The Harry Potter franchise isn't exactly at its height at the moment. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald and Harry Potter And The Cursed Child were both met with mixed critical reviews. Despite this, both have managed to be financially successful. This proves that the Harry Potter fandom is still hungry for more adventures in the wizarding world.
Most of this comes from the idea of the wizarding school Hogwarts. Many children have waited by the mailbox on their eleventh birthdays to see if that famed Hogwarts letter would be arriving only to be tragically disappointed. Hogwarts has lit up the imaginations of readers and movie fans to such a degree that they are crestfallen so hard that it doesn't exist that the discovery Santa isn't actually real seems like a soft blow in comparison.
While the school is undeniably a brilliant fantasy location, if it were judged by the real world standards for educational institutions, it would be considered a horror show. The school is littered with magical monsters, hidden traps, and evil plots. It's an extremely dangerous place that is not only a horrible place to house children, but a horrible one to educate them as well.
It's easy to look at Hogwarts with rose colored glasses, because it's amazing, but maybe if we took them off for a second, it would soften the blow of not getting that letter in the mail so many years ago. Here are 20 things wrong with Hogwarts we all choose to ignore.
Cliques are a major problem in most schools. Many work extremely hard every year to promote ways for students to interact outside of these arbitrary and often abusive social groups. They randomize seating arrangements, stagger lunch shifts, and set up assigned group projects so that students will have to interact with people unlike them.
What they don't do is literally organize everyone by "type" and keep them mostly separated throughout their tenure. Sure, every fan of the books has rushed to find out what house they are, but the sad truth is that the lines dividing these houses are largely arbitrary. Every person has qualities of a Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, or Hufflepuff. Children are hardly fully formed individuals.
But it's not like there's one house that is known for producing evil wizards. Oh, wait, there is a house that harbors people profiled to possibly be evil into a secret room together.
One of the biggest running plot points in the series is that every year there is a different Defense Against The Dark Arts teacher. The idea is that Voldemort wanted this job and somehow cursed the position after he was rejected. This seems like a cop out from the obvious problem here. Dumbledore is horrible at hiring people.
Look at his track record. He hired a werewolf, a disguised Death Eater, his former Death Eater friend, a completely clueless novelist, and literally Voldemort hiding in a quivering coward's body. At least Umbridge was brought in by the government. That one isn't on him.
What's the hiring process for the job like?
"Do you want the Defense Against The Dark Arts position?"
"Sure. Don't you want to do a back ground che-"
"Nah, you look fine. Welcome aboard!"
This one is pretty obvious. There was a snake monster in the pipes.
Imagine a school that everyone knows has a secret chamber that is harboring a monster of some sort. Then this monster starts randomly attacking students. The school doesn't shut down though. It keeps chugging along as if there weren't a monster in the halls.
And it isn't a subtle monster either. It's a giant snake that is slinking in and out of the pipes. Dumbledore's supposed to be the most powerful and brilliant wizard in the world, but he couldn't find the enormous Basilisk just roaming through his halls? It must've been real embarrassing for him when he got upstaged by a second year who destroyed a horcrux while he was eating lemon drops and dreaming about new socks.
Junior high and high school can be a very depressing time. Kids are changing, their biology is shifting, and their childhood's are slipping away in favor of the rising pressure of young adulthood. Many preteens and teens alike have a lot of trouble navigating this turbulent time. But, at least their school wasn't crawling with monsters that are literally the embodiment of depression.
In Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, Hogwarts is infested by Dementors. These creatures not only act as the supernatural prison wardens of the wizarding world, they are also the most horrifying of all the creatures introduced in that universe. They literally suck out happiness and eventually your soul. One would think that after they attacked Harry, they would've been sent packing. Nope.
One of the most meme worthy moments in all of the Harry Potter franchise is the moment when Dumbledore asks Harry "Did yah put your name in dah goblet of fiyah?!" This is a tense dramatic moment because Harry is too young to compete in a competition that features dragons, evil mermaids, and a hardcore maze garden. But the Goblet spit his name out, so there's no going back.
Wait, what? Why?
The Goblet of Fire spits out Harry's name and he's just in now? Without his consent? That doesn't make any sense. The competition is being overseen by a collection of the most powerful wizarding teachers in the world. None of them have the authority to override a cup? Would the cup get angry? Everybody, we've gotta force this underage kid to fight a dragon, lest we provoke the wrath of this fire cup!
The Harry Potter universe has a lot of crazy things in it. It's a bonkers universe with a lot of memorably silly concepts and dangerous challenges. Of all of the various things brought up in the series, the Triwizard tournament might just be the craziest.
Imagine for a second if your high school decided to house students from two other high schools for a year. They'd then hold a giant competition between the three schools. These wouldn't just be physical competitions though. They'd feature dragons, sea monsters, and other dangerous challenges. You'd transfer out of that school pretty fast.
No one really seems to think that the Triwizard tourney is all that weird though, they're all even surprised when Cedric tragically loses his life. To be fair, he did survive the tournament, but the danger during was very much real.
It's never a good sign when there's a section of school grounds that's literally called "The Forbidden Forest". That doesn't exactly fill one with confidence. Not one hundred feet from where the children sleep there is a forest full of deadly magical beasts. Luckily, the students aren't allowed to go inside... unless they're in detention.
In the first book, Hagrid takes a group of FIRST YEAR STUDENTS deep into the forest where they come across a murdered unicorn and a band of dangerous Centaurs. This is a perfectly acceptable detention scenario at Hogwarts, apparently.
Meanwhile, there's a really nice village right outside Hogwarts. It has several quaint little shops and no dangers to speak of. You need a parent or guardian's signed permission to go there though. Because Honeydukes is just so dangerous.
The forbidden forest might be a pretty dangerous thing on the school's grounds, but there is a fairly substantial danger much closer to the actual school. The Whomping Willow is a famous landmark on the grounds. It's mostly played for comic relief though it did prove to be a major plot point in one of the books.
What no one ever seems to care about though, is that there is a monstrous tree sitting right in the middle of the grounds. Why is that okay? Any distracted first year could wander in front of it and be "whomped" to their grave. Oh, well, that's just the Whomping Willow! It's fun!
If wizards were to watch muggle horror movies, they'd likely be very confused. To us, a place being haunted is an existentially horrifying thing. They wouldn't understand this because evidently they think ghosts are rather fun. Like those tricky house guests that regularly come into sitcom households and make friendly chaos. They never actually cause any trouble, right?
Except they do. Hogwarts is an institution that is genuinely proud of how haunted it is. Each one of its major houses has a trademark ghost even! While some of these ghosts are definitely more Casper than the twins from The Shining. What everyone overlooks is that several of these ghosts are regularly tormenting the student body. Ghosts like Peeves and Moaning Myrtle seem to revel in teasing or tormenting the young, sensitive teenagers that roam the halls. That's why muggle schools have regularly scheduled ghostbustings every year.
School lunches have always been a big problem. A lot of this is associated with unhealthy school lunches and a lack of variety. Many districts are trying to combat this by making better meal options.
Hogwarts, however, hosts a giant feast full of unlimited food options (most of which are unhealthy) three times a day. While they may not call all of these meals feasts (they have specially designated feasts several times a year that have even more unhealthy food choices) each meal consists of enough food to feed each and every student four times over. Though that's barely enough to feed one Weasley. Seriously, how are all of those ginger troublemakers so crazy thin? Perhaps there's a spell that gives Hogwarts students enhanced metabolisms. Metabolisma Maxima!
Before this post begins, it's important to note that Snape is one of the most fascinating and complex characters in the entire franchise. The story about his love for Harry's mother is one of the most beautifully twisted things the series throws the reader's way. He is expertly played by the late genius Alan Rickman who is a talent that can never be replaced.
That being said, Snape is a terrible teacher. He is openly abusive to his students, he makes no effort to hide his favoritism of the Slytherin house, and has a very inappropriate obsession with the main character. He doesn't even really seem to have any passion or talent for teaching. Aside from that, he's a former Death Eater which should be bad enough to keep him off of a school's staff.
At any other school, he wouldn't have likely been able to get a teaching job. At Hogwarts he's the head of a house.
The creepy janitor trope is a common one for any fictional school (or ABC hospital sitcom) but Hogwarts may take the cake. Filch is always skulking around hallways, spying on people. He's so creepy that the actor that portrayed him also played the creepiest guy on Game Of Thrones which is an incredible feat.
The scariest part about him is that he apparently used to torture students. In Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone, Filch references hanging students by their thumbs in the dungeons. His line about how he missed the screaming may have been one of the funniest lines from the movies, but it's still pretty horrifying.
One of the things that Hogwarts takes more seriously than anything else is their yearly house cup. All of the teachers have power over the student body by rewarding and punishing them over their house points. These points are given for good deeds or correctly answered questions in class. They are taken away for... pretty much anything the teacher disapproves of.
There doesn't really seem to be any rules or regulations as to what should and shouldn't constitute a point being given or taken away. It really is based on the random whims of any of the teachers.
The points also don't matter because no matter what any of the other houses do throughout the year, Dumbledore will award 1,000 points to Gryffindor just because. Not that he's biased...
Security is a big deal for lots of schools around the world. Students found with weapons of any kind are usually met with the harshest punishments.
At Hogwarts, every student is carrying around a weapon with them at all times. There are dozens of examples of students cursing or attacking each other with their wands. Harry severely wounds Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince. At least the school doesn't do anything that might encourage this behavior though. Except for teaching the students how to duel, various spells that can be weaponized, and one teacher literally teaching students all of the worst spells in the wizarding world. Though that might've been Barty Crouch Jr. in disguise, he still didn't get in trouble for teaching a room full of teenagers how to take over people's minds, torture them, and obliterate them with a few words. There's nothing scary about that.
The Gryffindor common room scenes are some of the best of the entire franchise. The male and female Gryffindors all hanging out in a comfy room with a fireplace, chess sets, and lots of couches seems like a dream. It's also extremely unrealistic.
At no point in the series do we see the many teachers trying to keep an eye on the students. These are teenagers living in an incredibly dangerous time in a co-ed dormitory with no supervision. While some characters do get together here and there, Hogwarts is surprisingly tame and reserved when it comes to inter-house relationships.
Hogwarts is a place that has literally thousands of nifty charms and spells on the grounds. The staircases move, the great hall ceiling projects images of the sky, and the paintings literally talk to you. Pretty much every square foot of the place is enchanted in some way or another, so why are the carriages that take students from the Hogwarts Express hauled by creepy horse demons?
It would be extremely easy to enchant carriages to drive themselves to the castle. Instead, someone decided that the preferable choice would be for Thestrals, these creatures that can only be seen by people who have experienced loss, to take the students to their new school. At best, it gives students the appearance that their carriages are enchanted even though they aren't. (The first lie of many.) At worst, it re-traumatizes students who have been struck by grief in their lives.
One of the big plot points of Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone (or Philosopher's Stone depending on what side of the pond you're on) is that Hogwarts was housing one of the rarest magical objects in the world. The philosopher's stone is an object that grants a person immortality. It's incredibly sought after to the point that Hogwarts has to come up with an elaborate security system that would keep out any advance wizards who would come calling. (Only for it to be beaten by three children.)
The staff announces to all of the students that they should leave this area alone. Which at Hogwarts is basically an invitation. Students could easily stumble inside and be eaten by a three headed dog or murdered by an evil wizard who was trying to steal the stone. Schools really shouldn't be where you house dangerous items. That should be common sense.
The room of requirement is one of the coolest parts of Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix. It's where Harry trains his wizard army that isn't a wizard army despite being named "Dumbledore's Army." The place is one of those endlessly imaginative locales that J.K. Rowling uses so expertly throughout the series.
It's a horror show from an administrative perspective. A room where students can hide with no way of teachers knowing about it is just frightening. Aside from students being able to have "private time" with each other, the room features all kinds of magical objects that haven't been logged. Draco Malfoy literally used an object in there to smuggle in Death Eaters.
Also, how did it get made? What were the Hogwarts contractors even thinking? "Y'know what every school needs? A disappearing room. Who needs to keep up with students?"
There's really only one sport that matters at Hogwarts, Quidditch. It's basically a much more complicated sky soccer with the violent spirit of rugby and the ridiculous scoring system of cricket. The entire thing is one of the greatest concepts in the entire series. It's incredibly fun and led to some of the most exciting cinematic moments in the film adaptations.
While it's really fun, it's a really stupid thing for teachers to let students do. They literally let teenagers fly around at high speeds, with limited padding, while other students try to beat them senseless. Harry nearly loses his life in Quidditch matches several times throughout the series. What kind of school would allow students to play a sport that is proven to be extraordinarily dangerous just for the glorification of school pride?
Was your school the site of the greatest military conflict in a generation? No? The students of Hogwarts went to their campus during Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows thinking they'd have a normal year. What they didn't think was that they'd basically be drafted into one of the greatest and bloodiest battles in wizarding history.
The students who survived were undoubtedly traumatized for life. How hard must it have been for the students to return to the castle the next year? Did those that went to school that year even get to complete their credits? Did they have to retake that year? It's doubtful that they still did O.W.L.'s after they finished cleaning up the rubble.
Maybe keeping the only major wizarding school in a place that is known for harboring fantastical magical objects and is a breeding ground for evil wizards and giant battles is a poor choice. Even if it is really pretty.
What do you think? Did we miss any crazy details about Hogwarts? Let us know in the comments!