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From everything we saw during Harry's Occlumency lessons with Snape, I don't think even an accomplished Legilimens can go around delving into other people's minds without them knowing it's happening. – Anthony Grist comment

Question: Is there ANY example in HP canon of Legilimency being used successfully (or mention of being capable), in a way that a normal person would not realized their mind is being read?

("normal" means not under some other influence that would prevent feeling the probe, e.g. under Imperius/Confounding/unconscious/etc...)

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    Well the Sorting Hat is enchanted with Legilimency, but it's somewhat dubious whether every student who uses it knows their mind is being read or not. Sep 10, 2012 at 15:55
  • @GabeWillard - this should be an answer, not a comment. Good point. Sep 10, 2012 at 16:52
  • Don't we see an example of Legilimency being done without the target knowing? Voldemort puts the thought into Harry's mind that he has Sirius at the Ministry of Magic. Harry is certainly not aware that Voldemort planted this idea in his mind.
    – NominSim
    Sep 11, 2012 at 16:32
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    @NominSim - That's not (or not only) Legilimency. That's their mind/soul serial bus Sep 11, 2012 at 17:37

2 Answers 2

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In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Queenie repeatedly reads people's minds with no indication that they noticed (contrast e.g. the flashbacks we got when Snape read Harry):

  • She reads Jacob when they first meet, repeats his thoughts back to him, and he is surprised that she is able to do so.
  • She reads Newt's mind about a personal event in his past, but otherwise their interaction seems to be purely verbal (i.e. he does not react until she asks him about it).
  • During the escape from MACUSA, she reads a MACUSA official,* discovers he's simultaneously in relationships with two different women, and threatens to expose his infidelity. From what I recall, he does not accuse her of reading his mind.

It's certainly possible that all of these characters really did experience Legilimency flashbacks or other effects and just didn't acknowledge them, but this strains credulity for me. It is also striking that at no point does she use a wand or say Legilimens out loud. She often performs Legilimency casually, with little to no visible effort or concentration, which does not resemble what we have been told about wordless spells. If she is casting Legilimens wordlessly and wandlessly, she is exceptionally talented at it.


* The wiki claims this character was an Obliviator named Sam, who had been tasked with Obliviating Jacob. I do not consider the wiki a reliable source, I have not been able to find the clip to confirm this, and my memory is inadequate on this point.

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My answer is going to depend on if you call Voldemort seeing if someone speaks the truth as Legilimency or not.

In the end of Volume V, The Order of the Phoenix Voldemort says he sees that Harry tells the truth when he says the prophecy has been broken. And, I don't know where it is mentioned, but somewhere is mentioned Snape would be safe to go on spying missions in close proximity to Voldemort because he can lie to Voldemort that he is on V's side because he is an experienced Occlumens.
I hope this answers your question!

And now I see in a linked question Ward mentions Dumbledore is a skilled Legilimens, so he would have had an idea about Harry's plans. Harry isn't aware of that, at least, the book doesn't say that.

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    Another example is when LV knew Harry was lying about what he saw in the Mirror of Erised.
    – CCHP
    Jul 9, 2015 at 21:22

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