Published on Feb 10th 2021
Down in Knockturn Alley, you will find the shady shop Borgin and Burkes, which specialises in Dark magical artefacts. But did you know that a lot of the shop’s stock ended up being important items in later Harry Potter books?

The Harry Potter stories are crammed with easter eggs all throughout the series, if you know where to look for them. Particularly, the elusive shop Borgin and Burkes, which Harry accidentally visits in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, is full of suspicious items and occurrences that informed later stories. Here’s five such examples.

The Cursed Necklace

He paused to examine a long coil of hangman’s rope and to read, smirking, the card propped on a magnificent necklace of opals: Caution: Do Not Touch. Cursed – Has Claimed the Lives of Nineteen Muggle Owners to Date.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

When Harry accidentally lands in Borgin and Burkes after a faux pas with some Floo powder, he finds himself surrounded by all manner of dubious magical artefacts that shouldn’t get into the wrong hands. Unfortunately, a particular necklace that Harry notices in the shop in his second year gets into the wrong hands of someone in his sixth year.

Yes, this necklace (labelled ‘cursed’) turns up again in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, when Harry’s Quidditch teammate, Katie Bell, accidentally touches it. As it transpires, the necklace was actually meant for Albus Dumbledore, and part of the ongoing plot by Voldemort and the Death Eaters to get rid of him during Harry’s sixth year.

Even before this moment, Hermione spots the necklace in the shop earlier on in the book, where we learn that it costs one and a half thousand Galleons. The cursed jewellery must have been sitting in the shop for years, simply biding its time.

Lucius’s visit

‘Mr Malfoy, what a pleasure to see you again,’ said Mr Borgin in a voice as oily as his hair. ‘Delighted – and young Master Malfoy, too – charmed. How may I be of assistance? I must show you, just in today, and very reasonably priced –’

‘I’m not buying today, Mr Borgin, but selling,’ said Mr Malfoy.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

It is in Borgin and Burkes that we first meet one of the stories’ most significant villains, Lucius Malfoy, Draco’s father. Upon our introduction to the character, we learn that Lucius is selling some of his less innocuous belongings, lest he get into trouble with the Ministry of Magic for owning certain things. At the end of Chamber of Secrets, we learn that one of his deadly items is Tom Riddle’s diary, which he slips into Ginny Weasley’s possession during the same trip to Diagon Alley. In a deleted scene of the film, Chamber of Secrets, Lucius Malfoy is seen with a mysterious object that is ‘not for sale’ during the transaction. We are led to believe that this is the diary that he was holding back so he could sneak it into Hogwarts instead, where a fragment of Tom Riddle aided in opening the Chamber of Secrets.

The Hand of Glory

‘Ah, the Hand of Glory!’ said Mr Borgin, abandoning Mr Malfoy’s list and scurrying over to Draco. ‘Insert a candle and it gives light only to the holder! Best friend of thieves and plunderers!

Your son has fine taste, sir.’
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

In the book, Chamber of Secrets, we see a young Draco Malfoy fascinated by a creepy hand in Borgin and Burkes, which he asks his dad if he can have. No such luck, but Draco would get hold of the hand eventually... he uses it as part of his secret mission to sneak Death Eaters into Hogwarts during Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince!

‘He came out of the Room about an hour after we started keeping watch,’ said Ginny. ‘He was on his own, clutching that awful shrivelled arm –’

‘His Hand of Glory,’ said Ron. ‘Gives light only to the holder, remember?’


Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

The Vanishing Cabinets

Malfoy looked as though he was fighting down the urge to shout, or to vomit. He gulped and took several deep breaths, glaring at Dumbledore, his wand pointing directly at the latter’s heart. Then, as though he could not help himself, he said, ‘I had to mend that broken Vanishing Cabinet that no one’s used for years. The one Montague got lost in last year.’


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Another Borgin and Burkes item assisted Malfoy during his secret plot to kill Dumbledore during Half-Blood Prince – two of them, to be specific. A Vanishing Cabinet is a magical item that conceals whatever is put inside it (including people) – but also acts as a gateway if connected to another.

Luckily for Malfoy, two Vanishing Cabinets sat in Borgin and Burkes and Hogwarts respectively, making them the perfect catalyst for his secret mission to sneak Death Eaters into the castle in the sixth book.

But we actually discovered the cabinets much earlier in the Harry Potter stories. We see Filch confiscate the enchanted piece of furniture in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, for one. And the cabinet reappears again in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, because Fred and George shove the Slytherin Prefect Montague inside it. The cabinet is then moved to the Room of Requirement, and at one point, Harry walks straight past it.

Upon repeat readings of the book, we realise that the Weasley twins inadvertently made Draco Malfoy aware of the cabinet, which he would later use to deadly effect...

Lord Voldemort’s history

‘So Voldemort went off to Borgin and Burkes, and all the staff who had admired him said what a waste it was, a brilliant young wizard like that, working in a shop. However, Voldemort was no mere assistant. Polite and handsome and clever, he was soon given particular jobs of the type that only exist in a place like Borgin and Burkes, which specialises, as you know, Harry, in objects with unusual and powerful properties. Voldemort was sent to persuade people to part with their treasures for sale by the partners, and he was, by all accounts, unusually gifted at doing this.’


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

We always knew Borgin and Burkes was a shop that attracted bad company, but we didn’t know one of the Darkest wizards of the wizarding world actually worked there. Yes, a young Tom Riddle was under Borgin and Burkes’ employ in his younger years, which is where his fascination for certain magical trinkets became a significant part of his life. As Dumbledore teaches Harry, he would later go on to make precious items into Horcruxes...

If you have the Harry Potter Fan Club app, you can learn more about Knockturn Alley in today's Wizarding Weekly! You can download the app (available in the UK, Ireland, the US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia) from the App Store or Google Play.


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