We know that house-elves can apparate into Hogwarts, where wand-carriers can’t. Could they do the same with a high security vault at Gringotts?

  • 2
    In the Harry Potter DS game, you can't use apparition charms inside Gringotts.
    – Valorum
    Aug 5, 2014 at 15:06
  • 3
    @Richard Does that count??
    – Tom Lynd
    Aug 5, 2014 at 15:18
  • 3
    That's up to you. It's your question. The games are generally considered very low down in the "canon" rankings, basically one step up from authorised tie-in materials
    – Valorum
    Aug 5, 2014 at 15:25
  • 2
    For me it seems the reason is not "house elf magic is too strong so Hogwarts cannot stop them from apparating", but more like "house elves are explicitly allowed to apparate so they can perform their duties"
    – vsz
    Aug 6, 2014 at 6:08
  • I'm abit late here. But there is no evidence that a houseelf can apperate into any place they cant visualize or have seen. How would an elf be able to visualize the inside of someones vault unless they had seen it. Every vault would have different things in it so you could never 'see' exactly what it looks like. As such Gringotts security could be as simple as no elves allowed to visit the vaults.
    – Matt
    Sep 25, 2017 at 21:20

3 Answers 3


This is not described in canon, but I would guess that the answer is no.

Two reasons for this:

  1. Gringotts’s goblins will not overlook house-elf magic like humans do.

    This is spelt out most explicitly when Kreacher is explaining how he explained the cave:

    “Elf magic isn’t like wizard’s magic, is it?” said Ron. “I mean, they can Apparate and Disapparate in and out of Hogwarts when we can’t.”

    There was silence as Harry digested this. How could Voldemort have made such a mistake? But even as he thought this, Hermione spoke, and her voice was icy.

    “Of course, Voldemort would have considered the ways of house-elves far beneath his notice, just like all the purebloods who treat them like animals…. It would never have occurred to him that they might have magic that he didn’t.”

    Deathly Hallows, chapter 10 (Kreacher’s Tale)

    The protections around Hogwarts were probably cast by the four Founders, who were all humans. It’s unlikely they gave much thought to house-elves when designing the defense, whether their magic or the idea that a house-elf apparating into Hogwarts would pose a credible threat to the school.

    On the other hand, the goblins are intimately familiar with have more respect for non-human magic, and would be actively looking for loopholes like this. We don’t know what goblin feelings towards house-elves are, but they’re not stupid enough to dismiss them.

    I would also highlight that goblins do not trust humans, and will be actively looking for loopholes that humans exploit. Pulling a trick with house-elf magic like Regulus does above is the sort of thing the goblins would expect, and guard against.

  2. Hogwarts security does not need to be as rigorous as Gringotts.

    The Hogwarts security seems relatively pervious. There are multiple perimeter breaches described in the books:

    • Charlie and his friends fly in and out to collect a baby dragon
    • Harry and Ron breach the castle grounds in a flying car
    • Sirius slips past a pack of Dementors in the form of a dog
    • Fred and George leave the school on brooms

    and I’m sure there are others I’ve forgotten.

    In general, the Gringotts security seems a bit more robust. (Quirrell’s break-in and the trio’s escape on a dragon aside.) I’m sure being an Animagus or using brooms isn’t sufficient means to break into Gringotts.

    The Hogwarts protections are not designed to be absolute. The Gringotts protections are, and that surely includes all forms of apparition.

  • @alexchan Your ans is excellent but I would take my time to accept the ans.
    – Tom Lynd
    Aug 5, 2014 at 16:03
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    "goblins are intimately familiar with non-human magic" they're intimately familiar with goblin magic, but why would that imply they're also familiar with elf magic? Indeed goblins do not trust humans, after all their experiences in the wars; so they naturally put a lot of focus on defence against wizard's magic. But I don't think elves ever participated in those wars – if they had then quite certainly on the wizards' side. But generally, elves seem to be found exclusively in wizards' households, very much unlike goblins; so quite possibly they'd know even less about elf magic than humans do. Aug 5, 2014 at 18:23
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    Regarding Hogwarts security, don't forget there's a tunnel in and out of the school which was deliberately put in place. Clearly no one at the school is that concerned. Aug 5, 2014 at 23:05
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    what about Winky's comment from Goblet where she says "...You goes racketing around like this, Dobby, I says, and next thing I hear you's up in front of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, like some common goblin." - I think this implies that House-Elves feel they are above goblins, and possibly goblins have similar trust issues with them as humans and would protect against House-Elf magic?
    – BP_Phoenix
    Aug 6, 2014 at 7:43
  • 5
    Good points, but note that allowing house elves to apparate in Hogwarts may just have been a pragmatic choice; they are more effective and efficient this way. And they are, presumably, no harm to anyone.
    – Raphael
    Aug 6, 2014 at 9:33

House Elves can Apparate into Hogwarts because it's a necessary part of their function, allowing them to clean and go about their duties without being seen. It's not so much a bug as it is a feature.

The only other instance we have of House Elves Apparating in places wizards can't is Kreacher in 12 Grimmauld Place (which again, is necessary for his duties) and Kreacher again in the Horcrux cave. The second one I think can be chalked up to an oversight on Voldemort's part, who is shown to constantly underestimate and overlook magic he considers beneath him.

But there is no legitimate reason for House-Elves to pop in and out of high-security vaults. If there was such a massive flaw in Gringotts security, I imagine that the Trio and Griphook would have stumbled upon it in their month or so of planning the robbery (Especially given Dobby's role in escaping Malfoy Manor). After all, if there was any House Elf capable of entering Bellatrix's vault, surely it would have been Harry's elf Kreacher.

  • 2
    Good point in the last sentence.
    – Etheryte
    Aug 5, 2014 at 18:21

If Gringotts has similar security as Hogwarts then yes as wizards don't every account for the magic of magical creatures. Gringotts on the other hand is run by goblins. Goblins make items that are resistant to all magic. Goblins also would not necessarily view house elves as ignorable creatures, since Goblins themselves are treated that way by humans. Also since house elves do whatever you tell them to, I'm sure after the hundreds of years gringotts has been around someone would have tried it. So canonically we can't know, if its protections against just wizards then yes they can, if goblins thought of it (they are quite crafty) then no.

  • 8
    "Goblins also would not necessarily view house elves as ignorable creatures, since Goblins themselves are treated that way by humans." Good joke. No, really, racial prejudice does not work that way.
    – b_jonas
    Aug 5, 2014 at 17:44
  • I also added the fact that goblins are cunning and less likly to over such things. as the primary form of there hatred is toward humans, and as house elves are a tool humans could employee though rarly do.
    – Himarm
    Aug 5, 2014 at 18:04
  • Also its not racial prejudice is species prejudice which is something we as humans have no experience of. (currently)
    – Himarm
    Aug 5, 2014 at 18:05
  • @b_jonas- There is the respect (kind of) Griphook shows Harry for burying Dobby. Aug 5, 2014 at 18:42
  • I like the point that goblins make magical artifacts that are effective against all types of magic, magic users, and magical beasts (see: sword of gryfindor). The vaults are protected, I suspect, largely by magical items and not so much by magical spells, and as such are probably designed for universal protection. Being items imbued with magic, they could well be stronger than a lot of cast-as-needed magic. Maybe it takes months or years to finish the process of creating a very strong magical lock or safe - very, very strong universal magic.
    – Adam Davis
    Aug 6, 2014 at 0:16

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