In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the plan to get Harry from Privet Drive is by using six decoy Harry's as they can't apparate or use the floo network as its being monitored and also to stop the death eaters knowing which house they are going to, fine.

My issue is they then use port keys to get back to the Burrow. Assuming that for some reason the Ministry of Magic can't track them why don't they use portkeys from Privet Drive as surely a much safer and faster way to get everyone around and just put the protection on lots of houses to keep that bit of the illusion up?

Any answers really appreciated

  • 1
    I suspect it may be something to do with the protection that was cast over the house on Privet Drive; just a feeling of mine Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 5:27

3 Answers 3


There are a few, interconnected reasons.

  • They cant put a portkey in Privet Drive. Mad-eye explains in the book that it's illegal to place portkeys in Harry's house:

    Pius Thicknesse has gone over, which gives us a big problem. He's made it an imprisonable offence to connect this house to the Floo network, place a Portkey here or Apparate in or out. All done in the name of [Harry's] protection, to prevent You-Know-Who getting in at you.

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Chapter 4: "The Seven Potters"

  • Harry will stop being protected once he gets a certain distance away from the house. Emphasis mine:

    'Now, your mother's charm will only break under two conditions: when you come of age, or -' Moody gestured around the pristine kitchen '- you no longer call this place home. You and your aunt and uncle are going your separate ways tonight, in the full understanding that you're never going to live together again, correct?'

    Harry nodded.

    'So this time, when you leave, there'll be no going back, and the charm will break the moment you get outside its range.

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Chapter 4: "The Seven Potters"

    It's not clear exactly what the range is, but it's a reasonable guess that Thicknesse's restriction on Portkeys extends over that area; since he's under Voldemort's control, and the point of the restriction is to keep Harry from getting away before the Death Eaters can grab him.

  • Mad-eye was expecting Death Eater lookouts.

    'The one thing we've got on our side is that You-Know-Who doesn't know we're moving you tonight. We've leaked a fake trail to the Ministry: they think you're not leaving until the thirtieth. However, this is You-Know-Who we're dealing with, so we can't just rely on him getting the date wrong; he's bound to have a couple of Death Eaters patrolling the skies in this general area, just in case.

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Chapter 4: "The Seven Potters"

The upshot of these three factors is that they need to get Harry far enough away from his house that they can use a Portkey without suspicion, but they'll be swarmed by Death Eaters as soon as they do.

Mad-eye's plan, basically, is to lose the Death Eaters and get Harry far enough away that a Portkey won't be considered suspicious. After all, even if they could just use a Portkey at the very outside of the bounds of the Ministry restriction, that's the sort of thing that's liable to attract attention. Instead they take Harry to one of a bunch of "safe places". We see the Tonks household, the sort of place where you might reasonably expect to find a Portkey, and presumably the others are similarly innocuous locations.

  • Look-outs were probably unnecessary. I suspect that Voldemort could probably detect when the protective magic was broken.
    – EvilSnack
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 2:48

When Moody is explaining the plan to Harry, he says:

“As Dedalus probably told you, we had to abandon Plan A. Pius Thicknesse has gone over, which gives us a big problem. He’s made it an imprisonable offense to connect this house to the Floo Network, place a Portkey here, or Apparate in or out. All done in the name of your protection, to prevent You-Know-Who getting in at you. Absolutely pointless, seeing as your mother’s charm does that already. What he’s really done is to stop you getting out of here safely.”

The Order don’t need to give the Ministry more ways to paint a target on their back. If they can avoid breaking laws while getting Harry out, that would be preferable.

The other concern is the Trace which is still applied to Harry, which apparently gets tripped by a Portkey but not a broom.

Neither of these problems apply at the Burrow:

  • It seems unlikely that it’s illegal to create a Portkey there. Thicknesse can justify a ban at Privet Drive; a ban at other dwellings would be harder to swallow.
  • The Trace would be tripped at the Weasleys’ home all the time, and ignored – because of Ginny. An extra Portkey is less likely to raise suspicion there than at Harry’s house.

All forms of transportation in and out of Privet Drive were being watched, they couldn't apparate, use Floo powder or magic around Harry, since he was not 17 until the 31st of July, and this takes place on the 16th of July.

  • But why couldn't they use a portkey, you seem to have missed the actual question.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Nov 12, 2017 at 16:51

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