Near the end of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Dumbledore realizes that he has to take action in reaction to Voldemort's return since Fudge won't. In the hospital wing, at Harry's bed Dumbledore gives out instructions to his adult allies. After Sirius and Snape shake hands then Dumbledore gives instructions to Sirius:

Sirius, I need you to set off at once. You are to alert Remus Lupin, Arabella Figg, Mundungus Fletcher—the old crowd.

This happens right next to Harry and in fact Harry starts to object to Sirius leaving. So Harry has to have heard Dumbledore say "Arabella Figg". But in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry is shocked at learning Mrs. Figg is a squib and knows Dumbeldore:

"You're—you're a witch?"


"You know Dumbledore?" said Harry, staring at her.

Is there anything out there (Pottermore, interviews, etc.) to indicate why Harry didn't realize who "Arabella Figg" is Mrs. Figg, his neighbor? Or was Harry just not paying attention to the details when he was laying in bed after the ordeal of the cemetary and the trauma of Voldemort's return?

  • 9
    It's likely he'd never known her as anything other than Mrs. Figg, and wouldn't have known her first name. In that case there's no reason he would connect the name "Arabella Figg" with the old lady who keeps cats and has never done anything the least big magical (being a Squib) that his aunt and uncle leave him with; yes, they have the same last name, but there are plenty of people who share a last name and have absolutely no connection to one another. Sep 16, 2013 at 14:54
  • 1
    Even beyond what Anthony said, Harry was in such a state that night he likely didn't even hear or process the list of names.
    – Kevin
    Sep 16, 2013 at 15:35
  • 9
    Well, did you notice when you first read the book? I certainly didn't. When I read it the second time, after having read OotP, I naturally noticed it, because I knew Mrs Figg was a Squib by then; but the first time around, it was just a name that I didn't pay any attention to. Mar 19, 2016 at 5:32
  • @JanusBahsJacquet The joy of reading/watching/listening/etc. something more than once! Another example: Sirius in the very beginning of PS; not only that but his motorbike. Don't hear of him again until PoA though do you?
    – Pryftan
    Jun 6, 2018 at 1:35
  • Even beyond what Kevin said which is beyond what Anthony said Mrs. Figg also made certain to appear even more boring etc. iirc at Dumbledore's bequest. She was deliberately making it less likely that Harry would ever realise there is a connexion.
    – Pryftan
    Jun 6, 2018 at 1:36

2 Answers 2


As you alluded to in the last paragraph, Harry just went through an incredibly traumatic series of experiences (Third task + portkeying to graveyard + Cedric's death + Voldemort's return + Duel with Voldemort + Crucio + Priori incantato + Finding out Moody was Crouch).

It's entirely plausible that he may not be up to faithfully memorizing 100% of what was said around him to other people, especially a random name.

However, just to be clear, it was clearly and certainly the same Mrs. Figg:

Question: Is the Mrs. Figg with all the cats in the Dursleys' neighborhood the same Arabella Figg that Dumbledore mentioned at the end of book 4?
J.K. Rowling responds: Well spotted!
(src: "About the Books: transcript of J.K. Rowling's live interview on Scholastic.com," Scholastic.com, 16 October 2000)

  • 3
    Also, in the list of people who attended the big funeral near the end of HBP, there is "... Arabella Figg, Harry's Squib neighbour..."
    – Geobits
    Jul 18, 2014 at 14:01
  • She was also deliberately hiding that she had any connexion to the wizarding world...
    – Pryftan
    Jun 6, 2018 at 1:37

There might be lots of people with the second name Figg and also Harry had just watched Voldemort return and Cedric die which would mean he probably didn't pay much attention to the names that Dumbledore was saying.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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