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Atlas & Gazetteer Updated for Deathly Hallows

Gringotts Wizarding Bank

"Gringotts is the safest place in the world fer anything yeh want ter keep safe -- 'cept maybe Hogwarts."
    --  Rubeus Hagrid, PS5

Gringotts, from PS/fIntroduction


Partway down Diagon Alley, near its intersection with Knockturn Alley, stands an imposing snow-white marble building: Gringotts Wizarding Bank (CS4). "Towering over the other shops" (DH26), it is the place where British witches and wizards store their money and other valuables, in vaults miles below ground. The vaults are heavily guarded - as Hagrid says, "yeh'd be mad teh try an' rob it" (PS5).

The centuries-old bank is run by goblins, and they alone know the secrets of the twisting underground passages and the enchantments (and creatures!) in place to defend against intruders (PS5). The goblins have a code that forbids them to speak of the bank's secrets, and would consider it "base treachery" to break any part of that code (DH24, DH25).

There was a rumor that Cornelius Fudge was trying to take over Gringotts when he was Minister for Magic; however, as it was published in the Quibbler, it was likely unsubstantiated (OP10).


Entrance & Main Hall


From Diagon Alley, a set of white stairs (CS4) leads up to a set of burnished bronze doors. The doors are flanked by a goblin in a uniform of scarlet and gold (PS5), though during war time the goblin was replaced instead by two wizards with Probity Probes (DH26). This is the entrance to Gringotts, and it leads into a small entrance hall and another set of doors. Engraved on these silver doors are the words:

Enter, stranger, but take heed
Of what awaits the sin of greed,
For those who take, but do not earn,
Must pay most dearly in their turn.
So if you seek beneath our floors
A treasure that was never yours,
Thief, you have been warned, beware
Of finding more than treasure there.
(PS5)


Though these doors - again, flanked by goblins - is a vast marble hall with, by Harry's estimation, a hundred or more goblins sitting at counters. Leading off the hall are "too many doors to count," and it is through at least one (and probably more) of these that customers access the vaults. (PS5).


The Gringotts Vaults


In contrast to the grand marble of the entryway and the main hall, the passageways to the vaults are stone and dimly lit with flaming torches. They slope down to a track, upon which run little carts controlled by the goblins (DH26). These carts take visitors deep beneath the surface of the earth, through a "maze of twisting passages," to the vaults. The carts only go one speed - fast - which makes Hagrid a little queasy and prevents its occupants from getting a good look at their surroundings (PS5), and seem to run on a vast, complex, interconnected series of tracks that allow them to move to and between any vaults (PS5, CS4).

The vaults themselves vary in size and security. The largest, most well protected vaults belong to the oldest wizarding families and lie deepest beneath the surface (DH25). Those vaults closer to the surface seem to be smaller and have fewer security precautions surrounding them - they use keys, for example, rather than requiring the touch of a goblin to gain access. We know of several vaults specifically:
The rules around who is allowed to access vaults seem odd. We've seen wizards asked for identification (DH26) or a key (PS5) to be allowed access, yet both Molly (GF10) and Bill (HBP6) are able to get gold from Harry's vault for him. Perhaps there is a charm forcing the wizard to give the gold to its rightful owner. However, even this wouldn't explain how Sirius was able to send Crookshanks to order a Firebolt in Harry's name, but take the gold from his own vault - despite being an escaped convict at the time (PA22).

It also seems that only blood relations can inherit a Gringotts vault; Dumbledore implies strongly that when Sirius died as the last of the Black family line, his vault was cleaned out and its contents added to Harry's, rather than Harry inheriting the vault as well (HBP3).


Security


From the time he first learns of Gringotts, Harry hears too the rumor that dragons guard the bank's high-security vaults (PS5) - a rumor he later confirms himself (DH26). However, there are many other security measures on Gringotts vaults as well. Those we know of include:
In times of war, additional security precautions are taken:

Break-ins


We only know of two Gringotts break-ins, though it's likely there have been more throughout history. The first happened on July 31, 1991, when Quirinius Quirrell - ordered to do so by Voldemort - broke into vault 713 in search of the Philosopher's Stone. However, nothing was stolen, as Hagrid had emptied the vault earlier that same day (PS8, PS17).

The second break-in was much more successful, and happened in May 1998. Hermione used Polyjuice Potion to disguise herself as Bellatrix Lestrange, and despite immediately arousing goblin suspicions, she, Harry, Ron, and Griphook used an invisibility cloak, Confundus Charms, Imperius Curses, and Stunners to great effect, stealing Hufflepuff's cup from the Lestrange vault and escaping on the back of a dragon, leaving the bank in ruins (DH26).


Jobs at Gringotts


There seem to be a number of jobs available at Gringotts for wizards, in addition to those positions held by goblins, though they are largely behind-the-scenes. Bill Weasley took a job as a Curse-Breaker (or Charm-Breaker, GF10), hunting treasure in Egypt after his graduation from Hogwarts (PA1) . The job was described in a pamphlet available to Hogwarts students:

"Are you seeking a challenging career involving travel, adventure, and substantial, danger-related treasure bonuses? Then consider a position with Gringotts Wizarding Bank, who are currently recruiting Curse-Breakers for thrilling opportunities abroad" (OP29).


When he wanted to do work for the Order of the Phoenix, Bill transferred to a desk job in England to be near home (OP4). That same year, Fleur Delacour took a job at Gringotts as well, to improve her English (OP4), though she only works part-time (HBP5). There also seems to be a full-time security force that is comprised of wizards, and that rushes to the scene when the Lestranges vault is broken into (DH26).

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