Hogwarts isn’t like any school in the real world. This is a place where children get petrified by large snakes, where a warlord lays siege to protect a tiara with his soul in it, and all-round stuff that is impossible to happen during our lifetimes. In the Wizarding World, Hogwarts is seen as the best school there is, which means not a lot seems to change in its practices.
But you’d be wrong to think things always stayed how they were. Since we only have Harry Potter’s parents and Harry’s own time at Hogwarts as examples as to how Hogwarts used to be, we’ll be using these points in time to see all that changed compared to all that remained the same.
10 Same: Headmaster And Majority Of The Teachers
With the exception of a couple, every teacher James and Lily studied under was the same one Harry was tutored with too. Even the Headmaster was the same in Albus Dumbledore, and it was like Déjà vu for the teachers, as Harry was a mixture of his father in looks and his mother in personality.
Professors Flitwick, Sprout, McGonagall, Madam Pomfrey, and even the caretaker Mr. Filch still worked by the time Harry entered Hogwarts. If you’re looking for a career as a teacher in England as a wizard, then you’re not going to be in line for a job any time soon, that’s for sure.
9 Different: Defense Against The Dark Arts Teacher
Even James and Lily presumably saw different teachers for this subject every year while they were studying, but we can be certain that whoever was the teacher back then certainly didn’t teach Harry. It was Quirrell who played the role of Harry’s first Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.
He was followed by Gilderoy Lockhart, Remus Lupin, Mad-Eye Moody (actually Barty Crouch Jr.), Dolores Umbridge and Severus Snape. Two of these names were fellow students with James and Lily, which means they were obviously not the teacher of this subject back then. It would take Voldemort’s death for students to finally have a regular teacher in this post.
8 Different: Chamber Of Secrets' Mystery
Although when Harry joined the school the mystery surrounding this still remained, it was solved only within a year or two after he started, so we’ll be counting this as something that changed. When James and Lily were in school, the Chamber of Secrets probably never even came up as a topic of discussion since nobody was affected by it.
This changed when Harry was in his second year, and the mystery behind the Chamber was finally solved when Harry uncovered that Voldemort had been the one to set the Basilisk loose back in the day.
7 Same: Bullying
Hogwarts was an awful place for meek children who lacked in confidence or status, as they would always be on the receiving end of bullying. The main reason why James Potter stinks as a human being was because he was such an extreme bully, and he was just continuing the legacy that had been on since at least Voldemort’s time.
Draco Malfoy would extend this practice, as he regularly bullied Neville Longbottom along with his goons. Malfoy would attempt to bully Harry and his friends too, but they at least fought back and avoided being humiliated as James had done to Snape.
6 Different: Shrieking Shack's Status
When James had been in school, the Shrieking Shack's status as the most haunted locale in England began; this due to his best friend Remus Lupin being the one doing all the screaming inside as his werewolf form took over.
While the Shrieking Shack’s legacy remained the same when Harry joined (with people still thinking it was haunted), its status wasn’t active as it had been when James had been attending. This was because Lupin hadn’t been around Hogwarts for over a decade and there wasn’t anyone to do the screaming that had made the Shrieking Shack so famous.
5 Different: Centaurs' Hostility
When Harry began attending Hogwarts, the Centaurs weren’t too fond of the humans, but they kept their distance. However, this altered while Harry was still studying and the Centaurs adopted a hostile approach where they sought to kill any human they saw, as long as it was a grown-up.
During James and Lily’s time, the Forbidden Forest wasn’t nearly as dangerous; James and his pals were known to frequent those grounds late at night by becoming Animagi. Conversation between Hagrid and the Centaurs in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone made it clear the Centaurs’ hostility was something that had only recently become more prominent.
4 Same: Slytherin's Reputation
Peoples’ opinion of Slytherin as the evil house of the school was longstanding even when James and Lily began their time at Hogwarts, and this was exactly the same when Harry first stepped on the Hogwarts express as well. We saw a memory of Snape where his first meeting with James Potter had the latter being a prat to Snape by saying Slytherin wasn’t a house for people with honor, and Harry heard the same rumors when it was his time.
Harry’s fear of being drafted into Slytherin was so great that he outright requested the Sorting Hat to place him in any house but Slytherin. Decades later, his son would have the same fears, although Albus Potter was too much of a wimp to be placed into Gryffindor and ended up in Slytherin.
3 Different: Voldemort's Status
Harry was the reason why the Wizarding World was all happy and content when he entered Hogwarts, due to Voldemort being vanquished after his ill-fated attempt at taking Harry’s life. This meant that Hogwarts was a place without worry of Death Eaters in 1991, but this wasn’t how it was in 1971 when James and Lily attended.
Around this time, Voldemort began his quest for power, and the Wizarding World was on its toes in fright as a war loomed on the horizon. Voldemort’s status here was as a pureblood enthusiast who was collecting followers on a daily basis. Harrys’ time – at least for the first five years – had no one be aware of Voldemort’s survival.
2 Different: Ministry Of Magic's Corrupt Principles
You might think this isn't related to Hogwarts, but it very much is. The government's constant intervention in Order of the Phoenix made Harry's life miserable in school. The Ministry of Magic always seems to have been lax at best, but it was downright corrupt when Harry was at Hogwarts. This wasn’t so apparent at the start but gradually became clear that the Ministry had been this way for quite some time.
This practice was employed due to Cornelius Fudge becoming Minister of Magic, and he was a man in denial the whole time in his tenure. The Ministry in James and Lily’s time was one of action, who made regular attempts at seizing Death Eaters and had people like Madam Bones and Barty Crouch Sr rising up as go-getters. Harry’s Ministry version had the establishment out to discredit him for telling the truth about Voldemort’s return.
1 Same: Prejudice Against Muggle-Borns
The fact that Snape could easily call Lily a “Mudblood” in broad daylight, and for Malfoy to do the same hundreds of times two decades later, means that prejudice against Muggle-Borns was a common practice at Hogwarts. It’s remarkable how no action ever took place for such hateful speech, and Hogwarts remained a haven for extremists like Malfoy.
Harry wasn’t very knowledgeable about the Wizarding World, so we never got to see the full extent of this kind of behavior, but it was clear enough that no consequences would come out from terming people having mud in their blood. At least this changed when Harry’s children attended Hogwarts.