Limits of Apparation
How far can a person reasonably apparate?
How much do they have to know about the location ahead of time? ... that question makes less and less sense the more I look at it. If a person put a tracking device on someone or something, could they Apparate to that person or thing?
Hm... Percy apparated to the QWC in GoF. That probably shows us that Apparition is not too limited... Working at the Ministry, he would probably know about the location, and might even have been there before. But it definitely is quite some way away. The others had to get up really early to get there, and then took a Portkey too.
Perhaps there are borders for Apparition between countries... it might be hard to get any specific numbers for how far you can go... You could maybe take just something like... how far your car can take you with one tankful, or something like that.
I think that the amount of knowledge you need about the place depends on how far it is away and how skilled the caster is. A detailed description might suffice...
The caster in question is quite skilled, but the problem is that he may not have Seen the location ahead of time, he's following a tracing spell and I don't know if that seems plausible that he could just Apparate there.
In DH, Dobby is able to Apparate the two groups from Malfoy Manor to Bill's place with simply the information "Shell Cottage on the outskirts of Tinworth" or something to that effect. I know house elves have different magic, but we don't necessarily know that the rules of Apparition would be different for them.
Also, Hermione Apparates the trio to the Forest of Dean, saying something about how she went camping there once when she was younger (I think?)... that wouldn't be a super specific location either, imo.
Do Hermione and Harry Apparate to Godric's Hollow without having been there before? I think so... Harry would have been an infant and unable to remember anything.
I think if your character knows where he is going, he could Apparate there if it is a reasonable distance (which, as Kara pointed out, is also subjective).
I do believe a person needs to have a clear picture of their destination, or else, who knows where they could end up. Think of it this way, a person wants to go to Lake Tahoe, but they have never been their. They know that it is a lake, there are mountains, rocks, some trees. But with this vague a description, a person could just a likely end up in Japan or Bolivia as California.
It also makes me think that part of Apparation training has a good deal to do with studying mental imaging. This is another reason why I think most people think it would be quite difficult to Apparate to other countries. Distance probably has something to do with it too, but it would be very difficult to Apparate to a place that the person has never seen before.
But as for having no idea of the exact location (and I just don't mean the address written randomly on a piece of paper) and has never even seen it before, I have no idea how he would manage to get there. He maybe have to relay on the Muggle method of taking a taxi.
This could make for some interesting story points, though.
I think just knowing the name of the location would be enough. What information does this tracing spell give to the person following? The name of a place, map coordinates, etc? I think expecting every person to see every place they apparate to ahead of time would make it a highly impractical method of transport and judging by the amount it is used I think it's safe to assume it must be one of the most convenient methods they have to travel. If you were travelling long distances and wanted to be somewhere very specific, referencing a map would probably be useful, but otherwise I think the magic would be enough to get you somewhere that you only knew the name of.
There are two examples I can think of at the moment which would support not needing to have seen the location in advance. Both already mentioned, but just wanted to reinforce the idea.
- QWC - A good proportion of the audience for the cup will have Apparated to the stadium. I find it very hard to believe they would have seen it before as it's somewhat isolated.
- DH - The trio trave to moors and forests and other isolated spots all over the country. Hermione may have visited some but I doubt she had been to that many of the places they stopped at, or knew anything more of them than their name.
So, as long as your Apparator has something to go on, I think it's ok that they wouldn't have seen or been to the place before.
Distance wise, I think anywhere in the UK to anywhere else in the UK would be achievable, or are you needing international Apparation?
The example in question is not international. Though the country (mainland China) is quite a bit larger than the UK.
I haven't worked out the exact logistics of the tracing spell, but names of places and map coordinates are possibilities.
I wouldn't think distance would be as much an issue of possibility as safety. I mean, to use a real-life example, it is definitely possible to drive in a vehicle at high speeds over mountain passes, but it's not safe even by the loosest standards. So, if your spellcaster is experienced enough, they could probably Apparate a good distance without incident. Personally, I wouldn't try Apparating across oceans, because they're so large, but more manageable distances across land could plausibly be traveled through Apparition.
That said, Apparating across mainland China might take a few stages. It's a really big country. I really don't know Chinese geography that well, but I would guess that major cities would have a wizarding facility for that purpose.
The level of detail needed shouldn't be more than the location's name and a general knowledge of the overview of the land.
My two cents.
I would just like to add my piece to this discussion.
In Deathly Hallows, when the trio have been captured and are being held at Malfoy Manor, Harry keeps seeing into Voldy's mind. Old Moldywort is off torturing the location of the Elder Wand out of Grindelwald, who is currently held at Nurmengard (sp?). Nurmengard is, I assume, in a different country- Germany or Bulgaria perhaps.
When Bellatrix presses her Dark Mark to alert her Master to the trio's capture, Old Volders does not immediatly apparate back. I believe it says something about his flying until he is close enough to apparate.
If nothing else does, I think this proves that there are limits on how far you can apparate. If not, then Voldy, who is no novice, remember, would have immediatly apparated back, giving the Trio no time to escape.
Also, on the topic of not knowing where you are apparating to, I believe that while Dobby got Luna, Dean, and Mr. Ollivander to Shell Cottage merely knowing the location- Shell Cottage on the outskirts of Tinworth or whereever it is, it was Harry, not Dobby, who was in charge of the side along apparition that took them and Griphook to Shell Cottage.
We know nothing of what Dobby was concentrating on, having no access to his mind, but Harry was thinking over and over Shell Cottage, Bill and Fleur's, Shell Cottage, Bill and Fleur's, and so got there merely by concentrating his absolute hardest on the name and... how to put it... identity? of where he was going. I think it has nothing to do with the experience of being there, and everything to do with the concentration that goes into getting there. If that makes any sense at all.
That's my two cents. :D
Hm... dang, where are my copies of the books for reference? :confused:
I imagine the situation as follows: having placed a tracer spell, the character who is probably already in the same city, then Apparates to that location.
More than a matter of distance (though Beijing is a huge sprawling thing) I'm worried about the plausibility of him following a tracer and being able to Apparate there. Would having map coordinates and/or the name of the location be enough?