8

In Half Blood Prince Dumbledore said that apparating inside a house is rude, and usually wizards will have protection in place to prevent unwanted guests entering this way:

"Professor, why couldn't we just Apparate directly into your old colleague's house?" "Because it would be quite as rude as kicking down the front door," said Dumbledore. "Courtesy dictates that we offer fellow wizards the opportunity of denying us entry. In any case, most Wizarding dwellings are magically protected from unwanted Apparators. At Hogwarts, for instance —"
"— you can't Apparate anywhere inside the buildings or grounds," said Harry quickly. "Hermione Granger told me."

Why isn't the floo entry protected in the same way? In Chamber of Secrets Harry is able to enter Borgin and Burkes purely through accident. So it's logical that someone who wants to go there can probably do so even more easily. Why don't they have protection in place to avoid burgelers and police entering their shop unexpectedly through the floo?

It would seem that, unless a log of all the entry and exit through fireplaces is kept at the ministry, this would also be an easy way to let smugglers and unsupervised minors to enter their shop. Why isn't a protection against floo entrance, similar to protection against apparition, in place in wizarding houses?

  • 1
    The direct Muggle analogy here seems to be: Floo call = telephone call; doing so to anyone whose connected is no less rude than calling up someone who has a phone; Flooing into a shop = same as walking into a shop. We don't know if shops prevent unwanted apparitions inside (during open hours at least) the ways houses do, and we don't know that houses don't prevent open Floo-walkins the ways shops clearly don't. What's polite in shops need not be what's polite in homes. – Shisa Sep 24 '14 at 16:03
  • Honestly, I think it might be as simple as floo entry requiring a lit fire -- or at least the ability to light one. It seems like there might be trivial spells to prevent it (didn't the Dursley's prevent entry by just using an "electric fire"). No fire, no floo network, no entry. That's plenty of protection against unwanted guests. – Captain P Apr 4 '16 at 2:08
  • As an aside there is a case where a woman inadvertently ended up in a man's home. It created a relationship and a very angry husband who frankly deserved it: pottermore.com/writing-by-jk-rowling/the-floo-network And you could argue that Harry saying 'diagonally' is another example (though maybe there are others). Of course these aren't forced entry but maybe they're worth noting even for the old question? – Pryftan Feb 11 '18 at 0:14
  • @CaptainP I think it was more like they had it blocked off so Arthur had to blast it off so they could get out leaving a certain Vernon very very angry. Arthur specifically requested connecting their home to the network not knowing these variables that would end up causing them problems. – Pryftan Feb 11 '18 at 0:15
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The Floo Network is a slightly different beast than Apparition. For one thing, a fireplace must be added to the Network, and it is particularly difficult to get a Muggle's house added. (Coincidentally, they could not properly enter at the Dursely's because the fireplace had been walled off.) Therefore there is a running registry of everything connected to the Network. It is also possible to keep a log of its uses, as seen in Deathly Hallows:

We now have several people planted within the Department of Magical Transport. If Potter Apperates or uses the Floo Network, we shall know immediately.

And

He's made it an imprisonable offense to connect [Potter's] house to the Floo Network...

There are also several mentions of the Floo Network being watched in the Order of the Phoenix.

In the Half Blood Prince, Hogwarts is connected briefly as a safety precaution:

... Harry, Ron and Ginny lined up beside the kitchen fire to return to Hogwarts. The Ministry had arranged this one-off connection to the Floo Network to return students quickly and safely to the school.

But as we know from the Goblet of Fire, the Gryffindor Common Room is tied to the Floo Network, because Sirius uses it to talk to Harry. And in the Prisoner of Azkaban, Snape calls Lupin through the fireplace in his office.

So I agree it seems kind of strange, but even evil wizards tend to leave the Floo Network alone. Perhaps because it suits them, and if they started using it for nefarious reasons the Ministry of Magic would simply shut it down entirely.

  • Perhaps there is a difference between fire-place calls and transport? Either a shared network over fireplace or two different networks using fireplaces. – Captain P Apr 4 '16 at 2:02
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I don't remember any moments from canon where a house is forcible entered via Floo network, although come to think of it I remember when in the 4th book, Amos Diggory uses the Floo network to make his head appear in the Weasley's fireplace.

I would almost certainly assume that Floo network entrances can be protected against though. Otherwise getting into Hogwarts would've been easy when Voldemort had infiltrated the Ministry of Magic, death eaters could've entered via any of the fireplaces in Hogwarts.

I would also posit that Borgin and Burkes would leave their fireplaces open to entry during business hours for customers of course.

Finished writing the above when I remembered the description of Harry entering the network for the first time. I remember something about him seeing gratings on the fireplaces etc. So perhaps they can be protected by physical blockades imbued with magic. Also if you remember, Fred, George and Arthur Weasley were trapped in the Dursleys' fireplace until Arthur exploded the front!

  • Forcible entry is never seen in the Harry Potter books, but I asked this question because forcible entry seems to be theoretically possible, given Harry's entry into the shop. One reason why Voldemort's army didn't enter Hogwarts after he infiltrated MoM could be that although the MoM had fallen, he still did not want to draw too much attention on himself. He was still afraid of an all out rebellion, so kept himself in the shadows. He had Snape and the Carrows to keep Hogwarts in check so had no reason for an all out assault. During the final battle it is only logical to assume that the ... – user13267 Apr 7 '14 at 10:14
  • ... teachers blocked all possible entry ways into the castle, including the fireplaces. But that was an unusual circumstance. The protection against apparition is there whether someone is trying to forcibly enter or not, whereas there seems to be no protection against entering through the fireplace. – user13267 Apr 7 '14 at 10:16
  • About Borgin and Burkes keeping their fireplace open for customers, there is a possibility of this being the case, but I would assume that if they normally allowed customers to enter this way, more people would want to use this route, as it seems many people would not want to be seen going in and out of Borgin and Burkes too much. And Harry was in the shop for a considerable amount of time, but no one seems to have entered through the fireplace during that period. – user13267 Apr 7 '14 at 10:18
  • Also, the Weasley not being able to enter the Dursleys' house was due to the fire not being lit (or perhaps it was because it was an electric fire and not burning wood?) – user13267 Apr 7 '14 at 10:35

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