- "In use for centuries, the Floo Network, while somewhat uncomfortable, has many advantages. Firstly, unlike broomsticks, the Network can be used without fear of breaking the International Statute of Secrecy. Secondly, unlike Apparition, there is little to no danger of serious injury. Thirdly, it can be used to transport children, the elderly and the infirm."
- — Description[src]
The Floo Network was a mode of wizarding transportation in which a witch or wizard went from one place to another by means of Floo powder and a fireplace. Many fireplaces were connected in the Floo Network, and the traveller needed only speak the location of the desired fireplace at which they wished to arrive very clearly as they stood in the emerald green flames.
Although generally reliable, mistakes could happen. Speaking the name of the destination loudly and clearly upon entering the Floo flames was sometimes difficult, due to ash, heat and panic. The Head of the Department of Magical Transportation, and therefore the man that the Floo Network Authority reported to, was Percy Weasley by 2014.
The Floo Network was in use for centuries. The most notorious instance of accidental misdirection regarding the Floo Network happened in 1855 when, after a particularly nasty row with her husband, witch Violet Tillyman leapt into the living room fire and cried, between sobs and hiccups, that she wanted to go to her mother’s house.
Several weeks later, with no clean pots in the house and his socks in urgent need of washing, her husband Albert decided that it was time she came home, and took the Floo Network to his mother-in-law's. To his surprise, she claimed that Violet had never arrived. Albert, a suspicious man and a bit of a bully, raged, stormed and searched the house, but his mother-in-law appeared to be telling the truth. A poster campaign and a series of articles in the Daily Prophet later, Violet had still not been found. Nobody seemed to know where she was and nobody had seen her come out of any other fireplace. For several months after her disappearance, people were afraid to take the Floo Network, in case it simply vanished them into thin air. However, time passed, memories of Violet faded, and nobody else disappeared, so the wizarding community continued as usual. Albert Tillyman returned grumpily to his house, learned cleaning and darning spells, and never used the Floo Network again for fear of what it had done to his wife.
It was not until twenty years later, after Albert’s death, that Violet Tillyman resurfaced. Due to the incoherent way she had spoken when she had entered the Floo Network, she had not emerged from her mother’s fireplace, but that of Myron Otherhaus, a handsome wizard who lived in Bury St Edmunds. In spite of Violet’s tear-stained, ash-covered and blotchy appearance, it had been love at first sight when she toppled out of his fire, and Myron, Violet, and their seven children lived happily ever after.
When the Death Eaters took over the British Ministry of Magic, they imposed a new regulation that only senior-ranked employees could utilise the Floo Network to travel to the Ministry; all others had to use the Whitehall underground public toilets entryway. This was repealed once Lord Voldemort was killed.
Regulation and usage
The British network was governed by the Floo Network Authority, a section of the Department of Magical Transportation of the Ministry of Magic. This department was located on Level Six of the Ministry. The Floo Network Authority controlled which fireplaces were connected to the Floo Network, which required specialised magic. Travelling by way of the Floo Network could be done without specialised magic, and could be preferable for wizards too young to Apparate or those without access to other forms of transportation, such as broomsticks.
Nearly every wizarding home was connected to the Floo Network. While a fireplace could be disconnected by the use of a simple spell, connection required the permission of the Ministry of Magic, which regulated the Floo Network and prevented Muggle fireplaces becoming inadvertently joined up (although temporary connections could be arranged in emergencies).
In addition to domestic fireplaces, there were around a thousand fireplaces across Britain connected to the Floo Network, including those at the Ministry of Magic and various wizarding shops and inns. The fireplaces of Hogwarts were not generally connected, although there were some occasions when one or more had been tampered with, often without the staff’s knowledge.
In America, the Floo Network was regulated by the Magical Congress of the United States of America and appeared to be divided into regions, as The New York Ghost mentioned the "Southern Floo Network".
This network connected all wizarding fireplaces that utilised Floo Powder as a mode of transportation. Muggle homes were not connected to the Floo Network unless special, temporary arrangements were made, which did not require the Authority to visit the location, as the connection could be made from the Ministry of Magic.
To access the network, one had to toss a handful of Floo Powder into a fireplace, walk into the heatless, emerald green fire, and declare the desired destination. It was apparently also important for the traveller to keep their elbows close to their body. During the trip, the traveller would notice other fireplaces and hearths zooming past, but it was not possible for the traveller to see these locations clearly, as the speed of travel was too great.
It was also possible to use the Floo Network to speak to someone in another location by merely putting their head through the green fire, as Sirius Black did to talk to Harry in the latter's fourth and fifth years at Hogwarts. The Floo Network could also be used to transport inanimate objects. For example: In 1994, Molly Weasley used the fire tongs to put a piece of toast into Amos Diggory's mouth while he was talking to Arthur Weasley via the Floo Network after the Quidditch World Cup incident.
As Sirius Black could use the fire to talk to Harry in fourth and fifth years, but in Harry's sixth year, a special arrangement had to be made from the Ministry to enable students to arrive at Hogwarts, it seems that head-only transport was possible even if full human transportation was not. Otherwise, intruders, including Sirius Black, could simply use the fire in the common room to circumvent the castle's defences.
|Jacob's sibling and friend||Used the fireplace in the Headmaster's office to access Diagon Alley, specifically so they could reach Knockturn Alley, with Patricia Rakepick's asssistance.|
|Harry Potter||First travelled via the Floo Network in 1992 when he journeyed from The Burrow to London. However, Harry choked in the flames while saying "Diagon Alley". Therefore he accidentally ended up at Borgin and Burkes in Knockturn Alley, the alley infamous for the Dark Arts.|
|Arthur Weasley||In 1994, the Floo Network was temporarily connected to the Dursleys', as a favour to Arthur Weasley, so that he could transport Harry back to the Burrow in preparation of the upcoming trip to the 1994 Quidditch World Cup that Harry would be attending with the Weasley family and Hermione. The Dursleys, however, had an electric fire and Arthur Weasley had to blast open the fireplace to get out because he was stuck in there with Ron, Fred and George.|
|Fred and George Weasley|
|Harry Potter||In 1996, Harry used the Floo Network connection in Dolores Umbridge's office to contact Sirius Black at 12 Grimmauld Place, as her fireplace was one of the only ones not being monitored. Harry attempted to contact Sirius a second time on 17 June, but was caught by Umbridge while speaking to Kreacher.|
|Hogwarts students||At the end of the Christmas holidays in Harry's sixth year at Hogwarts, numerous students including Harry, Hermione and the Weasleys used the Floo Network to travel back to Hogwarts.|
|Ministry officials||In 1997, when the Ministry was overthrown by Lord Voldemort, only the homes and offices of senior Ministry officials were connected to the Network.|
Behind the scenes
- In the fifth film, Bellatrix Lestrange used the Floo Network to escape from the Battle of the Department of Mysteries. This is not canon, as in the book, Lord Voldemort Disapparated with her.
"Floo’ came from the flue that you find on a chimney and don’t ask me to tell you exactly what a flue is, because I don’t know. I just know it exists, but I’m not sure what it does exactly. I needed a way for particularly young witches and wizards to travel around because I’d created the International Statute of Secrecy, which was inconvenient, so immediately that made it quite difficult for them to move around, particularly over long distances, by magical means. So I thought they need something very discreet, and that’s how the Floo Network came about, so it was a way of moving from house to house without ever being seen by Muggles. But it was fun and comical to have it a little bit difficult to use, so that you could easily make a mistake in where you ended up."
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay (Mentioned only)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (film) (Mentioned only)
- Wizarding World
- LEGO Harry Potter
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- LEGO Harry Potter: Building the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter: Characters of the Magical World (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
- Harry Potter: Magic Awakened (Mentioned in History of Magic classes)
Notes and references
- Writing by J. K. Rowling: "Floo Powder" at Wizarding World
- (see this image)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 11 (Aboard the Hogwarts Express)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 5, Chapter 10 (Knockturn Alley)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 4 (At Flourish and Blotts)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 4 (Back to The Burrow)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 29 (Careers Advice)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 32 (Out of the Fire)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 17 (A Sluggish Memory)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 12 (Magic is Might)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game) - Console and GBA versions