46

The Boggart being able to quickly change forms into many different people's fears would have surely been an excellent weapon against the Death Eaters. So why didn't someone release the Boggart during the fight with Voldemort's Death Eaters to help turn the tide to Hogwarts during the fight at Hogwarts?

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    Can you control a boggart? If not, how could they have been sure that it would have attacked only the deatheaters? That would have caused chaos in both parties – Lyzvaleska Jan 20 at 10:16
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    Since the students learn how to defeat a bogart in school, I don't expect that a boggart would really present all that much of a threat to a fully trained death-eater. Also you could not guarantee that the boggart wouldn't turn the tide against the heros instead, as it does not appear to ever do anyone's bidding, it could well attack the Hogwarts defenders instead, aiding the death-eaters. – Andrew Jan 20 at 10:16
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    Hogwarts doesn't have a Boggart, the one in POA had only just moved in and was kept briefly for the third years to practice on. The implication is that ordinarily any Boggart that showed up would be promptly destroyed. – Harry Johnston Jan 20 at 13:56
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    Even if a Boggart could be made to target only the Death Eaters, I'm sure some of the them were actually terrified of Voldemort himself. Most students would have had quite a shock seeing Voldemort suddenly appear in the castle's corridors :P – omijn Jan 21 at 8:40
  • @Andrew Indeed, I doubt an Avada Kedavra couldn't do the job quickly. And boggarts like enclosed, dark spaces - how exactly would you get out into the open in the first place? – Luaan Jan 21 at 8:52
172

Using a Boggart against many people is not a good idea:

From the lesson on boggarts:

‘This means,’ said Professor Lupin, ‘that we have a huge advantage over the Boggart before we begin. Have you spotted it, Harry?’

‘Er – because there are so many of us, it won’t know what shape it should be?’

‘Precisely,’ said Professor Lupin. ‘It’s always best to have company when you’re dealing with a Boggart. He becomes confused. Which should he become, a headless corpse or a flesh-eating slug? I once saw a Boggart make that very mistake – tried to frighten two people at once and turned himself into half a slug. Not remotely frightening.‘

78

The premise of the question is incorrect. There is no "the boggart" in Hogwarts. There was a boggart four years earlier, but it is clear from Lupin's statement in Chapter Seven of Prisoner of Azkaban that it was merely a coincidence that the boggart had taken up residence in the castle at the time:

"Boggarts like dark, enclosed spaces," said Professor Lupin. "Wardrobes, the gap beneath beds, the cupboards under sinks — I've even met one that had lodged itself in a grandfather clock. This one moved in yesterday afternoon, and I asked the headmaster if the staff would leave it to give my third years some practice.

Furthermore, that particular boggart was actually destroyed in the Defense Against the Dark Arts lesson in the same chapter:

"Riddikulus!" he shouted, and they had a split second's view of Snape in his lacy dress before Neville let out a great "Ha!" of laughter, and the boggart exploded, burst into a thousand tiny wisps of smoke, and was gone.

While there theoretically could be other boggarts, it seems that boggarts in the castle was not a common everyday occurrence. When Harry wanted Lupin to teach him how to repel dementors in Chapter Twelve of Prisoner of Azkaban, Lupin did not immediately suggest using a boggart. Instead he said that he would need to think about how they would practice. If there was always a boggart or two hanging around, Lupin could have suggested this right away:

"Ah yes," said Lupin, when Harry reminded him of his promise at the end of class. "Let me see... how about eight o'clock on Thursday evening? The History of Magic classroom should be large enough.... I'll have to think carefully about how we're going to do this.... We can't bring a real dementor into the castle to practice on...."

Indeed, later in the chapter they end up using a boggart but Lupin makes clear that it was not easy to find one:

"What's that?" said Harry.

"Another boggart," said Lupin, stripping off his cloak. "I've been combing the castle ever since Tuesday, and very luckily, I found this one lurking inside Mr. Filch's filing cabinet.

Thus, at any given time there might not be any boggarts at all in the castle, or if there are they might be hard to find. When the most important battle against Voldemort is about to begin it would be considered a tremendous waste of time/resources to go looking for a boggart. They might not find one, and even if they did manage to find one it would be rather hard to have it only terrorize the Death Eaters and not the Hogwarts Defenders. Moreover, the Death Eaters might dispose of it in very short order, in which case it would not accomplish much.

A much better use of time/resources was to try to defend the castle in other ways. Ways which did not involve combing the castle with the chance of not finding anything. Ways which did not involve setting something loose that could just as easily turn against them. Ways which did not involve using tactics that could possibly be overcome in an instant with a third-year level charm.

  • >Ways which did not involve combing the castle with the chance of not finding anything. Except Harry, of course. His task was explicitly to comb the castle with the chance of not finding what he sought. – Adonalsium Jan 22 at 14:45
  • There was one put in the maze for the Triwizard Tournament, so they're not so very impossible to find. – Wildcard Jan 22 at 20:09
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    @Wildcard Not impossible. Just no reason to assume there's one lying around for easy taking at any given time. – Alex Jan 22 at 20:10
  • @Wildcard It could have come from anywhere, not just Hogwarts. The Ministry has the whole UK (and France and wherever Durmstrang is) to search – Azor Ahai Jan 22 at 21:41
18

A Boggart wouldn’t be very effective.

Releasing a Boggart to attempt to scare the Death Eaters wouldn’t be very effective. The charm to repel a Boggart is simple, it’s not an advanced or difficult one.

“The charm that repels a Boggart is simple, yet it requires force of mind. You see, the thing that really finishes a Boggart is laughter. What you need to do is force it to assume a shape that you find amusing.”
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 7 (The Boggart in the Wardrobe)

Lupin is very easily able to repel the Boggart, even when it’s transformed into his own worst fear. The majority of Death Eaters would likely be able to do the same, as they’re all adult wizards and most of them would likely have some level of skill at magic.

“Then they saw a silvery white orb hanging in the air in front of Lupin, who said ‘Riddikulus!’ almost lazily.”
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 7 (The Boggart in the Wardrobe)

The Boggart-repelling charm wasn’t anything exclusive to ‘good’ wizards, so there’s no reason to think the Death Eaters couldn't cast it as effortlessly and effectively as Lupin was able to. Additionally, the battle was crowded, so the Boggart mightn’t even be able to properly turn into any one person’s worst fear.

“Er – because there are so many of us, it won’t know what shape it should be?’

‘Precisely,’ said Professor Lupin, and Hermione put her hand down looking a little disappointed. ‘It’s always best to have company when you’re dealing with a Boggart. He becomes confused. Which should he become, a headless corpse or a flesh-eating slug? I once saw a Boggart make that very mistake – tried to frighten two people at once and turned himself into half a slug. Not remotely frightening.”
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 7 (The Boggart in the Wardrobe)

However, even if it did, it’d likely be trivially simple for a Death Eater to repel the Boggart.

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    While I agree with this argument in general, I also think there could be a good small story lurking in the idea. Given that at the battle of Hogwarts we have two groups of people, both with similar fears - meeting their worst enemy (at least at the moment). It could be that this shared fear could make it actually easier for the Boggart to focus on one form and thus appear as either a duplicated Voldemort or a resurrected Dumbledore (or maybe a Harry). Could have made for a nice twist story arc wrt to the resurrection stone. – Frank Hopkins Jan 21 at 11:48
  • I'd say even more, I don't think boggarts actually do physically attack people. We've only seen effects from their presence (the fake Dementor-boggarts) and only mental effects at that. We've never seen them press the attack, even when their prey is unable to muster up the countercharm. I think the utility of a boggart would probably be limited to demoralizing opponents. – Adamant Jan 23 at 10:47
  • I agree with most of this answer, except the assumption that adult wizards would trivially defeat a Boggart. Of course Lupin could take care of it, he was the teacher. A maths teacher who couldn't do maths would be a considered not fit to do that job. That doesn't mean all students would pick it up easily and (more importantly) retain that knowledge/skill perfectly into adulthood. Molly Weasley, for example, proves to be a formidable witch in her own right yet was still very affected by a Boggart. – DoctorPenguin Jan 23 at 16:14
14

The majority of Death Eaters appear to be alumni of Hogwarts and we know that the Defence Against the Dark Arts curriculum has included a lesson on dealing with Boggarts since at least the 1920s.

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That being the case, a loose Boggart would be trivially simple for them to deal with.

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    Tell that to Mrs. Weasley. – Alex Jan 20 at 18:05
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    @Alex - I always found it strange that she coped so poorly. – Valorum Jan 20 at 19:49
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    As did all readers. – Alex Jan 20 at 19:52
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    Mrs Weasley is a mom of 7, She has a lot of things to fear, and most of them cut pretty deep. Like most fears, the first challenge is to gain self-mastery in the face of it. That's where she struggled. – Ruadhan2300 Jan 21 at 9:48
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    One counter-argument I'd see: They need to first know that it is a Boggart they are dealing with. In the heat of the battle that might easily not be the case for quite a while. – Frank Hopkins Jan 21 at 11:49
1

One other option is: no one wanted to watch on something that may scare Death Eater because it must be something horrible. It will scare everyone around including the person who decide to perform this trick.

  • To be fair, i'm pretty sure that only Voldemort himself scare Death Eater. – dna Jan 25 at 12:56

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