13

Dumbledore performed the Fidelius charm on the Potters, so he knew who the Secret-Keeper was1. That implies he knew not Sirius but Wormtail betrayed the Potters. Why didn't he prevent Sirius's conviction and suspect the explosion killing twelve Muggles was caused by Wormtail (and that Sirius cornered Wormtail instead of the other way around)?

1: Though in this thread it is said Dumbledore didn't know. I find it hard to believe the person casting the Fidelius charm doesn't know who the Secret-Keeper is.

  • 6
    Sirius was convicted of having killed the Muggles and Wormtail, I don't think it had anything (legally) to do with the Fidelius Charm being broken or who the actual secret keeper was. – Möoz Mar 13 '14 at 1:01
  • 1
    It wasn't Dumbledore who performed the Fidelius charm. Most probably it was James Potter. – vap78 Jan 19 '17 at 16:12
  • @vap78 I always assumed that the one who performs the charm becomes the default secret keeper, thus it was Wormtail himself who cast the charm. Although that may warrant a question on its' own. – Salmononius2 Jan 19 '17 at 16:33
  • @vap78 IIRC it is actually stated Dumbledore casted the charm and it is suggested it is so difficult to cast only few people can, making Dumbledore a likely suspect. Will try to find a quote later today. – 11684 Jan 19 '17 at 16:36
  • 1
    @11684 Bill Weasley and Arthur Weasley also did use Fidelius on their own houses. So it is not THAT complicated. – vap78 Jan 19 '17 at 16:51
18

Dumbledore didn't see Sirius as innocent at the time of the incident:

(Dumbledore) 'A street full of eye-witnesses swore they saw Sirius murder Pettigrew. I myself gave evidence to the Ministry that Sirius had been the Potters’ Secret Keeper. Sirius didn't act like an innocent man.’

(Hermione) ‘But you believe us.’

‘Yes, I do,’ said Dumbledore quietly. ‘But I have no power to make other men see the truth, or to overrule the Minister for Magic ...’

Prisoner of Azkaban - page 287 - Bloomsbury - Hermione's Secret

Also see Why didn't Dumbledore insist that Sirius Black be questioned under Veritaserum?

So, mainly, Dumbledore didn't believe in Sirius's innocence until the end of Prisoner of Azkaban. Further, he did not have the power, ostensibly, to override legal decisions made by the Minister for Magic or the Department of Magical Law Enforcement (that said, we've seen Dumbledore step around Fudge more than once. For example, when he creates the Portkey in front of Fudge, which is against regulations.).

  • Thanks, this says definitively that Dumbledore didn't know. Any information on how this could be, while he cast the charm? – 11684 Dec 14 '13 at 12:54
  • 3
    @11684 - Dumbledore didn't know until the events of Prisoner of Azkaban that Sirius had traded his position as Secret Keeper with Peter Pettigrew. The Fidelius Charm is super complex -- I've asked a few questions on it here and have yet to get a thorough, canon-based answer. Personally I think the idea of the person casting/sealing the Fidelius Charm not knowing who the Secret Keeper is is a huge discrepancy. But there is no canon explanation for this issue yet. – Slytherincess Dec 14 '13 at 13:06
  • 4
    I don't remember reading anywhere that Dumbledore cast the Fidelius Charm. Quote? Also, here is a real comprehensive analysis of the Fidelius Charm: beyondhogwarts.com/harry-potter/articles/… – Treborcram Dec 14 '13 at 14:16
  • I agree with Treborcram. Chapter 10 of Prisoner specifically does not say who it was that eventually cast the Fidelius charm. It could have been James. – b_jonas Dec 14 '13 at 17:57
  • 1
    I think it is said that Dumbledore offered to be the secret keeper, it did not specifically say he cast it. In fact as far as I remember, it's never mentioned who actually cast the Fidelius Charm for the Potters. It can be assumed that the secret keeper casts it, which in this case would be Pettigrew. – user13267 Dec 16 '13 at 11:18
3

I think this question is founded on an incorrect premise. I don't believe it is anywhere stated that Dumbledore performed the Fidelius Charm. What is stated in Chapter Ten of Prisoner of Azkaban* is:

Dumbledore told them that their best chance was the Fidelius Charm."

I remember him offering to be the Potters' Secret-Keeper himself.

It seems that Dumbledore advised the Potters to use the Fidelius Charm and offered to be the Secret-Keeper, and they accepted his advice but turned down his offer.

Later in Chapter Nineteen Sirius says:

"I persuaded Lily and James to change to Peter at the last moment, persuaded them to use him as Secret-Keeper instead of me....

Presumably Dumbledore was simply never told about the switch. Indeed, Dumbledore explicitly states in Chapter Twenty-One that he gave evidence that Sirius had been the Secret-Keeper, which he surely would not have done had he known that Sirius had not been the Secret-Keeper:

I myself gave evidence to the Ministry that Sirius had been the Potters' Secret-Keeper."

0

As far as I'm aware, Barty Crouch Sr. sent Sirius to Azkaban without a trial.

  • Fair point, but I find it hard to believe Dumbledore would not have been able to help him at all. – 11684 Jan 19 '17 at 16:32
  • 3
    See the quote from Dumbledore in the accepted answer "I myself gave evidence to the Ministry that Sirius had been the Potters’ Secret Keeper.". It may not have been a formal trial, but evidence was presented, and Dumbledore was among those who believed Sirius to be guilty. – Blackwood Jan 19 '17 at 16:49

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.