How did Voldemort breach the protective enchantments around Nurmengard to interrogate Grindelwald about the whereabouts of the Elder Wand?

  • 10
    – Mithical
    Commented Mar 28, 2017 at 17:11
  • 3
    @Mithrandir he didn't use time travelling robots from the future then? :-( Commented Mar 28, 2017 at 18:57
  • 2
    Possibly the flying thing helped him a bit. Commented Mar 28, 2017 at 21:11
  • With great panache
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 27, 2018 at 21:08

2 Answers 2


Voldemort is the most powerful dark wizard of the age and one of the most powerful ever; even Hogwarts couldn't stand up to his power (although admittedly he had help from his deatheaters here). One big difference however is that Hogwarts had been around for thousands of years with some of the most powerful wizards and witches of the ages adding their protection whilst headmaster /headmistress. Nurmengard was built by Grindlewald meaning that it was less than a century old. It is also true that Nurmengard is rumoured not to have become automated meaning that it would not require guards.

Yes it would have had physical barriers however we know that Voldemort can fly without a broom so this wouldn't have proved to be a challenge.

Lastly, whilst we know that Nurmengard had anti-apparition wards (these don't seem all that rare throughout the HP universe) Voldemort would have simply had to apparate to the edge of the wards and then fly the rest of the way.

  • 3
    Can you provide sources for Nurmengard being "rumored not to have become automated", and having "had anti-apparition wards"?
    – ibid
    Commented Mar 29, 2017 at 13:12

The Dark Lord flew up to the window and slipped through.

The Dark Lord doesn’t seem to have much difficulty breaking into Nurmengard. It seems that the measures used to protect Nurmengard are mostly physical, rather than magical. Harry sees into the Dark Lord’s mind as he does, and with his ability to fly he doesn’t have any real trouble getting in.

… he was gliding around the high walls of the black fortress –

No, he was Harry, tied up and wandless, in grave danger –

… looking up, up to the topmost window, the highest tower –

He was Harry, and they were discussing his fate in low voices –

… time to fly –”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 23 (Malfoy Manor)

The Dark Lord took flight, and was able to fly right up to Grindelwald’s cell window.

“… and he rose into the night, flying straight up to the window at the very top of the tower –”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 23 (Malfoy Manor)

The window was too small for someone to fit through, but that didn’t stop him, either.

“… the window was the merest slit in the black rock, not big enough for a man to enter … a skeletal figure was just visible through it, curled beneath a blanket … dead, or sleeping …?”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 23 (Malfoy Manor)

Despite its small size, the Dark Lord slipped through the window like a snake and was then inside.

“… as he forced himself through the slit of a window like a snake and landed, lightly as vapour, inside the cell-like room –”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 23 (Malfoy Manor)

If there were any magical barriers around Nurmengard, they were trivial to the Dark Lord, since Harry doesn’t see him breaking through any enchantments. As there isn’t much evidence that there were any protective enchantments around it, it seems likely that Nurmengard mainly relied on its high walls and small windows to keep the prisoners in and those who would try to free them out.

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