“You must have shown me real loyalty down in the Chamber. Nothing but that could have called Fawkes to you.”

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

I haven't found the use of "call something/somebody to somebody" in dictionaries. I think it means "... called Fawkes to help you." Is it a normal collocation? What's the exact meaning it conveys?


Call someone or something to a person or place is a phrase synonymous with the verb summon.

The boss called me to his office yesterday.

Call the puppy to you and see if it comes over.

An ambulance was called to the scene.

The Attorney General was called to the White House.

P.S. That which 'calls to' the summoned need not have an actual voice.

Rumors of gold nuggets as big as a bird's egg called them to the Yukon by the thousands.

The promise of opportunity called them to the big city.

And there the verb takes on a figurative sense, 'to draw or attract as if by calling'.

  • In this context, the subject(Nothing but that, referring to "shown me real loyalty down in the Chamber") is not a person. How should we understand it?
    – dan
    Nov 8 '18 at 10:38
  • 1
    Please see the P.S. Nov 8 '18 at 10:41
  • Is this definition "To cause one to think of (something); evoke." fit for this sense?
    – dan
    Nov 8 '18 at 10:53
  • 1
    No, that would be "to call to mind". These skyscrapers looming over the street call to mind a great canyon. In other words, "summon thoughts of ..." But "to mind" is required. Nov 8 '18 at 11:00

I've searched what is the nature of Fawkes. For those like me that don't remember it, he's a magical phoenix.

I don't remember that exact scene either but I think that it may be related with these construction quoted from the Cambridge Dictionary

bring/call sth/sb to heel

to order a dog to come close to you
to force someone to obey you

Fawkes is a magical animal so probably he obeyed or came close to Harry because the young wizard showed real loyalty previously.

  • 5
    Unfortunately this interpretation doesn’t quite fit because Harry Potter does not actually call Fawkes. The situation he’s in is desperate and Fawkes, magically perceiving this despite being a distance away, comes of his own volition and initiative. He is being called to Harry by the situation, not by Harry. (It’s a common theme of the books that the protagonist doesn’t actually have any agency and gets handed the solution without working for it.) Nov 8 '18 at 11:20
  • @KonradRudolph Good point. You're right. My Harry Potter's books are in Spanish and I've not looked up the reference. Thanks for the clarification. :-)
    – RubioRic
    Nov 8 '18 at 11:27

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