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Encyclopedia > Chamber of Secrets

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

Hogwarts Castle, as it appears in the Harry Potter films
Location Scotland
Headmaster Albus Dumbledore
Permanent Residents Argus Filch, Rubeus Hagrid

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.

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, or simply apparate to a nearby location and walk. 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 course load, but formerly taught Transfiguration. Dumbledore was the only wizard whom 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 in Latin means "Never tickle a sleeping dragon." J. K. Rowling said she wanted a practical motto for Hogwarts, since so many schools have less pragmatic ones such as "Reach for the stars."

J.K. Rowling took the name Hogwarts from a fictional Latin play in a Molesworth book by Geoffrey Willans.

The Deputy Headmistress is Professor Minerva McGonagall, rather severe in aspect but respected by the students. She teaches Transfiguration and is head of Gryffindor house.

Several professors make up the Hogwarts faculty, each specialising in a single subject (see subjects). Other staff positions include that of school nurse, caretaker, and gamekeeper/groundskeeper. The school grounds feature a Quidditch pitch, the lake, the Forbidden Forest, and at least three greenhouses. Hogwarts is divided into four "houses"; Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin.


Subjects and Grading


For a list of subjects, see Hogwarts subjects.


Students who take the O.W.L.s, a set of standardized tests for fifth years, and N.E.W.T.s, a more advanced exam regimen for seventh years, are graded based on the following scale:

  • O = Outstanding (Perfect)
  • E = Exceeds Expectations (Fine)
  • A = Acceptable (last passing grade)
  • P = Poor (Below average)
  • D = Dreadful (Flunking)
  • T = (According to Fred and George Weasley) "Troll" (Extremely Poor)

In their first four years, however, students need only to pass each of their subjects before advancing to the next level the following year.

School Year

There is a magic quill at Hogwarts that detects the birth of a magical person and records his or her name. Every year, Minerva McGonagall sends letters to the people on the list turning eleven, inviting them to Hogwarts. If for any reason, one of the letters doesn't reach its intended recipient, owls will continue delivering letters until the person receives one (as was Harry's experience in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone).

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. Letters to muggle-born wizards are delivered by special messengers who explain the Wizarding World to them.

Term begins on September 1. Students travel to King's 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 sail across the lake. The older students travel up to the castle in carriages pulled by thestrals, magical beasts invisible to everyone who has not seen death firsthand.

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 that describes the four houses. The Sorting Hat sings a new song each year, and has been known to offer advice in its lyrics in times of trouble. Once the song has finished, the hat is placed on each student's head, and it announces the house for which they are suited. After the Sorting is finished, a start-of-term feast begins.

After dinner, the first years are led by a prefect to their common room. The next day classes begin. Quidditch trials begin, although first years are usually prohibited from joining a Quidditch team. Instead, they are taught how to fly by Madam Hooch.

Halloween is celebrated each year by a feast. 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 go home for the Christmas holidays. The students who choose to remain do not have any classes and are present at the Christmas feast. The Great Hall is decorated for this occasion with Christmas trees and other decorations.

When Christmas holidays end, classes begin again. In Harry Potter's second year, the 1992-3 school year, Gilderoy Lockhart organized 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 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.

In the books, the Hogwarts uniform consists of plain black work robes, a plain black pointed hat, and a winter cloak with silver fastenings. In the films, students typically wear school uniforms similar to those of the public schools of England (called private schools in the United States.) These consist of open-fronted black robes with a house insignia on the chest. Beneath is worn a gray sweater, white collared shirt, and necktie in the colors of their House. Boys wear long, dark pants, and girls wear dark pleated skirts and knee socks.


This list of rooms is based upon a list created by the Harry Potter Lexicon, a site which has 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 a room similar to a cellar down the same staircase as the kitchens.


The kitchens are located directly under the Great Hall and contain 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 while 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 ceiling 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 cabinet with records of every kid Filch has punished (the Weasley twins and possibly Sirius Black and James Potter have full drawers 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 Against 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 Romania that he was afraid would be coming to get him.

History of Magic Classroom

This room contains a blackboard, through which Professor Binns, a ghost, 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 teased 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 (usually a type of candy) 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(Crouch Jr.)/Umbridge's Office

The Defence Against the Dark Arts professor's office faces south, thus the lake and Quidditch field are 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 secretly 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 and three times pass portrait of Branabas the Balmy (which comically shows his failed attempt to teach Trolls ballet) all the while 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 Defense Against the Dark Arts and such. Mentioned first in GF 23, but first described in OP 18.


Astronomy Tower

Astronomy Classes 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 contains Sibyll 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). As discovered in 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.


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

The Whomping Willow

The Whomping Willow is a magical tree at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The tree is violent, striking at those who dare approach it with its branches.

The tree was planted the year a werewolf named Remus Lupin arrived at the school (c. 1971). Although most headmasters would never have allowed a werewolf to become a student at Hogwarts, the new headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, thought that as long as certain precautions were taken there was no reason why Lupin shouldn't be allowed to attend the school. A house, later called the Shrieking Shack, was built in the nearby town of Hogsmeade, connected to Hogwarts through a secret passage. The Whomping Willow was planted over the entrance to this secret passage, both to hide the passage and to deter anyone who might otherwise find the entrance. Lupin was smuggled to the house through this tunnel each month at the full moon. Students used to play a game where they tried to get close enough to touch the trunk, but when a student named Davey Gudgeon almost lost an eye they were forbidden to go near it.

Lupin's best friends, James Potter, Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew, figured out in time the reason behind their friend's monthly disappearances, and became illegal animagi in order to keep Lupin company at the full moon. During this time, they discovered many of the secrets of the Hogwarts grounds, and preserved this knowledge in the Marauder's Map.

Severus Snape, a student loathed by Potter and his friends, also had an interest in Lupin's disappearances, though with malicious intent. Black thought it would be amusing to tell Snape where the tunnel lay, and how to get past the Whomping Willow, by pressing a knot which temporarily paralysed the tree. James Potter saved Snape from an encounter with Lupin in his werewolf form, though not in time to prevent Snape from seeing him as a wolf.

The tree remained at the Hogwarts grounds long after Lupin left the school. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry (the son of James Potter) and his best friend Ron Weasley flew an enchanted Ford Anglia to Hogwarts and accidentally crashed into the Whomping Willow, damaging it.

The Lake

The lake is located on the south side of the castle. A number of magical creatures inhabit the lake, including a giant squid, often seen near the surface, a colony of merpeople inhabiting the bottom, and a population of grindylows.

The Quidditch pitch

The Quidditch pitch is where Quidditch games are held and where teams practice. There are three golden hoops at each end used for scoring, and stands surrounding it, providing seating for spectators. The referee is often Madam Hooch, flying teacher and Quidditch coach, 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 building a secret chamber, which the other founders knew nothing about. When his own true heir ("the heir of Slytherin") returned to the school, he or she would be able to open the chamber, unleash a horrible monster that lived there (a basilisk), 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 continued 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 his time away from Hogwarts in a Muggle orphanage, he didn't want the school closed, so he framed Hagrid.

The second time was in 1992 when the Chamber was opened by Ginny Weasley under the influence of Riddle's diary. The diary allowed Riddle's memory to possess Ginny, allowing him to act through her and open the Chamber a second time. 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 began once more, though this time more safety measures were put in place. However, Barty Crouch Jr., disguised as Professor Moody, entered Harry Potter's name in the Goblet of Fire under the name of a fourth school, ensuring that he would be chosen by the Goblet. He used a Confundus 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 representatives for Beauxbatons and Durmstrang, as well as many Hogwarts students. 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 using his blood in a complex spell, Voldemort rises again.

Hogwarts' was threatened when, as part of a conspiracy to discredit Albus 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, and after she was attacked by Centaurs in the Forbidden Forest, Umbridge was removed from the school.


See also

  Results from FactBites:
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (953 words)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, by J.K. Rowling, is the sequel to Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
With Ron's help, Harry discovers the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets, where he discovers that it was Ginny who opened the Chamber, but that she wasn't acting of her own free will - she was possessed by Lord Voldemort, whose name at school was Tom Riddle.
Mythological Structure of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
  More results at FactBites »



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