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  1. #1
    FullofLife
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    The Fidelius Charm

    My questions:

    1) Is the Secret Keeper the one who casts the charm?
    2) Can the Secret Keeper be the one who is being protected by the charm? (e.g. Could James have been his own Secret Keeper? Why/Why not?)
    3) What happens if the Secret Keeper's (or Keepers's) memory (memories) is (are) wiped?

  2. #2
    Hypatia
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    In PoA, Professor Flitwick describes the Fidelius Charm as “An immensely complex spell involving the magical concealment of a secret inside a single, living soul. The information is hidden inside the chosen person…”

    1) Since Professor Flitwick’s statement refers to the Secret-Keeper as “the chosen person”, it would seem that they needn’t be the one casting the spell.
    2) Considering Dumbledore was Secret-Keeper for the Order of the Phoenix’s Headquarters, and thus shared in its protection, I’d guess “yes”.
    3) I’m not sure that a Memory Charm would be powerful enough to harm the Fidelius Charm. The Fidelius Charm seems quite powerful and I expect it would take an exceptionally powerful and well-targeted Memory Charm to affect it. It might be impossible for someone who hadn’t been told the secret to be able to specifically target the Secret-Keeper’s memory of the secret. That said, I can see it going two ways, the secret remains hidden until the Secret-Keeper’s death or it immediately makes any who were already told Secret-Keepers as well since the memory of the secret has “died”.
    Hope that helps!

  3. #3
    Potions Mistress Hufflepuff
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    Actually, I'm pretty sure that somewhere in OotP, they speak of Grimmauld Place and say that Dumbledore cast the charm and made himself the secret keeper. Not positive of the exact reference though. That I think also is the answer to number 2.


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  4. #4
    red haired mom
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    These questions are really hard to answer due to the fact that the only references we have are Flitwick's explanations in PoA and the conversation in OotP, but I have written another possibility.

    Flitwick casts the Charm, and then casts a memory charm to hide the secret from the secret keeper. I think if it is done by the same person, in this case Flitwick, and they really know their Charms, it can be done.

    I do think James could have been the keeper of that secret but he really wanted to use Sirius, and then later Sirius changed it to Peter.

    I know Dumbledore offered to be the Potter's Keeper, but I also think all of these charms were cast by Flitwick. Dumbledore couldn't have cast the one for Grimmauld Place, because he would need someone to tell him the Secret while it was being performed.

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  5. #5
    cmwinters
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    Quote Originally Posted by FullofLife
    My questions:

    1) Is the Secret Keeper the one who casts the charm?
    2) Can the Secret Keeper be the one who is being protected by the charm? (e.g. Could James have been his own Secret Keeper? Why/Why not?)
    3) What happens if the Secret Keeper's (or Keepers's) memory (memories) is (are) wiped?
    People have addressed the Grimmauld Place charm, so I am going to address the Potter's charm.

    We know that James, Lily, Peter and Sirius were present when the charm was cast. James had intended to use Sirius as his Secret Keeper, and Sirius convinced James that Peter was the better choice, because they never thought that Peter would draw the attention of the Dark Lord, and Sirius intended, after the Charm was cast, to draw fire.

    Lily's wand is described by Mr Ollivander as being willow, quite swishy, and good for Charms. Therefore, my assumption always was that Lily cast the Fidelius, or at least did the wandwork, and if anyone was dictating terms, it was James.

    I could be wrong, but we know that nobody else (except perhaps Harry) was there during the casting, because Dumbledore gave evidence that Sirius Black was the Secret Keeper, and nobody refuted it, and Sirius went after Peter because Peter was the only one alive who knew (besides, well, Peter, who wasn't likely to admit to it . . . having been given a posthumous Order of Merlin that wasn't quite so posthumous, but nevermind that . . . )

    What I don't understand (apart from storyline) is why *JAMES* just didn't become the Secret Keeper . . . but nobody asked me.

  6. #6
    Hypatia
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    What I don't understand (apart from storyline) is why *JAMES* just didn't become the Secret Keeper . . . but nobody asked me.
    I find it odd too. Aside from the fact that it would have messed up the plot, the only reason I can think of is that James, Lily, and Harry remained in the house at all times, so if James were Secret-Keeper, he would have to go outside to tell someone where they were.

    It seems that Dumbledore knew where they were since he borrowed James's cloak. Of course, that would mean that Peter must have told him where they were, but this should mean that Dumbledore would know that Sirius wasn't Secret-Keeper. The only way I can see around this is if Peter had written a note like Dumbledore did in OotP and had Sirius give it to Dumbledore, pretending he'd written it.

    This would tend to discredit my previous explanation for why James couldn't be the Secret-Keeper except he still would have had to venture outside to deliver the first note. It would also mean trusting someone with other notes, which would essentially make them Secret-Keepers as well.

    Hopefully that wasn't too rambly.

  7. #7
    cmwinters
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hypatia
    I find it odd too. Aside from the fact that it would have messed up the plot, the only reason I can think of is that James, Lily, and Harry remained in the house at all times, so if James were Secret-Keeper, he would have to go outside to tell someone where they were.
    Well, I can go for that, but were they on house-arrest? Even if it was voluntary?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hypatia
    It seems that Dumbledore knew where they were since he borrowed James's cloak. Of course, that would mean that Peter must have told him where they were, but this should mean that Dumbledore would know that Sirius wasn't Secret-Keeper. The only way I can see around this is if Peter had written a note like Dumbledore did in OotP and had Sirius give it to Dumbledore, pretending he'd written it.
    Not necessarily. James could have given it to Dumbledore long before the Charm was cast. Or he could have left Godric's Hollow and taken it to him. We don't know for sure when Dumbledore was given it by James.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hypatia
    This would tend to discredit my previous explanation for why James couldn't be the Secret-Keeper except he still would have had to venture outside to deliver the first note. It would also mean trusting someone with other notes, which would essentially make them Secret-Keepers as well.
    It's one of my 'issues' with the whole Fidelius to begin with.

    Bear in mind, too, that it's entire possible that Dumbledore may have been to the cottage in Godric's Hollow but unless he were "in on the secret" he wouldn't have been able to see James and Lily once they were in hiding. Flitwick says, for example, that the Dark Lord wouldn't have been able to see them "even if he had had his nose pressed upon their sitting room window".

    It's almost impossible to believe that Narcissa and Bellatrix hadn't been to 12 Grimmauld Place in their youth, being as it was the ancestral home of the family. Them not being able to see it as good as advertises the location to them. So even while the Order was there, conducting Order business, Bellatrix and Narcissa should have been able to *walk into the house* and even walk amongst the inhabitants, without seeing or hearing them, so long as the other occupants were there on Order business.

  8. #8
    AurorKeefy
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    It's almost impossible to believe that Narcissa and Bellatrix hadn't been to 12 Grimmauld Place in their youth, being as it was the ancestral home of the family. Them not being able to see it as good as advertises the location to them. So even while the Order was there, conducting Order business, Bellatrix and Narcissa should have been able to *walk into the house* and even walk amongst the inhabitants, without seeing or hearing them, so long as the other occupants were there on Order business.
    Well, yes, but having been there in their youth doesn't mean that they would necessarily be passing by it during their adult lives. Quite aside from the fidelius charm, Grimmauld Place was a superb location for the order because it the most unlikely hideout for the Order. It was a house steeped in both dark magic and pureblood mania, which was against everything the Order stood for. Aside from which, the only person who had any link with the place was Sirius. Presuming that they did visit as a child, it would be plainly obvious that Sirius would not want to go anywhere near the place again. Why would they have even thought to look?

    Eventually, when Sirius threw out Kreacher (who, I believe, goes to Bellatrix while she is still locked up in Azkaban ), that particular bubble bursts somewhat. Although Kreacher cannot betray the secret, Bellatrix and Narcissa would have been smart enough to put two and two together. Nonetheless, if - as you say - they would have been unable to see the occupants even if they did gain access, then to go knocking would be something of a suicide mission. Doubly pointless since it would go very much against the Dark Lord's plans for Sirius and Potter. Still, the Fidelius charm works very well in the context - although Sirius might not agree.

    Also...

    It would also mean trusting someone with other notes, which would essentially make them Secret-Keepers as well.
    Not if the notes were written for a particular person. If Dumbledore writes a note for Harry, and Moody delivers it, then it is Dumbledore that has divulged the secret. If Moody reads the letter, assuming he was already in on the secret, then it remains a secret. If Moody reads the letter to Tonks, assuming she was already in on the secret, then it remains a secret. Yet because he was not the master of the secret, Moody would have been unable to pass the note on to say...Lavender Brown. Either his arm would not move, or the parchment would not unfurl, or whatever, but it wouldn't be possible.

    Bear in mind, too, that it's entire possible that Dumbledore may have been to the cottage in Godric's Hollow but unless he were "in on the secret" he wouldn't have been able to see James and Lily once they were in hiding. Flitwick says, for example, that the Dark Lord wouldn't have been able to see them "even if he had had his nose pressed upon their sitting room window".
    Personally, I am inclined to believe that Dumbledore did not visit the cottage after the Fidelius charm was cast. Since we know Sirius and Wormtail did, however, it's not beyond the bounds of reason that it was Sirius who passed the cloak from James to Dumbledore. Perhaps even Wormtail. That way James stays cooped up, Dumbledore gets his cloak, and nobody except those in on the secret would know ever see James, Lily or Harry. The only thing there which even remotely defies belief, is that James trusted his friends more than his headmaster. Of course given what we know from Lupin and Sirius about how much James trusted his friends, and given that they had found out relatively recently about Dumbledore and Grindlewauld, that is plausible for the character - if not particularly sensible in hindsight. Then again, had James been sensible, we'd probably just have finished reading Neville Longbottom and the Deathly Hallows.

  9. #9
    cmwinters
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    Quote Originally Posted by AurorKeefy
    Quite aside from the fidelius charm, Grimmauld Place was a superb location for the order because it the most unlikely hideout for the Order. It was a house steeped in both dark magic and pureblood mania, which was against everything the Order stood for. Aside from which, the only person who had any link with the place was Sirius. Presuming that they did visit as a child, it would be plainly obvious that Sirius would not want to go anywhere near the place again. Why would they have even thought to look?
    Well, that's a very good point.

    Quote Originally Posted by AurorKeefy
    Eventually, when Sirius threw out Kreacher (who, I believe, goes to Bellatrix while she is still locked up in Azkaban ),
    He went to Narcissa.

    Quote Originally Posted by AurorKeefy
    Not if the notes were written for a particular person. If Dumbledore writes a note for Harry, and Moody delivers it, then it is Dumbledore that has divulged the secret. If Moody reads the letter, assuming he was already in on the secret, then it remains a secret. If Moody reads the letter to Tonks, assuming she was already in on the secret, then it remains a secret. Yet because he was not the master of the secret, Moody would have been unable to pass the note on to say...Lavender Brown. Either his arm would not move, or the parchment would not unfurl, or whatever, but it wouldn't be possible.
    That's logical, but I'm not sure how *logical* the Fidelius charm is. I have a whole slew of complaints about it. Such as, how did Hagrid ever find Harry at all, if Harry was in a Fidelius protected house?

    Quote Originally Posted by AurorKeefy
    Personally, I am inclined to believe that Dumbledore did not visit the cottage after the Fidelius charm was cast.
    No, probably not. But my point was, if he wasn't in on the secret of *where* they were hiding (as told by Peter), then he could, theoretically, have gone to the cottage but not *seen* them.

    Assuming, of course, that there's any logic in it.

  10. #10
    wewillmissyou
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    Quote Originally Posted by FullofLife
    My questions:

    1) Is the Secret Keeper the one who casts the charm?
    2) Can the Secret Keeper be the one who is being protected by the charm? (e.g. Could James have been his own Secret Keeper? Why/Why not?)
    3) What happens if the Secret Keeper's (or Keepers's) memory (memories) is (are) wiped?
    I am pretty sure the Secret Keeper may cast the charm but I think the ones being protected could too.

    I think the Secret Keeper could not be the one who is being protected y the charm because I feel that defeats the purpose. I'm saying this in the case of James and Lily, not in OotP but I will adress that in a second. Since the Fidelius Charm is protecting three people, the Secret Keeper can not be any of those three people, including James. One, because James needs to stay in constant hiding and wouldn't be able to tell anyone the location. The second reason that I feel the charm works on a certain trust compound. For you surely couldn't betray yourself, so I think that is tricking the charm almost. Another reason is that the Secret Keeper could make sure you weren't completley isolated. He or she would visit, I assume, and tell those only trustworthy. I think the charm was created to help create make wizards united, if they were forced to go into hiding and force out the loyalty and good in themselves.

    Regarding the Order of the Phoenix, Dumbledore was the secret-keeper and while resided at Number 12, was kept hidden. Yet, nobody but Sirius was trully hiding. Everyone except Sirius were allowed to roam the streets. The Fidelius Charm was really on the house and organazation, so the Secret Keeper was only giving it to members of this association.

    I think that the Fidelius Charm would be strong enough to break through a memory charm because I'm pretty sure the creator would have anticiapted this. And its a secret that you can't afoord to forget so I think even if you had your whole memory wiped, you would still remember that.

    Hope I helped!

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