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Something that I find interesting about Voldemort is how predictable he is! In all of the books apart from book 6, he attacks at the end of the school year! Why do all of his attacks happen around this time of the year?

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    I'm fairly certain the only realistic answer will be "because each book covers a year and stories need climaxes." – ApproachingDarknessFish Mar 2 '17 at 8:01
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    Actually, he does not attack in book 3, either. Although each book has a climax of sorts, Harry's fights with Voldemort are a bit more spread out (and, in 7, less spread out). – Adamant Mar 2 '17 at 8:26
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    I think you have this backwards. The Dark Lord has attacked the school at different times every year. It's the books that quickly end after his attack is fought off, because the rest of the school year would be boring. – b_jonas Mar 2 '17 at 10:14
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    Actually, it's for tax purposes. – Harry Johnston Mar 2 '17 at 21:27
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    He clearly just understands the importance of education – Melkor Mar 2 '17 at 21:34
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Philosopher's (Sorcerer's) Stone

Professor Quirrell is captured by Voldemort while on holiday. The first time he can attempt to take the Stone is when it is placed in Hogwarts at the start of the year. It takes him a year to work out how to get past the obstacles.

Chamber of Secrets

Malfoy places the Horcrux on Ginny during the summer holidays in Diagon Alley. She first uses the diary at school and it takes Voldemort's horcrux a year to gain enough power to trigger the events that lead to encounter in the titular chamber.

Prisoner of Azkaban

Voldemort doesn't attack at the end of the year.

Goblet of Fire

Voldemort specifically wants to kill Harry during the events of the Triwizard Final so it looks like an accident and he can stay in the shadows. He also needs the school term to start to put his fake Moody in place.

Order of the Phoenix

Voldemort only finds out about the link between himself and Harry later in the year and uses it to trick Harry into thinking he has captured Sirius.

Half-Blood Prince

It takes Malfoy nearly a year to repair the Vanishing Cabinet, he cannot start the task until the beginning of the school term.

Deathly Hallows

The battle takes place in May, so technically not at the end of the school year.


As we can see plans seem to need to start at the beginning of the year (to get items or people into Hogwarts) or timed to avoid suspicion (Goblet of Fire). We know Voldemort cannot touch Harry at the Dursley's house, so before or just after term is the best time to attack.

One question we could ask is "Why does it always take Voldemort's minions a year to do their assigned task?"

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    Your last question is for Workplace SE. I believe they can find a good answer about dealing with inefficients employees. – atayenel Mar 2 '17 at 10:48
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    Obviously the dark side pays very bad. If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys! This is true for Harry Potter and for Star Wars. – Christian Mar 2 '17 at 10:49
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    @atayenel Ultimately this is Voldemort's fault for putting end-of-year deadlines on their project plans. Any good manager will know that a task will be expanded to fill the time allotted for it. Perhaps he should try Evil Overlordship via the Agile manifesto. – Bob Tway Mar 2 '17 at 14:35
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    @Christian, I was told the dark side has ice cream. Is this false? – Arturo Torres Sánchez Mar 2 '17 at 17:09
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    @ArturoTorresSánchez that is false. The dark side has cookies! – FreeMan Mar 2 '17 at 21:39
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A popular fan theory (for years 5 upward when Voldemort is alive and actively gunning for Harry) is that the attacks are usually around exam period, for the reason that both students and teachers are at their busiest and most stressed.

e.g. Would Harry have charged off to the MoM without thinking if it were a cool autumn day months before any stress and exams? As it happens, it's halfway through History of Magic, on a hot summers day.

Another example would be sixth year - Draco is presumably able to spend more time tinkering with the cabinet when everybody is too busy revising to notice/care where he is, well, everyone but Harry of course.

Not by any means a comprehensive theory, but something to consider.

  • This was similar to my thinking too. From what I remember from school, everyone is so tired by the end of the school year that they start slacking off/letting their guard down because they're looking forward to relaxing in the holidays. Teachers included. – Pharap Mar 3 '17 at 19:19

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