In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone there is following tirade from Petunia Dursley:

"Knew!" shrieked Aunt Petunia suddenly. "Knew! Of course we knew! How could you not be, my dratted sister being what she was? Oh, she got a letter just like that and disappeared off to that - that school- and came home every vacation with her pockets full of frog spawn, turning teacups into rats. I was the only one who saw her for what she was - a freak! But for my mother and father, oh no, it was Lily this and Lily that, they were proud of having a witch in the family!"

Why would Lily do this? Didn't she have the Trace at that point? Or was the Trace and the restriction for underage magic introduced later (unlikely since everyone knew about it)?

  • 4
    GAH!!!!!!!! Having similar answers does NOT make the questions duplicate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    – Martha
    Sep 25, 2015 at 16:46
  • 1
    I think the correct duplicate is the one pointed by Kevin: scifi.stackexchange.com/a/7374/3267. The one that is currently marked as duplicate refers to a different situation. The Ministry WANTED Harry in Hogwarts for his own security. So the might have overlooked the transgression which will otherwise result in him being expelled.
    – vap78
    Sep 26, 2015 at 13:54
  • 1
    @Martha - actually, it does. That's how duplicate rules work, via answer identicalness. See the exact wording of the dupe notice: This question already has an answer here: Sep 28, 2015 at 15:27
  • 2
    Voting to reopen. I would like to post an answer specific to Petunia's prejudice against magic, something that has nothing to do with the other question's focus on Ministry policy regarding underage magic.
    – Gaultheria
    Jul 24, 2018 at 23:03

1 Answer 1


Theoretically, as a young witch she could have been performing accidental magic, something that appears to be analogous to "growing pains" in the muggle universe. Notably, the Ministry of Magic maintains an entire staff (The Accidental Magic Reversal Squad) whose primary task seems to be containing these sort of impromptu magical slip-ups.

We also have confirmation from JKR that these sorts of magical mishaps are generally considered to be little more than annoyances to the Ministry, easily corrected and often overlooked.

Q. In "Philosopher's Stone" Aunt Petunia says that Lily came back from Hogwarts with frog spawn in her pockets and turned teacups into rats. If this is true, why wasn't Lily expelled?

Aunt Petunia is exaggerating a little; you have to allow for her state of mind when she started shrieking these things. However, just like her son, Lily was not averse to testing the limits of the Statute of Secrecy, so you can safely assume she will have had a few warning letters – nothing too serious, though.

As the family of a Witch, her family are evidently exempt from the Wizard Secrecy acts and the Minister of Magic even quips to Harry that normal indiscretions (such as blowing one's aunt up to alarming size) are barely on their radar normally. It's only because of Umbridge's hatred of Harry that his acts are deemed worthy of their attention.

  • 1
    This may answer why she didn't get in trouble with it (which I'm pretty sure has been asked here before), but it doesn't even address her motivation for turning a teacup into a rat.
    – Kevin
    Sep 25, 2015 at 14:28
  • 1
    Wasn't Fudge being uncaring about the whole blowing up his aunt thing more out of relief that he hadn't been murdered by Sirius?
    – Mac Cooper
    Sep 25, 2015 at 14:30
  • @Kevin honestly I formulated the question wrong :) Really my main concern was the underage magic thing. For the pure "why" I guess the very plausible answer would be - "she's a show-off" :)
    – vap78
    Sep 25, 2015 at 14:30
  • @vap78 in that case you may be interested in this answer on another question.
    – Kevin
    Sep 25, 2015 at 14:36
  • @Kevin - Maybe because that appears to be one of the basic transfiguration lessons?
    – JohnP
    Sep 25, 2015 at 14:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.