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I've read J.K. Rowling's website and FAQ. I've read every interview with her that I know of. I've read all the books many, many times. I've read the HP Wikia, the Lexicon, essays, fan fiction, and even been to panels that touch on the subject of charms at HP cons.

I would like a definitive explanation on the Fidelius charm.

Who can tell who what, what happens when the Secret Keeper dies, who can say what to who? I've read so much contradicting information -- I'm pretty good at figuring these things out, but I'm stumped on this one.

How exactly does the Fidelius charm work?

  • The spell only works if everybody can hold their tongues juuuust right... – Major Stackings Jun 21 '12 at 5:19
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    What's really going to bake your noodle is, what happens to the secret if someone knows it before Fidelius is made? E.g. someone on the outside already knew the address? Do they lose the knowledge? Do they keep it BUT can't share it as if they were told by Secret Keeper? – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jun 21 '12 at 13:04
  • @DVK It was my understanding that the Fidelius charm prevented those who haven't been told the secret from seeing/entering the address, but not from knowing where it is. The Death Eaters knew the Black's address during Deathly Hallows, and spent a long time sat outside, but couldn't see or enter the house because they hadn't been told about it by a Secret Keeper for the Order. – Anthony Grist Jun 23 '12 at 17:36
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When the spell is cast, there is one "secret keeper". This person is the only person who can communicate the secret to anyone who does not know it. People who know the secret can only discuss it with anyone else who knows it.

When the secret keeper dies, everyone who knows the secret becomes a secret keeper. They can then communicate the secret to anyone else.

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Based on "Secret Keeper" on Pottermore:

  1. Who can tell who what

    Secret keeper can tell anyone anything, at any time...

    ... BUT ONLY voluntarily (you cant't tell a secret under duress/torture).

    "Anyone" is not exactly stated directly anywhere; but more by omission. There are no rules ever stated that there are restrictions on telling anyone - for example Wormtail told Voldemort so clearly "those original Fidelius giver didn't want to share with" isn't a restriction).

    (As a side note, that's a BS rule. You can't get a secret out of a keeper by torturing him? Torture someone he loves while he watches. Yes, I'd have made a good criminal in Potterverse).

  2. what happens when the Secret Keeper dies

    Anyone to whom he or she has confided the information will become a Secret Keeper.

  3. who can say what to who? (after secret keeper does)

    All new Secret Keepers (those that original SC told) can now tell anyone else they want, see rule #1

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    Side note : Why ? This is still psychological torture ... – Xaltar May 5 '14 at 9:15
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    The way I read it the Secret Keeper would be prevented from giving up the information under duress, making it pointless to even try torturing it out of them. You would have to use psychological manipulation to convince the Keeper that they want to give you the information, and then you wouldn't be able to pass it on as you would be bound by the spell. Because magic. – Corey Feb 8 '18 at 21:31

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