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How Dumbledore Destroyed Marvolo Gaunt’s Ring in ‘Half-Blood Prince?’

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How Dumbledore Destroyed Marvolo Gaunts Ring in Half-Blood Prince?

While the destruction of Lord Voldemort's Horcruxes was a rather tedious affair in the Harry Potter novels and films, the procedure to destroy the ring proved to be one nasty task that ended up claiming the life of one of the greatest wizards in the Wizarding World: Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The History of the Ring, Explained

The significance of the ring was the Resurrection Stone fitted in its center. As per The Tale of the Three Brothers, the stone was created by Death himself and given to the middle brother, Cadmus Peverell, who used it to summon his dead lover. But according to Dumbledore, who found the tale to be a mere myth, Cadmus was just a very powerful wizard who created the stone himself and went insane because of its inability to achieve the impossible – to bring someone back from the dead.

What Happened After Marvolo's Ring Was Passed to Morfin?

Years later, Tom Riddle, aka the future Lord Voldemort, came searching for Marvolo and discovered how his father had left his mother. He proceeded to stun Morfin and used his wand to kill his father as well as his grandparents. He modified his uncle's memories to make it seem like he committed the killings and ran away with the ring.

How Did Dumbledore Get the Ring?

Around the time Harry Potter would begin his sixth year at Hogwarts, Dumbledore correctly deduced that the house of Marvolo Gaunt could cough up some clues about the Horcruxes, given Tom Riddle's habit of stashing them in places that held some significance to him. He hit the jackpot here, as he discovered the extra spells hiding something. He managed to remove all of the heavy spells and enchantments, post-which he discovered a golden box under the floorboards containing the object of his query: Marvolo Gaunt's ring.

Dumbledore's Massive Blunder

While Voldemort may or may not have known about the Resurrection Stone, Dumbledore instantly recognized the second Hallow. He had prior knowledge about the Hallows, and had been looking for them for years. But despite suspecting that Voldemort must have placed a curse on the ring to discourage the user from tampering with or destroying his Horcrux, Dumbledore's emotions got the better of him, and he wore it. He hoped to use the stone to call forth the spirits of his family, especially his sister Ariana, so he could see them one last time and seek forgiveness for being too lost in his mighty endeavors (for the "greater good") in the past to make them his priority.

The Destruction of the Horcrux

The headmaster immediately used Godric Gryffindor's sword, which was infused with Basilisk venom when Harry used it to kill the beast in Chamber of Secrets, to destroy the Horcrux. While the ring reverted to being a normal jewelry piece containing the Resurrection Stone, thus allowing Dumbledore to casually wear it when he later picked up Harry, the deadly curse killing him didn't stop. Thanks to his own skills and Severus Snape's timely intervention, the curse was contained to his withered hand, for the time being. But in spite of their efforts, Dumbledore only got a year to live as eventually, the curse would kill him.

These unexpected events led Dumbledore to ask Snape to kill him before the curse did. He didn't want his death to go in vain and wanted to use it to ensure two things: that Snape's loyalty to You Know Who was established beyond doubt, and to save Draco Malfoy from committing murder in the Dark Lord's name. While putting an end to the remaining Horcruxes was no piece of cake, the destruction of the ring came at a heavy price.

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