Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets revealed that Slytherin’s monster was a basilisk, but details from wizarding world history could indicate that the beast was also a Horcrux. This comes down to the wizard that first bred a basilisk, the behavior of the terrible creature, and the Dark journey of Lord Voldemort – all of which point to a Dark secret that only Tom Riddle was clever enough to work out. Though it would be years before Harry learned about Voldemort’s Horcruxes, he found one as soon as his second year at Hogwarts. The discovery of Tom Riddle’s diary was Dumbledore’s first clue that Voldemort had tampered with dangerous realms of magic. The diary was proof of Riddle’s connection to Salazar Slytherin and the first Horcrux he ever created. Ultimately, these two details might not have been a coincidence – and Tom Riddle may have learned about Horcruxes because of his discovery of Slytherin’s immortal monster.
The Wizard That First Bred Basilisks In The Wizarding World Also Invented Horcruxes
When Tom Riddle came to Hogwarts as a child, he learned that he was the heir of founder Salazar Slytherin and set his genius to discover the hiding place of the fabled Chamber of Secrets. The details surrounding how he worked this all out are unclear, but it wouldn’t have taken him long after finding the Chamber to discover that the monster within was a basilisk. So, when Riddle researched the immortal snake-like creatures, he would have learned about Herpo the Foul, who was the Dark wizard from ancient Greece who had been the first person to breed a basilisk – and the inventor of Horcruxes. Herpo the Foul had lived thousands of years before Voldemort or Harry Potter, but his research indicated that he had successfully created a Horcrux – though he never revealed what item he used. Given Herpo’s connection to basilisks, the theory that he used his magical monster to house his soul could be viable. Newt Scamander classified the basilisk as a wizard killer that couldn’t be domesticated. Yet, Herpo was able to control his. This had nothing to do with the fact that he was the breeder, and Harry Potter proved that being a Parselmouth wasn’t enough – it must have been a Horcrux.
Slytherin’s Basilisk Can Be Controlled By His Heir In Harry Potter Because It Contains His Soul
If basilisks cannot be controlled by their breeders, and knowing Parseltongue alone wasn’t enough to handle one (as demonstrated by Harry in Chamber of Secrets), then it stands to reason that a unique connection was needed for a wizard to control his monster. The fact that basilisks and Horcruxes were brought into the magical world by the same Dark wizard indicates that Salazar Slytherin discovered Herpo’s secret, bred a basilisk, and impregnated it with a piece of his soul to gain control over it. This would mean that the basilisk was not only a Horcrux but as near to being Slytherin himself as anything could be. As Salazar Slytherin’s direct descendent, Tom Riddle could also use the connection to the Hogwarts founder’s soul to control the basilisk, while other Parseltongues could not. This very well could have set Voldemort down his path of creating his own Horcruxes. He likely would have felt no need to breed another basilisk, but the petrifying monster in the Chamber of Secrets may have been precisely what inspired the Dark Lord to one day make Nagini into a Horcrux – and how he knew that this would grant him unnatural control over the snake.
Could A Basilisk Horcrux Survive Its Own Venom In Harry Potter?
There may be one problem with the basilisk Horcrux theory – the monster’s venom is one of the few substances that can destroy a Horcrux. Surely, if a wizard tried to place their soul fragment inside a basilisk, it would self-destruct. However, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets proved this wasn’t true. When Harry was stabbed in the arm by a basilisk fang during his battle in the Chamber, the piece of Voldemort’s soul that lived inside his scar wasn’t harmed. This indicates that the venom would need to come in direct contact with the soul to destroy it. Voldemort’s Horcrux items, like the locket or diary, were simple in their anatomy and would have contained a soul in a far more straightforward way. However, if a basilisk had a piece of a Dark wizard’s soul placed directly into its mind, it can be assumed that its venom would never touch it. Of course, it could just be that Slytherin’s monster was nothing more than the basilisk everyone perceived it to be. Still, the Harry Potter theory that it contained the soul of Slytherin himself makes the basilisk’s part in Harry’s story – and death with the sword of Gryffindor – all the more interesting.