Thursday, December 2, 2010

Harry Potter Craft & Writing Exercise: Slytherin's Locket/Horcruxes

By Holly Van Houten

I thought while everyone's jazzed about The Deathly Hallows movie that just came out, I'd post one of the crafts I do in my homeschool Harry Potter class at the Huckleberry Center for Creative Learning.  In the class we explore a number of themes from the books, including prejudice, fear of death, education, the media, technology and many others.   I also try to do a craft relating to each book in particular that goes along with the theme we're working on.  This craft involves explaining the concept of Horcruxes and even though Slytherin's Locket is introduced in Book 6, I do it as one of the Book 7 crafts because it's prominent there as well and I emphasize Horcruxes and Hallows in Book 7.  (For Book 6 we make Pygmy Puffs, Spectre Specs and create our own edition The Quibbler J)  Much of the action in Book 7 relates to finding and destroying horcruxes, including the locket.  If you're already familiar with the concept of horcruxes, feel free to skip below to the craft.  Otherwise, read on for a more detailed explanation that will help you understand the rationale behind the craft.

What is a Horcrux?
If you're not clear on the concept of Horcruxes, or if it's been awhile since you read the series, here's a quick horcrux tutorial.  Voldemort, whose name roughly translates as "Flight from Death" in french, and whose minions are known as the "Death Eaters," seeks to achieve a form of immortality by creating Horcruxes.  The idea is that you split your soul into smaller pieces and embed the parts in physical objects.  Then, if your physical body is destroyed, the part of your soul that you've hidden away in a horcrux still exists and you need only recreate a body - as Moldy Voldy does at the end of Book 4 (Before that:  in Book 1 he "possesses" Quirrell and in Book 2 we see his younger self - Tom Riddle - through the diary).  

The only way to rip apart your soul in this way, is to commit murder.  Voldemort has no qualms about this and before Harry is ever born, splits his soul into 7 pieces and places the fragments in the Diary, Marvolo Gaunt's ring, Salazar Slytherin's Locket, Rowena Ravenclaw's Diadem, Helga Hufflepuff's cup and Nagini (his snake).  6 horcruxes + the piece of his soul still within himself (warped as it is).  Later, he unknowingly creates a 7th horcrux (thus splitting his soul into 8 parts) when he kills Harry's parents and attempts to kill Harry.  The lightning scar on Harry's forehead is this 7th horcrux -- which is why Harry realizes he must sacrifice himself for the good of others and willingly walks into the forest to be killed by Voldemort.  

It's here that the Christian overtones of the entire series should become obvious.  To save the world from Voldemort's "sins," Harry must sacrifice his life so that others will be saved.  Voldemort - faithless, immoral, friendless and unable to love - fears death and goes to great lengths in his selfish attempts to conquer it.  Harry - loyal, honest, loved and loving - embraces his own death for the good of others.

Heavy, dark, philosophical stuff -- these concepts are often difficult for kids to grasp, so as I explain what's happening in Book 7, we create our own version of Slytherin's Locket with a much "lighter" and happier twist.

Craft - Slytherin's Locket
To create our own horcruxes in class, I explain that we're going to do a variation on the concept of splitting one's soul.  Voldemort splits his soul through murder -- we, being smarter and ever so much nicer, however, have a much more powerful tool at our disposal --- writing.  Writing reflects who we are and in it's own way can help us understand the "parts" of us, that make up our soul.  

So, when we make our version of the locket, we create paper beads (I use the youtube tutorial embedded down below).  Students cut long triangular shapes of paper to roll into the individual beads -- but before they roll them, they privately write down their own hopes, wishes, dreams and fears -- one in each bead.  We thereby, place a bit our own "souls" into our necklaces, through writing.  I think this turns the craft into a meaningful lesson about writing as well.

We make several of these beads, securing them with glue once we've rolled them and making one extra large "locket shaped bead" for the centerpiece of the necklace.  We then paint them and string them.  The students treasure their versions of the famous locket, and only they know the real secrets held within.  

I hope you enjoy doing this craft with your child.  I think there are many important educational concepts here and much fodder for important and fascinating discussion.   Please feel free to repost this or email it to anyone you think might enjoy this lesson.

A more thorough tutorial on how to make and string paper beads is here.  Instead of magazines though, we use plain white paper - so, we can write on the inside.  We then paint them to make them colorful and more thoroughly seal them:


  1. That's a great idea! I have to say I was intrigued as to how to make a 'horcrux' and that's brilliant.

    I look forward to trying this out in the very near future - perhaps with words of love inside the beads for some Christmas gifts. Thx for idea!

  2. This is fantastic! Thanks for sharing it on the homeschooling loop. I'm going to do this with my daughter who is an avid H.P. fan. I love your twist on the horcruxes turning the beaded necklace into postiive thoughts and dreams... super idea. Thanks so much for sharing this.

    Stacey Rosebrock

  3. Stacey and Piratemum -- so glad you found it helpful!

  4. wow, you've got the wheels in my head to find the time to start a Harry Potter study...

  5. Hen Jen -- sounds like you need a time turner :) --I have a great craft project for that too. Maybe, I'll make that my next HP Post!

  6. Thank you for this great idea! My kids and I are great fans of HP and have read the series many times. I'm trying to put together Harry-Potter-School (as my kids call it) for the next few months to dig deeper into the books and also do some fun crafts that we haven't already done before. This fits the bill perfectly. Greatly appreciated!

  7. This is a wonderful idea. My four grandchildren and I are all avid HP fans, we have read the series several times each and find something new every time. Making horcruxes and having them symbolise something positive is a lesson that can include how to turn things around in various areas. We are going to have a great time with this. Thanks so much.