We know that in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Hogwarts was able to locate Harry at all of his different addresses in order to deliver him his letter. So, my question is, couldn't they have done the same with Voldemort to find him? Is it possible that Voldemort put protective spells around him that stop him from being located?

We also know that in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Hermione puts some protective spells around their campsites. However, none of them (after a bit of research) actually prevent someone from locating them. Couldn't Voldemort, in turn, have done this?

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    In the Deathly Hallows, they were only found because of accidents, not magic, as such. Snape found them because Phineas Nigelus overheard them say where they were. The snatchers found them because they were out from the protection
    – NKCampbell
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 0:50
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    @ILoveYou3000 How is this a duplicate? Owls are not the same things as spells that search for a person?
    – user112267
    Commented May 19, 2019 at 1:52

4 Answers 4


As I argued in this answer, we see from Slughorn's comments about his students not being able to send him presents that it is possible for a wizard to prevent people from being able to track his whereabouts. Voldemort could have easily done whatever it was that Slughorn did to make himself untrackable.

Another point to consider is that tracking Harry and tracking Voldemort were fundamentally different endeavors. When it came to tracking Voldemort, the tracker would be starting with nothing. That is to say there would be a wizard hiding somewhere, with nowhere to begin the tracking from. In Harry's case, however, the tracker knew the starting point. Harry had always been located at Number 4 Privet Drive. All the tracker had to do was spy on the Dursleys going forward to learn all the new locations.

It would be trivially easy with magic to find out that the Dursleys moved Harry upstairs. It would also be trivially easy to follow them to the hotel, and ultimately to the hut on the rock. In Voldemort's case that couldn't be done, because there was nowhere to start from.


He would’ve made himself untraceable.

When answering why the Ministry couldn’t track Sirius Black by sending an owl, J.K. Rowling addressed this in the FAQ of her old website. She said that wizards can make themselves untraceable similarly to how they make buildings unplottable, and the Dark Lord would’ve been found long ago if it was so simple to track him down.

In 'Prisoner of Azkaban', why couldn't the Ministry of Magic have sent Sirius an owl, and then followed it, to find him?

Just as wizards can make buildings unplottable, they can also make themselves untraceable. Voldemort would have been found long ago if it had been as simple as sending him an owl!
- J.K. Rowling’s old website (FAQ)

From her statement, it can be reasoned that the Dark Lord had in fact done what was needed to made himself untraceable, so it wouldn’t be possible to locate him so easily.

  • Helpful (+1), but what about my second question?
    – user112267
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 1:53
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    In Stack Exchange, you only get question per query.
    – elemtilas
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 2:19

Because it was unnecessary, and there was nobody to do it.

First off, in Deathly Hallows, Harry and Co get snatched because they ventured outside the protective zone. No magic was used to locate them.

Some facts, that would put this question in context:

  • The ministry was firmly denying Voldemort's existence up until the end of Order of The Phoenix.
  • Soon after that, the Ministry of Magic fell! Voldemort had total control on it.

This takes ministry out of the equation: They couldn't have put up a locator spell.

  • The Order of the Phoenix was badly battered up.
  • Hogwarts was under Voldemort's control.

So these two were out of the running as well.

Bigger question is, what would they have done even if they had located Voldemort?

The Trio were already doing the one thing that could bring Voldemort closer to defeat, i.e. find and destroy his Horcruxes. There was no point in fighting Voldemort till then.

And by the time they did destroy all the Horcruxes, they already knew where Voldemort was. Hogwarts.

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    Hi @Stark07. I like your answer. Just for completeness: I remember that Dumbledore knew Voldemort's location when he was body-less after trying to kill baby Harry (it was the forest in Albania). So probably Dark Lord was not able to make him untraceable without the wound and an arm to grab and use it. Commented May 16, 2019 at 10:07
  • @Demosthenes Thank you. Dumbledore did know about Voldemort, so he definitely wasn't untraceable even when in a body-less form.
    – Stark07
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 10:13

Harry gets located because of his Trace. Trace, as in the magical method that the ministry uses to detect underage magic, which detects underage magic, both deliberate and accidental. (Dobby's magic gets mistaken for Harry's, for some reason. Probably because of house-elf magic.)

As for Deathly Hallows, their campsite gets found mostly because they're not being careful and keep saying Voldemort, which is Tabooed. I supposed if the Ministry had done something intelligent, like Tabooing Voldemort themselves in the fifth / sixth book they would have found him and most of the Death Eaters. But the Ministry is the Ministry, mostly ineffective.

  • Hi @Halfthawed. I'm afraid they didn't use the Trace in this particular case. Harry didn't use magic on his trip with the Dursleys. Moreover it was not the Ministry who kept sending him letters - it was Hogwarts management. Commented May 16, 2019 at 10:01
  • Wasn't the Dursleys just because Hagrid was following them?
    – Halfthawed
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 17:20

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