I think this question was pulled as a duplicate when it shouldn't have:

In HP and PoA, why didnt they take the Minister back in time with the time turner to validate Sirius' innocence?

While the question is about Time-Turners, which seems to be well-documented and discussed, this question has not been asked, nor answered, as far as I can tell. The question which it is being linked to as a duplicate:

Why Couldn't a Time Turner Have been Used to Stop Voldemort?

Specifically does not answer the question. It appears to me that @Richard pulled the plug way too quickly on this question. The answer given by @alexwlchan has a great explanation, which is not a duplicate of another answer as far as I can tell.

IMHO, this question should be taken off the duplicate list and revitalized.

  • It's a duplicate for the points laid out in the answers below. It's a question that, should it be reopened, I personally wouldn't have a problem re-closing as a duplicate. Unfortunately this question is not unique under the circumstances, but it is one that we would absolutely welcome in chat for further discussion. Apr 24, 2015 at 12:09
  • @Slytherincess - And you, above all others on this site, would have the power to do so ;-) I am starting to agree this is most probably a duplicate ... as I stated below, I think my issue is with the choice of questions used to say it was duplicated. Apr 24, 2015 at 12:11
  • If you think it should be closed as a duplicate of a different question, feel free to suggest one, and we can change the duplicate.
    – alexwlchan
    Apr 24, 2015 at 12:13
  • @alexwlchan - I think it is covered under the other questions, but nothing really comes close. How do you moderate this? Apr 24, 2015 at 12:15
  • When I wrote my answer to the new question: 1) I deliberately avoided “time travel doesn’t work like that”, because that’s covered elsewhere. and 2) I imagined Fudge eavesdropping on the conversation, not being in the room. That might not be a dupe, because you can’t prove Fudge wasn’t there the first time.
    – alexwlchan
    Apr 24, 2015 at 12:16
  • @Paulster2 - Believe me, I know the frustration of wanting an on-site answer to a specific bit of HP canon, and either having my (what I thought was uniquely written) question closed as a duplicate, or being unable to justify posting my specific question because technically it had already been answered, even if I disagreed with the application of an existing answer to my particular question. I hope that very long sentence made sense. Basically, understanding the duplicate process takes time to learn. And, even though it's not what you want to hear, we would not lead you astray! :) Apr 24, 2015 at 12:17
  • Haha - So, it comes down to exact-duplicates, eh? I get the gist of that and understand. Apr 24, 2015 at 12:31
  • Ooh. I had no idea this would prove so contentious. @MichaelEdenfield 's answer is precisely my thought process. I'm happy to reopen if you think there's a better duplicate.
    – Valorum
    Apr 24, 2015 at 15:21
  • 2
    actually, @Kevin makes a good point that this situation may not actually fall under the original answer, because there is no change of events being done, so maybe you should reopen it :)
    – KutuluMike
    Apr 25, 2015 at 17:05

3 Answers 3


In general, we judge duplicate questions based on having duplicate answers. The answer to the original question starts out by saying this:

Luckily, time travel in Harry Potter doesn’t exactly work that way. The time traveler cannot change the past because what is experienced in the past has already been changed.

That is the answer to your question, and in fact, to just about every time-turner question that's ever been asked. Just picking some other random situation from HP and asking "why didn't they use a Time Turner to fix _________" does not make a new and interesting question, because the answer is always the same: "they can't."

  • 1
    This, I'll admit, makes much more sense. I understand your point and reasoning. I think my real problem is the choice of question used as a duplicate, because it does not align with the question or the answer. Apr 24, 2015 at 12:04
  • IMO, the question chose as the duplicate has the "canonical right answer" for any time-turner question, so it's the right choice. It might be worth while to expand on the answer to that question, to help demonstrate why it applies to all the other's linked as a duplicate.
    – KutuluMike
    Apr 24, 2015 at 13:23
  • @MichaelEdenfield - Yes. This. This was my precise thought process. That answer is the answer to this and every other Time-turner question; JKR has stated that you can't (normally) affect the past and you can't make big changes.
    – Valorum
    Apr 24, 2015 at 17:30
  • 3
    I have to disagree that the answers to the target answer this question at all. "Can't change the past" -> They wouldn't be changing anything, just observing. "Five-hour limit" -> They only need to go back an hour or two. "Chaos theory / unintended consequences" -> Again, not changing anything. "Smashed all the time turners" -> Obviously hadn't happened yet. I don't see anything in the dupe target that addresses the new question at all.
    – Kevin
    Apr 24, 2015 at 17:41

First off: the fact that @alexwlchan provided an alternate answer does not make it not a duplicate.

But more to the question of whether or not it's a dupe. Reading the new question and the existing question and answers, I'd agree that this is a dupe.

Fundamentally, the new question asks why a time turner wasn't used to go back and right a wrong. The existing answers provide various reasons why a time turner isn't or can't be used for such purposes. This includes things like intended uses of time turners, how far time can be turned back, and the issue of creating paradoxes. While Alex has laid out some new ideas on the new question, the old answers already addresses this pretty well as these are the same reasons why they couldn't/didn't use a time turner to exonerate Sirius.

  • Actually, in cannon, 5 hours is within the time limit being suggested in the question, so your answer to my question does not equate. Apr 24, 2015 at 12:03
  • @Paulster2 I love that you pick out ONE reason mentioned in the sixteen answers and decide that the whole thing isn't a dupe because you don't agree with it. Dupes are not only based on accepted answers, they are based on the question or any existing answer on it.
    – phantom42
    Apr 24, 2015 at 12:06
  • I'm getting to the gist of the question, which is time-turners and going back a couple of hours. Seems legitimate to me. Maybe I'm getting tunnel vision or something. Wouldn't be the first time. Apr 24, 2015 at 12:09
  • And the other answers already talk about bigger issues like paradoxes. How far back it goes is irrelevant when changing the past creates a paradox possibly destroying time and space itself.
    – phantom42
    Apr 24, 2015 at 12:19
  • Seems like this whole mess is a paradox ;-) Apr 24, 2015 at 12:30

Speaking to @Kevin's comment that none of the answers in the dupe address the consequences of using the time-turners purely for "information gathering purposes" (e.g. acting under the assumption that this won't create a paradox since it only affects events in the future), I've added an additional answer that specifically refers to the fact that time-turners are considered pretty bloody dangerous at the best of times.

I also take exception to his idea that time-travel is consequence free but that's another matter entirely :-)

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