When Albus Dumbledore finally reaches the island with Harry Potter and finds out that you can't get near the potion, he made a cup and drank it. Why couldn't he just have poured the potion on the "floor"? Why couldn't he have made a big cup to hold almost everything inside the basin?

  • 3
    This might require a separate question, but an interesting sub question arises from this: could multiple people have drank the potion, thus diluting its effects on any single person, and the horcrux still been retrieved?
    – Xantec
    Jan 3, 2012 at 20:48
  • @Xantec - I have an answer. Ask away Jan 3, 2012 at 20:54
  • @DVK Did.
    – Xantec
    Jan 3, 2012 at 21:24
  • 4
    A new question if anyone wants to take it: How had anyone else got the horcrux before them, and still made the same potion and everything just to hurt the ones coming after? And why didn't Harry use his aguamente charm directly into Dumbledores mouth? Jan 3, 2012 at 21:35
  • 1
    @b_jonas actually two people fit in the boat.
    – Xantec
    Jun 24, 2014 at 12:35

2 Answers 2


It was impossible to pour it on the floor. It was majicked to only decrease from drinking. Quoting from HP6 (Chapter 26: The Cave)

... "But how to reach it? This potion cannot be penetrated by hand, Vanished, parted, scooped up, or siphoned away, nor can it be Transfigured, Charmed, or otherwise made to change its nature."

Almost absent-mindedly, Dumbledore raised his wand again, twirled it once in midair, and then caught the crystal goblet that he had conjured out of nowhere.

"I can only conclude that this potion is supposed to be drunk."

"What?" said Harry. "No!"

"Yes, I think so: only by drinking it can I empty the basin and see what lies in its depths."

The reason for having it set this way was for Voldemort to incapacitate the would-be thief so he could be interrogated further:

"... he would not want to immediately kill the person who reached this island," Dumbledore corrected himself. "He would want to keep them alive long enough to find out how they managed to penetrate so far through his defenses and, most importantly of all, why they were so intent upon emptying the basin. Do not forget that Lord Voldemort believes that he alone knows about his Horcruxes."

"Undoubtedly," he said, finally, "this potion must act in a way that will prevent me taking the Horcrux. It might paralyze me, cause me to forget what I am here for, create so much pain I am distracted, or render me incapable in some other way..."

Of course, for such incapacitation to occur, it is imperative that the poison be actually drunk, as opposed to safely disposed of.

As far as making a bigger goblet - it is fairly obvious that the drinking must have been done using this specific goblet:

  • Water could not be touched in a regular way (He met an invisible barrier that prevented him coming within an inch of it)

  • Later, Harry tries to fill the goblet with water with regular spells and that didn't work - which likely means it was a specific goblet magicked to not contain any water other than from an Inferi-infested lake. This is a wee bit speculative since that could have instead been a property of the entire cave instead of the goblet.

  • I added something to my question. Thanks for the answer :) Jan 3, 2012 at 17:48
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    I don't think the cup was special. As I understood, it was getting near Dumbledore's mouth that made the water disappear.
    – Kevin
    Jun 14, 2012 at 0:13
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    "and then caught the crystal goblet that he had conjured out of nowhere." The fact that Dumbledore conjured the goblet pretty much negates any possible negative characteristics of the goblet, right? Like it not being able to hold water? I subscribe to Kevin's theory with regards to filling the goblet with water.
    – Joost
    Dec 16, 2012 at 10:00
  • @Joost - plausible but not necessarily true. It could have been a specific goblet conjurable from within the cave, like Dumbldore found the boat hidden there. Dec 16, 2012 at 12:48
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    @DVK-on-Ahch-To You know that's something that has perplexed me ever since I thought about how he'd want to interrogate the person first. I don't think that Dumbledore's theory holds any water because the person would be dead long before Voldemort finds out about it; whether due to thirst/starvation or the Inferi doesn't really matter. After all he didn't know that Regulus had stolen the real Horcrux and he (incorrectly) assumed that Harry had taken the real Horcrux (well Harry with the help of Dumbledore) which was also wrong.
    – Pryftan
    Nov 7, 2017 at 22:02

He was getting old anyway so he decided he should be the one who drank the potion so Harry and himself could recover the locket so it could then be destroyed.

  • 2
    Do you have anything to back this up?
    – HDE 226868
    Jun 14, 2015 at 19:22
  • 1
    Dumbledore straight told Harry that he was the one that needed to drink it cause he was old and less valuable than Harry, in the movie.
    – user16696
    Jun 14, 2015 at 21:46
  • But surely, Dumbledore, being the experienced, powerful wizard he is (with knowledge/experience of the undead), would have been the better guardian of the incapacitated person?
    – nickson104
    Jun 15, 2015 at 7:26
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    @nickson104 not if the potion was lethal. Dumbledore had no idea what would happen
    – Petersaber
    Jun 15, 2015 at 9:52
  • A fair point, to be honest I dont see why it wasnt, surely that would have insured its safety? The potion was debilitating, but obviously not completely so as Dumbledore overcame it to an extent, surely a lethal potion would have insured the safety of the horcrux better?
    – nickson104
    Jun 15, 2015 at 10:33

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