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Harry was reading the Daily Prophet on the morning of his last day at the Dursleys' house and saw an article in which Rita was asked how she was able to complete the book within 4 weeks of Dumbledore's death. So Harry only spent 4 weeks back home after leaving Hogwarts.

My question is this, if the Order of the Phoenix was planning to keep Harry safe after the charm broke, why didn't they just send Harry directly to a safe house from Hogwarts and give it protection? They knew that Voldemort would attack them when they moved Harry after the charm broke.

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    I parsed "just give it protection". – Harper Jul 26 '17 at 23:04
17

Until his seventeenth birthday, Harry's protection while within the Dursley's home was absolute -- Voldemort and all the living Death Eaters could not have broken it. This made Harry much safer there, until that protection expired. If he'd been sent to a safehouse or Order member's home, he'd have been protected only by the power of whatever members could be present -- and their very presence would serve as a sign to the Death Eaters, saying "Potter's here!".

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    that was to happen 4 weeks later anyways. so my point is, what was essential in 4 weeks could have done a little earlier to escape the fight that was bound to happen in the moving of harry. – Dheeraj Kumar Jul 26 '17 at 12:44
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    It wasn't bound to happen. The Order changed the day precisely to avoid such a battle. Snape found out about this and had to inform Voldemort to maintain his position as a trusted Death Eater, but confounded Mundungus Fletcher so that he would make the suggestion of using polyjuice decoys, hoping that at least some lives would be saved. – DisturbedNeo Jul 26 '17 at 13:01
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    This answer is correct apart from the last sentence. The Order used several different safehouses and seven different Potters precisely so that they could avoid revealing where Harry was. Even after the plan went wrong and they did find out where Harry was they couldn't get through, showing that the protective spells were strong enough on their own. – The Dark Lord Jul 26 '17 at 16:12
  • But! Putting Harry in a safehouse earlier and trying to protect it would have made the Polyjuice solution impractical (the potion takes considerable time to make) -- and trying to protect a single safehouse would have telegraphed Potter's location by the concentration of Order members. – Zeiss Ikon Jul 26 '17 at 16:14
  • It was my understanding that as long as Harry's official home was the Dursley's, he would get some kind of year-round protection? Guess that's a separate questions. – stannius Jul 26 '17 at 17:43
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This has always confused me as well. I think, though, that there are several reasons.

  1. Snape leaking the correct information about the departure was crucial to proving his loyalty to Voldemort and the Death Eaters. Dumbledore needed his double agent in a position close enough to Voldemort to help when it really counted. It was a costly gamble, but the payoff was strategically very valuable.

  2. Maybe a little conjecture, but I think they still thought it was the safest option for everybody. For 4 weeks of the summer, not only was Harry safe, but he was also not endangering whatever member[s] of the Order (obviously the Weasleys) would have been housing him. Keeping Harry at one of their safe houses basically painted a big target on them, so minimizing the time he was with them would protect everyone.

  3. This is kind of an extension of #2, but those 4 weeks gave the Order a chance to plan and prepare while the Death Eaters were occupied with trying to get at Harry. This might include placing extra enchantments of protection and secrecy on their houses, researching who their new enemies were, planning their next move against Voldemort. They knew that Harry was at the center of Voldemort's attention, so having a month where they could get their work done without having to constantly worry about protecting Harry would have been a very welcome boon to them, especially so soon after the death of Dumbledore and the attack on Hogwarts.

Ultimately though, Dumbledore wanted it and the Order rarely questioned his ideas.

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"While you can still call home the place where your mother's blood dwells, there you cannot be touched or harmed by Voldemort."
Albus Dumbledore - The Order of the Phoenix

Because of the sacrifice Lily made for Harry, Voldemort and the Death Eaters were incapable of harming Harry so long as he lived with Petunia. It cast something called a Bond of blood charm on the Dursley's house until Harry reached the age of 17.

So the Order sent Harry back to the Dursley's because they knew that they would not have to worry about his safety for a month. Whereas if they had sent this straight to a safehouse, that safety would have been in question.

Voldemort and the Death Eaters proved capable of breaking all protective enchantments with a single spell (the Taboo)*, so it was worth using an unbreakable spell for as long as they could


* The Order didn't know about the Taboo at this point in the story, but they were certainly aware of the reach of Voldemort's powers

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    +1. But remember that until the Ministry fell the Order strongholds were also impregnable (just as much so as 4 Privett Drive). Voldemort tried getting in but couldn't. It was only when the Death Eaters took the Ministry that all the defences fell. (Although the Order couldn't have known when that might happen so your point stands). – The Dark Lord Jul 26 '17 at 16:15
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    Hmm, "where your mother's blood dwells" seems to suggest that Petunia living in the house makes it safe because Petunia has Lily's blood. But doesn't Harry himself have Lily's blood to at least the same degree that Petunia does? If Dumbledore is right, all that's needed for Harry to be immune forever is to call wherever he happens to dwell "home"! – Henning Makholm Jul 26 '17 at 17:38
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    @HenningMakholm - No, because the charm requires a third party (who has the prerequisite blood) to accept the saved person (in this case Harry) as their own. Sorta like magical adoption. Harry can't adopt himself. – amflare Jul 26 '17 at 17:49
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Well, just a theory of mine:

At the beginning of Harry's sixth year, Dumbledore already knew he was going to die within a year, but he didn't want to tell anyone except Snape. Additionally, he did not know when exactly he would die.

So he had to prepare a Plan for Harry's safety in case of an early death. The Order could not play a part in this planning, because all but one of its members were not even aware of the situation, they counted on Dumbledore to provide for Harry's safety, and Dumbledore did not want to tell them.

The Order was basically unprepared to protect Harry at the end of term. Ensuring Harry went back to Petunia guaranteed the Order at least 4 weeks to come up with 'Plan B' after Dumbledore died.

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