Here’s our run-down of Harry’s Hogwarts feast experiences, from worst to best.
20. The fifth-year end-of-term feast
We hate to begin on a sad note, but we’re pretty sure Harry’s worst Hogwarts feast was one he never made it to — the Leaving Feast, days after Sirius’s tragic death. Unsurprisingly, Harry couldn’t face the usual end-of-term cheer and, instead of joining the others feasting in the Great Hall and celebrating the end of another school year, he sought out Nearly Headless Nick to question him about life, death and ghosts.
But it was not Nearly Headless Nick who provided Harry with the comfort he needed. It was Luna Lovegood.
19. The fourth-year end-of-term feast
Harry’s fourth year ended sadly, too, coming as it did after Cedric Diggory was murdered. On that occasion, Harry did make it to the Leaving Feast. It was a suitably somber occasion, with black drapes hanging behind the teachers’ table as mark of respect and Dumbledore leading a toast to Cedric:
We’re sure it wasn’t just us with tears in our eyes as Hogwarts' staff and students raised their goblets to Cedric.
18. The second year Hallowe’en feast
This was another feast Harry missed in order to spend time with Nearly Headless Nick, albeit for a very different reason — his 500th Deathday Party.
Harry’s rash promise to join Nearly Headless Nick’s ghostly guests in celebration of his botched execution meant Harry, Hermione and Ron missed the actual Hallowe’en feast, which was clearly revealed as a terrible decision the moment they heard the screeching playlist and experienced the rotting party food. Even worse, missing the Hallowe’en feast for the Deathday Party led to them being first on the scene when Mrs Norris was Petrified. Talk about making a social plan you later regret. Still, we’ve all been there, right?
__17. The sixth-year start-of-term feast __
Harry’s sixth year got off to a bad start, when he was set upon on the Hogwarts Express by Malfoy and arrived late to the feast with blood all over his face, having missed both the Sorting and the savoury courses. At least he got some treacle tart — but even that was soured by the revelation that Snape was set to become Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. All in all: there were better start-of-term feasts…
16. The fifth-year start-of-term feast
… like the one at the beginning of Harry’s fifth year — although we’ll be honest, the difference here is extremely marginal, given that was when Professor Umbridge first hem-hem’ed her way onto the Hogwarts faculty. There was also the fact that Hagrid was nowhere to be seen, the Sorting Hat was giving out warnings, and Harry had to face the fact that not everyone believed the truth about Cedric Diggory’s death. But on the plus side, he did get to enjoy some steak-and-kidney pie, as well as his favourite treacle tart.
15. The fourth year Hallowe’en feast
Two years after the infamous Deathday Party Harry was back at the Hallowe’en dinner table, but this time wishing he wasn’t. Coming as it did the day after the arrival of Beauxbatons and Durmstrang, it was not only the second feast Hogwarts had seen in as many days, but also the day the Goblet of Fire announced Harry as the fourth Triwizard Champion. So: a good day for his fellow champions Viktor Krum, Fleur Delacour and Cedric Diggory, but not for Harry, who had never wanted to be champion and was left wondering what on earth had happened.
14. The Yule Ball
In fact feast-wise, we’d say the year of the Triwizard Tournament was pretty so-so for Harry. Again, the famous Yule Ball – held on Christmas Day as part of the Triwizard celebration — was undoubtedly exciting for some, like Fleur and her disbelieving date, Roger Davies. But for Harry, it just meant more unwanted attention.
OK, the Weird Sisters were great, and being able to order food to your plate sounded pretty amazing, but having to lead the dancing with a partner you’d only asked at the last minute because the girl you’d wanted to take was going with that other, more popular, Hogwarts champion? Well, we just think Harry would have preferred a slightly more low-key festive celebration. And he’d already eaten Christmas lunch — sure, he’d have been much happier snoozing in front of the Common Room fire. And come to think of it, so would poor old Ron, with his hand-me-down robes and his Krum-and-Hermione jealousy. Let’s face it: Christmas night is not the best time for a ball, is it?
13. The second-year start-of-term feast
This was another feast Harry never actually made it to because, of course, he and Ron were too busy crash-landing a flying car into the branches of the Whomping Willow. So instead of indulging in plates of pie and potatoes, Harry and Ron were facing the punishment dished out by Professor McGonagall. But they did get off pretty lightly, being served sandwiches and pumpkin juice before being sent off to the Common Room – and the delayed, delighted reaction of their fellow Gryffindors was probably enough to make up for the lack of treacle tart.
12. The first-year Hallowe’en feast
Now, this had the makings of a very good feast — it was Harry’s first experience of Hallowe’en at Hogwarts, and the usual mountains of delicious food were served against an atmospheric backdrop of candle-filled pumpkins and swooping bats. But before Harry could take a bite of his jacket potato, the feast had been interrupted by Professor Quirrell, who announced there was a troll in the dungeons and then apparently fainted. The one redeeming feature of this Hallowe’en feast day was that it resulted in Ron and Harry becoming friends with Hermione, but all-in-all, it was not the best.
11. The third-year end-of-term feast
At the end of his third year, Harry’s mood was pretty low. He’d recently found out Sirius had not, in fact, betrayed his parents and then helped both Sirius and Buckbeak evade capture – but in the process, Peter Pettigrew had escaped, and they had consequently been unable to prove Sirius was innocent. He’d also discovered Professor Lupin was leaving his role as Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. Never mind exams, that’s quite a catalogue of unpleasantness with which to end the term. But Hogwarts feasts have the power to pierce even the darkest moods, and with Gryffindor having won the Quidditch Cup, at least Harry had something to celebrate.
10. The second-year Christmas feast
Harry’s second Christmas dinner at Hogwarts was beautifully decorated: frost-covered trees, thick streamers of holly and mistletoe, enchanted snow falling gently from the Great Hall’s bewitched ceiling. Surrounded by his friends, with Dumbledore singing carols and Hagrid drinking eggnog, it was as wonderfully warm as you’d expect. In fact, this particular feast might score higher, were it not for the fact that Harry and Ron were forced by Hermione to follow up their third helping of Christmas pudding with a dose of Polyjuice Potion. Because turning into Crabbe and Goyle is enough to given anyone indigestion.
9. The Triwizard Tournament opening feast
With a number of new students to accommodate, we imagine the Great Hall to have been a bit crowded as would-be champions from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang sat down with Hogwarts students for the opening of the Triwizard Tournament. Special dishes such as the French seafood stew bouillabaisse joined the usual hearty Hogwarts fare, and with the appearance of part-Veela Fleur Delacour and the revelation that champion Quidditch seeker Viktor Krum was a Durmstrang student, this Hogwarts feast had a much more international flavour — and even if Ron wasn’t a fan of the bouillabaisse, we appreciated the chance to experience something new.
8. The third-year Christmas feast
Another Christmas at Hogwarts, and this time Harry was actually sitting on a dinner table with Dumbledore, as well as some magic Christmas crackers, which resulted in Dumbledore eating his turkey with a stuffed-vulture-topped-witch’s hat on his head. The presence of Snape and a typically doom-and-gloom Professor Trelawney put a slight dampener on things, but we’re giving this one extra points for Professor McGonagall’s sarcasm:
7. The third-year start-of-term feast
At the beginning of his third year, an unexpected run-in with a Dementor meant that Harry – and Hermione, who had to see Professor McGonagall about her packed timetable — missed the Sorting Ceremony. He did not, however, miss any of the courses. This was also the moment Hagrid’s Care of Magical Creatures teaching role was revealed, and Lupin officially joined the staff. So even with the Dementors lurking outside, we’d say it was a pretty good start to the new school year.
6. The fourth-year start-of-term feast
Despite being bombarded by Peeves’ water bombs and Hermione discovering the Hogwarts kitchens were staffed by house-elves, fourth year got off to an even better start with the revelation that Hogwarts was set to host the Triwizard Tournament. Not even the somewhat alarming appearance of (the fake) Mad-Eye Moody or Hermione’s refusal to eat another house-elf-prepared morsel could take the shine away from that announcement.
5. The third-year Hallowe’en feast
This was definitely Harry’s best-ever Hallowe’en feast, even if it did happen just before Sirius’ first Hogwarts break-in. Professor Lupin was there, looking cheerful. Ron and Hermione were full of Hogsmeade stories and Honeydukes sweets. The Great Hall was once again decorated with hundreds of candle-filled pumpkins and live bats, and the Hogwarts ghosts finished off the evening with an entertaining performance that included a re-enactment of Nearly Headless Nick’s botched beheading. Happy Hallowe’en, indeed.
4. The end-of-second-year pyjama party feast
Harry’s second year at Hogwarts ended in typical eventful style as he busily slayed a Basilisk, revealed and subsequently destroyed the memory of Tom Riddle, and freed Dobby from the Malfoy’s employ with the help of an old sock. This impressive series of achievements was rewarded by a most unorthodox end-of-term feast: the students were in pyjamas, for a start. What with Lockhart being removed from his teaching role, Gryffindor once again securing the House Cup thanks to Harry and Ron’s 400 house points, and Hufflepuff Justin Finch-Fletchley’s effusive apologies, it was certainly a pyjama party like no other.
3. The first-year Christmas feast
It may not surprise you to know that all three of Harry’s best Hogwarts feast experiences happened in his first year. For a boy who had previously had precious little to celebrate, the warm, happy extravaganza of a Hogwarts feast was very welcome, and long overdue.
That first Christmas feast was no exception. The food was, of course, amazing — fat roast turkeys, mountains of potatoes, tureens of vegetables and plump chipolatas — and then there were the wizard crackers, and the flaming Christmas puddings, and the steadily-more-merry teachers drinking wine. There was also his first Weasley jumper, a snowball fight, and the best Christmas present of all: his father’s Invisibility Cloak, gifted by a then-unknown benefactor, which allowed him to spend Christmas night in front of the Mirror of Erised gazing at his much-missed family members.
2. The first-year start-of-term feast
Harry’s very first Hogwarts feast was also an incredible experience, particularly as he’d never before been able to eat as much as he liked. With his plate piled high and a raft of new friends around him, this was Harry’s introduction to the occasionally raucous merriment of a Hogwarts feast, as well as iconic characters including Nearly Headless Nick, Neville Longbottom, Professor Snape, and Dumbledore himself. What a beginning.
1. The first-year end-of-term feast
The battle for the number-one spot on this feast of a list was a close-run thing, but here’s our winner. After a year of fabulous firsts, at this end-of-year feast Harry was definitely going out on a high — he and his new friends had saved the Philosopher’s Stone and, with the help of Neville Longbottom, won the House Cup. As he himself acknowledged:
Given the Hogwarts house-elves cooking prowess, there are a few extra helpings that haven’t made it onto this list. The Triwizard Tournament in particular created a lot more washing up – there was the Christmas lunch served earlier on the day of the Yule Ball, as well as the additional evening feast held for Hogwarts champions and their families ahead of the final task (honestly, how much treacle tart does a champion need? Maybe Fleur Delacour had a point.)
We should also note that the Hallowe’en feast was not mentioned in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and that the Christmas dinners Harry attended weren’t technically Hogwarts feasts as most of the students weren’t there. We think you’ll agree, though, that they deserve a place upon this list for the wizard crackers alone.
What do you think? Do you agree with our number one?