Before we proceed with this article, quick PSA: you might not want to read this on a full stomach, because this Redditor's theory about how Horcruxes are made is a little, well ... unappetizing. It does bring up a very important question that, quite honestly, the Harry Potter fandom has neglected for all the years since the release of the sixth book. We have some rudimentary knowledge of Horcruxes — we know that it splits the soul and prevents the splitter from dying until they are all destroyed. We know that a Horcrux can be a thing or a living person. We know that in order to create one, the splitter must commit a murder.
But here's the thing — plenty of people in the Harry Potter books murder each other. It's like a murder-palooza by the last book. If you just got an automatic Horcrux every time you killed someone, Bellatrix Lestrange would be hella immortal and we'd all probably be her Imperiused minions, so obviously that's not how it works. The one question J.K. Rowling never really address in the books is how exactly someone makes a Horcrux once the murder is committed.
I think that, like most of us, we just assumed it was some really dark, ancient, complicated magic, but J.K. Rowling makes several references in the novels about it being "unspeakable". Murder is bad enough on its own, but what line would someone have to further cross to reap the Horcrux benefit from that murder? Well, everyone, Reddit user sirlionel13 has a fan theory that's here to satiate your curiosity and empty your stomach all at the same time: Voldemort created the Horcruxes through cannibalism.
According to sirlionel13, in order to make a Horcrux, Voldemort didn't just have to split his soul — he had to tether his soul with his victims to do it. His method? ... Eating their flesh. He explains,
Cannibalism has, throughout history, been associated with gaining strength, power, or health from the dead. Whether it be to gain the strength of a defeated enemy, share the metaphysical power of a deceased member of the community, or a simple medicinal practice to rid the body of ailments, humans have had the idea that eating other humans could aid them in some way. This was fairly common up until the arrival of modern medicine throughout the world. Even when Europeans were criticizing cannibals in the Americas, they were eating dried human tissue as medicine. However, by today's standards, talking about cannibalism can easily produce a gag reflex in the people listening.
Necromancy (the more fantastical version of it, at least) is the art of using the dead for power, and was one of the reason witches were so feared in the middle ages. That is essentially what a horcrux is: killing to gain power. Why not take it a step further and include the actual body? It wouldn't be much of a stretch to assume that a black magician would kill someone specifically to use their body for necromancy - and this sounds like one of the darkest possible arts to me.
And this is why this really stands out to me: the creation of a horcrux is meant to be done by murdering someone, and therefore splitting your soul. But Voldemort doesn't always commit murders himself. Moaning Myrtle was killed by a basilisk, which isn't really murder even if Riddle had ordered it to kill. He might have been to blame for the death, but then Harry would be to blame for a lot of people's deaths without having a torn up soul. There shouldn't be anything to really connect Voldemort's soul to Myrtle - unless he took it upon himself to connect them physically. Plus, the only other way we've seen to remove a soul from a body is the killing curse, which is like aiming a tank shell directly at someone's heart: not the way to cut off just a small portion of it and save it for later. But if a recently torn soul fragment is connected to a recently departed soul, the dead might be able to lift the soul fragment out when it goes - but the connection must be made, and sicking your guard dog on the first kid you see doesn't make much of a connection. A necromantic spell on a piece of flesh you consume, however, that sounds like a way to connect souls.
Shortly after the theory was posted, people disputed it by saying that Harry's very existence disproved it — after all, Voldemort wasn't eating any baby Potter flesh, and Harry was his last Horcrux. Sirlionel13 addressed this by reminding everyone that Voldemort's soul was already tethered to Harry's during the accidental rebound of the Killing Curse. Harry was an unintentional Horcrux, and as J.K. Rowling put it, not a "true" Horcrux.
Aaaaand on that note, who wants to come over for dinner tonight?? Anything but steak.
Images: Giphy; Warner Bros