Obviously Wizarding homes can be chock full of magical and enchanted items, devices and potions and not violate the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy. As well, many Wizarding families eschew any kind of Muggle object.

There is another reason for most wizards' avoidance of Muggle devices, and that is cultural. The magical community prides itself on the fact that it does not need the many (admittedly ingenious) devices that Muggles have created to enable them to do what can be so easily done by magic. To fill one's house with tumble dryers and telephones would be seen as an admission of magical inadequacy.

J.K. Rowling - Pottermore - Technology 1 and 2 - section 2, Chamber of Secrets

However, J.K. Rowling goes on to say that wizards have a weakness for Muggle cars, and that it is not unusual to find a car stashed away on a Wizarding property. I don't know if the flying Ford Anglia violated the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy, but Snape was adamant that it flouted the Decree for the Restriction of Underage Wizardry.

So say a Muggleborn student takes a bunch of magical, moving Wizarding photographs home with him or her and displays them where it's possible other Muggles might catch sight of the photos. It's certainly not unusual to display photos on shelves, a nightstand, a desk, or on top of a dresser. Would displaying magical moving photographs in a Muggle home constitute a violation of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy?¹

¹In the Harry Potter movies, Harry keeps a moving picture of James and Lily on his desk in his bedroom. However, I didn't find any mentions of him keeping any Wizarding photos on his desk in the books. I only checked through Prisoner of Azkaban, though.

  • 1
    Is there reason to believe that they wouldn't? Surely magical items displayed in front of Muggles would violate the statute. Or am I missing something?
    – NominSim
    Commented Sep 12, 2012 at 1:00
  • I don't know if you're missing something -- that's for you to decide and answer the question if you'd like to. :) Commented Sep 12, 2012 at 1:18
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    Maybe Muggles only see a static photo? Commented Sep 12, 2012 at 13:07
  • @PhilPursglove - I think that must be the case. :) Commented Oct 3, 2012 at 15:40
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    Yes. But please don't mention it again. This is also part of the statute. I've already said too much. Commented Apr 15, 2014 at 17:19

4 Answers 4


The pictures clearly react to the viewer in much the same way as the paintings in the castle. The paintings even act with the intent and purpose. I'd speculate that the pictures simply don't react to Muggles at all, by design. Unintentional violations would happen every day, otherwise.

  • 2
    Great answer and yet, only speculation.
    – Kalissar
    Commented Jul 4, 2013 at 12:27

I'm not aware of direct canon evidence (the full text of the statute is not available AFAIK), but it clearly violates the spirit of the Statute which is aimed at one and only one thing - to prevent Muggles from realizing that Magic users exist altogether.

  • I can't find any mention of Wizarding photos Harry keeps in the books either BUT that is kind of irrelevant. Dursleys are aware of magical world already and therefore them seeing a wizarding photo would NOT reveal anything. And nobody else ever sees Harry's room. Commented Sep 12, 2012 at 10:36
  • And I'm not sure a wizard photo would tip off a Muggle at first glance nowadays anyway. This doesn't apply so much to when the books took place, but now it would be easy to mistake a framed wizard photo for a digital frame playing a short movie on loop or a .gif
    – Windle
    Commented Sep 13, 2012 at 16:04
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    @Windle: as they put it, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    – Lie Ryan
    Commented Sep 13, 2012 at 17:57
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    @LieRyan - it's not "they". It's Arthur C Clarke (more specifically, Clarke's Third Law ) Commented Sep 13, 2012 at 18:58

Would displaying magical moving photographs in a Muggle home constitute a violation of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy?


If I see a piece of paper with moving images, I'd say: "Oooo awesome technology" and probably won't even bother about the details.

If you admit that the piece of paper is magical, who's going to believe you?

And if people begin examining the mysterious piece of paper you have, they won't understand what's going on. But even if they don't understand: do you think someone would dare to suggest this is magic? They would probably just say "we don't understand it... yet" and keep on researching.

Oh, but the images react to your actions! In that case, we have to consider if the images will indeed react to a muggle. If they do, then people would be really scared, but I doubt they'll suggest this is magic anyway. Perhaps very advanced technology ;D...

So no, I don't think they'll send you to Azkaban :)

  • It hadn't occurred to me that Muggles actually might not be able to see moving Wizarding photographs! This idea makes a lot of sense because the picture has to be developed in a magical potion, which may not react to Muggles. After all, Stan Shunpike does say about Muggles, "Never notice nuffink, they don’." :) Commented Oct 3, 2012 at 15:29

No it would not violate the Statue. Consider if a Wizard resides in that house, it's a "Wizarding" house regardless of the other occupants. Take the Granger household for example. Both Hermione's parents are Muggles, and this obviously isn't the first time two Muggles have had a Wizard child so therefore the Statue would have to allow for this situation at least. The magical photographs (at least in the films) seem to go from a static image to an animated one when someone is directly focused on them. Like Windle pointed out someone who was unaware of the Wizarding world could be told that the photo is merely a digital frame playing a slide show or movie clip.

  • 2
    You could be told that now, but not in the time of the Harry Potter story. Digital frames very rare or nonexistant at that time.
    – b_jonas
    Commented Sep 13, 2012 at 19:27
  • Fair enough, but it still wouldn't violate the Statute as it would still technically be in a Wizarding home
    – Monty129
    Commented Sep 13, 2012 at 19:33

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