The boy who lived lived a little too dangerously. In fact, he lived without any regard for the rules of Hogwarts.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has many strict rules set in place to keep its students safe, maintain order, and encourage proper learning. However, each Hogwarts staff member has a different interpretation of the rules and can discipline their students based on their own judgment. Since these teachers are human beings, at the end of the day, their judgement can be clouded by their emotions towards particular students.
To be expelled from Hogwarts is the final and worst punishment given to a student. The rules that the student breaks must be severe enough to have injured another, or put lives in grave danger. Students can also be expelled for performing magic outside of school, risking exposure by Muggles, disobeying Educational Decrees, or by committing a multitude of infractions.
As far as we know, Hagrid was the only person to ever be expelled from Hogwarts. However, there is another student who should have joined him in exile.
Throughout Harry Potter’s time at Hogwarts, he may have broken just about every rule in the book, yet he was never punished for it because of his status as "the Chosen One." However, now it's time for Mr. Potter to face the music and own up to his crimes.
So, break out the rule book because here are the 20 Times Harry Potter Should Have Been Expelled.
20 Using 2 of the 3 Unforgivable Curses
There are three unforgivable curses that, if used against another human being-- Muggle or wizard-- would result in a life sentence at Azkaban. These three curses are the Killing Curse (Avada Kedavra), Cruciatus Curse (Crucio), and the Imperius Curse (Imperio). Harry Potter has used two of these spells, and was still able to avoid Azkaban and stay at Hogwarts.
In Order of the Phoenix, Harry attempts to use the Cruciatus Curse on Bellatrix Lestrange after she kills Sirius Black. He also tries to use it against Snape after he kills Dumbledore but fails to utter the entire spell. Although both attempts were unsuccessful, shouldn’t the mere attempt be enough to get Harry kicked out of Hogwarts?
In Deathly Hallows Part 2, Harry uses the Imperius Curse on a goblin at Gringotts Bank to force their way into Bellatrix’s vault. Now Harry wasn’t in school during the time, but he should have been punished for not only using the curse, but also for robbing and destroying a highly-guarded bank.
19 Leaving A Ministry Official in the Forbidden Forest & Sneaking Into the Ministry
Maybe Umbridge deserved to be dragged off by a pack of Centaurs, but she was still a Ministry Official and the acting Headmistress of Hogwarts when Harry and Hermione led her into the Forbidden Forest.
Even though she clearly survived the ambush, she didn’t return to punish Harry Potter or his friends. Instead, she most likely lets them off the hook to save her reputation.
After getting rid of Umbridge, Harry Potter and his Army go on to break some more rules by sneaking into the Ministry of Magic at night. They break into the Department of Mysteries, a confidential section of the Ministry, and start a war with Voldemort’s Death Eaters.
In the process, Harry risks the lives of all of his classmates, puts many people in harm’s way, and destroys priceless Ministry artifacts.
18 Manipulating a Teacher & Threatening Him at Wand Point
After Ginny is taken into the Chamber of Secrets, Gilderoy Lockhart was assigned to find his way into the Chamber of Secrets. However, when Harry and Ron visit him to tell him what they know, they catch him attempting to flee Hogwarts.
To prevent him from running away and erasing their mind, Harry and Ron hold him hostage at wand point and force him to come with them into the Chamber of Secrets. They even push him into the Chamber first to test to see if it's safe.
However dimwitted Lockhart is, he was still a teacher at Hogwarts when Harry and Ron held him at wand point. This seems like a huge violation of the rules of Hogwarts and should have been punished accordingly.
17 Attacking His Potions Teacher
Attacking a teacher is pretty high on the list of no-nos at Hogwarts, but Harry Potter is able to do it without consequence.
In The Prisoner of Azkaban, Snape confronts Sirius Black and Remus Lupin in the Shrieking Shack and attempts to bring Sirius back to Azkaban. The two of them start arguing and Harry becomes fed up because he isn’t getting the information he wants.
To hear what Sirius and Remus have to say about Peter Pettigrew, Harry attacks Snape and sends his teacher flying into a bed.
Throughout Harry’s time at Hogwarts, he has constantly neglected Snape and undermined his authority. In The Order of the Phoenix, he even uses a spell to invade Snape’s mind and reveal his memories. However, Snape has never been successful in punishing Potter.
16 Starting Dumbledore's Army
Harry may have eluded Dumbledore’s disciplinary actions, but how was he able to avoid being expelled by Umbridge?
In Order of the Phoenix, Umbridge declared Educational Decree no. 68, which stated that “all student organizations are henceforth disbanded and any student in noncompliance will be expelled.”
Of course, Harry Potter once again disregards the rules and continues with organizing Dumbledore’s Army.
In the film version of Order of the Phoenix, Cho Chang unwillingly told Umbridge about Dumbledore’s Army under the influence of Veritaserum. However, instead of expelling the students, the newly appointed Headmistress Umbridge gives them detention and makes them write “I must not break rules” with her blood quill.
Once again, Harry and his friends are able to avoid expulsion in order to maintain the movie’s plot.
15 Drugging His Classmates, Locking Them In A Closet, & Impersonating Them
Drugging your classmates sounds like it should be grounds for expulsion at any school, but Hogwarts doesn’t seem to care about the rules.
In The Chamber of Secrets, Harry, Ron, and Hermione, brew some Polyjuice in order to impersonate their classmates and interrogate Malfoy. They drug cupcakes with a Sleeping Draught which causes Crabbe and Goyle to pass out. Then, Harry and Ron stuff their classmates into a broom closet, pluck their hair, and strip them of their uniforms.
Although they don’t get caught in this movie, Mad Eye Moody makes a reference to their crimes in Deathly Hallows Part 1. When he talks about the Polyjuice Potion that will be used to turn everyone into spitting images of Harry Potter, he tells Harry, “I believe you’re familiar with this brew.”
This hints at the fact that Hogwarts was aware of the trio’s activities in Chamber of Secrets and never punished them.
14 Using Sectumsempra on a Student
Probably one of the most horrendous acts that Harry Potter commits is to enact the Sectumsempra spell on Draco Malfoy.
After Katie Bell returns from the hospital wing, Harry chases Malfoy in the bathroom and accuses him of hexing her. Instead of answering, Malfoy attacks Potter, which sends him into defense mode. Pretty soon, though, Harry becomes the aggressor and starts chasing Malfoy deeper into the bathroom.
He could have left Malfoy alone and gotten a teacher to discipline him. However, Harry uses Sectumsempra and leaves his classmate bleeding out on the floor. Snape comes in to heal Malfoy, but says nothing to Harry or any other faculty member.
Also, let’s not forget where Harry learned the Sectumsempra spell. He got it from the Half-Blood Prince’s Advanced Potions Making book, which he used to basically cheat his way through Potions class for an entire year.
13 His Unauthorized Use of A Broomstick
We all remember how successful Harry Potter’s first flying lesson was. However, what we fail to remember is that he broke the rules and directly disobeyed his teacher.
During the kids’ first flying lesson, the instructor, Rolanda Hooch, has to take Neville to the infirmary after his unfortunate flying accident. Before she leaves, she tells her students, “If I see a single broom in the air, the one riding it will find themselves out of Hogwarts before they can say 'Quidditch.'”
However, as soon as the instructor walks away, Malfoy throws Neville’s Remembrall and Harry zooms off to retrieve it. When he returns to the ground, he’s treated as a hero and instead of punishing him, Professor McGonagall escorts him to meet Oliver Wood so that he can join the Gryffindor Quidditch Team as their Seeker.
12 Disobeying Dumbledore's Direct Orders & Taking On a Troll
In The Sorcerer’s Stone, Professor Quirrell announces that there is a troll in the dungeon and Dumbledore forces everyone back to their dormitories. Everyone complies, of course... except Harry and Ron.
Directly disobeying Dumbledore’s orders, the two head to the girl’s bathroom to find Hermione. To their surprise, though, they find out something much more important – the troll has left the dungeon.
Eventually, they knock out the troll right before Professor McGonagall, Quirrell, and Snape arrive. To spare the boys from punishment, Hermione says it was all her fault and that she went to take on the troll herself.
For Hermione’s punishment, McGonagall takes five points from the Gryffindor House. This is a minor disciplinary action, as she has taken away more points for simply wandering the corridors at night.
McGonagall also rewards Harry and Ron with five points each for “sheer dumb luck”. Once again, Harry is rewarded for bad behavior, rather than punished.
11 Entering the Forbidden Forest
Also known as “The Dark Forest," the Forbidden Forest is off-limits to students, except in the event of detention or Care of Magical Creature lessons. However, Harry Potter visits the forest numerous times without suffering any disciplinary consequences.
In The Chamber of Secrets, Harry and Ron enter the forest after Hagrid tells them to follow the spiders. Then, Harry finds himself back in the forest during Prisoner of Azkaban, when him, Hermione, and Buckbeak are waiting to save Sirius Black.
In The Goblet of Fire, Harry makes his way into the forest to meet Hagrid and learn that dragons are the first task in the Triwizard Tournament.
Finally, in The Order of the Phoenix, Harry and Hermione lead Umbridge into the Forbidden Forests and simply watch as she is carried off by Centaurs.
10 Cheating During The Triwizard Tournament
The Triwizard Tournament had been banned for over a century because of its dangerous nature. However, the Ministry of Magic revived the Tournament in The Goblet of Fire as long as one rule was followed: no one under the age of 17 was allowed to enter the competition.
As we all know, this rule was broken when the Goblet of Fire spat out Harry Potter’s name. Since the selection constituted a magical and binding contract, Harry Potter was forced to compete and avoided any punishment for disobeying the rules.
One of the Tournament’s other rules was that each Champion had to stand alone and receive no help from friends or teachers. However, Harry Potter cheated his way through each of the tasks, and received help from Hagrid, Neville, Cedric, and “Mad Eye Moody.”
Ultimately, the Triwizard Tournament ended with the tragic death of Cedric Diggory. See Hogwarts, this is what happens when you break the rules.
9 Multiple Violations of Underage Sorcery Outside of Hogwarts
Under the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery, no wizard under the age of seventeen years old may use magic outside of school. However, apparently this law doesn’t apply to the Chosen One.
In Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter inflates Aunt Marge after she makes fun of his parents. The Accidental Magic Reversal Department was dispatched to puncture her and erase her memory.
However, that was that, and Harry was never punished or sent to stand before a review board. Prior to blowing up his aunt, Harry also used the Lumos spell to read a book in the dark, which was never mentioned by the Minister.
Then, in Order of the Phoenix, Harry produced a Patronus to prevent Dudley and himself from being attacked by Dementors. Although he was sent before a review board, Dumbledore got him off scotch-free.
Lastly, in Chamber of Secrets, Dobby used magic to drop a cake on Mrs. Mason’s head. The Ministry can detect when magic is used, but not by who used it. Therefore, by these rules, Harry should have been punished for Dobby’s deed.
Although he received a warning for the act in the book, he was never punished in the movie.
8 Every Time He Used the Cloak of Invisibility
Harry Potter received the Cloak of Invisibility in The Sorcerer’s Stone and it has been the source of many of his disciplinary problems ever since.
He uses the cloak to enter the Restricted Section of the library and to visit the Mirror of Erised. Dumbledore even catches Harry admiring the mirror and doesn’t punish him at all.
In other movies, Harry uses the cloak to spy on meetings he was not invited to. For example, in The Chamber of Secrets, Harry and Ron use the cloak to visit Hagrid and confront him about opening the Chamber. When Dumbledore, the Minister of Magic, and Lucius knock on the door, Hagrid simply tells them to put the cloak back on.
During this scene, Dumbledore even looks directly at the boys and talks to them, hinting at the fact that he knows they are there.
In multiple instances, faculty members are made aware of Harry’s use of the cloak, yet encourage its use rather than disciplining him for invasion of privacy, breaking curfew, and entering off-limit areas.
7 Entering the Chamber of Secrets
Opening the Chamber of Secrets was the only offense that caused a student to ever be expelled from Hogwarts. Although Harry and Ron didn’t open the chamber, they did waltz on in without any academic repercussions.
The Chamber of Secrets was located in the girl’s bathroom. Even though Harry and Ron saved the day, sneaking into a girl’s bathroom should have been grounds for some type of punishment. There was also a curfew of 6pm initiated after Hermione was petrified, which the boys broke on their adventure.
When the two returned from the Chamber, Dumbledore tells them, “You both realize of course, that in the past few hours, you have broken perhaps a dozen school rules. There is sufficient evidence to have you both expelled. Therefore, it is only fitting that you both receive Special Awards for services to this school.”
Apparently, it’s okay to break the rules as long as you are successful in saving the day.
Also, Hagrid was immediately expelled when the Ministry thought he had opened the Chamber of Secrets in 1942. However, when people speculated that Harry Potter was the one who opened it the second time, he was never properly investigated.
6 The Many Times He Visited Hagrid After Hours
Hogwart’s rules state that students are supposed to be in bed by 10pm every night. Harry has blatantly disregarded this curfew on multiple occasions to visit Hagrid in his hut.
For example, in Half-Blood Prince, Harry drinks his Liquid Luck and wanders off to see Hagrid. He runs into Professor Slughorn who says that it’s nearly nightfall and he can’t allow Potter to go roaming the grounds alone. In response, Harry simply tells him, “By then all means, come along sir.”
When they arrive at Hagrid’s hut, Harry encourages Slughorn to get drunk so that he can manipulate his emotions and obtain his memory about Tom Riddle.
In Chamber of Secrets, the curfew was actually pushed back to 6pm after Hermione was petrified. However, Harry and Ron sneak out well past 6pm to visit Hagrid and confront him about who opened the Chamber of Secrets. Hagrid doesn’t even scold the two of them, and instead encourage them to break more rules by using the Invisibility Cloak to spy on his meeting with the Minister of Magic.
5 Everything He Did In the Sorcerer's Stone
Harry, Ron, and Hermione save the day by stopping Professor Quirrell and Voldemort from obtaining the Sorcerer’s Stone. However, in the process, they break a lot of rules.
The first rule they broke was sneaking into the forbidden Third-Floor Corridor. Not only did they access an out-of-bounds area, but they also did it past curfew.
Along their journey, Harry sneaks past Hogwart’s three-headed guard, almost got a panicked Ron strangled by Devil’s Snare, and even let his friend sacrifice their lives in a game of wizard’s chess.
Despite putting him and his friends’ life in danger, Harry is rewarded for all his rule-breaking. At the end-of-year House Cup Ceremony, Dumbledore awards last minute points to Hermione for her use of intellect, Ron for a good game of chess, and Harry for pure nerve and outstanding courage.
4 Sneaking into Hogsmeade Without A Permission Slip
On the first and third weekends of the month, third-year students may visit Hogsmeade Village as long as they have a permission slip from their parent or guardian.
In Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter fails to obtain a permission slip from the Dursleys. Therefore, he asks Professor McGonagall if she would sign his permission slip, and she responds by saying it would be inappropriate for her to sign it.
This doesn’t stop Harry, though. He breaks the rules by using the Mauruder’s map to sneak into Hogsmeade, eat a lollipop, and have an invisible snowball fight with Malfoy and his goons.
Afterwards, Harry walks around the town without his cloak on, yet isn’t caught by any school officials. When he finally does put his cloak back on, he spies on McGonagall and makes a scene storming out. However, no one wonders why the door mysteriously opened or why a group of carolers fell to the floor.
After this incident, Harry revisits Hogsmeade on other occasions, presumably without a permission slip.
3 Wandering Around the Out-of-Bounds Third Floor Corridor
In the beginning of Sorcerer’s Stone, Dumbledore uses his welcome speech to tell the entire student body that the third-floor corridor is “out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die a very painful death.”
Harry, Ron, and Hermione accidentally stumble upon the third-corridor when their starcaise randomly changes directions. However, when they realize they are in the forbidden corridor, they start to run deeper into the hall, rather than walking around Filch’s cat or heading back to the Main Hall.
They also sneak back into the forbidden third-floor corridor in order to prevent Quirrell from stealing the Sorcerer’s Stone.
In the book, Harry and Ron accidentally end up in the third-floor corridor on their first morning at Hogwarts. They get caught by Filch who didn’t believe they were lost. However, Professor Quirrell steps in to save them from punishment.
2 Using the Time Turner to Free a Condemned Criminal & Animal
In Prisoner of Azkaban, Hermione received a Time Turner from Professor McGonagall as way of attending more classes. She had to get special permission from the Ministry of Magic to have it, and could only use it for academic purposes.
After the capture of Sirius Black, though, Harry and Hermione used the Time Turner for non-academic purposes and broke many laws. They went back in time to rescue and release Buckbeak, an animal condemned to death by the Ministry of Magic. Then, they left the grounds of Hogwarts and rode on Buckbeak to break Sirius Black, a convicted criminal, out of Azkaban.
These infractions would have landed Harry and Hermione in Azkaban, let alone expelled from school. However, Dumbledore encouraged the acts and simply looked the other way.
1 Driving a Flying Car to Hogwarts and Being Seen by Muggles
In Chamber of Secrets, Harry and Ron are unable to get through to Platform 9¾, so they decide to take a very noticeable, flying car to Hogwarts.
After crash-landing into the Whomping Willow tree, they are caught by Mr. Filch who tells them that this night is probably the last night they would spend at Hogwarts.
Filch then takes the two to Snape who reveals that they were seen flying the car by “no less than seven Muggles,” risked the exposure of the magical world, and broke the Decree for the Restriction of Underage Wizardry.
He tells them, “I assure you that, were you in Slytherin and your fate rested with me, the both of you would be on the train home tonight.”
However, they are not Slytherins and their fate rested in the hands of Professor McGonagall. Instead of expelling them, she wrote a letter to their families and gave them detention.
Should Harry Potter have been expelled from Hogwarts? Let us know in the comments!