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Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is a fictional magic school that is the main setting of the Harry Potter novels by J. K. Rowling.

Hogwarts is a boarding school set in a castle by a mountain lake. Although its precise location is not specified in the books, the author has said it is in Scotland[1]. Hogwarts is reached by a train called the Hogwarts Express. Upon arrival, first year students are led by groundskeeper Hagrid on the traditional cruise across the lake.

No apparation (apparating and disapparating) is possible on the school grounds, although adults seem to show up by means other than the school train; perhaps they use brooms or Floo powder. The school has strong charms around it to repel "Muggles" (non-magic people). Electronic devices do not work on Hogwarts grounds; there is too much magic in the air.

Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts, is an elderly, white-haired gentleman with a droll (some might say silly) sense of humour and twinkling eyes. He always seems to know what's going on at the school and takes a special interest in Harry. He carries no courseload, but formerly taught Transfiguration. Dumbledore was the only wizard that Lord Voldemort feared. This makes the school a safe haven from his clutches. There are 12 school governors who have the power to suspend the headmaster by voting. Lucius Malfoy was a school governor until he was fired after using blackmail to make the other governors agree to suspend Dumbledore.

The motto of Hogwarts is "Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus," which means "Never tickle a sleeping dragon." J. K. Rowling said she wanted a practical motto for Hogwarts, since so many schools have mottos like "Reach for the stars."

The Assistant Headmistress is Professor Minerva McGonagall, rather severe in aspect but not hated by the students. She teaches Transfiguration and is head of Gryffindor house.

There are several teachers (called professors), each specialising in a single subject (see Subjects). There's a school nurse and at least three greenhouses.

Table of contents
1 The Houses
2 Subjects
3 School Year
4 Rooms
4.17 Deep Under the Dungeons
4.18 Dungeons
4.19 Ground Floor
4.20 First Floor
4.21 Second Floor
4.22 Third Floor
4.23 Fourth Floor
4.24 Fifth Floor
4.25 Sixth Floor
4.26 Seventh Floor
5 Towers
6 The Grounds
7 History
8 References

The Houses

Hogwarts is divided into four "houses", each bearing the last name of its founder. In the school's early days, students were handpicked by Godric Gryffindor, Salazar Slytherin, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Helga Hufflepuff themselves. The founders began to worry how students could be picked after their death. Godric Gryffindor took his hat off and the founders put "some brains" in it. Now, at the beginning of each school year, the magical Sorting Hat is placed on each new student's head, at a ceremony named the Sorting ceremony, and the Sorting Hat announces the house that the student is bound to join. Before beginning the sorting, it sings a short ballad about the founding of the school and the four houses; the song is different every year and the Hat takes all the year writing the song for the next year.

There is a great of rivalry between the houses, not always friendly, especially between Slytherin and the other houses. This rivalry is demonstrated with the annual school competition for the House Cup which is determined by the amount of points earned or lost by each member of the rival houses. These point are awarded or taken based on students' conduct throughout the school year. All members of the faculty have the authority to grant and deduct points as they see fit in each instance. Some, like Severus Snape, the Potions master, tend to favour their own house, but that does not seem to be against the rules. He is despised by many students, other than those in Slytherin, where he is very popular.


Gryffindor is Harry Potter's house at Hogwarts, where he shares a room with Ron Weasley, Neville Longbottom, Seamus Finnigan, and Dean Thomas. Hermione Granger shares a room with Parvati Patil and Lavender Brown. The entrance is guarded by a painting of a fat lady in pink, who permits entry only after being given the correct password. There is a large common room, with a fireplace, and two staircases leading up to the boys' and girls' dormitories. The Gryffindor ghost is Nearly Headless Nick, their mascot is the lion and its colours are gold and dark red. The values associated with Gryffindor are courage and chivalry; Professor McGonagall is the head of house.


Hufflepuff's colours are yellow and black, and its mascot is the badger. The traditional traits of Hufflepuff students are loyalty, patience, hard work, and justice. Hufflepuffs are sometimes unfairly stereotyped by the other houses as being unintelligent or meek. Cedric Diggory was their Quidditch captain and seeker. The Hufflepuff ghost is the Fat Friar. Professor Sprout is the head of Hufflepuff.


Ravenclaw's colours are blue and bronze (silver in the films) and their mascot is the raven. This house includes Penelope Clearwater, Percy Weasley's girlfriend, Cho Chang, Harry Potter's ex-girlfriend and seeker for the Ravenclaw Quidditch team and Luna Lovegood, a particulary weird girl in Ginny Weasley's year. Their house ghost is the Grey Lady. The Ravenclaw house is associated with the values of intelligence, knowldge and wit. Professor Filius Flitwick is the head of Ravenclaw.


The emblematic animal of Slytherin is the serpent and their colours are green and silver. Its head is Severus Snape. Among its more infamous students are Draco Malfoy and Tom Riddle. It is said that most of those who went to Lord Voldemort's side were former Slytherins. The Bloody Baron is the Slytherin ghost. The values associated with the Slytherin house are ambition, cunning, slyness, and the ends justifying the means.



Tranfiguration is the art of turning something into something else, by means of waving one's wand and saying magic words. Transfiguration is taught from the First to Seventh Year.

Before Albus Dumbledore became headmaster, he served as Transfiguration teacher. The current Transfiguration teacher is Minerva McGonagall.

Defence Against the Dark Arts

Defence Against the Dark Arts concerns the use of spells, potions and other techniques to counteract the Dark Arts, demons and evil creatures such as the Boggart. Defence Against the Dark Arts is taught from the First to Seventh Year.

The position of teacher of Defence Against the Dark Arts is coveted by Hogwarts' Potions master Severus Snape, although he has yet to receive it, possibly due to his prior association with Lord Voldemort. When asked about the reason Dumbledore does not let Snape have the job, the author responded that Dumbledore believes that teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts would bring out Snape's worse side.

In each of the first five books of the series, the current Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher plays a central role in the plot; each is either replaced, forced to resign, killed, or driven insane by the end of the relevant book.

Defence Against the Dark Arts Instructors have included:


Charms is the art of moving and manipulating objects by means of waving one's wand and saying magic words. Charms is taught from the First to Seventh Year.

Filius Flitwick is the current Charms teacher. J. K. Rowling says if she were to teach at Hogwarts, she would teach Charms.


Potions is the art of mixing objects together in one's cauldron in order to create a potion. Potions is taught from the First to Seventh Year.

Severus Snape is the current Potions master, however he covets the Defense Against the Dark Arts job.


Astronomy classes take place in the tallest tower and occur every Wednesday. Astronomy is taught from the First to Seventh Year. By their fifth year, students are expected to be able make a star chart.

Professor Sinistra is the current Astronomy teacher.

History of Magic

History of Magic is study of magical history. History of Magic is taught from the First to Seventh Year.

The current History of Magic teacher, Professor Binns, isn't very effective. Professor Binns is the only ghost teacher; some say he didn't even notice he was dead, he just got up one day in the staff room, leaving his body behind.

Binns spends his class drawling on and on, and does not seem to mind that the class is never paying any attention.


Herbology is the study of magical plants (such as Mandrakes). Herbology is set in greenhouses on the grounds. First Years only work in Greenhouse One, as Greenhouse Three contains more dangerous plants. Classes start using Greenhouse Three in their second year.

Professor Sprout is the current Herbology teacher.


Arithmancy is the favourite school subject of Hermione Granger. In contrast to other subjects taught at school, this part of education is never described precisely in the books. Arithmancy is a branch of magic that is concerned with the magical properties of numbers; the teacher is Professor Vector, who has no other appearance in the book series. The only information given is that the subject is quite hard - therefore attractive to Hermione Granger, a very eager student - and running parallel to Divination lessons at Hogwarts.

Study of Ancient Runes

This subject is apparently about studying ancient runes. This is one of the subjects that students may select in their second year and start in their third year.


Divination is where students attempt to predict the future through various methods (crystal balls, palmistry, tea leaves.) It is looked down upon by Minerva McGonagall, Hermione Granger and others, who feel that the teacher is nothing but an old fraud. Divination is a subject that students may select in their second year and start in their third year.

The current Divination teacher is Sybill Trelawney. When Dolores Umbridge fired her, she was replaced (to Umbridge's fury) with Firenze the centaur. Presumably Trelawney got her job back after Umbridge left.

Care of Magical Creatures

Care of Magical Creatures is a class where students learn to care for magical beasts, as the title suggests. Classes are held outside the castle. This is one of the subjects that students may select in their second year and start in their third year.

At the end of the 1993 school year, the Care of Magical Creatures teacher, Professor Kettleburn, quit because he wanted to enjoy some time with his remaining limbs. As Hagrid had been cleared of opening the Chamber of Secrets, Dumbledore gave him the Care of Magical Creatures job. When he is gone he is replaced by Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank.

Muggle Studies

Muggle Studies is one the subject that students may select in their second year and start in their third year. It is a study of muggles, which involves writing essays such as Why Muggles Need Electricity. Muggle Studies is considered a soft option, but Percy Weasley thinks it is important for a wizard to have an understanding of the nonmagical comunity, especially if he works closely with them.

School Year

There is a magic quill at Hogwarts that detects the birth of a magical person and writes down their name. Every year, Minerva McGonagall sends letters to the people on the list turning eleven, inviting them to Hogwarts. If for any reason, the letter doesn't reach them, owls will continue delivering letters until the person receives one.

The letter contains a list of supplies, including spell books and cauldrons. The person who receives this letter is expected to go to Diagon Alley to buy them. Term begins on September 1, when students travel to Kings Cross station to board the Hogwarts Express which takes them to Hogwarts. The First Years go with the gamekeeper (currently Hagrid) to some boats which they ride across the lake. The older students travel up to the castle in carriages pulled by Thestrals.

The older students arrive first. When the First Years arrive, they are greeted by the deputy headmistress (Minerva McGonagall) who tells them about the houses. The First Years then file into the Great Hall. Upon entering, the Sorting Hat sings a song which is slightly different each year. Then the hat is placed on each student's head and they are sorted into their houses.

After this the feast begins. The First Years are then lead by a prefect into their common room. The next day classes begin. Quidditch trials began, though First Years are prohibited from joining until their Second Year. First Years are instead taught how to fly by Madam Hooch.

The Halloween feast is a feast that is set on Halloween. The Great Hall is always decorated for the occasion. Note that there has always been an important event on Halloween in each book except Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Students can leave to return to their home for the Christmas holidays. The students that choose to remain do not have any classes and are also present at the Christmas feast. The Great Hall is decorated for this occasion with Christmas trees and other decorations.

When the rest of the school returns, classes begin again. In 1993, when Gilderoy Lockhart was the Defence Aganist the Dark Arts teacher, he made a Valentine's Day celebration. It was not continued after he left the school. The Easter holidays are not as enjoyable as the Christmas ones, as students are being overloaded with homework to prepare them for their exams.

Students take their exams at the end of the year, and students are not allowed to use magic over the summer holidays until they turn 17.


This list of rooms is based upon a list created by the Harry Potter Lexicon. The people there have deduced the location of every room but the Transfiguration Classroom.

Deep Under the Dungeons

The Chamber of Secrets

The Chamber of Secrets is home to a basilisk, which is intended to be used to purge the school of Muggle-born students. The Chamber is entered through Moaning Myrtle's bathroom. The Chamber has several statues of snakes on either side of the walls and a giant statue of Salazar Slytherin opposite the door. For information on the history of the Chamber of Secrets, see Early History.


Potions Classroom

Potions is taught in one of the dungeons under the castle. This dungeon is large enough to accommodate a double class. It is colder here than in the main castle, and Harry thinks it would be creepy enough without pickled animals floating in glass jars around the walls. Ice cold water pours from a gargoyle's mouth into a basin in the corner.

Severus Snape's Office

Severus Snape's Office is adjacent to his classroom. This room is filled with bizarre creatures in jars. Snape has private stores of potion ingredients in here.

Slytherin Common Room

The Slytherin Common Room is in one of the dungeons, and opens when one gives a password to a blank stone wall. It has a low ceiling and greenish torchlight. The common room is partly under the lake.

Hufflepuff Common Room

The Hufflepuff Common Room is down the same staircase as the kitchens.


The kitchens are located directly under the Great Hall and contains tables that are identical to the house tables in the Great Hall. The kitchens are staffed by over 100 house-elves.

Ground Floor

Entrance Hall

The Entrance Hall is entered through double oak front doors that face to the west. The Entrance Hall is very large and has a wide marble staircase opposite the front door leading to the first floor. As well as two other staircases, one which leads to the Hufflepuff Common Room and the Kitchens and the other which leads to the dungeons.

Great Hall

The Great Hall contains the four house tables (one for each house) and the teachers' staff table. The celling is enchanted so it mirrors the sky outside.

Staff Room

The staff room is a long panelled room with mismatched dark wooden chairs. There is a wardrobe in here.

Argus Filch's Office

Argus Filch (the caretaker)'s office contains a filing cabnet with records of every kid Filch has punished (the Weasley Twins have a full drawer to themselves). His office contains chains he hopes may be used again (he briefly got his wish when Dolores Umbridge became headmistress).

First Floor

Muggle Studies Classroom

Obviously this is the room where Muggle Studies is taught.

Defence Aganist the Dark Arts Classroom

This room contains an iron chandelier. When Professor Quirrell was the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, the room smelled strongly of garlic which, it was rumored, was there to protect him from one of the vampires he'd met in Romania that he was afraid would be coming to get him.

History of Magic Classroom

This room contains a blackboard, through which Professor Binns enters at the start of class.

Minerva McGonagall's Office

Minerva McGonagall's office is up the marble staircase in the Entrance Hall, and down a hallway.

The Hospital Wing

The hospital wing contains lots of beds and Poppy Pomfrey's office.

Second Floor

Moaning Myrtle's Bathroom

Moaning Myrtle's bathroom contains the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets. It is opened by speaking in Parseltongue, which cause a sink to sink down a pipe large enough for a man to slide down. After one slides down this pipe, they find themselves in a tunnel, which leads to the Chamber of Secrets. When Tom Riddle opened the Chamber, a girl named Myrtle was sulking in a stall. When she heard him, she opened the door to go tell him to use his own toilet. However, when she saw the basilisk, she died immediately. Myrtle decided to haunt Olive Hornby, who had taughted her because of her glasses. Hornby eventually went to the Ministry of Magic in order to get Myrtle to stop stalking her. Myrtle went back to Hogwarts, where she haunted the place of her death. She is now called Moaning Myrtle. Her bathroom is now out of order (due to her presence there).

Entrance to Albus Dumbledore's Office

Albus Dumbledore's office is opened when one speaks the correct password to an ugly stone gargoyle, which then jumps aside. One then takes stone steps that move on their own similar to an escalator up to the door of his office. See Headmaster's Tower.

Quirrell/Lockhart/Lupin/Moody/Umbridge's Office

The Defence Against the Dark Arts professor's office faces south, thus the lake and Quidditch field is visible out the window. When Gilderoy Lockhart was the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, this room was filled with pictures of himself. Under Remus Lupin, it contained creatures that were to be used in class. Moody (actually an impostor) filled it with Dark Detectors. Dolores Umbridge had frilly doilies and the like in her day.

Third Floor

Trophy Room

The trophy room is where awards, trophies, cups, plates, shields, statues and medals are kept in a crystal glass display. This room also contains a list of head boys and girls. The trophy room is adjacent to an armor gallery.

Charms Classroom

This is obviously where Charms is taught. The Charms Classroom is down the Charms corridor.

Fourth Floor


The library contains tens of thousands of books. Beyond some ropes is the restricted section. The books here contain powerful Dark Magic that is never taught at Hogwarts, and is only used by students studying Advanced Defence Against the Dark Arts. In order to get one of these books, a student needs a signed permission slip from a teacher. Irma Pince is the librarian. She guards the books, and has been known to put unusual jinxes and such in the books to make sure that they aren't mistreated.

Fifth Floor

Prefect's Bathroom

The prefect's bathroom is hidden in the fourth door to the left of the statue of Boris the Bewildered. The door opens when given the correct password. There is large pool-like tub and hundreds of taps. Moaning Myrtle sometimes comes here to watch prefects take baths.

Sixth Floor

Seventh Floor

Entrance to Gryffindor Tower

Gryffindor Tower is entered through a portrait of a fat lady in a pink silk dress on the seventh floor. It can only be entered if one knows the correct password. Then it will open into the Gryffindor Common Room.

Entrance to North Tower

To enter North Tower, one climbs a ladder on the seventh floor through a trap door. See North Tower.

Professor Flitwick's Office

Filius Flitwick's office is on the seventh floor and thirteenth window from the right of west tower.

Room of Requirement

The Room of Requirement can only be found by someone in need. The person has to walk around the corridor concentrating on what he wants. When he finds the room it will have what he wants. Albus Dumbledore found this room full of chamber pots while on the way to the bathroom. Dobby brings Winky here after nasty bouts of butterbeer and finds it full of antidotes and a "nice elf-sized bed". Argus Filch sometimes finds cleaning supplies here when he's running short. When Fred and George Weasley needed a place to hide, they found it a broom closet. Harry found out about this room from Dobby. He used it for Dumbledore's Army, and found it full of bookcases of books on Defence Against the Dark Arts and such.


Astronomy Tower

Astronomy Classes are occur here (see Astronomy for more information).

Headmaster's Tower

Albus Dumbledore's office is inside this tower and is entered through an ugly stone gargoyle on the second floor (see Entrance to Dumbledore's Office for more information). Dumbledore's office is a round room with windows. This room is filled with portraits of the previous headmasters. There are silver instruments. The Sorting Hat lives in here. When Dolores Umbridge became headmistress, the office sealed itself until Dumbledore's return.

North Tower

North Tower contain Sybill Trelawney's office and classroom. The round classroom has walls lined with shelves. See Entrance to North Tower.

Gryffindor Tower

Gryffindor Tower is where the Gryffindor common room and dormitories are. The common room has a fireplace and armchairs. There are separate dormitories for girls and boys. These are both subdivided by what year they are. Girls are permitted to enter the boys' dormitories, but boys cannot visit the girls' (the stair to the dormitories turns into a slide if a boy attempts to go up). According to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, this is because the founders of Hogwarts felt that boys were less trustworthy than girls. See Entrance to Gryffindor Tower.

West Tower

The Owlery is at the top of West Tower.

Ravenclaw Tower

Ravenclaw Tower is located at the west side of the castle. This is home to the Ravenclaw common room and dormitories.

The Grounds

Hagrid's Hut

Hagrid lives in a small hut on the grounds on the edge of the Forbidden Forest.

The Forbidden Forest

The Forbidden Forest is named such as it is forbidden to students, as it home to such creatures as werewolves.

Hagrid frequently travels into the forest for various reasons.

The following is a list of beings that inhabit the forest.

Note: In the movies the Forbidden Forest is called the Dark Forest.


There are at least three greenhouses where Herbology (see Herbology) classes occur.

The Whomping Willow

See separate article: whomping willow.

The Lake

The lake is located on the south side of the castle. When First Years arrive at the Hogsmeade station, they are led across the lake by Hagrid.

There are numerous magical creatures in the lake. A giant squid is often seen near the surface. A colony of merfolk inhabits the bottom. The cheiftess is Mercus. There are also grindylows.

The Quidditch Field

The Quidditch Field is where Quidditch games are held and where teams practice. There are three golden hoops at each end used for scoring. The referee is usually Madam Hooch, flying teacher, but Snape became the referee once in Harry's first year to protect Harry from further curses by Professor Quirrell.


Early History

Hogwarts was founded over a thousand years ago by two wizards and two witches: Godric Gryffindor, Salazar Slytherin, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Helga Hufflepuff. Shortly after founding Hogwarts, Salazar Slytherin had a falling out with the other founders. Slytherin wanted to admit only pure-blood students, but the other three founders didn't agree. Slytherin left the school, but not before secretly building a secret chamber, which the other founders knew nothing about. When his own true heir ("the heir of Slytherin") returned to the school, they would be able to open the chamber, unleash a horrible monster that lived in there, and purge the school of all Muggle-born students.

Middle History

About 300 years after the school was founded, the Triwizard Tournament began between the three most prestigious magical schools in Europe: Hogwarts, Beauxbatons, and Durmstrang. This tournament was considered the best way for wizards of different nationalities to meet and make friends. The tournament countinued for six centuries, until the death toll became too high and the tournament was discontinued.

Recent History

The existence of the school was threatened twice when the Chamber of Secrets was opened. The first time it was opened was in 1942. Tom Riddle, the heir of Slytherin and future Lord Voldemort, opened the Chamber in his sixth year. When a girl named Myrtle was killed, the Ministry of Magic began talking about closing the school. As Riddle spent the summer in a Muggle orphanage, he didn't want the school closed, so he framed Hagrid and left behind a mysterious diary.

The second time was in 1992 when the Chamber was opened by Ginny Weasley under the influence of Riddle's diary. Ginny wasn't responsible for her actions: she was in a kind of trance. Lucius Malfoy had given her the diary, with the hope that she would be caught and take all the blame, thus bringing an end to Arthur Weasley's Muggle Protection Act. However, Harry Potter discovered the truth, the diary was destroyed and the monster living in the Chamber (a basilisk) was killed.

In 1994, the Triwizard Tournament was started again, though this time more safety measures were put in place. For example, no one under 17 years of age could compete in the tournament. However, Barty Crouch Jr, disguised as Professor Moody, entered Harry Potter in the Goblet of Fire, even though he was only 14 at the time, and used a Confundulus charm to trick the Goblet into forgetting that only three schools could compete in the tournament. Consequently, Harry became a fourth champion, to the great disgust of the representives for Beauxbatons and Durmstrang. Crouch Jr. made sure that Harry won the tournament and turned the Triwizard Cup into a Portkey, which carried Harry straight into the hands of Lord Voldemort. Harry escaped, but Voldemort rose again.

Hogwarts' long-standing traditions were threatened when, as part of a conspiracy to discredit Ablus Dumbledore, the Ministry of Magic began implementing "Educational Decrees" in 1995. Dolores Umbridge, the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, was the center of this plan. With the Educational Decrees, she slowly took control of Hogwarts, and eventually replaced Albus Dumbledore as headmistress. When Cornelius Fudge was forced to accept that Voldemort had returned, Umbridge was removed from the school.


[1] "Hogwarts ... Logically it had to be set in a secluded place, and pretty soon I settled on Scotland in my mind." Fraser, L., An interview with J.K.Rowling, Mammoth, London, 2000. ISBN 0-7497-4394-8. pp 20-21. Additionally, in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (ISBN 0747554668), the author mentions that a nest of horrific giant spiders has been rumoured to exist in a forest in Scotland. There is an annotation by Harry or Ron that says "confirmed by Harry Potter and Ron Weasley". This is thought to refer to their meeting with Aragog in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

See also: Hogsmeade, Beauxbatons Academy of Magic and Durmstrang Institute