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I was reading through questions related to one of my others, and came across a gem by Slytherincess about the Fidelius charm and saw something interesting.

She mentions that Harry can see Bill Weasley's house, and that he's the Secret Keeper for the house, but I noticed something else. The quote below has emphasis mine.

‘I’ve been getting them all out of The Burrow,’ he explained. ‘Moved them to Muriel’s. The Death Eaters know Ron’s with you now, they’re bound to target the family – don’t apologise,’ he added, at the sight of Harry’s expression. ‘It was always a matter of time, Dad’s been saying so for months. We’re the biggest blood traitor family there is.’

‘How are they protected?’ asked Harry.

‘Fidelius Charm. Dad’s Secret Keeper. And we’ve done it on this cottage too; I’m Secret Keeper here.

Deathly Hallows - page 390 - Bloomsbury - chapter 24, The Wandmaker

I noticed that Bill also disclosed the location of where the rest of the Weasleys were, despite not being the Secret Keeper.

Is this a plot hole?

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Fidelius charm protects a place, not a person(s). Bill has not disclosed the location of auntie muriel's house. – The Giant of Lannister Mar 24 at 20:14
Bill didn’t disclose the location of where the rest of the Weasleys were. “Auntie Muriel’s” isn’t a location. If it had been, Dumbledore’s note to Harry would only have to read “Headquarter of the Order of the Phoenix”. To disclose the location (though he wouldn’t have been able to), Bill would have had to tell Harry where Auntie Muriel’s is. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Mar 24 at 23:35
-gasp- A plot hole in Harry Potter?! – Misha Rosnach Mar 25 at 3:23
@JanusBahsJacquet As Rand said in the other comments, "But surely Ron knows where Muriel's is?". And the linked question removes any "he would have forgot", as well as the "even if Voldemort put his face to the window" thing, that's why he didn't know where the Potters were until he was told. The Fidelius charm affects a secret not a location. – Anoplexian Mar 25 at 21:02
@Anoplexian Where does the linked question deny the possibility (actually, I'd say the almost certain conclusion) that Ron would no longer be able to find Aunt Muriel's house? It's not even mentioned in that question. Or if you prefer, that Ron would be able to see his family even if he pressed his face against Muriel's windows? As it happens, the only secrets we've seen covered by the Fidelius charm are locations. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Mar 25 at 23:03
up vote 31 down vote accepted

As I understand it, the fidelius charm's protection applies to the location of a place, not the people residing in a place. By saying that the Weasleys are at "Auntie Muriel's", Bill is not disclosing the location of Auntie Muriel's, only the people who are there. Somebody trying to find Auntie Muriel's based on this information would still be unable to reach the Weasleys so long as they stayed within the boundaries of the location to which the fidelius charm applied.

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Canonically, the protection applies to any secret, not necessarily a location. But you're quite right that simply saying "Muriel's" doesn't reveal the secret in any meaningful way. – Harry Johnston Mar 24 at 21:15
But surely Ron knows where Muriel's is? – Rand al'Thor Mar 24 at 21:21
@randal'thor only in the same way that people knew the Potters lived in Godric's Hollow. It's mentioned that "Voldemort could walk [the village] for years and never find the Potters" without being given the secret. I'd imagine that now Fidelius is cast, if Ron was not given the secret by the secret keeper, he would now find he is unable to reach his Aunt Muriel's. – The Giant of Lannister Mar 24 at 21:28
p.s. why the downvote? – The Giant of Lannister Mar 24 at 21:29
@Anoplexian I never said he didn't know previously. I'm making the point that now fidelius has been cast, he will find he is no longer able to find Aunt Muriel's. He will go to where he thinks (knew) it was, yet will not be able to find it. – The Giant of Lannister Mar 24 at 21:43

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