In the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry accidentally inflates his aunt(Marge) as a consequence of the terrible things she says about his parents. Now, I know that his anger was justified. But did he just assume that the Accident Magical Reversal Squad would save her? Or did he not care if she died or anything?(If she had went on floating indefinitely, surely she would have died). I mean, the things she said were terrible, sure, but I don't think she deserved to die? So why didn't he make any attempt to save her?

  • 4
    I may be mistaken, but in the book she doesn't leave the house does she?
    – user46509
    Mar 6, 2016 at 20:37
  • 7
    @ATB No, that's just the movie being awful. There's nothing really to suggest that she would have died if she'd kept floating. It's just as logical to assume that the air would have gone out of her by itself sooner or later, like it does with a non-human balloon. Mar 6, 2016 at 21:41
  • 1
    @JanusBahsJacquet The problem would be if the air had gone out of her via an explosion, exactly as what happens with non-human balloons when they have too much air inside. Most probably, that would be lethal.
    – Oriol
    Mar 6, 2016 at 22:47
  • 3
    @Oriol Certainly—but she presumably stopped inflating when Harry stormed out. The actual inflation would be a result of Harry's temper tapping into his magic, and once he left and directed his ebbing anger at other things, it would stop. Whether she would also deflate by herself is less certain, but no less likely than the alternative. (I've always found it strange that Fudge says she was “punctured”—do that to a balloon and you're definitely going to blow it up!) Mar 6, 2016 at 22:53
  • 2
    @JanusBahsJacquet while I agree with you, note if a free non-human balloon keeps raising in the air, it will eventually explode due to the progressively lower air pressure. This might inconvenience human balloons.
    – ANeves
    Mar 7, 2016 at 15:40

5 Answers 5


Harry expected Ministry representatives to appear almost immediately:

he had just done serious magic, which meant that he was almost certainly expelled from Hogwarts. He had broken the Decree for the Restriction of Underage Wizardry so badly, he was surprised Ministry of Magic representatives weren’t swooping down on him where he sat.

It was reasonable to assume they would reverse the magic and help her. Maybe they didn't appear as early as Harry expected, but they rescued her indeed:

“You will be pleased to hear that we have dealt with the unfortunate blowing-up of Miss Marjorie Dursley. Two members of the Accidental Magic Reversal Department were dispatched to Privet Drive a few hours ago. Miss Dursley has been punctured and her memory has been modified. She has no recollection of the incident at all. So that’s that, and no harm done.”

That said, he seems to worry more about what would happen to himself than to her:

He, Harry, had broken wizard law just like Sirius Black. Was inflating Aunt Marge bad enough to land him in Azkaban? Harry didn’t know anything about the wizard prison, though everyone he’d ever heard speak of it did so in the same fearful tone.

  • Also the way he talks about "Inflating" her rather than "Killing" her suggests he knows she won't be killed by the magic - possibly instinctively, or possibly because they'd studied this magic at school at some stage. Harry certainly doesn't seem like the type to callously refer to killing someone as "Inflating" them
    – Jon Story
    Mar 7, 2016 at 16:42

As you said in your question, Harry didn't intend to do what he did. I don't think he had any notion of how to reverse it or stop it or even try to bring her down.

Plus, he was incredibly emotional at the time and stormed out of the house.

I think it is a sufficient answer to say that Harry did not know what would happen to her, and possibly didn't care either!


He, Harry, had broken wizard law just like Sirius Black. Was inflating Aunt Marge bad enough to land him in Azkaban? Harry didn’t know anything about the wizard prison, though everyone he’d ever heard speak of it did so in the same fearful tone.

This quote implies that he knew she had been or would be rescued. He would have been certain that killing a muggle would have warranted a sentence in Azkaban.

He is also friends with Arthur Weasley who works in a fairly similar role to the Accidental Magic Reversal Department so is probably aware of how the Ministry responds to these if not the punishments carried.


You're assuming he could have done anything about it. Throughout the books (and films), Harry is regularly shown as being brave in a crisis, but only a very mediocre student of magic. Remember that he uses "expelliarmus" mainly because he doesn't have access to a wide variety of other spells. So he's not just running away from the Dursleys, he's running away from the consequences of something he's done which he can't undo.


It doesn't seem to ever cross Harry's mind that his Aunt could be in any danger - this is likely a consequence of his schooling, wiser Witches and Wizards have always been around to fix any magical problems that occurred.

It's likely he just assumed - probably unconsciously - that "someone" would fix it.

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.