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"It looked like a silver cigarette lighter, but it had, he knew, the power to suck all light from a place, and restore it, with a simple click."
— Description[src]

The Deluminator,[1] also known as the Put-Outer,[3] was a magical device used by Albus Dumbledore (the first known owner and designer of the one Deluminator known to exist) to remove light sources from the Deluminator's immediate surroundings, as well as bestow them.[3] It looked like a standard silver cigarette lighter.[3][1]

Dumbledore left the Deluminator to Ron Weasley, in his will (presented by Rufus Scrimgeour), after his death.[1]

History

Albus Dumbledore's usage

"He found what he was looking for in his inside pocket. It seemed to be a silver cigarette lighter. He flicked it open, held it up in the air, and clicked it. The nearest street lamp went out with a little pop. He clicked it again — the next lamp flickered into darkness. Twelve times he clicked the Put-Outer, until the only lights left on the whole street were two tiny pinpricks in the distance, which were the eyes of the cat watching him. If anyone looked out of their window now, even beady-eyed Mrs Dursley, they wouldn’t be able to see anything that was happening down on the pavement."
— Dumbledore using the Deluminator to darken Privet Drive in 1981[src]

Dumbledore using the Deluminator to darken London's streets

In 1927, Dumbledore used the Deluminator to darken London's streets to talk with Newt Scamander and avoid detection by the Ministry of Magic employees.[2]

Dumbledore using the Deluminator to darken Privet Drive

On 1 November 1981, after the murders of James and Lily Potter by Lord Voldemort, Dumbledore used the Deluminator to darken Privet Drive, where the Dursley household was located. Dumbledore was expecting Rubeus Hagrid to transport the infant Harry Potter to Privet Drive, where Dumbledore would leave him at the Dursley household. Dumbledore's Deluminator allowed Hagrid to arrive with added security.[3]

In 1995, Dumbledore lent the Deluminator to Mad-Eye Moody, who used it when transporting Harry from the Dursleys' home to the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix at 12 Grimmauld Place. The Deluminator again provided added security to keep Harry Potter safe, as he was a highly valued target among Lord Voldemort's supporters, and to keep the Order's headquarters secret, because these headquarters were also a highly valued target.[5]

In 1996, Dumbledore used it again to darken Privet Drive before coming to collect Harry.[6]

Ronald Weasley's usage

"That is a valuable object. It may even be unique. Certainly it is of Dumbledore’s own design. Why would he have left you an item so rare?"
Rufus Scrimgeour about Dumbledore's gift to Ron Weasley[src]

Ron using the Deluminator for the first time after Dumbledore left it to him

In 1997, the Deluminator was left to Ron Weasley in Dumbledore's will.[1] It seemed to also act like a homing device. Whenever Hermione and Harry mentioned Ron's name, he could hear snippets of conversation before and after, even though he was far away. It then acted as a guide, leading Ron back to Harry and Hermione after he left them following an argument. Ron speculated that this was the true reason that Dumbledore left him the Deluminator: so that he could find his way back to his friends if he ever left them.[4]

In 1998, Ron Weasley used the Deluminator in the Malfoys' cellar, so that Luna Lovegood, Ollivander, Ron and Harry could see inside the cellar, releasing light that he had earlier taken from the lamps within Perkins's tent. And when Peter Pettigrew came down into the cellar, Harry told Ron keep the lights on, and leave as it is. The lights, being unable to rejoin their sources, simply remained in the room.[7]

The Deluminator as a Foundable

During the Calamity which affected the Wizarding world in the 2010s, the Deluminator was among the many magical items which became Foundables, being guarded by Confoundables.[8]

Function

The main use of the Deluminator was to take, or release light. There was a button on it, and when pressed, would absorb the nearest light source and a light ball would fly towards the Deluminator. If light was already taken, the Deluminator could also release light. The light would go back to their sources if the original source was nearby, otherwise the light would stay at the Deluminator.[3]

There seemed to be another use as demonstrated by Ron Weasley. Whenever the user's name was mentioned in a conversation, the Deluminator would play the snippet of conversation just before and after the user's name was said. Activating the Deluminator after this allowed the user to Apparate to the location of those speaking about the user even when their exact location was unknown; Ron speculated that Dumbledore specifically left the Deluminator to him for this reason, so that Ron could find his way back to his friends if he ever left them.[4]

Behind the scenes

The functioning of the Deluminator as seen in Harry Potter Page to Screen: The Complete Filmmaking Journey

Appearances

Notes and references