Literature/HarryPotter [[Headscratchers/HarryPotter headscratchers]] relating to Hogwarts. Please add new entries at the bottom.

For a specific book, please go to its specific page:
* Headscratchers/HarryPotterAndThePhilosophersStone
* Headscratchers/HarryPotterAndTheChamberOfSecrets
* Headscratchers/HarryPotterAndThePrisonerOfAzkaban
* Headscratchers/HarryPotterAndTheGobletOfFire
* Headscratchers/HarryPotterAndTheOrderOfThePhoenix
* Headscratchers/HarryPotterAndTheHalfBloodPrince
* Headscratchers/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows



[[folder:Slytherin's existence]]
* Why do they even have Slytherin house? (Going by the films) Slytherin seems to be the designated "evil" house, it seems to be a commonly known and accepted fact among both the students and the staff that everyone who is sent to Slytherin house will grow up to do horrible things and this fact is never contested by anything that happens in the story. So why, then, do they not just eliminate that house all together and refuse to allow anyone that the sorting hat says belongs in Slytherin house to remain in the school? it seems like that would save a lot of trouble, considering that being sent to Slytherin house pretty much guarantees that that person will be evil and EVERYONE seems to know that (to such an extent that incoming students even dread being sent to Slytherin.)
** It is not the evil house and no one really believes that being in Slytherin automatically makes you evil. They can't get rid of the house because it's tradition to have four houses and all the Slytherin alumni (many of them very rich and powerful) would not stand for it. Similarly, trying to kick any Slytherin child out of Hogwarts will have angry parents and the board of governors demanding Dumbledore's resignation. Which students dread being sent to Slytherin? Ron? He dreads being in any house but Gryffindor since he comes from such a Gryffindor family and Gryffindor and Slytherin have a rivalry. Harry? He just thinks Malfoy is a jerk and wants to get away from him (he also did not want to be in Hermione's house at the time). Slytherin's reputation has probably not always been this bad. It's just in recent times, since the Death Eaters were recruited primarily (but not entirely) from ex-Slytherins that they've got a bad reputation. And Voldemort was a Parselmouth which makes everyone think of Slytherin anyway. And no, the Death Eaters were not primarily ex-Slytherins because they were ''evil'' but rather because Slytherin was the house that valued blood purity and so those families that valued such things preferred to be in Slytherin. As we've seen, what house you want to be in will influence what house you are in and soon enough it's a tradition for blood purist families to be Slytherin. Since Voldemort's message was one of Pureblood supremacy, that attracted those who believed in purity of blood more than it attracted others. Had his message been one of Muggleborn Supremacy, he would not have so many ex-Slytherin followers without anything else changing at all.
** Saying that you should get rid of Slytherin because "they churn out so many bad folks" is loaded with UnfortunateImplications. Imagine replacing "Slytherin" with "Germany."
** Slytherin isn't a country. It's one House in one school, a school which frankly should be shut down anyway.
** Just to point one thing out against all wizards being evil in Slytherin: in the HP universe, Merlin (yes that one) was a Slytherin.
** This is like thinking that a fraternity in one college should be closed if most of the graduates that belonged there became criminals (Iím pretty sure there is real life example of that somewhere). Nevertheless I do see the logic behind it, is probably better to have all people with tendencies to the Dark Arts in the same group, not only to be able to control them better, but also because if they mixed among the rest of the houses they can influenced them in the wrong way.\\\
That said, I do agree that the Slytherin house is not really ďevilĒ per se, just has a certain type of life philosophy and values very similar by the way to that of Nietzschean philosophy, La Veyan Satanism and Left-Hand Path Occult systems that we have in real life endorsing ideas like individualism and supremacy of the strongest. You may not agree with them, but that doesnít make them evil (nor real live LHP followers nor Slytherins).


[[folder:Shunning equals evil]]

* On a related note, did anyone ever consider that being shunned by everyone else, both students and staff, just for being placed in Slytherin house might be what CAUSES Slytherins to turn out evil? It seems awfully unprofessional of the staff to basically say that it's ok for the entire student body to hate a certain group of students for reasons that are pretty much beyond those students control.
** They weren't universally shunned by everyone. Some people had some anti-Slytherin prejudices but some people had anti-Gryffindor prejudices, anti-Hufflepuff prejudices, and anti-Ravenclaw prejudices, too. Although I suppose Slytherin was the only one to have to worry about people hating them for being evil.
** Uhm, yeah, they pretty much were. At the Quidditch matches ''everyone'' is always rooting against them, and there's not a single Slyth/non-Slyth pair of friends or couple ''anywhere''.
** Except for Lily Potter and Snape?
** Right, except for that one case introduced in the last book, in the backstory, that had flamed up before they were sorted and failed largely because of the anti-Slytherin bias and Slytherin's corrupting influence. I rest my case.
** I don't recall a member of the staff saying anything like that. [=McGonagall=] in fact said that all houses have outstanding histories.
** It's also worth noting that one of the main reasons a lot of the students are constantly booing Slytherin during quidditch matches and other school activities during the books is because Slytherin has a pretty solid history of being really good at them. They spent the majority of the decade before Harry went to school (and probably on many other occasions in the past) consistently winning both the quidditch cup and the house cup. This troper seriously doubts that they managed to achieve all those quidditch cup victories by using borderline or outright cheating or that they managed to achieve all those house cup victories through quidditch wins/scoring or through excessive house point awards from a single, biased teacher. It doesn't seem likely that Slytherin would have been able to achieve all that unless they had way more exceptional students than bad ones.
** Too bad we never get to hear any of them or see those displays of "anti-other house" prejudices to even the scale out. And it's not about saying anything - it's about little things like the Headmaster stealing the House Cup that you have worked for the entire year and then giving it to his pet student from his pet house under an excuse that they had passed some retarded obstacle course that you didn't even get a chance at and that was so obviously tailored to them. And then doing almost exactly the same thing next year. Pretty hard for a 13-year old at that point not to say "Screw it" and not to throw away all shreds of decency and respect for rules they might still had (take note, I'm not arguing ''here'' about whether Harry's actions were objectively necessary or the situations themselves inadvertent, so please don't bother pulling the conspiracy theory card here - pull it on the respective pages. I'm talking about how the things must've looked to Slytherins).
** The entire point of view of the books is from the three protagonists, who only have bad experiences with Slytherins from the very beginning of their schooling. Obviously they'll have prejudice that they display. Slughorn's appearance is meant specifically to dispel the notion that Slytherins are universally bad, and a lot of information given regarding Slytherins and the pureblood families indicates that things are the way they are because of the influence of a small number of bigoted families. Keep in mind that the books grow with the characters: as Harry ages, he starts to see more of the gray in the world. His first few years showed a childlike belief in black and white morality, but as he hits his mid and late teens he starts to see more of the people and things that he grew up around. Malfoy gets a lot of sympathetic background when he gets encouraged to work for Voldemort, and Harry is forced to confront his hatred of him by looking at the reality of things. Likewise, he finds out some nasty things about the apparently pure and perfect Dumbledore. From the start, it was never black and white. It's just that our point of view characters needed to grow up before they gained better understanding.


[[folder:Defense Against the Dark Arts]]

* They spend their first three years learning about defending themselves against specific monsters/creatures that they'll only encounter in very specific situations. Wouldn't it be better to start with more general training?
** This might actually be the way the class is meant to be taught, but every teacher who taught it just sucked at it. Notice how when Moody first takes over class, he calls out Lupin for teaching a lot about monsters, but little about curses.
** What about practicing dodging? In neither the official classes nor Dumbledore's Army (Defense Association) do they spend any time practicing dodging, which would be pretty important for avoiding the unblockable Avada Kedavra. And for first year students who can't or aren't advanced enough to cast shielding spells, it might be the only thing they ''could'' do to defend themselves.
** I like to think that these sorts of things ARE covered, just not specifically mentioned. I don't think many would've appreciated it if JKR detailed EVERY class.
** Not all spells can be dodged either. Only some spells are seen to fly slow enough that they can be dodged or blocked. It's a lot like real life gunfighting: you don't learn to dodge, just to take cover. Because you can't dodge a bullet, only not be there when the trigger is pulled.
*** Harry literally dodged an Avada Kedavra by doing a roll behind a grave.

[[folder:Hogwarts Express]]

* There are several flaws within the concept of the Hogwarts Express:
** From what we see in the books, every Student uses it and it travels non-stop from London's Kings Cross Station to Hogsmeade Station at an undisclosed location in Scotland. So if a student lives in Scotland, he/she first has to travel all the way to London just to board a train and return to Scotland.
** Technically, they could just use one of the other methods mentioned below to get to the train station to begin with instantly. Still not the most efficient travel method, but it works.
** There is a whole load of other wizarding travel methods that could be used: floo network, portkeys, side-along apparition with the parents, brooms... Together with the aforementioned argument, it sounds pretty hilarious to build a pocket dimension in the middle of a huge train station and run a secret train line all the way from London to Scotland.
** It's mentioned many times in the books that you can't Apparate or Disapparate into the grounds of Hogwarts. Sure, they could Apparate nearby, but then that leaves the problem of having to let the kids in whenever they happen to turn up, which is fairly bad for security, compared to simply herding them in all in one go.
** You cannot Apparate or Disapparate on Hogwarts grounds ''without the cooperation of the Headmaster'', seeing as how it was a routine matter to temporarily deactivate the anti-Apparition defenses long enough to let the kids take their Apparition lessons -- on school grounds. Its not like 'no Apparating near Hogwarts' is an innate natural condition of the terrain; its an outgrowth of the school's own security enchantments, which can be revised at need by the person who runs the school. So it would be ''trivial'' for Dumbledore to set up an Apparition point (or a public Floo terminal, or both) to allow people to arrive and depart from Hogwarts grounds. For security purposes you could even put it in its own locked anteroom and require arrivals to get through a gate and past a gatekeeper to enter school grounds proper, much like you have to do the same when walking in the actual front gate of Hogwarts.
** Maybe not many wizarding families do live in Scotland, or at least not when their children are young enough to be in school. If you knew that you'd spend seven years doing an annual trip down to London for them to catch their train, it would make sense to live within a reasonable distance of the city. If it was such a big problem that a significant proportion of the kids were having to make such an impractical journey, I'm sure Hogwarts would have made changes. So maybe it just isn't a problem.
** Also, one could imagine that entering a Muggle train station and using such a 'lowly Muggle method' of traveling would not go very well with all the pureblood racists.
** You have to remember that Hogwarts is about a thousand years old, it's unlikely all those forms of magical transportation existed that long ago or, in the case of brooms, were far too noticeable by Muggles. It's quite possible that the idea for a moving vehicle to carry children predated trains and the wizards created something similar to the final form of the train first. It's not unreasonable to assume that wizards are proud of this achievement and it became tradition over time rather than practical to ride the train to Hogwarts regardless of your original starting point.
** That theory sounds a bit far fetched for this Troper. However, he agrees that the Express may be more of a tradition than a practical solution. Sort of a team-building exercise for the students.
** Also, train systems have ''stations'', and usually more than one train on the tracks. I'm sure that the tracks stretch past Hogwarts in both directions, so that the Scottish kids catch one train one way to HW, and the London kids catch the second train the other way.
** As far as the books mention it, every student travels to Hogwarts on the Express (except those who live in Hogsmeade), and everyone boards at Kings Cross, no matter where they live. And aside from that, no one uses trains to get anywhere. Brooms, Portkeys, Floo, Apparition, or the occasional trip with the Knight Bus seem to be the usual ways of travelling.
** Where was it specifically mentioned that every student travels on the express? Until now, I was under the impression that those who live in Scotland would either Apparate to Hogsmeade before going to Hogwarts, or they just use Floo or broomsticks.
** The tradition explanation makes some sense. Consider that First Years travel to Hogwarts on enchanted boats over the lake, rather than taking the Thestral carriages, for no apparent reason.
** All of the students years 2 and up have to be given time to settle into the Great Hall. Putting the first years onto boats is a way to build up the suspense of going into the school, instead of getting them there quickly and having them wait outside the hall doing nothing for Merlin knows how long. Aside from learning, students have to be '''EXCITED''' about learning as well, so it's just a way to get the first years psyched up.
** "It's tradition!" is pretty much the entire reason for the Hogwarts Express being the one and only way for students to get to Hogwarts. Remember that wizards in the Harry Potter universe (or at least the British ones, anyway) are ''ultra''-traditionalists in everything they do. You know that lyric from the Music/WeirdAlYankovic song "Weasel Stomping Day" where the townspeople explain their dumbass holiday by proclaiming "It's tradition that makes it okay!"? Well, the wizarding version of that logic is "It's tradition that makes it '''''mandatory'''''!"
** Trains have only been around for a little while compared to the history of Hogwarts. Hogwarts is 1000 years old, trains are only about 150.
** It's a tradition carried over from the school stories the Potter series is based on. There has to be a farewell at a station, with steam everywere and the conductor blowing his whistle. You have to meet your new best friend and worst enemy on the train. That's the way it is.
** Another things that comes to mind about the express: Aside from the conductor, the snack cart lady, and Lupin (and that only in book three), there seems to be no adult aboard. Some hundred magically active kids on a train. For several hours. Able to cast spells without a need to care about the ridiculous restriction for underage magic. With no supervision whatsoever. Does anyone else smell trouble?
** The prefects patrol the carriages, so there is at least some supervision.
** Prefects start in fifth year. As a fifteen-year-old, this troper can categorically state that having the prefects running around telling kids what to do would ''really'' screw up what discipline was originally existing. Considering they use magic, I'm surprised the train makes it there not on fire.
** I always thought it was a security thing. There's already the no-apparation-into-Hogwarts thing. What's the best way to defend a place? Limit everyone to a single entryway. Of course, this makes me wonder how secure it really is when an illegally enchanted flying car can bypass everything.
** Also, those ways are not very secure for the students themselves. A single attack on Platform 9 3/4, the (unguarded) Express, the carriages, or the boats could wipe out a large part of wizarding Britain's children. And the fact that Voldemort's agents seem to be walking in and out of Hogwarts like it's nothing does not sound too good, either. (Quirrelmort in Book 1, Fake Moody in Book 4, Draco's vanishing cabinets in Book 6)
** Great, now I'm envisioning French wizards sneaking into England [[MoralEventHorizon to blow up the Hogwarts Express]]. [[SarcasmMode Thanks a lot]].
** Wonder no more! An early chapter in Pottermore details the usage of the Hogwarts Express and exactly why it was implemented. In the early days, faculty and students had to take whatever means were available. This was obviously rather haphazard (and nobody wants to try and transport an entire cart's worth of luggage with nothing but a broom) and tended to result in a very secrecy-breaking migration of wizards and witches to the north in potentially conspicuous ways (this is back before airplanes, so anything flying was either a bird or something very suspicious). Hogwarts has anti-apparation fields, and no headmaster was willing to breach security with a Floo connection directly into the castle. They tried a portkey network, but up to a third of students would miss the transportation (since they needed to find an inconspicuous object in a certain area at the exact right time) and many of them suffered from nausea and hysteria from the unfamiliar teleportation and its stresses on their young bodies. It wasn't until the invention of the steam locomotive that a practical solution was finally found, and it's suggested that the wizards outright ''stole an entire train'' through a mass operation involving memory and invisibility charms.
** I think you meant "no teacher was willing to breach security with a Floo connection directly into the castle except for DD who did exactly that in the "Order" when they needed to transport kids at winter". Not to mention that Sirius managed to contact Hogwarts through the fireplace, and by "contact" I mean ''he was physically there'', or that they could simply Floo the kids to Hogsmead or some designated terminal right outside the gates.


[[folder:Hogwarts location]]

* Is Hogwarts ever actually ''stated'' to be in Scotland? It makes sense, as you get there by traveling several hours from King's Cross (the London terminal for eastern Scotland), and the geography matches, but it could also be in Northumberland, or Cumbria even, if the line bore westward. Even Yorkshire. I don't remember the books ever saying. Or is this another WordOfGod thing?
** The only information this Troper could find was the source information in the 'Hogwarts' Article of TheOtherWiki. According to that, it's WordOfGod. IIRC, the books never explicitly state the location.
** FWIW, The exterior shots of the castle were filmed in Scotland.
** The "Fantastic Beasts" book confirms it.
** To expand, the book states that there are unconfirmed rumors of an acromantula colony in Scotland, which is where Harry writes, "confirmed!"
** also judging by the fact that the train is clearly a morning train and they arrive after sundown (which is aproximately 8pm in sept) and its clearly really dark and not dusk, they must be quite north in scotland (example is that the average train journey from london to glasgow which is just alil sourth west of the center of scotland, takes about 7-8 hours) so i would say they are probably near aberdeen or maybe Oban. or in Cairngorms national park, its very sparse there.


[[folder:Teacher competence and niceness]]

* What's up with the members of the Hogwarts staff? Of those that are described in a decent amount of detail, only [=McGonagall=], Flitwick, and Sprout seem to be both decent people ''and'' good teachers:
** Snape is a git who enjoys tormenting children and harbors prejudices against the students that are not in his house.
** He's also an extremely talented potions teacher who can impart great knowledge on those who pay attention and don't let their tempers get the better of them, and has a very important connection to Dumbledore.
** Trelawney is a fraud who has made only two accurate predictions in her life.
** If Trelawney's made any accurate predictions, she's clearly NOT a fraud. Divination is a difficult subject easily open to misinterpretation or being downright incorrect, but it's a legitimate subject nonetheless. SOMEONE needs to teach the basics.
** Binns seems to be the wizarding equivalent of valium.
** Maybe Binns is employed because he's cheap to pay? After all, he doesn't need to eat or anything. Plus, he sort of has the ultimate tenure - he haunts the place; there's no way to get rid of him, so they decide they might as well use him, perhaps? Plus, history of magic is arguably the least important subject other than divination, because knowing the other subjects could actually save your life one day. I doubt that knowing History of Magic will.
** Perhaps history does not save your life, but knowing where you come from is still an important part of education. Also, the Wizarding World seems to be a very traditionalist society, so it would only be logical if they put a bigger emphasis on history.
** If those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it, then that may well be the reason why wizarding society hasn't progressed, both culturally and technologically (I know it's a bit of a stretch). For all we know, there may have been a Voldemort-type figure every century.
** In a more immediate phrasing, history is a huge part of our view of the world. The wizarding world is a self-centered, traditional society that looks upon other creatures as sub-human at best, and it's incredibly easy to get stuck in that mindset if the kids don't get to learn that it wasn't always like this and that other creatures have their histories too, especially since this seems to be the closest thing they have to social sciences.
** What confuses me is that the only subject they seem to be doing in History is Goblin Uprises. That's it. Every time they mention how boring he makes history, it's always with something like "he even made bloody Goblin battles boring", and both times exams on history are mentioned, the topic is, surprise surprise, GOBLIN UPRISES. Is there nothing else interesting in Magic History? Or did Binns just forget he'd done the same topic more than once?
** Not true. They've also mentioned Giant Wars and various historical wizards ([[AddedAlliterativeAppeal Emeric the Evil, etc.]]) in the classes. And several of the exam questions involved international wizarding conventions.
** Having survived the Scottish education system, Binns was TruthInTelevision for me. Scotland has historically (heh) had a problem with effective teaching of history and especially of Scottish history, and the consequent neglect of the subject in recent years became [[ something of an educational crisis]].
** Hagrid is a nice guy, but his teaching is a bit odd, to say the least.
** I dunno. Seems that once you've trained a Blast-Ended Skrewt, Care of any other Magical Creature is going to be a cakewalk.
** The Hagrid thing actually really bugs me. Yes, he's a darling, but he has absolutely no right to be teaching! He has what, a second-year education? Also, he's completely insane. Great guy, but he exposes children to vicious beasts. The blast-ended skrewts could have killed somebody, I seem to remember they injured plenty. Malfoy was attacked by a hippogriff -- I know he's a brat and he was told that if he insulted Buckbeak it might attack, but it is an animal that attacks people for saying the wrong thing! Am I the only person who thinks that him losing his teaching job would have been the right thing?
** You're not. According to Luna at the start of the fifth book, the Ravenclaws aren't that enamored of him either.
** Well, Hagrid's teaching methods may be odd, if not dangerous; but considering that his predecessor, Kettleburn, is reckless enough to earn himself, like, SIXTY probations, Hagrid is probably a better teacher.
** Lupin teaches in the same way, though - direct first-hand experience with dangerous, "dark" magical creatures far worse than Hagrid's common-or-garden monsters. Malfoy's injury was no worse than the countless others suffered by Hogwarts students in classes taught by other professors; Hagrid only got in trouble because his father was a school governor and in a position to put pressure on Dumbledore.
** Oh, like what? A thing that you can defeat by twisting its fingers or a thing you can defeat by imagining it in a funny way? Ri-i-i-i-ight, Hyppos and Skrewts shiver in fear before those badasses!
** That's wrong. Malfoy and the hippogriff was in book 3. Draco's dad got sacked at the end of book 2 as governor (because he had threaten the 11 other ones).\\
Consider a real-world example: a student in a science class ignores his teacher's warnings and drinks some kind of toxic chemical, leading to a trip to the hospital. Should the science teacher be sacked?
** There's a serious difference between what Lupin does and what Hagrid does. Lupin gave students "practical" lessons in fighting dark creatures while at all times making sure that an adult wizard who could deal with the situation was there at all times and could take over if things got out of control. Hagrid, on the other hand, assigned a biting book with no instructions on how to use it. He breeds a new creature out of several types of monsters with no idea how dangerous this creature might be or how to control it, and puts the students in charge of caring for large numbers of these new creatures. This is an issue, and he probably should have lost his teaching job over that. Malfoy's injury is a different story, although Hagrid probably shouldn't have ''started'' with hippogriffs.
** Magic is inherently dangerous, but magic also means that injuries typically aren't as severe as they normally would be. In the Muggle world, Malfoy's clawing would necessitate a hospital visit and surgery. In Hogwarts, a simple trip to the infirmary patches him up quickly. Even ''losing all of the bones in your arm'' just necessitates a short stay in what's essentially the nurse's station. Everyone teaching magic understands the inherent risks, which is why the infirmary is larger than normal, but St. Mungo's doesn't seem to even take anybody who doesn't have extremely serious health problems (that can only be solved through difficult professional help, like the attack by Nagini) or severe brain damage. Hagrid's class is no more dangerous than what the kids are exposed to simply through ''having'' magic that they can use on each other when the teachers aren't looking.
** As for Lupin, Boggarts aren't dangerous, anyway. Molly gets trapped by one for a minute or so, and it doesn't do anything except make her sob. There's no indication it can physically harm any student even if Lupin wasn't there. He also shows them a Hinkypunk, which misleads people into drowning in bogs...which seems safe enough to show people in a classroom with no bogs. (Strangely, Hogwarts does later get a swamp in it.) Likewise, Grindylows just grab you and won't let go. Nothing he demonstrates can cause harm that we know of.
** Flich seems to hate children, a very useful attribute for the caretaker of a school. But then, as a Squib, he is already an outcast in the wizarding world. Being a Squib and living in a school full of children learning magic would most likely turn even the gentlest person into a kill-joy. So I'm not sure who suffers more from that arrangement, Filch or the students.
** Well, for one, Trelawny and Snape are there so Dumbledore can protect them from the remaining Death Eaters. And while Trelawny only makes two legitimate prophesies, which is still a hell of a lot more than anyone else we ever met, the majority of her predictions did come true (Neville broke his first cup, the girl lost her pet bunny, Hermione left them for good, and Harry did die young, though he was OnlyMostlyDead.)
** Okay, I give you Trelawney. But I cannot see any reason for Dumbledore not to crack down on Snape and give him a much-deserved attitude adjustment. Some FanFics have picked that up and stated that "Snape has to keep up appearances with the Death Eaters, so he has to be biased and torment the non-Slytherins", but that could easily be reversed: From the Death Eaters' point of view, it would easily be understandable that he has to play the part of the reformed DE towards the light siders, e.g. play nicely and be fair.
** Trelawney's predictions aren't really all that impressive; they're the sort of vaguely-defined, easily-fulfilled prophecies that [[InternetColdReading any Muggle sideshow psychic]] would know. Neville's bumbling ways are probably the stuff of school legend by the Third Year, and Hermione herself points out that Lavender wasn't "dreading" her bunny's death, as Trelawney predicted; the possibility never even occurred to Lavender! Let's face it: on ''any'' given day, something shitty's probably going to happen to you.
** [[WordOfGod Rowling]] said once that Dumbledore allows Snape to keep teaching the way he does because he thinks it's just another life lesson for them: Some people in authority are cruel and unfair. [[FridgeBrilliance It was a good preparation for the Carrows at Hogwarts, don't you think]]? Also, consider that when the Carrows were at Hogwarts, ''Snape'' was the one protecting the students, through clever, under-handed means. In addition, it's not like Snape is a bad teacher; he's probably one of the best at Hogwarts because he doesn't compromise his (extremely high) standards, which in turn means that his classes have high pass rates. Notice that Neville was the only student in Harry's year who neither showed any aptitude at all for Potions ''or'' passed his Potions O.W.L.? Even Harry and Ron, who hated Snape and groused about all of his classes, passed theirs with "Exceeds Expectations".
** But he never actually helped them. Take Neville, he was obviously bad at the subject. Snape never told him why what he was doing was wrong or gave him a chance to make it up, he just insulted him for messing up. This one time in the third book, they were making a Shrinking Solution and Neville did something wrong, so Snape made him redo it. A good teacher would have explained to him what he did wrong the first time, why he was wrong, and how he could avoid it. A bad teacher would just let him at his second potion and fail him. A dick teacher would threaten him with force-feeding the potion to his beloved pet, thus making him incredibly nervous and way more likely to mess up, carry out the threat, fully expecting poor Trevor to die, and then punish Neville for... getting the potion right. I'm not one for teachers babying their students and taking care of their self-esteems, but that's got to mess a kid up, and that's not conducive to good teaching. Besides, it doesn't really seem that OWLs are that hard to pass.
** I'll concede that Snape is a good teacher, but you can be a tough, strict teacher everyone but the nerds hate without being the utter jerkass that he is. Snape defines GoodIsNotNice. The kicker is that Hermione, an excellent student he has no reason to dislike, gets caught in the crossfires of a magical dust-up and her teeth get turned into something like a beaver's teeth. Hermione is already self-conscious about her big teeth and what does Snape do? Say "Get to the hospital wing, Granger," or just ignore it? No. He tells her he can't tell the difference and reduces her to a puddle of tears with one sentence. [[PunctuatedForEmphasis Snape. Is. An. ASSHOLE.]] I would like to think that Dumbledore chewed him out about this at least, but considering J.K. Rowling apparently believes in the "bullying makes kids stronger" excuse used by generations of bully-enablers, I have a terrible feeling Snape never got so much as a harsh word for doing stuff like that.
** Right! I mean it's not like Hermie ever did anything dickish to him! Like, you know, burn his robe while he was saving her chump boyfriend (yes, I know they had "reasons" to suspect him, that doesn't change anything) or ''stole valuable supplies from his closet''. Have ''any'' of the Snapefobes ever considered that he'd most likely have to pay for those from his salary? Of course not.
** And of course, Hermione never gets any support or recognition anywhere else, either. Except for, you know, every other class except Divination. What Hermione absolutely didn't need was another professor impressed because she read ahead. And every time Hermione answers a question that's easy for her, or fixes someone's potion, that's another kid who doesn't learn the thing, that's another kid who skates by without learning and will maybe get killed.
** As the daughter of two teachers, I resent the implication that just because he has to pay out of his pocket (and yes, that sucks, and yes stealing it was a sucky thing to do) justifies an alleged fucking adult in a position of power insulting a child which at best was going very overboard staying in good with the Malfoys and at worst was him being a petty asshole. Both my parents put up with a ton of way worse shit than having things stolen (my mother got called misogynistic slurs to her face and was threatned with being beaten up and my dad once or twice had a kid actually try it) and neither of them would ever have dreamed of saying something like that to a kid. I like Snape as a character but the Snapeaboos trying to pretend he's not an asshole are in serious denial of the abuse of the power disparity and ragingly unprofessional behavior he displays throughout, not to mention all the very legitimate safety issues brought up by other people in this thread. I agree Harry is biased and needs to be chewed out for some of his actions but that doesn't mean Snape comes out of it smelling like a bouquet of roses.
** I agree about Rowling's comment that 'teachers like Snape are a lesson'. But I also think that Dumbledore's selfish reasons for keeping Snape are probably more to do with it. Yes, I guess it makes sense that it could prepare students for future situations if they already know that sometimes, people bully those less powerful than them. But I do wonder what, exactly, this lesson is meant to do - to say 'you should just allow those with authority to abuse you'? That doesn't seem a healthy lesson to me. Aside from that, it seems evident that Snape does not like teaching and probably never wanted to be a teacher to begin with. Dumbledore keeps Snape in the school because Snape is very useful to him and his future plans; Dumbledore is nothing if not a ChessMaster. And the well-being of students seems to always have been secondary to what Dumbledore's personal plans are - that's why there's such disgusting levels of bullying among just the students, too. Draco is no more punished for his bullying than James and Sirius were, and all of them create some terrible situations because they're not being monitored. Snape was kept at the school so he was conveniently placed for Dumbledore to use, and that may be the reason that he's not been 'cracked down' on by Dumbledore. The fact that Snape does get consistently impressive testing results from his students (even though he is doing this by creating a fear of failure) probably makes it that much easier for Dumbledore to ignore any kind of disciplinary actions against Snape that might make it more difficult for him to manipulate Snape.
** The problem with Dumbledore's 'Teachers like Snape are a lesson' theory is that the lesson the kids are actually learning is 'Despite whatever it says ''de jure'', the way it works ''de facto'' is that those in power over you can work out their sadistic jollies on you there's nothing you can do about it, except hope you can suck up and get on the bastard's good side like his Slytherins are'. Yeah, '''wonderful''' life lessons to be teaching the kiddies, Dumbledore.
** I think the lesson is that there are in fact teachers and people in the real world who can act like Snape and you just have to deal with them or you're going to have a hard time being able to live in this world. I'd also like to argue that maybe we portray our ethical standards to a fantasy world and expect them to be the same and that could cause many problems when you don't take it for what it's worth. Especially since this is children's literature and it likes to make more exaggerated liberties on characters to impact the life lessons that children are more likely to take away from it.
** Or maybe the lesson is that the readers should stop taking after the biased and headstrong protagonist and ignoring the goddamned obvious, i.e. that not only did Snape have to keep up the "bad" image in case V returns and he has to wriggle back into his ranks, but he also had to suck up to Malfoys in order to stay in their good grace and keep up with their plots, and also that both Harry and Hermione deserved every last bit of verbal spanking they were given, by repeatedly violating school rules and getting away with it, disrupting Snape's classes, stealing his stuff, setting his robes on fire, not being the least bit grateful when he ''repeatedly'' saves their hides and do I even need to carry on?
** We all understand why Snape has to behave the way he does but given all these limitations on him, is really the best person to be teaching schoolchildren? And Harry and Hermione might not be model students, but the way that he goes off on Harry on the very first day of class for things beyond his control (Neville's accident is in no way his responsibility) and the fact that the oppressive atmosphere in the classroom make it harder for the students to do potions and his clear hatred of teaching really make him seem like a bad teacher. Dumbledore keeping him (and others) on for reasons that have nothing to do with and in some cases hurt the education of his students is irresponsible of him as a headmaster. Keeping a teacher he knows is bad around because the students will have to deal with unpleasant people in life so they might as well start now is also sabotaging their education. Them learning how to correctly brew potions is a bit more important than whatever lesson he's trying to teach them and those two goals seem mutually exclusive.
** " really the best person..." - Of course not, he was a lousy teacher, and everything you said is true. But that's kind of the point and a part of his role. The first impression is the most important, and the sooner Draco writes to his father and starts gushing over how cool the new Potion master is and how he trashed all the mudbloods and blood traitors, the better for the mission. " irresponsible of him as a headmaster" - welcome to the club. I'm trying to put this notion across all the seven sections. And just for the record, I consider the whole deal about Snape being a "lesson" about unpleasant people the wildest and insanest nonsense '''ever''' and the best proof of how little grasp Rowling actually has over her own writing.
** One thing you all seem to be forgetting is that Potions seems to be pretty much Advanced Chemistry+magic. Even a nice teacher has to be very strict to teach something that dangerous, so one like Snape--who has a bad temper and low opinion of most of his students anyway--is probably a complete nervous wreck trying to keep anyone from getting themselves killed. Add all his other stresses on top of that and you have someone who is very badly in need of a year's vacation.
** Except that in chemistry class, ''first'' you get lab safety lectures and exercises, ''then'' you start with harmless experiments, and only months later do you start getting to play with the sulfuric acid. Good God, we didn't get around to touching the dangerous chemicals until ''high school''. What did we see Snape do? First day of first year, he had 11-year-old students mixing a potion that could (and in Neville's case, did) easily become a mass of dangerously overflowing caustic if you made a trivial mistake in timing... with no more instruction other than 'The directions are on the board, get to work'. Conclusion: Snape didn't give two shits about lab safety.
** It seems to me the ''entire school'' doesn't give two shits about safety. Professor Sprout has the students playing with mandrakes, a plant that can ''kill you'' if you hear its cry. In Professor Hooch's class a student suffered a broken wrist during a routine flying lesson. Hagrid let a student get mauled by a Hippogriff. Professor Quirrell and Professor Moody were ''completely bug-fuck evil''. And the less said about the terror-inducing death-sport known as "Quidditch" the better. "Safety" is not a big concern at Hogwarts and apparently never has been.
** Magic means that it's much easier to heal wounds and fix problems than normal. A mess that would result in calling in a biohazard cleanup unit and sending dozens of people to the hospital can be fixed in Hogwarts by a few people waving wands for a few minutes. A bloody injury that requires surgery or would be completely impossible to fix, like ''losing all of your bones in your arm'', can be healed with a few days of bedrest and a potion or two. They can afford to be more careless than a Muggle school because the consequences simply aren't as severe. Also, I should point out that the mandrakes were specifically too young to actually kill the students and would just knock them out harmlessly.
** A fatal accident is still a fatal accident, even for a wizard and even with magical healing. If somebody's cauldron explodes and a piece of shrapnel goes through their skull, you've got a dead kid regardless of what Madam Pomfrey can do. Besides, it actually ''isn't'' typical of human behavior to be more willing to injure themselves the further medical science advances. We can do things in the burn unit now that would be considered miracles from God a century ago, but you are no more likely to deliberately ram your bare hand into a pot of boiling water than your great-grandmother would be.
** Furthermore, why does Filch even have a job? What's the point of having a pissy, foul-tempered squib running around mopping the floors of a castle with 100 magical super maids (house elves) living in it?
** He's probably coordinating them, sort of like a foreman. Putting a bunch of House Elves in charge would not fit with the human/wizard-supremacist world views of the wizarding world.
** That seems like it would be a good explanation, but it's not really backed up by what's presented in the books. If Filch was in charge of the house elves, why would he do any work himself? Why would he trudge around the school mopping mud off the floors and scraping gross crap off the walls and ceilings if he could just summon an elf and have them do it with a wave of their finger? Furthermore, everything Dobby says to Harry and company after he starts working at Hogwarts implies that house elves work directly for the current headmaster/headmistress of Hogwarts rather than the caretaker.
** Maybe Filch is there to do the 'public' cleaning up of things, [[FantasticRacism an old wizarding family holdover of not wanting to see any house elves. Ever.]] The house elves do all the 'behind the scenes' stuff, but Filch is the one to take your problems to, and who cleans up when kids are there to see it. Plus, he has a [[WordOfGod half kneazle]] "cat" , and it's (presumably) his job to patrol irritably, and confiscate things from students.
** House-elves presumably don't have the authority to discipline students, and wouldn't have the temperament to do so even if they did. (Remember Winkie, who couldn't bring herself to say anything harsher to Barty Jr. than that he was a "bad boy"?) Whatever cleanup Filch does personally is either him gathering evidence against the ones who make messes, or grumpily proving to himself that he ''can'' get things done around the place, even if it's without magic.
** Filch is good at his job. He may not have magic or care about the kids, but he has determination and gets things done.
** I always felt Filch was more like the chief of security and/or administrator than just a janitor like Groundskeeper Willie, and as such did thing that House Elves canít do like giving order to students, supervising students behabior (with the help of his sentient cat), interact with the teachers and answering to their request (as he does with Umbridge), etc. Even if he orders the House Elves to do the stuffs (especially because even if House Elves respond to the headmaster is doubtful that Dumbledores does the micromanagement). Besides I donít remember in the books him doing any real hard work (that is probably done by Elves), he does seem to be more like a manager of the place.
** There are still a couple of other teachers, though they aren't described much. Hermione seems to really like Professor Vector (Arithmancy), Madam Pomfrey is the nurse who really cares about the children, Madam Hooch is a fair Quidditch referee (though I don't really know what else she does), and Professor Sinistra is a total mystery (Astronomy, and we don't even know if it's a man or woman. The students never complain about their Astronomy teacher though, so we'll assume that Sinistra isn't awful at least).
** According to WordOfGod, Aurora Sinistra is female. She and the other "unseen" professors seem to be decent people, but still, at least half of the more prominent staff members are somewhat dubious. And we haven't even mentioned the various Defense teacher fiascos, so far.
** Hooch teaches Flying to first years.
** ThatOtherWiki says that Quirrell was the former Muggle Studies teacher, only transferring to Defense Against the Dark Arts in ''Philosopher's Stone''. So who taught Muggle Studies in-between them and when the Carrows took over?
** Charity Burbage. She's mentioned at the beginning of ''Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.''
** [[spoiler:And executed by Voldemort. Personally.]]
** Not to mention Mad-Eye Moody, who teaches 14-year-olds about the three worst crimes in the Wizarding World by DEMONSTRATING THEM IN FRONT OF THE CLASS. Pretty screwed up, even if [[spoiler:he did turn out to be a Death Eater in disguise.]]
** Maybe it's only illegal to do the curses on humans and possibly the other registered sentient beings and beasts while normal spiders are fair game.
*** Huh, guys, must I remind you that one of Fake!Moody's classes involved Imperiusing the fourth year Gryffindors (and likely the whole of Hogwarts fourth year)to see if they could resist it?
** It's not as bad as people make it out to be. Out of the slightly over a dozen or so teachers at Hogwarts (not counting the continually rotating DADA instructors), only three have legitimate concerns about their ability to be a teacher - Trelawny, Snape, and Hagrid. Other than that, Filch and Binns get brought up, but there really isn't any major issue there, yes Binns is boring, but if the students just sucked it up and paid attention, they'd be learning the subject just fine. And Filch has no direct authority over the students, all he can do is yell about them "befouling the castle" while cleaning up the mess and tattle to a real teacher when they actually break an official rule. And as to the big three cases of this, let's look at them:
** Trelawny - Horrible teacher, yes. Total fraud, not really; while nowhere near as good as she likes to think, she is a legitimate seer, and even most of her non-prophecy predictions come out right, as long as they're just off-hand comments and not a deliberate attempt. Now, why would Dumbledore let someone so horribly unqualified teach? Simple; in this case, he legitimately doesn't care. He admitted in Book 6 that he was on the verge of just removing the whole subject of Divination from the school, and the only reason it's still taught is to give him a reason to keep Trelawny around. Add in that it is an elective subject, which simply can't be taught at all (you either have the gift of sight or you don't), and there's really little reason to care if the teacher teaching a literally un-teachable subject sucks.
** It is understandable to maintain the subject to keep Trelawny safe. But this un-teachable subject still gave students loads of homework to do. They could have spend their time on much more important things. Even when the course is elective.
** Snape - Yes, he is an unfair jerkass. Yes, he shows open favoritism towards certain students, and open disdain for others, but there are other factors to keep in mind. First, the only students we see him actually go out of his way to make miserable are Harry and Neville, both of whom he has personal issues with stemming from before they had ever met: [[spoiler:Harry for being the son of his most hated enemy and the love of his life, and Neville for not being the one chosen for death by Voldy (thus sparing Lily)]]. So, while he ''is'' unfairly biased towards Slytherin students, as pointed out above, it's basically Dumbledore letting him act this way so that students can learn a lesson about how, quite frankly, life ain't fair. Second, as far as just teaching his subject, he's damn good at it, even Neville ends up passing his potions O.W.L.; the only person in Harry's class who we know failed was Crabbe and/or Goyle, who are verging on being literally TooDumbToLive. Despite his personality issues, Snape is proven to be very good at getting the student to learn his subject, and those issues are not as large as they are made out to be, because as above, the only students he actively goes after are those he has a pre-existing hatred for.
** Isn't accepting that all of Snape's students passed their OWLs a bit too convenient? It is somewhat justified that his behavior is to be taken as a life lesson, but is that lesson really what one should teach 11 year olds? Acting in the manner in which he did does not seem likely to inspire his students to be better. Someone with his attitude has no business instructing children, he is certainly a genius in his field, but that doesn't necessitate him being a good or even average professor. Someone like Snape is probably best suited teaching either upperclassmen Potions or graduate work. Using fear is fine, but he clearly crossed a line where some of the kids started to hate him - a big no-no for teachers.
** If Snape is supposed to be a lesson that life isn't fair, who is teaching the Slytherins that lesson? The way this troper sees it, the only thing the Slytherins get from that lesson is that behaving like a jerkass is perfectly fine. And we ''wonder'' why several of them turn out to be evil?!?
** Who's teaching the Slytherins that lesson? Pretty much everyone else in the castle, the moment the hat puts them there. The books make it relatively clear that "Slytherin = Evil" is the ruling opinion of the school, which may be true in many cases, but I doubt it's 100% accurate all of the time. One can assume that some Slytherins are jerkasses by nature, but some are jerkasses by nurture, having been groomed into it by all of the hate they seem to automatically get. Snape himself was a victim of the same prejudice pretty early on, whether his unpleasant disposition hurt his image or not. Besides - if he were just an unpleasant Hufflepuff, even the fandom's interpretation of his character likely would've been drastically different from the start.
** And I don't think teaching was really a calling for Snape. He was put in that position by Dumbledore. I think he was still learning how to teach the whole time. And I got the impression more than once that he was unbelievably offended and without hope hen it came to how his students approach potions. Snape knows how useful his subject can be and so may of the students spend their time actively forgetting everything they can. Knowing how useful this stuff is probably contributed to his desire to teach DADA as well.
** Hagrid - The exact opposite of Snape; great as a person/friend, lousy as a teacher. But again, there are mitigating factors. He does have extensive knowledge of the subject and knows what he's talking about and then some; whenever he brings them a new animal, he always does a good job in teaching them everything about it. His major problem was in choosing which animals to teach them about. Also, the first time we see his class, it is literally the first time he's trying to teach, and it's fairly obvious he's been improving as he gets used to it, since in Book 5, Umbridge, despite monitoring every one of his classes, can't find a legitimate reason to fire him until the end when she just decides to not bother with trying to find one and just attacks him, so likely it just took him awhile to get the hang of teaching, and given time, there's no reason he couldn't develop into at least a decent teacher for the subject. And again, his major problem was in setting the course syllabus, not in the actual teaching, so even if he doesn't really improve on that, all it would need is the Headmaster or another better teacher setting the course objectives and letting Hagrid do the part he's good at.
** Great as a friend? He tricks three underage wizards into promising to take care of his giant brother, a virtually impossible task. All the more, with Umbridge keeping an eye on them already. He could have asked a different teacher, but they would have outright refused that. So that's why he asks some children. That's pretty cold.
** My answer to the the first question is; go back to school. My school is roughly the same size of Hogwarts and she has actually gotten the ratio of good and bad teachers quite well. The three worst teachers all represent real terrible teachers; one who torments, one who is too kind and friendly to be a teacher, and one who just doesn't understand the subject. At first I thought she missed one of the teacher archetypes, the one that doesn't do anything and tells you to "do your work" and then Umbridge came to the school. Well done.
** ^ '''Exactly.''' People seem to forget that almost every word of these books are told through the eyes of a ''child''. And children always have a skewed perception of how the world works. Don't any of you remember what it was like to be in school? Don't you remember the teachers you thought were the meanest people in the world? Don't you remember the frustration when a situation was just ''so unfair!" but none of the adults seemed to care what you think? Rowling wanted to bring back those feelings of adolescent frustration and righteous indignation, and judging by the comments on this page I'd say she did that quite well.
** Additionally, ten years after a devastating, decimating war, perhaps the cream of the crop is not available to teach? Perhaps much of the cream of the crop wound up on the front lines. Those that might have been called to teaching otherwise might have found themselves in fields like medicine or law enforcement because that was what was most needed. Ten years isn't even a generation yet.
** Also remember one thing Snape is super bitter about not being able to be the DADA teacher, but what dumbledore never tells him is that [[spoiler: Voldermort jinxed the position, meaning teachers never lasted a year, and Dumbledore used that knowlage to make his death seem like the only reason Snape fled]]

[[folder: Name]]
* Why would you name your school "Hogwarts"? Hogwarts is a terrible name. I bet all the Hogwarts kids get made fun of when they meet homeschooled kids or kids from other schools.
** The other schools have equally strange names. 'Beauxbatons' literally means [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything 'Beautiful Sticks']] and Durmstrang sounds distincly [[ German]] (although, judging by its staff and students, it seems to be located in eastern Europe and Dumbledore introduces them as "friends from the north".)
** The obvious contextual translation of Beauxbatons is "Beautiful Wands". Regarding Hogwarts, yes, it's pretty gross when you think about it, but don't you think just putting the words together that way gives them an air of fantasticism and whimsy? It fits the mood of the first book a lot better than the DarkerAndEdgier tones of the last ones, I admit - Voldemort's deadly serious line "I have great respect for the teachers of Hogwarts. I do not want to spill magical blood," was a bit of a "wait, what?" moment.
** While Durmstrang/Sturm und Drang can indeed remind of magic, a French would never call a wand a "bâton", or think of a wand when hearing it -and Rowling must have known that, since, as I recall, she taught French. However, a magic wand is actually called a "baguette magique", so it's understandable Rowling didn't want her readers to think immediately of bread when hearing the name; but then couldn't she find something cleverer than "Beauxbâtons" that sounds weird to both French and English ears?
** Maybe it's "batons" because both their wands ''and broomsticks'' are beautiful.
** There was a detailed discussion of this question on the [[Headscratchers/HarryPotterAndThePhilosophersStone Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone page]] (just over halfway down). Long story short, Hogwarts was named after the hogwort plant.
** TheOtherWiki states that JKR did not name the school after the plant, at least not deliberately. Also, naming a school after a plant that contains a laxative seems just as inappropriate as a pig's skin condition.
** Up until relatively recently, [[ Gropecunt Lane]] was not an uncommon street name, at least in England (usually in the red light districts, [[SarcasmMode surprise, surprise]]). By comparison, "Hogwarts" is hardly farfetched.
** The WOMBAT says that the school may have been named after Rowena Ravenclaw dreamt of a "warty hog" leading her to the place where the school would be built.
** I always figured Hogwarts was named after someone else who helped found the school, but just not to the degree to have his own house. Had things turned out differently, we may have had Hufflepuff School with a Hogwarts house. -RedWolfBen
** Never heard of the town called Intercourse in Pennsylvania? Or how about a town called Muff in Ireland - yes, they have their own diving club and yes they are very proud of it.

[[folder:Houses themselves]]

* This isn't really a plot hole, so much as me just being irritated that Rowling couldn't write this aspect of Hogwarts in better: The Houses are just irritating in their simplicity. The Gryffindors are the generic hero House, possessing regal colors, a mascot that has been used countless times to represent regality (King of Beasts anyone?), and of course, all our heroes are from Gryffindor (however, since Harry is the protagonist, and you tend to hang around with people in your House/Dorm, this part is more acceptable). Slytherin is the generic villain House, since we all know ReptilesAreAbhorrent, and Hagrid out and out says at one point that all dark wizards ever have been from Slytherin. Not to mention, I don't think there's a single character in the series who is a Slytherin who is ever painted in a positive light, aside from Snape and Slughorn. Ravenclaw really isn't given much characterization at all, other than to say that they are "clever" ([[UnfortunateImplications also, note how the only Ravenclaw we get to know who is supposed to be "clever" is Cho, who is, surprise surprise, Asian]]), despite the fact that Hermione is quite clearly one of the most intelligent students in the entire school. Hufflepuff is sort of painted as the CloudCuckoolander House, although Rowling couldn't even be arsed to give the House a proper attribute, having them basically say "we'll take all the rest!" [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking Not to mention, the name just sounds stupid.]]
** Andromeda Black (Tonks' mum) was in Slytherin. So was Regulus, who ended up not being so bad.
** In heraldry, there are no specific "regal colours", nor is the lion symbolic of royalty (OK, so the arms of England are "Gules, three lions passant Or" while those of Scotland are "Or, a lion rampant Gules" and something about a bordure of fleurs-de-lys which I don't remember clearly, but this is just coincidence); the lion symbolises courage, which is one of the main defining attributes of Gryffindor House. Mind you, to my mind the beast should have been a griffin, which as well as matching the founder's surname is even more symbolic of courage than the lion.
** Far from anything regal, to a French reader, lions plus red and gold evoke [[ some kind of cheese]].
** Actually, Luna is more a CloudCuckoolander and she's in Ravenclaw, so referring to Hufflepuff that way isn't entirely correct. Also, Hermione mentions that the Hat wanted to put her in Ravenclaw, but she argued in favor of Gryffindor much like Harry argued against Slytherin. Everyone points out the line the Sorting Hat says - "I'll take the rest" - but constantly ignores the other lines that say Hufflepuff prides loyalty, hard work, and treats everyone equally. Hufflepuff, unfortunately, is the HufflepuffHouse and doesn't get much focus besides Cedric, but keep in mind that the Cup chose a Hufflepuff, not a Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin, to represent Hogwarts in the Triwizard Tournament. She ultimately realized her mistake of painting Slytherin as the villain house and tried to make Slughorn look good and had him fight against Voldemort, but for many, it was too little too late. Especially when she didn't mention that after sending the Slytherins out of the battle of Hogwarts that some come back and fight for Hogwarts against Voldemort in the book (rather she said it in interviews). Ultimately, if she'd realized the books would have been that big a hit she might have portrayed the houses a little differently and made it so you didn't have to be Gryffindor or you're a secondary character.
** Concerning Cho, please not that the Smart Asian stereotype still isn't common or obvious in Europe, and probably wasn't at all in TheEighties.
** The events in the books take place in TheNineties while the books were written in TheNineties and [[TurnOfTheMillennium the Zeroes]]
** In a school setting, the Ravenclaw House makes the most sense. They're essentially the house for honor students.
** Honor students before they've even begun any school? (Perhaps gifted students, though.)
** Yeah, gifted makes much more sense.
** Three houses based on personalities, and then one house for honours kids? How does that make the most sense? Not to mention, Gilderoy Lockhart was a Ravenclaw, and I somehow doubt he was at the top of his class (in fact, on that note, do we know of any Ravenclaws who are actually the best in class? So far, we know Percy [G], Hermione [G], Barty [S?], and Tom [S] have been). In fact, honours dictates being best in class and best in class alone, but given the students we know, we have to presume that other forms of intelligence (which is also not really a personality trait) factor in: Gilderoy is good at weaving tales, for instance, but the only spell he's any good at is Obliviate.
** Apparently the trait that separates Ravenclaws from the rest is "cleverness". And it would take an exceptional amount of cleverness for Lockhart to weave such an intricate web of lies around himself. I don't remember it being mentioned in the books that Lockhart was from Ravenclaw, but whether it was or not it definitely goes a long way toward proving the point that Slytherin isn't the ''only'' house that breeds bad wizards.
** The books never mention Lockhart's house, is there a link available to an interview saying so? This Troper always thought it was painfully obvious that he HAD to be a Slytherin. "Those cunning folk use any means to achieve their ends." Lockhart used the means of memory charms to achieve his ends of taking credit for everything and gaining fame across all Europe. -RedWolfBen
** Hufflepuff was originally for those who were loyal, and Slytherin for those who were ambitious, which are two good qualities. I'd prefer to think that maybe the messages of the founders were warped or misinterpreted (which happens only all the time in the real world) so that the houses are rather simple.
** Hufflepuff was always my favorite house because I considered them the {{badass normal}}s of Hogwarts. I always thought they were the ones that did not have a lot of raw talent but were willing to work hard to overcome their disadvantages. (Like Rock Lee.)
** It's my favourite House too! They are really the badass normals of the lot, and some great characters were Hufflepuffs. Like Cedric and Tonks, as well as the fact that possibly every named Hufflepuff around Harry's time was in the DA, and several of them kicked Malfoy's ass at the end of the fifth book.
** I put this up on FridgeBrilliance a while ago, but it occurred to me that Rowling stereotyping the Houses was 100% deliberate. Since we're told very explicitly that Slytherins are evil and Gryffindors/Hufflepuffs/Ravenclaws are good guys, we naturally expect a Slytherin to be evil. But remember what Dumbledore said in ''[[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheChamberOfSecrets Chamber of Secrets]]''? "It is our '''choices''', much more than our abilities, that prove who we really are." In essence, everyone has the choice to be good or evil (for example, Gryffindor Peter Pettigrew ends up being a coward and selling James and Lily to Voldemort; Ravenclaw Quirrel ends up being power-hungry), so when someone Slytherin turns out to ''not'' be evil, it comes as a huge shock to the readers. It always boils down to personal choice, and subverting fate is one of the driving forces behind the story.
** There's a pretty good argument that the Sorting Hat relies almost ''exclusively'' on choice, which would mean that the four temperaments are actually self-perpetuating stereotypes. For example, Slytherin is home to the racists because mostly just kids from racist families would be happy to be in Slytherin; all the ambitious/cunning kids who find the reputation troubling subconsciously think "not Slytherin!". (That specific idea is stolen from the fanfic ''Fanfic/HarryPotterAndTheMethodsOfRationality''.) Near-confirmation of this: Hermione says "I hope I'm in Gryffindor, it sounds by far the best; I hear Dumbledore himself was in it, but I suppose Ravenclaw wouldn't be too bad." She didn't have to consciously think "Put me in Gryffindor!", but the hat was still able to suss out her wishes while orating: "the Sorting Hat did seriously consider putting me in Ravenclaw during my Sorting, but it decided on Gryffindor in the end."
** I've considered it a lot for the ten years or more since I first started reading the books, and have lately come to a similar conclusion. It's all about choice. Hermione was smart enough for Ravenclaw, but she clearly (judging by her words to Harry at the end of PS) believes bravery to be a more worthy trait. So I think it boils down to what you think is the most worthy trait you can possess. I'm not sure anyone is born brave, but if you value bravery, you will strive to be brave. Intelligence is a little more clear-cut, but still, if you're smart and you believe it's what makes you different, what makes you special, then you will be a Ravenclaw. Hufflepuffs must value loyalty and hard work, as well as (I think) acceptance. I always interpreted the line "I'll take the rest" as more of a matter of Hufflepuffs emulating their founder, and accepting others, rather than them being the left-overs with nothing else. Slytherins believe that power is important, because only with power can things be changed or stay the same as you want them to. As someone above pointed out, current Slytherins believe that purity of blood is most important, and want to be in Slytherin for that reason, thus filling the house with racists. Both Snape and Voldemort saw blood purity as somewhat important, as both had a dim view of Muggles. It was the most important thing to them, and therefore marked them for Slytheirn House. Of course, values change between the ages of 11 and 17, which is why Dumbledore is probably very correct in assuming that they "sort too soon". Snape, while probably disgusted with the idea of being a Gryffindor, no longer has the same mindset as he once did. While still a jerk, he doesn't believe blood purity to be most important, nor does he think power is (as he lost all his happiness by seeking power). Peter Pettigrew clearly decided that he held personal safety over bravery, even if that wasn't so when he was 11 (what happened there??). This is just what I like to think, as a fanatical reader. But it feels like it fits in with the books, as Dumbledore himself highlights to Harry the importances of choice over nature.
** I'm mostly with the previous idea, but think it's less 'importance' and more 'life goals'. Gyffindors want to have excitement (Which is how Hermione and Harry approached the entire magical world), Ravenclaws want to learn (Not 'are smart'), Hufflepuffs want friends, and Slytherins want respect. (Which is why Harry almost ended up there, lacking any, and also why Riddle ended up there.) This is why you can choose... that's just you saying what you want your life goals to be, instead of what they telepathically are determined to be. And I actually think Sorting is a pretty good attempt to try to keep bullying down. Put the nerds in Ravenclaw, the jocks in Gryffindor, the popular kids in Slytherin, and everyone else in Hufflepuff. It mostly works, in that the only intra-House teasing we know of is towards Luna, and we have no idea what's going on in Ravenclaw with that. Can you imagine what would happen if Neville or Luna lived in the same dorms as Draco? Of course, it still makes no sense at all to Sort at 11 and keep them there; almost everyone's life goals change during puberty.
** A possible explanation for the Ravenclaw teasing is that a few Ravenclaws thought it would be funny to hide Luna's stuff (maybe even write riddles directing to their locations) and Luna took it the wrong way and thought it was personal or something.
** It probably helps if you consider the fact that all the houses have negative qualities as well that help with the sorting process:
** Gryffindors, while brave and bold, also act before they think and let emotion rule them. Consider the amount of times that Gryffindor house has turned on Harry for perceived wrongs without taking 10 seconds necessary to check their facts because they already know that they are right. This is probably the reason Hermione isn't in Ravenclaw. When she sees that house elves are subservient she tries to rush in and free them never taking into account what they want or the fact that house elves, not being human, might actually have a symbiotic relationship with wizards, living off of their master's power while serving them and making their life easier.
** It is unlikely that the House Elves ''need'' to serve a wizard due to the fact that Dobby spends quite some time unemployed with no noticeable problems and if this were the case, someone would have explained it to Hermione instead of just relying on 'the House Elves like it.' Though she does fail to consider that House Elves are different species with different wants and needs than wizards and so trying to force her beliefs on them won't help. And Hermione only ever lets her emotions rule her when it comes to the plight of magical creatures. Unless the Ravenclaws are truly emotionless, they're going to have some issue that they get emotional about.
** Slytherins while cunning and ambitious are a bit lacking in the morals department. While their indirect methods are the opposite of Gryffindor, their lack of firm loyalty is more in defiance of Hufflepuff. Slytherin is truly a snake pit where everyone is out for themselves and people are constantly using each other. However much of the hostility associated with the house probably has less to do with their own proclivities and more to do with the anti-Slytherin bias rampant within Hogwarts coupled with the Slytherin's own ambition keeping them from truly staying out of the public eye.
** Ravenclaws, though seemingly impartial is actually telling of one of their main faults. Simply put, they don't care. Ravenclaws distance themselves emotionally, losing their empathy in their search for objectivity and knowledge. This leads them to turn a blind eye to the pain of others and practically condones the bullying of those who don't conform to their rigid world view. The reason that there aren't more Ravenclaws in the stories is probably due to the fact that they would not support the Gryffindor protagonists' moral-centric motivations of doing seemingly stupid things because that is the right thing to do. Their other main flaw is that since social standing in Ravenclaw seems academically based then Ravenclaws would likely have a tendency to hoard knowledge and secrets, which might be why many fans seem to think Dumbledore should have come from that house.
** How does the social standing seem academically based? Luna's probably the least popular Ravenclaw given the severity of her bullying but I doubt she's the very last in her classes since she gives no signs of being challenged academically. Also, it seems premature to dismiss an entire group of people as possessing no empathy because there is bullying within the house. James and Sirius were bullies, Malfoy's a bully...bullying can happen regardless of house or intelligence.
** Last and in some ways least is Hufflepuff. While the Puffs are hard working and loyal this leads them to have one gigantic glaring weakness. To put it insultingly simply, they are sheeple. Their loyalty results in a kind of mob-mentality as disagreeing with everyone else would immediately be called out on as lack of loyalty. They believe what they are told, not because of a Ravenclaw-ish belief in the purity of knowledge but with an unthinking faith in that being loyal to the school means following the orders of the teachers, even if they are contrary to your own beliefs. however this forced loyalty means that they are the worst of fair-weather friends, for as long as public opinion is on your side, so are they, but when it is not, they are forced to choose which of their loyalties have the highest priority, and you will never know exactly where you stand until they have turned on you. In this way they are even more insular then Slytherin for while the snakes present a unified front as a defense mechanism, puffs will always be loyal to other puffs first because of the circular logic that the other puffs are more loyal then non-puffs, because if they where loyal they would be puffs, and not questioning just exactly what that loyalty means because to do so would mean not being loyal to the beliefs that the other puffs hold, using the threat of ostracization as a way to enforce unthinking loyalty.
** What evidence is there for the sheep mentality of Hufflepuffs? Cedric refuses to partake in his houses' shunning of Harry after winning the Triwizard Tournament, Hannah disagrees with Ernie's belief that Harry is the Heir of Slytherin, and Ernie goes against the crowd and openly supports Harry when he claims that Voldemort is back. I don't see the Hufflepuffs generally sharing an opinion any more than the other houses do.
** but while all of the houses have these negatives as well as positives, that does not mean they are always present, merely another set of variables for the hat to consider.
** My interpretation is that while Rowling could have wrote the whole thing better, Slytherin was going through a rough patch, with the issues of rascism at a height. But at other times, after the whole business, the house will dust themselves and get better. And in other disastrous times, the negative qualities of other houses will shine. Ravenclaw will have a time when they ae the naive ones trying to solve the world with maths and diplomacy, and never confronting their real feelings, trying to stay in their own bubble of intellect. Hufflepuff will be the sheep, like the Italians today, not being able to understand life beyond their own villiage, and convincing themselves that everything is okay. And in those times Slytherin may be the OnlySaneMan trying to piece everything together.
** I've noticed that Ravenclaws just seem to have a love of knowledge in general. They love finding out how things work or stuff like that. Luna for example becomes a Naturalist - so she can learn all about different creatures first hand. Hermione meanwhile doesn't love learning or knowledge - she loves being top of the class and showing off. So that's more of a Gryffindor trait.
** You'll probably hate this [[ video]], but it sums up my personal views on the house system PERFECTLY.
** The entire house system makes NO SENSE. Why on earth would you WANT to group kids into houses based on personality traits that they may or may not have expressed at age ELEVEN?! Is it physically impossible to be both loyal and brave? Or clever and cunning? (What's the difference, anyhow?) By putting young, impressionable children into groups that have been labelled with stereotypes, then according to [[ Labeling Theory]], those kids might come to fulfill those stereotypes. I disagree with the idea that kids CHOSE their houses, and I have proof: Neville Longbottom reportedly BEGGED to be put in Hufflepuff. Obviously, the hat didn't care. Did Neville have some hidden bravery within him that emerged when he gained confidence? Or do you think it's more likely that he learned to be brave from a bunch of other kids who he was constantly forced to be around that were already brave (and reckless)? Honestly, the way the Slytherin house carries on, it's a miracle that every kid from that house didn't turn out to be a dark wizard, just from hanging around all those racist twerps. The house system practically encourages unhealthy student rivalries. I like to think that I am a combination of personality traits: I love my family and would nearly do anything for them, I enjoy and excel at academics, and I can be incredibly stubborn and belligerent. Any of these traits on their own would land me in a different house, but has ten-year-old me really developed these character traits entirely? Little ten-year-old me loves his/her family to no end, but also loves school and learning a lot. All right, hat, flip a coin- Ravenclaw! For the rest of my stay at Hogwarts, everyone will see I'm in Ravenclaw and know immediately that I'm a braniac smartypants/cloud cuckoolander. Hufflepuff! For the next seven years, the yellow and black uniform will mark me as a friendly sheep/"the rest". This is NOT A HEALTHY SYSTEM for ten year olds! And we wonder why the wizarding world has such problems with stereotypes and racism.
** First the House System wasnít invented by Rowling, it actually exists in real life in many boarding schools (though may have other name), of course due to the fictional narrative is shown to be maybe more divisive of what it really is. We see in-universe that members of the different houses have very different personalities (Ron and Hermione canít be more different for example) and that they also have friendships and relationship inter-house (been Luna and Cho examples of that, not to mention Snape and Lilyís friendship, or that of the Marauders), is not like they only relate to their own houses.

[[folder:Hogwarts population]]

* How many people go to Hogwarts? There can't be more than twenty Gryffindors in Harry's age, that's 80 students per grade, seven grades = 560 kids. But Hogwarts is ''giant'', and while maybe you could attribute the size to dorms, cafeterias, etc., there are a ton of high schools that are a fraction of Hogwarts' size with twice the students. The whole thing is also a bit incestuous, they all sort of get married to each other (and it's mentioned that the purebloods are all related).
** If you take only the 'named' students into consideration, it is more like an average of ten students per house per year: 10 * 4 * 7 = 280
** It's never exactly specified, especially since WritersCannotDoMath, but it is generally considered that due to the recent two wizarding wars (WWII and Voldemort), the population of Hogwarts is significantly lower than it was a century ago, making the castle seem larger than necessary. Also it's noted that students do marry outside Hogwarts (either Muggles or wizards from other schools), but a good portion do meet their eventual spouse at Hogwarts.
** For some reason, the 'post first war' generation (i.e. Harry's age group) seems to be significantly smaller than those before. If you look at the [[ Black Family tree]], it shows that in prior generations most couples had at least two kids. If you look at Harry's generation, aside from the Greengrasses and the Weasleys, almost every pureblood family has only one child. If they would continue this trend, they would be extinct within the next few generations.
** How is it incestuous to marry someone you went to school with? Okay, most purebloods are in some way inter-related, but aside from that, Hogwarts is the only school for magic in Great Britain. Every witch and wizard attended it and thus went to school with any British magic user who is less than seven years older or younger. So if they don't marry a foreigner or a Muggle, the odds that they went to school with their spouses are overwhelming.
** We have no idea because Rowling [[ fucked up the math]], plain and simple. She put 10 characters per house per year in the first book, but didn't realize that this number was simply too low for the several hundreds of students she envisioned attending the school.
** "At three thirty that afternoon, Harry, Ron, and the other Gryffindors hurried down the front steps onto the grounds for their first flying lesson. <...> The Slytherins were already there, and so were twenty broomsticks lying in neat lines on the ground." - Book 1. "Three quarters of the crowd were wearing scarlet rosettes, waving scarlet flags with the Gyffindor lion upon them <...> Behind the Slytherin goal posts, however, two hundred people were wearing green" - [=PoA=]. So yeah, there are about 800 students total, but only 10 people per house in Harry's year, a huge post-war demographic drop. This would also explain why in his year houses have to take lessons together.
** Ugly thought: maybe Harry's year is so small because Voldemort hunted down and killed a bunch of wizarding families with infants ''before'' he tracked the Potters down? For all he knew, they could've switched identities with some other couple, after all.
** This is the reason why the films show all houses having classes together, rather than separately like the books. The classes would be too small otherwise.

[[folder:Regular courses]]

* What about the "regular" school courses? True, there's History of Magic ''(presumably covering historical events relevant to the Wizarding world)'', but what about Math? English? Social studies? The sciences? The arts? [[AndZoidberg Sex ed?]] It's possible that these are the kind of things that students are expected to learn at home over the summer or before they begin attending, but getting any kind of rounded education would be a massive task if you're only home three months out of the year to learn from your parents. As it is, Hogwarts comes across as a seven-year vocational school geared toward learning the basics of a single topic: Magic. True, all the aspects of magic are probably insanely complicated and need a decent chunk of childhood to master and use responsibly, but that's no reason to disgorge hundreds of students who can avoid blowing things up on accident but are barely literate or educated about the world around them. For that matter, what about colleges or any kind of post-secondary education?
** There are special training regiments for Aurors, so it's generally assumed for other major careers there is a training course offered when applying for the job. However the lack of focus on math is due to most careers in the magical world not needing them (if they do, it's usually Arthimancy). Plus, J.K. has admitted to failing math forever - can you imagine what her trying to write about a math class would be like?!? English can generally be assumed to be self taught or a class that goes on behind the scenes that isn't interesting to the plot. Finally, History is just focused on Wizarding History, and Binns is inept as a teacher to facilitate the plot.
** This troper assumes that since the last War with Voldemort, the Wizarding World is in an era with little to no cultural advancement, making the curriculum more of a "what you need to survive just in case Voldy comes back" type of thing. Additionally, Harry and Friends were said to have made several repairs to the wizarding government, possibly bringing about a magical renaissance.
** Rowling says that most wizard students are either homeschooled or sent to Muggle schools when they're younger. One assumes that magic is important enough to be more regulated, which makes sense: you're basically putting a weapon into the hands of an eleven-year-old. Being poorly trained with magic might kill someone; being poorly trained with sums might shortchange someone.
** And a miscalculation in Potions might [[MadeOfExplodium blow up something]].[[note]]Hey, Potions isn't all that different from the Muggle field of Chemistry [[FridgeBrilliance when you think about it]] - they just tend to work with different materials.[[/note]]
** When they're ''younger''. So, basically, adult wizards only have Elementary School understandings of math and English....
** Let's be honest, most people never use maths or English skills beyond primary school level. As long as they're literate and can perform basic maths, most wizards are on the same level as Muggles who did secondary school and never use advanced maths or English skills. The wizarding world doesn't seem to place as high an importance on literature or art, so you could call it values dissonance that they don't teach English in schools. Complex maths tends to only be useful to Muggles if you move into fields such as engineering or architecture, and since wizards have magic, their need for complex math is almost zero.
** Being poorly trained in math can kill many someones, depending on what your job is (Ministry officials in charge of supplies during something critical like the anti-Voldemort war, the guys in charge of building castles and other structures, etc...).
** In which case, you probably wouldn't get that job. There are situations wherein being bad at math can potentially be dangerous, but for the most part, you have to actually be put into those situations. Not being able to control your magic is always dangerous.
** WordOfGod says Arithmancy is a mathematics course. We learn in Literature/HarryPotterAndTheOrderOfThePhoenix that Gringotts requires it for their applicants, which supports this interpretation.
** I once saw a fanfic that had the characters going through hands-on vocational training to become Healers and Unspeakables after they graduated from Hogwarts, which makes the most sense. Actually, that's kind of how I interpreted Auror training.
** That story sounds interesting. Could you provide a link?
** Sure thing: [[ The Moment It Began, by Sindie]].
** On the other hand, a Hogwarts graduation seems to be enough of a qualification to work for the Ministry (At least it was for Percy), although Hogwarts provides no training in administration, laws, finances, etc.
** Perhaps that explains why the Ministery, in its bulk and in the majority of cases, SUCKS at its duties. And Percy never elevated above the rank of a pencil-pusher.
** Pretty unrelated, but I'd just like to point out that us Malaysians at least CAN'T have sex ed. Singing songs that hint at sexual themes is enough to get you in jail (really), so I'm not really surprised about the health ed thing. On the other hand, the lack of decent education in things like literature does sound an awful lot like the incompetent teachers we get around here...
** I take it the Troper above me is near-entirely educated by either the Internet or a [[strike:college]] school system in a country that isn't Malaysia? 'Cause otherwise, he wouldn't even know what he/she's missing.
** I think this is part and parcel of the Wizarding World. Consider how incredibly ignorant most Wizards are of nearly all aspects of Muggle society. By the time you've completed Primary school, you've learned what you need to know to be a basically functioning human in any society. You can read, write, and do basic arithmetic. As your schooling moves beyond this, you're becoming increasingly specialized to your specific culture. This is what Hogwarts does. They don't learn intermediate or advanced mathematics because it isn't part of their society. Science classes are right out, as they're essentially the Muggle equivalent of magic (as espoused upon by Arthur C. Clarke). In all likelihood, there ''are'' classes at Hogwarts about the Arts, but they're ''Wizarding'' arts, not Shakespeare and Kant. If you think about it, there are Wizarding equivalent classes for basically every subject. Science == Magic -> Mathematics = Arithmancy, Biology = Care of Magical Creatures, Physics = Transfiguration, Chemistry = Potions, Humanities = Muggle Studies, History = History (of Magic), and Divination = ...lunch? Ok, that went a bit longer than I intended, but I was having fun.
** Indeed, wizarding society is hardly shown to be perfect. They're extremely insulated from Muggle society, often spending most of their time around other wizards and witches instead of extended amounts of time around Muggles (unless the job specifically calls for it, and it's likely that most magical folk will take a job with other magic users over a purely Muggle one). The wealthy and influential families are often pureblood supremacists that look down on Muggles and all that they do, even disdaining modern technology and pop culture. In wizarding society, Hogwarts and similar schools really DO provide all that you need.....for a magical life. They'd be woefully unprepared for Muggle society, but it's simply not expected that they'd be living as Muggles.
** Well, I'll give you Maths and English, since wizards probably wouldn't need it at advanced level. Which I still beg to differ, since the students are required to read advanced books for education. But still, wizards are still human beings. Human biology cannot be overlooked. Remember that Hogwarts contains hundreds of teenagers hitting puberty. Their body changes, hormones are coming into play, they're falling in love and eventually get horny. These topics are not covered at elementary schools. Without decent guidance, you would expect a lot of unexpected pregnancies at Hogwarts. Unless there is some charm in Hogwarts that makes all the students infertile the moment they enter the grounds. Would be a good WMG-entry...
** It helps if you think of Hogwarts as a vocational training program, not a secondary school in the conventional sense. It's designed to crank out graduates who know ''one'' field (magic) well enough to start work in that specific field, not well-rounded candidates for higher education.
** Well as the above troper said, probably there are magical counterparts of most of the subjects like Chemistry = Alchemy and Math = Arithmancy, etc., also keep in mind Science, as muggles understand it, is obsolete for wizards and they probably would teach their own version. Trully only two subjects come to mind that may really be needed for wizards and is a) English, because they need to make incantations and read many books and b) Sex education for obvious reasons. Nevertheless as other troper point out, not every country in the world have one (mine does thanks Gosh) so we donít know how conservatives are wizards on that matter.
** If you think about how small the wizard population is, also think about how many of them are made of Muggle-borns and half bloods. A Muggle parent would surely have their child sent to primary school. Also it might be traditional in pure blood families to have the children homeschooled. Perhaps there's even a job in teaching wizard children? Like how the upper classes of the old days would have governesses and tutors for them. Although the Weasleys wouldn't afford one, I can see Molly teaching them herself.
** My own personal headcanon is that one of the reasons Snape is so bitter is that potions is a class that can't be practiced outside, meaning his homework is nearly always essays. Since the students are writing at best on a fifth year level and at worst with near illiteracy, can you imagine how frustrating that must be for him? Grammar and spelling errors galore, and you know none of them can write a thesis statement.

[[folder:Foreign languages]]

* On a similar note to the above entry, why Hogwarts doesn't teach foreign languages? I can understand wizards not learning about physics or chemistry because they have magic, and hence, do not need them, but it's clearly established that there are witches and wizards all over the world. Wouldn't it be easier for the wizarding world to come together and advance if every witch and wizard would know at least two languages? Hell, the war would've been a lot more shorter if they could've called reinforcements from, let's say, France.
** I don't think the lack of reinforcements from foreign countries was due to a lack of anybody who could speak French, and a simultaneous lack of any French wizards that spoke English. Foreign language even in Muggle schooling is typically an optional course in the first place; likewise, I'd expect that magical children would be taught them at home or in a correspondence course if they really wanted to learn them. Also, it seems like Britain is a highly important center for wizarding activity considering that it has the one confirmed governing magical body (which even has direct communication with the Muggle government), one of the few confirmed wizarding schools on the ''planet'', the #1 wandmaker (Pottermore makes a mention of people traveling to Britain specifically to seek out Ollivander's wands), and a large amount of teams for the most popular wizarding sport. Foreign wizards are probably expected to learn English to make things easier on them. Indeed, what we usually see of foreign wizards and witches involves them speaking English to the British instead of the Hogwarts staff and students speaking in their native language to them.
** Every country has a Ministry of Magic (or equivalent by another name) of its own; several outside Britain are mentioned in ''Literature/FantasticBeastsAndWhereToFindThem'' or ''Literature/QuidditchThroughTheAges''.


[[folder:Healing classes]]

* Why is it Hogwarts can make room in the curriculum for classes like Arithmancy, Ancient Runes, Divination, and Muggle Studies, but doesn't have a single class on healing? Is the only way to become a healer getting a job at St. Mungo's?
** It's entirely possible that Healing needs knowledge up to NEWT level and is specifically a post-Hogwarts subject. We don't see much about it, unfortunately. It's possible if a student during their career interview with their head of house shows interest in Healing that Madam Pomfrey can be assigned to tutor and train, but it never comes up in the books.
** Transfiguration, Charms, and Potions likely cover the building blocks of what you'll need to know, in the same way that people going to medical school need a certain amount of experience in chemistry and biology. From there, it's all practical training, which you wouldn't be learning a lot of in class. The fact that Fred and George were able to invent a candy that cured nosebleeds (as well as a different candy that caused them) in addition to all the other quasi-medical shit they invented does seem to point to elementary medical knowledge being part of the curriculum, or at least something they could study on their own time.
** I think Fred and George being able to develop a candy that stops a nosebleed was more a result of them simply knowing the antidote/counterspell for whatever was in the nosebleed nougat that caused the magical nosebleed in the first place. Remember at the beginning of ''[[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows Deathly Hallows]]'' when Harry cuts his finger; he laments the fact that he's still a day or so away from being able to use magic, then realizes it would be pointless anyways, because even after 6 years of magical education, he never learned the sort of magic needed to mend a simple non-magical cut. It's stated outright that he thinks of this as "a serious flaw in his magical education."
** Although he does know at least ''one'' healing spell; in the sixth book, Tonks taught him 'Episkey', which is used to fix broken noses.
** One of the twins attempts to feed the nosebleed-fixing end of a nougat to someone who gets a bloody nose in ''Order of the Phoenix''. Since he gives her the wrong end, it doesn't work, but he clearly expected it to, implying the potion/charm/whatever can be used for regular nosebleeds. It's probably something that they learned on their own time, but it is worth noting that, from the beginning, Harry's Herbology and Potions classes have dealt with magic that could be used in medical applications.
** They don't give her the wrong end. They gave her a "blood blisterpod" by mistake. Not that it matters much, since that makes it even more plausible that the correct end would work.
** We also see that Snape has rather strong healing abilities. He may be a special case because there is clear evidence that he independently studied any number of things he found interesting, and that he has an extensive knowledge of magical theory that make him able to create new spells and potions, something none of the protagonists do (aside from Ginny's bat bogey hex), which may also play into it because he can improvise using that sort of knowledge even if he has no official healing training. But Dumbledore went to Snape rather than Pomfrey to have his cursed hand healed, which is pretty significant. We also see Snape save Draco from the Sectumsempra - it may be that he can do this because it is his own hex and he developed a specific counter to it - but if the others had the same knowledge of magic theory/healing as him, they would have been able to heal George when he lost his ear to the spell instead of being forced to just treat the injury while George healed naturally.
** Snape's never actually shown to have any kind of talent or ability for healing, though. Dumbledore went to him for help instead of Madame Pomfrey because he needed a curse blocked/contained, not because he needed his arm healed, and Snape was able to save Malfoy because he was removing Sectumsempra, not just mending the cuts it created. And remember that in book 1, Snape's leg gets torn up when he's bitten by Fluffy and the best he can do to heal it is throw some bandages on it.
** And we know that Hermione is able to do some basic healing spells, where Harry doesn't even know how to mend a cut like the one he got on the mirror shard in his trunk.
** Potentially, students could study with Madame Pomfrey if they had a strong interest in healing and wanted to learn some before actually finishing school and starting professional training.
** Your school most likely trained you in a wide variety of subjects, but did you learn surgery? Probably not. Healing is probably just difficult, complicated, and dangerous magic.
** Not Surgery, but we had at least one day devoted to basic first aid. Putting on bandages, recovery position, keeping unconscious people warm, that kind of stuff. It just seems odd that there isn't a magical version of a band-aid. (I also always make sure that we have enough band aid, bandages, light painkillers, cough-syrup etc. at home and know how to threat light-to-nasty burns, cuts and bruises. Is no one in the wizarding world a little bit paranoid about people around them getting hurt?)
** Well, the really bad injuries that might need on-the-spot treatment are going to be beyond your average wizard (or else there wouldn't be a St. Mungo's) and if they get anything less serious that needs more than literally putting a band-aid on it then they're just one floo, Portkey, or Apparation away from St. Mungo's where they'll be healed in a matter of minutes.
** Keep in mind that wizarding healing is a much different process from Muggle healing. A wound that would require surgery or would be 100% impossible to fix (or indeed cause, like removing all of the bones in a limb) can be fixed by wizards through whipping up a potion or delivering a simple spell and providing a few days of bed rest. Muggles need to know more in-depth first aid because we don't ''have'' the ability to wave a wand and near-instantaneously cure injuries and illness, or spend a few minutes/hours brewing up a magical potion from an established recipe. Learning wizarding first aid is as simple as learning different spells and being able to follow a potion recipe (and get the required ingredients, of course). St. Mungo's seems to only accept truly serious cases, like severe brain damage or life-threatening magical wounds that can only be cured by someone specialized in magical healing.

[[folder: Syltherin half-bloods]]
* It's basically established that the Slytherins value purity of blood above almost all else. However, they were more than happy to accept half-bloods Snape and Voldemort with open arms, and they would have accepted Harry, too, if he hadn't turned them down. Wouldn't their half-blood status cause them to be bullied by their fellow Slytherins, or do the Slytherins not care as long as at least one parent is from an established magical bloodline?
** It's possible that while Slytherin is the exclusive pureblood house, not all Slytherins are racist. Andromeda Black-Tonks, anyone? There's no doubt that even a half-blood would make friends in Slytherin when the pure-bloods realized that hey, you don't have to be pure-blood to be a cool person to hang out with. Or possibly it's not that big a deal for most Slytherins, and since everyone's supposedly pureblood, there's no point in quizzing a first-year on his or her ancestry. There's no way that we've seen all of Slytherin House in the series, just a handful (of current students) -- and of that handful, only Draco Malfoy cares about blood purity. All other Slytherins who stress about it are already out of school.
** I think that's just Jo's way of continuing to point out just how flawed the "blood status" thing is. Or it could be specifically that one of your parents ''has'' to be a pure-blood (i.e. Merope Gaunt, Eileen Prince, or James Potter) in order to be a half-blood Slytherin. But unless I'm wrong, doesn't Slytherin sort for ''ambition''? Just because certain members of that House are pure-blood fanatics doesn't mean they ''all'' are. Snape wasn't. Regulus Black wasn't. I've mentioned before, but we only see things through Harry's eyes, which automatically makes him an UnreliableNarrator; therefore the only Slytherins we see from books 1-6 are people like the Malfoys and the Lestranges and the people who hang out with them. There are very likely dozens of other Slytherins who don't give a flying fuck about blood status, we just never see them because they're not the kind of people Harry would acknowledge.
** "...doesn't Slytherin sort for ''ambition''?" WHY do I keep hearing this every time Slytherin's connection to blood purism is brought up? The [[ hat songs]] clearly reference ''both'' ambition and purity of ancestry as admission criteria for Slytherin, along with cunning. That said, you are right that just because one happens to be of pure blood doesn't mean one gives a fuck about blood purity, but it seems clear to me that the current Slytherin population has a culture that values pure ancestry.
** Well, also consider ''just'' how flawed blood status really is. Technically, Harry (being the child of a pure-blood wizard and a Muggleborn witch) is three-quarter blood, ''not'' half. Snape and Voldemort are literal half-bloods, since their mothers were pure-bloods and their fathers were Muggles. So technically, wouldn't Harry and Ginny's kids be, [[WritersCannotDoMath I don't know]], two-thirds bloods? What about, say, Teddy Lupin, since Tonks and Lupin were half-bloods (again, by the books' definitions; by mine, Tonks is three-quarter)? Quarter? What about the child of a half-blood and a Muggleborn? [[YourHeadAsplode Thinking about blood status too much will cause your brain to explode]], [[FridgeBrilliance which was probably JKR's point all along.]]
** The thoughts behind the classification (at least in fanon) is that if all four of your grandparents are magical you're pureblood, if at least one grandparent or parent is magical you're half-blood, if none of the above then you're muggleborn. This is considered the 'polite society' classification. For strict blood purists, if you have any muggleborn or half-blood in your ancestry, you're half-blood or worse. This would make Harry and Ginny's children pureblood.
** I'm talking ''canon'', though: In ''[[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheOrderOfThePhoenix Order of the Phoenix]]'', Bellatrix Lestrange regards Harry as "filthy" because he's a half-blood (I believe her exact line was, "You dare speak his name? Besmirch it with your half-blood's tongue?" Or very, very close to it.) So obviously, blood status isn't as simple as fanon would have it; not to mention just how many fans, especially in RP and fanfic communities, [[CompletelyMissingThePoint think that being a pure-blood is better.]]
** Bella is an asshole, though. Regardless, Hermione points out that most half-bloods just lie and say they're pure; it's probably part of cultural etiquette not to call them on it, and someone like Bellatrix is too much of a bitch to give a shit about cultural etiquette (being of the school that being pure made you "practically royal," as Sirius put it.) Regardless, Slytherin valued pureness of blood ''among other things'', including ambition, a tendency to lean towards Chaotic on your character sheet, and pure, inborn power. One assumes that someone strong enough, ambitious enough, and self-centered enough who came from Muggle origins might just push their way into the Slytherin common room.
** WordOfGod has it that the Death Eaters' views on blood purity is almost identical to that of the Nazis about Jews (although whether she planned it like that or only found out after doing some research I can't remember).
** One way the metaphor fits is that non-Jews can convert to Judaism and Jews can deconvert, while the Potterverse has Muggle-borns and Squibs. In both cases, you can get headaches working out "exactly how much" a person is Jewish / wizardly. (If all four of your grandparents each converted to Judaism before having children, are you "fully" Jewish? If one of your parents is a Squib, does that impact your blood status? Since they're all human labels anyway, there are no "real" answers.)
** Race is purely a social construct - it is biologically meaningless. Of course, if wizard potential is based on genetics, then "blood purity" ''does'' have some biological meaning, but as a decent human being, I'd still balk at the prospect of saying or implying that this makes discrimination justifiable, 'cause it ''doesn't''. (Of course, as with a lot of stuff that we Muggles have found out through science, wizards are completely ignorant of biology and genetics, [[BigLippedAlligatorMoment so it's not like my rant actually has any relevance]].)
** Genetics doesn't seem to impact on magical power. Hermione Granger is Muggleborn but a very powerful witch, and Voldemort (apart from possibly Dumbledore, the most powerful wizard of the age) was half-blood. On the other hand, Dumbledore was pureblood, so there could be some relation.
** Dumbledore is actually a halfblood. In DH, in the conversation between Doge and Ron's great Aunt Muriel, Muriel says of Dumbledore's mother Kendra: "a terrifying woman, simply terrifying. Muggle-born, though I heard she pretended otherwise". If Kendra was a muggleborn, by wizarding standards, no matter how "pure" his father was (doesn't say in the books), Albus is a halfblood at best (same logic as Harry, who is considered a halfblood because of his muggle-born mother). If anything, it's mixed heritage that creates super powerful wizards, not pure blood. The pure bloods of the series tend to have trouble learning magic (Neville, Merope Gaunt), be average or unremarkable (Percy, Ron, Charlie, Draco, Regulus, Crabbe and Goyle), be very good at one specific thing (Sirius and James becoming animagi, Ginny who is only really good at a handful of spells and is a good Quidditch player) or be very good but also a little crazy/think way outside the box (Bellatrix, Fred, George). Meanwhile, on the mixed-blood side, you've got Lily Evans and Hermione (both very smart and technically proficient), Severus Snape (jerk, but admittedly good at both potions and DADA... and DA for that matter), Dumbledore and Voldemort (the most powerful wizards of their time), Tonks (a born metamorphmagus), [=McGonagall=] (born animagus), Harry (seems to learn new spells fairly easily, as evidenced by his ability to master a Patronus at a very young age), and Ollivander (confirmed to be a mixed blood and makes wands, which is described as being a very difficult profession). So yeah. I feel its safe to say that, if anything, the purists are kind of shooting themselves in the foot, even ignoring the "eventually we will have to resort to severe inbreeding" angle.
** One isn't born an animagus. It's something that has to be trained for. Also, that Slytherins are depicted as valuing blood purity isn't anything to do with Slytherin as a whole, but rather the families that often produce Slytherins. Slytherin is sorted based on ambition and cunning, which means that it'll likely get a lot of families that fought and schemed their way to the top. That would include a lot of the "old money", which in wizarding society just so happens to be pureblood supremacists that are well on their way to inbreeding out of a racist attempt to avoid "tainting" their bloodline. It's not an actual trait of Slytherin, merely a coincidence based on the structure of wizarding society.


[[folder:Wizard wars and school]]

* Wizards only make up a very small portion of humanity, but it seems like they've been involved in rather a lot of violent conflicts over the years. On top of that, magic doesn't seem to have any particular purpose in the Potterverse other than [[RuleOfCool being awesome]], and good wizards on the whole aren't [[AmbitionIsEvil seen to be very pro-active]]. With this in mind -- is Hogwarts even a good idea? It's not like these people are using their powers to cure cancer, or anything, and it seems like a statistically significant number of them turn out to be outright evil.
** It seems overall that Hogwarts of the last century is significantly flawed. This is also the case of the magical world of the United Kingdom, at least. It seems to be a more recent problem than anything of students jumping the line from ambitious to evil. Regardless, though, the idea behind Hogwarts is a good idea. If children aren't trained in magic, who's going to run the medical facilities, protect the statute of secrecy, or contain magical animals? The problem comes from the ideals people have and how they think the government should be run. Not something Hogwarts can help without having better introduction materials for Muggleborns, and making Muggle Studies mandatory for Purebloods (which probably wouldn't go over very well with the board of directors).
** I agree completely with this headscratcher, and then some. It might be because we're only seeing the wizarding world through Harry's eyes, which is limited to Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, and the Ministry. From what we know in the books, it seems like the only things you could possibly do with your NEWT scores is a. Work for the Ministry of Magic, b. St. Mungo's, c. Teach at Hogwarts, d. Open a shop on Diagon Alley, or e. move into your parent's basement and clean your room with a wand instead of a broom. When you look at it this, way, it seems like the wizarding world is dangerously stagnate. Personally, I'm waiting for some radical new social movement or cultural phenomenon to revive Wizarding Britain. (Fortunately, the books have been rather tight-lipped about Wizarding Society in other countries, so Wizarding America might actually be doing well.)

[[folder:Evil wizards]]

* Why do all wizards that "go bad" ''have'' to come from Slytherin? Couldn't Rowling have thrown in one villainous student or former student from another house? The virtuous qualities of a Gryffindor personality could just as easily corrupt a person as the ambitious and power-hungry qualities of Slytherin.
** Again, Peter Pettigrew was a Gryffindor and [[WordOfGod Quirrell was a Ravenclaw]]. It was also mentioned that Dumbledore, as a Gryffindor, in his youth believed that his version of good was everyone's version of good and decided to try and take over the world "For the Greater Good" [[HeelRealization before he realized what he was doing]]. The plot is just set up to have a good portion of the Slytherins evil because Slytherin's Heir (read: [[BigBad Voldemort]]) is leading them.
** Repeat after me: '''Harry Potter is an UnreliableNarrator. Harry Potter is an UnreliableNarrator. [[RuleOfThree Harry Potter is an]] UnreliableNarrator.''' There. Now all of your questions about how the readers are supposed to view every house besides Gryffindor, and all of the characters who aren't Harry, have just been answered.
** Wait, how the FUCK is Harry Potter an unreliable narrator? Sure, descriptions of things often include his opinions, but when has he outright falsified information that the reader receives?
** Because the story is told from his point of view. It's called Third Person Limited: While he tells the story in the third-person narrative, we also never go into any other character's heads unless they enter Harry's head. Also: I never said Harry "falsified information"; I said ''the reader sees things from his point of view''. Therefore, Slytherin = BAD BAD PEOPLE, Gryffindor = GOOD GOOD PEOPLE, which accounts for why Harry can't wrap his mind around the fact that a Death Eater could come from Gryffindor, despite the fact that Peter Pettigrew was a Gryffindor and also a Death Eater. UnreliableNarrator is a pitfall of ''every'' story told from any point of view other than Unlimited Omniscient, and it's neither a good nor a bad thing, nor does it mean that the narrator is lying; it just means we see only a very limited amount of what's actually going on, in front of and behind the scenes.
** I think you're slightly misunderstanding the meaning of "Unreliable Narrator". It's not just when a narrator has bias or opinions, but when those biases and opinions apparently don't match up with the author's. In a few places that would apply (like his misunderstanding of Snape), but in general, Harry is not an unreliable narrator. His view of the houses seems to match up with Rowling's vision.
** The problem the two of you are having is one is going by the trope UnreliableNarrator definition which has the first line of the trope as follows: "The person telling you the story is a patent liar. His facts contradict each other. If you ask him to go back a bit and retell it, the events come out a little differently.". The other is saying that due to not being a narrator that can see and hear everything, he's unreliable. Unfortunately, Harry can't see everything, but that doesn't make him an UnreliableNarrator as far as the trope goes, so calling him that confuses people. He is, however, unable to give the other side of the story.
** I smell trope creation... [[TropesThatWillNeverHappen Unreliable Reliable Narrator]]?
** How about [[TropesThatWillNeverHappen Fallible Narrator]]? The narrator isn't unreliable in the sense that he's not lying to the audience, but he makes mistakes or has a bias because he's not omniscient.
** It seems to me we're not talking about an Unreliable Narrator as described on the trope page, (a narrator that deliberately misleads you,) but a narrator whose depictions of previous events are filled with bias, like how two different people who witnessed the exact same thing give two very different accounts, influenced by their perspective, personalities, emotions, memories, and opinions. We sat with Harry in Potions Class and learned what a jerk Snape is. If we had sat in Potions Class with Hermione, we might have learned a lot more about the actual subject. If we had sat in Potions Class with Draco, we might have more fondness for Snape.
** Don't forget that in ''[[HarryPotterAndTheHalfBloodPrince HBP]]'', Rowling gave us Slughorn, a Slytherin who's not evil (just ambitious), and [=McLaggen=], a Gryffindor whose courage is the bad kind (arrogance).
** Also, Fred and George Weasley count as well. Easily the naughtiest and most rebellious prankster students in the books, breaking the rules many times and even playfully bullying some of the students on occasion, and they were placed in Gryffindor, the so-called perfect house. Even Percy Weasley was placed in Gryffindor, and he was a hugely ambitious, moody, self-important snob who starts acting almost as elitist as Lucius Malfoy. This evidence should be enough to put the "Gryffindor good, Slytherin bad" fallacy to rest.
** Harry never states outright that ''all'' Slytherins are bad; Hagrid tells him so, but Harry states two or three books later that this isn't true. And it's not being an unreliable narrator to say that the evil people mostly come from Slytherin, because they ''do'' mostly come from Slytherin. Thatís probably because Voldemort was in the house, recruited whilst he was there, and then the children and grandchildren of the originals thought they'd follow in his footsteps.
** It's also established that there's some level of rivalry between all the houses (House points and Quidditch), but particularly Slytherin and Gryffindor. If in another House, Harry likely wouldn't think that all Slytherins are bad people, but he's stuck in Gryffindor, so of course all the Slytherins he meets (that are mentioned) are going to be {{JerkAsses}}.


[[folder:Neville and potions]]

* Neville being so bad at Potions bugs me. Here's the way I look at it: ''It's cookery'', and while I realize that not everyone can be Julia Child, it's also not true that someone is just completely incapable of cooking. If you want to make muffins, you find a recipe and follow it, and BAM! Muffins! But the important thing is to ''follow the directions'', which is where Neville constantly fouls up (okay, I know he's not a very powerful or skilled wizard, but that doesn't mean he's illiterate!). True, Snape took it too far by bullying him, but it's not hard to see why he's so frustrated by Neville's incompetence.
** Neville isn't particularly bad at Potions. Just when he messes up, as one is bound to do sometimes (the other day I somehow managed to screw up cooking oven chips, for crying out loud), Snape bullies him. And when Snape bullies him, Neville goes to pieces and messes up further. Harry hates Snape and so tends to notice when he is being a wanker, and not take note when Snape is relatively benign. This makes it look like Neville screws up constantly, but he doesn't, it's just that Harry notices when he does.
** It's not that he's really bad a potions per se (he did do okay on his O.W.L. for the subject), it's that Snape scares the crap out of him, making him extremely nervous every second he's in potions class, which coupled with his inherent clumsiness makes him far, far more prone to mistakes then he would be if he wasn't spending half his attention in class just worrying about what Snape would do to him next. And as to Snape seemingly over emphasizing how bad he is, it's 'cause he [[spoiler:at least somewhat blames Neville for not being the one Voldy tried to kill, and so goes out of his way to bully him about anything.]]
** It's also entirely possible to be bad at cookery though, so your analogy falls flat. Following instructions sounds easy on paper, but plenty of people can absent-mindedly skip a step. I'm sure everyone has had occasions where they've made minuscule mistakes. Sauces coming out too thin, pasta being over or underdone, etc. The difference being that whereas a rare steak that comes out overdone is no longer a rare steak but still tastes alright, a potion that comes out slightly wrong isn't the same potion and thus doesn't have the same effects. It's not just Neville shown as bad at Potions, plenty of the characters have problems in Half Blood Prince, so clearly it is a difficult subject.
** Potions is ''not'' analogous to cooking. It's analogous to ''chemistry''. Chemistry is a difficult subject.
** I've encountered a Chemistry teacher who claimed to be terrible at cooking. I think she claimed to have difficulty even with preparing eggs. It's possible to remedy this issue with the use of timers, measuring cups, and other precision instruments, but I don't get the sense that Snape's Potions class has that kind of equipment.
** I was going to start an entry on the subject of Potions in general, not just Neville. As to the above, while understanding the principles behind the way your ingredients react, a la RealLife chemistry, is required to ''ace'' the subject and innovate within it, the fact is that all (most?) excerpts of potion recipes shown in the books tend to be extremely detailed and straightforward, such as[[labelnote:this one from ''[[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheOrderOfThePhoenix The Order of the Phoenix]]'']]"Add powdered moonstone, stir three times counter-clockwise, allow to simmer for seven minutes then add two drops of syrup of hellebore." The only objection here is that it doesn't say how much powdered moonstone, but I suppose Rowling just wrote the instruction line in haste[[/labelnote]]. The general impression is that it seems easier than real-life cooking and very difficult to get wrong unless you're ''really'' not trying. There is some FridgeLogic behind Snape's attitude toward his students, aside from his Slytherin sympathies and his abuse of Potter and Longbottom.
** But if Potions are supposed to be so easy then why is it required to take for five years when anyone should be able to just follow the instructions? And how do the students end up doing so badly so much of the time? It's not like they're ''trying'' to mess up their potion.
** Potions isn't that easy. As far as I remember, people supposedly have to cut things ''just'' the right way or it will mess up, measure it ''very precisely'', apply just the right temperature, things like that. Some potions I think also require magical power to operate and spells applied to it (otherwise Muggles would be able to craft potions). For a clumsy or inattentive child (especially one who's nervous about the Big Scary Teacher, as Neville), messing things by not doing them precisely how they should happen could easily lead to mistakes (like in chemistry) that completely disrupt it. It is, after all, a delicate and precise art.
** And not one to be undertaken by someone with as poor a memory as Neville's, who could easily lose count of how many doses of a given ingredient he's added when he's got Snape breathing down his neck.
** RE: the instructions not specifying how much moonstone to use, I always figured that the recipes in the textbook were written out like any real world cooking recipe, with the ingredients and their amounts listed at the beginning. If that's the case then it still might be difficult for someone like Neville (forgetful, easily flustered) to refer back to the amounts without losing his place in the recipe, especially since it seems like a lot of prep work ends up needing to be done while your potion is brewing, which is ofc super stressful. Either that or Snape goes over the ingredient amounts at the beginning of the lesson, and if you don't take perfect notes on the first go then you're screwed.
** Neville isn't bad at potions, he just had a shitty teacher. What's the first thing Snape did? After mocking a student for not having the textbook memorized on the first day of class that is. Make dangerous potion, not go over safety procedures, not teach how to prep ingredients, not teach how to use equipment, and not go over how ingredients react together. Nope just. "directions are on the board" now make a potion that goes caustic without having actually been taught how to make potions. For all the worry about Cauldron bottom thickness no one seems to have thought up a WHIMIS equivalent for the wizarding world. It doesn't matter if potions is closer to cooking or chemistry, I had both those classes in high school and in both we went over safety procedures and proper use of equipment before we did anything else. (To a less degree in foods to be sure but still)
** Think of it like Ron's Quiddich playing in the [[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheOrderOfThePhoenix fifth]] and [[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheHalfBloodPrince sixth]] books. He is prone to small errors, but those errors make him nervous and so he messes up again, which makes him even more nervous, which makes the mistakes ''larger'' and so on.
** The only reason Neville was able to pass his OWL was because Professor Snape wasn't in the Great Hall at the time. Unlike Snape's classes. I mean even Harry himself did better in the GH potion business then in his class business due to Snape not being there.
** There are several reasons for why Neville is bad at Potions. Sure, he improved a lot in the last couple of books, but think about the issues he showed in the first few. He is clumsy, something that will likely cause spilled potions, broken cauldrons, improperly cut ingredients, among other things. He has an awful memory, so him losing track of how much of something he added or how many times he stirred is expected. He gets nervous easily, so his early mistakes cause even bigger ones to happen. Now, maybe he could deal with all of that if he gave his all and focused on his stuff, but his last issue is the last nail in the coffin. His teacher is an asshole who hates him for no good reason (he has reasons, but they just make him look worse) and is basically breathing down his neck looking for a reason to flunk him. Just one of those could cause a fair bit of trouble on a class that requires as much precision as Potions, but with all of them together, and things look pretty bleak.


* How do the characters bathe/shower? The only time we see a facility intended for such purposes is the prefects' bath, which is pretty much a big-ass bathtub/pool with built-in jacuzzi. So... when the characters want to bathe, they get naked and swim around in a public pool or something?
** There are most likely showers near the Houses. It was mentioned earlier on this page, but just because we never ''see'' the characters do something like shower doesn't mean they ''aren't'' or that they don't have the means; it just means it's not going to advance the plot. As any writer will tell you, minor details are unimportant unless they're a ChekhovsGun (and, given Rowling's love of {{Chekhov's Gun}}s, you can just about bet the fans would have been analyzing any description of a shower stall for clues).
** The bathrooms can't be 'near' the Houses, as they are not allowed to be outside their House at night, unless Hogwarts requires finding a Prefect to go pee in the middle of the night. Luckily, each House, as far as we know, has a boy's hall and a girl's hall. The logical assumption would be there is also a bathroom with a shower, or even with baths, on each hall. (If Hogwarts was sane, it would be right at the start of the hall, so students can get there from the common room easily, but Hogwarts is not sane, so who knows.) And, thus, incidentally, the 'no boys in girls dorm' magic also keeps boys out of the girl's shower too.
** There are obviously bathrooms in the hallway (where the trio confronts the troll) but it makes very little sense to have no bathrooms or showers in the Common Room. There just can't be any baths in the Common Rooms because then Harry wouldn't have had to sneak out to the Prefects bathroom.
** Cedric told Harry to go to the Hufflepuff Prefects bathroom to take a bath. Yes, Harry could have used Gryffindor's bathroom, but he didn't know how taking a bath with the egg would help him. For all he knew, there was something of special help in that particular bathroom (which it turns out, there was, in the form of Myrtle).
** Only problem is, that wasn't the Hufflepuff Prefect's bathroom. It was for all the prefects, and Hermione even tells Harry he'll be able to use it when he gets promoted to Quidditch Captain.
** Cedric probably sent Harry to the Prefects' bathroom because he knew the egg would be loud enough to disturb the rest of Gryffindor House if he opened it there, especially if Harry initially opened it ''out'' of the water. Also, nobody ''else'' was likely to walk into the Prefects' to use the loo in the middle of the night.
** George mentions something in the third book about Wood being "still in the showers" - though he could also be referring to the rain outside - so presumably yes there are bathing facilities.

[[folder:Rowena and Salazar]]

* Rowena Ravenclaw was the most intelligent woman in the world, and she couldn't TELL that Salazar was evil? Wouldn't SOMEONE have noticed? Also, why would he do all that risky and difficult stuff with the Basilisk - which would only happen after he was dead, anyway - when he could have hexed the door so all Muggle-borns who walked through it dropped dead? He wasn't stupid either!
** We're never really told what happened back during the founders' time. Because of that, you can't make the assumption that Rowena was both intelligent and able to see that Salazar was evil before you assume that history hasn't been exaggerated. It's entirely possible that Salazar wasn't as evil as we're told. The last complaint is just silly; of course he's not stupid, but neither are the other three founders, and they'd remove any such curse on the door to kill Muggle-borns. Many theories about why he disliked Muggle-borns make sense, because back then there wasn't an international statute of secrecy, so Muggles were much more afraid of witches and wizards. One theory is that he left the Basilisk at Hogwarts not to kill Muggle-borns, but to protect the school should Muggles or Muggle-borns outright attack it (ya know, "[[BurnTheWitch suffer not a witch to live]]" [[LightIsNotGood and all that]]). It got hijacked by Voldemort due to the basilisk's loyalty to Slytherin's line (and Voldemort's twisted desire to carry on Salazar's legacy).
** Several issues with this.
** The founders were the most '''SKILLED''' wizards of their time, not necessarily the most brilliant. And considering that this was 1000+ years ago, we don't know how skilled they truly were, just that they were better than all the (probably mostly uneducated) others out there.
** Salazar was never actually presented as being evil in any place other than the opinions of the protagonists, who are biased by the house's current reputation and their experiences with unpleasant individuals from the house (there are many other Slytherins we never meet who are probably very decent people, but we don't know about them because Harry is focused on Draco.)
** All four of the founders were good friends, and Salazar Slytherin and Godric Gryffindor were BEST friends. They had a falling out over the admissions policies of the school. This was not a case of 'the evil guy who wants to ruin the rest of our plans', it's one person in the group that has different feelings over a very specific situation. Obviously NONE of them thought he was evil, or he wouldn't have been helping build the school.
** Knowing how much more 'conservative' (racist) the wizard world was even just in Dumbledore's time, it's impossible to even imagine how strict things were 1000 years ago, when this whole thing would have been taking place. Slytherin's beliefs were probably more common than Gryffindor's, particularly since there was Muggle persecution against witches at that time (and for hundreds of years) over religious issues.
** The story we're given about the Basilisk is that his intention was to protect the school with it, not commit mass murder. This is kind of illuminating on how he saw the issue (the 'we are vulnerable' vs. 'we are superior' mindset, something that clearly changes by the time Harry's at school). Saying he's "evil" makes it easy to come up with more practical methods he could use to do evil things, but he wasn't actively trying to destroy the world (or Muggles), he was just trying to prevent certain individuals from becoming a threat because he believed they would bring disaster on the school.
** A case of in-universe ValuesDissonance and HistoricalVillainUpgrade? Seems likely. Slytherin was probably considered a progressive figure in his time. Wanting to bring advanced magical education to the wizard masses rather than keeping them in the fields? What is this nonsense?


[[folder:Racism and bigotry]]

* A major theme in the books is racism (and bigotry in general), and while it is clearly shown that it must be fought, all of the fighting we've seen has been literal good wizards and witches battle their racist counterparts and ultimately win. Sadly, nobody tries to change the blood-purist's views to try and change them ''before'' they have to draw wands against them. As it's been said, Slytherin has probably the highest concentration of blood purists right there in a convenient spot; why hasn't Dumbledore done something to, I don't know, teach them another world view and "redeem" them before they become DE's? Dumbledore's only attempt at it was Draco, and I'm sure Dumbledore had to at least let Draco try to kill him so that Voldemort wouldn't instantly slaughter his family, but at the end of the day, all Dumbledore offered him was a "get out from the war card" and a speech about how he wasn't a killer; all this while, he was already disarmed by Draco and sporting a cursed hand. Now, you're probably thinking about Muggle studies, but we have no idea what they teach there, just that Hermione took the class, it's from a wizard's perspective, and Voldemort killed the last teacher which in my reading makes it a good-intentioned but ineffective class.
** Voldemort killed the last teacher '''''because''' she was sympathetic to Muggles''. As for converting the bigots... certainly the best way to go, but also the one that has a knack for being damned near impossible. It's darned near impossible to get a person to let go of prejudicial feelings in real life/the Muggle world; it's probably much harder in the wizarding world, since bigotry hasn't quite fallen out of favor in wizard society like it has in Muggle society (well, at least in the industrialized nations...) Good on the wizards for having gender equality long before Muggles did, though.
** So I propose or more accurately wonder why somebody doesn't do any changes:\\
1. Make it mandatory all the way to the seventh year along with the O.W.L and N.E.W.T. exams.\\
2. Make it focus on the modern world.\\
3. Have a three-stage curriculum. The first stage is the "intrigue them stage", which will focus on all the Muggle things kids would be interested in, such as radio-controlled toy cars, TV, computers (when they start appearing), etc.; the class will mostly consist of going to places where technology works. The second stage, the "reason with them stage", will be more academic and will feature things like calculating the number of Muggles for every wizard on the planet, in Great Britain/your region/town/neighborhood, and the more advanced stuff like "these are the births and deaths in the magical community: now calculate from 1668 if we only married pure-bloods when would we have gone extinct". The third stage, for the last two years, is the the "[[ScareEmStraight scare them straight]] stage". First thing, a recap using the numbers from last year; ask them "If we allowed only pure-bloods to marry, how many kids would the average woman have to conceive to maintain our population?" End the essay with a interview off a female relative asking her if she would do this. In the next weeks, we will be studying A-bombs, H-Bombs, AK-47s, and how untrained Muggle-borns can break our Masquerade, etc.
** Or alternately, simply have a few sessions of Muggle Studies taught by guest lecturers who ''are actually Muggles themselves''. '''Smart''' Muggles, who are aware of magic by way of their wizarding relatives, and who have the charisma and open-mindedness to demonstrate that an informed, friendly Muggle is neither a threat nor an inferior.
** The last stage being especially tailored to those cunning folks who value their own skin coughSlytherincough, and about the likes off Lucius Malfoy stopping the changes, he couldn't stop Dumbledore from teach the "Tales of Beetle the Bard". Despite his supposed power over Dumbledore as part of the governor's board, his one great victory over Dumbledore was just luck that he had the diary, plus half-bloods and Muggle-borns forming 75% of the magical community. Oh, yeah, and his getting Dumbledore to stand aside was a fluke, as he came right back as soon as he heard of someone's life being in danger, forbiddance decrees from the Ministry be damned, ''and'' he realized that Lucius forged the signatures of the rest of the governor's board in an effort to advance his own agenda. So, yeah, Lucius actually ultimately came off the loser in that one.
** I think that the Dumbledore we know would never try to change someone's ideology. As someone else mentioned above, he made the mistake of thinking that his idea of good was everyone's idea of good and it took him an a terrible direction in his youth. The Hogwarts Dumbledore has learned from that, and we're shown that he doesn't seek positions of power and offers his students a huge amount of choice. He's a very hands-off headmaster. At the end of PS/SS, Harry says something like "I think he knew all along that we were figuring it out, but he wanted to give us the chance to do it on our own." That's a pretty dangerous choice for children to make, and maybe not a smart life decision. Maybe valuing purity of blood isn't a smart life decision. Thing is, everyone is entitled to their own values and opinions, and when one person, no matter how powerful or clever or sure they are right, tries to force theirs on everyone, bad things happen. He would be doing exactly that which we hate Voldemort for doing, only with a different set of beliefs. The reader is more sympathetic with Dumbledore's set, but that doesn't make the means right.
** Problem comes in the first stage of this though - Technology (specifically the type for tvs and phones) gets screwed up when near enough magic. So its not like a class trip could really happen, it would have to be small groups at least. I can't think of any muggle borns with multiple wizard children that exceed 2 (and I am iffy on that one), and I have heard a few theories it is because just having one magic kid screwed up staying under the radar to the rest of the muggles to think about having another... Your theory would be awesome, but the devil is in the details and it may have just not been worth it.
** Also, it's all well and good to talk about how you could make everything perfect. It's a different matter to actually IMPLEMENT those changes. Blood purity is well-established in wizarding society and perpetuated by some of the wealthiest and most powerful families out there. Even if Dumbledore were able and willing to implement a massive, mandatory, multi-year class teaching students why racism is wrong and how Muggles aren't a bunch of primitive schlocks, how's that going to fix the kids up? What's stopping their families from teaching them back at home that Dumbledore's just an ignorant kook? Stamping out racism in the real world has always been a very long process (desegregation is nearly 50 years old in the US and racism against blacks still exists in disconcerting amounts), and not one that can be fixed just by forcing kids into a class that their parents disagree with.


[[folder:Head Boys]]

* So um... in Hogwarts, even if you weren't a prefect, you can still be Head Boy? I don't know about Britain, but it does not work that way where I am. Also, James deflated his head enough by his sixth year that by the seventh year, Dumbledore saw it fit to give him all the responsibility of Head Boy? Sounds a bit stupid to me.
** According to WordOfGod, being a Qudditch Captain is an optional prerequisite for Head Boy/Girl at Hogwarts. Apparently, James must have grown up enough before being appointed Head Boy, unless it was a political move by Dumbledore to secure James's support in the war.
** It's all well and good that it doesn't work the way where you are. You also don't happen to be in Hogwarts. Or, apparently, in Britain in general.


[[folder:Slytherin racism fading]]

* According to WordOfGod, by Albus Severus' time, 'Slytherin is no longer the pure-blood bastion that it once was'. Why? Because Harry defeated the Darkest wizard of all time, the House that has always been Dark isn't Dark anymore? That just seems too ideal to me.
** Defeating Voldemort was just the start: JK also mentions that the Trio reworked a lot of the magical government from the inside, and it is possible that Hogwarts was included in that. It's quite possible that when [=McGonagall=] or whoever became Headmaster in charge, they made a lot of changes to education and heads of houses to prevent the house system from being as bad as we see it.
** I call bullshit. Regardless of what JK might have said, no way did the Trio as a whole do anything of the sort. Hermione is the only one of them who would have the skill/intelligence/patience/drive etc required to do it. Neither Harry or Ron would last a week trying to do this kind of thing.
** That doesn't mesh with reality at ''all''. Harry and Ron aren't a couple of impatient idiots that only succeed through power of plot. Moody teenagers, yes, but also demonstrability skilled and intelligent and with enough drive to ''literally save the wizarding world''. You can't take someone's activities as a teenager in school and use it as an accurate prediction of how they'll act as adults; think about how many accomplished individuals were lazy or impertinent in high school. I'm willing to bet that a lot of them didn't repeatedly save their school and eventually their entire society from the biggest terrorist in the world.
** And again, we can't assume that every single Slytherin gives a shit about blood status anyway. I always figured it was open to anyone who possessed ambition or cunning, but the places in the Slytherin dorms went to purebloods first unless someone else came along. And after all, Percy Weasley got into Gryffindor and he's got all of the Slytherin traits... and Voldypants and Snape got into Slytherin despite being half-blood. I don't doubt that Voldymoo's and Snape's blood statuses would have become public knowledge.
** Well when the man who single-handedly ended a wizarding war was a half blood, and one of his right hand women was a Muggle born
** The point is, defeating the Dark Lord Voldemort is a VERY different conflict than eradicating a strongly held mindset in a group of people. In fact, it's probably a lot easier. For example, the American Civil War lasted only four years, and resulted in the abolition of slavery, yet it took more than a century for blacks to become enfranchised in American society. Fighting a physical, strategic war against wizard extremist required a skill set that the Golden trio filled nicely. Eradicating blood racism is a social conflict, and while Hermione is very intelligent, and Ron and Harry can be a lot more intelligent than some people give them credit for, they don't have the skills to change the hearts and minds of people deadest in their beliefs, especially not on their own, even if they are in positions high in the ministry. How has their track record been on the issue of convincing people that racism is wrong? S.P.E.W. has how many members, exactly?
** If the books are an analogy of both wars (been the first Death Eaters war somewhat like WW1 and the second one WW2) then thereís certain level of TruthInTelevision; Germany and Europe in general DOES change a lot after WW2 and Hitlerís defeat you know? And though yes, I do agree that changing social and cultural prejudices take generations even with laws (been the race issue in the USA a good example, been the caste system in India another, both countries having race segregation and caste system totally outlawed de iure bot still a problem in their society de facto), Europe is an example of a culture changing radically after a terrible conflict. During the 50s to 80s period Europeans where the exact opposite politically of what they where during 20s, 30s and 40s. Most Germans and many Europeans in general left anti-Semitism and other prejudices very quickly to the point than been racist in Germany today is taboo (and Germanís far-right parties have minimal support). Guilt can do that to a society. Something curious for example is that younger German and European genetarions tend to be more critical of stuffs like immigration than the older generations [oppose to most countries in the Americas] mainly because the milenials do not feel any guilt for the Holocaust as they werenít even bore then.
** That would make sense, except that Wizard racism had already survived Voldemort's first campaign (which, it's hinted, was significantly more violent than the war following Voldemort's return). This suggests that racism in the Wizarding World is a bit more personal and deeply rooted in the populace than a mere political issue.
** Which is still an analogy of real life, as racism also survived WW1, if not even was increased by it. WW1 also had genocides, like the Armenian genocide or the actions of the Belgians in Africa and yet people maintained their racism. But after Nazism being racist became a really really bad thing. So, in a parallelism with real life, in a similar way how no one in the 50s wanted to be associated with the Nazis, in the magical world being anti-Muggle/Muggleborns, treating bad non-human sentient creatures, etc., was associated with the Death Eaters and no one wanted that. Though I do agree that prejudice in societies are hard to change, is not unthinkable that a conflict like this could cause a radical change, of course whether most Wizards honestly change or just keep appearances of being more progressive to not be call "Death Eaters" is another matter.
** Well I do can picture Hermione in a meeting in the Ministry saying: here is our new program for the improvement of working conditions of House Elves and their legal protection from abuseÖ oh you donít like it? You know who didnít liked these kind of stuffs either [[HitlerAteSugar VOLDEMORT]]

[[folder:Potion safety]]

* In potions class, the students don't wear goggles, and there isn't anything like fume hoods put over the cauldrons. I know that the wizarding world seems to be pretty apathetic about the safety of its young, but ''still''.
** Well, the kids aren't exactly working with the kind of chemicals that would give off noxious fumes; they're working with herbs and animal parts. It's probably safe to assume that the potions don't give off any kind of ickiness that would require eye protection, even if your final result is FUBAR.
** Really? The book explicitly says that some potions may blow up or become toxic if the steps are not followed properly. Besides, just because something is natural, doesn't mean it's not dangerous.
** The school in general is less safe than most would expect, probably a combination of admittance that magical society is naturally highly dangerous and knowledge that magical medical care is advanced enough that injuries that would be extremely serious or even ''impossible'' to a Muggle are easy and quick to fix.
** Consider also that Snape is the Potions teacher and he doesn't give two flying floops about 3/4s of his students. He only cares about Slytherins, and probably expects them to be intelligent enough to excel in his class, so he doesn't really need to worry about them.

[[folder:Magic names]]

* A number of things in the wizarding world have names that a big deal out of "magic", which ought to be a bland, everyday thing for, you know, wizards. For example, one of the Quidditch World Cup sponsors is "Mrs. Skowerís All-Purpose '''Magical''' Mess Remover". From the perspective of people who use magic as often as Muggles use plumbing, this would be eyeroll-inducing, or at best seen as dry humor, like a cereal with the words "It's Edible!" Another example would be [[SpaceX wizard crackers]]. Every once in a while, it seems, the wizarding world can't help but see itself as "special", almost like "We shouldn't exist!".
** I interpreted the Mrs. Skower's bit as referring to the mess itself being magical, rather than the remover.
** I would interpret it as being the same kind of deal as normal business naming conventions. For example, how many businesses in the American southeast have the word ''"Southern"'' in the name? Or if you're in Washington or Oregon, ''"Pacific"'' or ''"Northwest"''? Adding the term ''"Magical"'' or the like to a Wizarding business just adds the connection of being local and relevant to the community.
** Also, some of that may be due to Masquerade requirements. We know it requires permission to charm 'Muggle artifacts', which seem to require a license, perhaps there is also a requirement that you don't need a 'license' if the things that could be confused for mundane objects (like cleaning supplies) are specifically marked in the name. Plus, there's international laws to consider...there might be no such labeling requirement in Magical Britain but Magical America requires it.
** Actually it makes perfect sense. For instance, we still have ''electric'' razors, ''electric'' cars, ''electric'' stoves, and so on even though electricity is as normal and mundane to us as magic is in the Wizarding World. We tack the word "electric" onto the term to distinguish it from non-electric versions. Magic is no different. Witches and wizards have magic, but it's simply a tool to them, like electricity is to us. They don't use it for everything. You never hear about magical bedsheets that magically tuck you in at night, or magical bookshelves that magically alphabetize library books (though I'm sure the Hogwarts librarian would love to have one of those). Seems to me that telling customers "yes, this stuff you are buying is actually magical" is just honest marketing. It also theoretically prevents bad accidents. If a wizard thought the Mrs. Skower-brand cleaner was just fancy-colored dish soap he might try to magic it up to make it more effective, and mixing two unknown magics sounds like a recipe for bad things.
** For all we know, "Mrs. Skower"'s line of cleaning products aren't enchanted at all, they're just specifically formulated to clean up messes ''created'' by magic (e.g. slagged-down cauldrons, barf from a Puking Pastry, etc).

[[folder: House system]]
* The whole House system in general bugs me. They take a bunch of impressionable eleven year-olds and split into four groups telling them that they all share something in common with their own group and are distinctly different from the other groups. Then they systematically go about keeping the kids isolated with their own house, giving them a common room that only house members are allowed in, forcing them to eat every meal with their housemates, and only their housemates, and making sure they share every class with all of their same year housemates. They also foster heated rivalry between the houses with both the Quidditch cup and the House Cup. It's like they want these kids to hate each other.
** TruthInTelevision, I'm afraid. Think of Dudley and his Smeltings Stick. Same thing, different school.
** I'll play Devil's Advocate here. Yes, there's a heated rivalry between Slytherin and Gryffindor, but it's not as heated between the other Houses. With that being said, Snape is probably responsible for the state of affairs in blatantly favoring his own House, and the other teachers may be biased to some degree but they legitimately try to be fair. The Houses don't seem to be very isolated; after all, students have ample opportunity to meet kids from other Houses. The reason the students are separated is because they have specific traits in common that the Founders liked, and having traits in common fosters friendship. Gryffindors have classes with both Slytherins and Hufflepuffs throughout the series, they're not forced to eat at their House's specific table except during certain occasions, and what's the big deal about having common rooms that only House members can access? It gives a space for students to mingle after-hours when they can't go roaming throughout the school like during the day. True, it's with students of their own House, but a lot of Real Life dormitories have common rooms that only the inhabitants of said dorms can access. It's natural that different Houses would have cliques and rivalries, though Slytherin and Gryffindor take it too far. As for the House Cup, it seems to motivate students to behave rather than foster rivalry between Houses, and saying the Quidditch Cup is wrong is like saying intra-mural sports are wrong.
** Sorting the students into houses also gives even the most timid and introverted students an opportunity to belong to and be a part of something.
** Something that happens in real life in many possible examples; some boarding schools do have real life houses (maybe by other names), many schools have clubs, the boy scouts have tribes or clans, and so on. Besides we see a lot of inter-house friendships and romances, they are not isolated. Because of the fantasy setting might be that the houses feel like something much more serious, but they are not complete alien to real life human society.
** My school had just as many students as Hogwarts and they were all divided up into different forms. Just to keep class size smaller - twenty or so children is easier to keep track of than sixty in one room. Lots of schools do it for teacher convenience. It's hardly barbaric.
** The difference between Hogwarts and other schools that have a "house" system is that while other schools may group students randomly, or based on their electives, Hogwarts groups based on PERSONALITY. Placing a young child in an environment where everyone is supposed to share the same traits as them and where there isn't much diversity in thinking is INCREDIBLY unhealthy! What purpose is there in grouping based on arbitrary personality traits? Are you really telling me that you can't be both brave AND loyal, or wise AND cunning? Personality traits are things that develop and change over the time, and often coexist. By sorting kids into houses where everyone has one specific personality trait, (which they may or may not have even been exhibiting at the tender age of ten,) you are encouraging them to disregard any other personality traits they may be developing, and make their whole life revolve around the one trait. Every one of the houses has a "dark" and a "light" side; to Gryffindor's bravery, there is recklessness. To Slytherin's ambition, there is thirst for power. To Hufflepuff's loyalty, there is meekness. To Ravenclaw's wisdom, there is arrogance. There is absolutely no healthy balance if you focus on only one set of these traits.
*** And all of the above does not change what was mentioned before; the houses interact with each other, they are not isolated and they even have inter-house romances, so again, they are not exposed to one exclusive environment except maybe during the nights. Also, thinking that everyone inside a house has exaclty the same personality traits is very simplistic. Yes, there are certain similarities among the members of the houses over some very specific virtues or characteristics, but the different members are as different to each other as they are to the members of the other houses. The best example is probably the Trio, they are all Gryffindorfs and yet they personalities can't be more different.
*** Not to mention all houses have several traits they value, and people can be sorted for any of those, or even just for the values they deem best. Look at Neville - Gryffindor, but definitely not the roaring lion type. Luna is smart, but mostly she's just very curious and willing to learn that way instead of only through books. Tonks, a Hufflepuff, is incredibly brave, but probably values loyalty and/or kindness more. Thus, the houses aren't as uniform as so many people make them out to be - "A Gryffindor is probably either brave, or determined, or proud, or just values any of these characteristics a lot" is not the same as "All Gryffindors are brave, and nothing else."

[[folder:Sorting Ceremony and feast]]

* The Sorting Ceremony and the feast that follows it bug me. In the books and the films, the students arrive at the school after sunset, which is around 10 PM in Scotland in September. This tallies well with the approximate travel time by train from London to northern Scotland, but it also mean that in addition to having to sit through the Sorting Ceremony, which would take at least an hour and a half to two hours (assuming 40 new students at two minutes per student), then there's a feast? So by this time, if the feast lasts only half an hour, it's around midnight at the very earliest before the student will see their beds, and sometime between one and two AM seems more likely. This is not my idea of a good time for being given important information that the students absolutely must recall. Why not send the upper students to their dorms, except for the prefects, conduct the sorting, then have the prefects show the new students to their dorms? The important notices can be given at breakfast, when the students are actually awake, and able to pay attention.
** I just looked it up, and what I could find is that in early October, sunset in Scotland is around 6:30 PM. Considering that the feast is the night of September 1st, I'd say sunset might've been 7 or 7:30 PM, which sets your proposed timetable back by several hours--so they'd be going to bed at eleven or Midnight, which doesn't seem that unreasonable to me for a big occasion like the first day of school Welcoming Feast. I can guarantee that the days don't get four hours shorter in the space of one month, unless you're suggesting that by the time the winter solstice hits, sunset is at ten in the morning.
** Indeed. Sunset in Scotland, at the start of September, is about 8pm.


[[folder:Forbidden Forest]]

* Why was not there any protection barrier or, hell, even a simple fence around the Forbidden Forest? Did the school government ''want'' there to be an ultimate ShmuckBait?
** FridgeBrilliance: There are normally *supposed* to be enchantments up... but it's the job of the Groundskeeper to do so. So Hagrid, disallowed to do magic and also likely unable to cast effective wards (of that size; do not cite the hen coop as an example, its a very different kettle of fish in that regard) with only a third-year education, can't do much. Of course Dumbledore decides, well, who cares about enchantment when a half-giant impervious to several magics can do the same job of keeping foolish showoffy/heroic kids out who are really not going to want to argue?
** The forest is the centaurs' land isn't it? Perhaps they don't want to antagonise them by fencing them in. And the students are warned about the dangers in the forest. Repeatedly.

[[folder:Married teachers]]

* How come none of the Hogwarts teachers were married? Okay, we know why Dumbledore and Snape weren't, but what about the rest? I don't recall any teacher ever said to be having a spouse. Lupin got married, but only after he quit. Is Hogwarts is like a religious order that requires chastity?
** Well, apart from those two and Hagrid (obvious), the rest of the teachers were paid little to no attention in the story. So, they just never had a chance to elaborate on their family status, not that any of the title characters cared.
** To elaborate further, some of the professors probably were married at one point or another. Since Pottermore came out, we are given a bit more back story on some of the teachers. [=McGonagall=], for instance, had a tragic love for a muggle farmer but eventually married one of her friends and former boss (from her pre-Hogwarts job). They stayed together while she continued to teach at Hogwarts, but he died before the events of the main series. It seems likely that the same sort of thing would be pretty common amongst the professors. Over all, they seem to be fairly old (Flitwick, [=McGonagall=], Sprout, Grubbly-Plank, Slughorn, Hooch, Pomfrey are all stated to be well over retirement age) or they have wound up teaching at Hogwarts because of outside circumstances that don't lend well to romance (Snape, Trelawney, Hagrid, every DADA teacher). So it seems likely that a lot of the "old timers" may have been married prior to working at Hogwarts. Their spouses aren't mentioned either because they predeceased them, or they just don't live in the castle.
** Also, consider the time period. Most people lost relatives during Voldemort's first run. Most of the people who joined the "fight against Voldemort" the first time around were probably around the age of Harry's parents, maybe a few decades older. Which meant a good portion of the generation that would be taking over jobs like teaching got wiped out, leaving teachers who really should be retired to stick it out for a few more decades. Add to that the fact that some of them may have lost spouses during the war, and it seems fairly obvious why we don't hear much about teachers getting married- they might have been, but they're mostly widows/widowers by now. Not something you would discuss with your eleven year old students. We can already see that this pattern is starting to turn around, as Neville becomes a teacher in the epilogue, and according to Rowling, is happily married.
** And it would be difficult to date if you have to live in a secluded castle for three-fourths of the year.
** Teachers are not secluded, they can leave whenever they want and they have many magical ways for transport, they just need to ask permission first to Dumbledore, and also, isnít some sort of wizard village pretty close to Hogwarts? Anyway, probably many people also teach because they are already retired, so they probably are widows, divorcees and the like.
** Yes, retirement is the most probably reason to judge for their ages. But nothing stop them from going to Hogsmead and dating someone if they want, they are adults, they not even have to ask permission if is outside working hours.
** And no reason for a spouse not to live in Hogsmeade near the school. Although Neville's marriage is probably a long-distance one, since Hannah becomes the landlady of the Leaky Cauldron.

[[folder:Snape and his students]]

* Snape is a total KarmaHoudini. I don't mean in terms of events in the last two books. I mean the way he [[SadistTeacher treated his students]]. You'd think Dumbledore would have heard enough complaints that Snape was a [[KickTheDog dog kicking]] [[JerkAss asshole]].
** Debated to death already. He had to maintain an image in case V returns and Snape has to get into his good grace (which is exactly what happens and what he explains to Bella in [[HarryPotterAndTheHalfBloodPrince HBP]]), and he had to suck up to Malfoys to remain on good terms with them to abreast of what the DEs are up to.
** Doesn't fly. A double agent (which Snape was) is not supposed to act like the side he's allegedly loyal to; he's supposed to act like the side he's supposedly infiltrating! If Snape really wants Voldemort to believe that he's Voldemort's spy against Dumbledore, Snape's public ''persona'' should be that of the biggest pro-Dumbledore anti-Death-Eater suck-up ever.
** Technically, Snape is a ''triple'' agent; someone who is pretending to be a double-agent against side A in favor of side B, when in actuality he really works for side A all along. However, the point still applies -- a triple-agent is supposed to make the side he's ultimately against believe he is really their double-agent, which would mean acting as a real double-agent would act. Which means not openly broadcasting his affiliation and sympathy for the side he's allegedly working for.
** What kind of cartoon evil do you take Death Eaters for? Seriously? Does Voldemort have a daily "Steal X amount of candy from babies" quota for his followers? What part of being unfair with house points and bullying students as an adult helps him "keep his cover" as a Death Eater? Malfoy was evil, yes, but because he used his power to control the ministry and Wizengamot and promote bigoted laws. Snape being evil to schoolchildren to "maintain a Death Eater image" has got to be the lamest excuse I've ever heard. He's abusive to kids because that's who he is, not because he's acting under some kind of "A good Death Eater makes kids cry" directive.
** Snape isn't acting the way he acts to please Voldemort. He's trying to make sure that Malfoy and Crabbe and Goyle, and even Weasley and Diggory and Bones and everyone's kids knows exactly what his 'opinions' are, so those 'opinions' are filtered to their parents, so everyone knows he's the 'right sort of person' and will be included in when Voldemort comes back. (At least, that's what he supposes, although it turns out he's wrong and he needed to be friends with Barty Crouch Jr, who he didn't even know was alive, and Peter Pettigrew, who he loathed and who hated him.) Which is why he's being a rather LargeHam in his persona...he's playing to a bunch of teenagers. (Except WRT to Harry, who he really does loathe.)
** No, no, no. Snape is a SadistTeacher all on his own without it being an act of any kind. Dumbledore keeps him on because he considers him a valuable asset and is a forgiving sort. Also, there's no evidence of any students making formal complaints against him.
** Snape is highly valuable to Dumbledore's plans against Voldemort, and aside from his SadistTeacher qualities is a very skilled potions master (and wizard in general).
** Which is about as useful as saying 'aside from his tendencies to molest children, that guy was a really awesome football coach and did so much for the school!'. If you're a sadist who likes to mentally abuse children under your care, ''you should not be teaching''. I don't care what other benefit Dumbledore got out of him, he should have found that guy another job that didn't require regular contact with students. Create a position called 'Administrative Deputy of Hogwarts' and let him do all the paperwork or something like that, thus contenting Voldemort that Snape still has access to everything while not requiring the student body to actually have to put up with Snape.
** Now, since I'm going to defend Severus, I have to make a caveat. I'm content with the default answer, that Snape is simply a sadistic asshole, and DD, at best, is an idiot, who has no idea what's going on in his school (see "forgiving sort"), or that he (and hence Rowling) has some fucked up ideas about education (see "teachers like Snape are a lesson" above). But it's more fun to give the accused the benefit of the doubt (and then inevitably come to the above conclusion anyway). With that in mind, I think it's pointless to judge Snape as a teacher, ''because he's not a teacher''. He's drafted into the position he's ill-suited for. DD needs a link to the Death Eaters, therefore Snape needs to appeal to them and their kids. Answering to the post above, I take the DEs for the kind of cartoonish evil they are made out to be, so subtlety is counterproductive here, while blatantly taking sides and abusing other students is the best approach. At that he has to perfrom teaching duties, which he does the only way he knows how - by being a DrillSergeantNasty (and hey, you cannot deny it worked - kids passed their exams, even Neville). Second, Severus is a foil to DD in Scarhead's eyes and a Bad Cop to him. Just as Sev is not a teacher, so is Harry not a student - he's a TykeBomb. He's eventually expected to go on an insane errand for DD and then to willfully throw himself at V, therefore he needs to be utterly devoted to DD. The worse everyone else (Dursleys, Snape, MG, the Ministery) looks in comparison to his idol, the better. BUT the kid's also supposed to ''survive'' until that point, which he won't if he only receives positive stimula and gets his ego overblown by undeserved praise. Hence Sev is there to keep him on his toes and take him down a peg once in a while. But he lacks any real authority over the kid and has to, in general, put up with the stupid and dangerous shit that the kid does all the time, worse, see the kid get ''praised'' for it. You can imagine how frustrating that gets. For Severus it's like the worst kind of an EscortMission, where the escort doesn't have the sence to go hide in a garbage bin but has to get into the firing line all the time and its AI is written by a monkey. So he vents his frustration on everybody who gives him an excuse, like Neville. Does it absolve him from responsibility? Like with Dursleys, it doesn't. But like with Dursleys, he's a victim of circumstances and DD's unique approach to problem-solving.
** Also, Snape was a KarmaHoudini? [[spoiler: He died at the end of the series!]]


[[folder:Color-coded clothes]]

* Here's something I never understood. In the movies, it shows that some parts of Hogwarts uniforms (scarves, ties, etc.) are colored by house. Are the students given these after they're sorted? Are said accessories magic'd after the sorting?
** Probably, in the first movie, the uniforms of Harry and the other first years did not have any of the house trimmings before the sorting ceremony (the tie was plain black). And and in a scene after the sorting feast, the camera pans over all the house appropriate gear (the tie, scarves on Harry's bed.
** Even in the books they wear ties, although they do are never mentioned to be House-colored. However, ties are notable not on list required for first years, so if they're part of the uniform, they must be given out at Hogwarts. As for scarves, perhaps upper-years just buy some extra scarves to sell to first years at the start of each year.
** The colored ties partially closes a plothole in the books. Quite often, someone unknown to Harry is described as a 'fourth year Ravenclaw' or a 'second year Hufflepuff', raising the question of how the narrator, which is only supposed to know what Harry knows, knows what House some random student is in. Although it doesn't explain how the narrator knows their year.
** It's possible there are different patterns on the ties and scarves denoting year. At least, that's what I assumed.
** More likely, they're people Harry has seen on previous occasions going to or from other Houses' classes; he just doesn't know them well enough to put a name to them.


[[folder:Boring history]]

* How is it possible for History Classes to be boring, when all you would have to do is go to a nice Renaissance painting, or a painting of the goblin wars, or the portrait of he wizard who defended his hometown against twenty giants and have a chat with them? Binns' classes should consist of him giving his monologues and some painted people who wandered in providing the Podcast/RiffTrax, complaining about inaccuracies or bickering with each other.
** Easy. Your suggestions for an interesting history class don't happen.
** Also, they won't necessarily provide the best information. Portraits aren't a fountain of knowledge, merely a copy of the person they were based on. They can (and likely will) have biased information.
** It's not even the class - it's just the professor who teaches it. Harry mentioned in one of the books that the subject matter they're learning about ''would'' actually be somewhat interesting to the class, if it wasn't for Binns' lackluster method of teaching them.


[[folder:Percy in Gryffindor]]

* Why on earth was Percy sorted into Gryffindor? If you stop and think about he's really seriously Hufflepuff (I'm sure there are people who would say Slytherin, but he really seemed like he was perfectly happy to be a low-level worker as long as he felt like he was doing real practical work, though he was still glad to be bumped up of course); his defining characteristic from book four onward is his loyalty, the major problem being that he gave it to the wrong people until it reached a point where it was clear the the ministry didn't deserve that loyalty.
** Presumably Percy (largely because of loyalty to his family) ''wanted'' to be in Gryffindor and the Sorting Hat is willing to take requests. And while Percy did ultimately choose wrongly, I think it takes a lot of courage to walk away from your family because of your beliefs and a lot to come back and admit that you were wrong. Of all of Percy's less-than-stellar traits, cowardice was never one of them.
** Gryffindor is the house for the brave of heart, who seek to better themselves to the best of their ability, whereas Hufflepuffs work hard for hard work's sake. Percy's job within the Ministry eventually causes him to shed and shun the stance that his family takes and spurs a desire for him to rise above them, even if he does repent for this mistake and apologizes to them later in the series.


[[folder:Ghost touch]]

* At several points in the series, ghosts are shown interacting with items that they shouldn't. Myrtle can make splashes in water and get flushed away. Nick is folding and pocketing a letter in [=CoS=]. How? Seriously, how can he do that? Did some ghost have paper, quill and ink on him when he died to that the letter could be ghost-written?
** Telekinesis.
** Since when does Ghosts canít touch anything? I mean, I now thatís what its shown in Patrick Swazi's movie, but I donít think thatís the standard for every single fictional universe with ghosts in it. Now I donít really remember if the books say something specific about ghost's physics but in English lore (and we know the books are heavily influenced by it) ghosts can touch whatever they want, thatís the logic behind the poltergeist and the haunted house. A side from the Hollywood idea that ghosts canít touch, many cultures have different positions about it, is not universal, Asian horror movies depicts it very well for example, Ghosts in Japan and Asia in general can kill you with their hands.

[[folder:Dorm conditions]]

* The dorms sound like they'd be dreadful to live in. 10 or so adolescent boys, having to sleep in the same room together, listening to each other snoring and farting all night, for seven years. If I went to Hogwarts, I'd COMMUTE.
** Uh, there are lots and ''lots'' of kids nowadays who have to live in dorms at their schools, even sharing their rooms with other kids. Amazingly enough, they're all fine. Oh sure, it would suck now and then, but seriously? Some people have to share living space with others. That's life.
** They may even be better off than normal kids - in the Wizarding world, they have things like silencing spells and (presumably) no-smell spells, if either the professors or students were to cast them over the dorms, then things like snoring or farting wouldn't be an issue.
** It only seems to be about five per room or something like that - with just Harry, Ron, Neville, Dean and Seamus sharing. In the girls' dorms it looks to be just Hermione, Parvati, Lavender and other unnamed Gryffindor girls. We only see the boys but most of them get on fine. I never had a dorm but their situation actually seems quite fun - especially if you're sharing with friends.

[[folder:Wizards in the muggle world]]

* What happens if a kid who went to school at Hogwarts wants to work in the Muggle world? By that I mean a job that requires higher education, like being a doctor. If they just learn magic until they're 17 or 18, how would they be able to get a university education?
** Presumably there is a way to create appropriate muggle qualifications although who knows whether or not the Ministry or a legal company provides these services or whether it's a black-market thing.
** Besides, who'd want to be a doctor instead of a Healer?
** It's not EXPECTED for them to live in the Muggle world. Wizarding society is insular and can be downright xenophobic toward Muggles at times; even at the best of times, there's a general feeling that Muggles "just don't get it" or are naive. It's fully expected that wizards stick by wizards, get jobs in magic, and only venture into Muggle society when necessary. Judging from the Pottermore article on wizarding fashion (which states that wizards often appear in anachronistic clothing because they pick a style and stick with it for decades without checking up on Muggle popular culture), it seems very common for wizards to spend ''years'' out of the loop.
** All that aside, a Hogwarts graduate who sincerely wants to pursue a professional career among Muggles could do so in exactly the same way that Muggles who originally didn't finish school can: enroll in adult education classes, take the test to prove they've completed secondary school, then go on to college and earn their medical/law/whatever degree. They'll be older than their college classmates, but that's nothing unusual: people start second careers all the time, these days.
** There's actually a section in the fifth book where Harry reads about working with Muggles. So yes we can assume that there are departments or facilities that help wizards who want to work with Muggles. And people seem to be taking the idea that they're only getting wizard education a bit to the extreme. Hardly anything that you learn in high school is actually useful when you go to college. The wizard or witch's record would just say that they've had their high school education - which Hogwarts would count as. Universities tend not to care about what specifically you did in school as long as you've passed your exams. And - in Ireland at least - there are other courses one can do after leaving school (if they didn't get good enough marks) to prepare them to get into college a different way. Surely it's not out of the question for such facilities to exist for wizards.


* '''Always Winter, never Christmas:'''
## October 1981, DD '''borrowed''' James' cloak and '''gave''' it to Harry at Xmas 91. What a cheapskate! It would be fair enough to keep a child's '''own''' property safe and give it when the child is old enough. But don't call it an Xmas present, it is his '''own''' property. DD owes Harry 17 years of Xmas presents.
## ''[[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheOrderOfThePhoenix The Order of the Phoenix]]'', Weasleys have an Xmas snowball fight at '''5pm in Scotland''' when it is night. That scene could have been solved by them casting a Light spell.
** What on Earth are you talking about "DD owes Harry Christmas presents"? He isn't obligated to give Harry Christmas presents at all. The only people who give presents through out the series are family and very best friends. Also, in reference to the original question, I think Christmas was just an easy way to give the present anonymously.
** Calling the Invisibility Cloak a 'Christmas present' is what they are objecting to. ''Harry is the legal owner of the cloak. He inherited it from his father''. Handing somebody something that they already own and claiming it's a present from you is really, really gauche.
** As I recall, the note that was with the Cloak when Dumbledore gave it to Harry mentioned 'returning' it. Unfortunately, my copy of the book is in storage, I lack a VCR on which to watch my copy of the film, and IMDB lacks the note in its list of memorable quotes from the film.
** Here's the exact quote from the note given with the Cloak: "Your father left this in my possession before he died. It is time it was returned to you. Use it well. A Very Merry Christmas to you." There was no "present" language - Dumbledore was clear that he was returning James' cloak to Harry. No claim that it was a present or anything.
** Also, the Invisibility Cloak isn't exactly a toy for a child. Rightful property or not, handing an 11-year-old an article of clothing that provides an unlimited invisibility charm is a disaster waiting to happen. It's the kind of thing that only Dumbledore would have done, and only for someone that he had such trust in due to his XanatosGambit.


[[folder:Lily's friends]]

* Whatever happened to Lily's Hogwarts friends? Everyone described her as pretty and popular and kind and beloved, so you'd think she'd have tons of friends. Instead, we only ever see her with Snape and the Marauders and hear Mary [=MacDonald=] name-dropped twice. Maybe they wouldn't play the same role as the Marauders did in Harry's life, but you'd think that at least one of them would be in the Order or want to visit Harry.
** If they weren't in the Order, they might have found it difficult to contact Harry within the run of the series. The Dursleys would surely never have allowed it, and it would be a bit weird dropping in while he was at school. If they were in the Order, it's entirely possible that they were killed in the first war.
** School friends can become strangers rather quickly sadly. People tend to make more lasting friendships in college, but high school friends can drift apart quite easily. So Lily might have just lost contact with her friends - or they may have died in the war. As Lily was in hiding for about a year before her death, it's possible the friends never even got to meet Harry. And the sounds of it imply that Dumbledore made sure where he went was classified. So for all we know, friends of Lily could have tried to track him down but gave up on never finding him. Especially since Lily and Petunia weren't exactly close. I could feasibly see Petunia rebuffing any friends of Lily who came to call.


* How, exactly, are Muggle parents expected to get in contact with their kids or the school in the event of a family emergency? Hogwarts doesn't have a telephone system, and you can't expect every Muggleborn's family to keep an owl: plenty of Muggles who live in flats have a "no pets" lease, or are allergic or otherwise unequipped to care for an exotic bird. So how can they possibly contact their children at Hogwarts, when someone back home dies or needs a bone-marrow transfusion from a sibling or something? Heck, how come they even ''trust'' a school where they're not allowed to call their child for months on end?
** We find out in the final book that wizards work in postal services to sift out the letters to places that "don't exist" and redirect them, presumably magically. Thus a Muggle parent can just post a letter with the confidence that it will be picked up and sent to Hogwarts. The Muggle post service is, at least sometimes, faster than owls, because Harry gets Mrs. Weasley's letter delivered before he gets Ron's letter which was sent by owl, and because of this evidence even if owls are faster then it won't be by much. Specifically for sending letters to Hogwarts it will be quicker than if it was sent by post to the same place (because a letter will only need to go to the sorting office and then be magicked instantly along) so it will take literally the time for a Muggle worker to empty a post box, send it to the sorting office, and then the letter to be sorted. To the issue of not being able to call their children, well as long as the child sends an owl first the parent will be able to reply with the same owl.
** And if there's nobody at home who's able to ''send'' such a letter? Guess the kid whose parents die in a car crash during the school term just has to wait until the holidays to find out they're dead.
** [[AWizardDidIt Magic, son.]] Harry's Hogwarts acceptance letter was addressed specifically to his cupboard under the stairs, and the letter still found him when Vernon moved the whole family to a tiny hovel on an island. Presumably if the parents were killed in a car crash the letter would find its way to the morgue, or the owl would return without delivering the letter which would indicate that something was wrong. And recall that once upon a time [[TruthInTelevision Muggle boarding schools didn't have telephones either]]. So I guess the real answer to the original question is "exactly what parents did a hundred years ago".



* What is the point of having Divination as a subject? It seems that it is not something that could be taught - the Seers that make prophesies seem to just be born this way, and if we take Trelawney as an example, prophesies are made beyond their will, they don't even know they make them (sort of like Oracles and Sybillas in Ancient Greek mythology). All those methods of fortune-telling they teach kids are never seen to be employed in everyday life or even by the Ministry of Magic, and don't seem to be all that useful. What's more, even the centaur, who's supposed to be an expert on this, says that all those methods of divination taught in Hogwarts are of no use.
** If it was a completely inborn talent and couldn't be taught then they wouldn't teach it. Hogwarts is a pretty crazy place but even they wouldn't try to teach an un-teachable subject. And I believe Prof. [=McGonagall=] once called it a "very imprecise" form of magic, which suggests that it's a teachable subject but an unreliable discipline.
** This troper assumed that the Divination "class" was mostly an excuse to get the students to ''try out'' various methods of reading the future, to test if any of them might've been born with the knack. Presumably, a person who's got the talent to be a Seer still needs to figure out what implements or procedures can best activate their own personal gift, same as a wizard still needs to find the right wand if they're to make best use of their other magics. If any of them had the talent, eventually one of the methods would work; if not, they'll still have learned something ''about'' Divination, even if they can't employ it themselves.
** It's a class because there's a genuine subject there. It's possible to read portents and gain genuine insight into future events. The problem with Trelawney's class is she claims you can use the craft for every little thing, this is not true. The universe doesn't care about whether Neville breaks a cup or someone loses their pet bunny. The centaur method is much less precise but far more accurate, watching portents and signs to gain ague insight into events in the future. It must be possible to use a crystal ball properly, otherwise would have been discontinued long ago (it's likely Harry just wasn't paying attention and didn't read the correct chapters on how to manage it, or was simply unable to clear his mind). You'll notice that some of the students actually passed their O.W.L.s on the class and even Harry didn't fail by that much so there must be some measurable merit to the theory at least. It's just as Minerva said, it's a very imprecise form of magic.
** Well Dumbledore himself said he was considering getting rid of it altogether until Sybil made her prophecy. The situation seems to be that if you have the potential, then you can learn how to do it. There might be a theory side to it too, but Harry hates the subject so we never hear about it.
** Dumbledore was going to get rid of the subject, since there really is no point in teaching it, but keeps the position so that he can protect Sybil from Voldemort. Another reason Dumbledore probably shouldn't be headmaster...
** Of course, who wants a Headmaster that is willing to protect the innocents.


* Why on earth is Peeves continually allowed to remain at Hogwarts, when he spends all his time causing trouble for the students and staff and doing absolutely nothing useful, until books five and seven? It's mentioned in book five that Umbridge had to get Fudge to sign something to get rid of Peeves, so it's probably not something the school can deal with on their own, but Dumbledore could easily have done the same thing before Voldy returned. So what gives?
** Dumbledore just doesn't want to get rid of him. If you pressed him, he'd probably spin up something about it teaching the children a lesson about something or other, or Peeves weird tricks being part of the magic of childhood, but really the reason is that Dumbledore flat out ''likes'' having a bit of crazy around the place and isn't prepared to get rid of Peeves.
** Peeves may be a pain in the rear, but he's still part of the school's security system. At least his pranks don't put people in danger, the way Sir Cadogan's flagrant incompetence did. Plus, it's better having him running around the school than tearing up Diagon Alley or pulling his shenanigans on Muggles: none of Peeves' misbehavior rises to the level of something you'd condemn him to Azkaban for, so they have to let him hang around ''somewhere'', and at Hogwarts the Bloody Baron can keep him from getting '''too''' out of hand.


[[folder:Harry as captain]]

* Why is Harry made the Quidditch captain instead of Katie Bell? She's in her seventh year when Harry gets made captain and if I can recall, she's mentioned to have been on the team since her first year (or at least a few years). So why isn't she made Captain? Harry could still have been Captain the next year, which would have been much more fair since they'd each get a year that way.
** Because he's not going to be in Hogwarts the next year, and because being a captain would help him develop his leadership skills.
** Or maybe Katie turned the job down, before it was even offered to Harry. She may have felt that building a rapport with the two new Chasers, who need to operate as a trio of equals on the field, was more important to her than taking responsibility for the entire team.
** Katie is one year older than Harry. First years cannot have brooms and that would make it difficult to join a team. This means that Harry and Katie have been on the team for the same amount of time. Asking why Katie wasn't made captain in [[HarryPotterAndTheHalfBloodPrince HBP]] is like asking why Alicia wasn't made captain in [[HarryPotterAndTheOrderOfThePhoenix OotP]].
** Because maybe Dumbledore wanted to make up for not making Harry a prefect?

[[folder:Binns and homework]]

* How does Professor Binns check and/or grade the homework he assigns or the exams he administers at year's end? As a ghost that isn't a poltergeist, he can't materially interact with most solid objects...
** We know there are pens that can operate themselves, because Rita Skeeter had one. Perhaps one of the other professors charmed a quill to obey Binns' verbal commands, and the scrolls students use for his history essays are similarly charmed to unroll themselves on his orders.
** Ghosts do can touch things in the Harry Potter universe [and most fictional universe by-the-way] as shown in the books when Sir Nicholas breaks something in order to distract Filch and help Harry. Of course is not clear how much complex interaction they can have with solid objects, but writing a big A or some other letter in a paper is not a big deal.


* A literal headscratcher: Having been around lots of kids in close come the Sorting Hat isn't crawling with head lice?
** The hat might just have a charm on it that drives head lice away.
** While a charm that drives head lice away would be pretty cool, when you look at the facts about lice and the Sorting Hat, the chances of it "crawling with head lice" are nil. The Sorting Hat is brought out once every year and then left alone on a shelf in the Headmaster's office. ''Maybe'' people put it on again later in the year for whatever reason, but I doubt it happens often, and the only time we ever see it happen is when Harry is left alone with it in Chamber of Secrets and he pops it on 'cause he's stressing about being Slytherin's Heir. A louse's lifespan is about thirty days, and less if they don't have human blood to feed off of and human heat to keep them warm. Even in the unlikely event that a louse crawled off someone's head and onto the Hat during the brief time it's left on their head (the longest that is specifically mentioned is "nearly a minute", and lice generally stay right up close to your head for warmth and food, which is why you can look at a person who is crawling with lice and not know), that louse is a goner within the next week, tops. Anyway, I doubt that the Hat isn't cleaned before the Sorting - either that, or it ''does'' have some kind of magical-repelling charm that keeps away dust, cobwebs, and bugs. [[CavemenVsAstronautsDebate Wow, I took that way too seriously...]]
** Is lice a problem in Britain? I'm under the impression that it's not that common for a European country standard that kids have lice in the heads. In many schools in the west people share caps and helmets in sport events in most high schools.
*** Yes and No. It is very rare for anybody in the UK to have head lice as a chronic situation. However, they are easily transferable amongst school children, so it only takes one, and when the schools come back after summer break there always tends to be minor outbreaks. Many schools advise parents to use "nit" combs (to catch the eggs) and special shampoo for a while after summer break ends, and private boarding schools will ensure that children there are regularly checked by a "nit nurse" to ensure there are no outbreaks. Presumably in Hogwarts this is one of Poppy's duties. Creating the shampoo may even be one of Snape's duties as potions master too.



* This is a minor headscratcher I've had since I was young, and I donít think itís been brought up yet. During the sorting ceremony, the Sorting Hat says: ďit's all here in your head, and Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, no doubt about that.Ē So, is it talking about academic/professional greatness or what? Every House in Hogwarts takes nearly the same courses and has the same teachers. And going into the hypothetical field of Harry getting sorted into Slytherin, Snape would hardly treat him any better just because of that. Plus Harry was rejecting the idea of Slytherin so badly that heíd probably still hang out with Ron (and later Hermione, I guess) even after being sorted into Slytherin; heís probably not going to be friends with Malfoy. And I presume it isn't some kind of moral greatness, since Slytherin isn't famous for that sort of thing. I donít know if Iím making myself clear, but: what kind of greatness would getting sorted in Slytherin help him achieve (that he wouldn't in Gryffindor)?
** Slytherin's main traits are cunning and ambition, and it's shown that all of the houses encourage their particular talent among their group (like the Ravenclaws needing to solve a riddle to access their common room). Kids in Slytherin would be encouraged to remain ambitious and strive for more than they already have, and to use their intelligence and cleverness to get ahead of the competition. Likewise, Gryffindors are encouraged by their peers to display bravery and courage (even to the detriment of critical thinking, as the trio's slightly impulsive adventuring shows) and Ravenclaws are encouraged to show intelligence.


[[folder:Quidditch brooms]]

* Why the hell don't the Quidditch teams all fly on the same type of broom? In the first book [=McGonagall=] shows ridiculous favouritism not only by putting first-year Harry Potter on the team in defiance of the rules but also by buying him the best broom ever; in the second book Lucius buys everyone on the Slytherin team the newest best broom ever; then in Prisoner of Azkaban Sirius buys Harry the new newest best broom ever... how is anyone pretending any game involving Gryffindor or Slytherin is fair? Not to mention how iirc Fred and George complain about flying on cheap substandard brooms, and one can imagine similar scenarios happening among the other teams. Why can't Dumbledore just buy twenty-eight average-quality brooms and have everyone use equal equipment?
** It is a reference to the polo teams that upper-class British schools used to have. The pupils competing in them were expected to supply their own horses, and one of the ways for an "old boy" to show patronage was to buy some polo-ponies for their old school team. Fairness has nothing to do with the British upper-class.
** Understatement of the year there - but horses can't be mass-produced to identical levels of quality. Brooms can. They don't have an excuse.
** The third book mentions that the school has spare brooms for students that don't have them, which is what Harry is forced to use after his old one is destroyed by the Whomping Willow. However, students are able to buy and use their own brooms, if they can afford them, to play the sport, while Harry himself may have been an exception - [=McGonagall=] probably bought him the Nimbus 2000 due to the fact that, while a natural enough seeker on his own, he's still new to the sport, and thus would need a pretty good broomstick to compensate. Also, she's not the only one who displays some favoritism, since Snape has been doing the same thing for the students in Slytherin House since Day 1.
*** I know students are able to buy and use their own brooms, that's the whole point. Why are they? Why does the school have spare brooms rather than just having regulation brooms for everyone? (And just because Snape does it - and gets called on it as well he should - doesn't make it any less favouritism for [=McGonagall=] to give special treatment to Special Harry Potter.)

[[folder: Spell Names]]

* It's quite obvious that the spells used are [[GratuitousLatin Latin]]... why does Hogwarts not ''teach'' Latin as a language? It would certainly help the students in knowing what the spell names actually mean and, in the case of Harry looking at the Half Blood Prince's homemade-spells, could certainly reveal what they would most likely entail. ''Levicorpus'' comes from levitate and corpus/corpse/body. Similarly, ''Sectumsempra'' means to continuously slash. It certainly could have prevented Harry from getting detention in the 6th Book.
** Creating new spells is said to be highly regulated by the authorities. Perhaps the Hogwarts staff is worried that teaching students Latin would result in them creating their own spells unauthorized and thereby causing chaos.
** It's possible that there are either books on Latin in the library or that basic Latin is taught in History of Magic or Transfiguration (maybe in one of the optional textbook chapters). Hermione is shown to know some Latin (she uses "mobilliarbus" to specifically move a tree, and it seems unlikely that they'd spend a class period learning to move a tree), and obviously Snape did. Hermione reads everything, and as a social outcast, Snape probably spent a lot of time in the library. For that matter, if Binns taught Latin, how would we know? It's not like Harry pays attention to anything.

[[folder: Slytherin's "noble work"]]
* Why do the occupants of Slytherin House identify themselves with Salazar through their views on pureblood wizards? Salazar Slytherin was in dispute with the other, more ahead-of-the-time founders because he lived in a time where Muggles were viewed at untrustworthy, and thus, he wasn't in line with the idea of letting even those who could practice magic into the school. The students of Slytherin House, on the other hand, are prejudiced against Muggle-borns for no real reason other than "We're better than them," which is an entirely different matter. One's supremacy, the other is just a feeling of mistrust that wasn't inappropriate for the period Slytherin lived in.
** When it comes to a person whom others hold in extremely high regard, especially a person who is long dead, there are few depths to which humanity will not sink in using that person to justify the worst of their actions. Reference: certain religious leaders who shall remain nameless. And since Slytherins are 90% wizard nazis anyway, it's no surprise that Sally's beliefs were warped to suit their needs.

[[folder: Number of dorms]]
* They share a dorm with students of the same sex and the same year. If that's the case, then each house must have 14 different dormitories, but the books never really touch on this. Instead, they make it sound like there's ''the'' boys' dormitory and ''the'' girls' dormitory, instead of the 4th year boys' dormitory or the 7th year girls' dormitory. To make matters worse, the films make it look like Harry and Ron are in the same dorm throughout their time at Hogwarts. What's the deal?
** What's wrong with each house having 14 dorms? We only ever see the Gryffindor common room in great details, so it's perfectly reasonable to assume that the boys' and girls' staircases lead up to several different dormitories, one for each year. And of course they aren't going to specify that there's more than just "boys' dorms and girls' dorms" when they're addressing students - they don't need to. "Oh, Mr. Potter, please return to your dormitory, the one designated specifically for fourth-years, for the evening, ''quietly''." Also, "the films make it look like Harry and Ron are in the same dorm throughout their time at Hogwarts"...So what? There's only a few other Gryffindor boys in Harry's year, so odds are there's only one dorm room for each gender of each year in each house.
** ...Or for that last point, did you mean, "Harry and Ron never move to a different dorm for each new year at Hogwarts"? If so, that was explained in one of the books - when Harry first comes to Hogwarts, he stays in the first-year dorm. When he comes back the next year, he goes back to the first-year dorm, which thus becomes the second-year dorm. And it progresses like that, second-year to third-year, third to fourth, fourth to fifth, fifth to sixth, sixth to seventh, and once the seventh-years graduate, their dorms go back to the first-years.

[[folder: Security]]
* One thing I ''would'' like to address about Hogwarts' security issues, though, is their attendance policy. Why do they continually allow the children of suspected, known, or even recently-arrested Death Eaters to attend school there? Wouldn't an arrest record be reasonable grounds for at least some of the students to be banned from entering the grounds?
** Wouldn't that be like denying entrance to a high school to the son/daughter of a suspected/known criminal? Besides some Death Eaters family are very wealthy and probably donate a lot to the school.
** Not so much a criminal as a member of a widespread terrorist group, perhaps, who has attempted ''repeatedly'' even in recent months to stage an attack on said high school, for various reasons. And their donations acting as an admittance fee for their kids would make more sense if the headmaster was someone other than Dumbledore.
** But the books made clear that Dumbledore do not holds absolute power in the school, the Ministry has a lot of influence and there's also some sort of board of directors made of parents (Malfoy it's said to be a member for a time) so influential wealthy people still have enough leverage to pull some strings, and on the other, well, again, it is like denying entrance to Osama Bin Laden's son to Saudi Arabia's only university. Hogwarts is the only magical school in the entire country.
** If Bin Laden lived somewhere in America (I only say that because I don't what sort of terrorist acts he committed on his home soil, if there were any), and his son lived in the same household as him and regularly went home to visit him for holidays...Then no, I can't really see it as that simple for the school to just welcome him in like that.
** If the kid lives with the parent in the same household then the parent is a suspect, not yet a terrorist (even in the wizarding world you have to be found guilty first). But then I guess in the US won't be such a controversy that the children of a domestic terrorist, let's say like Timothy Mc Veigh, be deny to enter a particular school, but I'm not sure the same would happen in Britain. Brisith had their own home terrorists, the IRA, and I'm pretty sure the kids of IRA members could go to any school they wanted even if they live with their parents.

[[folder: Sorting]]
* What happens if a new student who was accepted into Hogwarts is not courageous, ambitious, intelligent or loyal? Are they kicked out?
** Everyone has some measure of those qualities in them, no matter how small, the Hat picks based on that. Failing all else though, "Hufflepuff takes the rest". Hufflepuff house would prefer diligent and hardworking, but it'll take anyone that doesn't have what it takes for the other houses; that is canon.
** Unless you're literally made of plastic, you'll have some charasteristics. The houses are not just one trait and that's it - Hufflepuff, for example, is not just "We take the ones who work hard". They also value loyalty, fair play and kindness. Gryffindors are brave, but also value, for example, determination, and quite a few seem to be a bit arrogant, a trait they share with several Slytherins. Ravenclaws don't need to be smart, even those who just enjoy learning new things would fit in there, which may be what got Luna in that house, since she is rather curious. Slytherins are ambitious, but also cunning, similar to many Ravenclaws, and proud, like many Gryffindors. And even if you somehow manage to not have ''any'' of those traits, there's probably still one you value a lot. I could imagine Pettigrew, for example, simply ''valuing'' courage, since he's shown to be a bit of a coward.