Borgin and Burkes

Borgin and Burkes is an antique dealing shop in Knockturn Alley, known for its wide range of Dark Magical items and several heirlooms and artefacts of renown.

The Definitive Glossary for Harry Potter

Borgin and Burkes is an antique shop located at Knockturn Alley, a shopping street in Magical London. It was founded by Mr Borgin and Mr Burke and was especially famous for selling a lot of dark magical objects. It was located at number 13B in the infamous Knockturn Alley, known across the wizarding world as a place where dangerous people are found roaming about. Borgin and Burkes was known for its trade of banned dark magic objects and the greedy nature and sinister intents of its proprietors who tried to keep these sales quiet from the Ministry of Magic for the sake of business.

Founding and Establishment

Borgin and Burkes was founded by Messrs. Borgin and Caractacus Burke in the year 1863 in Knockturn Alley. It is considered one of the most popular dark magic antique shops and had a shady reputation for housing banned and dangerous items like the Hand of Glory, a staring glass eye, a bloodstained pack of cards, a hangman’s rope, a large black cabinet, which was revealed to be a Vanishing Cabinet and the cursed necklace made of opal, which is said to have been having a very strong curse upon it and had claimed the lives of 19 of its muggle owners.

They were also infamous for selling their items for very high prices after buying them for very low compensation. It was also known to provide a confidential valuation service to wealthy heirloom owners who possessed ancient wizarding artifacts. It was one of the most popular destinations in Knockturn Alley and was frequented by enthusiasts of black magic.

First Appearance in the Harry Potter Series

The shop first appears in the Harry Potter series when Harry accidentally ends up in Borgin and Burkes instead of Diagon Alley after taking the Floo powder at the Burrow at the beginning of his second year. He doesn’t know what place he is in, but emerges out of a large stone fireplace through the Floo network, and walks around in the dimly lit shop, only to realize that there are a lot of strange-looking objects like the glass case that contained the withered hand on a cushion. This is later found out to be the Hand of Glory, a dark magical artifact.

Other items included rusty, spiked instruments, an assortment of human bones and skulls, a cursed opal necklace and several evil-looking masks that all seemed to stare directly at Harry when he entered the shop. Harry saw Lucius Malfoy for the first time here as he had come with Draco to sell some “poisons” and Harry had to hide in a Crushing Cabinet. This is also the first time that Harry saw Tom Riddle’s diary, and despite Mr Burke’s offer to buy it, Mr Malfoy claimed to have other plans for it. It would eventually be used by Lucius to plant it among Ginny Weasley’s books as a ploy to discredit Arthur Weasley. 

Harry later went out of the shop into Knockturn Alley, only to feel lost among dodgy-looking people until Hagrid happened to be there buying Flesh-Eating Slug Repellent and saved Harry from there. They eventually meet Hermione Granger and then Ron Weasley, in Diagon Alley.

Other Appearances in the Harry Potter Series

Except for being the shop that Harry accidentally ends up going to, in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Borgin and Burkes is rarely mentioned or even appears in the series until Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, during Harry’s sixth year. When Harry, Ron, and Hermione come out of Fred and George’s joke shop, the Weasley Wizarding Wheezes, they see Draco Malfoy going to Borgin and Burkes and they follow him. He appears to be arguing with Mr Burke and even threatens him before he leaves. Hermione immediately goes into the shop and tries to find out what Malfoy was up to, but is unsuccessful.

It is eventually found out that Draco was trying to coerce Mr Burke to help him fix the broken vanishing cabinet whose twin was in the Room of Requirement in Hogwarts. Draco would eventually mend this cabinet and use it to transport Death Eaters including Bellatrix Lestrange who fight against the Order of the Phoenix at Hogwarts and eventually with Snape, kill Dumbledore atop the Astronomy Tower.

The next instance that Borgin and Burkes features in the series, is again in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, when Albus Dumbledore explains to Harry, the past events leading to Tom Riddle becoming Lord Voldemort. Dumbledore explains that when Merope Gaunt, the descendant of Salazar Slytherin and the mother of Tom Riddle came to London with her newborn child, she only had the Slytherin’s locket, which she decided to sell to Mr Burke, who due to his greed ended up purchasing it for a paltry sum of ten galleons despite knowing its true value. 

Later, when Tom Riddle completed his studies at Hogwarts, instead of seeking something befitting his accolades, he applies as an apprentice in Borgin and Burkes. This surprises almost everyone in Hogwarts. However, Voldemort makes great use of his opportunity and although particular jobs of the type are not considered great and Tom Riddle was a mere assistant in an antique shop, he had direct access to a lot of the clients in Borgin and Burkes. One of them was Hepzibah Smith, a widow from one of the best wizarding families known to London and a descendant of Helga Hufflepuff.

Being one of the extremely skilled smooth talkers that he was, Riddle made his way into Hepzibah Smith’s heart and managed to find out that she possessed both Helga Hufflepuff’s cup as well as the locket of Slytherin which she bought from Borgin and Burkes. Tom eventually murdered her, made the house-elf Hokey take blame for these murders, and stole these artifacts and converted them to Horcruxes.

What Would Happen if Voldemort was Denied Work at Borgin and Burkes?

One of the major milestones in Tom Riddle’s life was finishing his education at Hogwarts so that he could independently pursue his interests in the Dark Arts. He was denied the chance to teach Defence Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts, so, his interests naturally turned to the place that had the most artifacts that pertained to the Dark Arts – Borgin and Burkes.

While there is no certainty as to what would have happened if Voldemort was denied work there, it is highly likely that he couldn’t have easy access to or study any of the artifacts he later made into Horcruxes. This would probably set him back by a few years and we posit that he was too stubborn to use any normal object as a Horcrux. It would therefore probably take many more years for him to make these Horcruxes and a lot of things, including Harry Potter’s legacy, would be very different from how they turned out to be.


What was Borgin and Burkes?

Borgin and Burkes was an antique shop in Knockturn Alley. It was very popular, especially for its trade of Dark Magic objects and it contained a collection of several items that were banned or restricted by the Ministry of Magic. It was run by Messrs. Borgin and Burke and hence had that name. Several dark wizards including the accused Death Eaters had ties with this place including Lord Voldemort himself.

What was Malfoy doing in Borgin and Burkes?

Lucius Malfoy, in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, had come to sell off his dark magic items at Borgin and Burkes, as the Ministry of Magic, was doing a full-blown raid into houses that were assumed to contain dark magic items, headed by Arthur Weasley.
Draco Malfoy was found in Borgin and Burkes in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry, Hermione and Ron followed him. While it was not clear what Draco was up to, it was later found out that Draco was arguing with Mr Borgin about getting a Vanishing Cabinet repaired.

What did Malfoy show Borgin?

Draco Malfoy had a heated argument with Mr Borgin about something, and eventually showed him something on his hand. While it is not clear at the moment, Harry, who followed him along with Ron and Hermione theorizes that Draco threatened Mr Borgin with the Dark Mark and that Draco is a Death Eater. Although Hermione and Ron do not believe Harry’s word, it eventually turns out to be true as Draco goes on to make several attempts to kill Albus Dumbledore, first through the cursed necklace given to Katie Bell, and then the poisoned mead that accidentally poisons Ron instead.

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