25 Magical Facts About Secrets & History of Hogwarts

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1Common Room’s entrance

The Hufflepuff Common Room’s entrance is located in the kitchens, concealed behind a pile of barrels in the back right corner. To enter you must tap the right barrel on the bottom row with the rhythm of Helga Hufflepuff—tap tap, tap-tap-tap. If you get it wrong, you get soaked with vinegar.


2. In 1926, the students of Hogwarts were sent home early due to a threat from the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald. Steps were taken to increase security at the school, but when the Daily Prophet reported the danger, the choice was made to send them home. The School’s permanent closure was considered during both openings of the Chamber of Secrets, but it didn’t end up being shut down either time. Then again, when Dumbledore was murdered, several of the teachers felt that the school should be closed, but the Ministry of Magic’s takeover by Death Eaters forced it to remain open that year under their rule.


3. There are seven required subjects for all first-year students at Hogwarts. They are Transfiguration, Charms, Potions, History of Magic, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Astronomy, and Herbology. Learning how to fly on a broomstick is also required of all students.


4. Below the ground floor of Hogwarts are several dungeons. The dungeons are the location for Professor Snape’s office, which was a gloomy room with low light and was “lined with shelves of glass jars” filled with dreadful things. In one corner was a cupboard which contained Snape’s private stock of potion ingredients—a cupboard which was frequently plundered by various characters from the series.


5. The subjects of the portraits hung in Hogwarts are able to move around from portrait to portrait and even visit other portraits of themselves elsewhere in the world. The paintings are generally of witches and warlocks, and thanks to enchantments, can incorporate some of the subject’s favorite phrases and behaviors.


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6Peeves

In addition to the numerous ghosts that inhabit Hogwarts, there is also a famous and disruptive poltergeist. In the Harry Potter universe, Peeves is the most infamous poltergeist in British history and has “lived” at Hogwarts since 993. Many students and teachers enjoy Peeves, but he is a “pet peeve” for the caretakers at the school who have to clean up his messes. According to Pottermore, there has been many efforts to get rid of Peeves. The most recent (and most calamitous) was in 1876 when the caretaker at the time set a trap baited with weapons he figured Peeves wouldn’t be able to exist. Peeves, of course, managed to steal all the weapons (including cutlasses, crossbows and a cannon) and proceeded to go on a rampage. He only calmed down when school administrators signed a contract with him that allowed him one free swim in the boy's lavatory every week, as well as a new hat.


7. According to Rubeus Hagrid, Hogwarts is the safest place there is in the magical world, even safer than Gringotts, the bank where wizards store their money, which is why the Philosophers’ Stone was kept in the school.


8. Moaning Myrtle’s final resting place is in the first-floor girl’s bathroom above the Great Hall. Myrtle was a Ravenclaw student who was killed by Slytherin’s Basilisk under the order of Tom Riddle (AKA Voldemort). Myrtle haunts the toilet and frequently floods it with her emotional outbursts. It’s described as “gloomy, with cracked and spotty mirrors, and chipped stone sinks.” Due to Myrtle’s depressing presence, girls attending Hogwarts only go in there when absolutely necessary.


9. Hogwarts Castle has 12 major towers and around 12 smaller ones. The tallest of the towers it the Astronomy tower, where students take their astronomy lessons. It’s also the place where Snape kills Dumbledore. The most mysterious tower is the Dark Tower, which is located at the seventh-floor landing and has a prison cell at its top. It’s made of rough stone, has a stone bench, and shackles for the prisoners.


10. Hogwarts has a solution in case any boys get the idea to enter the girls’ dormitories. The stairs outside the entrance will immediately turn into a slide if boys try to climb them, keeping them from getting in.


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11Anne Boleyn

A portrait of Henry VIII’s wife Anne Boleyn is hung on the wall of the grand staircase near the second-floor landing. She was the Queen consort of England, and mother to Elizabeth I, but Muggles believed that she was a witch. There were also rumors in the Wizarding community that she was a squib—a non-magical child born to magical parents.


12. Salazar Slytherin wanted Hogwarts to admit pure-bloods only, but when the other founders refused to agree to this principle, he chose to leave the school.


13. The Battle of Hogwarts took place in May 1998 within the castle and on the grounds of Hogwarts and was responsible for ending the Second Wizarding War. After the battle, Hogwarts castle was nearly destroyed, but it seemed to have a self-regeneration process and it managed to recover and remain open.


14. The different staircases in the Grand Staircase reach up to the seventh floor and have a tendency to move within the chamber, often when someone is on them. Certain trick stairs cause the student to sink through them, at which point another person will need to rescue them. First-year students are the most common “victims” of the stairs, as the older students tend to know where the trick ones are and simply jump over them.


15. The first Triwizard tournament was held 300 years after the founding of Hogwarts. The tournament was an interschool competition between the three most prestigious magical schools in Europe—Hogwarts, Beauxbatons, and Durmstrang. It was in part created to allow students from the different schools to interact with one another.


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16Witch or a Wizard

A Witch or a Wizard who is born with magical abilities will be automatically enrolled in Hogwarts as soon as they’re born. At age 11, admission is confirmed via owl. If the child has magical abilities but is born to Muggle (human) parents, their parents receive a visit from one of the school’s professors.


17. The school’s motto is Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus, which translated from Latin means “never tickle a sleeping dragon.” When asked how she arrived at the motto, J. K. Rowling explained that she’d always found traditional school slogans about perseverance and nobility boring, and it amused her to use a “practical” piece of advice as the school motto.


18. As soon as they get off the train at Hogsmeade Station, first-year students are led to boats that carry them across the Great Lake. Thestral-drawn carriages transport the older students to the school.


19. Six magical objects to be found at Hogwarts were said to be possessions of Hogwarts’ founders and were of unimaginable value. The Sword of Gryffindor belonged to, you guessed it, Godric Gryffindor. Goblin made, it was constructed of pure silver inset with rubies. In 1993, the sword appeared inside the Sorting Hat when Harry was inside the Chamber of Secrets, proving to him once and for all that he was a true Gryffindor. The other relics of the Founders included Slytherin’s Locket, Hufflepuff’s Cup, Ravenclaw’s Diadem, the Founder Statues, and the Sorting Hat itself.


20. The Enchanted Ceiling is found inside the Great Hall. It’s bewitched to look like the sky outside, whatever the weather. The mimicry is so authentic that at first blush, it looks like there’s no ceiling at all. Classroom Eleven also has an enchanted ceiling that is bewitched to look like a forest during divination lessons, and the night sky the rest of the time.


21Hogwarts kitchen

Food for meals at Hogwarts magically appears, but should any student get a craving for a late-night snack, entrance to the Hogwarts Kitchen can be gained by tickling a pear. The entrance to the kitchen is concealed behind an innocuous painting of a fruit bowl, but if students tickle the pear in the bowl, the handle turns and lets them in.


22. The Book of Admittance is an ancient book bound by peeling-black dragonhide that sits locked in a small tower, and no human hands have touched it since its placement there by the founders. Beside the book is a small silver inkpot with a long quill called the Quill of Acceptance. The quill writes down the birth of every magical child in the book, as well as non-magical children who display magical ability. Few wizards even know of the book’s existence, and fewer still have ever witnessed it in action. This is the only system that has ever existed for admitting children into Hogwarts—if their name is in the book, they are accepted.


23. According to the Marauder’s Map, there are a total of seven secret passages in Hogwarts that allow students to sneak in and out of the school. Among them are the One-Eyed Witch passage, which is found behind the one-eyed witch statue by the stairs to the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom. The passage is opened by tapping the wand on the statue and speaking the password, Dissendium. It leads to Honeydukes Sweet Shop in Hogsmeade by way of a tunnel under the school.


24. According to the 2008 Independent Schools Network Ranking, Hogwarts is the 36th best school in Scotland. It was added to the list for fun and outranked Edinburgh’s Loretto School, which is one of Scotland’s oldest boarding schools.


25. At the end of their second year at Hogwarts, in addition to the seven first-year required subjects, students have to select two more subjects to add to their studies. Those subjects include Arithmancy, Muggle Studies, Divination, Study of Ancient Runes, and Care of Magical Creatures. Some subjects such as Alchemy may also be offered, but only if there is enough interest.

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