The lightning-bolt scar
A scar on Harry Potter's forehead in the shape of a lightning bolt is the result of a failed murder attempt by Lord Voldemort on 31 October, 1981, when he struck 15-month-old Harry with the Killing Curse. Harry is the only known person to survive the curse because his mother's loving sacrifice protected him. Unbeknownst to Voldemort, the incident also inadvertently made Harry into a Horcrux, as a piece of the Dark Lord's soul embedded itself in Harry.
Realising the connection
- Lucius Malfoy: "Haven't you always wondered what was the reason for the connection between you and the Dark Lord? Why he was unable to kill you when you were just an infant? Don't you want to know the secret of your scar? All the answers are there, Potter, in your hand. All you have to do is give it to me."
- Harry Potter: "I've waited fourteen years..."
- Lucius Malfoy: "I know."
- Harry Potter: "I guess I can wait a little longer..."
- — Lucius Malfoy trying to persuade Harry to hand him the Prophecy in the Department of Mysteries[src]
In the years to come, Harry's scar hurt whenever Voldemort was close, or whenever he was in danger from the Dark Lord or his followers, the Death Eaters, such as when one set off the Dark Mark near him in 1994. When Harry was forced to confront the newly-returned Voldemort in the graveyard in Little Hangleton in 1995, his scar burned terribly.
- Dumbledore: "I guessed, 15 years ago, when I saw the scar on your forehead, what it might mean. I guessed that it might be the sign of a connection forged between you and Voldemort."
- Harry: "You've told me this before, Professor."
- Dumbledore: "Yes, Yes, but you see...it is necessary to start with your scar. For it became apparent, shortly after you rejoined the magical world, that I was correct, and that your scar was giving you warnings when Voldemort was close to you, or else feeling powerful emotion. And this ability of yours...to detect Voldemort's presence, even when he is disguised, and to know what he is feeling when his emotions are roused...has become more and more pronounced since Voldemort returned to his own body and his full powers..."
- — Albus Dumbledore to Harry Potter[src]
At this point, it became clear to Albus Dumbledore and to Harry that the scar was part of a link between his mind and that of Voldemort. It would hurt whenever Voldemort was experiencing strong negative emotions, and sometimes Harry was able to see into Voldemort's thoughts. It was through this connection that Harry saw Nagini attack Arthur Weasley in 1995. To try to prevent Voldemort from invading Harry's mind, Dumbledore had him take Occlumency lessons with Severus Snape, though they were ultimately unsuccessful.
In June of 1996, Voldemort used the link to send Harry a false vision of his godfather being tortured in order to lure him to the Department of Mysteries, where he and his friends were attacked and a battle ensued. Voldemort briefly possessed Harry at the end of this battle, but when Harry focused on feelings of grief for his beloved, murdered godfather, Voldemort experienced great pain and pulled out from his mind. Dumbledore theorised that Voldemort would never attempt to enter Harry's mind again.
Although Harry never mastered Occlumency, he did eventually learn to exert moderate control over the connection between himself and Voldemort. While searching for the Horcruxes with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, he felt his scar burn many times, on the occasions when Voldemort was angry, and was able to glimpse his thoughts and perceptions at those times. For example, when Harry questioned Mr. Ollivander about the existence of the Elder Wand, he had seen a vision from the past in which Ollivander was telling Voldemort that Gregorovitch had the Elder Wand. He also saw Voldemort ordering Draco Malfoy to torture Thorfinn Rowle through Voldemort's eyes. When Harry focused on feelings associated with love, such as his anguish over Hermione being tortured by Bellatrix Lestrange or his grief over Dobby's death, he was able to block out his link to Voldemort.
After Harry learned that he was a Horcrux, he willingly went to what he believed would be his death. Voldemort's Killing Curse, however, only destroyed the piece of his own soul that was inside of Harry, thus eliminating their link. Harry survived, and went to defeat Voldemort once and for all. Since the pain from his scar was caused by the portion of Voldemort's soul within him trying to escape, Harry never felt any more pain from the scar once Voldemort had eliminated that portion of soul.
Scars on Harry's hand
Dolores Umbridge, a Ministry employee, became Defence Against the Dark Arts professor and High Inquisitor of Hogwarts in Harry's fifth year. She pushed the Ministry's position that Lord Voldemort had not returned, and that Harry and Dumbledore were liars or nutters for saying otherwise. Harry argued with her about this on numerous occasions, resulting in her assigning him detentions. She made him write lines with a Blood Quill, which used his own blood as ink. As a result, Harry was left with scar on his right hand reading "I must not tell lies" that are white when he clenches his hand, usually when he is filled with hate upon hearing about Umbridge. The scars tingle whenever Harry hears or touches Umbridge's name, or any reference to her.
Other possible scars
There are some injuries which Harry received that may have left scars.
The locket scar
- "I couldn't get the Horcrux off you. It was stuck, stuck to your chest. You've got a mark; I'm sorry, I had to use a Severing Charm to get it away." He pulled the sweaty T-shirt he was wearing away from himself and looked down. There was a scarlet oval over his heart where the locket had burned him."
- —Hermione Granger and Harry Potter in 1997 after Harry's rescue[src]
After Harry and Hermione narrowly escaped from Voldemort's snake in Godric's Hollow in late 1997, Hermione took care of Harry, who was injured during his struggle with Nagini. Some time during the fight, the locket Horcrux that Harry had been wearing around his neck attached itself to the skin on his chest and resisted detachment to the point that Hermione had to use a Severing Charm to remove it. This left an oval-shaped scar over Harry's heart; it is unknown if it eventually healed or if it left a permanent scar.
It is unknown why the locket held onto Harry as it did. It may have responded to Voldemort's desires, as Nagini, another Horcrux, did at the same time. It may have also simply reacted to being in the presence of another Horcrux, as Harry's scar on his forehead reacted to proximity to Voldemort and to Nagini. The locket first pressed against Harry when Nagini coiled around him, "squeezing the air from him, pressing the Horcrux hard into his chest, a circle of ice that throbbed with life, inches from his own frantic heart".
Nagini's bite scar
When Nagini attacked Harry when he and Hermione ventured to Godric's Hollow on 24 December, 1997, the snake bit him on the forearm. After Disapparating, Hermione put some Dittany on the wound. By the time Harry woke up, the bite was "half-healed". It is unknown if this left a scar, because although Dittany generally repairs damage to the skin, Nagini was a venomous snake, which may have exacerbated the injury. When she bit Arthur Weasley in 1995, the healers at St. Mungo's had a difficult time keeping the wound closed because her poison dissolved his stitches and was immune to common magical forms of healing. Nagini may not have given Harry as severe a bite because Voldemort ordered her to hold him, not to kill him. Harry's own nature as a Horcrux may also have been a factor.
Cut on Harry's forearm
During the Return of the Dark Lord, Peter Pettigrew slashed Harry's arm with a knife in order to obtain Harry's blood. This blood was used as an ingredient in the dark potion that returned Lord Voldemort to his body. It is unknown if this gash became a scar.
Behind the scenes
- According to J. K. Rowling during a web chat with her, the lightning scar no longer burns or hurts after Voldemort's defeat. 
- J. K. Rowling stated that the pain from Harry's scar on his forehead is caused by the piece of Voldemort's soul trying to leave his body through the wound it entered to rejoin its master's soul. 
- In the films, Harry's scar is off-centre on his forehead. This was done at J. K. Rowling's insistence, because many fans believe that the scar is in the middle of his forehead, since this is where illustrations in the American books depict it; however the British books depict it off-centre, but the scar's location is never mentioned in the books' text. It is, however, hinted to be on the right side of his forehead (in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix it says Harry received pain above his right eye).
- The scar on Harry's forehead prompted Draco Malfoy to come up with and use the mocking nickname of "Scarhead" for Harry, which he first uttered during the Quidditch match of Gryffindor versus Slytherin in 1992, but used multiple times since.
- In the film version of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the scars on Harry's left hand read "I must not tell lies". Also, he has scars on his right hand saying "I will not break rules" (done after Umbridge found the Dumbledore's Army).
- Prince William of Wales revealed that he has a scar similar to Harry Potter's on his forehead. He calls it his "Harry Potter scar" because it glows sometimes, and some people notice it, while at other times they do not notice it at all.
- Before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released, J. K. Rowling stated that the last word of the book would be "scar." She changed her mind in the end, and the last word is "well", although Harry's scar is mentioned in the penultimate sentence of the book.
The lightning bolt scar is a result of Harry Potter being touched by the Avada Kedavra Curse. The fact that Harry's scar takes on the shape of a lightning bolt could be a nod towards the Norse Rune "Sig" . Sig is representative of a guide, hope, a protector, banisher of the night, destroyer of ice, and is representative of the active power of the sun. It is also possible that Sig represented Mjolnir, the hammer of Thor, destroyer of the enemies of the gods and men. Sig is a rune for victory, triumph of day over night, of summer over winter. In this context, it is a very appropriate symbol for "The Boy Who Lived" and "The Chosen One", the only person able to defeat the evil of Voldemort and bring light back to the Wizarding World. This would also tie in with a potential Tiwaz rune, or "north star/guide", imagery for Ron, a sign which is derived from one-handed Tyr, the god of justice.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (video game)
- Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book
- Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
Notes and references
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 2
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- ↑ Web chat with J.K. Rowling
- ↑ J.K. Rowling PotterCast Interview
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- ↑ Prince William of England got his own Harry Potter scar