Podcast Question of the Week: Episode 188

Dumbledore was a the master of keeping secrets – a skill Harry seems to have picked up from the late headmaster. How many secrets did he keep?

We see in this chapter that Harry has not shared his experience with the Sorting Hat with any of his children. How much of their days at Hogwarts and the fight with Lord Voldemort does Harry, Ron, and Hermione share with their children? Are there any details that they specifically keep from them? Is Harry a secret-keeping Dumbledore for the next generation?

Let us know what you think – ONE LAST TIME – below or by sending us an Audioboom!



  • Mister_Pig

    Like most people I know, I think Harry and Ron would talk at length about the “good old days” at Hogwarts to their kids. They have probably recounted Quidditch matches, pranks on Snape and Malfoy, nights with the Invisibility Cloak, and DA practices so many times that they have become grandiose and legendary to little Potters and Weasleys. Ginny and Hermione are also likely constantly fact-checking their husbands, much to their own amusement.

    When it comes to the more serious narrative (Voldemort, horcruxes, etc.), I think Harry would be open and honest – but only as much as he had to be. If his children asked him direct questions about events, he would answer by giving the bare-bones details of events, leaving out the horror, fear, and traumatization he experienced. He might also leave out the things he heard while dealing with dementors. As the children grew older and matured, Harry would likely delve more into how the events felt, particularly losing Cedric, sobering the stories for the kids.

    I think Ron would probably be very hesitant to discuss the Battle of Hogwarts, but Hermione would quietly take the kids to the side and explain how difficult it was for their family, and how George has never quite been the same.

    Oh, side note, based on the fact that Harry named a son “Severus,” I think he would leave out how much of a dick Snape was (though Ron wouldn’t). And Ron pretends that Krum doesn’t exist.

    I can’t believe I just found this podcast a few months ago, I’m flying through Order of the Phoenix at the moment. Keep up the good work!

    • Rosmerta

      I agree. I think there would be plenty of fun retelling of stories that grew as the years go by, but that the more serious elements would be kept factual. You night be able to tell your children the outline and warn them of the evils in the world, but they also have to discover things for themselves.
      I wonder if Harry told anyone, apart from his middle son, about the sorting hat issue?
      Like Mister_Pig, I have only just discovered these awesome Alohomora podcasts a few episodes ago – so have much catching up to do. And that’s despite reading the books from about 1998 onwards and being an avid devour of JKRowling’s own website, with its neat little tricks and ways of finding out more information (which included a fabulous post-DH family tree!)

    • Dobby’s Sister

      I agree. I feel like Harry would be very strategic in his answers; not misleading his children, but at the same time protecting them from the true horrors he had to endure at such a young age.
      I also believe that there would be much in the way of discounting or correcting stories other students tell at school about the trio. I’m sure many of the antics Harry Ron and Hermione got up to at school are a part of the legends told at Hogwarts now.
      I think Harry has learned the value of not dumping information on others, even when they ask for it, when they aren’t ready; but he also knows that withholding too much information is damaging too.

  • DisKid

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there is one detail that is kept from the kids: what Ron saw when he destroyed the horcrux. If those were my kids I would worry about that being a little too….awkward to talk about. I don’t want to imagine my father kissing any of my aunts, just the thought makes me uncomfortable. Not to mention, I imagine that may still be a little painful memory for Ron. May be awkward for Harry, Hermione, and Ginny as well. Even more awkward if the rest of the family found out. No need to bring it up. It’s not a detail I would see as needing to tell them. They can know about their father being a hero and destroying a horcrux without knowing exactly what he saw.

  • IlvermornyAlumna (RoseLumos)

    I know this question is about Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s children, but I’ve always had a facination with Teddy Lupin. I would really be interested to know how much he was told about his parents and the war. For example, would he have been told that Remus briefly left Dora? Or would he have been told about the years Remus spent virtually homeless and jobless? Most importantly, at what age did Teddy learn that the person who killed his mother was his grandmother’s sister? Harry had a terrible reaction to learning the “truth” about Sirius and the Fidelius Charm in PoA (well, what he thought was the truth) as well as a bad reaction to learning that Snape was the one who overheard the prophecy. Based on these experiences, I would think that he would find it very important to tell Teddy the whole truth about his mother’s death, but I wonder that, if like Dumbledore, he will find it hard than expected to tell Teddy because he loves and cared about his happiness. Either way, I can’t imagine that conversation going over well.

    On a side note, if Teddy ever asked what happened to Bellatrix after she killed Dora, do you think anyone would want to tell him that Molly killed* her? I don’t know why, but as much as Molly hated Bellatrix with ever fiber in her being, the fact that she was responsible for another person’s death is something hard to carry around for the rest of your life. Think of war veterns who may have killed in war but never want to talk about what they actually did in the war. In my fan fiction mind, I imagine Teddy is incredible close with the Weasleys as he grows up, and the fact that his surrogate grandmother killed someone is a strange thought.

    *I say killed, because the spell was never mentioned. Did Molly actually kill Bellatrix? Or was she stunned? Just like Sirius’s death, the details are a bit lacking.

    • I’ve always hoped that Remus was the type to journal and left those behind. With Andromeda giving them to Teddy at the appropriate age to learn and understand his father, learn about his mother and about the times that were happening from another perspective other than Harry’s. I’m sure reading these things may not go over well with Teddy but you never know.

    • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

      Although we see almost nothing of her, I have great faith in Andromeda to help Teddy learn and understand what has happened to his parents and why, and develop his own way of dealing with it. He will grow up in a time when the memory of the loss and the grief is still fresh and so he can’t have an all around happy childhood. Punk Teddy is so popular in fan art and I guess that does not come only from his metamorphmagus abilities, but from his experience of the world. A “no future” phase in his life is completely believable, but with so many people in his extended family who care about him and show him that he’s loved he will probably grow up to be balanced enough in his decisions. Being adored by a pack of younger kids would help him find a more positive outlook on the world.
      He becomes Hufflepuff prefect, so his fellow students and teachers see him as responsible enough for doing that job, and I trust in Hufflepuff house to help each other get through rough times. Teddy will be alright.

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        Aww, your last line made me tear up a bit.

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      Yes to all of this. I think you’re right in finding the greater parallel between the Harry/Teddy relationship and Dumbledore/Harry. There are a lot more truths to expose here that would actually have a bearing on Teddy’s outlook towards his parents, and his understanding of why he lost them, and his whole complicated familial history. There is a lot of baggage there. While there is a lot of tragedy in those kinds of conversations with Teddy, I also find consolation in Harry being able to be the same connection to Teddy’s family as Lupin and Sirius were for Harry. Harry wouldn’t be limited to telling Teddy just about the terrible events of the war and the negative actions of some members of the house of black. He would be able to help Teddy “know” his parents, by recounting his own memories of them, and of Sirius, so that Teddy wouldn’t have to feel shame in his own relation to the house of Black.

    • SnapesManyButtons

      I don’t think Teddy will ever be told about Remus almost leaving Dora because that is not common knowledge and it was just a temporary lapse that Remus never followed through on. He probably will be told something about how poor his father was and how hard it was for him, but in the context of understanding what it was like to be a werewolf and how his father dealt with it and didn’t let it destroy his humanity. As for the rest of it, those details will almost surely be in the history books and there will be no way to keep it from him. The question will be when to tell him because once he gets to Hogwarts there’ll be no keeping it from him, The person who killed Bellatrix will be in the history books, as will all of Bellatrix’s many crimes. I don’t see Teddy having any connection to Bella that would make him hold her death against Molly. And there will be many other people in his life who have killed, not just her, and all in the name of saving others and their World. Not that it will all be easy to hear and understand, but I think he will come to terms with it. I also don’t think the stories of what happened in the War will be told in one long session, he will hear them over the years as things are brought to mind, articles bring them up, when friends ask him about something specific, etc. He will have heard stories about the War all his life and I think Harry will find a way to talk to him about all the hard stuff, even if he puts it off as long as he can, and will be there for him if it is difficult to accept.

      I think it is definitive that Bellatrix is dead. Firstly, the reference to her laughing as Sirius did before he fell through the veil, the description of the spell hitting directly over her heart, and then the mention that, “For the tiniest space of time she knew what had happened,” before she topples. She knew what happened. Not, “she knew she was hit,” or “she knew she was hurt.” Finally, there are cheers when she falls and Voldemort screaming. If she were only stunned someone would have surely run forward to bind her, or finish her off, and Voldemort wouldn’t have been so furious that he threw off his attackers to go after Molly. Oh, and it is described as, “Voldemort’s fury at the fall of his last, best lieutenant.” When someone “falls in battle” it doesn’t just mean they fall down injured, it means they are killed. So Bellatrix is dead and I, for one, have no problem believing Molly was the one to do it.

  • FailedAurorNowRunsAQuiznos

    It’s clear from the epilogue they don’t know much about what happened since the children find it odd that people stare at Harry. If they knew the history with Voldemort, they’d understand.

    I think if they were to tell the children while they were still relatively young, they would give them a censored version, maybe not go into horcruxes, but explain that Harry did die and came back. Just a guess.

    I actually think the more interesting question is what did Harry reveal to everyone else after the Battle. Obviously he must’ve told them Dumbledore’s plan since Snape would have to be redeemed. But what of the Horcruxes? How much would he divulge? More importantly, did he tell Ginny everything? Or did Harry continue to confide certain things only with Ron and Hermione?

  • Silverdoe25

    There are so many parallels in the series to World War II, and I think the post-war period would be another of them. Just as the soldiers who fought the Nazi regime were known as the Greatest Generation, they many times came home and did not speak of their experiences. I think Harry would be the same. His kids would know the basics, but I don’t see him recounting lots of the finer points. I don’t view it as being secretive. How candid can you be with children? His experiences were terrifying at times.

  • ISeeThestrals

    I think Harry and company believed it was safe enough to talk about the fun times they shared at Hogwarts, excluding the more detailed events that had to do with Voldemort. In Harry’s case, I get
    the sense he would want his kids to experience the wizarding world in a more normal fashion, unlike himself where he was regarded as a celebrity. I don’t believe Harry would want his children boasting about who their father is and gaining big heads for it.

    Though I feel he would have to share a less detailed version of what he’s done to keep them from
    being completely ignorant about their own parents. I don’t see him sharing some of the dark truths
    about magic such as Horcruxes, inferi, Unforgivable curses, and Voldemort’s past. If the trio want
    their children to have a positive experience, they would keep the darker tales out of it for the time
    being. The only dark part of their lives I see them revealing is in concerns to the friends and family
    they lost. Being that Rowling is not afraid to discuss the truth about death with children, I think Harry would feel the same way.

  • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

    I picture this scene with Ron telling the story of his most glorious triumph over and over again until all the kids know it by heart and accompany him with gestures and mimics to mock his enthusiasm (like King Fergus and his sons in “Brave”)
    Hermione will make sure that the books about recent history they have at home will be accurate and if there are false facts in there she corrects them. She invites her parents over to let them tell the children what has been going on in the muggle world.
    Harry shares his stories only when he’s been asked, and his children do get to hear “I’ll tell you when you’re older” a lot. Ginny explains to them that it’s important to respect his decision, because she has gone through horror stuff when she was too young, and protecting her children from growing up too fast is important to her.

    Hugo likes to be at his grandparents house, he’s interested in the every-day-magic used to make everyone’s lives comfortable. Charm your own cheese is the first book he reads alone. Rose works hard to beat her Dad in Wizard’s Chess one day. James Sirius loves to hear stories about the marauders, Albus is very fond of the times when “Auntie” Minerva visits and can persuade her to transform into her animagus shape. Lily begs and begs her parents to let her go on vacation with Luna, to see all those creatures.

  • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

    I liken this to what it is often like having a family member who fought in WWII, Vietnam, or other wars. I feel like it is a fairly common experience for a child to grow up knowing, for example, that their grandfather was a fighter pilot in WWII, and acheived such and such medals or honors, but not really being told many details of the actual experience. Often vets don’t speak much of their experiences to their family, just because the experiences of war are so terrible. So I would imagine that while the kids have a general idea of what Harry and the others did, they wouldn’t necessarily know the details when young, but might gradually find out more the older and more inquisitive about it that they became. I wouldn’t consider this to be Harry keeping things from his children in a deceptive way, but just not wanting his own experiences to affect their own lives too much. I imagine his philosophy would be to let them be kids while they are kids, teaching them the lessons of war when appropriate and without darkening their skies too much before they are able to really understand what their parents went through.

    I think the Trio would have shared plenty of stories about their days at Hogwarts, but mainly the funny or exciting stuff. I’m sure that Ron and Harry have recounted quidditch matches plenty of times. I do think though that Harry would choose to share some his experiences as they become relevant to each of his children individually, like Albus and the Sorting. I don’t think he is necessarily “keeping secrets”, he is just allowing his children to find their own way in the world.

  • One of the biggest things that angers me is when I’ve come across fanfiction where the Potter and Weasley children from Victoire down to Lily go to Hogwarts and literally know NOTHING about what happened in the war. It’s frustrating because I believe that if you are the parents of young children, who see your name in the Daily Prophet, or other Wizards and Witches turn to look at you when walking through the streets, you would HAVE to provide some reason as to why the Potter and Weasley names were so famed.

    I firmly believe that given Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s positions on the Chocolate Frog Cards and the captions that would probably explain their reasoning for such appearances, the trio would have had to explain to their children, as well as their nieces and nephews what exactly they did in the Second Wizarding War that has led up to this point. However the dating of their Chocolate Frog Cards is currently unclear, but if it’s earlier than 19 years later, then this would be a great way of introducing their children to what happened.

    Of course there are subjects that would not be shared with the children at young ages, but perhaps they would be told everything in its most innocent form. As the children matured, the stories would mature as well. There would be stories that would never be repeated, but there would be many others that maybe by the time James, Albus, Rose, Hugo, and Lily were adults, they would have knowledge of in their full forms.

    Additionally, if the telling of stories were to begin anywhere, it would first start with the scars that children curiously would have recognised as different to those of other adults. There must have been an explanation for as to why Harry, Ron and Hermione had such noticeable scars at some point during their children’s early lives.

  • Harry definitely is a “secret-keeping Dumbledore of this next generation,” but not in a harmful way! Dumbledore kept some secrets in order to allow Harry to have a childhood, make friends/family, and live his life as normal as he possibly could. This is not a bad thing for Dumbledore to have done. Harry entered the wizarding world with so many forces working against him, but Dumbledore keeping secrets allowed Harry to live as a child for some time. Harry is only doing the same for his own children.

    Harry is essentially recreating his Hogwarts experience through his children, sending them in blindly and allowing them to discover the school and all it’s secrets for themselves, including the secrets of the Sorting Hat. Had Dumbledore sat Harry down and told him, “This is where the Room of Requirement is, The Sorting Hat will listen to what you want, The secret passages in the school are here, here, and here,” then the magic of Hogwarts would have been lost! It is only right for Harry to withhold information from his children to allow them the same full experience that he had. This could be a lesson on his part, teaching the kids how wonderful magic can be by allowing them to discover it for themselves.

  • MartinMiggs

    I don’t see why Harry and Ginny would feel the need to tell their children all the details. Would you take a 10 or 11 year old and show them videos of the Holocaust and the Nazis dumping dozens of bodies into a grave or show them photographs of a lynching? Obviously not because there is an appropriate time for kids to learn about the gruesome moments of history. I imagine at some point they had or will have a conversation with their kids about the war and will do it gently. There is no need for them to learn about horcruxes, inferi, etc. We the readers may think Harry is cool and want to hear all the details of his life but to his kids he’s just plain old dad. Would they want to hear him recount old tales like Harry: well kids when I was your age… James: here we go again. They might not be interested in hearing about their father’s first kiss (gross they’d probably say) etc. Also it would not be a good idea to tell the kids about all the rulebreaking he did, he is a father first not their best friend. I would not agree that Harry is the next secret keeping Dumbledore at all. When Harry needs some support, (when Sirius dies for example) Dumbledore does not feel the need to open up to Harry about his past to comfort him but Harry as a father does the opposite and opens up to his son. Harry is just doing what any good parent does. Not confiding every single detail doesn’t make Harry a puppet master.

  • Wokanshutaiduo

    I think that the children would have grown up with the Trio waxing nostalgic about the good times and the fun times that they had had at Hogwarts. I also think they would know the overall story of what happened with the Voldemort War – their parents are famous, after all. However, I doubt they ever discussed the details with their children. Realistically, there’s always going to be a part of them that will always remember and be affected by the war; but I don’t think they would want to linger on it or actively remember it.

    • Slyvenpuffdor

      Right, I think the important part is that they would talk about the fun and good times. I can’t see the trio at their annual christmas party sitting around with their children like “Hey remember that time we almost died? Or that time Hermione was tortured? Or that time Harry walked to his own death? That was grand.”

  • Carapace

    I don’t believe that the trio not telling their children about the sorting hat is evidence enough to assume that the children have never been told any details of the war. The tradition, as we see in book one, appears to be to not tell your children or you get siblings exactly how the sorting happens. Ron is under the impression that troll wrestling is a possibility. As all the other commenters have mentioned, any ideas about the trio keeping back details of the specifics of the war would be based off of evidence we find in real life families of those who have seen combat, not anything from the text.
    (“Secret keeping Dumbledore”? Your bias is showing.)

  • Slyvenpuffdor

    I can imagine that none of them would really bring it up until their kids got old enough and maybe started picking up hints, or hearing their friends talk about how their parents told them stories of the war. I mean, it kind of a heavy topic to bring up with kids 12 and younger.

  • Yo Rufus On Fire

    I have a strong gut feeling that Harry’s children know maybe about half of what actually happened to him during his time at Hogwarts and the Battle and Voldemort. I don’t think he’s going to want to tell them about seeing a snake some out of an old woman’s throat, almost drowning in a sea of inferi or what he experienced when he “died”. A lot of what happened to him is very tough stuff to talk about. I doubt he’s even disclosed everything to Ginny.

    But I mean, Harry, Ron and Hermione are now all probably written into History of Magic books. So his children will know something about it, and I’m sure there are a handful of rumors that run around the castle about Harry that James probably has asked him if it’s true and Harry probably does one of those “Ah, you know son…” and slaps him on the shoulder type thing.

    I can imagine though that Harry turns it into some kind of children’s story (get my pun here?) and tell’s it to them before they go to bed. “There once was a young boy who had a scar, who later found out that it was given to him by an evil man who thought he was invincible!…” so on and so forth. But that is all that I believe that the children know about Harry and intertwined life with Voldemort and the Battle of Hogwarts.

    I do not believe that Harry is a secret keeping Dumbledore, because what happened to Harry does not affect anyone anymore. What Dumbledore kept a secret, yes it affected many people, but Harry is just not sharing his fully experiences with his children does not have any kind of direct effect to anyone.

  • SnapesManyButtons

    As someone whose father was in Vietnam three times, I can tell you that there are things that will never be talked about, especially to the children. Harry’s children will be curious once they realize that he is famous and as they begin to see stories in the history books and other media, but I don’t think they’ll really appreciate what it means until they are in or near their teens. Small children tend to be self-centered and to some extent think their parent’s lives in the “olden days” are no longer relevant. As they get older, they will want to hear the “war stories” but they’ll just get the basic version. I’m sure the fun stuff from school and the Burrow will have been shared all along as they grew up, but the kids will probably roll their eyes sometimes and think, “Not this story again.” But there are things that won’t be told and to some extend that the kids won’t want to know the details of. Remember, this is their parent, someone they love and the idea of hearing horrifying stories of traumas they lived through isn’t pleasant. My father talked exactly once about the terrible things he saw in that war, and it was twice as hard to hear knowing my own father had had to experience that. It’s not a matter of keeping secrets, it’s that not everything needs to be shared. The kids will want to know the “cool” stuff and the fun stuff, but the darkest things are just as well kept from them. Sometimes I think about those things my dad told me that one time and it still makes me shudder.

  • IlvermornyAlumna (RoseLumos)

    Fun thought to break up the serious conversations – what if someone ever gives Harry, Ron, or Hermione’s children a copy of the Tales of Beedle the Bard as a gift, or if Molly decides to sit her grandchildren down to tell them her version of the Tale of the Three Brothers? I’m not saying that the trio would never want their kids to hear or read the story, I’m just imagining the moment one of them asks “is that a real story?” For some reason, I don’t see this being Harry’s favorite bedtime story to read to his kids and godson.

    • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

      headcanon: Hermione reads their children all the muggle stories she read as a child and some new ones. The best ones become gifts for their nephews and niece. Harry and Ginny only start reading stories to their kids when James is about four years old, because he won’t sit still to listen anyway. Parvati Patil writes new stories and fairy tales about the magical world for children and her picture books become as popular as old Beedle’s.

  • IlvermornyAlumna (RoseLumos)

    One more random thought – Ginny was a national Quidditch star at one point in her life, probably before her kids were born. At this point, she would have been retired for a few years, but depending on how popular her team was and how much they won, she could have been a celebrity for a few years. So maybe on King’s Cross every was really just trying to get a good look at her!

    Yeah, I know everyone is staring at the trio, but hey, Ginny deserves some credit too.