The question is pretty much what the title says. Harry was not skilled at Occlumency and according to the Potter wiki,

it can use Legilimency to interpret their thoughts and respond to them

Would this not have been sufficient? The hat is sentient and so could probably interpret its findings.

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    Would it have mattered? I recall something about a binding magical contract... it sounded like Harry had to compete even if he or anybody else could prove that he didn't put his name in.
    – Dason
    Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 0:43
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    @Dason True but atleast he wouldn't be suspected of doing it Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 1:36
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    It could be that the sorting hat is limited to when it activates. Much like the goblet of fire itself.
    – Tom Doyle
    Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 13:25

3 Answers 3


I think the Sorting Hat would have been able to tell that Harry hadn't put his name in the Goblet of Fire; it might have even been able to have told Dumbledore what it saw. However, Dumbledore had accepted Harry's word that Harry did not put his name in the goblet. Using the Sorting Hat (or Veritaserum for that matter) would have only confirmed what Dumbledore already believed. Harry did not know who put his name in the cup; the Sorting Hat, Legilimency, and Veritaserum would not have been able to elicit the identity of the person who put Harry's name into the cup (Barty Crouch Jr./Moody).

The other issue, I think, is the fact that if a person's name is put into the cup, and then that person is subsequently selected to be a Triwizard contestant, it constitutes a binding magical contract. The person is compelled to compete, whether they want to or not (although what would happen if a contestant refused to compete is unclear). So even if Dumbledore had confirmed via the Sorting Hat that Harry had not put his name in the cup himself, it wouldn't have changed anything. Harry still would have had to compete.

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    I agree. But at least people would not suspected him of having done it. Dumbledore's belief would have been vindicated far sooner. Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 3:28
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    I definitely agree that, if successful, it would have vindicated Harry right away. (At the end of the day, though, the not knowing who put Harry's name in the cup, plus the suspicion cast upon Harry by the entire universe, was a necessary plot device) Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 4:04
  • I guess it was a source of motivation for him. Thank you for your answer. Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 4:29

The answer is right there in your question. The hat is sentient, so is not necessarily going to do your bidding and ask him questions about the Goblet and interpret its findings.

Plus, using Legilemency is kind of against Dumbledore's policy; and it wasn't a critical enough situation to do so (like the Horcrux hunt) since they could not withdraw Harry's name from the tournament even if it was proven he didn't submit it. I'm pretty sure Dumbledore believed him.

  • Thanks for your answer. But the hat apparently does use Legilimency to find out where the student would be best placed. Considering that it stays in the headmaster's office for most of the time, surely it feels some loyalty to Dumbledore and will do as he asks. Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 4:30
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    @ChetterHummin - It has loyalty to the school, not Dumbledore. As far as Legilimency, I was referring to Dumbledore not willing to ask the hat to use it, NOT the hat not willing to use it. Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 10:28
  • A fair point. Thank you. Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 11:00

Well, first off, keep in mind that a wiki isn't a very reliable source of information. It's completely possible that the Legilimency thing was just the writer's interpretation, unless of course it cited a quote to prove this.

Secondly, I believe that the Hat was under a magically-binding oath to not reveal anything it finds in a student's head. That may just be my fanon mixing with my canon, though...

Thirdly, wizards look down on other sentient creatures that have proven countless times to have magic of their own, magic far superior to human magic. I highly doubt they'd believe a ratty, tatty, batty old hatty.

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    Can you back this up with anything other than your own opinion?
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 22, 2014 at 6:15

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