Hogwarts staff

The following fictional characters are staff members and denizens of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter books written by J.K. Rowling. The characters of Albus Dumbledore, Severus Snape and Rubeus Hagrid have their own articles. Dolores Umbridge is listed under Ministry of Magic. Remus Lupin and Alastor Moody are listed under Order of the Phoenix, while Barty Crouch, Jr (who impersonated Moody), and siblings Alecto and Amycus Carrow are listed under Death Eater.

Teachers and staff

Phineas Nigellus Black

Phineas Nigellus Black was, according to his great-great-grandson Sirius Black, the least popular headmaster Hogwarts ever had, who died in 1926 according to the Black family tree. Phineas' portrait hangs in the head master's office along with the portraits of the other ex-headmasters and headmistresses. A second portrait of Phineas hangs in the Black family home at 12 Grimmauld Place. Like other characters in portraits in the wizarding world, Phineas can travel between his portraits. He does not get along well with his great-great-grandson, young people, or most people for that matter. However, he seems somewhat upset to find out Sirius, the last male member of the Black family, was dead, for dynastic or emotional reasons. He is unusual in being a character who openly criticises Harry Potter's often rash behaviour.

In Order of the Phoenix, Harry uses the bedroom where a portrait of Phineas is hanging, and Phineas gives him messages from Dumbledore. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Hermione Granger removes the portrait from 12 Grimmauld Place and takes it with the trio in their quest for Horcruxes. It is kept in her beaded bag so that Phineas could not see where they are. Phineas is upset by the lack of respect with which the trio treats him, but he does provide them with information about events at Hogwarts, and how Dumbledore destroyed a Horcrux. It is revealed through Snape's memories that Phineas has been aiding Snape and Dumbledore so that they could find the trio. After Voldemort's fall, Phineas says that the Slytherins' contributions in the cause should not be forgotten, referring to his own contribution and the participation of Snape, Slughorn, and the Malfoys.

Argus Filch

Argus Filch is the caretaker of Hogwarts. While he is not a wholly evil character, he is certainly both short- and ill-tempered, which has made him very unpopular with the student body. His knowledge of the secrets and shortcuts of the castle is almost unparalleled. He has been known to favour almost sadistically harsh punishments, leading to his alliance of himself with Dolores Umbridge when she imposes such, and to have an obsessive dislike of mud, animate toys, and all other things that might interfere with his creation of an immaculately clean Hogwarts.

Filch is revealed to be a Squib in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets when Harry accidentally discovers he is trying to teach himself basic magic from a Kwikspell correspondence course. His inability to use magic in a setting where it would greatly help his duties and the fact that students are learning magic all around him are likely causes of his bitterness. Nonetheless, Filch is at least able to use wizarding devices that have their own innate magic such as the Secrecy Sensor used in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Filch appears in the final book to complain that students are out of bed. He is promptly informed that the students are on the move because the school is readying for the Battle of Hogwarts and is told to find Peeves. He is then ordered to oversee the evacuation of younger students.

Filch owns a cat named Mrs. Norris to which he has a particular and possessive attachment; perhaps his only such attachment. She acts as a hallway monitor or spy for Filch: if she observes students engaging in suspicious activity or out of bed after curfew, Filch arrives in seconds. She has been known to follow Hagrid everywhere when he goes about to the school, apparently under Filch's orders. According to Rowling, there is nothing particularly magical about Mrs. Norris, other than her being "...just an intelligent (and unpleasant) cat. It is the ambition of many Hogwarts students to "give [her] a good kick". In the Chamber of Secrets case, Mrs Norris is petrified temporarily by the Basilisk. This causes Filch great distress.

Filius Flitwick

Filius Flitwick is the Charms Master at Hogwarts and the head of Ravenclaw. He used his magical skills to help decorate the Great Hall at Christmas time in the first book, as well as help guard the Philosopher's Stone by putting charms on a hundred keys so they can fly, making it difficult to find the key to the door of the next chamber. During Harry's second year, Flitwick helps Professor Sinistra carry a petrified Justin Finch-Fletchley to the hospital wing. He teaches the front doors to recognise a picture of Sirius Black after his second break-in in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. He helps patrol the perimeter of the maze for the third task of the Triwizard Tournament held in Harry's fourth year. He eventually removes most of the swamp that had been created within the school by Fred and George Weasley in the fifth book in a couple of seconds, though he had previously left the swamp untouched to annoy Professor Umbridge. However, he chooses to leave a small patch of it because he thinks it is "a good bit of magic," but it is possible that it is left as a tribute to the legendary Weasley twins.

Near the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Flitwick is summoned by Professor McGonagall to ask Snape to come to the aid of the Order of the Phoenix against the intruding Death Eaters. However, he is unable to do so, since Snape has stunned him. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows he helps to put protective charms around the castle to hinder Lord Voldemort and his oncoming Death Eaters, and later fights in the Battle of Hogwarts the intruders, battling Yaxley and later defeating Antonin Dolohov.

In the film adaptations, Flitwick is portrayed by Warwick Davis. In the third film, Davis plays a music conductor, credited simply as "Wizard". Rowling said: "I must admit, I was taken aback when I saw the film Flitwick, who looks very much like a goblin/elf (I’ve never actually asked the filmmakers precisely what he is), because the Flitwick in my imagination simply looks like a very small old man. However, Rowling mentions on her official website that Flitwick is human, with "a dash of goblin ancestry." His appearance on screen noticeably changes in the later films, taking the appearance of the Wizard conductor. He takes on a more human look, and many of the elf-like looks he had in the first two films are gone.

Gilderoy Lockhart

Gilderoy Lockhart is a narcissistic wizarding celebrity who has written many books on his fabulous adventures encountering dark creatures. In Chamber of Secrets, Lockhart is appointed as Hogwarts' new Defence Against the Dark Arts instructor. He is unpopular amongst the staff, particularly Professor Snape; however, he seems to be admired by many others such as Hermione (who even develops a crush on him) or Mrs Weasley. Harry dislikes him, in part after Lockhart believes that Harry flew to Hogwarts in a car to seek further attention, and that he was later handing out signed photos of himself. Lockhart is exposed as a fraud when he attempts to avoid entering the Chamber of Secrets by revealing to Ron and Harry that he never performed the amazing feats documented in his books, instead stealing other wizards' experiences and erasing their memories. His attempt to use the Obliviate Charm on Harry and Ron backfires due to his use of Ron's broken wand, and he suffers the loss of his own memory as a result.

In Order of the Phoenix, Harry comes across Lockhart in St Mungo's while visiting Mr Weasley at Christmas. Lockhart is slowly regaining his memory and childishly proud of being able to write in "joined-up letters." He still receives fan mail, although he has no idea why, and still enjoys signing autographs. Lockhart never fully recovers, despite all efforts to the contrary.

Rowling has said that Lockhart is the only character she has ever based on a real-life person. Lockhart was inspired by an (unrevealed) acquaintance who was "even more objectionable than his fictional counterpart" and "used to tell whopping great fibs about his past life, all of them designed to demonstrate what a wonderful, brave and brilliant person he was.

Minerva McGonagall

Minerva McGonagall is Deputy Headmistress, head of Gryffindor House, Transfiguration professor, and later Headmistress at Hogwarts, where she begins teaching in December 1956. She is first introduced in the opening chapter of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, when she meets Dumbledore at Number 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey (the home of Harry Potter's aunt and uncle). McGonagall is described as a tall, rather severe-looking woman, with black hair typically drawn into a tight bun. She wears emerald green robes, a pointed hat that is cocked to one side, and always has a very prim expression. She is, according to Rowling, a sprightly 70-year-old. McGonagall wears square spectacles that match the markings around the eyes of her Animagus form of a silver tabby cat; she has the distinction of being the first Animagus introduced in the series and as one of the few registered Animagi of the century. Harry's immediate impression of her is of someone who is not to be crossed. Rowling has said McGonagall's birthday is October 4.

In the first book, after seeing Harry fly masterfully his very first time on a broom, she recommends him to fill the position of Seeker, even though first years are normally disallowed from playing. Furthermore, although a strict disciplinarian, she often assists Harry indirectly with activities that are not strictly within the rules of Hogwarts; for example, she allows Harry and his friends to use the Transfiguration classroom to practice for tasks in the Triwizard Tournament. She promises Harry she would do everything in her power for him to achieve his goal of becoming an Auror, and she keeps her promise. Despite her stern front, McGonagall has been known to display a range of emotions, which can often be a shock to her colleagues and students.

It is revealed in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix that McGonagall is a member of the Order of the Phoenix. She and Dolores Umbridge seem to have a mutual dislike for each other, as Umbridge continuously usurps more and more power from the staff and from Dumbledore and McGonagall in particular. When McGonagall attempts to stop Umbridge and her fellow Ministry officials from unjustly taking Hagrid away by force, she pays for it when she is hit by four Stunning Spells. Taken to St Mungo's, McGonagall returns to the school towards the end of the book, though she temporarily uses a walking stick to support herself. However, McGonagall is an exceptional duellist, capable of holding her own against much younger and more agile Death Eaters, as seen in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and her many duels in the last book.

After the death of Dumbledore at the hands of Snape in Half-Blood Prince, she again becomes the acting Headmistress of Hogwarts. However, in the series finale, she does not become headmistress at the start of term as expected; Snape is appointed by new Minister for Magic Pius Thicknesse, who is actually under the Imperius Curse and acting for Voldemort. Despite the many changes, she is kept as head of Gryffindor House. Before the Battle of Hogwarts, she goes to the Ravenclaw tower and finds Alecto Carrow stunned and her brother Amycus searching for Harry. When Amycus suggests hurting the students to compensate for his sister's state, McGonagall immediately intervenes. In response, Amycus spits in her face. Harry, who was present and hidden under his invisibility cloak reveals himself and uses the Cruciatus Curse on Amycus. Harry then informs McGonagall that Voldemort is on his way and she sends three of her Patronuses — which manifest in her Animagus form — to warn the other three Heads of House. When on her way to meet the heads of house, she meets Snape who questions her about Potter's whereabouts. Not knowing Snape is actually still following Dumbledore's orders and has important information for Harry, she attacks him, engaging in a fierce duel. With help from Professors Sprout and Flitwick she succeeds in driving Snape away.

McGonagall then takes charge of the school again and proceeds to secure it against Voldemort to ensure Harry can fulfil his mission from Dumbledore. She also organises the evacuation of the school's underage students to ensure their safety. She then leads the remaining students, the staff of Hogwarts, and members of the Order of the Phoenix in the fight against Voldemort. She is seen during the battle with a large gash on her cheek and commanding a herd of charmed desks to charge at Death Eaters. Finally, McGonagall ends up duelling Voldemort alongside Kingsley Shacklebolt and Horace Slughorn. Though this is not explicitly stated, McGonagall would presumably have become Headmistress of Hogwarts after the Battle of Hogwarts and Snape's death; however, in an interview J. K. Rowling says she would be retired by the time of the Deathly Hallows epilogue (19 years after Deathly Hallows), as she is "getting on in years."

McGonagall is played by Dame Maggie Smith in the Harry Potter film adaptations. Smith has described her role as "Miss Jean Brodie in a wizard's hat" and as becoming smaller in the films, noting Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone as her favourite thus far. Rowling has stated that she always pictured Smith portraying McGonagall, and claimed the actress to be in the top of her list.

Poppy Pomfrey

Madam Poppy Pomfrey is a magical Healer who is the matron-in-charge of the Hogwarts hospital wing. She is known to be very strict regarding the rules of her infirmary. Ron goes to Madam Pomfrey after being bitten by Norbert in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. After Harry defeats Professor Quirrell in the dungeons, he spends three days unconscious in the hospital wing. In Chamber of Secrets, Madam Pomfrey regrows the bones in Harry's broken arm after Gilderoy Lockhart accidentally removes them following Gryffindor's Quidditch win over Slytherin. Hermione ends up in the hospital wing for a month after a mishap with the Polyjuice Potion that left her half-feline, then is again hospitalised after she is Petrified along with several other students. After Umbridge stuns McGonagall in Order of the Phoenix, Madam Pomfrey says she would resign in protest were she not afraid of what would become of the students without her presence. In Half-Blood Prince, she takes care of Ron dutifully after he is poisoned and tends to Harry after his skull is cracked in a Quidditch match. She bursts into tears when she finds out about Dumbledore's death, and in Deathly Hallows, she and Argus Filch oversee student evacuations from Hogwarts before the Battle of Hogwarts, and later she helps the injured.

Quirinus Quirrell

Quirinus Quirrell is the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher at Hogwarts during Harry's first year. Prior to his employment at Hogwarts, he is said by Hagrid to have had a "brilliant mind", and was a fine teacher while studying from books; some time before Harry's arrival at Hogwarts, "he took a year off ter get some first-hand experience". Rowling stated in a live web chat on 30 July 2007 that Quirrell had worked at Hogwarts as Muggle Studies teacher for a certain length of time, before taking the cursed Defence Against the Dark Arts position in the same year that Harry joined. Upon his return, he appears perpetually nervous and has developed a stutter and nervous tics. Quirrell's attire includes a new purple turban which he claims to have received as a reward from an African prince for getting rid of a zombie.

Harry first meets Quirrell at the Leaky Cauldron, while being escorted by Hagrid to Diagon Alley to shop for school supplies. Quirrell is next seen at Hogwarts conversing with Snape at the start-of-term banquet, and then regularly while teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts lessons. During the school's Halloween banquet, Quirrell appears in the Great Hall to warn staff and students of a troll in the dungeons, and then promptly faints. Harry, Ron, and Hermione come to suspect that Snape is on a mission from Voldemort to steal the Philosopher's Stone from a secret chamber in Hogwarts, where it is hidden. When Harry finally arrives in the chamber, he discovers that it is not Snape, but Quirrell who is the real villain. During the climax of the story, as Harry and Quirrell struggle to recover the stone from the Mirror of Erised, Voldemort reveals himself on the back of Quirrell's head, formerly concealed by the turban, and speaks directly to Harry, threatening to kill him if he does not assist Voldemort in recovering it. After Harry refuses, Voldemort orders Quirrell to attack Harry, who holds off Quirrell long enough for aid to arrive, at which point Voldemort flees, in his non-physical form. Voldemort's departure, as well as the agony suffered by him because of his contact with the morally pure Harry, causes Quirrell to die.

Horace Slughorn

Horace E. F. Slughorn was the long-serving Potions teacher and Head of Slytherin House since at least the 1940s, until his retirement after the 1980-81 school year. Following his retirement and the resurgence of Voldemort, Slughorn goes into hiding, concealing all knowledge of his whereabouts from both sides in the growing conflict in the wizarding world. However, after moving Snape to Defence Against the Dark Arts, Dumbledore locates Slughorn and convinces him to succeed Snape by returning to Potions. Slughorn is described as preferring to be a "backseat driver," obtaining things he desires by using his contacts, particularly students whom he has invited into the "Slug Club", a group of students favoured by Slughorn, based either on their connections to important people; or on his belief they have traits that will make them important and famous when they leave school.

He is one of the first Slytherin characters to defy the house's stereotype: while he is self-serving and not above bending rules, he lacks the near-amorality and underhandedness that had, until that point, hallmarked the house. He does not resent blood status in general, and admits a pleasurable surprise when he comes upon a talented Muggle-born or half-blood, such as Hermione or, years before, Lily Evans. Also, Slughorn does not play favourites to the level of Snape, and notably displays, not pride, but shame at having helped a young prodigy, Tom Marvolo Riddle, perform some of his most noted and impressive feats of magic, as Riddle had questioned Slughorn about Horcruxes.

In Half-Blood Prince, Harry is invited to the first meeting of the Slug Club held on the Hogwarts Express. Slughorn also invites Neville Longbottom and Marcus Belby, but later snubs them both and continues to invite Harry, Cormac McLaggen, Blaise Zabini, and Ginny Weasley to meetings and parties, and later invites Hermione after getting to know her across the first weeks of school. Slughorn sets less-stringent entry criteria for Advanced Potions than his predecessor, lowering the required grade from a perfect O (Outstanding) to the above-average E (Exceeds Expectations). This last-minute change enables Harry and Ron to take Potions at NEWT level. However, since Harry has not expected to be allowed to join the course, he has none of the necessary materials, and Slughorn lends him an old textbook until Harry can procure his own. During his first class, Slughorn offers a small amount of Felix Felicis to the student who brews the best cauldron of the Draught of Living Death. Harry wins with the help of handwritten notes in the borrowed textbook, which had once belonged to Snape. Harry continues to use the book in classes with great success, causing Slughorn to remark repeatedly that Harry has inherited his mother's abilities at potions. Harry later uses the Felix Felicis to retrieve a memory from Slughorn and later to protect his friends from the Death Eaters that attacked the castle.

In Deathly Hallows, Slughorn briefly appears with other teachers assembling to fight Death Eaters; after Snape fled Hogwarts, it is revealed that Slughorn has become permanent head of Slytherin. Though Slughorn is hesitant to join in the Battle of Hogwarts and is assumed to have evacuated with his house, he not only returns to the fray with reinforcements but summons up the courage to duel Voldemort alongside McGonagall and Kingsley Shacklebolt.

Pomona Sprout

Pomona Sprout is Professor of the Herbology and the Head of Hufflepuff House. Her birthday is on May 15. She is described as a dumpy little witch with flyaway grey hair who wears a patched, frayed hat and shabby robes, often covered in earth due to the time she spends tending plants in the Hogwarts greenhouses. Sprout is introduced in Philosopher's Stone, but she plays no active role until Chamber of Secrets, in which she teaches her second year students to work with Mandrake plants. She is responsible for raising the Mandrakes to full maturity, at which point their juice is used to revive the petrified victims of the basilisk.

Sprout subsequently appears in Goblet of Fire in which, as the Hufflepuff Head of House, she comforts Amos Diggory and his wife after the death of their son, Hufflepuff student Cedric Diggory, whom she knew well. In Order of the Phoenix, Sprout is a nonvocal supporter of Harry's story about Voldemort's resurrection. Like many teachers at Hogwarts, she detests Umbridge's presence and does her best to disobey her. After the raid of Hogwarts in Half-Blood Prince, Sprout is a staunch advocate of keeping Hogwarts open after Dumbledore's death, stating that Dumbledore would have wanted it so. She also supports the suggestion that Dumbledore should be laid to rest at Hogwarts. Sprout attends Dumbledore's funeral, where she appears cleaner than she has ever been seen before.

In Deathly Hallows, she chases Snape away from Hogwarts with Professors McGonagall and Flitwick. Informed that Voldemort and his Death Eaters are coming to besiege Hogwarts, she uses her knowledge of magical plants by improvising offensive botany, and, with the help of several students, throws Mandrakes and Venomous Tentaculas off the castle walls at the approaching Death Eaters. The epilogue of Deathly Hallows reveals that Neville Longbottom has become the new Herbology teacher at Hogwarts. The circumstances of Sprout's departure from the job are not revealed.

Sybill Trelawney

Sybill Patricia Trelawney is the professor of Divination. She first appears in the third book of the series, when Harry, Ron and Hermione start divination lessons. The friends generally believe Trelawney is a fraud, an opinion with which the teachers are inclined to agree. According to McGonagall, her credibility as a Seer is undermined by her habit of erroneously predicting, each year, the death of one of her students. However, from time to time she does make predictions within the books, which come true. Sybill is the great-great-granddaughter of the celebrated seer Cassandra Trelawney, and, in fact, has inherited some fraction of her ancestor's talent. Trelawney is portrayed as wearing many gaudy bangles, cloaks, and shawls, many of them covered with shining sequins. She is said to wear thick glasses, which causes her eyes to appear greatly magnified. Her classroom, in the North Tower of Hogwarts, is scented so heavily that students often fall asleep during class.

Prior to the events of the Harry Potter books, Trelawney falls into a prophetic trance while in an interview with Dumbledore, saying:

"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies... and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not... and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives... the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies..."
This prophecy was partly overheard by Severus Snape, who relayed what he heard to Lord Voldemort. This led Voldemort to attack the Potter family, believing that Harry was the child named. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Trelawney prophesises to Harry about the events of the book's climax. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, she is seen aiding in the Battle of Hogwarts by magically accelerating her crystal balls at them. One knocks out the werewolf Fenrir Greyback after he attacks and wounds Lavender Brown (but does not have time to bite her, thanks to Hermione's quick use of a Stunning Spell). Lavender is one of Trelawney's favoured students.

In the British editions of the books, her name is consistently spelled as "Sybill". In the American editions, from her first appearance in Prisoner of Azkaban through Order of the Phoenix, her name is spelled as "Sibyll". However, in the American edition of Half-Blood Prince, it is re-spelled as "Sybill", matching the UK edition.


  • Cuthbert Binns teaches History of Magic and has the distinction of being the only teacher at Hogwarts who is a ghost. It is said that he was so old when he took a nap in a chair in the teachers’ lounge/staff room that he died in his sleep and simply got up to go to teach his next class and 'left his body behind'. As a ghost, he walks through the blackboard to enter each lesson, but otherwise seems unaware of his change. His classes are infamous for being dreadfully boring.

  • Charity Burbage: identified as the Muggle Studies teacher in the final book. Because she taught a favourable study of Muggles, evidenced by an editorial article in the Daily Prophet, she was in direct opposition to the Death Eater philosophy of the supremacy of pure-bloods. She was a prisoner of Lord Voldemort, who tortured her, killed her, and fed her to Nagini.

  • Irma Pince: the librarian of Hogwarts, compared to an "underfed vulture". She tries to protect her books from students by placing odd jinxes on them. The character was portrayed by Sally Mortemore in the film adaptation of the second book.

  • Aurora Sinistra: the Astronomy Professor. Her classes are held at midnight on the tallest tower of Hogwarts. Even though Harry does attend Astronomy, no astronomy class has ever been described in the series, and thus, very little is known about Sinistra. She attended the Yule Ball in Harry's fourth year with Mad-Eye Moody (who was at the time Barty Crouch Jr posing as the real Moody).

  • Septima Vector: the Arithmancy professor, known to give her students large amounts of homework.

Hogwarts ghosts

Hogwarts is home to at least twenty ghosts, but when people in the novels speak of the ghosts at Hogwarts they are usually referring to one of the four "resident" ghosts of each of the Hogwarts houses: Nearly Headless Nick, the almost-decapitated cavalier who resides in Gryffindor tower; the Bloody Baron, who resides in the Slytherin dungeon; the jovial Fat Friar, who resides with the Hufflepuffs, and the Grey Lady, who "lives" with the Ravenclaws. These ghosts seem to act something like advisors and aides to the students; Nick is frequently seen helping Harry during moments of uncertainty or crisis.

Nearly Headless Nick

Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington, often referred to as Nearly Headless Nick or Nick, is the Gryffindor House ghost who in life was sentenced to death by beheading after a teeth-straightening spell went awry on a Lady Grieve. Unfortunately the executioner's axe was blunt and after 45 hacks Nick's head was only partially severed. Harry becomes friends with Nick when he attends his "deathday" party (the 500th anniversary of the event) in a Hogwarts dungeon. Nick's death date (31 October 1492) has the distinction of having served as the basis for the entire chronology of the Harry Potter stories, until the timeline was confirmed by the headstone of James and Lily Potter in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Nick is a victim of the Basilisk that Ginny Weasley unleashes, under the influence of Tom Riddle. The stare of the Basilisk is supposed to be lethal to anyone who looks at it directly in the eye. While the living students all had some barrier between them and the Basilisk (and are therefore petrified rather than killed), Nick does look at the Basilisk's eyes directly. However, since he is already dead, he too is only petrified. The character appears again in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix when Harry has been looking for some comfort to see Sirius Black again, but Nick explains that only witches and wizards who fear death can become ghosts, dashing Harry's hope of communicating with Sirius. He appears briefly in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when Harry asks him to bring him to the Grey Lady.

The Fat Friar

The Fat Friar is the Hufflepuff House ghost. He is a jolly man and very forgiving. In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone when the first years are waiting for Professor McGonagall to return and the ghosts pass overhead, the Fat Friar is pleading on behalf of Peeves the Poltergeist to allow him to come to the welcome feast despite his past wrongdoings. Similarly, when Peeves wanted to join the welcome feast in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the Fat Friar was willing to give him a chance.

The Grey Lady

The Grey Lady, is the Ravenclaw House ghost. According to a letter written by Rowling to Nina Young, the actress who played the Grey Lady in the first film, she is "a highly intellectual young lady …. She never found true love as she never found a man up to her standards".

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows it is revealed that the Grey Lady is Helena Ravenclaw - daughter of Rowena Ravenclaw, and that she was killed by the Bloody Baron. She informs Harry that she stole the Diadem of Ravenclaw from her mother, in an attempt to become smarter than she, and then went into hiding in Albania. It was a dying Rowena Ravenclaw's wish to see her daughter again and so sent for the Bloody Baron to look for her, knowing that he would not rest until he brought her back. However, she refused to come with him and in a moment of blind rage, he killed her with a single stab wound to her chest. Overcome with remorse, the Bloody Baron killed himself using the same weapon in turn. The diadem remained in the hollow of the tree in the Albanian forest until Tom Riddle managed to charm the story out of her ghost, The Grey Lady. Riddle, who had been seeking out historically significant objects to make into Horcruxes, later retrieved the diadem from Albania and hid it in the Room of Requirement at Hogwarts while visiting the castle years later.

The Bloody Baron

The Bloody Baron is the Slytherin House ghost. He is the only person besides Dumbledore and Fred and George Weasley who can exert any control over the Poltergeist Peeves; Peeves is terrified of him for some unknown reason, referring to him as "Your Bloodiness" and "Mr Baron."

The Baron's nickname comes from the fact that he is covered with blood, which appears silvery on his ghostly form. When Nearly-Headless Nick is asked in the first book why the Baron is so bloody, Nick delicately comments that "[he has] never asked". However, this is explained in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when Helena Ravenclaw tells Harry that the Baron had been in love with her when the two were alive, and when she ran off with the diadem, Rowena Ravenclaw sent the Baron after her, knowing he would not stop until Helena was found. When she refused to return with him, however, the Baron killed her in a fit of rage, and then, in remorse, killed himself with the same weapon. He has thus haunted Hogwarts ever since, wearing his ghostly chains as a form of penitence.

Hogwarts founders

In Rowling's fictional universe, Hogwarts was founded a millennium ago by "four of the greatest wizards and witches of the age": Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw and Salazar Slytherin. Each of these founders had one of the four Hogwarts houses named after them.

Godric Gryffindor

Godric Gryffindor hailed from a moor that is now known as Godric's Hollow, a small West Country village. Gryffindor is said to have praised courage, determination and strength of heart above all other qualities. He also was the most in favour of allowing Muggle-borns into the school. He was initially a close friend of Salazar Slytherin, but over time, their friendship deteriorated. Gryffindor was named the July 2007 "Wizard of the Month" on Rowling's website. "One of the four famous Founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Godric Gryffindor was the most accomplished dueller of his time, an enlightened fighter against Muggle-discrimination and the first owner of the celebrated Sorting Hat.

His known relics are a goblin-made sword (the Goblins claim that Godric stole it from them), adorned with rubies, and the Sorting Hat. The two items share a particular bond; whenever a "true Gryffindor" needs it, the Sword will allow itself to be pulled out of the hat. Godric's sword was capable of acquiring powers from those it had slain and thus was imbued with venom from Harry's defeat of the Basilisk, making it suitable as a tool for destroying Voldemort's Horcruxes: Dumbledore used it to destroy Gaunt's ring, Ron Weasley used it to eliminate Slytherin's locket, and Neville Longbottom used it to kill Nagini.

Helga Hufflepuff

Helga Hufflepuff came from a broad valley. The Sorting Hat describes her as "good Hufflepuff" or "sweet Hufflepuff". She favoured loyalty, honesty, and fair play. In Goblet of Fire, she is stated as having considered "hard workers most worthy of admission", she is elsewhere described as taking "all the rest" of the students after selection by her colleagues. She was a good friend of Rowena Ravenclaw; their friendship is used to emphasise the failed friendship between Godric Gryffindor and Salazar Slytherin.

Hufflepuff was the May 2007 "Wizard of the Month" on Rowling's website. "One of the four celebrated Founders of Hogwarts; Hufflepuff was particularly famous for her dexterity at food-related Charms. Many recipes traditionally served at Hogwarts feasts originated with Hufflepuff. Her wizard card, penned by Rowling, describes her as having "brought people from different walks of life together to help build Hogwarts," and being "loved for her charming ways." According to an interview between Rowling and staff from The Leaky Cauldron, Hufflepuff introduced house-elves to Hogwarts, where she offered them refuge. Both the famous wizard card and the illustration on Rowling's website depict her as a plump woman with red hair.

One relic of Hufflepuff, a small golden cup, had been passed down to her distant descendant, Hepzibah Smith.

Rowena Ravenclaw

Rowena Ravenclaw was a witch noted for her cleverness and creativity, and was described by Xenophilius Lovegood as beautiful. The Sorting Hat introduced her as "Fair Ravenclaw, from glen", suggesting she was from Scotland. Ravenclaw devised the ever-changing floor plans and moving staircases in the Hogwarts castle, and coined the proverb "Wit beyond measure is man's greatest treasure." Ravenclaw is described by the Sorting Hat as having selected students according to intelligence and wisdom. Ravenclaw was featured as Rowling's "Wizard of the Month" for August 2007. "One of the four famous Founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Rowena Ravenclaw was the most brilliant witch of her time, though legend has it that a broken heart - cause unknown - contributed to her early demise."

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry learns that an artifact of Ravenclaw's became a Horcrux: her lost diadem, which granted enhanced wisdom to its wearer. Her daughter, Helena Ravenclaw, had once run away with it to surpass her mother in terms of intelligence and wisdom and hid it in Albania, in which its whereabouts remained unknown ever since. She, however, revealed its location to a young Tom Riddle, who proceeded to retrieve it and turn it into a Horcrux. In the original uncursed form, it is said to be able to imbue its wearer great wisdom. Late in her life, Rowena, suffering from a terminal illness, sent for the Bloody Baron to find her daughter so she could see her one last time before she died. However, Helena refused to go with the Baron, and he killed her in a paroxysm of rage. Immediately overcome with guilt, he then took his own life.

Salazar Slytherin

Salazar Slytherin is described as power hungry by the Sorting Hat, and was known as "shrewd Slytherin from fen". Slytherin is the only founder whose physical appearance was ever described in any detail; his statue in the Chamber of Secrets depicts a man "ancient and monkey-like, with a long thin beard that fell almost to the bottom of his sweeping robes." Slytherin was a Parselmouth, a wizard with the rare ability to speak with snakes. According to Dumbledore, the qualities which Slytherin prized in his handpicked students included resourcefulness and determination. He also selected his students according to cunning, ambition, and blood purity.

Slytherin's background is first discussed by Professor Binns in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: he describes the foundation of the school and of the breach between Slytherin and the other founders, that the castle was founded far from Muggles because, at that time, common people feared magic and persecuted suspected wizards and witches. Slytherin wanted magical learning restricted to all-magical families, as he believed Muggle-born students to be untrustworthy and he disliked teaching such students. According to ancient legend, Slytherin was responsible for the construction of the Chamber of Secrets, the home of a magically created basilisk. This snake was known to be susceptible to control by his Parselmouth descendants, and thus left there to purge the school of all Muggle-borns. This occurred shortly before infighting among the four founders broke out and resulted in Slytherin's departure. Slytherin was the featured "Wizard of the Month" for June 2007 on J. K. Rowling's website. "One of the four celebrated Founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Salazar Slytherin was one of the first recorded Parselmouths, an accomplished Legilimens, and a notorious champion of pureblood supremacy."

Slytherin owned a locket that became an heirloom of his last known line of descendants, the Gaunts, and that later was turned into a Horcrux.


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