Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry or simply Hogwarts is a fictional boarding school of magic for witches and wizards between the ages of eleven and seventeen living in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It is the primary setting for the first six books, with each book lasting the equivalent of one school year. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, however, most of the book is set outside Hogwarts as main characters Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger do not attend their final year of school (though Rowling has stated that Hermione eventually returns to school to complete her N.E.W.T. examinations). The climactic battle of the book, and the series, however, is set at Hogwarts.
Rowling has suggested that she may have inadvertently taken the name from the hogwort plant (Croton capitatus), which she had seen at Kew Gardens some time before writing the Harry Potter series, although the names 'The Hogwarts' and 'Hoggwart' appear in the 1954 Nigel Molesworth book How To Be Topp by Geoffrey Willans.
Hogwarts school was voted as the 36th best Scottish educational establishment in an online ranking, outranking Edinburgh's Loretto School.
School location and information
J. K. Rowling says she visualises Hogwarts, in its entirety, to be: A huge, rambling, quite scary-looking castle, with a jumble of towers and battlements. Like the Weasley's house, it isn't a building that Muggles could build, because it is supported by magic.
In the novels, Hogwarts is located somewhere in Scotland. The school has numerous charms and spells on and around it that make it impossible for a Muggle (i.e., a non-magical person) to locate it — they can't see the school, only ruins and several warnings of danger. The castle has extensive grounds with sloping lawns, flowerbeds and vegetable patches, a loch (called the Black Lake in the fourth film), a large dense forest (called the Forbidden Forest), several greenhouses and other outbuildings, and a full-size Quidditch pitch. There is also an owlery, which houses all the owls owned by the school and those owned by students. It should be noted that some rooms in the school tend to "move around," and so do the stairs in the grand staircase. Witches and wizards cannot Apparate or Disapparate in Hogwarts grounds, except when the Headmaster lifts the enchantment, whether only in certain areas or for the entire campus, so as to make the school less vulnerable when it serves the headmaster to allow Apparition. Electricity and electronic devices are not found at Hogwarts. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Hermione indicates that due to the high levels of magic, "substitutes for magic (that) Muggles use" such as computers, radar and electricity "go haywire" around Hogwarts. Radios however, make an exception. Rowling explains this by saying that the radios are not powered by electricity and are powered by magic.
Hogwarts is a coeducational, secondary boarding school, taking children from ages eleven to eighteen. Education at Hogwarts is not compulsory, with some students being home schooled as stated in the seventh book. Rowling initially said there are about one thousand students at Hogwarts. She later suggested around six hundred, while acknowledging that this number was still inconsistent with the small number of people in Harry's year. She further explained that this had resulted from her creating only 40 characters for Harry's year.
The Headmaster or Headmistress, assisted by a Deputy Headmaster or Headmistress, undertakes management of the school. The Head is answerable to the twelve-member Board of Governors.
It is unclear how Hogwarts is funded. It is insinuated that the families pay for the students at least partially (when said families are able). In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Tom Riddle says that he cannot afford to go to Hogwarts, to which Albus Dumbledore replies, "There is a fund at Hogwarts for those who require assistance to buy books and robes," as students are required to purchase their own textbooks, uniform, and other supplies. The Ministry of Magic's efforts to take control of the school in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix imply that it is a publicly funded school, though no mention of where the Ministry receives its funds is made.
Rowling has said that Hogwarts is "a multifaith school."
Admission to Hogwarts is selective, in that children who show magical ability will automatically gain a place, and squibs cannot attend the school as students (though they can work there in other roles, as Argus Filch does). A magical quill at Hogwarts detects the birth of magical children and writes their names into a large parchment book, but there is no admission test because "you are either magical or you are not. "Every year, a teacher checks this book and sends a letter to the children who are turning eleven. Acceptance or declination of a place at Hogwarts must be posted by 31 July. The letter also contains a list of supplies like spell books, uniform, and other things that the student will need. The prospective student is expected to buy all the necessary materials, normally from shops in Diagon Alley, a concealed street near Charing Cross Road in London found behind a pub by the name of The Leaky Cauldron. Students who cannot afford their supplies can receive financial aid from the school, as happened with the young orphan Tom Riddle.
Letters to Muggle-born witches and wizards, who may not be aware of their powers and are unfamiliar with the concealed wizarding world, are delivered in person by a member of Hogwarts staff, who then explains to the parents or guardians about magical society, and reassures them regarding this news. They also assist the family in buying supplies and gaining access to Diagon Alley.
Each student is allowed to bring a cat, toad, rat or owl. Along with the acceptance letter, first year students are sent a list of required equipment which includes a wand, subject books, a standard size 2 pewter cauldron, a set of brass scales, a set of glass or crystal phials, a kit of basic potion ingredients (for Potions), and a telescope (for Astronomy). The Hogwarts uniform consists of plain work robes in black, a plain black hat, a pair of protective gloves, and a black winter cloak with silver fastenings. Each uniform must contain the wearer's nametag. First years are not allowed a broomstick of their own, though an exception to this rule is made for Harry in his first year after it is discovered that he has an excellent ability as a Seeker in Quidditch.
Academic years are separated by holidays of about two months in the summer, and each year is divided into three terms by shorter holidays around Christmas and Easter.
The primary mode of transportation to Hogwarts is the Hogwarts Express that students take at the start of each school year. Students board the train from Platform 9¾ at King's Cross station in London. The train leaves at 11:00 am and arrives at Hogsmeade Station, near Hogwarts, some time after nightfall.
From there, first year students are accompanied by the Keeper of the Keys, Game and Grounds (in Harry's case, Hagrid) – or another suitable teacher if he is absent – to small boats, which magically sail across the lake that get them near the entrance of Hogwarts. The older students ride up to the castle in carriages pulled by creatures called Thestrals. When the first-year students initially arrive at the castle, they wait in a small chamber off the entrance hall until the older students have taken their seats, and then enter the Great Hall for the Sorting Ceremony to determine their House assignments. As Minerva McGonagall said in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, "The Sorting is a very important ceremony because, while you are here, your House will be something like your family within Hogwarts. You will have classes with the rest of your House, sleep in your House dormitory, and spend free time in your House common room."
After the Sorting Hat sings a song each student in turn is seated upon the stool in front of the rest of the student body. The Hat is placed on the student's head, whereupon it examines his or her mind and assigns them to one of the four Houses based on abilities, personality, and preferences. After the Sorting Ceremony, the students and teachers enjoy a feast, prepared by the Hogwarts house-elves. If Dumbledore is feeling cheerful, he will lead the students in singing the school song.
The GWR 4900 Class 5972 Olton Hall, the steam engine used in the film series as the Hogwarts Express.
The Hogwarts Express is a magical train that carries students between London and Hogsmeade. The train starts from King's Cross railway station Platform 9¾ and goes non-stop to Hogsmeade railway station. Prefects of the school ride in a separate carriage near the front of the train. The compartments on the train appear to be lettered; in Half-Blood Prince, the "Slug Club" meets in compartment C. In Philosopher's Stone, Harry meets his two best friends, Ron and Hermione, on his first ride on the Hogwarts Express. In the books, he has been on the train ten times: twice each in the first, third, fourth, and fifth books, and once each in the second (in which he and Ron arrive instead in a flying car) and the sixth (which ends before Harry leaves Hogwarts).
The steam engine used in the film adaptations is the GWR 4900 Class 5972 Olton Hall, but it was not the first locomotive to be disguised as the Hogwarts Express. To promote the books, the Southern Railway locomotive Taw Valley was repainted and renamed temporarily, but was rejected by Chris Columbus as looking ‘too modern’ for the film. Filming locations for the Hogwarts Express sequences include Goathland on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, Kings Cross railway station and the route of the Jacobite Express which follows the West Highland Line from Fort William to Mallaig in Scotland, as it crosses the Glenfinnan Viaduct.
The coat of arms of Hogwarts shows each house's mascot and House colours. Clockwise from top left: the Gryffindor lion, the Slytherin serpent, the Ravenclaw eagle, and the Hufflepuff badger.
The inscription translates to "Never tickle a sleeping dragon."
Hogwarts is divided into four houses, each bearing the last name of its founder: Godric Gryffindor, Salazar Slytherin, Rowena Ravenclaw and Helga Hufflepuff. The houses compete throughout the school year, by earning and losing points for various events, for the House Cup (correctly answering a question in class, for example, may earn five or ten points; lateness to class may cost ten points). Each house also has its own Quidditch team that competes for the Quidditch Cup. These two competitions breed rivalries between the houses. Houses at Hogwarts are the living and learning communities for their students. Each house is under the authority of one of the Hogwarts staff members. The Heads of the houses, as they are called, are in charge of giving their students important information, dealing with matters of severe punishment, and responding to emergencies in their houses, among other things. Each year, year level groups of every separate house share the same dormitory and classes. The dormitory and common room of a House are, barring rare exceptions, inaccessible to students belonging to other Houses.
In the early day of Hogwarts, the four founders handpicked students for their Houses. When the founders worried how students would be selected after their deaths, Godric Gryffindor took his hat off and they each added knowledge to it, allowing the Sorting Hat to choose the students by judging each student's qualities and placing them in the most appropriate house. The student's own choices may affect the decision: the clearest example is the Hat telling Harry that he would do well in Slytherin in the first book, but ultimately selecting Gryffindor after Harry asks it not to put him in Slytherin.
The translators of the books’ foreign editions had difficulty translating the "house" concept; in countries where this system does not exist, no word could adequately convey the importance of belonging to a house, the loyalty owed to it, and the pride taken in prizes won by the house.
Gryffindor: Gryffindor values courage, bravery, loyalty, nerve and chivalry. Its mascot is the lion, and its colours are scarlet and gold. The Head of this house is the Transfiguration teacher, Minerva McGonagall, and the house ghost is Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington, more commonly known as Nearly Headless Nick. The founder of the house is Godric Gryffindor.
The Gryffindor common room is located in one of the castle's highest towers, the entrance to which is located on the seventh floor in the east wing of the castle and is guarded by a painting of The Fat Lady, who is garbed in a pink dress. She permits entry only after being given the correct password, as was distinguished in the third book, when Sirius Black tried forcing entry into the tower, only to be blocked by The Fat Lady after he could not give the correct password. In the first book, Neville Longbottom tends to forget the password and must wait near the painting until other Gryffindors arrive to open the way.
Hufflepuff: Hufflepuff values hard work, tolerance, loyalty, and fair play. The house mascot is the badger, and canary yellow and midnight black are its colours. The Head of this house is the Herbology teacher Pomona Sprout, and the house ghost is The Fat Friar. According to Rowling, Hufflepuff corresponds roughly to the element of earth. The founder of this house is Helga Hufflepuff.
The Hufflepuff dormitories and common room are located somewhere in the basement. The entrance is found behind a still life painting somewhere near the kitchens, a password is required for entry. The Hufflepuff common room is filled with yellow hangings and fat armchairs and it has little underground tunnels leading to the dormitories, all of which have perfectly round doors, like barrel tops (much like a badger sett).
Ravenclaw: Ravenclaw values intelligence, creativity, learning, and wit. The house mascot is an eagle and the house colours are blue and bronze (blue and grey in the films). The head of this house is the Charms professor, Filius Flitwick, and the house ghost is The Grey Lady. According to Rowling, Ravenclaw corresponds roughly to the element of air. The founder of this house is Rowena Ravenclaw.
The dormitories are located in Ravenclaw Tower on the west side of the school. The common room, which went undescribed in the series until the climax of Deathly Hallows, is round and filled with blue hangings and fat armchairs, has a domed ceiling painted with stars and features a replica statue of Rowena wearing her diadem. Harry also notes that, by day, the Ravenclaws "would have a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains." A logical riddle must be solved to gain entry, whereas the Gryffindor, Hufflepuff and Slytherin common rooms only require a password, indicating that it may be easier for intelligent students of other houses to enter this common room than others. Luna Lovegood and Professor McGonagall, very intelligent witches, can answer a riddle and enter the common room in the last book.
Slytherin: Slytherin house values ambition, cunning, leadership and resourcefulness and most of all pure wizard blood. Slytherins tend to be pure-bloods or half-bloods who believe in the supremacy of pure wizard blood; Muggle-borns, vulgarly known as "Mudbloods," are less commonly found in Slytherin than in other houses. The house mascot of Slytherin is the serpent, and the house colours are green and silver. Salazar Slytherin founded the house. The Head of House is Severus Snape in the first five books and most of the sixth book. At the end of the sixth book and in the seventh book, the old Potions master and previous Head of House who has come out of retirement, Horace Slughorn, reassumes authority of the house. The ghost of Slytherin house is The Bloody Baron. The Slytherin dormitories and common room are reached through a bare stone wall in the dungeons. The Slytherin common room is a long, low, dungeon-style room, located under the Hogwarts Lake, furnished with green lamps and carved armchairs. The room is described in the 2nd book as having a greenish glow.
The Sorting Hat claims that blood purity is a factor in selecting Slytherins, although this is not mentioned until the fifth book. There is no reason to believe, however, that Muggle-born students are not sorted there, merely that pure-blooded students are more desirable to that house, as there are several examples of half-bloods in the house (such as Snape and Voldemort). In Deathly Hallows, a group of Snatchers claim that "not many Mudbloods" are sorted into Slytherin, which suggests that while Muggle-born Slytherins may be uncommon, they do exist.
When believing Harry to be dead and thinking that he has final victory in his grasp, Voldemort proclaims his intention to abolish the other three houses and force all Hogwarts students into Slytherin. This design is foiled by his defeat and death, after which Slytherin becomes more diluted in its blood purity, no longer remaining the pureblood bastion it once was. Its dark reputation, however, does linger.
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