In the beginning of the Deathly Hallows, the main objective is getting Harry Potter safely from his current residence at Number 4 Privet Drive to the new headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix at the Burrow. This involved the hugely complicated plan of the Seven Potters with escorts and several homes being protected and portkeys and all that jazz. This plan seemed to me over-complicated for a few reasons.

  1. Many of the threats could have been avoided if the plan was formulated and executed sooner.

    I understand the Seven Potters wasn't the original plan, as Harry found out the day of the move:

    "You, Harry," Dedalus continued, "will wait here for your guard. There has been a little change in the arrangements --"

    "What d'you mean?" said Harry at once. "I thought Mad-Eye was going to come and take me by Side-Along-Apparition?"

    Deathly Hallows, Chapter 3 "The Dursleys Departing"

    But Dumbledore is a smart guy and was most likely expecting something like this to happen, where the Ministry of Magic would become untrustworthy and close to being taken by Voldemort, and Death Eaters ready to attack Harry around Number 4 Privet Drive.

    Dumbledore's portrait even masterminded the whole scheme, with the decoy Harry's and Snape telling the Death Eaters the date of the plan.

    Knowing these threats would be around when Harry would be moved from home, Dumbledore let the Order arrange to protect Harry from all these threats (which put plenty of people at risk) when really the threats could have been avoided in the first place if Harry was moved sooner. It seemed Dumbledore could have set up a different, simpler plan a lot sooner.

  2. Harry couldn't call Number 4 Privet Drive home any longer.

    For all of Harry's years at Hogwarts, he still had to return to Number 4 Privet Drive to call it home and be protected by Lily's enchantments, but he could only take advantage of this till he was 17:

    "We can't wait for the Trace to break, because the moment you turn seventeen you'll lose all the protection your mother gave you." - Mad-Eye Moody

    Deathly Hallows, Chapter 4 "The Seven Potters"

    Forcing Harry to return to the Dursleys for just a month would eventually require moving him to another safe spot, which we saw unfold. If Harry had to be moved some point during that summer when he turned 17, he might as well have gone straight to the Burrow as a new protected home, instead of making him vulnerable in the middle of the summer. It did not seem like Harry had to return to Number 4 Privet Drive that summer.

  3. Hogwarts was a very secure and public place, surrounded by many talented wizard and witches. It would have made sense to transport Harry immediately from Hogwarts to the Burrow.

So this leads to my question for a simpler plan:

Why wasn't the plan to move Harry to the Burrow right after he finished his sixth year at Hogwarts?

I'm looking for canon based answers, nothing from the harry potter wikia.

  • Or why not simply invite Harry to visit the Weasleys (or whoever), and then once he's there and already in the intended place of protection, have him decide to never go back? – EvilSnack Nov 3 '16 at 2:42

Because not going back would mean that the protective charm cast by Dumbledore will disappear.

Quote from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix chapter 37:

'But I knew, too, where Voldemort was weak. And so I made my decision. You would be protected by an ancient magic of which he knows, which he despises, and which he has always, therefore, underestimated - to his cost. I am speaking, of course, of the fact that your mother died to save you. She gave you a lingering protection he never expected, a protection that flows in your veins to this day. I put my trust, therefore, in your mother's blood. I delivered you to her sister, her only remaining relative.'

'She doesn't love me,' said Harry at once. 'She doesn't give a damn - '

'But she took you,' Dumbledore cut across him. 'She may have taken you grudgingly, furiously, unwillingly, bitterly, yet still she took you, and in doing so, she sealed the charm I placed upon you. Your mother's sacrifice made the bond of blood the strongest shield I could give you.'

'I still don't - '

'While you can still call home the place where your mother's blood dwells, there you cannot be touched or harmed by Voldemort. He shed her blood, but it lives on in you and her sister. Her blood became your refuge. You need return there only once a year, but as long as you can still call it home, whilst you are there he cannot hurt you. Your aunt knows this. I explained what I had done in the letter I left, with you, on her doorstep. She knows that allowing you houseroom may well have kept you alive for the past fifteen years.'

and also later in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, chapter 4:

"Now, your mother's charm will only break under two conditions: when you come of age, or" Moody gestured around the pristine kitchen "you no longer call this place home. You and your aunt and uncle are going your separate ways tonight, in the full understanding that you're never going to live together again, correct?"

So alone the intention of never going to live with his own relatives will break the charm.

Additional thinking (that are more based on logic than direct canon):

  • It is unknown what was the state of the Order of the Phoenix right after the ending of the sixth year. They might have been in bit of a disarray right after Dumbledore was killed and might have needed some time to re-group. Putting Harry back on a safe place and then figure the rest out later might have been a good idea at that point.
  • When the plan for moving Harry was done, they already had 16 protected places and the idea was that the Death Eaters don't know where he is. Logistically the Death Eaters might have had trouble attacking 16 places with strong protection around them at once. On the other side one place is a more easy target. Madam Bones was killed earlier despite the fact that she was Ministry head and had all the protection possible.
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  • 2
    I guess my question is, if at some point during the summer Harry wouldn’t be able to call Number 4 Privet Drive home and receive his mother’s protection (which was a guarantee because he was turning 17), why wait and let Voldemort get stronger and leave Harry more vulnerable? Why try to keep his mother’s protection for just one more month and then move Harry when moving him at the start of the summer seemed safer? If the Order simply didn’t tell Harry they weren’t returning him home till the last minute, he would have that protection through his sixth year just to when he gets to the Burrow – Dumbledorality Nov 1 '16 at 13:19
  • 1
    It might make sense that the Order was in disarray after Dumbledore’s death, but we saw Harry stay over Christmas break at the Burrow his sixth year, which would mean there already should have been pretty safe enchantments protecting the place. But for the 16 protected places, we saw Snape explaining to Voldemort earlier that unless the Ministry had fallen they wouldn’t be able to get through even one protected place – I would assume the Order members would be pretty confident in the strength of the combination of spells as protection. – Dumbledorality Nov 1 '16 at 13:20

Yes, it doesn't make much sense if you're thinking solely about Harry's safety, but I suspect there were other considerations:

As long as Harry was protected by Lily's sacrifice, so were the Dursleys. Without Harry returning every summer to renew the charm, they would lose the protection and then, Harry and the Order were afraid, they'd be targeted by Voldemort:

“— 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. The Order is sure Voldemort will target you, whether to torture you to try and find out where I am, or because he thinks by holding you hostage I’d come and try to rescue you.” ~Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - The Dursleys Departing

It seems that Harry with his messiah complex wanted to save and protect everyone even before he pulled an Aslan in book7 (remember the lake trial in the triwizard tournament when he insisted on saving Gabrielle along with Ron?). He'd have never agreed to leave the Dursleys in danger while hiding in one of the safe houses if he had an alternative. The Order members and his friends are perfectly aware of it:

“No!” he said loudly, his voice ringing through the kitchen. “No way!” “I told them you’d take it like this,” said Hermione with a hint of complacency. "If you think I’m going to let six people risk their lives — !” ~Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - The Seven Potters

Convincing Vernon Dudley to abandon his house and place himself under a protection program devised by wizards of all people took some effort and time:

Uncle Vernon stopped in front of Harry and spoke. “I’ve changed my mind,” he said. “What a surprise,” said Harry. ... “It’s all a lot of claptrap,” said Uncle Vernon, glaring at Harry with piggy little eyes. “I’ve decided I don’t believe a word of it. We’re staying put, we’re not going anywhere.” Harry looked up at his uncle and felt a mixture of exasperation and amusement. Vernon Dursley had been changing his mind every twenty-four hours for the past four weeks, packing and unpacking and repacking the car with every change of heart.~Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - The Dursleys Departing

Sure, the Order could've just used a memory spell on the Dursleys to convince them how they really want to abandon Privet Drive and follow two weirdos, Dedalus and Hestia, but to agree to that wouldn't be really in character for Harry who was always straightforward with his abusive family.

That's why, I suppose, Harry decided to return to his aunt's family one last time: to renew the protection charm for that month during which he hoped to convince the Dursleys to agree to be placed under the protection of the Order so he'd be free to embark on his horcrux-collecting quest.

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