Dumbledore was trying to sort it all out ... what did that mean? how much power did Dumbledore have to override the Ministry of Magic? Was there a chance that he might be allowed back to Hogwarts, then? A small shoot of hope burgeoned in Harry's chest, almost immediately strangled by panic—how was he supposed to refuse to surrender his wand without doing magic? He'd have to duel with the Ministry representatives, and if he did that, he'd be lucky to escape Azkaban, let alone expulsion.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

I don't quite understand the meaning of "he'd be lucky to escape Azkaban". On the other hand, why didn't it put "he'd be lucky to escape from Azkaban"? How should we understand it in this context?

2 Answers 2


The meaning is:

He'd be lucky to escape being sent to Azkaban.
He'd be lucky to avoid Azkaban.


He'd be lucky to escape being sentenced to serve a term in Azkaban.

That's why there's no from. The sentence does not speak about an attempt to escape from the prison.

  • Thanks! But I don't get the whole sentence is saying: "He'd have to duel with the Ministry representatives, and if he did that, he'd be lucky to escape Azkaban, let alone expulsion." Can you help to explain it a bit?
    – dan
    Jan 5, 2019 at 8:07
  • @dan - If Harry fights against Ministry workers, the Wizard Court will not only expel him from Hogwarts but also send him to the Azkaban prison. If Harry does not fight, they will take away his wand. Jan 5, 2019 at 8:08
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    @dan - It's not "he is lucky to", it's "he would be lucky to". The word would implies "if". If he escaped a prison sentence after fighting with officials, he would be considered quite a lucky boy. Jan 5, 2019 at 8:26
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    I really think this answer would benefit from noting that "he'd be lucky to escape jail" or "he'd be lucky to escape prison" is a very well established phrase in English, and JKR has substituted 'Azkaban' as a magical equivalent
    – Au101
    Jan 5, 2019 at 14:17
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    @chrylis Sure :) It's just that, from my experience of Harry Potter, there are many instances where words, phrases and so on are consciously and pleasingly "wizarding-world-ed" (if you see what I mean). And this seems like a quite clear "wizarding-world-ification" ( :P ) of "he'd be lucky to escape jail"
    – Au101
    Jan 5, 2019 at 23:50

Further to CowperKettle's correct answer...

escape can be used as a transitive verb:

He was charged with treason but escaped imprisonment by pleading insanity.

The art thief escaped detection by dressing as a security guard.

There it can be understood to mean "managed to avoid".

He escaped the island on a raft.

There it means "freed himself from the confinement of the island", and there you can use from if you like: "...escaped from the island..."

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