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Effect on parents

Would prefer, if I am unable to do so for a time, that someone checks on the rules of the Trace concerning parents and how they effect it. It may be in CoS, but exactly where it is mentioned is not known. Kyouraku-taichou 23:07, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

How It Works?

How exactly does the trace work? I know that it detects underage magic, but it seems to work differently depending on the circumstances. Harry is unable to use magic in his home, even though his aunt, uncle and cousin all know about magic (as the whole thing is designed to hide magic from muggles), but Hermoine states in one of the books (i can't remember which one) that she has been practsing spells over the holidays, with her muggle parents. --Pratstercs 18:43, April 10, 2010 (UTC)

The trace doesn't actually makes it impossible for underage wizards to perform magic. It just alerts the Minestry of Magic to every spell used by or around a witch/wizard younger than 17. However they do not punish for spells used before one attends Hogwarts because young wizards often can't control their powers. This explains Hermione's statement, because she used the spells before attending Hogwarts. Harry could not have performed magic around the Dursleys, because he wasn't 17 not because they were muggles.Coleon 06:48, February 3, 2012 (UTC)

I think The Trace doesn't prohibit underage wizards to perform all kind of magic, I think The Trace prohibits certain spells/charms/etc. For example: 1) If I'm not wrong, in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, when Hagrid goes to first take Harry to Hogwarts, Petunia Evans Dursley says that when her sister, Lily Evans Potter, spent the Hogwarts' vacation at home, she performed some magics like the Vera Verto charm; 2) In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry casts the Lumos Maxima spell to read a book on the bed, which disturbed Vernon Dursley. Andre G. Dias (talk) 18:52, April 3, 2014 (Brazil)

Lumos Maxima and the scene with Harry in the bed are not in the books. The wiki doesn't list Lily as a user of Vera Verto, so I am skeptical of your first example. Darth Itachi (talk) 00:17, August 21, 2014 (UTC)
Lily used spells to turn teacups into rats, but did receive warnings from the Ministry about it, much like Harry with "his" Hover Charm. --Hunnie Bunn (talk) 01:11, August 21, 2014 (UTC)
So when a kid in the British Islands uses magic for the first time, the Ministry of Magic is alarmed and they send some teachers from Hogwarts to get the kid?Galeah (talk) 20:46, November 29, 2016 (UTC)

As to the inconsistency regarding Tom Riddle...

I believe that this can be explained if we take Voldemort's birthday into account. Voldemort was born December 31, making him older than his other batchmates. I don't really do much math, but this canon data will show us that Voldemort was already seventeen during his sixth year. This calculation is also applied by Rowling to Cedric Diggory. Although only in sixth year, he was able to participate in the Triwizard Tournament because he was already seventeen. The same goes for Angelina. If we were to count the age based only on the year level, then I guess it would be safe to say that Hermione should be one academic year higher than Harry and Ron, since her birthday is September and she isn't younger than both, as evidenced by her being able to take the Apparition test when Harry and Draco could not (due to the age limit). Thanksherman 14:01, January 6, 2012 (UTC)

The reason Hermione was able to take the Apparition test might be that her age was accelerated by her use of a Time Turner in her third year. It is possible that she is still "older" than them despite them being born before her. Darth Itachi (talk) 00:13, August 21, 2014 (UTC)
Using a Time-Turner does not age a person. She is literally older than them since she was born before them: they were born in 1980, she in 1979. --Hunnie Bunn (talk) 01:11, August 21, 2014 (UTC)

At the Burrow

When Harry left the Dursleys' home in Deathly Hallows, his mother's charm broke but the trace remained intact. While at the Weasleys' home, magic was used around him (before he came of age and the trace broke). Shouldn't the Ministry have been alerted to this? And if they were, why didn't Pius Thicknesse get word of it and report his location to Voldemort? 06:25, February 3, 2012 (UTC)TheDanya

Why the Ministry should be alerted? The Ministry is alerted only if the underage uses magic and not if someone else uses magic around him. And why Pius Thicknesse would report Harry's location since it was already known that he was at The Burrow? Andre G. Dias (talk) 20:21, April 3, 2014 (Brazil)

- Andre G Dias - How do you explain that the trace was activated in Harry when Dobby used the Hover Charm?  ChibiHoshi (talk) 04:46, April 16, 2019 (Brazil)

A possible explanation is that the Fidelus charm was placed on the Burrow because it doesn't transmit any information that could reveal the location. Although this is contradicted by the fact that deatheaters were able to attack the Burrow during the wedding of Bill and Fleur. If the Fidelus charm realy was placed on the Burrow than the deatheaters should have only been able to attack the Burrow, if they were told the secret by the secretkeeper (which is highly unlikely).Coleon 06:40, February 3, 2012 (UTC)

It is possible that a Fidelius Charm was placed on The Burrow but I think that it's purpose was not to conceal but to "seal"/protect the place, so that only authorized people could enter. Personally, I don't believe that a Fidelius Charm was placed, I think only Protective enchantments was used.

Analyzing the film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, the Death Eaters seems only to be capable to break up The Burrow's Protective enchantments after the Ministry fell. So, I believe there is some central magic power that allowed the Death Eaters break The Burrow in. Andre G. Dias (talk) 21:58, April 3, 2014 (Brazil)

I think there's a few general factors to consider here.

1. The Trace seems to pick up magic in the vicinity of the person it's on. They don't have to cast it, they just have to be near the casting - it doesn't even have to be wanded magic, that does it (which makes sense given accidental magic). See also: the Dobby incident.

2. We do not know if the Trace identifies the person who was in the vicinity of the magic being cast or if it simply provides a location to then be investigated and/or compared to the known locations of underage magicals. If the former then it should be going off for most magical students over the summer, if the latter, then Harry's location could be easily found by enemies - though given the blood protection it's possible they wouldn't be able to approach him.

3. The Trace is on other underage magicals than just Harry - it's on all of them. Given this, the Trace could/should have been set off for Harry, Ron, Ginny, Hermione, the twins and Percy at various points during the books due to Molly Weasley, Bill and Charlie using magic around the Burrow.

5. They never received letters for this that we're shown, even when Mrs. Weasley, Bill and Charlie clearly use magic in their vicinity.

6. Returning to point 2, it could be that the Ministry simply ignores Trace pings from individuals from known magical families. That would explain the Weasley children never receiving letters for their mother's magic around the house. However, this would not account for Hermione or Harry spending summers there without problem, suggesting that the Trace does not track the individual but rather the location the magic is cast.

6.1. One could argue that Arthur Weasley might just let the Ministry know that Hermione and Harry were at the Burrow to prevent such letters, however the first time Harry visited he did not know until after Harry had arrived and been around Molly Weasley magically cooking breakfast for everyone. Additionally, he arrived back having just gotten off work, and there would be more magic cast around Harry before he would go back to the Ministry. This suggests again that the Trace simply marks location rather than the individual.

6.2. One could then argue that clearly the Trace is useless and incomplete if magical children from magical households could get away with casting magic all summer while muggle-born children would not be able to - to which I simply say, given that the way muggle-borns are treated is part of an allegory for racism, it makes sense that the Ministry, established to be biased and bigoted, would allow this unfairness, especially as it favours wealthy purebloods with known political power, who would prefer things stay that way.

6.3. One could still argue that it's incomplete and useless to a Ministry trying to regulate magic... but given that the restrictions on magic are also intended to try to maintain the Statute of Secrecy, it can still be countered that they have more cause to monitor magic in muggle neighbourhoods than in magical, and that having muggle-borns with the Trace makes the work of Obliviators easier, while also limiting the degree to which muggle-borns could achieve magical excellence.

To me, gathering all of this together, the conclusion seems to be that the Trace marks location and not individual. As long as Harry cast no magic at Privet Drive he wouldn't be caught there until the blood protection fell and as long as he was at the Burrow the Trace going off for him would be muddied by the Trace going off for the Weasley children. As a known magical location, Trace pings at that location are ignored.

Thus: the Death Eaters had no absolute way to know that Harry was at the Burrow. They may have suspected, but they had no way of knowing. Given the attack at the wedding seemed pretty indiscriminate it's possible they never knew for absolute fact that Harry was there and simply attacked for the reason given by Kingsley's patronus: Scrimgeour was dead. The Ministry had fallen. They were free to attack families such as the Weasleys indiscriminately.

I accept that this is all speculation based on what facts we have, but I do think this handily explains many things without being fanon. It is still speculation though. Estrildis (talk) 23:24, 20 April 2021 (UTC)


I recall that, in LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7, it briefly shows Fudge being aware that Harry is using the Patronus Charm and looking disgusted, presumably because the Trace just activated. Would a .gif of said scene be helpful for this article, and is there anyone here capable of making one? -- 1337star (Drop me a line!) 03:28, November 17, 2012 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done--Hunnie Bunn (Owl me!) 21:46, January 27, 2013 (UTC)

Other uses to The Trace

Is it possible that The Trace magic could be used to other purposes beyond the usual which was to localize the underage wizards who performed magic? For example: Is it possible that during the Voldemort's regime in the Ministry of Magic, The Trace was used to track enemies (Order of the Phoenix and Dumbledore's Army members)? For example: 1) In the film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, when Harry enters the Dolores Umbridge's office in the Muggle-Born Registration Commission, he sees several files of Albus Dumbledore, Hermione Granger, etc. and is imprinted "Tracked"; 2) There is a cut scene of the film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 where Harry Potter (disguised as Albert Runcorn) alerts Arthur Weasley that he has been tracked.

If these suppositions are correct, should this be inserted in the text?

Andre G. Dias (talk) 20:49, April 3, 2014 (Brazil)

I had always assumed the Ministry simply employed spies of sorts to surreptitiously follow the Order around. In any case, the specific Trace ("The Trace") only works on under-seventeens. --Hunnie Bunn (talk) 01:17, April 4, 2014 (UTC)
Hunnie Bunn (talk), I agree with you. In the film Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Arthur Weasley tells to Harry Potter that they all have been followed and that's why Molly Weasley doesn't leave home mostly of the days. I also agree with the possibility that The Trace only has the purpose to localize the underage wizards who performed magic. So, is it possible that the Ministry has another kind of magic, and similar to The Trace, to use for other purposes? For example: track an Apparition/Disapparation, as it seems was done when (in the film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1) after the Trio apparate from Xenophilius Lovegood's house, the Death Eaters/Snatchers seems to track them to a forest (maybe the Forest of Dean). Andre G. Dias (talk) 22:46, April 5, 2014 (Brazil)

Speculation in Article

The Implementation and Use section of this article is almost entirely speculation. Additionally, the speculation is not attributed to any sources. The paragraph just begins with "It is speculated that...".

It's probably a bad idea for this wiki to engage in fan theories when there is no real evidence pointing to a particular theory and thus any number of theories can be thought up that are just as plausible.

Does anyone know the providence of this theory? If not, (or if it's just random people on the interwebs) I definitely think we should cut it and just talk about what we know for sure and what can be reasonably deduced from that information. Mv9435 (talk) 06:50, June 22, 2018 (UTC)

"It is speculated that..." is usually, if not always, a euphemism for "this is fanon". Such passages are usually deleted from wikis on which they appear on the grounds of being fanon. — evilquoll (talk) 07:13, June 22, 2018 (UTC)

Given the paragraph also provides counter-evidence I think dismissing it as fanon alone is a bit premature. That said, that paragraph should probably be moved to another section - maybe behind the scenes or trivia - because it's certainly not confirmed canon. I would suggest asking a mod to weigh in.

Estrildis (talk) 09:11, June 22, 2018 (UTC)

Someone should add that the trace doesn't go off when Hagrid uses his illegal wand to hex Dudley with the pig tail. This would add weight to the speculation that the Trace happens when they start school. ChibiHoshi (talk) 04:44, April 16, 2019 (UTC)

It's also possible that the Ministry was alerted of Hagrid's presense around Muggles. Muggle-borns have a witch or wizard official arrive to tell the families' of their magical child(ren) L4D2Ellis19 (talk) 22:16, 20 April 2021 (UTC)


Should this page be renamed and separated into Trace (Spell) and Trace (Calamity)? Faux Floo (talk) 15:56, 1 September 2021 (UTC)

Wouldn't Trace (Ministry) be better? ChibiHoshi (talk)