In year 5, Fred and George jam Montague into the Vanishing Cabinet. He's found weeks later in a toilet.

‘He never managed to get all the words out,’ said Fred, ‘due to the fact that we forced him head-first into that Vanishing Cabinet on the first floor.’


‘They’ve found Montague, sir, he’s turned up jammed inside a toilet on the fourth floor.’
‘How did he get in there?’ demanded Snape.
‘I don’t know, sir, he’s a bit confused.’

In year 6 Malfoy expands on that.

‘I had to mend that broken Vanishing Cabinet that no one’s used for years. The one Montague got lost in last year.’


‘The other’s in Borgin and Burkes,’ said Malfoy, ‘and they make a kind of passage between them. Montague told me that when he was stuck in the Hogwarts one, he was trapped in limbo but sometimes he could hear what was going on at school, and sometimes what was going on in the shop, as if the Cabinet was travelling between them, but he couldn't make anyone hear him ... in the end he managed to Apparate out, even though he’d never passed his test. He nearly died doing it.

What happened here? Did he Apparate out into Hogwarts, Apparate into Borgin and Burkes and somehow wander back to Hogwarts and get stuck into a toilet?

  • 7
    My guess (nothing more than that, though) is that the sort of semi-parallel-dimension ‘tunnel’ in a Vanishing Cabinet is removed enough from ‘our world’ to be able to bypass anti-Apparition spells. Even Dumbledore’s anti-Apparition spells only anticipated someone trying to Apparate in from somewhere in this world, not from parallel dimensions (or whatever the ‘tunnel’ is exactly). The fact that the ‘tunnel’ is not part of our world as such is supported by the fact that Montague survived in it for several weeks with no food or water—in ‘our world’, he would have died long before that. Apr 28, 2016 at 19:20
  • 3
    I hope Fred and George didn't know that he'd be stuck for weeks. Rather on the harsh side (not that I can remember what he did to them).
    – ThruGog
    Apr 28, 2016 at 19:37
  • 3
    @Himarm - The fact that they didn't seem to care if he died or not suggests a slightly dark streak lurking in the Weasley Twins' souls.
    – Valorum
    Apr 28, 2016 at 19:38
  • 2
    Typical troublemakers starting to blur the lines of what's acceptable. One minute it's stealing a map from the caretaker, the next it's smoking.
    – ThruGog
    Apr 28, 2016 at 19:41
  • 4
    @ThruGog He tried to dock points from them. I doubt they knew he'd nearly die. They seem to be quite offended when people think them likely to do really nasty stuff (though I can't for the life of me remember when it is that happens). Apr 29, 2016 at 5:22

1 Answer 1


Montague wasn't inside Hogwarts, nor was he outside it. He was ... elsewhere.

I think this question is partly to do with how Apparition works, partly to do with how the Vanishing Cabinets work and partly to do with the anti-Apparition charms that exist around Hogwarts.

As is well-established (at least for anyone who's read Hogwarts: A History), you can't ordinarily Apparate within the Hogwarts grounds. This charm did have loopholes, however. It didn't apply to house-elves, who could Apparate and Disapparate at will anywhere they wanted. And it was temporarily suspended on occasion to allow students to learn to Apparate.

"As you may know, it is usually impossible to Apparate or Disapparate within Hogwarts. The Headmaster has lifted this enchantment, purely within the Great Hall, for one hour, so as to enable you to practise. May I emphasise that you will not be able to Apparate outside the walls of this Hall, and that you would be unwise to try."

(Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 18, Birthday Surprises)

Nevertheless, we would expect the anti-Apparition charm to act against Montague if he tried to Apparate in from outside the Hogwarts grounds. Or indeed if he was moving from one part of Hogwarts to another.

As @Janus Bahs Jacquet points out in the comments above, however, it's doubtful that Montague ever truly left Hogwarts. The Vanishing Cabinet would ordinarily transport its inhabitant from one Cabinet to the other. Yet we know that the Hogwarts Cabinet was damaged from being slam dunked by Peeves in Chamber of Secrets. It's highly likely that Montague was stuck in a portal outside of space and time, never truly departing from Hogwarts and never truly arriving at Borgin and Burkes.

"The other's in Borgin and Burkes," said Malfoy, "and they make a kind of passage between them. Montague told me that when he was stuck in the Hogwarts one, he was trapped in limbo but sometimes he could hear what was going on in the school, and sometimes what was going on in the shop, as if the Cabinet was travelling between them, but he couldn't make anyone hear him..."

(Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 27, The Lightning-Struck Tower)

Because the Cabinet was broken Montague never left Hogwarts, so the anti-Apparition charm didn't apply to him. He wasn't Apparating in from outside. But neither was he moving from one area of Hogwarts to another. Rather, he was doing what the Anti-Apparition charm never foresaw anybody doing: Apparating into Hogwarts from outside time and space.

What seems clear from what happened is that, as far as the charm was concerned, Montague was neither Apparating or Disapparating within Hogwarts. He wasn't Disapparating because his starting point wasn't Hogwarts, it was the limbo between the Cabinets. And he wasn't Apparating because Apparating involves moving from one physical location to another. As such, Montague may have completely broken the mould and done what no other wizard had ever done before: Apparating into time and space from the outside.

So why did he end up in a toilet on the fourth floor?

We're probably pushing the boundaries of our magical knowledge here but I suspect that Montague ended up in the toilet because of his lack of proficiency in Apparition. Malfoy mentions that he hadn't passed his test and that, even though he made it back to Hogwarts, the attempt nearly killed him. Inexpert Apparition has pretty terrifying consequences.

"The Department of Magical Transportation had to fine a couple of people the other day for Apparating without a licence. It's not easy, Apparition, and when it's not done properly it can lead to nasty complications. This pair I'm talking about went and splinched themselves...They left half of themselves behind...So, of course, they were stuck. Couldn't move either way."

(Goblet of Fire, Chapter 6, The Portkey)

Apparating is difficult enough at the best of times. Montague was attempting something incredibly difficult and dangerous in trying to Apparate from the inter-Cabinet limbo back to Hogwarts. Montague probably tried to Apparate somewhere fairly familiar (like the Entrance Hall) but got pushed off-course because of the difficulty of what he was trying to do. Actually, he was pretty lucky that he didn't splinch himself. Especially as splinching sounds similar to the condition he was in before - stuck between two places without being able to move.

Finally, it goes without saying that his arrival in the toilet generates comic relief for the reader.

  • I'm sorry, but I'm just not seeing what your main thesis is here. If he hadn't left Hogwarts, the rule would still apply.
    – Valorum
    May 7, 2016 at 12:55
  • 4
    I'm saying that the Anti-Apparition spell relates to either a) people Apparating in from outside or b) people moving around inside the castle. A) doesn't apply because he never truly left. What I perhaps could have made clearer is that b) doesn't apply either since he wasn't physically in Howarts. He was in the limbo between the Cabinets. As such, he was in a completely separate category not covered by the charm - people Apparating in from outside time and space. May 7, 2016 at 13:01
  • Hmm. You might want to make that a lot clearer in your answer.
    – Valorum
    May 7, 2016 at 13:33
  • Can we call it the cabinet dimension? May 7, 2016 at 13:48
  • 2
    @maguirenumber6 Why not? May 7, 2016 at 14:07

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