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Secret Keeper

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A Secret-Keeper is a person designated to keep the location of a place a secret by means of the Fidelius Charm: the secret is kept in their very soul. The Secret-Keeper is the only person who is capable of revealing the protected information to others, either by informing them orally or by writing it down. This individual will become bound by the Fidelius Charm as well. If a Secret-Keeper dies, all the people already aware of the secret information become Secret-Keepers; this would unfortunately dilute the effect greatly; should all the people who knew of the secret die, then the secret would die with them.

Known Secret-Keepers


Peter Pettigrew, the Secret-Keeper for the Potter family who betrayed them to Voldemort.

  • Sirius Black was the original secret keeper for James and Lily Potter, but Sirius thought Voldemort was on to him (there was a spy), therefore passing on the Secret Keeper to Peter Pettigrew. Albus Dumbledore originally offered to be the Potters' secret keeper, but the couple refused on trust of their friends. Pettigrew was then the new Secret-Keeper for James and Lily Potter after they went into hiding during the First Wizarding War with their infant son Harry, keeping their whereabouts in Godric's Hollow a secret. However, Pettigrew was secretly a traitor to the Order of the Phoenix. He informed Lord Voldemort of the Potters' location, resulting in the murders of James and Lily and Voldemort's first defeat when the Killing Curse rebounded from Harry. Sirius Black was later believed to have murdered 12 muggles and a wizard in front of more than 50 eyewitnesses, when really Peter Pettigrew had killed them himself and went into his animagus form (Scabbers) and fled the scene with a missing finger. Sirius Black, however, caught at the scene of the crime, was blamed for the betrayal of Lily and James Potter (not knowing that Peter Pettigrew had really been the betrayer) and imprisoned in Azkaban for it without a trial.[1]
  • Albus Dumbledore was the Secret-Keeper for 12 Grimmauld Place, the Headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix, until he died in 1997[2]. This forced the Order to abandon it, as they erroneously believed Severus Snape to be a traitor and he knew the location.[3]

Albus Dumbledore, Secret-Keeper for 12 Grimmauld Place.

Behind the scenes

  • Severus Snape once said that when a Secret-Keeper tells someone the secret, this person is bound by the Fidelius Charm and cannot tell anyone else.[2] However, Ron Weasley was able to tell Dobby where Shell Cottage was, despite the fact that it was under the Fidelius Charm, with Bill Weasley as the Secret-Keeper[3]. Possible explanations for the discrepancy are that Ron himself was also a Secret-Keeper, that house-elves such as Dobby have ways around magic protection and concealment, or that the Fidelius Charm was not yet in effect at that time. It is also possible that since an elf's highest law is its master's bidding, Dobby was not bound by the charm.
  • It is unknown if coercion such as Veritaserum or the Imperius Curse would reveal the location that the Secret-Keeper is holding, or if the Keeper has to reveal it willingly.


Notes and references

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