Canon discussion / Essays

The Number Seven


"Isn't seven the most powerfully magical number?"
-- Tom Marvolo Riddle to Horace Slughorn (HBP23)

Editor: Michele L. Worley

I have stretched this list to include some instances of numbers containing the word “seven”.

There will be seven books in the series.

“All right, thirty-seven then,” said Dudley, going red in the face.
[counting birthday presents, (PS2)]

“Seven years there and he won’t know himself.” [Hagrid, (PS4)]

“Dragon liver, seventeen Sickles an ounce, they’re mad…”
(PS5, but scheduled for correction in later editions, since a witch would have said “a Galleon” rather than “seventeen Sickles”)

“It’s about the you-know-what in vault seven hundred and thirteen.” [Hagrid at Gringotts, (PS5)]

“What’s the you-know-what in vault seven hundred and thirteen?” [Harry to Hagrid, (PS5)]

“Seventeen silver Sickles to a Galleon” [Hagrid explaining wizarding currency to Harry, (PS5)]

Vault seven hundred and thirteen had no keyhole. (PS5)

“Maple and phoenix feather. Seven inches. Quite whippy. Try -”
[Ollivander to Harry, (PS5)]

He paid seven gold galleons for his wand, and Mr. Ollivander bowed them from his shop (PS5).

Not wanting to miss anything, he got some of everything and paid the woman eleven silver Sickles and seven bronze Knuts (PS6).

And he was off, explaining all about the four balls and the positions of the seven players, describing famous games he’d been to with his brothers and the broomstick he’d like to get if he had the money
[the beginning of a beautiful friendship, (PS6)]

Chapter Seven of book 1 is “The Sorting Hat”, which introduces the Hat itself, Professor Snape, and most of the students in Harry’s year as well as the ghosts. Harry meets Dumbledore and McGonagall in this chapter for the first time he can remember.

Hagrid had emptied vault seven hundred and thirteen, if you could call it emptying, taking out that grubby little package (PS8).

“Light—speedy—we’ll have to get him a decent broom, Professor—a Nimbus Two Thousand or a Cleansweep Seven, I’d say.”
[Oliver Wood, upon being introduced to Harry (PS9)]

They didn’t stop running until they reached the portrait of the Fat Lady on the seventh floor (PS9).

It looked as though Harry had found out where the grubby little package from vault seven hundred and thirteen was (PS9).

Oliver Wood will meet you tonight on the Quidditch field at seven o’clock for your first training session.
[McGonagall’s note to Harry, (PS10)]

As seven o’clock drew nearer, Harry left the castle and set off in the dusk toward the Quidditch field. He’d never been inside the stadium before (PS10).

“There are seven players on each side.”
[Oliver Wood explaining Quidditch to his new Seeker, (PS10)]

Harry learned that there were seven hundred ways of committing a Quidditch foul and that all of them had happened during a World Cup match in 1473
[Harry reading Quidditch Through the Ages, (PS11)]

Gryffindor had won by one hundred and seventy points to sixty (PS11)

If they won their next match, against Hufflepuff, they would overtake Slytherin in the House championship for the first time in seven years (PS13)

The idea of overtaking Slytherin in the House championship was wonderful, no one had done it for seven years, but would they be allowed to, with such a biased referee? (PS13)

He pulled open the next door, both of them hardly daring to look at what came next—but there was nothing very frightening in here, just a table with seven differently shaped bottles standing on it in a line (PS16)

One among us seven will let you move ahead (PS16)

“Everything we need is here on this paper. Seven bottles: three are poison; two are wine; one will get us safely through the black fire, and one will get us back through the purple.” (PS16)

There were seven challenges guarding the Stone, the seventh of which is faced in (PS17). The challenges were:

  1. Fluffy (set by Hagrid)
  2. the Devil’s Snare (set by Sprout)
  3. the winged keys (set by Flitwick)
  4. the chess game (set by McGonagall)
  5. the troll (set by Quirrell)
  6. the riddle of the potions (set by Snape)
  7. the Mirror of Erised (set by Dumbledore)

It was decked out in the Slytherin colours of green and silver to celebrate Slytherin’s winning the House cup for the seventh year in a row (PS17).

“…and Slytherin, four hundred and seventy-two.” (PS17)

Those who could add up while yelling themselves hoarse knew that Gryffindor now had four hundred and seventy-two points—exactly the same as Slytherin (PS17)

It was half past seven in the evening when at last, exhausted, he heard Aunt Petunia calling him (CS1)

Then Harry realized that Ron had covered nearly every inch of the shabby wallpaper with posters of the same seven witches and wizards (CS3)

Last term, Harry and Ron had helped Gryffindor win the House Championship, beating Slytherin for the first time in seven years (CS5)

“Six or seven Muggles in all. I believe your father works in the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office?” (CS5)

Harry yanked his robes straight and headed for a seat at the very back of the class, where he busied himself with piling all seven of Lockhart’s books in front of him, so that he could avoid looking at the real thing (CS6)

Chapter Seven of book 2 is “Mudbloods and Murmurs”.

Nothing seemed to give Colin a bigger thrill than to say, “All right, Harry?” six or seven times a day (CS7)

And from behind the six large figures before them came a seventh, smaller boy, smirking all over his pale, pointed face (CS7)

All seven of them held out their broomsticks. Seven highly polished, brand-new handles and seven set of fine gold lettering spelling the words Nimbus Two Thousand and One gleamed under the Gryffindors’ noses in the early morning sun (CS7)

Ron gaped, open-mouthed, at the seven superb broomsticks in front of him (CS7)

They reported that the Slytherin team was no more than seven greenish blurs, shooting through the air like missiles (CS8)

“Not unless you know where we can get seven free Nimbus Two Thousand and Ones for our match against Sly-” (CS8)

So at seven o’clock, Harry, Ron, and Hermione walked straight past the doorway to the packed Great Hall, which glittered invitingly with gold plates and candles, and directed their steps instead toward the dungeons (CS8)

“And Hermione’s done four feet seven inches and her writing’s tiny…” (CS9)

Indeed, Wendelin the Weird enjoyed being burned so much that she allowed herself to be caught no less than forty-seven times in various disguises (PA1)

“I couldn’t believe it when Dad won the Daily Prophet Draw. Seven hundred Galleons!” (PA1)

Percy, who was in his seventh and final year at Hogwarts, was looking particularly smug (PA1)

“Irish International Side’s just put in an order for seven of these beauties!” (PA4)

Dinner that night was a very enjoyable affair. Tom the innkeeper put three tables together in the parlor, and the seven Weasleys, Harry, and Hermione ate their way through five delicious courses (PA4)

Chapter Seven of book 3 is “The Boggart in the Wardrobe”.

There were seven people on a Quidditch team (PA8)

Oliver Wood was a burly seventeen-year-old, now in his seventh and final year at Hogwarts (PA8)

“Gryffindor hasn’t won for seven years now.” (PA8)

“There are seven in all.”
[Fred, referring to the secret passages connecting Hogwarts to Hogsmeade, (PA10)]

“There are seven secret tunnels on the map, right?” (PA10)

“And the Acid Pops? Fred gave me one of those when I was seven – it burnt a hole right through my tongue.” (PA10)

“Ravenclaw’ll have no chance, they’re all on Cleansweep Sevens!” (PA12)

Sir Cadogan had been sacked. His portrait had been taken back to its lonely landing on the seventh floor, and the Fat Lady was back (PA14).

…Alicia seized it and put it through the Slytherin goal—seventy-ten. (PA15)

“Slytherin in possession, Slytherin heading for goal—Montague scores—” Lee groaned. “Seventy-twenty to Gryffindor…” (PA15)

They walked up the marble staircase together; Hermione left them on the first floor and Harry and Ron proceeded all the way up to the seventh, where many of their class were sitting on the spiral staircase to Professor Trelawney’s classroom, trying to cram in a bit of last-minute revision (PA16)

“…there have been only seven Animagi this century, and Pettigrew’s name wasn’t on the list.” (PA18)

“Sirius is locked in Professor Flitwick’s office on the seventh floor.” (PA21)

Frank was nearing his seventy-seventh birthday now, very deaf, his bad leg stiffer than ever (GF1)

By seven o’clock, the two tables were groaning under dishes and dishes of Mrs. Weasley’s excellent cooking (GF5)

“Krum’s one decent player, Ireland has got seven,” said Charlie shortly (GF5)

Cedric Diggory was an extremely handsome boy of around seventeen (GF6)

“Seven past five from Stoatshead Hill,” said a voice (GF6)

Chapter Seven of book 4 is “Bagman and Crouch”.

“We’ll bet thirty-seven Galleons, fifteen Sickles, three Knuts,” said Fred (GF7)

Seven green blurs swept onto the field (GF8)

And up the stairs came the seven defeated Bulgarian players (GF8)

He was judging by the Weasleys, all seven of whom had been put into Gryffindor (GF12)

“…the list of objects forbidden inside the castle…comprises some four hundred and thirty-seven items, I believe…” (GF12)

“The Triwizard Tournament was first established some seven hundred years ago” (GF12)

“Only students who are of age—that is to say, seventeen years or older—will be allowed to put their names forward for consideration” (GF12)

“…given that the tournament tasks will still be difficult and dangerous, whatever precautions we take, and it is highly unlikely that students below sixth and seventh year will be able to cope with them.” (GF12)

“I therefore beg you not to waste your time submitting yourself if you are under seventeen.” (GF12)

“We’re seventeen in April, why can’t we have a shot?” (GF12)

Fred and George debating the ways in which Dumbledore might stop those who were under seventeen from entering the tournament (GF12)

He had hoodwinked the impartial judge into believing he was seventeen (GF12)

“Or they could Apparate—maybe you’re allowed to do it under seventeen wherever they come from?” (GF15)

“Nobody under the age of seventeen will be able to cross this line” (GF16)

“…it can’t tell whether you’re seventeen or not!” (GF16)

“I don’t think anyone under seventeen will stand a chance,” said Hermione (GF16)

Harry thought briefly of Dumbledore’s insistence that nobody under seventeen should submit their name, but then the wonderful picture of himself winning the Triwizard Tournament filled his mind again… He wondered how angry Dumbledore would be if someone younger than seventeen did find a way to get over the Age Line. (GF16)

Dean and Seamus, who were discussing those Hogwarts students of seventeen or over who might be entering (GF16)

“Are you seventeen, then?” asked Harry (GF16)

She must have dashed through every picture lining seven staircases to reach here before him (GF17)

“Containing a single hair from the tail of a particularly fine male unicorn. . . must have been seventeen hands” (GF18)

…the article (continuing on pages two, six, and seven) had been all about Harry, the names of the Beauxbatons and Durmstrang champions (misspelled) had been squashed into the last line of the article, and Cedric hadn’t been mentioned at all (GF19)

At least thirty wizards, seven or eight to each dragon (GF19)

…the large trunk under the window. It had seven keyholes in a row (GF20)

“George and I invented them—seven Sickles each, a bargain!” (GF21)

Ron hovered behind the bookshelves for a while, watching Krum, debating in whispers with Harry whether he should ask for an autograph—but then Ron realized that six or sevengirls were lurking in the next row of books, debating exactly the same thing, and he lost his enthusiasm for the idea (GF21)

“I has seven now, sir”
[Dobby, referring to socks (GF23)]

so at seven o’clock, when it had become hard to aim properly, the others abandoned their snowball fight and trooped back to the common room (GF23)

Hagrid was a good seven or eight feet tall, judging by the apple tree beside him (GF24)

“Don’ go pure white till they’re full grown, ’round about seven” [Hagrid on unicorn foals, (GF26)]

He swam swiftly toward a seven-foot-tall merman with a long green beard and a choker of shark fangs (GF26)

“We therefore award him forty-seven points.” (GF26)

“Snape knew more curses when he arrived at school than half the kids in seventh year, and he was part of a gang of Slytherins who nearly all turned out to be Death Eaters.” (GF27)

Dumbledore walked over to the trunk with seven locks (GF35)

Then he placed the seventh key in the lock, threw open the lid, and Harry let out a cry of amazement (GF35)

The opening notes of the music that heralded the seven o’clock news reached Harry’s ears and his stomach turned over (OP1)

“Lovely evening!” shouted Uncle Vernon, waving at Mrs. Number Seven opposite (OP1)

“How old was your opponent? Seven? Eight?” (OP1)

“Mistress would never forgive Kreacher if the tapestry was thrown out, seven centuries it’s been in the family” (OP6)

“…when I was seventeen I got a place of my own” (OP6)

Chapter Seven of book 5 is “The Ministry of Magic”, which introduces the setting that will later be turned into a battleground.

“Level Seven, Department of Magical Games and Sports” (OP7)

“If you can get away before seven, Molly’s making meatballs.” (OP7)

“Knowing that you are not permitted to use magic outside school while you are under the age of seventeen?” (OP8)

“Clause Seven of the Decree states that magic may be used before Muggles in exceptional circumstances” (OP8)

“We are familiar with Clause Seven, thank you very much!” snarled Fudge (OP8)

“…naught to seventy in ten seconds, not bad, is it?” (OP9)

Riffling through it to page fifty-seven, she turned it resolutely upside-down again and disappeared behind it (OP10)

“We seriously debated whether we were going to bother coming back for our seventh year,” said George brightly (OP11)

“Add powdered moonstone, stir three times counter-clockwise, allow to simmer for seven minutes then add two drops of syrup of hellebore.” (OP12)

He had not added syrup of hellebore, but had proceeded straight to the fourth line of the instructions after allowing his potion to simmer for seven minutes (OP12)

She’s evil, he thought, as he climbed a staircase to the seventh floor (OP13)

The sky was darkening, and Harry doubted he would be able to see the sixth and seventh people at all (OP13)

(For a full account of Madam Marchbanks’s alleged links to…subversive goblin groups, turn to page seventeen.) (OP15)

“So I want you down at the pitch at seven o’clock tonight, because we’ve got to make up time.” (OP18)

The weather did not improve as the day wore on, so that at seven o’clock that evening, when Harry and Ron went down to the Quidditch pitch for practice, they were soaked through within minutes, their feet slipping and sliding on the sodden grass. (OP18)

“Tonight, eight o’clock, seventh floor opposite that tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy being clubbed by those trolls.” (OP18)

At half past seven Harry, Ron and Hermione left the Gryffindor common room, Harry clutching a certain piece of aged parchment in his hand. Fifth-years were allowed to be out in the corridors until nine o’clock, but all three of them kept looking around nervously as they made their way along the seventh floor. (OP18)

He pulled out the Marauder’s Map again and checked it carefully for signs of teachers on the seventh floor. (OP18)

When Slytherins, some of them seventh-years and considerably larger than he was, muttered as they passed in the corridors, ‘Got your bed booked in the hospital wing, Weasley?’ he didn’t laugh, but turned a delicate shade of green. (OP19)

“I reckon abou’ seventy or eighty,” said Hagrid. (OP20)

“I reckon we had abou’ six or seven o’ them convinced at one poin’.”
” Six or seven?” said Ron eagerly. (OP20)

“So, it’s breakfast for—let’s see—seven…bacon and eggs, I think, and some tea, and toast—” (OP22)

another seven owls landed amongst the first ones (OP26)

Any student found in possession of the magazine The Quibbler will be expelled. The above is in accordance with Educational Decree Number Twenty-seven. (OP26)

“She said that if I proceeded to a secret room on the seventh floor, sometimes known as the Room of Requirement, I would find out something to my advantage.” (OP27)

“Well, Miss Edgecombe tipped me off and I proceeded at once to the seventh floor, accompanied by certain trustworthy students, so as to catch those in the meeting red-handed. It appears that they were forewarned of my arrival, however, because when we reached the seventh floor they were running in every direction.” (OP27)

The weather grew breezier, brighter and warmer as the Easter holidays passed, but Harry, along with the rest of the fifth- and seventh-years, was trapped inside (OP29)

“Well, Potter, this meeting is to talk over any career ideas you might have, and to help you decide which subjects you should continue into the sixth and seventh years,” said Professor McGonagall (OP29)

“She started going out with him in seventh year,” said Lupin (OP29)

He had hurried straight towards row number ninety-seven (OP30)

“Not so good on Tuesday—only seven and a quarter.” (OP31)

Meanwhile, a flourishing black-market trade in aids to concentration, mental agility and wakefulness had sprung up among the fifth- and seventh-years. (OP31)

Once breakfast was over, the fifth- and seventh-years milled around in the Entrance Hall while the other students went off to lessons (OP31)

Once again he was in the cathedral-sized room full of shelves and glass spheres…his heart was beating very fast now…he was going to get there this time…when he reached number ninety-seven he turned left and hurried along the aisle between two rows… (OP31)

There’s a room in the Department of Mysteries full of shelves covered in these little glass balls and they’re at the end of row ninety-seven (OP32)

Harry turned: no fewer than six or seven Thestrals were picking their way through the trees (OP33)

“You said it was row ninety-seven,” whispered Hermione (OP34)

“Ninety-seven!” whispered Hermione (OP34)

He strode back to where they were all standing, a little way down row ninety-seven, but found nothing except Ron staring at one of the dusty glass spheres on the shelf (OP34)

“You’ve got him,” said Harry, ignoring the rising panic in his chest, the dread he had been fighting since they had first entered the ninety-seventh row (OP35)

They were at the end of row ninety-seven (OP35)

born as the seventh month dies (OP37)

7. Unconfirmed sightings suggest that the Death Eaters may now be using Inferi (see page 10) (HBP3)

Though he already knew it by heart, Harry had been stealing glances at this missive every few minutes since seven o’clock that evening (HBP3)

“but in the Wizarding world, we come of age at seventeen” (HBP3)

“This magic will cease to operate the moment that Harry turns seventeen; in other words, at the moment he becomes a man. I ask only this: that you allow Harry to return, once more, to this house, before his seventeenth birthday, which will ensure that the protection continues until that time.” (HBP3)

“I thought you had to be seventeen?” (HBP4)

“Seven OWLs, that’s more than Fred and George got together!” (HBP5)

Chapter Seven of book 6 is “The Slug Club”.

Neville nodded, looking scared. At a gesture from Slughorn, they sat down opposite each other in the only two empty seats, which were nearest the door. Harry glanced around at their fellow guests. He recognized a Slytherin from their year, a tall black boy with high cheekbones and long, slanting eyes; there were also two seventh-year boys Harry did not know and, squashed in the corner beside Slughorn and looking as though she was not entirely sure how she had got there, Ginny.
(HBP7) [Also note that seven students are present.]

Zabini, who was interrogated after McLaggen, turned out to have a famously beautiful witch for a mother (from what Harry could make out, she had been married seven times… (HBP7)

They returned to the common room, which was empty apart from a half dozen seventh years (HBP9)

“Once when I was twenty-four, once when I was fifty-seven.” (HBP9)

According to the addition the previous owner made, however, he ought to add a clockwise stir after every seventh counterclockwise stir (HBP9)

Seven stirs counterclockwise, one clockwise, pause . . . seven stirs counterclockwise, one stir clockwise . . . (HBP9)

Seven of spades: an ill omen (HBP10)

Harry waited until he was quite sure she had gone, then hurried off again until he reached the spot in the seventh-floor corridor where a single gargoyle stood against the wall (HBP10)

Half of Gryffindor House seemed to have turned up, from first years who were nervously clutching a selection of the dreadful old school brooms, to seventh years who towered over the rest, looking coolly intimidating (HBP11)

Ginny Weasley, who had outflown all the competition and scored seventeen goals to boot (HBP11)

“There’s a practice tonight, seven o’clock.” (HBP14)

They hurried up the stairs and along a seventh-floor corridor (HBP14)

“Well, good night, Harry” said Hermione, though it was only seven o’clock in the evening (HBP15)

“I’ll be seventeen in two and a bit months’ time” (HBP16)

“You wait, when I’m seventeen—” (HBP16)

If you are seventeen years of age, or will turn seventeen on or before the 31st August next, you are eligible for a twelve-week course of Apparition Lessons from a Ministry of Magic Apparition instructor. Please sign below if you would like to participate. Cost: 12 Galleons. (HBP17)

“Soon as we’re seventeen. That’s only March for me!” (HBP17)

Rigidly controlled by Riddle, they were never detected in open wrongdoing, although their seven years at Hogwarts were marked by a number of nasty incidents to which they were never satisfactorily linked (HBP17)

“Seventy-forty to Hufflepuff!” (HBP19)

“What did they row about?” he asked, trying to sound casual as they turned onto a seventh-floor corridor that was deserted but for a very small girl who had been examining a tapestry of trolls in tutus (HBP20)

“Thus far, as I hope you agree, I have shown you reasonably firm sources of fact for my deductions as to what Voldemort did until the age of seventeen?” (HBP20)

He reached the seventh year of his schooling with, as you might have expected, top grades in every examination he had taken (HBP20)

Those who would be seventeen on or before the first test date, the twenty-first of April, had the option of signing up for additional practice sessions, which would take place (heavily supervised) in Hogsmeade (HBP21)

Harry, who would not be seventeen for another four months, could not take the test whether ready or not (HBP21)

He has been making regular visits to the seventh floor with a variety of other students, who keep watch for him while he enters (HBP21)

Harry for the corridor on the seventh floor and the stretch of wall opposite the tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy teaching trolls to do ballet (HBP21)

And so the following weekend, Ron joined Hermione and the rest of the sixth years who would turn seventeen in time to take the test in a fortnight (HBP21)

There were a few people out in the grounds, and there, alone in the seventh-floor corridor, was Gregory Goyle (HBP21)

“Fifty-seventh time lucky, you think?” (HBP22)

“Not turned seventeen yet?” (HBP22)

“Wouldn’t it be better, make you stronger, to have your soul in more pieces, I mean, for instance, isn’t seven the most powerfully magical number, wouldn’t seven—?” (HBP23)

“And in any case . . . bad enough to divide the soul . . . but to rip it into seven pieces . . .” (HBP23)

“‘Wouldn’t it be better, make you stronger, to have your soul in more pieces . . . isn’t seven the most powerfully magical number . . .’ Isn’t seven the most powerfully magical number. Yes, I think the idea of a seven-part soul would greatly appeal to Lord Voldemort.” (HBP23)

“He made seven Horcruxes?” (HBP23)

“But firstly, no, Harry, not seven Horcruxes: six. The seventh part of his soul, however maimed, resides inside his regenerated body. That was the part of him that lived a spectral existence for so many years during his exile; without that, he has no self at all. That seventh piece of soul will be the last that anybody wishing to kill Voldemort must attack—the piece that lives in his body” (HBP23)

“However, a withered hand does not seem an unreasonable exchange for a seventh of Voldemort’s soul.” (HBP23)

“. . . but if we are right in our theory of a seven-part soul, four Horcruxes remain.” (HBP23)

and only vaguely registered the small group of seventh years clustered together there, until Hermione cried, “Katie! You’re back!” (HBP24)

Harry made his usual detour along the seventh-floor corridor (HBP24)

hurtled off along the seventh-floor corridor (HBP24)

his voice cracking as he tipped the seventh glass of potion into Dumbledore’s mouth (HBP26)

six or seven of them crumpled (HBP26)

“I’ve got to find them and destroy them and then I’ve got to go after the seventh bit of Voldemort’s soul . . .” (HBP30)


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