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Caractacus Burke

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Caractacus Burke
Biographical information
Born

Before 1863

Blood status

Pure-blood (most likely)

Physical information
Species

Human

Gender

Male

Family information
Family members
Affiliation
Occupation

Shopkeeper

Loyalty

Borgin and Burkes

"Caractacus Burke was not famed for his generosity."
Albus Dumbledore[src]

Caractacus Burke (fl. 1863) was one of the original founders of Borgin and Burkes. Caractacus was one of the people Albus Dumbledore interviewed to find out more about Voldemort's past. Dumbledore learned from Caractacus' memory that Merope Gaunt came to him when she was destitute, and sold him Salazar Slytherin's Locket for ten Galleons.

After Tom Riddle had left Hogwarts, Burke hired him to research and acquire items for him. Burke was very surprised when Tom Riddle disappeared.[1]

What ultimately happened to Burke is unknown, but by 1992, the shop seemed to be exclusively operated by Mr. Borgin.[2]

Biography

Early life

Burke was born some time before 1863. He is possibly related to Herbert Burke and other members of the pure-blood Burke family.[3]

As shop-owner

"Yes, we acquired it in curious circumstances. It was brought in by a young witch just before Christmas, oh, many years ago now. She said she needed the gold badly, well, that much was obvious. Covered in rags and pretty far along ... going to have a baby, see. She said the locket had been Slytherin's. Well, we hear that sort of story all the time, 'Oh this was Merlin's, this was, his favourite teapot,' but when I looked at it, it had his mark all right, and a few simple spells were enough to tell me the truth. Of course, that made it near enough priceless. She didn't seem to have any idea how much it was worth. Happy to get ten Galleons for it. Best bargain we ever made!"
—Caractacus Burke on his encounter with Merope Gaunt[src]

In 1863, Burke founded the shop Borgin and Burkes with his partner Borgin. The shop is located in Knockturn Alley, an infamous street specialising in shops that sell dark items[4]. When Burke ran the shop he was known for taking advantage of people and driving hard bargains. This was demonstrated when, in December, 1926, he was visited by Merope Gaunt, a pure-blood descendant of Salazar Slytherin. Merope was destitute, and heavily pregnant with Tom Riddle. She wished to sell an artefact, the locket that had belonged to her famous ancestor. Burke was hesitant of her claims, having heard many alleged artefacts, but a few spells were able to confirm that she was telling the truth. He took advantage of her ignorance and desperation and paid her much less than its true value, about 10 Galleons worth. Burke later sold the locket to Hepzibah Smith.

Etymology

Caractacus was a British hero who fought the Roman invaders. Burke is reportedly named after Irishman William Burke, a bizarre serial killer who, with help from a partner, murdered dozens of people in Edinburgh in the late 1820s, selling the bodies as fresh cadavers to a local medical school. Caractacus was also the first name of the character played by Dick Van Dyke in the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Appearances

Notes and references


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