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Hogwarts might be a school of magic, but it doesn’t shy away from the boring punishment of writing a sentence over and over and over again. Though some of the lines students had to write out during Harry’s time at Hogwarts were a little more inventive than the usual ‘I must not run in the corridors’. One such amusing incident starred Seamus Finnigan accidentally firing a jet of water at Professor Flitwick – who ended up flat on his face. The Charms professor had Seamus writing out, ‘I am a wizard, not a baboon brandishing a stick’.
How do you punish a witch or wizard? The Hogwarts teachers know! Make the wayward student do something without magic, that they could do in two seconds with a swish of their wand. Ron was incredibly frustrated when he had to spend hours polishing the silver in the trophy room and scrubbing the bedpans in the hospital wing – no Scourgify spells allowed. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Snape also tasked Harry with sorting rotten Flobberworms from good ones, without magic or gloves. Bleurgh.
Though detention could never be too bad if it was being supervised by Hagrid, venturing into the Forbidden Forest is far from an ideal night out. It’s no wonder the place was out of bounds to students – at various times it housed often-irate centaurs, Acromantulas (giant magical spiders), and Grawp (an actual giant), as well as a feral car. We’d rather face the rotten Flobberworms.
We think spending hours of our evening with Gilderoy Lockhart would certainly be worse than a night in the Forbidden Forest. Give us a giant spider over Lockhart gushing on about his super fans, any day of the week. We don’t know how Harry managed to keep awake whilst Lockhart gave him smug advice like, ‘Fame’s a fickle friend, Harry’ or ‘Celebrity is as celebrity does, remember that’. Spare us, please!
If you’re on the Quidditch team, we reckon that this punishment would be amongst the worst at Hogwarts. Given that Quidditch teams are so small, not only would it mean you wouldn’t be able to play, but it would also affect the whole team’s performance and risk losing you the next match, or even the Quidditch Cup. Was there ever a sadder sight than the Gryffindor Quidditch team ‘slumped around the fire’ in the common room after Harry and the Weasley twins were banned by Umbridge?
A letter home is a common punishment used in the Muggle world, as well as the wizarding one. But it isn’t just the letter home that wizarding children have to worry about. Wizarding parents have a very noisy way to reply to the news of their child’s wayward ways. Remember when Molly Weasley sent Ron that Howler? The embarrassment! We’d be begging for lines instead.
Neville was banned from all future Hogsmeade visits by Professor McGonagall when his list of Gryffindor Tower passwords ended up in the hands of Sirius Black. Imagine being left behind – without access to an Invisibility Cloak – whilst all your Hogwarts mates got to go to Hogsmeade. You’d miss out on Zonko’s Joke Shop, Dervish and Banges, and Butterbeers at the Three Broomsticks, just to name a few.
You might have expected Dolores Umbridge’s preferred detention method to be at the top of this list – but we didn’t want to give her the satisfaction. Umbridge forced students to use this quill when writing lines, but it didn’t use ink. Rather, it magically cut into the back of the student’s hand, using blood to mark the page. At first, the cuts would heal over, but after a long time the words of the lines would scar from the continued damage. Evil on so many levels.
Ordinarily this wouldn’t seem much worse than writing lines, but this particular punishment was tailor made to make Harry feel miserable. Snape vindictively asked Harry to copy out the crimes and punishments of his father and godfather. At this point, Sirius had not long passed away and we really felt the ‘jolt’ in Harry’s stomach every time he had to read their names. A cruel punishment, indeed.
What’s worse than your Hogwarts letter never arriving? We reckon it would have to be arriving at Hogwarts for real, being sorted into your house and then… being sent away. It seems as though getting expelled is a pretty brutal experience as well – they snap your wand in half! And there would be no promises that you’d have Dumbledore on your side and get to stay on at Hogwarts. Expulsion wins the number one spot for worst Hogwarts punishment by miles.