A Portkey is an object enchanted to instantly bring anyone touching it to a specific location. Most of the time, a Portkey is an everyday object that would not draw the attention of a Muggle. Travelling by Portkey is said to feel like having a hook "somewhere behind the navel" pulling the traveller to their location.
Portkeys have an advantage over Floo Powder in that they may transport many people at once, but each Portkey can only transport its users to one destination. Unlike Apparition, Portkeys may also be used by anyone, such as underage witches and wizards and possibly even Muggles, though there are no known instances of the latter occurring.
Before the creation of the Hogwarts Express, Portkeys were used as a means of transportation to not draw the attention of Muggles. Eventually another method was sought, because the majority of students would either not find the item that was their Portkey or not arrive in time to take the Portkey. Many students were 'Portkey-sick' and the Hospital Wing was filled with students for the first few days of term, while they got over their hysterics and nausea.
Types of Portkeys
Some Portkeys are preset to travel to their destinations at a specific time. Examples include the Portkeys that transported wizards to the Quidditch World Cup in 1994, and the ones that transported members of the Order of the Phoenix from the different Order safehouses to the Burrow, after the Battle of the Seven Potters in 1997. Other Portkeys are triggered immediately by a person's touch; examples include the Triwizard Cup, which transported Harry Potter and Cedric Diggory to Little Hangleton, and the broken statue head that sent Harry Potter back to Hogwarts after the Battle of the Department of Mysteries. It is unknown how one affects the difference between the two types of Portkeys.
Both types of Portkey travel to the destination along with their users. With touch-activated Portkeys, touching it again might transport the users back to their original location, as was the case with the Triwizard Cup. Time-activated ones can be handled before and after their assigned moment of use without effect.
According to Remus Lupin, the creation of unauthorised Portkeys incurs some sort of punishment, and Cornelius Fudge was quite angry when Albus Dumbledore created one in front of him without permission. However, as demonstrated by Dumbledore and Barty Crouch Jr., the Ministry does not have the ability to detect the creation of such Portkeys.
List of Portkeys
|Broom||Quidditch pitch||Sahara Desert||Unidentified Quidditch fan|
|Unknown||Godric's Hollow||Central Europe||Bathilda Bagshot|
|An old boot||Stoatshead Hill||1994 Quidditch World Cup||Unknown, presumably the Ministry of Magic|
|An old newspaper||Unknown||Unknown|
|A punctured football|
|An empty drink can|
|Triwizard Cup||Quidditch pitch, Hogwarts||Little Hangleton graveyard||Barty Crouch Jr.|
|A blackened kettle||Headmaster's office, Hogwarts||12 Grimmauld Place||Albus Dumbledore|
|The head of a golden statue||Ministry of Magic||Headmaster's office, Hogwarts|
|A small, silver-backed hairbrush||The Tonks' house||The Burrow||Unknown member of the Order of the Phoenix|
|A rusty oilcan||None||Unknown house of a member of the Order of the Phoenix|
|An ancient sneaker|
|A bent coathanger|
Behind the scenes
- According to W.O.M.B.A.T., in order for portkeys to be arranged between countries, the consent of both Nations's Ministries of Magic may be required.
- Also on W.O.M.B.A.T., it is possible that releasing a Portkey before arriving at one's destination may result in serious injury or death.
- It is unknown why the Death Eaters used the Vanishing Cabinet when they could have created a portkey to Hogwarts unless there is a specific spell that stops portkeys, however Albus Dumbledore made one from the Ministry so this is also a contradiction. However, it may be possible that only the Headmaster or Headmistress of the time can make a Portkey in and out of Hogwarts, especially as such has been established to be the case with Apparition.
- The incantation for creating a portkey is Portus.
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Quidditch Through the Ages (real) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- Pottermore (Mentioned only)