With a series of books and films that completely changed the landscape of pop culture, the Harry Potter series is one of the most cherished pieces of art in recent memory, and the fanbase that grew up with the book series is now raising a new generation of Potterheads, keeping the memory of their childhood alive. The magical story centered around an average boy who is secretly wizard captivated children and adults alike when the first novel in the series debuted back in 1997 in the UK and the following year in the United States. The story was fresh, imaginative, and spellbinding, giving audiences something to look forward to with each passing installment of the series. The books in and of themselves were a monumental success, but the film franchise took the series to heights that few believed it could reach. In total, fans rushed to theaters to see 8 films, and when the final film had concluded its theatrical run, the franchise had hauled in $7.7 billion, making it one of the most successful film franchises of all time.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is one of the key locations throughout the series, housing the young students as they grow up learning how to be witches and wizards. The vast majority of the series takes place within the walls of the legendary school, and fans of the series have always dreamed about getting their Hogwarts acceptance letter. While we’ve seen how incredible Hogwarts can be, the school is ripe with history and secrets that even the biggest Potterheads don’t know about. We’ve gathered 15 little-known facts about Hogwarts that are sure to please longtime fans of the series.
15. Secret Passages
Going through school in our childhood and adolescence can be a painful experience, mainly due to the fact that our schools aren’t nearly as fascinating as Hogwarts. The enormous castle boasts some incredible enchantments that, when brought to life on the big screen, had people’s imaginations working overtime. After all, seeing a school where anything seemed possible was an awe-inspiring escape for Muggles forced to go to a regular school. Because Hogwarts is such a large and enchanted castle, it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of hidden rooms and passages that can be found throughout the school. Hogwarts is so large that most students will never get to see these locations, but we were able to track down a few for you all.
Assuming that you don’t have your hands on the Marauder’s Map, we can provide some insights for you to find secret locations. If you’re in grave need, you can find the Room of Requirement, though this room cannot be accessed if you aren’t in dire need. Here’s a hint: it’s on the 7th floor. Do you speak Parseltongue? You can access the Chamber of Secrets in the girl’s bathroom. The Vanishing Cabinets can be found just above Filch’s office.
14. Muggles Can’t See Hogwarts
Now, we know that you want nothing more than to be in the Wizarding World just to get a glimpse at the beautiful exterior of the castle. After all, the architecture is gorgeous, and seeing Hogwarts in person would be a breathtaking experience. Unfortunately, we have to break the news to you that despite the sheer size of the castle, Muggles like yourself aren’t able to see Hogwarts, no matter how close you get to its known location. Should you track down the location of Hogwarts, you’ll be sorely disappointed upon arriving at the scene. It was explained in the books that there’s an enchantment that prevents Muggles from seeing the castle. Instead, they’ll see an old ruin.
However, thanks to Muggle technology, there are ways that you can see Hogwarts in our world. If you have some money and some time to kill, head on over to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at either Universal Studios park, and feast your eyes on Hogwarts while sipping on a Butter Beer.
13. You Cannot Apparate In Or Out Of Hogwarts
One of the coolest things that were introduced in the Harry Potter series was seeing a witch or wizard Apparate from place to place. For Muggles who are unfamiliar with the term, the ability to Apparate is essentially the ability to teleport, making travel as easy as flicking your wrist for those old enough to practice this method of travel. Despite this, traveling far distances can prove tricky. You have to be able to see your desired destination clearly in your mind, and messing up an apparition can cause you to die. However, despite the ability to travel in this convenient way, witches and wizards aren’t allowed to Apparate in and out of Hogwarts.
This may seem like a ridiculous notion, but there are plenty of other ways to make your way around the grounds of Hogwarts. Broomsticks can be a useful tool in traveling quickly, and for those looking for other methods of transportation outside of Hogwarts, Floo powder also works.
12. Helga Hufflepuff Brought Elves To Hogwarts
For those of you who aren’t in the know, there were 4 great witches and wizards who established Hogwarts many years ago. Those individuals are Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Salazar Slytherin. These individuals also lent their names to the 4 houses that make up Hogwarts, and students reporting to the school are separated into these houses based on either their personality or personal preference. Witches and wizards who are sorted into the Hufflepuff house typically share common personality traits, mainly loyalty and fair play. These are their two of their most dominant traits.
House-elves are abused creatures who are sentenced to spend their lives cooking and cleaning for wizard families. Helga Hufflepuff saw an opportunity to give the House-elves a better life, and she’s the one responsible for bringing them to Hogwarts. Their life may seem like a rough one, but House-elves typically enjoy the work that they perform on a day-to-day basis.
11. Peeves, The Forgotten Ghost
Books that are turned into films are rarely ever able to incorporate every aspect of the novels onto the big screen, and this series is no different. The books grew significantly longer with each new release, and fitting everything from the books into the films would’ve caused each movie to be unbearably long. One of the more egregious omissions from the books was the choice to exclude Peeves from appearing on the big screen. He’s an incredibly popular character in the hearts of fans, and many were outraged that Peeves wasn’t in the films.
So, why is Peeves on this list? Well, Peeves has been living at Hogwarts since its inception, and he’s very much an important part of its history. This makes his omission all the more egregious. If you watch the movies before reading the books, then the books will be filled with a ton of deleted scenes.
10. Boys Cannot Enter The Female Dorms
One question many people had while reading the series and watching the films was about the accessibility of the dorms. On the surface, it seems as though any dormitory can be accessed by anyone, especially if you know the password to get past the Fat Lady. Boys and girls are naturally separated to prevent any sort of nonsense when the lights go out around the castle. This, of course, would never stop a testosterone-riddled boy from sneaking his way into the girl’s dorm to try and get lucky with one of his classmates. Unfortunately, those looking to score in the middle of the night will find themselves humiliated and embarrassed because accessing the female dorm is no easy task.
If any boy is able to sneak his way into the girl’s dorm, once he steps foot in it, he’ll be sent down a giant slide, preventing him from reaching his destination. Despite this, there’s no known enchantment on the boy’s dorm, so a girl looking to do the same could be successful.
9. There Are 142 Staircases
The seven-story castle that houses the students is one of the more beautiful structures in their world to look at, and the inside is just as beautiful. When watching the first film, fans were astonished to see the moving staircases in action. The effects department on the film did a superb job in bringing this element of the book to life, and if we’re being honest, many people were intimidated while watching the children struggle to make their way around Hogwarts. Looking up from the ground level, the number of staircases in the building seems virtually uncountable, and watching them move around at their own discretion makes counting them all a little more difficult.
But because people are fascinated with the most intricate details of any fandom that they obsess over, we have the definitive number of staircases that are in Hogwarts. In total, there are 142 staircases that students can use to make their way around Hogwarts. Good luck on making your way to class on time.
8. Hogwarts Was 300 Years Old Before The First Triwizard Tournament
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was the 4th novel in the series, and the events of the book center around the impending Triwizard Tournament. The three largest wizarding schools in Europe gather together every 5 years, each presenting their own champion as a representative of their institution. Champions must compete in three events to ultimately determine the winner. Despite the fact that students are the ones competing in the tournament, the events they compete in are incredibly dangerous, and plenty of students have died while competing as we saw in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Despite boasting one of the most beautiful structures in the world, Hogwarts had to wait 300 years before it was able to host its first Triwizard Tournament. The two other schools, Beauxbaton and Durmstrang, had previously hosted the event. Champions who are successful in winning the Triwizard Tournament are rewarded with glory that will last until the end of time.
7. The Ceiling In The Great Hall Is Bewitched
Children arriving at Hogwarts for the first time are in awe when they first step foot into the Great Hall. The room itself is a grand hall that’s capable of hosting every student that attends Hogwarts, and the feast that they’re treated to at the start of each year is simply magical. If you’re able to look past the food and the conversations on screen, you’ll notice something incredibly unique going on in the room. The Great Hall has been bewitched, and the effects of this make this one of the most magical rooms in all of Hogwarts.
The ceiling of the Great Hall is enchanted to reflect the sky outside, meaning that the beautiful starry night is on full display for students to see while they’re eating. The floating candles are already cool enough, but seeing the sky being displayed like this is yet another reason why Hogwarts is perhaps the most magical place in the world.
6. The Whomping Willow
The Whomping Willow has become one of the most recognizable facets of Hogwarts, and the utter brutality with which it swings its branches makes it a feared location that most students try to avoid at all costs. While many aspects of Hogwarts have been there since it was originally founded, the Whomping Willow was a relatively recent addition to the school. The Whomping Willow was initially brought to Hogwarts to prevent students from taking a secret passage to the village of Hogsmeade, but it ended up serving a much more valuable purpose shortly after it was planted.
It should come as no surprise that the Whomping Willow was planted at Hogwarts the same year that Remus Lupin began attending the school. Remus Lupin, is, in fact, a werewolf, and the Whomping Willow was a place for him to go when the full moon came out. Very few people outside of Lupin’s closest friends knew the true purpose of the Whomping Willow.
5. Grindelwald Caused An Evacuation
Long before Voldemort tried killing Harry Potter and taking over the world, Gellert Grindelwald was a villainous mastermind who ran amok in the wizarding community. Much like Voldemort, Grindelwald was a brilliant mind who was hellbent on bringing their world to its knees. Grindelwald predates Voldemort by some time, and he was a fellow student at Hogwarts along with Albus Dumbledore. When Grindelwald was at his peak, the wizarding community lived in great danger of what the dark wizard was capable of doing at a moment’s notice. In fact, Grindelwald was so feared that Hogwarts was once evacuated because of fear that he could do some serious damage to the castle and students alike.
As you may have guessed, Grindelwald was unsuccessful in his attempts, and he was eventually taken down by Albus Dumbledore. This feat is ultimately what put Dumbledore on the map, and he became one of the most famous wizards in history.
4. Hogwarts Can Restore Itself
During the Battle of Hogwarts, fans saw the amount of damage that was done to the building, and it seemed that the school would never recover. After all, an unfathomable number of wizards, good and bad alike, converged on the site and got busy as they attempted to overtake the opposing side. Hogwarts was ripped to shreds by the magic being used by the witches and wizards, leaving many to wonder how much work and time would be required to fix the school. What many didn’t know, however, is that the enchantment placed on Hogwarts goes far beyond a ceiling that shows the night sky while the students are feasting.
Despite the damage that was done during the battle, Hogwarts was able to regenerate itself, ridding the building of all the damage that it had absorbed during the conflict. Once the building was restored, students were able to resume their classes, and everything was right once again.
3. Hogwarts Is In Scotland
Now, we’ve already recommended checking out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in order to see Hogwarts in real life. But these two locations are in the United States, and if you’re looking to get a little closer to the real thing, you can visit the location that the young witches and wizards travel on the Hogwarts Express. Of course, if you’re coming from the United States, this voyage might cost you a great amount of time and money, because you’ll need to pack your bags and head on out to Scotland to get this incredible view.
The exterior shots that fans are treated to in the film were taken in the Scottish Highlands, an area that boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in all the world. We’re sure that the views are breathtaking in person, but people who don’t live locally could end up spending a small fortune just to see the landscape.
2. Oxford University Was Used For Shots
Oxford University is one of the most prestigious institutes of higher learning in the world, and the students who earned their place at the school receive one of the best educations that money can buy. Aside from being one of the best schools on the planet, Oxford is also home to beautiful architecture that fits perfectly into the Harry Potter franchise. Throughout the films, fans are treated to lush scenery and sets that helped transport viewers into the world of Harry Potter. Seeing places like Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, and Diagon Alley are just several examples of the locations that are some of the best in the film.
It’s usually better to use natural sets as opposed to using an abundance of green screen technology, and with this in mind, the film’s director decided to shoot scenes at Oxford University in order to use natural sets for the film. As if Oxford wasn’t prestigious enough, the knowledge of it being included in the films no doubt adds to its lore.
1. Merlin, The Hogwarts Alumnus
To finish off our list, we decided to focus on the alumni of Hogwarts University. You see, some of the greatest winners of all time attended Hogwarts, and it’s proven to be a powerhouse in terms of producing powerful wizards. Albus Dumbledore, Gellert Grindelwald, Voldemort, and Harry Potter all attended Hogwarts. While this is an impressive list of wizards who made names for themselves, the most famous Hogwarts alumnus is none other than Merlin. As you may know, Merlin is perhaps the most famous wizard of all time, and his inclusion in the Harry Potter universe only makes sense. His exploits in the series aren’t discussed at length, but he’s still considered the greatest wizard to have ever walked the planet.
Now that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has started a new wave of films, fans will get to enjoy brand new content that will give better insight into the history of the Harry Potter lore. Hopefully, we’ll get to return to Hogwarts and see the school as it was before Harry and his friends changed their world forever.
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