In this scene from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2010), powerful Dementors are unable to break through an elevator door:

An animated gif depicting 4 people running into a Victorian-style elevator. One of the protagonists turns a lever on the side, which closes the elevator gate. The dementors who were after them slam against the gate from the outside, trying to grab the protagonists with their arms through the gate.

Why couldn't they break through it?

  • 1
    Its a magical elevator and it has enchanted doors. ;)
    – jo1storm
    Commented Dec 14, 2021 at 8:22
  • 6
    Why should they be able to break through?
    – IloneSP
    Commented Dec 14, 2021 at 10:18

1 Answer 1


Dementors are not incorporeal; they cannot pass through solids

This is evidenced by the Dementor on the Hogwarts Express (Prisoner of Azkaban), who had to open a door to enter the carriage.

(1:36 to 2:02 in the above video)

We can expect that the Ministry doors are more heavily enchanted doors than the ones in the Hogwarts Express (a government building vs a school train- seems kinda obvious). So the "hand-waving to open door" probably wouldn't work on them.

And of course, it's for dramatic effect (a "close shave" moment).

  • 3
    In addition, Harry already pulled the lever for lift to start moving. It seems obvious that once this happened, doors should stay shut.
    – AcePL
    Commented Dec 14, 2021 at 9:34
  • 1
    It could also, @AcePL, lead to detached dementor arms flopping around on the elevator floor.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Dec 14, 2021 at 18:43

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