Note that this is different from the question Why did the Order bother to guard the Prophecy? The question there was whether the prophecy is worth protecting. I agree that it is not worth protecting.

However, my question is even assuming the prophecy is worth protecting, why place a single guard at the ministry. We know that only those mentioned in the prophecy can touch the recording orb, in other words only Harry and Voldemort can get it.

That means

  • If someone else comes, he will not be able to retrieve the prophecy, hence no need to guard it.
  • If Voldemort himself comes, with or without additional Death Eaters, a single guard will not be able to stop him, the guard will most likely end up dead, hence no need to have a guard there.

So there seems to be no benefit.
On the other hand, there are several drawbacks:

  • Arthur Weasley is almost killed by the snake.
  • Sturgis Podmore is captured and convicted to six months in Azkaban. That means one member lost for half a year.
  • Dumbledore is unable or unwilling to prevent the conviction. That is bad for morale.
  • A lot of manpower is wasted that could be used otherwise.

So why would Dumbledore place a guard at the ministry?


This is already stated in the first two paragraphs, but as this question has been marked as a duplicate, it seems necessary to repeat it: The first sentence already mentions the question that is suggested as a duplicate, and states that this one is different. The other question is about the value of content of the prophecy. This question is about the value of one single guard trying to protect the prophecy.

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    I would assume that the plan was for the guard to raise the alarm, not actually try to fight Voldemort personally. It could have worked. Commented Jul 21, 2018 at 23:44
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    @HarryJohnston That would be an explanation, but we don't know what happened to the order guard when Harry was lured into the ministry. Either he was killed, which might have been noteworthy, or it was Mundungus and he had business elsewhere. Commented Jul 21, 2018 at 23:50
  • I may be misremembering, but I think the Order had given up by that point. Commented Jul 21, 2018 at 23:57
  • @HarryJohnston Seems like this question would be relevant scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/55812/…
    – Dason
    Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 15:33
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    Possible duplicate of Why did the Order bother to guard the Prophecy?
    – user112267
    Commented Mar 17, 2019 at 21:57

2 Answers 2


The purpose of a guard does not necessarily imply it has to actually protect the prophecy himself.

The mere possibility of the guard alerting the ministry or, even worse, alerting Dumbledore himself (or both) provides an excellent layer of protection against Voldemort trying to retrieve the prophecy himself.

We know Voldemort was afraid of a direct confrontation with Dumbledore and was not ready to reveal himself to the ministry so the guard wouldn’t need so much as to confront and fight Voldemort as to raise the alarm and then flight to be an excellent protection for the prophecy.


I always thought this was in place for two reasons - If Voldemort himself tried to get into the prophecy, or, if Harry tried to get in, to stop him before he did. But I believe that once Harry started Occlumency they thought that Harry wouldn't see the hallway anymore.

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    This is the reason but you appear to be skipping over the intent behind the question that is really Harry wouldn't go going after it and they wouldn't be able to stop Voldemort. Also I'm not quite sure what the Occlumency part has to do with this question and answer, could you edit it to be clearer?
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Jan 16, 2019 at 17:40

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