Many characters, aside from Harry, were in the same vicinity as Voldemort during the Battle of Hogwarts.

Why then did they make the choice not to fight against him (and what was the effect of that choice)?

  • This seems overly broad. Many of the characters simply weren't in the vicinity during the battle. Others seem to have been withdrawn for reason of age and still others were sent away because their loyalties were considered suspect. Can you be more specific than just "some characters"?
    – Valorum
    May 2 '19 at 22:50
  • I'm sorry, my question overall is honestly to just list which characters in the book who made the choice not to fight him and the effect of it.
    – user115963
    May 2 '19 at 22:54
  • Are you immediately excluding everyone who isn't a member of the Order of the Phoenix or a student? Because that's the entirety of the good guys.
    – Valorum
    May 2 '19 at 22:56
  • And it more towards the characters that were in vicinity during the battle and choose not to fight him.
    – user115963
    May 2 '19 at 22:56
  • Ah, I see. Are you wanting to know why those who were present didn't try to duel with Voldemort?
    – Valorum
    May 2 '19 at 22:56

There wasn’t really much opportunity for other people to duel Voldemort.

For the majority of the night Voldemort did not take part in the battle, as we see in Chapter Thirty Three (my emphasis):

“I speak now, Harry Potter, directly to you. You have permitted your friends to die for you rather than face me yourself. I shall wait for one hour in the Forbidden Forest. If, at the end of that hour, you have not come to me, have not given yourself up, then battle recommences. This time, I shall enter the fray myself, Harry Potter, and I shall find you, and I shall punish every last man, woman, and child who has tried to conceal you from me. One hour.”

Harry ended up giving himself up before that could happen. Once Voldemort and his supporters emerged with an apparently-dead-Harry in Chapter Thirty-Six, the battle was essentially considered over:

"The battle is won. You have lost half of your fighters. My Death Eaters outnumber you, and the Boy Who Lived is finished. There must be no more war. Anyone who continues to resist, man, woman or child, will be slaughtered, as will every member of their family. Come out of the castle now, kneel before me, and you shall be spared. Your parents and children, your brothers and sisters will live and be forgiven, and you will join me in the new world we shall build together."

Eventually, Neville started resisting which ultimately led to the battle recommencing. At that point there was a lot of confusion and it's not entirely clear who was dueling whom. We know that Voldemort was fighting:

Still hidden beneath the Invisibility Cloak, Harry was buffered into the entrance hall: He was searching for Voldemort and saw him across the room, firing spells from his wand as he backed into the Great Hall, still screaming instructions to his followers as he sent curses flying left and right; Harry cast more Shield Charms, and Voldemort's would-be victims Seamus Finnigan and Hannah Abbott, darted past him into the Great Hall, where they joined the fight already flourishing inside it.

The battle then continued in the Great Hall but it is still not entirely clear whether people were deliberately not dueling Voldemort:

Voldemort was in the center of the battle, and he was striking and smiting all within reach. Harry could not get a clear shot, but fought his way nearer, still invisible, and the Great Hall became more and more crowded as everyone who could walk forced their way inside.

Probably some wizards were afraid to duel him directly, but it's possible that there were some that just aren't mentioned.

Shortly thereafter, we find three wizards who did duel Voldemort directly:

Voldemort was now dueling McGonagall, Slughorn, Kingsley all at once, and there was a cold hatred in his face as they wove and ducked around him, unable to finish him —

When Voldemort blasted them out of the way Harry revealed himself and specifically requested that no one else get involved:

"I don't want anyone else to help," Harry said loudly, and in the total silence his voice carried like a trumpet call. "It's got to be like this. It's got to be me."

And, of course, Voldemort died dueling Harry so there's nothing to talk about after that.

So while there were probably wizards who did not have the courage to duel Voldemort, for the most part there was very little opportunity to directly engage him in a duel. Notably, one person who explicitly mentioned sentiments about not wanting to oppose Voldemort was Slughorn:

They had just reached the door when Slughorn rumbled into speech.

“My word,” he puffed, pale and sweaty, his walrus mustache aquiver. “What a to-do! I'm not at all sure whether this is wise, Minerva. He is bound to find a way in, you know, and anyone who has tried to delay him will be in the most grievous peril —”

Yet he himself was one of the ones who did directly duel Voldemort.

  • 1
    Thank you but what would a reason be why people in general wouldn't duel Voldemort
    – user115963
    May 2 '19 at 23:38
  • 2
    @user115963 He’s the scariest villain in town. Would you want to duel him?
    – Alex
    May 2 '19 at 23:39
  • @Alex - That's how you get respect in the joint, shiv the biggest guy
    – Valorum
    May 2 '19 at 23:58
  • 2
    @Valorum Some people apparently value their lives more than respect.
    – Alex
    May 3 '19 at 0:02
  • @Alex - Wimps. One good AK and he'd have been dead and buried
    – Valorum
    May 3 '19 at 0:06

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