We know that Sirius Black is sent to Azkaban around the same time Harry is left at Privet Drive and from the dialog between Dumbledore and McGonagall we're led to believe that it was Dumbledore who had decided that Harry should stay with the Dursleys.

Was it really Dumbledore's idea?

I know Harry doesn't have much family left but it seems weird that it should be the headmaster of a school who decides where an orphan kid is taken to. Shouldn't the Ministry of Magic be in charge of such things?

  • 3
    In one of the later books, there is a discussion (between Dumbledore, Harry and Mrs Dursley, that the curse/blessing on him when his mother died protects him while he is living with family (and the Dursleys too?) so that living with family was necessary. Mrs Dursley is his Aunt. (His Mother's Sister) I dont remember which book, one of the later ones I believe, 5th or 6th or 7th maybe. The Dursley's were seriously considering kicking him out.
    – NJohnny
    Commented Jul 22, 2021 at 2:26
  • @NJohnny - 5 - after the dementor attack in the park
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Jul 22, 2021 at 4:17
  • It is odd on the face of it, but Dumbledore was there and knew enough to make the right decision, so it's no surprise his colleagues went along with it. He was also highly respected at the time, and there are several examples in the series of people in the Ministry letting questionable things go (or even doing something illegal) because someone in authority was influenced by a friend - "who you know" is important in the wizarding world. Commented Jul 22, 2021 at 9:32
  • Don't forget Dumbledore was also Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot and the Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards.
    – Skooba
    Commented Jul 22, 2021 at 13:54

1 Answer 1


Yes, it was Dumbledore who decided that Harry should be taken to Aunt Petunia

It is mentioned in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, when Dumbledore is talking to Harry after he lost Sirius at the Hall of Prophecies at the Ministry of Magic.

Any wizard family would've been happy or even honored to take care of baby Harry. But as Dumbledore says,

“You might ask — and with good reason — why it had to be so. Why could some Wizarding family not have taken you in? Many would have done so more than gladly, would have been honored and delighted to raise you as a son.

“My answer is that my priority was to keep you alive. You were in more danger than perhaps anyone but myself realized. Voldemort had been vanquished hours before, but his supporters — and many of them are almost as terrible as he — were still at large, angry, desperate, and violent ...
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Chapter 37: The Lost Prophecy)

So he decided to put Harry with his Aunt:

“I knew that Voldemort’s knowledge of magic is perhaps more extensive than any wizard alive. I knew that even my most complex and powerful protective spells and charms were unlikely to be invincible if he ever returned to full power.

“But I knew too where Voldemort was weak. And so I made my decision. You would be protected by an ancient magic of which he knows, which he despises, and which he has always, therefore, underestimated — to his cost. I am speaking, of course, of the fact that your mother died to save you. She [Lily] gave you a lingering protection he never expected, a protection that flows in your veins to this day. I put my trust, therefore, in your mother’s blood. I delivered you to her sister, her only remaining relative.”
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Chapter 37: The Lost Prophecy)

  • 1
    Is "She" in your last quote really referring to Petunia? I always thought it was referring to Lily, as she was the one with magic, not her sister Petunia.
    – Kadima
    Commented Jul 22, 2021 at 20:33
  • @Kadima yes, you're right. My bad, i will update the answer
    – Shreedhar
    Commented Jul 23, 2021 at 6:29

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