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Is it possible to not create a paradox by using a Time Turner to stop someone (e.g Voldemort) from the past?

For example, a theory could be that somebody would go back in time by 3 hours, poison someone with a poison that affects after 6 hours, then waits 3 hours, then gets back to normal time, then waits 3 hours and the person dies.

Would that create a paradox? The target would still be alive at the time that the time turner was used, so the reason for stopping the target would still exist since you're not stopping them in the past. Is there any way to prove this wrong? Would this theory work? Would it still cause a paradox?

The logic of a time turner is not explained very much in the Harry Potter series, and the way a time turner works really concerns me, so thank you for reading/replying.

  • Fairly sure I’ve answered the “can Time-Turners go forward” question before. – alexwlchan Sep 28 '15 at 19:15
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    possible duplicate of Were Time Turners Omni-Directional? cc. @alexwlchan – Jason Baker Sep 28 '15 at 19:16
  • fixed duplicate accusation – unknownA Sep 28 '15 at 19:25
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    Not a duplicate, but doesn't seem to be answerable as stated IMHO – DVK-on-Ahch-To Sep 28 '15 at 19:56
  • @DVK - Agreed. It's either already been answered, or is basically opinion. – JohnP Sep 28 '15 at 21:28
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This is basically the "Bill-and-Ted theory" of time travel you're asking about. Is it possible to go back in time and set things up in the past that you will require in the present or future?

Let's think of a simpler example. Hermione is rushing to class. She plans to take class A, and then spin back time so she can attend class B at the same time. However, she realized on the way that she's forgotten the book for class A. Could she plan to wait until after class A, and then spin back time, go back to the Common Room, grab class A's book, leave it for herself outside the classroom, and then hurry to class B? And having made that plan in her mind, could she then reach behind the plant outside class A and instantly find her book waiting for her? (What's really interesting to ponder, though, is if she already has the book at the end of class A, does she really need to go all the way back to the Common Room to get it before she stashes it? And if she doesn't, how did it get there in the first place?)

The answer would seem to be yes, these kinds of temporal causality loops are possible. After all, if Harry hadn't cast the Patronus charm to save himself, he wouldn't have survived the Dementors in order to go back in time and cast the charm to save himself. True, that wasn't so much a plan in the way of intentionally planting something he would need, but he does state afterward that the only reason he could cast the Patronus was that he had the knowledge that he'd already done it, which is a clear example of the future influencing the past.

In that sense, the Time Turner doesn't prevent paradoxes, because a temporal causality loop is a paradox. They only survived because they were able to save themselves, thus ensuring they could go back in time and ensure they survived.

Given that example, I find it completely plausible that one could be in a confrontation with a Death Eater and, say, after having been disarmed, think to oneself, 'After I get out of this, I'll get a second wand and come back here and hide it behind this rock.' And, with that in mind, the wand will already be in place, allowing you to neutralize the Death Eater, and then turn back time and leave the wand you already have back under the rock for you to find. It's a complete paradox, because where did the wand come from, but it's a completely self-contained paradox, and the Time Turner does seem to allow for those without any difficulty.

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The short answer is no.

The long answer is that when it comes to time travel, there are no small changes. The only way to avoid a paradox when traveling back in time is to let every single event unfold exactly as it was. The reason why Hermione could "be in two places at the same time" is because she actually wasn't. In regards to her own timeline, she went from point A to point B in her first class, and then from point B to point C in her second class. Even though both occurred at the same time, one of them came prior to the other in Hermione's timeline. In fact, Hermione was probably almost a year older by the time the school year was over, since she practically lived every day twice. Since Hermione avoided running into herself and altering her own timeline, no paradoxes were created :).

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