Why did Voldemort not kill Harry in the Goblet of Fire?
Quora user @Stephen McGinnis had an interesting theory about why Voldemort aimed to kidnap Harry and not necessarily kill him upon the first chance he got. He speculated that:
First, Voldemort needed Harry’s blood. Well, one can debate whether he needed Harry’s blood or not, but since Voldemort insisted on that, this does not really matter. In addition, Harry was protected by his mother’s “sacrificial protection”, so Voldemort was not able to kill him – or likely harm him – himself.
Second, as a corollary to the above, it was not enough that Harry is killed; he needed to be kidnapped and kept alive – and again Voldemort could not be the one to do this. Kidnapping is far more difficult than murder, and this is especially true since Harry was so well protected. He would have to be kidnapped either at Hogwarts or on the Hogwarts Express; remember he had extra protection at the Dursley’s home.
Third, if that was not enough, all the above had to be done while making sure the Ministry of Magic did not know that Voldemort had returned. If Harry disappeared, or if he was randomly killed, it would have been obvious that Voldemort was behind this.
So, it was necessary, in this particular order to:
- Kidnap Harry.
- Without Voldemort’s direct involvement.
- Do this while he was at Hogwarts and transport him away from Hogwarts.
- Take his blood and possibly, or eventually murder Harry.
- Bring his body back to the Tri-Wizard Maze so that it would appear he was not murdered but died as part of the final task.
You might ask yourself if Voldemort wanted Harry dead so badly, why could he not set up some Death Eater(s) to do the job for him?
The answer is clear: every occasion Voldemort failed to kill Harry, people would start to wonder why. How are they supposed to fear him when he cannot even kill a child?
Imagine, now, if someone else had succeeded to kill Harry. Then, people would start to doubt Voldemort’s powers, and it would have been very dangerous for him. It is not simply about arrogance, you see.
Voldemort’s reputation was completely necessary to keep his identity as an all powerful Dark Lord, who you had to obey unless you wanted to die a painful death like all the others who dared question his actions.
Without that reputation, he has no followers and no ability to succeed with his goals.
Harry Potter is not an ordinary child! That’s what he has been telling his followers for the three years to come.
“He might not be especially strong, I know some of you’ve duelled him, but he’s still got a special protection that I used to underestimate. He’s special, he belongs to me – and don’t you dare kill him and prove me wrong!”
“I must be the one to kill Harry Potter. And I shall be.”Lord Voldemort
Could Voldemort have killed Harry in the graveyard?
He said my blood would make him stronger than if he had used someone else’s,” Harry told Dumbledore. “He said the protection my – my mother left in me – he would have had it too. And he was right – he could touch me without hurting himself, he touched my face.”Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
For a fleeting instant, Harry thought he saw a gleam of something like triumph in Dumbledore’s eyes. But next second, Harry was sure he had imagined it, for when Dumbledore had returned to his seat behind the desk, he looked as old and weary as Harry had ever seen him.
If you recall in book 4, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Lord Voldemort took Harry’s blood. This fact plays a significant role in why Voldemort could not kill Harry.
Also, keep in mind that Voldemort checked if he was right before he allowed Harry to fight. First, he touched the boy – and it worked, just like he had planned. Moreover, he used the Cruciatus Curse on him, and it worked, too! If he could both touch and curse Harry – well, why would he not be able to kill him?
Of course, Harry managed to escape, but this was due to the fact the Killing Curse did not hit him as intended – nor did it have the desired results. Therefore, Voldemort had no reason to think it would have failed.
Voldemort took Harry’s blood with the intention that it would strengthen him. However, what it really did was to act as Harry’s bond to life (meaning as long Voldemort’s alive, Harry could not die).
When Harry was struck by Voldemort’s Killing Curse, he went into a state of being that existed between life and death: Limbo. This is where Albus Dumbledore explained everything to him, as seen in the Deathly Hallows book: The Tale of the Three Brothers by Beedle the Bard.
Hypothetically speaking, could Voldemort have killed Harry? Here are some things to consider in lieu of the above:
#1 Sacrifices made by Love, outweigh Blood Shed
“You all know that on the night I lost my powers and my body, I tried to kill him. His mother died in the attempt to save him – and unwittingly provided him with a protection I admit I had not foreseen… I could not touch the boy.” Voldemort raised one of his long white fingers and put it very close to Harry’s cheek. “His mother left upon him the traces of her sacrifice… This is old magic, I should have remembered it, I was foolish to overlook it… but no matter. I can touch him now.”Lord Voldemort
It is clear that Voldemort, by taking Harry’s blood, thought he had defeated the protection his mother gave him.
He didn’t understand that he, through Harry’s blood, kept Harry alive.
And before you judge him too harshly – remember that nobody except Dumbledore understood this. Not Harry, who had experienced everything first hand, not all the people who had read his story about Voldemort’s return (including, I assume, the blood stealing and its importance) as discussed in the Quibbler.
Harry’s blood contains Lily Potter’s Sacrificial Protection. As some of it lived on, in Voldemort, Harry was tethered to life. It’s like a light-side Horcrux, using someone else’s love rather than your own soul. Both cancelling each other out.
#2 The Horcrux that was not intended to be made
Harry was a Horcrux which was unknown to Voldemort. A Horcrux, even an unintentional one, is specifically designed to protect the soul piece inside. So technically, Harry could have survived the first Avada Kedavra that Voldemort used and be brought back to life.
Destroying the soul piece was a side effect of Harry’s death, as it is destroyed when the receptacle is damaged beyond repair.
Note: The Horcrux is the object, not the soul piece in the object. Harry was the Horcrux!
#3 The Elder Want has a Mind of Its Own
Harry Potter’s survival had nothing to do with him being the master of the Elder Wand, other than that being the reason it actually did cast the Killing Curse on him.
Harry wanted to die. And so, by successfully casting a full Killing Curse against Harry, the Elder Wand was actually obeying its master.
Voldemort failed to hit him with the Killing Curse at Hogwarts because Harry no longer wanted to die, so the Wand was obeying its master by this time not killing him.
As Albus Dumbledore said, “the true Master of Death is someone who has accepted their own mortality”.
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