In the fifth Harry Potter book in the beginning, during the flight to get to the Black house and they were passing boats and muggles, why didn't the muggles see them?

Mad Eye didn't put a charm on them or anything, did he?

  • 1
    I think there's a little mix up in your question and title - I don't want to edit it myself in case I do the wrong one: but the Battle of the Seven Potters is (IIRC) in the 7th book (though the event you're talking about with flying to the Black House IS in the 5th).
    – Mac Cooper
    Mar 20, 2016 at 13:31
  • 4
    someone edited it to say that Mar 20, 2016 at 13:32
  • That's my fault, sorry.
    – AncientSwordRage
    Mar 20, 2016 at 13:41
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    I know the answer to this, but it seems unfair to steal rand al'thor's thunder :P
    – Au101
    Mar 20, 2016 at 17:12

2 Answers 2


“Mad Eye didn't put a charm on them or anything, did he?”. Yes, he did.

Specifically, a Disillusionment charm. Here’s how it’s described (emphasis mine):

“Come here, boy,” said Moody gruffly, beckoning Harry toward him with his wand. “I need to Disillusion you.”

“You need to what?” said Harry nervously.

“Disillusionment Charm,” said Moody, raising his wand. “Lupin says you’ve got an Invisibility Cloak, but it won’t stay on while we’re flying; this’ll disguise you better. Here you go —”

He rapped Harry hard on the top of the head and Harry felt a curious sensation as though Moody had just smashed an egg there; cold trickles seemed to be running down his body from the point the wand had struck.

“Nice one, Mad-Eye,” said Tonks appreciatively, staring at Harry’s midriff.

Harry looked down at his body, or rather, what had been his body, for it didn’t look anything like his anymore. It was not invisible; it had simply taken on the exact color and texture of the kitchen unit behind him. He seemed to have become a human chameleon.

Order of the Phoenix, chapter 3 (The Advance Guard)

Against a dark night sky, if nobody knew to look for them, they’d be pretty hard to spot.

For most of the journey, they’re flying at considerable height – enough that they’re almost certainly indistinguishable from the sky. By the time they drop down low enough to be visible, it’s much later at night (less people on the streets), and they’re moving fast enough that they’d be gone before you looked back.

Moody being Moody, he’s fairly paranoid about the whole thing – gaining height to avoid Muggles, and going around built-up areas – but the Disillusionment charm seems like the main thing.

At best you’d half-see an indistinct, fast-moving object against the London skyline. Not much to go on – I think you’d assume it was a trick of the light.

In the movie, they fly much more recklessly – no invisibility at all.

  • As Anthony's answer says it seems Moody only put a disillusionment charm on Harry, not any of the others. They seem to be relying on height to avoid visibility.
    – DonyorM
    Mar 20, 2016 at 14:55
  • It does seem possible that in the film those that have read the books are meant to assume they're Disillusioned, but show them as normal as can be done in invisibility type situations for the benefit of the audience. I don't think they do any waving at Muggles or anything that shows they are seen, but I don't recall exactly. Just a thought.
    – ThruGog
    Mar 20, 2016 at 15:53
  • If the rest of the group had been Disillusioned, Harry wouldn't have been able to see them, and wouldn't have had any idea where he was going!
    – Adam V
    Mar 20, 2016 at 15:56
  • One of my favorite HP fanfics, Hogwarts Exposed Timeline, starts out with the movie version of that scene. A muggle notices the flyers, the footage gets on the Internet, wizards can't get rid of it in time... goodbye Statute of Secrecy. And hello Voldemort, who decides to take over the muggle world instead. It's quite a thrilling story. Mar 20, 2016 at 18:32

Harry had a Disillusionment Charm placed on him by Moody, though that was presumably to conceal him specifically from anybody watching the house (i.e. Death Eaters) rather than from any Muggles who might happen to see them.

'Come here, boy,' said Moody gruffly, beckoning Harry towards him with his wand. 'I need to Disillusion you.'
Harry looked down at his body, or rather, what had been his body, for it didn't look anything like his any more. It was not invisible; it had simply taken on the exact colour and texture of the kitchen unit behind him.

There's no mention whatsoever of the other members of the Advance Guard having similar charms put on them, though, and you'd think Harry would notice - and therefore it would be mentioned - if a bunch of wizards had appeared in his aunt's kitchen and were blending in with the cabinets.

However, they took care to fly in such a way as to avoid being seen by Muggles (and anybody else who may have been watching):

'Hard left, hard left, there's a Muggle looking up!' shouted Moody from behind him. Tonks swerved and Harry followed her, watching his trunk swinging wildly beneath her broom. 'We need more height ... give it another quarter of a mile!'
Harry's eyes watered in the chill as they soared upwards; he could see nothing below now but tiny pinpricks of light that were car headlights and streetlamps.
'Bearing south! shouted Mad-Eye. 'Town ahead!'
They soared right to avoid passing directly over the glittering spider's web of lights below.

Once they land in Grimmauld Place Moody uses the "Put-Outer" to prevent any Muggles from seeing them:

Moody was rummaging in his cloak, his gnarled hands clumsy with cold.
'Got it,' he muttered, raising what looked like a silver cigarette lighter into the air and clicking it.
The nearest streetlamp went out with a pop.

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