Necessary Note: I wrote this piece for a Harry Potter book club a couple of months prior to the release of the Deathly Hallows book. With the imminent release of the last movie tomorrow, I thought this post was worth to revisit this search as we are still short of some horcruxes.
After the released of the Half Blood Prince and the shattering—if not completely surprising—demise of Hogwarts’ Headmaster, many questions have come to the mind of the readers. Perhaps the more over-analyzed is the loyalty of Severus Snape. There are subtle tips spread all through the six books that could support either case on where his loyalty stands. I’ll side-step that topic for now since I think there are only two viable outcome: He’s good and will help Harry somehow; or Snape is a treacherous bastard he’ll pay dearly for it in the end.
The other such topic is whether Dumbledore is dead or alive. Thankfully, Mrs. Rowling already clarified this point claiming the Headmaster will not be doing a “Gandalf.”
Now on to a topic that offers a wider realm of possibilities.
Since the introduction of the concept of a Horcrux, I fell enchanted with the concept of intentionally ripping a soul and actually taking advantage of it. The death-cheating scheme seems to be a repetitive theme in the life of Harry Potter and his wizardly world (e.g. The philosopher’s stone, the resurrection stone, unicorn’s blood, just to name a few).
A recap first, shall we? A Horcrux is an object that holds a part of soul of a wizard seeking immortality. Lord Voldemort made a total of six:
1. The Tom Riddle Diary: Given to Lucious Malfoy, destroyed by Harry Potter during the events inside the Chamber of Secrets in Harry’s second year.
2. The Ring from Slithering: Found hidden in the remains of the house of Gaunt and destroyed by Albus Dumbledore at the cost of his right hand in the process.
3. Nagini, the snake: To be found at Voldemort’s side if not sent on special missions. (e.g. Attacking Mr. Wesley at the Ministry of Magic in Book 5).
4, 5 & 6: the objects remain a mystery: “the locket .., the cup ... something of Gryffindor's or Ravenclaw's”. (Before my inbox gets inundated, I’ll concede the locket was verified, found and destroyed by the end of the Part I)
Given the fact that the two already-found Horcruxes were hidden in places that presented some importance—or milestone—in the life of Tom Riddle/Voldemort, I’m following the other known places where the Dark Lord has been.
1. The Chamber of Secrets. Fitting as he discovered his true ancestry there. It is a place no one but him could reach. “But when?” you may ask. Either before he left school or more possibly on his brief return to a job interview with Dumbledore for the Defense Against the Dark Art teaching position. (The books show a scene where Voldemort had an interview with the Headmaster for the post; however, this was not shown in the movies I think.)
2. The Room of Requirement: as the rushing Harry Potter confirmed himself when trying to hide his Half-blood prince autographed poison book, the room is overcrowded with objects. Perhaps the five-legged skeleton is one of the keepers! As to when, I’d suggest the same timeframes as above.
3. Burgin and Burkes store: What better place to hide such a dark object than a place filled with similarly dark magic pieces? The spies have a term coined for this technique; it is called: hiding in plain site! The young Tom Riddle worked there for some time. He probably placed it somewhere. Ever since Chamber of Secrets, this store keeps popping up a lot.
4. Godric’s Hollow: Yep, right where all began for Harry. I see the place might appeal to Voldemort in the same way as the Helga’s cup and Slithering locket. If the Dark Lord could not find anything from Godric Gryffindor, perhaps hiding a portion of his soul in the place of a Hogwart’s founder home.
5. The Orphanage: A place he never liked, true. But, again, the idea was to hide them well and not many people seem to be aware of Tom Riddle humble origins.
6. The Riddle House: A possibility? Why yes, indeed! Although the one I seem less likely as he spent a lot of time there during the events of Goblet of Fire. Being too close to hidden Horcrux might endanger it.