5.01.2013

How to Build a Better Horcrux


The question – the critique, really – of what would make the best Horcrux occasionally pops up all over the Internet. It starts with the basics:

“Voldemort’s so stupid – why did he pick something with his name on it?”

“Voldemort’s so stupid – why did he pick objects that people could logically deduce might be his little soul boxes?”

“Voldemort’s so stupid – why is he protecting the source of his immortality in something that is mortal and with a shorter life span than humans?”

Make no mistake. Voldemort is kind of an idiot, and any respect we had for the creepy 17-year-old douche bag that went around commanding giant serpents, killing girls and family members, and completely getting away with everything despite Dumbledore’s suspicions went away in Goblet of Fire. Yeah, he’s powerful, but who spends a year masterminding ways for a (at this point, still capable of independent motivation and critical thinking) 14-year-old to win a complex series of challenges rather than just having him kidnapped by an invisible and perfectly placed minion at the beginning of the book?


A moron, that’s who. But that’s besides the point. The point is he chose his soul Tupperware badly, and the whole Internet not only knows it but has better ideas. They typically range from an unidentifiable pebble to anonymous objects buried somewhere in a place like Argentina or Siberia to some sort of equivalent to the One Ring. Which requires a very specific method of destruction and, taken literally, takes traveling to a fictitious alternate dimension to destroy. If magic was real, this might be totally possible.

Then the ideas get increasing specific. Like using famous and well-protected Muggle artifacts (because who would even plausibly consider Voldemort doing that? Certainly not our benevolent and heroic but still ridiculously dismissive towards Muggle culture protagonists). Or using man-made objects we sent off into space. The sixties and seventies are the decades that Voldemort was the most 'Horcruxily active', and we certainly haven’t progressed in space tech enough to chase after specific things speeding out of the far reaches of the solar system.

We’ve probably all seen this at some point:


So the collective HP fan mind of the Internet isn’t doing too badly for itself – though this collective whole seems to find some sort of perverse happiness in becoming the antagonist... and winning. You’ve got objects too far to reach (since apparently ‘Accio’ is a summoning spell not capable of summoning much), anonymity, pop culture references, and removed culture. Not to mention pitting Harry and his cohorts against the pissed off might of the FBI, which is probably still too angry that Nicholas Cage managed to get away with shenanigans to let three teenagers do the same.

Sometimes theories will get even more recursive and abstract. Can you make a soul a Horcrux? Because what decent protagonist could kill someone completely removed from the situation? And that’s not even getting into the potential religious ramifications of some sort of Dante’s Inferno/Greek mythology/HP mix-up where wizards have to remove a Horcrux from the soul of someone already dead and thereby sort of completely inaccessible.

Can you make a concept a Horcrux? What about a Phoenix or something indestructible?

And I don’t think these are the answers. All of them have some sort of metaphysical wiggle room attached to them, and someone could create a loophole – however far-fetched – to make it possible for the good guys to win.

There’s really only one way to one-up Voldemort and create a Horcrux that Harry Potter could never destroy.


What does Voldemort want to do? Rule the world. What does Harry want to do? Save the world by killing Voldemort. What’s the only way for Harry to save the world?

Destroy it.

Now that’s a plan worthy of the psychotic but genius bad guy we all know Voldemort to be. You knew when he had to face Harry himself in the first book that he was a possessive, vengeful asshole, and he proved it in the fourth when he screamed that Harry was his to kill. This is exactly what a better Voldemort would do, because if he can’t have the world, no one gets to.


You could keep going with this theme. The Sun, a black hole, the universe in general. But that last one in particular is a bit of a stretch, and I think there are probably a few proximity rules when it comes to magic that rule out objects millions of miles away. And if Voldemort really thought about, he probably wouldn’t want to outlive the Earth when the Sun expands and devours it.

At this point, it’s game over. Voldemort doesn’t even have to protect his Horcrux. He knows full well that there’s no way the good guys could ever destroy Earth, and the only thing he has to watch out for his future psycho bad guys who want to go out with a bang.

Well, there would be one good way for the heroes to win:

 

Thoughts? Additions? An urge to recommend this post on StumbleUpon? Are there other ways for super villains to win the day only to be defeated by a surprise use of burgeoning-but-not-up-to-where-it-should-be space technology?

Rachel is the co-founder of How To Survive Alien Invasion Novels, and spends her time writing, studying, and reading what would probably be considered far too many books. Connect with her and Rusty on Twitter and Facebook, and click here to read more of her articles about alien theories and how to survive alien invasion novels.

3.20.2013

March 20, 2013: This Week's Alien and Space News


Most of the news this week isn’t actually news.

It’s just a restatement or increased confirmation of what we already know:
Voyager I is getting further and further away? there’s an increasingly large number of Earth-like planets in the universe? sex in space isn’t exactly what sci-fi action thrillers make it out to be? there may or may not have been life on Mars? We knew all this. But there are always new implications to consider. Plus, the fact that space research is still continuing is at least a baseline of 'good news.'

And there is new news, too: laser satellites, ftw.

Heliocliff, or the Classification Game: The more we learn about space, the more we have to change our thoughts about the universe we had pictured before. A (relatively) recent wake-up call on this note was the demotion of Pluto, though the whole Copernicus and ‘we’re not really the center of the universe, guys’ will probably remain the biggest one until we find intelligent aliens. Voyager I has just introduced us to yet another classificatory gray area: it has exited the heliosphere, exchanging being bombarded by anomalous cosmic rays for galactic rays, and no one knows quite what to call space right outside the sun’s general domain. Is it really in interspace yet, or some thus-far-unnamed middle ground?

Mars Kind Of Has Water and Maybe Had Life, Part Infinity: Here’s some more evidence for our lack of uncertainty regarding exactly how watery and microbially-inclined Mars is, was, potentially is or was, or might have been in some alternate dimension… that last one might have been an exaggeration (if only because the last thing this investigation needs is the inclusion of a variable like a multiverse). But Curiosity has now collected evidence of hydrated rock in surprising places, and that this hydration may or may not have been fairly spread-out. While it ups the likelihood that life could have eked out an existence on Mars, it doesn’t prove there was any life there to do that. So this update isn’t exactly out of the blue, but a lack of weekly alien-related epiphanies is the price we pay for being constantly in the loop and not being in a Hollywood movie.

The Future of Laser Communication is Now: This one’s pretty cool. NASA’s about to set up its first laser communication satellite (LLCD), and I’m really hoping it works out well. The scientists are cautioning that it might be ridiculously difficult to get working well  -- LLCD will have to “point its very narrow laser beam accurately to ground stations across a distance of approximately 238,900 miles while moving.” But not only will it completely revolutionize terrestrial communication (I know, stereotypical phrasing, but it might just apply here) by making it six times faster, but communication between people in space and people on Earth would also dramatically improve. Which would get rid of that long delay between Mars and Earth for that colony we’ll eventually, maybe, possibly set up. This is awesome for two reasons: one, we’re getting closer to a level one on the Kardashev scale and, two, having a laser satellite system might stop those stupid arguments about how a solar power satellite is just a laser weapon waiting to happen.

Because we can't have nice things without the Joker
screwing them up.
Sex is a Bad Deal for Virtually Everyone in Space: That human reproduction in space would be gross, difficult, and dangerous in space has been mutually agreed upon by everyone who even momentarily considered the concept. But it turns out that humans (and mammals more generally) aren’t alone in that particular drawback to zero-gravity life. The pollen tubes in male plants, along with a lot of other pathways in the cell, have traffic jams when there isn’t gravity to keep everything organized and running smoothly. The upside? Even this nix is teaching scientists more and more about how terrestrial life evolved.

More and More Habitable Zone Planets, Part Infinity: This article has the same kind of feel as the one about Martian maybe-water and maybe-life, but I’m not nearly as exasperated with it. A researcher at Penn State has stated that we have even more Earth-sized Goldilock planets than we did just a few weeks ago, when the estimate before that was debunked. While initially as seemingly newsworthy as the wishy-washy status of Mars’ news, this build-up of articles increasing the number of potential Earths means that there’s an ever-growing number of planets we might one day branch out to (it also means our ability to sense these planets is constantly improving). This is good news any way you look at it.

Want to share all the good news? Please be sure to recommend this post on StumbleUpon – all it takes is a click! 

Rachel is the co-founder of How To Survive Alien Invasion Novels, and spends her time writing, studying, and reading what would probably be considered far too many books. Connect with her and Rusty on Twitter and Facebook, and click here to read more of her articles about alien theories and how to survive alien invasion novels.