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It has been established that time-turners are wizard-made.

We also know that time-turners were not available during the second wizarding war because they were all destroyed during the events of Order of the Phoenix.

But is there any canonical reference to when the time-turners were initially invented? Was it before the first wizarding war, or after?

If it was before, were they used during the war at all?


Just to clarify, I know that the time-turners canonically are only able to be used to travel up to 5 hours into the past.

My question is whether Professor Saul Croker had created a working model by the time WizWarOne broke out, and whether any evil (or good) wizards might have used them at the time to change events within the span of the war.

  • Definitely a Pottermore question, I'm pretty certain there's zero cannon on pre 2WW Time Turners. I'd imagine they were "still in the research phase" at the time or something, as a convenient hand wave. – DavidS Apr 1 '15 at 11:02
  • Possible duplicate of scifi.stackexchange.com/q/11946/23401 – Alfredo Hernández Apr 1 '15 at 11:38
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    It's worth noting that Time Turners are a creation of the movies - in the books Hermione wields a Time Turnip. – Gaius Apr 1 '15 at 11:40
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    i don't think its cannon that they can only go 5 hours into the past. – Himarm Apr 1 '15 at 15:25
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    @Mike.C.Ford - it is – DVK-on-Ahch-To Apr 1 '15 at 16:51
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The only place outside the books where we are told more useful details about Time-Turners is Pottermore.

Most of that detail is covered on Pottermore Wikia.

The only notion of how long the work has gone on is that Professor Saul Croaker "studied" the time travel effects "his entire career" as Unspeakable. We don't know how old he is but the tone of the piece makes it sound like it's been a while so presumably the research DID occur as far back as WizWarI.

Having said that, they wouldn't have been practical to use in the war since:

All attempts to travel back further than a few hours have resulted in catastrophic harm to the witch or wizard involved.

And there were issues affecting overall world and timeline.

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    Wizards have nearly instant communication and transportation - that means, that single hour is a difference between having undefended base and having an army at the ready. – Deltharis Apr 1 '15 at 14:29
  • @Deltharis - you can't GET a time-turner in one hour. It takes a week? to get approval from MoM. And I'm unsure that they even CAN do that given the time travel mechanics in PoA. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Apr 1 '15 at 14:31
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    But after knowing of it's existance the first thing a commander/leader/Dumbledore should do is ask for requisition. And time travel mechanics allow for that usage - in the simplest case, spend that hour on preparations and time the mass-teleportation to battle at exactly one second after getting the original message that attack happens. – Deltharis Apr 1 '15 at 14:36
  • honestly, you could just have 100s of yourself their for an hour... no need for freinds imagine dumblerdore x 100... – Himarm Apr 1 '15 at 15:28
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    @Deltharis but as a previous question already answered, you cant change events with the time tuners, the timeline is fixed, as shown in the 3rd hp book. So if you witness a murder, its fixed, your future self would have already stopped the murder, so you would never witness it. – Himarm Apr 1 '15 at 15:32
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There is NO canon evidence for the usage of time turners for anything else but the events in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

There is however some canon evidence that there were experiments with time going on for some time. From Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, part 21 - Hermione's Secret:

  "Harry, what do you think you'd do if you saw yourself bursting into Hagrid's house?" said Hermione.   

"I'd -- I'd think I'd gone mad," said Harry, "or I'd think there was some Dark Magic going on --"

  "Exactly! You wouldn't understand, you might even attack yourself! Don't you see? Professor McGonagall told me what awful things have happened when wizards have meddled with time.... Loads of them ended up killing their past or future selves by mistake!"

The professor McGonagall's statement implies that time travel is not something unknown or state of the art. It is unknown however whether these wizards used time turners or some other tools/magic.

About - were time turners (or any other kind of time-altering magic) used during the first wizarding war. If we apply some logic however:

Rowling's version of time travel seems to be based on two rules:

  • No one else should know that you use a time turner even when they see you
  • The time turner user MUST NOT change events that his/her past self already lived through or knows about

So actually you cannot change an event to your liking because you don't know what actually happened and you might make things worse.

Some other arguments:

  • It looks like Voldemort was winning the war up to the point where he attacked Harry. So for him time turners were not exactly needed
  • The Order of the Phoenix most probably had no access to to time turners since they were under ministry control
  • Time turners seem a bit inconvenient to use. They are not a tool to jump back in time and then return - they just allow you to "re-live" a certain time period that JUST happened. So the practical usage would be quite limited to the moment of a battle aftermath where a survivor could eventually perform a counter-strike at some other place while you know that the main forces of the enemy are currently engaged in battle with you (remember - you cannot change events that you have seen).

All this implies that actually time altering magic was very unlikely to be used. Actually even when Harry and Hermione use it they DID NOT change the time compared to what happened to THEM. They just did some actions in parallel to themselves and affected other events.

Out of the universe: Time travel is one of the hardest things to correctly use in fiction books/movies. My personal opinion is that actually Rowling pretty much screwed it up whey she tried to use it as a tool for the plot :)

  • Do not mistake inconvenience with uselessness. At the least they allow you to double your manpower for 5 hours a day (with two halves that can't be in the same place, but that's comparatively small price to pay). And where does "No one else should know that you use a time turner even when they see you" come from? – Deltharis Apr 1 '15 at 14:49
  • @Deltharis Hermione used the time turner the whole year and told no one - even not her closest friends. So she had some reasons to do it. – vap78 Apr 1 '15 at 14:58
  • Maybe... Though that only means that McGonagall told her to behave that way. Does not rule out Ministry regulations or school rule to keep her peers from knowing. Also, Dumbledore knows that our trio travelled in time and that didn't break anything, so it might be more of a suggestion. – Deltharis Apr 1 '15 at 16:11
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I could not find any mention of when Time-Turners were invented. So I can't be sure if it was available during the first wizarding war. But we can hazard a guess.

Firstly, the fact that the Time-Turners were not developed again after the events of Order of the Phoenix (They were destroyed during the incident) could indicate that many people did not know how to develop one, which could imply that the Time-Turners were old devices.

Secondly it is mentioned in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, that many wizards met their demise after confronting and accidentally killing their own selves from the future so they are issued very carefully.

These two facts can imply that Time-Turners have been around for some time.

Coming to you second question, was it used in the war, if it was available. Most likely it was not used in the war. For the following reasons

  1. The longest period that may be relived without the possibility of serious harm to the traveller or to time itself is a small duration (most likely 5 hours).

  2. The books do not discuss who else may be in possession of Time-Turners outside of the Ministry. If only Ministry had access to the Time-Turners, then it might not have been used during the first wizarding war.

I dug up the facts from following links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magical_objects_in_Harry_Potter http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Time-Turner

  • Harry Potter Wikia is a terrible source of canon information. – Alfredo Hernández Apr 2 '15 at 13:31
  • You are right. Half the reference links are dead – Vishvesh Apr 3 '15 at 4:04
  • or plainly made up my, which is sad. – Alfredo Hernández Apr 3 '15 at 6:46

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