Hogwarts is a magical place we’re all familiar with. Regardless of what generation you grew up in — unless it came after your childhood — you probably grew up with a Harry Potter book on your bedside table and when you turned eleven, you were secretly hoping that you’d wake up and see an owl tapping at your window, a letter in its talons…
Oh, wait. Was that just me?
But seriously, Hogwarts was a dream and we all loved to read about it. However, re-reading these magical stories as an adult, it’s pretty easy to recognize that some of the rules and regulations were just flat-out bizarre.
10. Houses Must Stick To Their Own Common Rooms
There was a divide between houses that often seemed like it could be damaging to students. Gryffindor and Slytherin, in particular, had a rivalry and never quite seemed to see eye to eye on things — and this surely wasn’t helped by the rules that meant that students couldn’t go between house common rooms. All of their social time was restricted to their own house. They even had to eat meals at the same table as their house, so the only time to talk to other houses was in class.
Seems a little like Hogwarts is causing those house rivalries, right?
9. ...And Boys Can't Enter The Girls' Dormitory
Like a lot of boarding schools, if not all of them, dormitories are separated by gender. Girls had one dormitory off the common room, boys had another, and they were restricted to sleeping there. Okay, makes sense — they’re teenagers, they don’t need to be sleeping in the same room.
But the weird thing about this one was that boys were totally not allowed in the girls’ dormitory, but girls were allowed in the boys’. Hermione pointed this out as an old-fashioned rule, and she was right. Hogwarts clearly trusts girls more than boys (and has some equally old-fashioned views about same-sex relationships).
8. There's A Curfew
That sounds pretty normal when you first say it. Oh yeah, there’s a curfew, makes sense — these kids are younger than seventeen, they don’t need to be out late. But what’s weird is that the curfew wasn’t restricting them just from going outside, but from wandering around the castle. So if they needed food, or something specific from another part of the castle, they weren’t trusted to walk around what was supposedly a safe home.
Of course, we know it wasn’t always safe but in theory, it was supposed to be. Guess the curfew blows that cover of it supposedly being safe!
7. Don't Enter The Forbidden Forest (Unless You Have Detention There)
The Forbidden Forest rule is one that, again, seems sensible on first look. Students aren’t allowed to enter the forest because it’s dangerous and full of creatures that could hurt or even kill them. But why is this forest allowed to exist in the first place right by the school? If it’s full of evil creatures, wouldn’t it be a good idea to have a school for children somewhere else?
And of course, this rule goes out the window when students are given detention there. Seems like a cruel and unusual punishment to make students wander it, but it happens. Right, Dumbledore?
6. The Restricted Section Is, Well, Restricted
Knowledge is power. The Hogwarts library contains a ton of books and most of them are open access to the students — but there is one section that requires a permission slip, and it’s called the restricted section. What happens here is that all of the books that contain dark information are stored away, but then — why even have it at all? If the books aren’t necessary for study, why not just get rid of them? Or… assume students would get the information some other way and just let it be a free for all anyway?
This section is just a weird concept.
5. If The Staircases Move And You're Late To Class... It's Your Fault
One thing that must be incredibly annoying about Hogwarts is the staircases. They move of their own accord and have no schedule — they’ve even been known to move when students are literally standing on them. You can see how this would pose a bit of a problem and yet, classes are on a fixed schedule and students aren’t allowed to be late. How does that work for getting to class on time? Do they just need to allow an hour to walk anywhere within the castle?
It seems a little harsh to blame students for being late because of these staircases, and certain allowances should probably be made.
4. Students Under 17 Are Tracked
This isn’t so much a Hogwarts rule as much it is one that the school complies with, but it’s a big one nonetheless.
The Ministry of Magic tracks the use of magic of anyone under seventeen with something known as the Trace. From the day a witch or wizard is born until they come of adult age in the wizarding world, any time they use magic the exact spell they used is recorded and sent to the Ministry - and this can result in them getting expelled for misuse of magic.
Of course, they can’t always tell exactly who used the spell, as Dobby clearly proves.
3. At One Point, They Had To Put Up With Dementors
It was another Ministry enforced rule, but one that Hogwarts students had to follow nonetheless. They had to put up with dementors during one year, when Sirius Black was on the loose. And yes, they thought Sirius was a murderer who was going to endanger the Hogwarts students — Harry in particular — but to ask them to put with dementors, the guards of Azkaban?
It seems a cruel enough punishment even for Azkaban prisoners, so for innocent children to have to be surrounded by dementors after having done nothing wrong was a lot. Hogwarts sure makes its students go through a lot.
2. Students Who Can Turn Into Animals Must Register With The Ministry
Animagi are really special beings in the wizarding world and it’s not technically forbidden for a student to become one. It’s a long, arduous process that not many people can go through or have the skill to see through, but it means that a witch or wizard can turn into an animal at the end of it. So, for example, the Marauders, Minerva McGonagall, and Rita Skeeter all had the ability to turn into an animal whenever they wanted.
The only rule is that they must register it with the Ministry. Seems like a bit of an invasion of privacy though, and of course, not everyone did…
1. Boys And Girls Cannot Be Within 8 Inches Of Each Other... And Some Other Crazy Educational Decrees
But of course, the craziest rules ever introduced at Hogwarts were the ones that were created by Dolores Umbridge. When she was hired as a professor and given special powers by the Ministry, she introduced a number of ridiculous rules — like not allowing literature by what she deemed as half-breeds, disbanding all student organizations, and not allowing boys and girls to be within eight inches of each other.
Yeah. Umbridge really takes the cake when it comes to crazy school rules. Luckily, those didn't even last a year before she was removed from the school, but they must have been a pain to follow while they existed.