In this scene, Queenie just walked out of MACUSA with a briefcase full of people evading the law. And clearly somebody had to walk into the building with the briefcase. Switching the briefcase to muggle mode won't help here.

Surely the guards know briefcases might be bigger on the inside than the outside.

When briefly stopped, and somebody asks what she is carrying, she answers vaguely, "Ladies things. Do you want to take a look? I don't mind." Sure, she could have used a transfiguration spell to alter the appearance of items, but a good guard would simply use the revelio spell to show what's really there.

But what I am asking about is not this one particular moment in the movie, but the general policies of guards in magical government buildings.

Why didn't the guards search the briefcase? And for that matter, why not search every handbag, wallet, shirt pocket, and anything else that can hide stuff? In real life, we can't go through airport security without being searched, so wouldn't sensitive government buildings in the magical world also require searches?

Is there any reference in any canon sources about guards at magical places searching people's carriable property?

  • 4
    Because they're schmucks
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 30, 2017 at 21:58
  • Keep in mind that those airport security searches you mention are pretty much a complete waste of time, and weren't introduced until the late 1960s anyway. Perhaps the wizarding world is just more sensible about such things than we are. Commented May 1, 2017 at 1:32
  • Do we know how common bags that are bigger on the inside are? I mean, Newt had one and Hermione had one, but are they common? If they aren't, it would be a waste of time to search everyone's property.
    – Obsidia
    Commented May 1, 2017 at 2:59
  • @Bellatrix Besides the two examples mentioned above, there's also the Weasley's tent which is bigger on the inside. I'd bet many people at the Quidditch World Cup had charmed tents.The HarryPotter.wikia.com website says the majority of wizarding luggage are issued with the Undetectable Extension Charm. As was the townhome, 12 Grimmauld Place, and a flying blue car. (I didn't know the flying car had this charm, but so says the wikia site.) The point is that this charm is quite commonly used despite it leading to security breaches.
    – RichS
    Commented May 3, 2017 at 4:48
  • @RichS The car had the charm. Remember the bit in the book CoS (don't know about movie) where the entire family (Ron, Harry, George, Fred, Percy, Ginny) fit comfortably in the back seat and Mrs. Weasley observed that they don't give Muggles enough credit?
    – Kevin Fee
    Commented May 4, 2017 at 20:36

1 Answer 1


It would be a waste of time.

Let's assume they knew that Queenie was smuggling people out in that briefcase. Given that it's large enough to house whole landscapes inside it, they might've spent hours searching the briefcase before finding the fugitives.

Now multiply that by the number of other people carrying briefcases, purses, boxes, etc. Theoretically, any number of them might contain extradimensional spaces, so searching each of them could grind foot-traffic to a halt. If they're looking for something in particular, it might be worth it; but since nobody at the door-guard level knew at the time that there were fugitives escaping (it appears that the MACUSA Aurors tried to keep a lid on things as much as possible), such practices would involve a lot of wasted time. Having worked in government buildings, I can attest that a great deal of trust is given to employees in the interest of expediency; in some places, getting contraband in and out would be easy.

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