Voldemort couldn't kill Harry as long as he called the Dursleys home. Why didn't he just murder the Dursleys? This would prevent Harry from being able to live there.

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    Presumably the protection is mutual: Harry is protected from Voldemort while at the Dursleys, and so are they. While he's at Hogwarts, I don't know (I guess they must still be protected). Wasn't the protection ending the reason why they had to move when Harry turned 17?
    – wyvern
    Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 3:45
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    @sumelic your right, all harry needed to do was visit the dursleys once per year, and both he and the dursleys were covered. though the protection only covers the house itselfs, so in theory they could have attack the dursleys while out.
    – Himarm
    Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 3:48
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    Also because he's comparatively brainless. The list of tactically and strategically obvious things he could have done to easily win, and didn't do, would take more pages than all 7 main books combined. (or, you can just read Harry Potter and Methods of Rationality for the highlights :) Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 3:58
  • @DVK-on-Ahch-To Dumbledore thinks otherwise; Dumbledore suggests he was the most brilliant student to ever attend Hogwarts. Even if they weren't protected it's not like he truly understood the power of love so would he truly understand how this enchantment works? Doubtful. Has nothing to do with being 'brainless'. You're ignoring too that these decisions he makes are based on his experiences (like everyone) and that includes his personality (like everyone).
    – Pryftan
    Commented May 19, 2018 at 1:03

3 Answers 3


The traditional fanon answer is "there were blood wards protecting the house". It would not, however, have stopped Voldemort (or his Death Eaters) from attacking the Dursleys when they were out (as proved by Umbridge's dementor attack).

That said, Voldemort would have needed to figure out 1) that Harry lived at the Dursleys (which itself might not have been common knowledge), and 2) that the blood protection was tied to that fact (that's assuming it was, which we only have Dumbledore's word on, IIRC, so that might not even be true).
And after the ritual at the end of Harry's fourth year, Voldemort, specifically, had little to worry about from the blood protection anyway.

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    Umbridge's attack isn't relevant: the protection was against Voldemort and those working for him. Umbridge was a third-party. Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 22:42
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    Oh Yes, Voldemort could have not figured out where Harry lived. Its quite difficult to follow Harry from King's Cross to the Dursleys. Commented Jan 13, 2016 at 7:54
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    @prakharlondhe The main point is part 2, that the blood protection had anything to do with Harry living at the Dursleys (in retrospect, I should have mentioned another point - that the blood protection even existed; note that Voldemort apparently didn't know that prior to Quirrell's demise). Figuring out where Harry lived would have been relatively easy (indeed both Umbridge, and the Weasleys, had apparently managed it); but even then it might not have been especially common knowledge (Snape and Ginny, in particular, don't seem to have been aware). Commented Jan 13, 2016 at 22:47
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    The blood protection didn't really have much to do with where Harry lived—the protection of the house was Dumbledore’s work. True, he says it was built upon the protection afforded by Lily’s sacrifice, but Lily’s protection itself only protected Harry against Voldemort (wherever he was), nothing else. Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 13:25
  • @JanusBahsJacquet According to Dumbledore, Lily's protection only worked if Harry lived with Lily's relatives (i.e. the Dursleys). Yes, the house itself might have been protected separately; I believe it had never been made very clear (thus "fanon explanation"). Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 13:31

The Dursleys were safe by the same form of magic that kept Harry safe. However, all of them were only safe within the bounds of their home, till Harry came of age(i.e., he turned 17). Harry or any one of the Dursleys could have been attacked outside their home. Thus, when Harry was about to turn 17, the Order of Phoenix took the Dursleys some place safe. On that night, Harry and his protective guard were attacked as soon as they crossed the 'boundary' that protected the house, since they could not be attacked within that boundary. It was the house which had the protection.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince:

Chapter 3: Will and Won't

..but Dumbledore raised his finger for silence, a silence which fell as though he had struck Uncle Vernon dumb. “The magic I evoked fifteen years ago means that Harry has powerful protection while he can still call this house ‘home.’ However miserable he has been here, however unwelcome, however badlytreated, you have at least, grudgingly, allowed him houseroom. This magic will cease to operate the moment that Harry turns seventeen; in other words, at the moment he becomes a man. I ask only this: that you allow Harry to return, once more, to this house, before his seventeenth birthday, which will ensure that the protection continues until that time.”

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:

Chapter 3: The Dursleys Departing

“You claim,” said Uncle Vernon, starting to pace yet again, “that this Lord Thing—”

“—Voldemort,” said Harry impatiently, “and we’ve been through this about a hundred times already. This isn’t a claim, it’s fact, Dumbledore told you last year, and Kingsley and Mr. Weasley—”...

...“—Kingsley and Mr. Weasley explained it all as well,”Harry pressed on remorselessly. "Once I’m seventeen, the protective charm that keeps me safe will break, and that exposes you as well as me..."

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    It isn't just within the house itself. At the beginning of Deathly Hallows, Moody says "the charm will break the moment you get outside its range", so it clearly has a range, not just "inside the house". Exactly how far away it holds isn't clear, but from the following scene we can tell it is far enough away that Harry could no longer see the Dursley's house. Commented Oct 7, 2017 at 0:38

What would he achieve with this?

According to Dumbledore:

The magic I evoked fifteen years ago means that Harry has powerful protection while he can still call this house ‘home.’

Harry and Aunt Marge are the only living relatives of the Dursleys. So if the Dursleys are killed, then Harry will inherit the house or part of it.

Technically he will be still able to call the house his 'home' and the protection will stay.

There is also the possibility that Vernon and Petunia Dursley created a will that explicitly transfers the full ownership of the house to Aunt Marge in case they are all dead. In this case the Order of the Phoenix will have hard time persuading Aunt Marge to invite Harry to stay until he is seventeen.

Still I find this unlikely. Even the Dursleys, as horrible as they are, would not plan for what happens AFTER the death of their only child.

  • He would die of starvation... Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 1:20
  • Aunt Marge wasn't Harry's blood relative so the magic would not have worked
    – user46509
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 10:07

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