It will not surprise you to learn that Hogwarts is... huge. In fact, the castle has 142 staircases – and – as Percy Weasley mentions – they ‘like to change’ too – just to make things even more confusing! A shame Hogwarts hasn’t heard of escalators or lifts...
We won’t spoil some of Hogwarts’ secrets for you (save those for the other books) but from the first adventure, it is already clear that Hogwarts is packed with secret pathways to mysterious things. Harry stumbling upon the Mirror of Erised is one such example – and then there’s the Philosopher’s Stone hidden beyond the trapdoor. With dungeons and towers everywhere, it’s no surprise that there are all sorts of mysterious things hidden around every corner. Keep an eye out for more in future books...
Every portrait that hangs in Hogwarts is magically animated – with the subjects of each painting full of personality and always up for a chat. For example, we meet the Fat Lady in the first book, who is very strict with the Gryffindor Common Room passwords. In Albus Dumbledore’s office, portraits of old headmasters are hung in the room to pass on advice. Portraits are also able to go and visit other portraits, like the Fat Lady, who likes to go and visit her friend Violet.
The magical nuisance that is Peeves has lived in Hogwarts for a long, long time – despite countless attempts to try and get rid of him! In the 1800s, the Hogwarts staff tried to trap Peeves in a giant bell jar, but unfortunately for them, Peeves smashed out of it and held the school captive for three days! After that, the preference was to simply let him hang out.
Even the word 'poltergeist' roughly translates to ‘noisy ghost!’ – which Peeves absolutely is.
Each Hogwarts house has a ghost – but there are other ghosts hanging around Hogwarts too, including one teacher, Professor Binns. Ghosts usually stay behind if they have unfinished business – so in Professor Binns’ case, he simply died one day but decided to continue teaching anyway. Ghosts can be seen by all witches and wizards and can float through solid objects. If a witch or wizard tries to walk through one, they’ll feel a cold chill.
Hogwarts castle is protected by several enchantments and Hagrid often boasts that Hogwarts is one of the safest places ever. This means that Muggles are not likely to ever stumble upon the castle, which is said to be located ‘somewhere in Scotland’. If they come anywhere near it, in fact, they will see a ruin with signs telling them to ‘Keep Out’. If only they knew...
When future students get their Hogwarts letters, delivered by owls, it is the most magical time in a young wizard or witch’s life! But the way they are chosen in the first place is also even more enchanting.
In a small, locked tower at Hogwarts is an ancient book that has not been touched by human hands since the castle was built. There is also a long, faded quill in a silver inkpot. Together, these two are known as the Book of Admittance and the Quill of Acceptance.
Whenever any witch or wizard shows the slightest bit of magic, no matter how young, the quill will magically rise and try and write their name in the book. However, the book is a bit stricter than the quill, and will often snap shut if it thinks a potential witch or wizard isn’t ready yet! In fact, the book didn’t open for Neville Longbottom for quite some time! But he made it in the end.
Hermione will have taught you this one! In the Great Hall, where the Hogwarts students get together for the feasts, the ceiling is enchanted to look like the sky outside. Hermione learnt about this in one of her favourite books, Hogwarts: A History. And it does look rather nice.
Whether you’re Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw or Slytherin, you have your own common room. But there are different ways to get into each one!
For Gryffindors, a simple password given to the Fat Lady will suffice, unless you forget it, like Neville did. For Slytherins, it’s the same thing – except you mutter a password to a stone wall near the dungeons. For Hufflepuffs, it’s a bit more complicated – you must tap one of the barrels near the school kitchens to the rhythm of 'Helga Hufflepuff'. For Ravenclaws, even more complicated! You need to answer a riddle told to you by an enchanted door knocker. Gryffindors and Slytherins have it easy!
Even Albus Dumbledore, who seems to know everything, confesses that he does not know every secret held in the castle’s walls. But that’s all part of the fun of this magical castle. And you’ll discover more secrets for yourself very soon...
Did you know all 10 of our Hogwarts facts?