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Fidelius question - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Fidelius question
I had Remus and Sirius joke about this in Shifts, but never really brought it up in a meta. Number 12, Grimmauld Place, is protected by things other than Fidelius which could have prevented the situation there, but in theory, given that--according to the description--you can be looking straight at someone under Fidelius and not see him, what would happen if two people were under Fidelius in the same place?

Let's say, if you've got a ward at St. Mungo's, you put Alice and Frank's location under Fidelius, then Bella gets sick at Azkaban, and the only bed is in the same ward, so she's brought there and also put under Fidelius. Would they and their (duly notified) visitors just keep passing each other all unaware? What if they ran smack into each other while wandering around the ward? What if 12GP hadn't had other protections on it (like, apparently, a tie to the legal heir), and both Sirius and Bellatrix had thought of it, and the Order and the Death Eaters were both using it as headquarters all year? Kreacher couldn't tell the Death Eaters, after all, and the Order might not think to ask if there was a parallel group holding meetings at the same table.

Just some goofy random thing to think about.
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scarah2 From: scarah2 Date: July 6th, 2007 11:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think they just let the prisoners die, but that's a little beside the point.

What if they ran smack into each other while wandering around the ward?

Considering the way it squished 12 GP, I don't think that would happen. They might behave sort of like movie-Knight Bus without knowing it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 6th, 2007 11:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think the squishing was from making it Unplottable (Harry can find it after he's told, but it's hard to tell which spell is doing what--if a person can press his nose against someone's window when it's under Fidelius, it can't always also hide the house), rather than from Fidelius, but I'm not entirely sure.

Yeah, I could see all kinds of weird little time-space warps happening.
scarah2 From: scarah2 Date: July 7th, 2007 01:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Harry reads the secret, house unsquishes. I always thought that meant the Fidelius Charm had done the squishing.

This can be reconciled with the quote about pressing one's nose to the window in the following way. The secret of 12 GP is the location of the headquarters, i. e. the house. If the other Fidelius Charm had been worded to be about the people, not the house, then you get the window nose pressing thing.

Unplottability means that you can't map it. (I question the effectiveness due to the Marauder's Map, but that's also another subject.) Hogwarts is Unplottable and never had to decompress before Harry could see it.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 7th, 2007 01:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Hm. I had the impression that what Harry was told was that 12GP was the Order headquarters--that the Order was there--not that 12GP existed at all, just because that was what was on the paper rather than, "There is a house at Number 12, Grimmauld Place." I figured that the Order just waited for him to read it, then undid whatever security spell hid it.
norilou From: norilou Date: July 6th, 2007 11:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
As far as 12GP, maybe you can only cast the charm once and anyone that tries after that, it just won't work. If you are hiding a person though, I guess you could bump into each other and just not know what you hit. It is a very confusing spell. I was trying to explain it to my 8 yr old cousin this weekend and we both ended up confused.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 7th, 2007 01:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Especially when you try to work in what JK thought was self-evident, that the Secret Keeper's death ends up releasing the secret. I mean, in that case, if you're Voldemort, why bother torturing someone to give up a secret? Why turn Peter? Why not just kill him, and then, bam, visible Lily and James?
norilou From: norilou Date: July 7th, 2007 01:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah. It's a charm with a LOT of loopholes and it creates a lot of confusion.
From: spitc1899 Date: July 7th, 2007 02:18 am (UTC) (Link)
I thought it was the opposite, actually. I just checked JKR's website to make sure, and it says there that when the Secret Keeper dies, only the people they've told the secret will know it after that. It can't be passed on to anyone else.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 7th, 2007 02:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, good--I must be misremembering. I thought she said, "Oh, I thought that was obvious, if the secret keeper dies, the secret comes out." Which was very, very puzzling.

Although the latter comes with its own problem, since now no one new can come to the Order headquarters.
elendiari22 From: elendiari22 Date: July 6th, 2007 11:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Now there's a fanfic in the making. A hilarious one. :)
ncp From: ncp Date: July 7th, 2007 12:41 am (UTC) (Link)
*icon love*
toastedcheese From: toastedcheese Date: July 6th, 2007 11:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmm. I think that could happen if the Fidelius Charm was specifically hiding the Order members, but isn't it hiding the location of the house itself? Harry can't see the house at all until he's told the secret. So the Death Eaters wouldn't be able to see it, much less use it as headquarters.

It would definitely be pretty awesome, though.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 7th, 2007 01:52 am (UTC) (Link)
If the house is what's hidden (that's not what the secret seems to be), then the DEs could have cast the same charm at the same time, and both of them think that no one else can see it. I mean, if it's Fidelius that makes the house disappear, then it was visible before Fidelius was set up, and someone else could have done the same or a similar charm.
toastedcheese From: toastedcheese Date: July 7th, 2007 05:00 am (UTC) (Link)
That's true. And the secret is fairly ambiguous; Dumbledore's note reveals the location of headquarters - so the secret could either be the location of the actual building, or the fact that the Order is using that building. I just assumed it was the former because of the appearing house trick.
iamstarmom From: iamstarmom Date: July 7th, 2007 01:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Sorry. My head hurts when I try to think about this.
gabrielladusult From: gabrielladusult Date: July 7th, 2007 01:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
That reminds me of the Buffy episode where Willow comes back to Sunnydale from England and she and the gang can't see each other (because of some inadvertent magic Willow was doing). In that case I think both Spike and Anya could see both at the same time...

Your premise about 12GP is interesting, particularly if you consider that Snape would be a member of both groups and presumably unable to tell either group (depending on his loyalties in your world) because of the nature of Fidelius.

I would think, though, that if the Fidelius is just applied to the building that the people would be visible to each other -- and that it comes down to whoever puts it in the Fidelius charm first -- because once its under Fidelius, then the other group wouldn't be able to find it to do the charm themselves.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 7th, 2007 02:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
I believe what JKR said was 'The secret dies with the secret keeper' i.e. the secret is still a secret. So 12GP (IMO) can still be used as HQ by the OoTP.

But it is definitely an interesting question, Fern.

The Fidelius secret in case of 12GP was that it was the HQ of the OoTP. The existence of the place is a secret too, but not covered by Fidelius. The Fidelius did not necessarily prevent anyone else who knew about the existence of the place from getting there. That was ensured by all the security charms 'known to wizardkind', plus heir privileges.

Extending that, I think if two different Fidelius charms protect the same secret, the people living under the two charms would know about each other, but would be unable to speak of it to an outsider.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 7th, 2007 02:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
I believe what JKR said was 'The secret dies with the secret keeper' i.e. the secret is still a secret. So 12GP (IMO) can still be used as HQ by the OoTP.

Yeah... but can anyone new be brought into the Order? Everyone who's there already can continue using the place, but say that Harry finds a need to get Narcissa Malfoy someplace safe, because she's about to betray the DEs to the Order. Harry's not the Secret Keeper. The secret stays in DD's hands, and DD is dead. So how does Harry get Narcissa into headquarters, if he needed to?
persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: July 7th, 2007 08:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
I keep trying to decide whether she intends this to be a secondary danger -- not only could you be betrayed, but you could (depending on the nature of the secret) be forgotten if the Secret Keeper dies.

Hmm. If you have someone besides the Secret Keeper who knows the secret and the right charm, could the death of the original Secret Keeper make it possible to make a new one, to take over? Could you designate a Secret Heir ahead of time? :P
erised1810 From: erised1810 Date: July 7th, 2007 07:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
what if soeone wsa put udner two different fidelous charms?
op hand the paralel meetings at grimmaudl place...
uch m ybrian hurts i wantto writea very complicated fic mixign this inwith timeturners adn penseive memories and dreams...
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 8th, 2007 01:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
I guess if you want to hide Narcissa and Draco at 12GP, you'd have to create a new Fidelius charm with a new secret e.g. 'The address where Narcissa is hiding is 12 GP'. Note that even if she's hidden there, she'd probably not be part of the OoTP. Of course, she'd know about it, but not be able to tell anyone else.

Of course, there may be info that JKR has not provided us yet, such as a 'death clause' for the Fidelius.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: July 8th, 2007 03:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
But would she be able to see the other members of the Order, as the secret is that it's their headquarters? How could she report to them on anything?

I suspect we'll find out there was some kind of death clause, and DD was able to pass the secret to Harry when he died. Either that, or that little problem will be completely ignored, and fandom will have to invent a death clause. ;p
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 9th, 2007 08:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, I don't think she'd be trusted enough to be inducted into the Order. Same for Draco. She'd be able to see the members and also probably guess that it is the HQ for the Order (the Fidelius doesn't prevent intelligent guessing of the secret, does it?). Even then, she would not be able to communicate the secret to anyone outside the order.

Does this argument seem sound to you?

Yeah, you're right, we just have to wait & see how JKR resolves this.
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 9th, 2007 05:55 am (UTC) (Link)
I suspect that in this case, we have an out. There's still the piece of parchment that Mad-Eye showed Harry. Dumbledore wrote out the address, and as far as we know, that parchment is still in the iron fist of Moody. Should new members of the OotP or anyone else need to find 12GP, there is a way, even if the secret dies with the keeper. Provided, of course, that Moody didn't eat it or something.

From: (Anonymous) Date: July 9th, 2007 08:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wait, I thought that Moody burnt that parchment?
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