Diary of Harry Potter: June 16-July 19, 1997

June 16, 1997. In case of my death, I want this recording, diary, whatever you call it, to go to Hermione Granger. If she dies before me. . . then we're sunk.

I didn't mean to say that out loud.

And now I see I can't erase it either. I'm using a standard – a courtroom dictation quill, so I guess that's why it doesn't let you erase.

OK, if Hermione dies before me, this goes to Ron. Then to Remus - "Ron" is Ron Weasley, of course. "Remus" is Remus Lupin. Then Minerva McGonagall – scratch that, next after Remus is Alastor Moody, then McGonagall.

Ginny, I'm not putting you in the list because you're not of age yet, not because I don't trust you or anything stupid like that, or . . .

Anybody in my list – Hermione, Ron, Lupin, Moody, McGonagall – I very, very strongly recommend that you share this, or the gist of this, with Ginny, and I require you, if you can require somebody through something like this, I require that you do so as soon as she turns of age.

[Pause]

I see that this quill will tell time, sort of, write down the three dots for a short pause and the "Pause" if I've stopped talking for more than, looks like fifteen seconds. I really need to start preparing better before I talk.

I'm going to try to put everything I can into this, which is going to be a record of how I'm going to try to get in contact with Riddle, to try to pry some secrets out of him using this connection. I don't know how many times we've solved things – mostly Hermione's solved things, of course – going over things that didn't seem important when they were happening, but we looked back on those details and saw that they really were significant, like who was Nicholas Flamel. So I'm going to give you every chance to do that, Hermione, Ron. . . everybody.

The way I'm approaching it is this. When I talked to Professor Dumbledore last term, a couple of things that really stuck with me were first, that he stressed how significant it was that Voldemort had given me the tools to beat him, and that included parseltongue but mostly the ability to share his thoughts, to see what he was seeing. I was wondering – after the end of fifth year, after Sirius died, Professor Dumbledore said he was going to teach me Occlumency himself; but he never did. I wondered why but I never got myself... got the guts to ask him. The way I figure it, though, he must have thought I didn't need it. And if he didn't think I needed it, he must have thought Riddle couldn't do that to me again, couldn't send me a false vision.

But then, if he couldn't do it anymore, did that mean the connection was dead? I don't think so. And why would Professor Dumbledore make a point of bringing it up, as one of my abilities? Here's what I think: the Professor thought it was possible that I might use this ability to find the horcruxes. That's the only thing I can think of. But he thought it would be dangerous, and he didn't really want me to risk it – or maybe, he didn't want to be the one to suggest it to me, to put the burden on me to decide if I wanted to risk it, because he knew I would decide that I would, I should risk it.

So I'm going to use this summer to learn as much as I can about legilimency, about bonds between wizards, mental magic in general. And when I feel I've learned enough, that I'm ready, I'm going to see if I can sneak in and find where he, what he did with the horcruxes.

June 21, 1997. I talked with Remus today, and asked him to help me find the books, and also asked him to put up silencing charms on my room, so I could practice some meditation chanting without the Dursleys hearing. I told him that it had to do with keeping Riddle out. Kind of a lie of omission. I also told him I was keeping a diary, and that I wanted it to be read in case of my death, so was there any way to put protective spells over it so it only would be read by the people I wanted to read it, and it would kind of take itself to those people if I died. He was able to do that, which was a huge relief to me. We talked for a while, about everything going on and about what happened last year, and what's happening with him. I don't know how much of that to put in here because it's his business and hers, it doesn't seem to have anything to do with the legilimency project. Anyway, he and I argued some, made up OK after, and he said before he went "You can be absolutely certain, Harry, that James and Lily would be very proud of you."

I'm bringing this up not to be a self-satisfied prat about it but because it made me think of how he taught me the Patronus charm, by using your strongest positive thought. And it also reminded me of how Professor Dumbledore said that Voldemort couldn't stay in, keep possessing me, because my mind was too full of thoughts like my love for Sirius. So if I'm going to try to get into his head, and if he discovers me and tries to fight back, or tries taking me over, that's what I'm going to need to keep him out, Patronus-like thoughts, like how when I saw mum and dad in the graveyard they said they were proud of me.

June 30, 1997. I think I'm on the right track. "Track" is the right word, it's almost like being a bloodhound, I imagine, at least the way I think of bloodhounds, following something that stands out to them but they couldn't explain, even if they could talk, what it was that led them one way rather than another. Still, I'm going to try. When I'm doing the meditation exercises it's like there's a separate world in my head which opens up, which has its own kind of space, not up and down and right and left but – I've given them names, like the books recommend. So naturally I ended up calling the directions "Gryff, Slyth, Ray, Huff." Easier to keep track if it's one syllable. And I concentrate on "Slyth." In Slyth there are directions too, I mean, like paths within the main "avenue" to Slyth, or branching off from that avenue. I started thinking of them as Fear, Pride, Rage. Then – Hermione, you'll like this – I got a thesaurus. Because there are so many different... tastes, scents, colors? of fear, pride, rage, and I was looking for some specific... lanes off of those streets. And it does help to have words to put to them.

In case it isn't clear enough, the fear, rage and pride starts – the "avenues" start, with me. It's in my head, I'm feeling those things. Maybe that's why I got picked as the one who fulfilled the prophecy, the one Riddle attacked. Picked by Magic, I mean, to be sure I had the tools to do the job. If it had been Neville, I don't know if he had – would have – a strong enough Slytherin side to make this kind of pathway to Riddle, even if he'd been the one Riddle went after first. I know what it's like to be so full of rage you can cast Crucio, to be proud enough to act like you're the only one who matters. I don't know if Neville would.

July 2, 1997. What I think is going to get me closer to Voldemort's mind, especially his thinking about the horcruxes, is fear of death; the kind of fear that's – back to the thesaurus – so overwhelming, it's dreadful, unthinkable. The biggest, baddest Boggart. For Voldemort it's death. That's why he picked the stupid name, after all. For me it's a world in which Voldemort won, has free reign, is unstoppable. I guess he'd be pleased to know that he inspired that kind of fear. Can't help it, and I'm not going to start trying to overcome that fear, just to avoid giving him the satisfaction, because I think that somehow the fact that he plays a part in my fears, he's at the corner of my "Dreadful Avenue and Unthinkable Lane," this is going to help keep us or make us connected, and that's going to help me follow the thread into his mind. Like Professor Dumbledore said, he ends up giving me the tools that help defeat him.

I just noticed that I've started calling him "Voldemort" all the time now, not "Riddle," and I think that's because I know on some level that I've got to think of him the way he thinks of himself.

I also looked again at that part I was writing – talking, I mean – about "Magic" picking me and giving me the tools, and maybe I'd better say what I mean and how I'm thinking about this, though it may come out sounding crazy. If there's a prophecy, and prophecies are real, it means I do have this special power, and I can beat him. So how could I have gotten it? How could I have gotten to be one in a million? And who would have been shining the spotlight on me as a baby so that Trelawney could see it and make the prophecy, then have the prophecy itself be a tool in giving me the power that made me one in a million? I don't see how this happens by accident. And if it's not an accident, it means something or somebody has more power than me, or Voldemort, or anybody, it can dip in and out of time. And he/she/it must want me to beat Voldemort then, in order to arrange things this way. Either that, or it's just ****ing with me, with all of us. And I guess if anybody does end up reading this, it means that Magic really was just ****ing with me. So the point is... forget it, my head hurts.

I see the quill doesn't like that word. How about "*****ing"? "****ing"? No, I can't outsmart it with the variations, the "rigging" and "ecking." What a clever ****ing quill you are.

July 5, 1997. I got my first real sense of the mental landscape in Voldemort's head. I was expecting all sorts of ghouls and monsters, but what I really see is a lot of stuff that – I guess the closest real-world – I mean physical world, I've got to say, it is a real world; I can't let myself start thinking otherwise – anyway the closest physical-world equivalent is, there are things like mountains and mountains of callouses and barnacles that have covered over most of everything in his mind. Everything normal or healthy in terms of feelings and ideas. In a way that makes it easier on me because, horrible as it is to think of a mind that's become like that, it's not like I'm swimming through lakes of poison or tunneling through mountains of **** or any of the sort of stuff I was afraid of at first.

July 9, 1997. Getting close. At first I would try to track the Death – Unthinkable thoughts by looking for images like "Christmas Carol"-type headstones with "Here Lies Lord Voldemort" on them, that this would be the Big Bad Boggart. That isn't it. It's more realistic. There are flashes that come to him, just of a wand and the green light and then black, silence, but only for a split second, then he's holding Nagini, and he breathes again – in his head, that is, that's the image sequence. The Professor must have been right: Nagini is the last horcrux he made, he thinks about her first because she's right there with him. Actually it's not him holding her, it's the snake wrapping itself around his shoulders which is his happy thought, restoring him from the terror. Kind of a patronus in a sick way.

It's not me, holding the wand and killing him in his dream/vision/whatever, it's not anybody, it's just a wand. Maybe like "This is the judgment of Magic herself." Or like, nobody could beat him, so he can't imagine anybody behind the wand. Anyway it's real terror for him, even if it only lasts the split second. It's the same as I used to have when I had drowning nightmares, it's the blackness washing over him and swallowing him up and then there's nothing any more, no him, just the nothing.

So far I don't get any sense at all that he's aware of my entering his mind this way. I'm going to try to push it one more step, see if I can somehow suggest thoughts about the other horcruxes we know about, like the locket and the cup, and see if he'll reach for those as his security blanket after the flash nightmare, then maybe I could follow the thread back to how he made them and where they are.

July 12, 1997. No success yet, not even partially. Still just wand, green light, blackness, snake.

July 14, 1997. Still wand, green light, blackness, snake. Maybe a bit more frequent.

July 16, 1997. Still wand, green light, blackness, snake. Maybe more vivid. Maybe the blackness lasting longer.

Maybe I'm causing it? Wishing the bastard some stronger, longer, more frequent nightmares?

July 19, 1997. I think I may have just won the war. I feel sick.