Did Harry Potter REALLY Die At The End Of Deathly Hallows? (2024)

Harry Potter

Did Harry Potter REALLY Die At The End Of Deathly Hallows? (1)

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Did Harry Potter REALLY Die At The End Of Deathly Hallows? (5)

Summary

  • Harry's sacrifice led to a twist in Deathly Hallows, leaving him in a purgatory between life & death.
  • Dumbledore's cryptic explanations hint at Harry's in-between state, tethered to life.
  • The choice to return from purgatory meant Harry's love protected his friends from Voldemort.

Harry sacrificed his life to Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but was he really dead in those moments following the Dark Lord's Killing Curse? The reveal that Harry would have to die for the fragment of soul inside him to be destroyed was the overarching twist of the series, and it was certainly an effective one. The drama was only heightened after Harry walked away from the incident, Horcrux free, and battled it out with Voldemort one last time, thus saving the wizarding world. However, the Harry Potter series remained pretty covert with the details of how all this worked.

At the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry found himself in a glowing, clean version of King's Cross Station after Voldemort used the Killing Curse on him yet again. With him was a bloodied version of Voldemort's infant form and Albus Dumbledore, the latter of whom sat down with Harry to explain (sort of) what was going on. Before he departed, Harry asked whether these events were real or just happening inside his head. The headmaster's cryptic answer gave little away, leaving it unclear whether Harry had actually died or not.

Related

How Harry Potter's Final Battle Is Different In The Books

The Battle of Hogwarts ends the Harry Potter saga with a bang, but the movie version is pretty different from the book. Here's a complete breakdown.

Harry Potter Sort Of Died At The End Of Deathly Hallows

Harry Was At A Half-Way Point Between Life & Death

Harry's death was particularly confusing in the Harry Potter movies, where almost nothing was explained. Still, even the books were somewhat ambiguous regarding what happened to Harry after Lord Voldemort cast the Killing Curse. Harry clearly survived the interaction in the long run, but the evidence points to the fact that he was, to some extent, dead for a few moments.

Dumbledore indicated that, if Harry chose, he could board a train and be taken "on," which hints that Harry had woken up in a sort of purgatory.

The first hint that Harry was dead on some level is his surroundings immediately after being struck by the curse. It's implied that every person would see something different, but in Harry's case, he saw King's Cross Station. Dumbledore indicated that, if Harry chose, he could board a train and be taken "on," which hints that Harry had woken up in a sort of purgatory. This means the Boy Who Lived was somewhere between life and death—not quite as permanent as the Great Beyond, but still not quite in the world of the living.

Dumbledore's presence there indicates that he had waited for Harry in this place between life and death, or perhaps that souls can come to purgatory to greet their loved ones. Regardless, the fact that Voldemort's tattered fraction of a soul (which was killed by Voldemort himself when he tried to kill Harry) was also in this limbo indicates that all souls come to this place when they die. Of course, Harry was a special circ*mstance, and thanks to a variety of factors, he was able to return to life again if he so chose.

Why Harry Was Able To 'Come Back' After Voldemort Killed Him

Voldemort's Blood Tethered Harry To Life In Deathly Hallows

Did Harry Potter REALLY Die At The End Of Deathly Hallows? (7)

When Harry was in the King's Cross Purgatory at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Dumbledore gave him a choice—he could board a train and carry "on" or return to the Battle of Hogwarts. This certainly wouldn't have been something that just any soul in limbo could have chosen. However, Harry was the exception because, yet again, his mother's sacrifice saved him.

In the Deathly Hallows book, Dumbledore explained that when Voldemort had used Harry's blood to remake his body in Goblet of Fire, he had taken Lily's protection into his own body. In doing so, the Dark Lord ensured that Lily's love for her son lived in the world even after Harry was killed. This magic kept Harry's soul tethered to life, similar to how Voldemort's Horcruxes kept him tethered to life. As long as Voldemort lived, Harry had the choice to return to life. Of course, Harry was still tempted to join his deceased loved ones.

The piece of Voldemort's soul that Harry saw in the King's Cross Purgatory could not return to life, nor could it carry on, since fragmented souls in Harry Potter are doomed to suffer in purgatory forever—a fate worse than death.

What Would Have Happened If Harry Had Chosen To Stay Dead

Harry's Sacrifice Would Have Protected His Friends - But Was That Enough?

Did Harry Potter REALLY Die At The End Of Deathly Hallows? (8)

When Dumbledore told Harry he could choose not to return to the Battle of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book, he was tempted. In purgatory, all of Harry's pain was gone, and he knew all those who had died during the battle would be there waiting for him if he "boarded a train." However, he knew it was his duty to go back and finish what he started. By this point, Harry had already realized that the Elder Wand was loyal to him, and he knew that if he went back and faced Voldemort, the Dark Lord would finally be finished.

By sacrificing his life to save his friends, Harry had enacted the same kind of magic that Lily had.

However, it's interesting to consider what would have happened if Harry had chosen to make his death permanent. While the Harry Potter movies missed this detail, the books revealed that, by sacrificing his life to save his friends, Harry had enacted the same kind of magic that Lily had. This meant that Voldemort could not harm anyone else at the Battle of Hogwarts since Harry's love kept each of them protected. The Boy Who Lived explained as much to Voldemort during their final battle, urging the villain to surrender since he could do no more damage:

“You won’t be killing anyone else tonight,” said Harry as they circled, and stared into each other’s eyes, green into red. “You won’t be able to kill any of them ever again. Don’t you get it? I was ready to die to stop you from hurting these people —”

“But you did not!”

“ — I meant to, and that’s what did it. I’ve done what my mother did. They’re protected from you. Haven’t you noticed how none of the spells you put on them are binding? You can’t torture them. You can’t touch them. You don’t learn from your mistakes, Riddle, do you?”

It certainly seems this would have been true whether or not Harry returned from the King's Cross Purgatory. Even if Harry had remained dead, Voldemort would have found himself powerless to hurt anyone, and this should have meant the end of the Second Wizarding War. Of course, Harry couldn't gamble with the lives of his friends. There's no guarantee that Voldemort wouldn't have found a way around this. So, Harry Potter chose to forsake the safety and comfort of death to make sure Voldemort was fully dealt with. He was a hero, after all.

Did Harry Potter REALLY Die At The End Of Deathly Hallows? (9)
Harry Potter

Harry Potter is a multimedia franchise about an orphaned boy who enrolls at Hogwarts School of Wizardry, where he learns the truth about himself, his family, and the terrible evil that haunts the magical world. Adapted from the novels, Harry Potter is an eight-episode film saga that follows the journey of Harry Potter and his friends, Hermoine Granger and Ron Weasley, as they navigate the tricky world of growing up, school life, and magic. Starting from year one and moving to their seventh year, the films chronicle the students' time at Hogwarts while unfurling a sinister plot that centers around the unsuspecting Harry. With the return of the dark wizard, Voldemort, the students and professors at Hogwarts will fight to carry on as the world around them may change forever. Harry Potter has expanded beyond the world of its films and novels with several video games, a spin-off film series titled Fantastic Beasts, and even attractions at Universal Studios.

Created by
J.K. Rowling
First Film
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
First TV Show
Harry Potter
Cast
Daniel Radcliffe , Emma Watson , Rupert Grint , Tom Felton , Alan Rickman , Matthew Lewis , Bonnie Wright , Evanna Lynch , Maggie Smith , Michael Gambon , Richard Harris , Ralph Fiennes , Helena Bonham Carter , Alfred Enoch , Harry Melling , Gary Oldman , Robert Pattinson , Warwick Davis , Oliver Phelps , James Phelps , David Bradley , David Thewlis , Katie Leung , Jason Isaacs , Imelda Staunton , David Tennant , Jamie Campbell Bower , Timothy Spall , Robbie Coltrane , Eddie Redmayne , Jude Law , Katherine Waterston , Ezra Miller , Dan Fogler , Alison Sudol , Johnny Depp , Mads Mikkelsen
TV Show(s)
Harry Potter
Character(s)
Harry Potter , Hermione Granger , Ron Weasley , Dumbledore , Minerva McGonagall , Rubeus Hagrid , Dobby the House Elf , Draco Malfoy , Sirius Black , Ginny Weasley , Voldemort
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Did Harry Potter REALLY Die At The End Of Deathly Hallows? (2024)

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