What’s wrong with having a non-corporeal form?


What’s wrong with having a non-corporeal form?

I came across a page about Horcruxes. I came across this paragraph that piqued my curiosity.

To create a Horcrux, a wizard first had to deliberately commit murder. This act, said to be one of supreme evil, would result in the murderer metaphysically damaging their own soul. A wizard who wished to create a Horcrux would then use that damage to their advantage by casting a spell which would rip the damaged portion of the soul and encase it in an object. If the maker was later killed, he or she would continue to exist in a non-corporeal form, although there were methods of regaining a physical body. However, according to Horace Slughorn, few would want to live in such a form and death would be preferable to most.

I checked Slughorn's page, but I couldn't find out why a non-corporeal form was undesirable. After all, Voldemort was living in such a form for a while and nothing much happened to him.


Answer 1:

Because living incorporially is supremely painful, evil, dangerous and a violation against nature.

Apart from that, it’s fine.

Here’s the passage from the books that the wiki’s alluding to:

“Well, you split your soul, you see,” said Slughorn, “and hide part of it in an object outside the body. Then, even if one’s body is attacked or destroyed, one cannot die, for part of the soul remains earthbound and undamaged. But, of course, existence in such a form…”
Slughorn’s face crumpled and Harry found himself remembering words he had heard nearly two years before.
“I was ripped from my body, I was less than spirit, less than the meanest ghost….but still, I was alive…
“…few would want it, Tom, very few. Death would be preferable.”
(Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 23, Horcruxes).

Why exactly would death be preferable?

  • Using Horcruxes is extremely painful. Voldemort found this out at Godric’s Hollow.

    “My curse was deflected by the woman’s foolish sacrifice, and it rebounded upon me. Aah…pain beyond pain, my friends; nothing could have prepared me for it.”
    (Goblet of Fire, Chapter 33, The Death Eaters).

    Being ripped out of your body could hardly be expected to be a pleasant experience.

  • It’s super evil. Voldemort may be fine with evil but Slughorn had considerably more scruples than Voldemort did. Creating a Horcrux involves murder. Slughorn was visibly upset at the prospect that he might be caught up in that sort of thing.

    “There is a spell, do not ask me, I don’t know!” said Slughorn, shaking his head like an old elephant bothered by mosquitoes. “Do I look as though I have tried it – do I look like a killer?”

    “Merlin’s beard, Tom!” yelped Slughorn. “Seven! Isn’t it bad enough to think of killing one person?”
    (Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 23, Horcruxes).

    This approach to death is consistent with the message across the wider Harry Potter mythology. Death is natural and any form of immortality is evil and can only provide a very inferior standard of life.

    “The blood of a unicorn will keep you alive, even if you are an inch from death, but at a terrible price. You have slain something pure and defenceless to save yourself and you will have but a half life, a cursed life, from the moment the blood touches your lips.”
    (Philosopher’s Stone, Chapter 15, The Forbidden Forest).

  • Slughorn regarded the prospect of incorporial life as a travesty that was deeply unnatural.

    “Well,” said Slughorn uncomfortably, “you must understand that the soul is supposed to remain intact and whole. Splitting it is a violation, it is against nature.”
    (Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 23, Horcruxes).

  • Slughorn understood that splitting the soul made it irratic and unbalanced. Part of the reason why no-one had ever tried to split their soul in seven was because it was such an extreme and crazy idea. Most people value their souls enough to not want to dilute and weaken them. Voldemort was different insofar as his desire for immortality surpassed his respect for his own soul. Slughorn recognised how dangerous that process was and found it intolerable.

Basically, Voldemort wasn’t unaffected at all. He went through a painful, evil, unnatural and dangerous procedure. In his own words, it left him as “less than the meanest ghost”. Like most wizards, Slughorn believed that the form of existence that Voldemort was prepared to endure was beyond contempt. Death was better in his eyes, both because of the quality of life one has as a Horcrux-spirit and because of what one has to do to obtain it.

Answer 2:

A non-corporeal form is weak and can’t do much on its own.

The biggest practical problem with having a non-corporeal form is it’s weak, and until the wizard who tethered themselves to life with a Horcrux is actually able to regain a body, even a powerful wizard like the Dark Lord isn’t capable of much in that form. Without help, they’d also be unable to do the necessary magic required to gain a stronger and more able form.

“Nevertheless, I was as powerless as the weakest creature alive, and without the means to help myself … for I had no body, and every spell which might have helped me required the use of a wand …

‘I remember only forcing myself, sleeplessly, endlessly, second by second, to exist … I settled in a faraway place, in a forest, and I waited … surely, one of my faithful Death Eaters would try and find me … one of them would come and perform the magic I could not, to restore me to a body … but I waited in vain …”
– Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 33 (The Death Eaters)



Would Harry Potter Wizards use the Internet?


Would Harry Potter Wizards use the Internet?

The Internet has a lot to offer that you cannot send by owls, like sub-second latency of messages. Same things for computers and technology in general. Since Harry Potter seems to take place in the early 21st century, Internet should have been rolling out to the public during the first 7 books. 
Would it make sense for witches and wizards to use computers, the Internet, or other advanced muggle technology?


Answer 1:

Yes, but only out of curiosity

Wizards do not need the internet, but they will occasionally use it out of curiosity or when researching about Muggles.

When you can summon any book, instrument or animal with a wave of the wand and the word Accio!; when you can communicate with friends and acquaintances by means of owl, fire, Patronus, Howler, enchanted objects such as coins, or Apparate to visit them in person; when your newspaper has moving pictures and everyday objects sometimes talk to you, then the internet does not seem a particularly exciting place. This is not to say that you will never find a witch or wizard surfing the net; merely that they will generally be doing so out of slightly condescending curiosity, or else doing research in the field of Muggle Studies.

Pottermore: Technology

Harry himself has never used the internet.

Has Harry ever used the Internet?

J.K. Rowling: No. He’s not allowed near Dudley’s computer and Dudley’s the only one who’s got a computer. He gets beaten up if he goes too near the keyboard. So no, he’s never used the Internet. I use it a lot but not Harry. Wizards don’t really need to use the Internet but that’s something that you’ll find out later on in the series. They have a means of finding out what goes on in the outside world that I think is more fun than the Internet. Could anything be more fun than the Internet? Yes!

Raincoast Books interview transcript, Raincoast Books (Canada), March 2001.