that he “thinks Voldemort transfrered some of his power to you, Harry, when he gave you that scar.” It odes make since that a killing cures would draw life and power from one’s own soul to cast it, does it not? And if the person actually survives, then wouldn’t that part of the soul be left behind in that person? This is certaily new groud, as Harry is the only one ot ever have survived, but it opens up all new questions.
    Is Voldemort even aware that the scar is a horcrux?
    Does the scar opperate independatly of LV, or does it provide his another link with Harry- I’d go with this theory, actaully.

  14. I only have one question that is in in the 6th book at the Lightning-struck Tower Dumbledore wordlessly froze Harry and then when Dumbledore died Harry unfroze and JKR said that Harry thought he was released of the curse because the curser was dead but if Severus is dead will Dumbledore’s life be restored?

  15. Nikitha,
    I agree with Travis. Also, Dumbledore’s spell had an ongoing effect that ceased when he died. Snape’s curse had an immediate effect that killed Dumbledore’s body then ceased it’s effect. The curser needn’t keep the AK curse going for someone to remain dead.

    Matt

  16. VERRY interesting thought Sirius Black…
    but what would be the point of it?

    For Harry getting the death kiss is worse than dying (and also for everybody else)

  17. Yeah, Sachin, but… I think that Sirius Black’s point is that if the dementors can find Horcruxes, somehow, a dementor could be useful in the search for the rest of them. Dont you think so?
    And also, Trelawney talked about a Lightning-struck Tower in Book 6 too… during the incident with the sherry bottles, wich makes me think again about the reasons Dumbledore might have to contract her even when she is not precisely a gifted divinator. Might be that -like korg20000bc started to say-, Trelawney has the sight, but not the hability to make the nedded interpretations.

  18. Travis,
    I’ve just read the opening thoughts you wrote for this page. I really appreciate it. This is interesting.

    This is how I see the dream.

    1. He was wearing Professor Quirrellรขโ‚ฌโ„ขs turban

    Harry in the dream is in a sense Prof. Quirell. He is wearing the turban of Prof. Q. So therefore we should see what is similar between Prof. Q and Harry. Prof. Q has Voldemort on his head, which we discover at the end of book one. Harry has Voldemort on his head [the scar].

    2. which kept talking to him

    The turban didn’t talk to Prof. Q. but LV did.
    So for Harry it isn’t that the turban is talking, but LV, which in later books we discover that Harry hears things LV says and thinks.
    Again this points to the scar being a horcrux. this is the connection that allows the communication.

    3. telling him he must transfer to Slytherin at once

    This one is hard.. I’m guessing that it is about the fact that LV wants to convert Harry to his side, as he tries to do at the end of book one.

    skip alittle

    3. he tried to pull it off but it tightened painfully

    I’m with you, sounds to me very much like the scar. The turban hid LV from the knowing world and the scar hides LV from the knowing world.

    4. then Malfoy turned into the hook-nosed teacher, Snape

    I think this is a reference to the fact that Malfoy will follow the same path as Snape and become a death eater.

    5. Snape, whose laugh became high and cold, there was a burst of green light

    I’m wondering if this is a reference to Snape killing Dumbledore. LV wanted to kill DD, Snape becomes like LV and kills DD. This green light refering not to the past but the future event.

    Is there any more dreams you looked into? This is very interesting. Loved your insight. Keep up the search…

    And whoever came up with the dementor’s kiss and sucking out a horcrux…Very, Very, Very, interesting…. Keep’um coming.

    You guys are great….

  19. Has anyone ever considered that Snape killed Dumbledore at DD’s request if that’s what it took to keep Draco from taking that all important step towards becoming a death eater?

  20. I don’t think that the scar is the horcrux i think that harry himself is. when voldy killed harry’s mom his soul was split in half and when he kidavrad harry the curse rebounded and destroid voldy’s body the two halves of voldy’s soul were free and the one halv went into harry, the sacrefise made by harry’s mom stopt a perfect tranision of voldy’s soul into harry thus leaving him with his scar.

  21. If, as you posit, LV can communicate with the other parts of his soul (horcruxes) then the Tom Riddle in the diary would not have had to rely on Ginny Weasley to tell him about Harry Potter and LV’s (his own) flight. It seems unlikely.

  22. This gave me another idea, maybe this dream told us what it may come in HBP because he sees malfoy laughing at him and then it becomes snape, so it could be possible that it is related to the fact that it was supposed to be malfoy the killer of dumbledore, but then it’s snape who’s done it. Or maybe i am just seeing things!

  23. is the locket horcruxe in the hbp in the black house. the locket had a note that had the initials on it rlb and i think that stands for regulus …. black, serouses brother regulus black. because he was hunted down by voldamort himself. i think that regulus found out about the horcruxes and got one and hid it in the house of blacks because nobody lived there.

  24. Doesnt anybody get it yet?? Harry is the 7nth and last horcrux!! When voldemort tried to kill him when he was a baby a piece of his soul was transferred into harry! He was going to use this kill to make a horcrux with another object but because it backfired with his mothers love protecting him it worked the other way round and harry was made into the horcrux! This is why voldemort keeps possesing harry because he needs to know his horcrux will be safe within his body! He cant get the piece of his soul without harry being dead because thats when every last trace of his mothers protection of love will leave his body so thats why he keeps trying to kill him!! So the 7 horcruxes are :

    The diary, the ring, the locket, something of hufflepuffs, something of ravenclaws, something of gryffindors (which dumbledore has already said is the sword) and harry himself!!! God some people are useles!!!!

  25. Mike, a lot of people disagree with the Harry-horcrux theory for a lot of good reasons.

    Dumbledore said the gryffindor horcrux was NOT the sword. Furthermore, there are 6 horcruxes, not 7.

  26. Mike, first… the something of Hufflepuff we know is the cup… it was supposed to be something of ravenclaw OR something of gryffindor, and as travis said, the sword is NOT a horcrux due the fact that it was safe in dumbledore’s office and voldemort couldn’t take it to make it a horcrux.

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