27

In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry sneaks into The Three Broomsticks and overhears Madam Rosmerta, the Minister for Magic, and several Hogwarts teachers discuss his parents' death and the fact that the Potters were under the protection of the Fidelius Charm. Professor Flitwick explains the charm:

‘An immensely complex spell,’ he said squeakily, ‘involving the magical concealment of a secret inside a single, living soul. The information is hidden inside the chosen person, or Secret-Keeper, and is henceforth impossible to find – unless, of course, the Secret-Keeper chooses to divulge it. As long as the Secret-Keeper refused to speak, You-Know-Who could search the village where Lily and James were staying for years and never find them, not even if he had his nose pressed against their sitting-room window!’

Prisoner of Azkaban - pages 152-153 - Bloomsbury - chapter 10, The Marauders Map

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, once Ron returns to Harry and Hermione after his and Harry's fight weeks earlier, he tells Harry and Hermione about the Taboo:

‘NO!’ roared Ron, causing Harry to jump into the hedge and Hermione (nose buried in a book at the tent entrance) to scowl over at them. ‘Sorry,’ said Ron, wrenching Harry back out of the brambles, ‘but the name’s been jinxed, Harry, that’s how they track people! Using his name breaks protective enchantments, it causes some kind of magical disturbance – it’s how they found us in Tottenham Court Road!’

‘Because we used his name?’

‘Exactly! You’ve got to give them credit, it makes sense. It was only people who were serious about standing up to him, like Dumbledore, who ever dared use it. Now they’ve put a Taboo on it, anyone who says it is trackable – quick and easy way to find Order members! They nearly got Kingsley –’

Deathly Hallows - page 316 - Bloomsbury - chapter 20, Xenophilius Lovegood

So in hindsight the trio understands that it was the Taboo that caused the Death Eaters to find them at Tottenham Court Road, and then later, of course, they're caught by Snatchers because Harry says "Voldemort" out loud. However, the trio says "Voldemort" numerous times while they're staying at Grimmauld Place and Death Eaters appear and stake the place out (granted, it could be that the Death Eaters simply knew that Harry had inherited Grimmauld Place from Sirius after the Ministry examined Sirius's will). They cannot get inside the house, though. I'm completely unclear as to the status of Grimmauld Place and the Fidelius Charm -- the house was under the charm, but the Secret Keeper (Dumbledore) had died. Nevertheless, like eleventy-one people were privy to the secret by the time of Dumbledore's death, and I have never found a satisfactory answer (to me) to exactly how the Fidelius Charm works.

Would Voldemort's Taboo spell be able to trump the Fidelius Charm?

★ I'm looking for a canon-based answer (Harry Potter novels, the three supplemental books, JKR interviews, and Pottermore) and do not prefer an answer from the HP Wikia or the Wikipedia.

  • 17
    Voldemort has a nose to press against their window? – kleineg Jun 30 '15 at 13:58
  • 6
    @kleineg I think when Voldemort was searching for Lily and James, he still had a nose. – Voldemort Jul 28 '15 at 2:09
  • 6
    @Voldemort Wait ... you think ? You don’t know? ... – Pryftan Mar 4 '18 at 21:36
48

No it does not trump the Fidelius Charm. As you point out, they are found at Tottenham Court Road because of the jinx on his name, they then travel to Grimmauld place and say his name again, and yet the Death Eaters stand

"...gazing in the direction of the house that they cannot see."

Lupin all but confirms that they do not know that Harry is inside the house:

"They can’t know you’re in here or I’m sure they’d have more people out there."

You might say that the fact that there were no Death Eaters outside the house until after Voldemort's name was spoken at least hints at there being a connection, however when Lupin arrived at the house he clearly states that:

"...they’re staking out everywhere that’s got any connection with you, Harry."

  • 1
    That makes sense -- thanks! :) +1 – Slytherincess Oct 18 '12 at 22:06
  • 1
    I didn't think of the piece where they know that somewhere in an area it was said, but can't tell exactly because of the charm. I wonder if the taboo works similarly to the "trace" that Harry has before he's 17... but I digress. Well thought! +1 – Anoplexian Mar 24 '16 at 21:45
1

As to the status of Grimmauld Place and the Fidelius Charm: when a secret-keeper dies, everyone who knows the secret becomes a secret-keeper in their place. So the house was hidden because no one in the Order told anyone about it - until whichever Death Eater t was who apparated there with Hermione after the trio escaped from the MoM.

  • 1
    It was Yaxley iirc (though for some reason that seems wrong in my head but pretty sure it’s correct). – Pryftan Mar 4 '18 at 21:38

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.