I'm not sure how much documentation there is on time in the HP universe, but time would obviously be an incredibly strong weapon to Voldemort, so I'm wondering why he didn't just rewind time and fix any errors he made in order to conquer the world. Harry and friends used it responsibly, I thought because there would be some punishment from the Ministry of Magic if they messed up time too badly (so Harry didn't go after Pettigrew when they went back in time).

  • I would like to add that Voldemort could not have traveled back in time because the Time-Turners were destroyed in OotP. Luckily JKR had noticed this loophole herself. (Source: Pottermore) Commented May 26, 2016 at 15:25
  • 1
    The body asks a slightly different question than the title. Which one are you asking?
    – RedCaio
    Commented May 26, 2016 at 18:33

1 Answer 1



From (the old) Pottermore:

In spite of the many Muggle fantasies around the subject, time travel is possible in only a limited sense even in the magical world. While the subject is shrouded in great secrecy - investigations are ongoing in the Department of Mysteries – it appears that magic can take you only so far.
According to Professor Saul Croaker, who has spent his entire career in the Department of Mysteries studying time-magic:

As our investigations currently stand, the longest period that may be relived without the possibility of serious harm to the traveller or to time itself is around five hours. We have been able to encase single Hour-Reversal Charms, which are unstable and benefit from containment, in small, enchanted hour-glasses that may be worn around a witch or wizard’s neck and revolved according to the number of hours the user wishes to relive.
All attempts to travel back further than a few hours have resulted in catastrophic harm to the witch or wizard involved. It was not realised for many years why time travellers over great distances never survived their journeys. All such experiments have been abandoned since 1899, when Eloise Mintumble became trapped, for a period of five days, in the year 1402. Now we understand that her body had aged five centuries in its return to the present and, irreparably damaged, she died in St Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries shortly after we managed to retrieve her. What is more, her five days in the distant past caused great disturbance to the life paths of all those she met, changing the course of their lives so dramatically that no fewer than twenty-five of their descendants vanished in the present, having been “un-born”.
Finally, there were alarming signs, during the days following Madam Mintumble’s recovery, that time itself had been disturbed by such a serious breach of its laws. Tuesday following her reappearance lasted two and a half full days, whereas Thursday shot by in the space of four hours. The Ministry of Magic had a great deal of trouble in covering this up and since that time, the most stringent laws and penalties have been placed around those studying time travel.

Even the use of the very limited amount of Time-Turners at the Ministry’s disposal is hedged around with hundreds of laws. While not as potentially dangerous as skipping five centuries, the re-use of a single hour can still have dramatic consequences and the Ministry of Magic seeks the strictest guarantees if it permits the use of these rare and powerful objects. It would surprise most of the magical community to know that Time-Turners are generally only used to solve the most trivial problems of time-management and never for greater or more important purposes, because, as Saul Croaker tells us,

Just as the human mind cannot comprehend time, so it cannot comprehend the damage that will ensue if we presume to tamper with its laws.

(Pottermore - Time-Turners)

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    Which is why they're only used for important things, like letting children take additional classes.
    – Rogue Jedi
    Commented May 26, 2016 at 12:38
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    @RogueJedi - The article does say that had only ever happened once. I would argue that Hermione was an exceptional student testing out experimental government tech in (what was considered) a relatively safe environment not likely to have far reaching consequences.
    – ibid
    Commented May 26, 2016 at 12:49
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    @ibid I think it had more to do with the foresight of Dumbledore and McGonagall. There's probably another question in there, possibly already asked.
    – Mast
    Commented May 26, 2016 at 13:29
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    @RogueJedi - The retcon is that they're only useful for mundane tasks. Any attempt to use them to interfere with profound events invariably results in the user suffering unpleasant side-effects such as accidentally "unbirthing" themselves and their families.
    – Valorum
    Commented May 26, 2016 at 13:49
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    But this answer completely contradicts PoA where time travel doesn't create any sort of new timeline; if you do go back in time then you've always done it, so nothing changed. Buck beak never died, he was always saved by the time traveling students etc. they just though he died, so they went back and freed him.
    – RedCaio
    Commented May 26, 2016 at 18:43

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