Hogwarts, a Future?
By Ann Skinner
They shared a wish, a hope, a dream.16
The four Founders of Hogwarts—Godric Gryffindor, Salazar Slytherin, Helga Hufflepuff and Rowena Ravenclaw—came together with a common desire to educate magical children, “far from prying eyes,” to avoid the fear and persecution that was rampant in their day from the non-magical community.17 Although they shared a vision, they each had different priorities in implementing this plan. The Sorting Hat reveals those priorities in two of the songs we hear it sing during Harry’s years at school: bravery and chivalry for Gryffindors, cleverness and wit for Ravenclaws, hard work and loyalty for Hufflepuffs, and cunning and ambition for Slytherins. Each year the new crop of Hogwarts students have been Sorted into the four different Houses, and this separation has been encouraged through the physical separation of their common rooms and dormitories, Quidditch competitions as well as the annual quest for the House Cup. This separation is seen most strongly in the rivalry between the Gryffindors and Slytherins, with little love lost between these two Houses. However, upon their return to school following the ominous return of Lord Voldemort in the graveyard, the emphasis of the Sorting Hat’s song has changed:
Oh, know the perils, read the signs,
the warning history shows,
for our Hogwarts is in danger
from external, deadly foes
and we must unite inside her
or we’ll crumble from within18
Back when Hogwarts was first opened, the threat was from a non-magical community that could be avoided by geography and a bit of protective spellwork. The situation that is facing the inhabitants of the castle now is more dire, as the external foes are also magicians, ones who have a much greater ability to threaten the school. Dumbledore echoes these sentiments in his memorable speech at the end of Goblet of Fire:
I say to you all, once again -- in the light of Lord Voldemort's return, we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. Lord Voldemort's gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship and trust.19
Will the students of the four Houses be able to see past their rivalries when the future of the school is threatened? It seems vital for the survival of Hogwarts that the Houses set aside their differences and instead work together towards defending themselves against this deadly foe.
Hoggy Warty Hogwarts
Like Harry and Tom, many readers feel that Hogwarts is an appealing home, a magical and engaging place to dwell. Its fate, and the fate of the characters who have inhabited its walls for these past six years we have shared, are of crucial interest and growing concern. Only J.K. Rowling’s final volume in the tale will reveal for us if the school will go on, and if we will once again hear within its walls
Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy Warty Hogwarts,
Teach us something, please,
Whether we be old and bald
Or young with scabby knees,
Our heads could do with filling
With some interesting stuff,
For now they’re bare and full of air,
Dead flies and bits of fluff,
So teach us things worth knowing,
Bring back what we’ve forgot,
Just do your best, we’ll do the rest,
And learn until our brains all rot.20
Given the threats facing the school from Lord Voldemort, the possibility of it not being open by the end of the seventh year is very present. McGonagall reminds us that “…it is not true to say that Dumbledore never envisaged a situation in which Hogwarts might close.”21 Yet Hogwarts has stood for over a thousand years, enduring threats and challenges through the ages. The founders, through J.K. Rowling, have created a character as quirky and enchanting as any human in the tale, and it seems likely that this well-loved character will remain a vital part of the wizarding world for many years to come.
1. Rowling, Sorcerer’s Stone, 111.
2. Ibid., 131.
3. Ibid., “Online chat transcript.”
4. Ibid., “ ‘Cub reporter’ press conference.”
5. Couric, “Author with the magic touch.”
6. O’Malley, “Talking With . . . J.K. Rowling,”
7. Rowling, Order of the Phoenix, 40.
8. Ibid., “Barnes and Noble & Yahoo! chat.”
9. Ibid., Official Site, “Can we assume they were sorted into those houses?”
10. Ibid., Sorcerer’s Stone, 63.
11. Ibid., Half-Blood Prince, 627.
12. Ibid., Order of the Phoenix,
13. Ibid., Half-Blood Prince, 445.
14. Ibid., 431–32.
15. Ibid., 526.
16. Ibid., Goblet of Fire, 177.
17. Ibid., Chamber of Secrets, 150.
18. Ibid, Order of the Phoenix
19. Ibid., Goblet of Fire
20. Ibid., Sorcerer’s Stone, 128.
21. Ibid., Half-Blood Prince, 628.
Couric, Katie. “J.K. Rowling, the author with the magic touch.” MSNBC: Dateline NBC, 17 July 2005. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8599597/page/2/.
J.K. Rowling Official Site. “FAQ: If a teacher is head of a house, can we assume that they were sorted into those houses when they were students at Hogwarts?” http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/faq_view.cfm?id=62 (accessed 11 November 2006).
O’Malley, Judy. “Talking With . . . J.K. Rowling.” Book Links, July 1999. http://www.accio-quote.org/articles/1999/0799-booklinks-omalley.html.
Rowling, J.K. “Barnes and Noble & Yahoo! chat with J.K. Rowling.” barnesandnoble.com, 20 October, 2000. http://www.accio-quote.org/articles/2000/1000-livechat-barnesnoble.html.
———. “Edinburgh ‘cub reporter’ press conference.” ITV, 16 July 2005. http://www.accio-quote.org/articles/2005/0705-edinburgh-ITVcubreporters.htm.
———. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 2005.
———. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 2003.
———. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. New York: Scholastic Press, Arthur A. Levine Books, 1998.
———. “Online chat transcript, Scholastic.com.” Transcript, Scholastic.com, 3 February 2000. http://www.scholastic.com/harrypotter/author/transcript1.htm.