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In Goblet of Fire, when Harry Potter is faced with a dragon, he used 'Accio' to get his broomstick and then grabbed the Golden Egg after some flying. My question is, why couldn't he use 'Accio' on the Golden Egg itself? Is there a rule that the thing he was calling had to belong to him?

For that matter, why couldn't any other champion do this to the Golden Egg? Well, we can make a case that the others just wouldn't have thought of it but Harry Potter came there with the intention of doing a Summoning Charm. Surely he could've done the simpler thing and called the Golden Egg itself instead of the broomstick.

By the way, the book says that the egg was under the dragon's body but the movie shows it placed at a prominent location a fair distance away from the dragon and from Harry. So, let's talk about book only. Was there a rule that he couldn't summon the egg since it was kind of strangled under the dragon's body?

  • If you wanna pass the trial with a simple "Accio", why not simply "Accio dragon's heart"? – xDaizu Jun 29 '17 at 14:13
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From the wiki article shared by Force Flow:

There were counterspells that could be placed on objects to keep them from being Summoned. Most wizarding goods sold as of the 20th century and early 21st century came pre-enchanted with anti-theft spells to keep them from being Summoned by anyone but their rightful owners.

Also, since the TriWizard Tournament was meant to be competed in by 6th and 7th year students, the professors would have expected them to know the Accio charm. As such, there was most likely an anti-summoning charm on the eggs to keep them from being summoned.

  • This looks like the most plausible explanation... – Aamir May 20 '13 at 21:43
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    That's what I assumed...the same reason Harry couldn't summon the Horcrux in the cave. – Michael Brown May 21 '13 at 6:21
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    but it is not canon based answer, right? – TGar Jun 4 '17 at 14:46
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    " As such, there was most likely an anti-summoning charm on the eggs to keep them from being summoned." That makes sense. The weird thing is... nobody tried. Why not try it, just in case? Imagine everyone's faces if one of the students had tried it and worked. – xDaizu Jun 29 '17 at 12:41
4

Neither Harry nor Barty Crouch Jr knew about the eggs when preparing for the First Task, so Summoning the eggs never occurred to them.

Many of the answers here are premised on wiki-based speculation. There may have been anti-Summoning charms on the eggs. There may not have been. We simply do not know either way. What we do is that the very existence of the eggs and the precise nature of the First Task was a closely guarded secret. The existence of the dragons obviously leaked to the champions before the task but the existence of the eggs seems not to have been leaked. All that the champions knew is that they had to somehow "get past" the dragons. The part about capturing the eggs was only revealed just before the task itself; until then the egg element of the Task was a mystery.

“Well, now we’re all here - time to fill you in!” said Bagman brightly. “When the audience has assembled, I’m going to be offering each of you this bag” - he held up a small sack of purple silk and shook it at them - “from which you will each select a small model of the thing you are about to face! There are different - er - varieties, you see. And I have to tell you something else too...ah, yes...your task is to collect the golden egg!
(Goblet of Fire, Chapter 20, The First Task).

Charlie Weasley was part of the team which was responsible for looking after the dragons and not even he knew what the First Task was or why the eggs were required.

“Four...” said Hagrid, “so it’s one fer each o’ the champions, is it? What’ve they gotta do - fight ’em?”
“Just get past them, I think,” said Charlie. “We’ll be on hand if it gets nasty, Extinguishing Spells at the ready. They wanted nesting mothers, I don’t know why..."
(Goblet of Fire, Chapter 19, The Hungarian Horntail).

It's true that Harry could potentially have tried Summoning the egg on impulse after he'd found out about them. However, his objective was to have a plan in advance for getting past the dragon; changing his plan at the last minute would've been risky. Crouch's whole plan was to guide Harry through the tasks by preparing him as best as possible. Regardless of the approach Harry was to take in the task, it had to be agreed in advance. That way, Harry could feel confident that he just had to execute the plan which he has in his head. Changing the plan to bypass the broom may have simplified it but would have made Harry less secure in what he was trying to do. It would've meant Harry having to think on his feet - which may be what the Task was actually trying to test but which was specifically was Crouch was trying to avoid. As it was, Harry was much more confident and assured when using the broom.

He swung his leg over the broom and kicked off from the ground. And a second later, something miraculous happened...
As he soared upward, as the wind rushed through his hair, as the crowd’s faces became mere flesh-colored pinpricks below, and the Horntail shrank to the size of a dog, he realized that he had left not only the ground behind, but also his fear...He was back where he belonged...
(Goblet of Fire, Chapter 20, The First Task).

So neither Crouch nor Harry knew about the eggs and made a plan based on using the Firebolt. Deviating from that plan would not have been a good idea.

However, even if they had known about the eggs in advance they may well have decided to use the Firebolt anyway. The Firebolt gave Harry a significant defensive advantage. Whilst airborne he could avoid the Horntail and stay a safe distance away from it. There's no point in Summoning the egg if you're immediately consumed by a burst of fire.


By the by, if there wasn't an Anti-Summoning Charm on the eggs then Harry could've Summoned it. The location of the Horntail would've affected this. She was sitting next to the eggs, not on them.

He looked down at the clutch of eggs and spotted the gold one, gleaming against its cement-coloured fellows, residing safely between the dragon's front legs.
(Goblet of Fire, Chapter 20, The First Task).

There's also nothing about the Summoning Charm which means you have to own the item you're summoning.

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    This answer is better than accepted from that point of view that is is not a speculation (I gave +1). But I don't think it is correct either, why not to try to summon broomstick AND the egg? That is not so long though, and Harry is not that stupid I think. – TGar Jun 4 '17 at 14:44
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    @TGar Well, if he'd summoned the egg then he'd have no need for the broomstick (apart from to escape the dragon). The real reason though is that it didn't occur to him to summon the egg since his plan was to summon the broomstick. – The Dark Lord Jun 4 '17 at 15:01
  • Yes, I meant because of escaping. Hm, probably you're right, but it seems quite stupid. Actually, the real real reason is that it would be boring for the story... – TGar Jun 4 '17 at 15:06
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Harry also couldn't use accio on Horcruxes and Hermione couldn't use it on Rowena Ravenclaw's Diadem or Helga Hufflepuff's Cup, and a death eater couldn't use it on Harry's invisibility cloak. I'd guess that "special" items are either unaffected by the spell because of their "specialness", or were purposefully designed to block the spell. Concentration doesn't seem to be the only limiting factor, especially when these particular items are considered.

http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Summoning_Charm

1

Based on the chosen answer to the previous question What are the rules and limits of accio spell?, I'd have to imagine that the biggest issue was concentration.

It's one thing to summon his broomstick within the tower and another to concentrate well enough to cast the spell while battling a dragon.

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    He could concentrate (and successfully do an accio) on the portkey/triwizard cup while Voldermort and all the death eaters were on his trail. I am sure he could have concentrated on the egg in the presence of a dragon as well. – Aamir May 20 '13 at 20:30
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Beyond concentration, the limit on accio seems to be visualization. If you can form a mental image1 of the item you wish to acquire, then (barring special cases such as horcruxes or Hallows) you can use accio.

This means that in the book, the fact that the dragon is lying on the egg is a pretty effective deterrent against accio. The movie version... well, I don't remember: have any of the contestants seen the golden egg up close? If they haven't, then it being up on a pedestal is really no help, because not even wizards are likely to have encountered a great many golden eggs in their life.

1 Note that "mental image" is not limited to visual appearance, and with enough practice, it may have nothing to do with appearance: witness Mrs. Weasley's acquisition of joke candies from her twins' pockets. Also, items which you have held in your hands before might be easier to accio in the future (like Harry reacquiring the triwizard cup in the graveyard, despite the stresses of the moment), and the precise word you use doesn't matter — "accio broom" doesn't get you every broom in the vicinity, and sometimes people just say "accio" without specifying what it is they wish to acquire.

(I don't find it satisfying to theorize that the egg had an accio-blocking spell: if that were the only limiting factor, I would have expected at least one of the contestants to at least try "accio egg".)

  • Clear visualization is not a factor IMO. We have examples like Weasley's mother using it to summon things (Joke candies?) out of Fred and George Weasley's pockets, and even Harry doing it himself to summon the broomstick. – Aamir May 20 '13 at 21:40
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    @Aamir, I'm sure Mrs. Weasley had by that point had close personal experience with every joke magical item ever invented. – Martha May 20 '13 at 22:47
  • Hermoine also did an Accio on Horcrux-related books that were part of Dumbledore's library. She didn't know how many books were there and how they looked like but she did a successful Accio. – Aamir May 28 '13 at 21:24
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    @Aamir: this is Hermione. Are you telling me you doubt her ability to mentally visualize books? – Martha May 28 '13 at 22:36
  • @Aamir: From all the cosmic rays within 100 light years, accio antimatter. – Joshua Jun 29 '17 at 20:00
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The whole point of placing a dragon in the arena with them is for them to actually take the egg and not to summon it "just like that".

  • just like that? you mean magically? I think magic is allowed – TGar Jun 4 '17 at 14:46

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