Is the train protected? Do any wizards accompany the kids in case the train is attacked?

Why didn't Voldemort simply attack the train in book five and kill everyone?

  • 16
    Because Voldemort has no interest in killing children. He wants to rule the wizarding world, not kill it.
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 16:29
  • 6
    @Valorum There is at least one very notable exception to that statement... Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 16:41
  • 26
    @TheDarkLord - Ah yes, but who doesn't hate Ron?
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 16:48
  • 5
    @NKCampbell Not my canon ;)
    – user428517
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 22:31
  • 3
    @atayenel - I was being ironical. Of course the exception is Harry.
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 15:46

3 Answers 3


Not particularly.

Luna Lovegood is taken by the Death Eaters from the Hogwarts Express.

"...and if you ever come to our house I'll be able to show you the horn, Daddy wrote to me about it but I haven't seen it yet, because the Death Eaters took me from the Hogwarts Express and I never got home for Christmas," Luna was saying, as she and Dean relaid the fire.
(Deathly Hallows, Chapter 25, Shell Cottage).

The Death Eaters controlled the Ministry at the time so the Hogwarts Express might not have been as difficult to storm as it would ordinarily. Nevertheless, there didn't seem to be any guard or protection on board.

The Dementors also enter the train pretty-much unopposed in Prisoner of Azkaban. There didn't seem to be anything to stop them coming aboard.

Sometimes teachers ride on the train. Remus Lupin and Horace Slughorn do so, but there's nothing compelling teachers to be present (for protective purposes or any other reason). It's simply an option for getting to Hogwarts for those teachers who want to avail themselves of it.

Why didn't Voldemort attack the train and kill everyone? He's usually more...subtle than that...

  • 3
    Didn't the Dementors have legal authority to board the train in PoA? Could anybody have stopped them even if they wanted to? Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 18:32
  • 1
    @DCOPTimDowd Whether they had legal authority or not, their an example of an outside agency entering the train without opposition, so I could them for the purposes of this question. Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 22:48
  • Dang it. I'm having trouble finding a good trope for that last line. A few that are in the vein but don't seem quite right: Bond Villain Stupidity, Stupid Evil, Villain Ball, Complexity Addiction. Maybe Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?
    – jpmc26
    Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 3:13
  • @jpmc26 MST3KMantra. Commented Feb 11, 2018 at 5:57

The train driver comes along with them. In PoA, Lupin says

Excuse me, I need to speak to the driver

If the train driver is a not a squib, then there you go...

  • 5
    And the witch selling sweeties....
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 16:49
  • 51
    Apart from Dumbledore, the one mage volde always feared was billy the train driver
    – Raditz_35
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 16:50
  • 25
    Train driver to Voldemort: "I built this place. Down here I make the rules. Down here I make the threats. Down here... I'm God.""
    – void_ptr
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 17:01
  • 4
    @void_ptr Excuse me, but isn't that from The Matrix? Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 17:31
  • 15
    @SovereignSun No, its from The Mobil Avenue (the train station between the matrix and the real world) Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 18:50

During the first five books, there is no indication that there is anybody on the train for the specific purpose of guarding it. As already mentioned, there are always at least two wizards on board but I would not expect them to have ever needed to defend the train, except perhaps from the occasional magical beast.

As for why Voldemort didn't attack the train at the beginning of OoTP, that would have tipped his hand and made it impossible for the Ministry to continue to ignore his return. That might not have stopped him if he could be certain such an attack would succeed in capturing Potter, but there were at least two good reasons for him to wait for a better opportunity:

  • Dumbledore knew that Voldemort had returned, and might have anticipated an attack on the Hogwarts Express and taken counter-measures up to and including being on the train himself. For that matter, we don't know that he wasn't; he can become invisible without a cloak.

  • Harry had already escaped Voldemort once under much more favourable conditions, and Voldemort still didn't know why. In the panic and chaos of an attack on the train, there would be every chance that Harry would manage to slip away under his cloak. He probably wouldn't have done so, but Voldemort didn't know that.

I don't think Voldemort had any particular plan at this point - the one he eventually put into play depended on information he didn't have yet - but he was quite right in judging that a better opportunity would come along sooner or later. If nothing else, he would always have the option of attacking the train the following year, when he'd be in a much better position to do so.

PS: Harry was the only person on the train that Voldemort actually wanted to kill. He was perfectly willing to kill other children if it was more convenient for him to do so than to let them live, but the slaughter of an entire generation would serve him no useful purpose.


'But you are a pure-blood, aren't you, my brave boy?' Voldemort asked Neville. 'You show spirit, and bravery, and you come of noble stock. You will make a very valuable Death Eater. We need your kind, Neville Longbottom.'

--- Chapter Thirty-Six, "The Flaw In The Plan", Deathly Hallows [abridged]

He was far less complimentary in the movie version, but if I remember rightly he was nonetheless intending to allow Neville to live if he submitted to him. That's for entirely practical reasons - he needs as many wizards as he can get if he wants to conquer the Muggles and ultimately the rest of the world.

Voldemort kills when it would be inconvenient to let someone live, or when he's in a bad mood. Or for fun. He's not a very nice person, really. But he's never carried out or ordered large-scale slaughters without specific reason.

  • 1
    Voldemort hates children actually, especially mudbloods. However, the way he speaks to Drako, it seems he wants only them in slavery and doing his bidding. Unless I am wrong, he would have the pleasure of killing all those children on the train. Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 9:27
  • @SovereignSun, are you talking about the books or the movies? In the books, Voldemort was shown speaking to Draco at the beginning of Hallows and was perfectly polite, and I don't think we saw any other conversations between them. Besides, Voldemort had a specific grievance against Draco's father at that point, so he's not really a good example. Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 22:20
  • I've added a quote. There's also a scene which I can't locate at the moment, the one where Voldemort goes to kill James and Lily and has an encounter with a Muggle child on the way. He lets the child live. Mostly because he can't be bothered, but still. Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 22:37
  • @SovereignSun It's not Draco. In the book he even tells Harry during the final showdown that he'll deal with Draco after he takes care of Harry. It's Neville. And Harry is also right about Voldemort sparing a child on the night he went to kill the Potters.
    – Pryftan
    Commented Feb 11, 2018 at 0:08
  • @HarryJohnston 'He probably wouldn't have done so, but Voldemort didn't know that.' That implies Voldemort knew Harry had such a cloak. I'm not sure he did know. Still your answer is valid; +1.
    – Pryftan
    Commented Feb 11, 2018 at 0:09

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