Harry Potter Books Wikia

"Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus"
— the slogan of the school

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was a wizarding school in the Highlands of Scotland, which accepted students from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Hogwarts was renowned for being one of the finest magical schools in the world, teaching a range of subjects. It was a boarding school attended from 1 September until June or July the next year. It was founded by Godric Gryffindor, Salazar Slytherin, Rowena Ravenclaw and Helga Hufflepuff.

Students gained an acceptance letter for their eleventh birthday, and attended the school for seven years, taking examinations in each subject every year. The school was unplottable, but it was still known to be in the Highlands in Hogwarts Castle.

Location and layout

Main article: Hogwarts Castle

Hogwarts School was located in Hogwarts Castle on a cliff in the Highlands of Scotland. There was a loch named the Black Lake which led to an underground harbour. The grounds had sloping lawns, flowerbeds, vegetable patches, greenhouses and turrets and towers. The three highest towers were the Astronomy Tower, Ravenclaw Tower and Gryffindor Tower. There was one full-size Quidditch pitch and an Owlery, and even a very large dense forest called the Forbidden Forest.[1]

The school was unplottable, and had spells and enchantments so the school looked like old ruins to any Muggle who happened to see it. There was another enchantment which stopped witches and wizards apparating to and from the school. Albus Dumbledore observed that the school had plenty of hidden secrets that even he never knew of. It had nrooms would disappear and reappear in another locationl and several secret passageways hidden behind walls and statues, including a passage leading to the Shrieking Shack (found by going through the Whomping Willow was near the Forbidden Forest). The home of the Keeper of Keys and Grounds was near the edge of the Forest.[2]


In the late tenth century, four witches and wizards knew there was a need for a school to teach witches and wizards. Godric Gryffindor, Salazar Slytherin, Rowena Ravenclaw and Helga Hufflepuff founded the school. They created four school Houses to teach the kind of witches and wizards they had hoped to inspire and create, attributing certain traits they valued to their House. Gryffindor brought the Sorting Hat to Sort students into Houses when they couldn't. Slytherin built the Chamber of Secrets. Ravenclaw selected the school's location and name[3], and Hufflepuff brought house-elves to work in the kitchens.[4]

However, Slytherin wanted a school for pure-blood students and didn't want to accept any Muggle-borns. The three fellow founders didn't agree and wanted to accept every witch and wizard. Because of that, they argued and Slytherin eventually abandoned the school[5][6]when he had built the Chamber of Secrets. He hoped that an Heir would one day open it and unleash the Basilisk to purge the school of Muggle-born students. People searched for Chamber, but it couldn't be found for a thousand years when it was just a legend.[7]


At the age of eleven, an acceptance letter was sent to a witch or wizard. If they were brought up in the wizarding world, they were expected to have knowledge of the school, so they were sent a letter by owl. If they were Muggle-born, the school sent a Professor or other person on the staff to explain the wizarding world and the school to the child and their family. The school could tell when a student didn't open their letter, and kept sending letters until they finally opened one. They knew if the child's location changed.[8]

The acceptance letter was in two parts, one confirming their acceptance and a second gave the name of anything they had to purchase and bring to their first-year.[8] In the second-year to the seventh and final year, students were sent a letter every summer to tell them what new books they had to purchase for that year.[9] In the third-year, the letter included a Hogsmeade permission slip that had to be signed by a guardian.[10]

School life


There were three terms: September to December, January to April and finally April or May to June.

The new school year started on 1 September. Students would take the Hogwarts Express from King's Cross at eleven and get to Hogsmeade station in the evening. The first-year students would follow the Keeper of Keys and Grounds to the underground cavern, where one of the teachers would take them to the Entrance Hall.[1] The students in the second to seventh-years took Thestral-driven carriages up to the main entrance and gather in the Great Hall for the Sorting ceremony and the Start-of-Term Feast.[11]

The school watched first-year students get sorted into one of the four Houses, before eating a feast and heading to bed. The first-year students would be led to their House common room by Prefects and find their trunks in their rooms.[1] Unless it was the weekend, classes would begin the next day and class schedules were handed out to each student.[12]

Starting in October, third-year students and above get given days on a weekend to walk to the nearby village of Hogsmeade. The school had the Hallowe'en Feast every 31 October. Starting in the second week of the school year, Quidditch try-outs open for a House team and Flying class for the first-year students took place.[13] The end of the first term was in December, when there was a choice to spend Christmas at home. If they wanted to stay at school, they had to give their name to the Head of House. There was a feast on the day for those who stayed.[14]

In April, there was an Easter break. Students could decide to stay at school or spend it at home. At the start of June, students take examinations for every subject. First to fourth-years have a basic end-of-year examination. Fifth-years have very important O.W.L. examinations, and seventh-years have N.E.W.T.s. The school year then ended, and they had the End-of-Year Feast. Seventh-year students will have aspecial feast for their final evening at school. The summer holidays then started.[15]

Student life

The school had a number of rules including: students were not given permission to use their wands in the corridors, and the Forbidden Forest was out-of-bounds. Other out-of-bounds places could be given, including a corridor] for reasons that weren't given to students.[1] Student could earn and lose House points[1] and the House that had the highest by the End-of-Term Feast was awarded the House Cup.[15]

The school had a number of extra-curricular clubs. The popular sport of Inter-House Quidditch Cup took place throughout every school year. The Head of House selected the new Quidditch Captain for the house team and the Captain selected the students to be part of the team in Quidditch try-outs which took place in the second week of September.[1] The Quidditch team that were at the top of the Inter-House Quidditch table was awarded the Quidditch Cup.

In the fifth-year, two students from each House were selected to be Prefects. They would be sent a letter in the summer. In the seventh-year, two students from each House were selected to be Head Boy and Girl. They could give and take House points. Any special achievements, including the Special Award for Services to the School were given when needed.[16]

Homework was given through the school year and teachers could provide homework to be done in the summer holidays.[10] You could told you write at least a roll of parchment[10], and you could have to work out the length of a parchment, e.g. Professor Binns asked for a three-foot long parchment.[17] The uniform included black robes, a black, plain pointed hat for day wear, a pair of protective gloves and a winter cloak.[18]

Employed and inhabitants

The Headteacher appoints the Deputy Headteacher and the staff. There was the school board who appointed the Headteacher. Four teachers could be Head of House. The Deputy Headteacher carried out admin work and sent signed school letters, including acceptance letters. The Hogwarts kitchens was run by House-elves. There was a Matron in the Hospital Wing who employed nurses. The Keeper of Keys and Grounds tended to school grounds, and there was a Caretaker.

There were at least twenty ghosts at Hogwarts who joined the students in the Great Hall and would appear round the school everyday. There were four House ghosts, a trickster poltergeist and a teacher, Professor Binns. Wizarding portraits of notable people were placed around the school and they could interact with and helped students and staff. Every Headteacher had a painting put in the Headteacher's office when they died.


Starting in the first-year, every student had to study seven subjects.[2] In their third-year, they get to select at least two new elective subjects out of five options to add to their studies.[19] They continue to take the subjects until the sixth-year.[20] Grading for homework in the first four years was usually a percentage[15][21][22] or a pass and fail.

In your fifth-year, they take very important examinations called the Ordinary Wizarding Level. Before taking the examinations, students get career advice from their Head of House, who give advice on what grades will be needed to get a job in that career.[23] Grades achieved in the O.W.L.s will determine if they can continue to study the subject at N.E.W.T. level. Starting in the sixth-year, students select up to seven subjects to continue at N.E.W.T level.[20] In the seventh-year, they take N.E.W.T. examinations which further determine what kind of success they will have at finding a job in a chosen career.[24]

Starting in the first-year
Defence Against the Dark Arts
History of Magic
Third-year options
Study of Ancient Runes
Care of Magical Creatures
Muggle Studies

Subjects were given to a specific year for limited time, including:

  • Flying - for first-year students in the first few weeks of school to teach them the basics of flying using a broomstick.[13]
  • Apparition - for any sixth-year student aged seventeen or eighteen, who had pay to for lessons and achieve their licence to Apparate. It was watched by an Apparition Instructor.[25]


O.W.L. or N.E.W.T examinations, the school had a special grading system[26]:

  • O for Outstanding - an immediate acceptance for studying the subject at N.E.W.T. level.[20]
  • E for Exceeds Expectations - usually high enough to continue to N.E.W.T level (depending on the Professor's expectations).[20]
  • A for Acceptable - could stop the student continuing the subject at N.E.W.T level.[20]
  • P for Poor - a narrow fail, and will be unable to continue studying the subject.[27]
  • D for Dreadful - cannot continue the subject.[20]
  • T for Troll - a very unfortunate fail, and no acceptance to study the subject at N.E.W.T. level. If the test was taken by a troll, they achieved the grade of O.F.T. (Outstanding for Trolls).[27]


House Coat of Arm Founder Common room Ghost Colours Traits
Gryffindor Gryffindor.png Godric Gryffindor Gryffindor Tower - on the seventh floor hidden behind a portrait of the Fat Lady, needed a password to enter Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington (or Nearly Headless Nick) Scarlet and gold Courage, bravery, daring, nerve, and chivalry
Hufflepuff Hufflepuff.png Helga Hufflepuff Hufflepuff Basement - by the Hogwarts kitchens, students needed to tap a fake barrel in the rhythm of "Helga Hufflepuff" to enter (vinegar was used on anyone who did the wrong tune) Fat Friar Yellow and black Loyalty, patience, hard work, fair-play, honesty, and tolerance
Ravenclaw Ravenclaw.png Rowena Ravenclaw Ravenclaw Tower - in a high tower, the student needed to answer a riddle from an eagle door knocker to enter. Helena Ravenclaw (or the Grey Lady) Blue and bronze Intelligence, wit, cleverness, creativity and wisdom
Slytherin Slytherin.png Salazar Slytherin Slytherin Dungeons - hidden behind a stone wall which needed a password Bloody Baron Green and silver Ambition, leadership, cunning, determination, and resourcefulness

School song

The school song was sung in any tune the singers wanted, and could be sung at the same time. Whenever the Headteacher wanted to, they could call for it be sung. In 1991, Professor Dumbledore asked for the school to sing it at the Start-of-Term Feast. He used a wand to create a golden ribbon which flew high above the tables, and changed into lyrics. The lyrics were[1]:

Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy Warty Hogwarts,
Teach us something please,
Whether we be old and bald,
Or young with scabby knees,
Our heads could do with filling,
With some interesting stuff,
For now they're bare and full of air,
Dead flies and bits of fluff,
So teach us things worth knowing,
Bring back what we've forgot,
Just do your best, we'll do the rest,
And learn until our brains all rot.

Notable events

Opening of the Chamber of Secrets

In 1942, Tom Riddle found the Chamber of Secrets. He was the Heir of Slytherin and he opened the Chamber in the hope of living up to Slytherin's dream of purging the school of Muggle-borns using a Basilisk. Albus Dumbledore never trusted Tom and knew he was responsible. However the Headteacher of the time, Armando Dippet liked Tom and would not accept that he was part of it.[28]

In June 1943, Myrtle Warren was killed and the Ministry of Magic wanted to shut the school down. But Hogwarts was Tom's home and he knew he had to close the Chamber of Secrets instead. He framed Rubeus Hagrid and Aragog for opening the Chamber. Hagrid was expelled and Tom received an award for Special Award for Services to the School. Dumbledore was unable to persuade Dippet that Tom was responsible.[28]

In September 1992, the Chamber was opened again by Ginny Weasley who was possessed by Tom Riddle's Diary.[29] By December, four people were Petrified by the Basilisk.[30] In April, another two students ended up Petrified and forced the whole school into lockdown. Students had to be in their House common room by 6pm, and a teacher had to accompany students to every lesson. The school clubs had to be postponed until further notice.[19]

In the evenings, teachers, ghosts and Prefects patrolled corridors in pairs searching for anything unusual. Due to Dumbledore failing to solve the situation, Cornelius Fudge and the Board of Governors intervened. Dumbledore was suspended and Hagrid was sent to Azkaban.[19] Professor McGonagall was temporary Headteacher. Harry and Ron took Dumbledore and Hagrid's advice and spoke to Aragog.[31] The school was about to be closed down when Ginny was taken into the Chamber of Secrets[32], but Harry later found it[29], killed the Basilisk[29] and Hagrid's innocence was accepted.[29]

The Philosopher's Stone

In the 1991-1992 school year, Dumbledore put the Philosopher's Stone in the underground chambers guarded by Fluffy and other defences. The Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor, Professor Quirrell was possessed by Voldemort and they tried twice to steal it. They nearly succeeded the second time, but Harry Potter intervened and Voldemort abandoned Quirrell to die. The Stone was then destroyed.[15]

Hunt for Black

In the 1993-1994 school year, there were fears that Sirius Black was wanted to try and kill Harry Potter. He had escaped Azkaban and a hunt for him was conducted using Dementors. Professor Dumbledore agreed to let Dementors patrol every entrance to the school[33], and Harry saw two guarding the front gates to the school.[34] Black was soon sighted not far from the school.[35]

In October, Black snuck into the school in Animagus form and slashed a painting of the Fat Lady when he was trying to get to Peter Pettigrew. The whole school went into lockdown. The students had to sleep in the Great Hall and Dumbledore began a search, but wouldn't let Dementors in the school to help. He knew anyway that Black would have run away hours ago, and he had.[36]

Dementors guarding Hogwarts had soon grown hungry, and later saw a crowd attending a Quidditch game. They were too tempted to feed and headed towards it, where they caused Harry to faint and fall. Dumbledore intervened, helping Harry and using a Patronus Charm to get rid of the Dementors. He was furious they went into the school because they were told to stay at the front door and gates.[36]

In February, Black got into the school again. He found a piece of paper of passwords for Gryffindor Tower and he snuck in to kill Peter, who was Ronald Weasley's pet rat, Scabbers. Ron woke up and screamed when he saw Black holding a knife. Black run away again.[37] The school searched again but he had escaped, and added security was brought in to the school.[38] The new and tighter security included teaching the front doors to know what Black looked like, boarding up every crack and hole and hiring security trolls to guard Gryffindor Tower.[38]

The Triwizard Tournament

The Triwizard Tournament was held between Hogwarts, Beaubaxtons Academy and Durmstrang Institute for centuries but students kept dying and the tournament was cancelled forever. However in 1994, the tournament was held again in the hope new rules and improved security would improve safety.

Voldemort used the tournament to trick Harry and lead him to Little Hangleton graveyard. Barty Crouch Jnr. pretended to be the ex-Auror and the new Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor Professor Moody for the whole year. He put Harry's name in the tournament and enchanted the Triwizard Cup into a portkey to take Harry to the graveyard. Cedric Diggory joined Harry in the hope of sharing the winnings with Harry and he was killed by Peter Pettigrew on Voldemort's orders. Harry later escaped.

Battle of Hogwarts

In June 1997, Death Eaters found a way into the Auror-protected school and Albus Dumbledore was killed. Death Eaters took control of the school until 2 May 1998. That day, Harry Potter went to Hogwarts to find the final Horcruxes and Voldemort led the Death Eaters there. The Battle of Hogwarts was fought and the school was very heavily damaged. Harry defeated Voldemort in a duel which took place in the Great Hall. The school later repaired itself and normal school life continued. Students who were then in their final year of education, could attend in the next school year to complete their education.

Behind the scenes

Sketch of Hogwarts School

Notes and sources

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 7
  2. 2.0 2.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 8
  3. Archived information from the old version of JKRowling.com: W.O.M.B.A.T. test (Grade 3)
  4. Interview 130 with J.K. Rowling
  5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 12
  6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 11
  7. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 9
  8. 8.0 8.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 4
  9. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 4
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 1
  11. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 10
  12. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 6
  13. 13.0 13.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 9
  14. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 12
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 17
  16. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 18
  17. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 10
  18. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 5
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 14
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 20.5 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 9
  21. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 22
  22. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 30
  23. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 29
  24. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 16
  25. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 18
  26. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 15
  27. 27.0 27.1 Archived information from the old version of JKRowling.com: W.O.M.B.A.T. test (Grade 1)
  28. 28.0 28.1 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 13
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 29.3 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 17
  30. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 12
  31. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 15
  32. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 16
  33. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 3
  34. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 5
  35. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 7
  36. 36.0 36.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 9
  37. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 13
  38. 38.0 38.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 14
  39. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 15
  40. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 12