Welcome Potterheads to another thought-provoking session of exploring JK Rowling’s Magical World which influenced an entire generation! Today we will discuss Prisoner of Azkaban, where Hermione was issued a Time Turner by Ministry of Magic on Dumbledore’s recommendation. While Dumbledore did give Harry Potter and his precious friends a considerable amount of undue favors, this one stands out. Well, to possess the ability to mess around with time is no joke, and to hand over it to a 13-year-old Hermione Granger (no matter how brilliant) is bound to make some question Dumbledore’s sanity or motives, to say the least. Forgive me if my Slytherin is showing but someone needs to say things the way they are.
What is a Time Turner?
I mean if you are true Potterhead and reading this you obviously know what are they, and how dangerous yet useful they are. Inarguably time turner was a very fascinating device introduced by J K Rowling but it also raised a lot of questions. For example, if time turners were a thing, why no one used them and went in the past to stop killing of Harry Potter’s parents or even better, stop Voldemort altogether? If they were not to be used for saving lives of significant and innocent people and stopping the evil, why just hand them out to teenager so she can study every subject the school has to offer. Today I am here to dish out answers to all these questions.
Regulation of Time Turners by Ministry of Magic
All time turners are strictly regulated by the Ministry of Magic and possession of a time turner is illegal. This law is so firmly implemented that even Dumbledore does not have one. Do you think some other sneaky rebellious wizard has it? I will bet my last dollar on that, but I am not sure if it was being put to any significant use, or ministry would be able to track it and confusticate it. The reason they were handled with such extreme caution and strict regulation is obvious. Messing around time could cause hazardous consequences. Did you saw in Infinity War how many alternative possible timelines Dr. Strange said there were? 14 million! And only one of those had a desirable outcome. So now you know the probability of things going wrong vs things going right if you mess around with time. Anything is hardly worth the risk. Not even saving James and Lily Potter or Demise of Voldemort!
So why give such a dangerous thing to 13-year-old girl high on her own hormones? Because Dumbledore was a lunatic who loved to toy around with danger! Just kidding (not really, who sends 11 years old in the forbidden forest past midnight?!) To be honest all adults in Wizarding World are off their charts a bit when it comes to the security of young wizards and witches. Let’s see, Triwizard Tournament; school kids facing Dragons? Really Ministry of Magic?
Anyways, let’s dig in why Dumbledore thought 13-year-old Hermione must have a Time Turner and why ministry obligated him with such a huge favor for such a small cause?
Why Hermione was Given Time Turner?
How hard it would have been to tell a 13-year-old nerdy girl that her wish to take all the subjects school has to offer is impractical and can not be accommodated in time table? In the worst-case scenario, she would have thrown a tantrum about it and that’s it, she would never have asked for a time turner!
Yes, she was given the time turner precisely because she never asked for one. It’s the same tricky logic Dumbledore’s used in Philosopher’s Stone, only the one who doesn’t desire to use it must possess it! Call him crazy all you want his idea worked. I know you are still not satisfied with the answer but don’t worry it’s not the complete answer, there is more to it.
So when Hermione was entrusted with this precious yet dangerous Time Turner, it was a known fact that Sirius Black has escaped Azkaban and is at losing. Things were uncertain and devious, to say the least. Dumbledore thought it would be handy to have an extraordinary magical object, within his reach but not directly in his pocket. At that time he had no idea for what exact purpose the time turner would be used but he knew he will need it and it had to be easily available for him if and when the need arises. This is the same thing he did in Philosopher’s Stone when he kept The Stone at School instead of Gringotts which was supposedly the safest and most secure place in the Wizarding World.
Another important thing here to see is that he was easily enticed by power and powerful magical object as per his own confession. For this very reason and fear of being corrupted by the power he never joined ministry himself but kept useful connections there instead. If you remember he was in possession of Potter’s invisibility cloak the night James and Lily died. At that time he knew it was no ordinary cloak but death’s own cloak. He was a collector, he liked to have strong magical things.
Another thing similar to The Philosopher’s Stone is Dumbledore’s “trusted” one of his students with a very powerful magical object for safekeeping it. In Philosopher’s Stone, he trusted very gluable Hagrid (no better than a 13-year-old in that regard if you ask me) with the Stone. In The Prisoner of Azkaban, he trusted 13-year-old Hermione with a Time Turner. Why he does so? There are two reasons, to form a special bond with these students and mainly because no one would ever suspect that they can be in possession of such a strong magical object. Here I would like to add, much like Professor Slughorn he too liked to make strong connections with brilliant students but in a different way and for different reasons.
Why Save Sirius Black’s Life and not any other?
Yes, why not James and Lily or even his own sister? Well, the thing is Dumbledore did not save Sirius’life by reversing his death but only helped him escape the death penalty or the lifetime imprisonment before it ever actually happened. The only death he probably reversed and nullified was of Buckbeak the hippogriff. Death or life of animals, even though magical is relatively insignificant in the regards it is very much unlikely to change the course of history. If he could have actually reversed death of a single human being you bet it would be his sister’s.
Also, time turners have limitations too and can take you back only a little in the past. While there is no direct number given about how many hours you can go back in time, I believe it is more of a matter of hours rather than months or years.
Dumbledore was a collector who liked to have powerful magical things easily accessible to him. When Sirius Black escaped Azkaban he thought it would be handy to have a time turner at his disposal and used Hermione Granger and his connections in Ministry of Magic to get hold of a Time Turner. A hard-working book warm was awarded a powerful magical device that she never asked for. Since her parents were alive (unlike Harry), and she had practically no connections in Wizarding World so she had a very little motive of going back in time and changing the course of history for Wizarding World. This made convincing Ministry officials easier. Hermione’s seemingly insignificant practice of Time Turner over the year helped her do Dumbledore’s bidding perfectly at the end of the year. It’s reasonable to conclude just like always, Dumbledore needed Time Turner for his own reasons and used a student as a tool.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post. If you have any thoughts on the time turner please share them in the comment section.