It looked like professor McGonagall signed and sealed the letters and therefore should have noticed exactly where it was being sent to, but still no one went to check on him. They just kept on sending thousands of letters which McGonagall also would have had to sign. I mean what the hell did they think they were still doing when the very first letter should have raised the alarm and sent them panicking over to Privet Drive to find out what the hell was going on?

Edit: I'm sorry my question wasn't clear. But I am wondering why it didn't raise a red flag, because Hogwarts had to have had hundreds of thousands of invitations processed and some of those sent to Muggle-borns, setting the standard of where a muggle child would be place in the house. If McGonagall thought this would be something only those backwards muggles would do then she would just have to think back on all the other Muggle-born's letters she signed to know that something was off. And she couldn't exactly use the excuse that they might be that poor because she had been to the Dursleys' house and knew they were well off.

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    I always assumed the letters were produced magically; it doesn't seem reasonable to have McGonagall write, sign, and seal every Hogwarts letter every year, even in the years where they don't send a bajillion letters to one person Apr 7, 2015 at 2:21

1 Answer 1


There is a reason for this:

While you can still call home the place where your mother’s blood dwells, there you cannot be touched or harmed by Voldemort. He shed her blood, but it lives on in you and her sister. Her blood became your refuge. You need return there only once a year, but as long as you can still call it home, while you are there he cannot hurt you. Your aunt knows this. I explained what I had done in the letter I left, with you, on her doorstep. She knows that allowing you houseroom may well have kept you alive for the past fifteen years.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - page 625 chapter 37, The Lost Prophecy

If anybody from Hogwarts or the wizarding world had got involved Harry might have been moved to a orphanage or a foster house (many wizards would have willing agreed to have Harry.)

You might ask - and with good reason - why it had to be so. Why could some wizarding family not have taken you in? Many would have done so more than gladly, would have been honored and delighted to raise you as a son.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - page 624 chapter 37, The Lost Prophecy

But this would also mean the protection would be gone.

My answer is that my priority was to keep you alive. You were in more danger than perhaps anyone but I realized. Voldemort had been vanquished hours before, but his supporters - and many of them are almost as terrible as he - were still at large, angry, desperate and violent. And I had to make my decision, too, with regard to the years ahead. Did I believe that Voldemort was gone for ever? No. I knew not whether it would be ten, twenty or fifty years before he returned, but I was sure he would do so, and I was sure, too, knowing him as I have done, that he would not rest until he killed you.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - page 624 chapter 37, The Lost Prophecy

This is also the reason that harry had to return to 4 Privet Drive once a year.

Updating it based on @Atsby comments.

They knew about the problems Harry faced. But it was important for Harry's safety that he remained at 4 Privet Drive.

Adding more information since the question was updated.

They knew Harry will not be treated in a good way.

Dumbledore stared for a moment at the sunlit grounds outside the window, then looked back at Harry and said, “Five years ago you arrived at Hogwarts, Harry, safe and whole, as I had planned and intended. Well - not quite whole. You had suffered. I knew you would when I left you on your aunt and uncle’s doorstep. I knew I was condemning you to ten dark and difficult years.”

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - page 624 chapter 37, The Lost Prophecy

Infact Professor McGonagall and Professor Dumbledore discussed the same thing before leaving Harry at the doorstep.

“You don’t mean – you can’t mean the people who live here?” cried Professor McGonagall, jumping to her feet and pointing at number four. “Dumbledore — you can’t. I’ve been watching them all day. You couldn’t find two people who are less like us. And they’ve got this son — I saw him kicking his mother all the way up the street, screaming for sweets. Harry Potter come and live here!”

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - page 8 chapter 1, The Boy Who Lived

It was not like Dumbledore had completely forgotten about Harry for 10 years. He had people looking out for Harry's well-being.

“Why didn’t you tell me you’re a Squib, Mrs. Figg?” asked Harry, panting with the effort to keep walking. “All those times I came round your house - why didn’t you say anything?”

“Dumbledore’s orders. I was to keep an eye on you but not say anything, you were too young. I’m sorry I gave you such a miserable time, Harry, but the Dursleys would never have let you come if they’d thought you enjoyed it. It wasn’t easy, you know... but oh my word,” she said tragically, wringing her hands once more, “when Dumbledore hears about this - how could Mundungus have left, he was supposed to be on duty until midnight - where is he? How am I going to tell Dumbledore what’s happened? I can’t Apparate.”

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - page 16 chapter 2, A Peck of Owls

It's just that they (McGonagall & Dumbledore) did not get involved because Harry was safe despite being ill-treated and there was no other places 4 Privet Drive.

  • 3
    Strong, well-researched answer. But totally not what was asked.
    – Atsby
    Apr 7, 2015 at 7:26
  • 1
    @Atsby I'd say it does (though maybe it does need to be stated more explicitly @Vishvesh). The implication of these quotes is that they did know of Harry's unfortunate circumstances, but interfering wouldn't be worth it.
    – DavidS
    Apr 7, 2015 at 9:07
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    There's a difference between having to stay at Privet Drive and having to stay in the cupboard, though as it happens the Dursleys moved Harry after the first letter, because they realised/thought people knew. Apr 7, 2015 at 12:15
  • 5
    @AnthonyGrist - living in cubboard in and out of itself isn't a Bad Thing. It could be a Muggle Thing for all the wizards know, for all the kids. Most of the abuse had nothing to do with the room being a cupboard. Apr 7, 2015 at 14:23
  • 3
    At the risk of inappropriate alliteration, better a cupboard than a coffin.
    – Zibbobz
    Apr 8, 2015 at 13:51

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