It's Almost Like Harry Potter Could Have Controlled Basilisk If He Tried
In the Chamber of Secrets, young Harry blindly trusted his deadly enemy — but most likely, he could have taken over the control of the Basilisk. Here’s why it could work.
- Tom Riddle claimed that the Serpent of Slytherin only answered to him as the true Heir of Slytherin.
- Harry Potter had a piece of Voldemort’s soul inside of him, partially making him another Heir to order the Basilisk.
- It was also possible that the Serpent’s loyalty was a lie and Harry could talk to it as a Parselmouth, anyway.
Harry Potter was still very young when he faced Tom Riddle Jr. in the Chamber of Secrets and was reasonably naive. When Tom claimed that the Basilisk only listened to him and Harry’s parseltongue wouldn’t help him, The Boy Who Lived believed his enemy — but in reality, this might have just worked. Why, you might be wondering?
Why Was the Serpent of Slytherin Special?
The Basilisks are terrifying creatures in their own right. These huge snakes can kill or petrify their victims with just a gaze, have venom strong enough to destroy Horcruxes, and even without their eyes and fangs are capable of crushing or ripping their enemies to shreds thanks to their sheer physical superiority to most beings.
The Serpent of Salazar Slytherin was a Basilisk hidden in the Chamber of Secrets by the most malicious Hogwarts Founder one thousand years before young Harry Potter encountered her. The legend claimed that, unlike other Basilisks and snakes, the Serpent would only obey the Heir of Slytherin who shared the Founder’s blood.
During Harry’s second year at Hogwarts, Tom Riddle’s Diary Horcrux summoned the Serpent once again to terrorize the Muggleborn students and help Riddle come back to life. The Basilisk became Riddle’s primary weapon that admittedly only responded to him since he was the true Heir. But what if he was wrong — or just bluffing?
Why Could Harry Potter Command the Serpent?
To begin, it’s highly unlikely that the rumor about the Serpent of Slytherin only obeying the Founder’s Heir. The Basilisk was not an artifact that could be enchanted that way, and she clearly had her own — granted that bloodthirsty and twisted — conscience. Bound by blood or not, the Serpent was not a DNA specialist.
In this case, Tom Riddle was bluffing. As a Parselmouth, Harry could communicate with the Basilisk and at least try to convince her to not attack him, and Riddle prevented such a turn of events by telling The Boy Who Lived that the Serpent was solely controlled by him. But there was another possibility altogether, as well.
Harry was not only a Parselmouth but also a Horcrux: his body contained a piece of Voldemort’s soul. The Dark Lord was the true Heir of Salazar Slytherin — and if the Serpent had that built-in Heir Detector, she would have realized that if she was to talk to Harry. That might have been another thing Riddle wanted to prevent.
In this case, it was fully possible for Harry to at least confuse the Basilisk and at most, actually order it around. Unlike Riddle who, at that point, still had a weak presence in the physical world, The Boy Who Lived was an actual person with a part of the Heir of Slytherin inside of him. So in theory, the Serpent was his to direct.
We suppose that either of these theories was correct, but both of them essentially mean the same: Tom Riddle lied to Harry about the Basilisk’s loyalties. Of course, that wasn’t the time for experiments on Harry’s part — but it's still fun to imagine The Boy Who Lived ordering the Serpent to chew through the Diary as Riddle screams.