A Complete Timeline Of Horcruxes And Their Soul-Splitting Magic

The Horcruxes dominate the final arc of the Harry Potter series, as the titular protagonist needs to destroy them in order to end the threat of Voldemort and the Death Eaters. Although Voldemort is the prime user of Horcruxes, the Wizarding World's history stretches far back to when the first Horcrux was created. It's also fascinating to keep track of how, where, and when each Horcrux was created, stored, and destroyed. 

The Horcruxes took a long journey, so it's worth learning about the entire history and eventual vanquishing of these pieces of dark magic

 


  • Before 100 AD: Herpo The Foul Creates The First Horcrux

    Before 100 AD: Herpo The Foul Creates The First Horcrux
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets / Warner Bros. Pictures

    Before 100 AD, the creator of the first Basilisk, Herpo the Foul, decides to take an even more sinister venture into dark magic research. Herpo kills another person and realizes it has damaged his soul. 

    Sometime later, Herpo invents a spell that allows him to split the soul into two because it has been fractured from his evil actions. The spell works and Herpo seals a part of his soul into a receptacle that he deems a Horcrux. Herpo the Foul becomes functionally immortal as the soul fragment ensures he cannot perish. 

    During that century, Herpo begins to feel true remorse for his actions and is unable to bear living with the knowledge of his crimes. The act of regret ultimately allows his soul to become intact once more, and the soul fragment from the Horcrux is returned to him; however, the process is so painful that Herpo perishes soon after.

    Later that century, the information to create a Horcrux is passed down to dark wizard Owle Bullock, who writes Secrets of the Darkest Arts as a way of passing down information on how to create Horcruxes. 

  • 1926: Merope Gaunt Sells Slytherin’s Locket To Borgin and Burkes, Tom Riddle Is Born

    1926: Merope Gaunt Sells Slytherin’s Locket To Borgin and Burkes, Tom Riddle Is Born
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince / Warner Bros. Pictures

    In early 1926, Merope Gaunt is finally freed from her wicked father and brother after they are sent to Azkaban for attacking the Muggle Tom Riddle and then assaulting Ministry of Magic wizard Bob Ogden. Merope, who has always been in love with Riddle, decides to use a love potion to put him under her thrall.

    By late 1926, Tom and Merope have married and she has become pregnant with his child. Merope begins to feel guilty for putting Tom through what is essentially a mind-control situation and hopes he's fallen in love with her for real - she stops giving him the love potion but an angered Tom abandons her and their unborn child.

    In December 1926, heavily pregnant Merope wanders around London and sells her family heirloom - a locket that belonged to Salazar Slytherin - to the Borgin and Burkes shop in Knockturn Alley. 

    On December 31, 1926, Merope has lost the will to live and is near her end. She arrives at Wool's Orphanage in London, where she gives birth to a boy. Before passing, Merope names the baby Tom Marvolo Riddle, who is left to be raised in the orphanage. 

  • 1942: Tom Riddle Turns Marvolo Gaunt's Ring Into His First Horcrux

    1942: Tom Riddle Turns Marvolo Gaunt's Ring Into His First Horcrux
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince / Warner Bros. Pictures

    In July 1942, the now-teenaged Tom Riddle has entered Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy, where he's also learned his status as a descendent of Salazar Slytherin. Tom, who is an evil wizard because he was conceived due to a love potion, has tracked down the location of his father and grandparents in Little Hangleton.

    Tom firstly arrives at his maternal uncle Morfin's house and sees the Gaunt family ring in his possession. Tom attacks his uncle and alters his memory, after which he enters the Riddle house and proceeds to eliminate his father and grandparents. Morfin confesses to the Ministry of Magic that he killed the Riddles because of the memory charm and is sent to Azkaban to perish. Riddle steals the ring to keep it as his own.

    In August 1942, Tom finds a copy of Secrets of the Darkest Arts in the Restricted Section of the Hogwarts library and learns how to create a Horcrux. Having already slain his family, Tom splits his fractured soul and places a piece into the Gaunt ring to create his first Horcrux.

    That same month, Tom becomes curious if he can split his soul into seven pieces because of his belief that the number will attest to his powers. Because Herpo the Foul only created one Horcrux, Tom approaches revered Potions professor Horace Slughorn to ask if splitting multiple soul pieces is possible. Slughorn doesn't give him a straight answer, but Tom deduces that it can indeed be done and resolves to create more Horcruxes. 

  • 1943-1944: Tom Riddle Turns A Diary Into A Horcrux, Then Learns The Location Of Ravenclaw's Diadem

    1943-1944: Tom Riddle Turns A Diary Into A Horcrux, Then Learns The Location Of Ravenclaw's Diadem
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 / Warner Bros. Pictures

    By June 1943, Tom, who has located the Chamber of Secrets at Hogwarts, plans to use the Basilisk within to eliminate the school's Muggle students. 

    On June 12, 1943, Myrtle Warren flees to the girls' bathroom, where the Chamber's entrance is located, and witnesses Tom summoning the Basilisk; he orders the serpent to kill her with its stare. 

    On June 13, 1943, Tom learns Hogwarts will close down because of Myrtle's demise and frames the half-giant Rubeus Hagrid as the Heir of Slytherin, then closes the Chamber and the Basilisk inside. 

    In September 1943, Tom decides he will use a fragment of his soul to reopen the Chamber of Secrets in the future and turns his personal diary into a Horcrux - he uses the demise of Myrtle as the latest splitting of his soul. 

    By mid-1944, Tom has deduced that the Grey Lady is the ghost of the daughter of Rowena Ravenclaw. Tom uses his charms to get the Grey Lady to give up the location of her mother's prized possession: the Diadem of Ravenclaw. Tom learns the Grey Lady hid it inside a tree in Albania and heads there after he graduates from Hogwarts, intent on turning it into his next Horcrux. He decides against it, however, and leaves the diadem in the tree for later use.

    Around that time, Tom revisits the Gaunt family home to hide the ring Horcrux. He places it in a golden box and stores it under the floorboards of the shack; Tom curses it for good measure so that whoever tries to wear it will be poisoned beyond cure.

  • 1956: Tom Riddle Poisons Hepzibah Smith And Frames Her House-Elf To Create The Cup Horcrux

    1956: Tom Riddle Poisons Hepzibah Smith And Frames Her House-Elf To Create The Cup Horcrux
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets / Warner Bros. Pictures

    By 1956, Tom Riddle has worked at Borgin and Burkes for at least a decade. His intentions are to find dark objects that he can use to gain power, which he acquires by using his good looks and natural charm. Hepzibah Smith, an old witch who falls prey to Tom's charisma, summons him to her home. She reveals her possession of the Cup of Helga Hufflepuff and the Locket of Slytherin - Hepzibah is a descendent of Helga Hufflepuff and purchased the locket from Borgin and Burkes. 

    A few days later, Tom poisons Hepzibah to claim both artifacts as his own and frames her house-elf the same way he'd done his uncle. With Hepzibah's elimination, Tom damages his soul again and splits it to create another Horcrux, this time using the Cup of Hufflepuff as a receptacle. 

    Around that time, Tom resigns from Borgin and Burkes because he has three Hogwarts artifacts in his possession and knows the Sword of Gryffindor can only be wielded by a true student of the house; Tom doesn't qualify as a Slytherin. 

  • 1957: Tom Riddle Slays A Muggle Tramp To Create The Locket Horcrux

    1957: Tom Riddle Slays A Muggle Tramp To Create The Locket Horcrux
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 / Warner Bros. Pictures

    In 1957, the whereabouts of Tom have become a mystery and he is officially considered to be a missing person. In reality, Tom has taken off deep into the Wizarding World to enhance his dark magic prowess. He decides he needs to make the locket a part of himself, so Tom takes the life of a Muggle tramp he meets along the way. 

    Sometime later, Tom proceeds to split his soul once more to place it inside the Locket of Slytherin, making it yet another Horcrux. He disposes of the Muggle's body, whose demise isn't investigated by the Ministry of Magic. 

    Around that time, the process of fracturing his soul so many times finally begins to take its toll, and Tom's good looks fade away. The evils of the Horcruxes manifest in Tom's physical characteristics, making his eyes look permanently bloodshot. His skin develops a waxy quality, and he becomes altogether brutal in appearance. Taking note of this change, he abandons the Tom Riddle persona altogether and embraces his new identity of Lord Voldemort.