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Harry Potter's scars

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Screen shot 2012-04-10 at 8.37.14 PM
Harry Potter's scars
Object information
Owners

Harry Potter

Professor McGonagall: "Is that where -- ?"
Dumbledore: "Yes. He'll have that scar forever."
Minerva McGonagall and Albus Dumbledore talking about Harry's lightning-bolt scar[src]
Harry Potter has obtained a number of scars over his lifetime, as well as a few injuries that may have resulted in scarring. The one he is most well known for, and the first he received, is on his forehead and is shaped like a lightning bolt; it is the result of a Killing Curse striking him when he was an infant and played a role in his conflict with, and eventual defeat of, Lord Voldemort.

The lightning-bolt scar

Harry's scar burning

Harry's scar on his forehead is burning.

Scarring

"Yes. That ain't no ordinary cut on your forehead, Harry. A mark like that only comes from being touched by a curse, and an evil curse at that."
Rubeus Hagrid to Harry Potter[src]

A scar on Harry Potter's forehead in the shape of a lightning bolt[1] 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.[2] 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

Harry Potter Scar

Harry showing his scar to Ron Weasley when they first meet.

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]
Screen shot 2012-07-11 at 8.33.55 PM

Harry's scar causing him pain.

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.[3]

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]
Scar

Harry's scar hurting.

Harry's scar

Harry Potter at the age of 13 with his scar on his forehead.

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 Harry 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.[4]

Screen shot 2012-04-10 at 8.40.00 PM

Harry using his connection to see into Voldemort's mind.

Using and destroying the link

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.[5]

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.[5]

Scars on Harry's hand

Bloodquill

The words "I must not tell lies" carved on the back of Harry's hand

Ron: "Bloody hell, Harry. The woman's torturing you... If the parents knew about this..."
Harry: "I haven't got any of those, have I, Ron?"
Hermione: "But, Harry, you've got to report this."
Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger when they see the scars on Harry's hand[src]
Harry Potter's scar on his right hand

Harry's scar on his right 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"[5].

Nagini's bite scar

"The snake bit you too, but I've cleaned the wound and put some Dittany on it..."
Hermione Granger to Harry Potter[src]

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"[5]. 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[4] 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[5]. 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

Harry's scar on his forehead (Concept Artwork by Mary GrandPre)

Concept artwork by Mary GrandPré, showing the scar on Harry's forehead located in the centre.

  • According to J. K. Rowling during a web chat with her, the lightning scar no longer burns or hurts after Voldemort's defeat. [6]
  • 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. [7]
  • 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). It was also mentioned that it was in a location easily covered by his hair.
  • 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[8], 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, Duke of Cambridge 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.[9]
  • 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 cut that Pettigrew gave Harry in the Little Hangleton Graveyard, is similar that to the Dark Mark, in the place and the length of the cut.

See also

Appearances

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