Podcast Question of the Week – Episode 80

Chapter 3 of Order of the Phoenix re-introduces us to a lot of characters mentioned in passing, and of course a brand new, beloved one! This week’s question from Rosie centers around this group, called the Advance Guard…

This chapter sees a variety of Wizards, breaking into a Muggle house, in order to essentially steal a very well know figure. We want to know what you think about these wizards. Why did they sign up to escort Harry? Why did they break in rather than knock on the door? Or greet Harry in a slightly more polite way? Are they there for Lily & James or because of Harry’s status?

Leave us your response below & we just might read them on the next episode of Alohomora!

  • sumduxvoldemort

    At this point in the war, I think that most of the wizard there had chosen this mission based on Harry’s reputation. He has yet to integrate and prove himself with the majority of this advance guard. Although they might have heard stories about him from Lupin and Sirius, to many of them, he is a curiosity. He’s the Boy Who Lived, the hero who defeated Voldemort and I believe that some of the advance guard just wanted to meet him in the flesh as though he were a circus animal. By escorting him, they have the chance to see Harry in his natural environment, the Dursley’s house. Even Moody, I suspect, may be slightly curious to see where Harry lives, if for no other reason than to scout out the territory. On the other hand, there is also a sense of urgency in their situation, which could explain Moody’s abruptness. As to why they didn’t knock, well decorum and etiquette are not an essential classes at Hogwarts, are they?

  • surprisinglyswishy

    The group broke in to the house instead of knocking because they were a very conspicuous lot. Remember, the neighbors are extremely nosy. Petunia and Vernon are constantly worried about the neighbors seeing anything strange going on. Not only have we learned that adult wizards as a whole are not great at blending in to muggle surroundings, but these wizards are particularly bad at it. Tonks had purple hair when she arrived and pink hair when she left and Moody had a magical, swivelling eye. I think they’re smart enough not to hang around the doorstep while waiting for Harry to answer the door. In addition to not wanting to rouse suspicion in the muggles, Voldemort’s back and while Privet Drive is a safe place and Voldemort isn’t actually doing much yet, I think they wouldn’t want to draw attention to the fact that they were moving Harry around. They needed to get into the building as quickly as possible, being cordial would not be high on their list of priorities.

    As for why they signed up, I think there’s a variety of reasons. We know from her actions and interactions that Tonks probably had at least four; she went along not only as Moody’s protégée, but because Lupin was going, as well as wanting to meet Harry and see a muggle house. Diggle probably went along to see Harry. Dumbledore might have asked Shacklebolt to go along for protection. I’m sure Lupin not only would’ve liked to see Harry again, but was a familiar face Harry (and the reader) needed to be sure he should let this large group of strangers take him to a mysterious location.

  • texaskid

    Maybe a few of them did sign up because of Lily and James and the rest because of Harry’s reputation. However Let’s not forget that Moody is a retired Auror and both Kingsley and Tonks are current Aurors. I’m sure if the police were called they could sort things out and get Harry away from trouble with the muggle police.Also if the ministry were called in Tonks and Kingsley could explain it away without him getting in more trouble.

    As for why they didn’t knock and just broke in there were a lot of them and perhaps they figured Harry was in some sort of trouble with his aunt and uncle for what happened with the dementors and this was confirmed by the house being dark when they arrived. They realized he wasn’t downstairs due to the lack of lighting and knew they couldn’t hang around on the lawn. or Maybe they figured that since the Dursleys weren’t home that Harry wouldn’t answer the door. Say you’re a 15 year old and know practically know noone in the muggle world, would you answer the door?

  • Mythrandier

    I have to say, I think Dumbledore had to pick the guard only because of the sheer number of people who volunteered. Dumbledore could have gone to the Order and said “Who wants to pick up Harry? Send me a resumé.” Albus Dumbledore is a very strategic wizard who tries to have everything planned to his best efforts.

    As to the point of breaking into a muggle home, at least Moody (and maybe Lupin) would have known or been told that Harry would probably be locked in his room. Also, they could aparate right into the sitting room as the Dursley’s were gone. Harry might’ve heard the front door open if the guard merely appeared on the doorstep; this also has Statute of Secrecy implications. Dumbledore would want them to be as discrete as possible.

  • ScarletPhoenix

    They didn’t knock because they knew the Dursley’s would be gone and from they knew about the Dursley’s assumed Harry wouldn’t have been allowed to answer the door. I think many are there for Harry. He has always been a celebratory in there eyes and its been that status has increased twofold by him taking on the Dark Lord and living for a second time.

  • Bill White

    Personally, I think if they had showed up and knocked without the rouse; Vernon would have thought that they were the authorities come to take harry away. Also, I think that the sheer number is because they are dependent on his reputation past school included. I don’t know if they showed up at the door and knocked that harry wouldn’t have thought to fight them off regardless of Mafalda Hopkirks letter to the contrary. Based on Fudge’s attitude, I don’t think harry would have put it past him to disregard law and just take the troublemaker out of the equation.

  • Alethea

    I was curious about the ultra strong Alohomora spell that unlocks all the doors in the house. Or did they just happen to unlock Harry’s door by accident? About the guard – we know that those wizards have simply volunteered to get Harry. So they were not picked by anyone. Maybe they just wanted to see the conditions Harry lives in or/also to get to know him in person.

  • elizabeth melas

    I strongly believe that the guard went to Harry our of a sense of duty. It was probably a favor to Dumbledore, but also curiosity, to meat the kid who destabilized He-Who-Must-Nor-Be-Named.

  • Padfoot42

    I think that they went to escort Harry largely out of curiosity. They knew You-Know-Who was laying low at the time and not likely to be a huge threat on this journey. Also, as they would have attended Order meetings (and from their own powers of deduction), they probably had some inkling of an idea that if anyone was eventually going to defeat He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named it would be Harry Potter. So, some of them might have wanted to sort of “size him up”, see what their “champion” (for lack of a better title) was made of. As to why they broke in instead of ringing the bell, I get the impression that Harry was definitely not going to leave that bedroom. They probably figured Harry wouldn’t answer the door anyways (fearing that it might be Death Eaters or some other dangerous entity), and the team probably knew he was locked inside his room anyways. I think the bigger issue here is how the Ministry does not notice the blatant magic occurring at Number 4 as a result of the “break in”, or register the fact that since doors are being magically unlocked, Harry must be either running away, or being kidnapped. Once we see the corruption of the Ministry and the amazing oversight they can have when something does not act to their benefit.

  • ArchdukeSeverus

    They had to break in I think because Harry is locked in his room so if they knocked on the house door I don’t think Harry would have had the energy to get up, pick the lock on his door and go downstairs to answer it. Also he would probably assume that it was someone for the Dursleys. They could have sent Harry a heads up via owl post but even then there is a chance that it would be intercepted by the ministry.
    Tonks had no link to Lily and James, as she wasn’t in the first order. So I think Tonks is there as security (she is an auror) and possibly because she is a good flyer. She is the one that Harry is following so she mustn’t go off track.
    Moody is the leader of the group and probably the best Order member to be in this position. Also he is a auror so supplies extra security.
    Remus is there to comfort Harry and gain his trust. He is the familiar face in the crowd to Harry and the one that is able to gain his trust. The others I’m not sure about as we don’t know them that well. The only thing I could think of was a possible link between Hestia Jones and Gwenog Jones. Gwenog being the captain of the Holyhead Harpies and Hestia maybe being a relative so also good at flying.

  • blast_ended_firebolt

    Might the Advance Guard be an established group of 2, 3, or 4 wizards that is assigned to do this kind of work as needed? Keep in mind we see Dedalus Diggle and Hestia Jones do same for the Dursleys. When Lupin mentions volunteers, maybe he means someone like Tonks, who volunteered to impress her mentor, Moody (or possibly Lupin?) and Kingsley, who is into protecting people (Prime Minister in HBP). I think they broke in rather than knock and then have to wait out front, possibly drawing attention, until Harry answered the door. Once they were in, Moody is taking point and we can’t expect him to be nice when he sees Harry since he’s a surly guy. Finally, I think the people that aren’t there because it’s part of their job as members of the OotP, are doing this for Harry. I think the one person there who might be doing this for Lily/James is Lupin. We know he was close to James and, like Sirius, I think he sees James in Harry and wants to protect him.

  • nikigryff

    I think the advance guard was definitely put together out of genuine concern for Harry’s safety; of course loyalty to James and Lily would have played some part, especially for Lupin. I think out of everyone, Hestia (although we do not know much about her at this point) shows the most genuine concern for Harry. I think she proves her loyalty to Harry in Deathly Hallows when she escorts the Durselys to their safe house in a time when danger was much more prominent than in this book. Also, she doesn’t understand how the Durselys aren’t proud of Harry and she also gets angry that they show no concern for where he is going/what he is doing. Hestia also was a goddess of family, which leads to me think that she very much looked out for Harry, almost as a temporary mother figure, and therefore had true desire to protect him and keep him safe.

  • CentaurSeeker121

    I wonder if maybe it was a mixture of things. I think it’s entirely possible that they were all there out of genuine concern for Harry, but part of it may have been that they just wanted to meet him while another part may have been they were curious to see how muggles lived (those that didn’t know already anyway, like Tonks). As for breaking in, I think they knew they would draw much attention. Perhaps Mr. Weasley told them about what happened last time a group of wizards ended up in the Dursleys’ living room. Plus, they probably figured they could just fix everything back before they left.

  • RoseLumos

    I think the bigger question is HOW a bunch of non-Ministry wizards essentially kidnapped Harry from his house. If the Ministry was in charge of protecting Harry (which, as an orphan living with estranged relatives, they probably should be) than they are doing a pretty terrible job. Couldn’t others, like a group of Death Eaters, get into Privet Drive, stun Harry, and drag him away to never be seen again? We already know that the Ministry is useless, but now we know that they are just irresponsible.

    Also, I do think the Trace should have gone off. From what the text tells us it doesn’t matter who does the magic, but where. If Ron did a charm at the Burrow it would be okay because the Ministry know that it is a Wizard residence and magic is allowed. When Harry (or anyone else) does a charm at Privet Drive it shows up negatively since magic is being detected in a non-magical residence. So all of the Advance Guard’s magic should be showing up but under Harry’s name.

    Although… I wouldn’t be surprised if Dumbledore is behind this. He may have convinced the Ministry to stop following Harry when he defended Harry the night of the dementor attack. He may have known that Harry would have to be moved under a secure cover and that magic would be necessary to complete that.

  • Well if you think about it, if they broke in like a muggle then that wouldn’t have sent Harry’s trace into overdrive.
    Having said that Harry’s already in trouble for magic, so a little extra magic in his presence isn’t going to make much of a difference.
    Well the old magic sealed but is it possible that Dumbledore is a secret keeper for the house meaning that he could tell certain people?
    I think that Moody would’ve gone as a favour to Dumbledore. Also he’s a highly skilled aura.
    Lupin would go because of James, Tonks because of Lupin, Kingsley to meet Harry and because if skill, Doge because of Dumbledore, to meet Harry and to act like a lawyer if needed, Diggle to meet Harry again as he’s in awe of him and the others I think because do skill and to meet Harry.
    I also think for the vast majority they would do this to uphold their memory and respect for Lily and James who died in the process of bringing Voldemort down.
    Could it be possible that due to last year events with moody, that Moody felt like he owed Harry a chance to see the real Moody in action?

  • StoneShield128

    I think they all signed up because it was a chance to see Harry. Yes, some of the reasoning is that they knew Lily and James, for example, Remus or Lupin knew his parents, and certainly others in the group did as well. However, I think the main reason was to get a chance to meet Harry(or in Lupin’s case see his student again) . It is just like when he first went to school all the kids were fighting to get a glimpse of “the boy who lived”. Being in the order, this probably was one of the more interesting assignments to come up, and I’m sure you wouldn’t say “no” to Dumbledore, especially with this type of chance to meet Harry finally. I think some of the older members of the group who knew Harry’s parents would like to have met Harry regardless of him being famous or taking down Voldemort. I guess my philosophy on any type of decision a character or person makes is that there is a lot that goes into it, and it all kind of mixes up into a stew that leads to a decision.
    As for other questions, they broke in because that was the way that made the most sense. Why knock when you are on a secret mission?

  • pygmypuff26

    I think they all have multiple reasons for choosing to escort Harry. I think that Harry being super important to the wizarding world has a lot to do with it. I’m not sure if they all were there because of lily and james. I think that that only applies to Lupin. I also think that Dumbledore chose these people. Not only trust worthy and capable, but also a bit more kid-friendly (maybe not Moody lol). He didn’t want to send a guard that was too aggressive or gruff, because I think that would’ve come off as a sketchy group that Harry may not have trusted. As far as their entrance, I didn’t really expect a guard to knock politely. I think that they were just unsure of the situation that they were walking into. Maybe they were being cautious. I mean if Harry is being watched by undesirables, they wouldn’t want harry standing wide open in his front door.

  • FeatherSickle7662

    I think that a majority of the reason they all signed up to go and fetch Harry had a lot to do with his status but also a lot to do with the fact that he is Lily and James’ son. A lot of these characters were part of the first Order and knew L & J. There was a vast majority of the wizarding world that adored them even before they, and forgive me for putting it so crudely, got blown up by an evil wizard. L & J were these peoples friends, neighbors, co-workers, classmates and fellow Order members. You can’t really blame them for wanting a piece of L & J back. I also think that these characters understand the danger Harry is in, and their faith is in Dumbledore to be telling the truth about Voldy McSlitherPants.

    I believe the reason the AG didn’t knock on the door is probably because Dumbledore had warned them about how the Dursley’s were and they thought it easier and best to just break in after luring them away. Now about greeting Harry, that could have been done politer, but alas Wizards have a tendency to disregard others haha!

  • Val

    Harry was already in trouble for using magic a few days before, and considering how the Dursley’s last two encounters with wizards went (Dudley’s pig tail and Mr Weasley blowing up the living room) Dumbledore and everyone else probably thought it was best to avoid any more potential conflict and just get them out of the way. Plus if they performed any magic in front of them the ministry might have used that as an excuse to put half of the order through a trial as well. As to why they basically broke in, that’s probably all Moody, he probably wanted to take Harry by surprise instead of giving the possible impostor a heads-up.

  • Long time listener, first time poster here.

    I believe that most of these wizards were chosen, if not by Dumbledore then by Mad-Eye. Granted these witches and wizards volunteered, as Remus states, “A surprising amount of people volunteered to come and get you.” Though most of the Guard was handpicked. Because Snape could of volunteered and gone to get Harry and what would Harry have thought about that? Probably wouldn’t be good.

    Some of these wizards are definitely there just because of Harry’s reputation but, I feel that they each have a specific role in which if they got in certain situations then they can handle them a bit better. I mean, there are two Auror’s and an ex-Auror with them. With the other members of the Guard such as Hestia Jones that show actual concern for Harry’s safety and family life, like she did when the Dursley’s are escorted to their safe house in DH. There are possibly a few of the Advance Guard that are there not only because of Harry, Remus being the one there for Lily and James. To owe it to his best friends to protect the son they died for. Mad-Eye most likely is there because he probably feels like he owes it to Harry to show him the real Moody in action and because he’s paranoid as all hell, definitely taking the motto ‘Better safe than sorry’ to the next level.

    As for why they broke in, this is simple, they did not want to draw attention to Number Four. What would you think as a Muggle in that neighborhood to see what a lot of people would call hooligans and punks on the front step of the Dursley’s, who aren’t even home? You’d think they were to burglarize the place. I think if they were to knock Harry wouldn’t answer the door. It would take too much time and effort that Harry would not want to put out. So the reason they broke in? To be discreet and to not draw attention to Number Four to anyone whose watching, whether it be the Death Eaters or the Ministry.

    But another question is raised here, as I’ve read in the other responses here. How did Harry’s door unlock? Was it one of the Guard using Alohomora? Or could it have been Harry reacting to thinking there were burglars in the house and spontaneous magic unlocking his door, think back to the first book (his hair growing, the glass disappearing with the snake, etc), because he was getting prepared for a fight?