Related: Why in 'Deathly Hallows' was a Portkey not used in the beginning?

I remember Lupin saying, when transporting Harry in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix:

"Brooms," said Lupin. "Only way. You're too young to Apparate, they'll be watching the Floo Network and it's more than our life's worth to set up an unauthorised Portkey."

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, chapter three, "The Advance Guard"

But later on, when Dumbledore transfers Harry and the Weasleys to Grimmauld Place:

Dumbledore was now rummaging in a cupboard behind Harry and Ron. He emerged from it carrying a blackened old kettle, which he placed carefully upon his desk. He raised his wand and murmured "Portus"; for a moment the kettle trembled, glowing with an odd blue light, then it quivered to a rest, as solidly black as ever.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, chapter twenty-two, "St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries"

My question is why can't the Order set an unauthorized Portkey if Dumbledore does it so valiantly?

  • 3
    I've taken the liberty of editing in the exact quotes - hope you don't mind!
    – Rand al'Thor
    Oct 24, 2015 at 12:54
  • 1
    instead I thank you. :D Oct 25, 2015 at 7:26
  • Speculation: perhaps the kettle was already Dumbledore's authorised portkey of choice and he was just setting it up for this journey.
    – SQB
    Jan 10, 2018 at 13:07
  • Speculation: Dumbledore, as headmaster of Hogwarts, may have blanket authorization for creating portkeys. Remember, the castle is protected from most routes in and out of the castle by magic. And we know from the Triwizard Cup be illegally made into a portkey, portkeys are one way to bypass those protections (at least for exiting). It is possible any headmaster of Hogwarts is generally blanket-authorized to make portkeys entering and exiting the school.
    – Jamin Grey
    Dec 29, 2022 at 4:40

2 Answers 2


A couple of reasons spring to mind:

  • As far as we know, the Order is a secret organisation with no legal authority.

    Remember that Fudge spent most of Order of the Phoenix terrified of Dumbledore's supposed ‘wizard army’, and the Order fits the bill nicely. It follows that Fudge is unaware of the Order’s existence, and it follows that the Order are really vigilantes.

    This means that Order members have no special provisions for creating Portkeys; if they did so, it would be as if a regular citizen had done it. If they're trying to keep a low profile, breaking laws is a bad way to do it.

    Further throw in that Harry's guard is mostly Aurors (part of whom's job is to uphold the law) and Lupin (a werewolf, who already gets short thrift from the Ministry). They're probably known to be friendly with Dumbledore; they'd all have the book thrown at them.

    They could contact the Ministry for assistance, but doing so could tip them off to the Order's existence. They'd almost certainly be tailed in an attempt to find out where Harry was going, and who was looking after him.

  • Dumbledore is an exceptionally popular and powerful wizard, even with the Ministry's smear campaign.

    He's well-known to be the Headmaster of Hogwarts, and this is a case in which the Weasleys' father might be dying. I think Dumbledore could reasonably argue that this is an exceptional case, and most compassionate adults would agree with him. Fudge is clinging to power; taking on Dumbledore is probably not in his best interest.

    Later in the book, when Dumbledore creates a Portkey directly in view of Fudge, his smear campaign has been completely discredited, and Dumbledore vindicated. The Ministry has egg on its face, and no authority to tell Dumbledore what to do.

  • Harry is already in trouble with the Ministry; they don't need to cause further trouble.

    If Harry used an illegal Portkey, you can bet the Ministry would jump on it. It would add to the case against him, which is precisely what the Order doesn’t want to do. Harry needs to maintain a low profile until the hearing; using non-illegal transport is just one part of that.

  • 8
    It also seems possible that the Ministry simply wouldn't have been able to detect Dumbledore's Portkey, either because it was created within Hogwarts (which is quite thoroughly protected against outside spying) or simply because he's more highly skilled than the average wizard. (Or both.) Oct 25, 2015 at 0:41
  • @HarryJohnston Might be a right theorY! Oct 25, 2015 at 7:27
  • 1
    @HarryJohnston Indeed, and given that the Portkey goes to Grimmauld Place, there must be some limits on how much the Ministry can detect.
    – alexwlchan
    Oct 25, 2015 at 7:36
  • @alexwlchan Maybe. But remember that Grimmauld Place has all sorts of enchantments including the Fidelius Charm so it seems to me that it's not that simple?
    – Pryftan
    Jun 6, 2018 at 1:32
  1. Despite his disfavour with the Ministry, Dumbledore still has more clout than the rest of the Order.

    If a less important figure like Moody or Tonks or Lupin were to create an unauthorised Portkey, they could get in big trouble with the Ministry, perhaps even arrested and charged with something-or-other (presumably the creation of unauthorised Portkeys is against some wizarding law).
    But arresting and charging Dumbledore would be a huge step to take, and the Ministry would want to be very sure they could make the charges stick, and preferably to get the population's support (there must be a lot of people still loyal to Dumbledore, despite the incessant propaganda against him). Even charging Harry was a smaller step than charging Dumbledore would have been. To arrest Dumbledore, they'd want something much more serious than the creation of an unauthorised Portkey - such as, hem hem, confessing to setting up a wizard army to overthrow the Ministry.

    He walked away from the pool to the place where the golden wizard’s head lay on the floor. He pointed his wand at it and muttered, ‘Portus.’ The head glowed blue and trembled noisily against the wooden floor for a few seconds, then became still once more.

    ‘Now see here, Dumbledore!’ said Fudge, as Dumbledore picked up the head and walked back to Harry carrying it. ‘You haven’t got authorisation for that Portkey! You can’t do things like that right in front of the Minister for Magic, you – you –’

    -- HP and the Order of the Phoenix, chapter 36

    As shown in the above quote, even when Dumbledore created an unauthorised Portkey right in front of Fudge, there are no repercussions: all Fudge does is bluster, and Dumbledore calmly ignores him. Admittedly this is after Fudge has just had to accept that Dumbledore was right all along about Voldemort having returned (which is why I'm putting this quote at the end), but it still does support my theory.

  2. The Portkey creation you mention was in an emergency.

    Getting Harry out of Privet Drive quickly was important to the Order, but the Ministry wouldn't see its importance, since naturally they wouldn't believe that Voldemort or a bunch of Death Eaters might be waiting to assassinate him. Setting up an unauthorised Portkey for such a 'frivolous' exercise as moving one underage wizard across London would probably be a flagrant violation of the Portkey regulations.
    In contrast, even the Ministry might understand that the Weasley kids needed to get to Grimmauld Place so that they could find out as soon as possible whether their father was going to die. That's quite an important thing, you must admit; there might be exceptions made in the Portkey regulations for a situation of 'grave personal emergency'.

  • When Dumbledore created the Portkey in front of Fudge, he was just proven very wrong about his views about Dumbledore and hence he was not in the position of pressing any charges against Dumbledore. And when he created the portkey for transporting Harry and the Weasleys, He may have been charged for the offence. It may help them more discredit Dumbledore if they pressed the charges at that time. They may tell the people that Dumbledore had no regard for rules.... Oct 24, 2015 at 12:06
  • @prakharlondhe Yes, I realise the quote isn't much of a support to my first point; I can delete it if you want. There's no canon info to say he was charged for creating the other Portkey, and we probably would've heard about it if he was.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Oct 24, 2015 at 12:10
  • Ministry was with the Order when they were transporting Harry, weren't they? Couldn't They have contacted Ministry for some support? Oct 24, 2015 at 12:20
  • @prakharlondhe No, the quote "it's more than our life's worth" comes from Order of the Phoenix, not Deathly Hallows. At that time the Ministry definitely wouldn't have helped!
    – Rand al'Thor
    Oct 24, 2015 at 12:39
  • Oh yes.. Sorry!! Oct 24, 2015 at 12:42

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.