60

As we know, whenever school ends, Harry is sent back to live with the Dursleys, where he suffers from abuse. He would much prefer to live with the Weasleys, and often visits there before returning to school. It stands to reason that they probably don't live that far from each other, since:

  1. Both Harry and the Weasleys use Platform 9¾ to get to school

  2. Ron was able to take Harry to the Burrow in a flying car within a reasonable amount of time

It's heavily hinted at that the Weasleys are poor. However, it's not like Harry would live there permanently. Three months isn't that bad, not to mention he's pretty well-off from his parents' money. There would be little to no extra expense on the Weasleys.

The only explanation is that Dumbledore goes out of his way to ensure Harry lives with the Dursleys. If so, why is this?

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    They could just memory charm everyone, or even just say they shipped him off to live with a different set of relatives or something. – Kevin Oct 6 '15 at 15:20
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    @user53987 Come back! We love you really :-) We undeleted your question and gave you a load of upvotes - don't leave! – Rand al'Thor Oct 6 '15 at 20:21
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    While somewhat anecdotal and discordant, the answers to Are there other conventional transports to Hogwarts/Hogsmeade? suggest that many/most Hogwarts students, from throughout England or even the United Kingdom, funnel through London, so your point #1 might not be very significant. – Peregrine Rook Oct 6 '15 at 21:01
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    Actually this is poorly researched. Sorry. Anyone who has read Order of the Phoenix knows the passage in @randal'thor 's answer. – sampathsris Oct 7 '15 at 5:48
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    @Krumia people forget things, or haven't read that far. This question is good and fine. – AncientSwordRage Oct 7 '15 at 22:27
148

Living with his blood family gives Harry magical protection.

"While you can still call home the place where your mother's blood dwells, there you cannot be touched or harmed by Voldemort. He shed her blood, but it lives on in you and her sister. Her blood became your refuge. You need return there only once a year, but as long as you can still call it home, there he cannot hurt you. Your aunt knows this. I explained what I had done in the letter I left, with you, on her doorstep. She knows that allowing you houseroom may well have kept you alive for the past fifteen years"
-- Albus Dumbledore, Order of the Phoenix

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    Fastest 54 upvotes ever?! – Anthony Pham Oct 7 '15 at 1:30
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    @PythonMaster Least deserved 72 upvotes ever?! :-P – Rand al'Thor Oct 7 '15 at 9:10
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    Couldn't he have popped in for a cup of tea once a year then disappeared off to the Weasleys' for the rest of the holiday? – Ilythya Oct 7 '15 at 13:43
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    @Ilythya: would you honestly be able to faithfully call something your "home" where you get in 1 time a year for a tea and maybe stay not even a hour? I doubt it. But as long you are there "all" the time you can be, as long not your school duty forces you to not beeing there, thats a complete different thing – Zaibis Oct 7 '15 at 13:49
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    Wait a minute! Harry always dwells where Harry dwells. So if his mother's blood lives on in him, the charm should give him protection wherever he lives! Inconsistency... – Tiercelet Oct 7 '15 at 20:25
4

The answer to this question is a bit complicated. As the quote provided by rand al'thor states, Harry will be under a protection spell as long as he calls Privet Drive his home. The quote also states Harry could not be touched by Voldemort, although he is touched be Voldemort multiple times before he turns 17 (the protection wears off after he is 17). Maybe, the protection spell began to wear off because Harry didn't really consider Privet Drive his home anymore after arriving at Hogwarts (emphasis mine).

Perhaps it was because he was now so busy, what with Quidditch practice three evenings a week on top of all his homework, but Harry could hardly believe it when he realized that he’d already been at Hogwarts two months. The castle felt more like home than Privet Drive ever had.

If the protection spell was truly beginning to wear off after Harry's first year, there was no point in him returning to Privet Drive every year. Let's look at the evidence, and compare Harry touching Quirrell in SS/PS to Voldemort touching Harry in GoF (emphasis mine).

Harry felt Quirrell’s hand close on his wrist. At once, a needle-sharp pain seared across Harry’s scar; his head felt as though it was about to split in two; he yelled, struggling with all his might, and to his surprise, Quirrell let go of him. The pain in his head lessened — he looked around wildly to see where Quirrell had gone, and saw him hunched in pain, looking at his fingers — they were blistering before his eyes . . . “Master, I cannot hold him — my hands — my hands!”

Quirrell can't touch Harry without screaming in pain.

“You all know that on the night I lost my powers and my body, I tried to kill him. His mother died in the attempt to save him — and unwittingly provided him with a protection I admit I had not foreseen. . . . I could not touch the boy.” Voldemort raised one of his long white fingers and put it very close to Harry’s cheek. “His mother left upon him the traces of her sacrifice. . . . This is old magic, I should have remembered it, I was foolish to overlook it . . . but no matter. I can touch him now.” Harry felt the cold tip of the long white finger touch him, and thought his head would burst with the pain. Voldemort laughed softly in his ear, then took the finger away and continued addressing the Death Eaters.

Not only does Voldemort not scream, but he laughs. This could only mean the protection had worn off at some point between the first year and fourth year, and Harry was free to live with the Weasleys. He kept coming back to Privet Drive afterwards for plot reasons only.

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    Voldemort could touch him because he used his blood in his body rebirth. The point is that whilst he stays at Privet Drive he cannot be harmed at Privet Drive so during the summer months he is protected. Where as if he were to stay at the Weasleys he would be vulnerable and putting the others lives in danger. – CandiedMango Oct 9 '15 at 1:53
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    It doesn't matter why Voldemort could touch him, the point is that he can. If Voldemort can touch him, the protection spell is useless, and Harry is suffering child abuse for no reason. It's valid to say he would put the Weasleys in danger, but being members of the order they're in danger anyway. – Lord Voldemort Oct 9 '15 at 1:56
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    No it isn't, notice how @Randal'thors quote is from the Order of the Phoenix, it isn't about him not being able to touch Harry. It's about him not being able to do so at privet drive. – CandiedMango Oct 9 '15 at 2:28
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    The only reason Harry would need special protection at Privet Drive is because it's a dangerous place for him to be without any protection, since he is surrounded by muggles and can't protect himself from Voldemort. If Harry lived with Dumbledore, the Weasleys, Grimmauld place, or any other place where members of the order can protect him, he would have just as much protection as he would at Privet Drive, only he wouldn't have to suffer terrible child abuse. In the books, the Dursleys support hitting children as punishment and they starve Harry, which is terrible. – Lord Voldemort Oct 9 '15 at 2:34
  • Plus, this is only Dumbledore's explanation, and we've seen Dumbledore be wrong about protecting Harry before. In OotP he kept Harry completely in the dark and ignored him all year, which eventually led to the Battle of the Department of Mysteries and Sirius's death. – Lord Voldemort Oct 9 '15 at 2:36

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