Related question: why can't people apparate to platform 9 3/4

A: some can, but many can't apparate (including the muggles that make it onto the platform), thus it can be assumed that not all can apparate away either.

So was the platform blocked only for Harry and Ron? (How did Dobby know Ron would be with Harry?)

Were the people on the platform "stuck"?

did anyone even bother to attempt to leave?

Would Harry and Ron see people leaving the platform? (this brings up it's own question, how do you make sure people entering and leaving don't run into each other) - or do you exit via some sort of other wall, perhaps 9 1/4? - in either case, was there really no other magical person they could ask for help at the time?

  • Who says it wasn't a 1-way block? Commented May 11, 2015 at 2:37

2 Answers 2


Harry and Ron were only in the vicinity of the platform entrance for about a minute, and left within seconds of the train leaving the platform, a time when we could reasonably assume most parents were still waving their kids off.

  • Since Dobby was evidently in the immediate area and using magic to prevent the portal from activating, it's quite reasonable to presume that as soon as they'd left he either removed his charm or simply stopped casting whatever spell was used, thus allowing the portal to re-activate. Those on the other side probably didn't even notice that anything was amiss. Since we simply don't know what magic he used, anything beyond that is pure guesswork.

  • Professor McGonagall suggests that in the event of an emergency, the appropriate thing to do is to alert the school. Again, beyond that we simply can't even guess how the problem was rectified:

… so we had no choice, Professor, we couldn’t get on the train.’
‘Why didn’t you send us a letter by owl? I believe you have an owl?’ Professor McGonagall said coldly to Harry.
Harry gaped at her. Now she said it, that seemed the obvious thing to have done. ‘I – I didn’t think –’
‘That,’ said Professor McGonagall, ‘is obvious.’

Clearly it's resolved by the following year, though.


This wasn't given an explanation for in the books. We don't really know what happened. There may be people who noticed that it was blocked (muggle parents, wizards who used a car, etc.), and they may be confused themselves, and instead sought an authority (a guard or someone similar) at Platform 9 3/4 as we (normal people behavior) do. Or asked among themselves why the hell they can't get out.

But one can assume that once magical parents see their children get on the train, most just apparate out back to their homes or to wherever they wish to go (those who have no reason to go back to the train station).

We also don't know how the portal allows people to not run into each other. The intricacies of the magic of the portal can only be assumed by us since it wasn't really explained or exist. So you can just imagine how it could possibly be done, assuming magic exists, to avoid accidents among other things.

  • One would think that if the authorities were alerted (or even if the parents became aware that they were locked in), news of the incident would reach Hogwarts, who would then be more understanding as far as Harry and Ron's predicament. Commented May 10, 2015 at 15:29
  • Well, they weren't kicked out of the school right nor penalized much like how Snape wanted them to be? The problem was, that the two acted impulsively and as soon as they knew that the train is already leaving, they went for the flying car. It's possible that once it was given a solution, the two had already left. And we don't even know what the conditions of Dobby's magic was. If it was dependent on Harry being on the train station or not. The two were already quite late to have some leeway time for getting into the train too.
    – Val Croft
    Commented May 10, 2015 at 15:34
  • 1
    I would recommend checking book 2 for the chapter concerning this event, what I remember is that an authority (either Snape or Dumbledore) said that they should have waited instead for other wizards or people or help to come.
    – Val Croft
    Commented May 10, 2015 at 15:37
  • Harry and Ron made a dumb decision. They could have waited instead they risked their lives by flying a car and almost killed themselves in the subsequent crash. I believe they got punished adequately. Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 11:27

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