Hogwarts Wizarding Culture
Harry Potter Lexicon Minute

OP18: Hats, Cloaks, and Curfews


OP18: Hats, Cloaks, and Curfews

I thoroughly enjoyed chapter 18 of Order of the Phoenix, so much so that I had trouble picking out one thing to talk about in this podcast. The text is just so rich with wonderful conversations and characterizations — just read through that marvelous scene with Peeves throwing ink pellets around — it’s hard to find one thing to focus on. So I decided to pull out two random cool things that I noticed as I read.

First of all, there are the hats. This book was published in 2003, before the Prisoner of Azkaban film was released. That means that it was written before Alfonso Cuarón completely changed the visual tone of the films and with it our own visual interpretation of Harry’s world. When book five was written, we were still more or less seeing Rowling’s vision as seen in the first two films. Specifically to that point, in book five they’re still wearing robes and pointed hats. The films’ elimination of robes to be replaced by British school uniforms hadn’t happened yet.

If you’ve forgotten about the hats, remember the ones each student was required to purchase before coming to Hogwarts for the first time. You will recall that Harry’s school list in book one stated:

First-year students will require:

1. Three sets of plain work robes (black)

2. One plain pointed hat (black) for day wear

3. One pair of protective gloves (dragon hide or similar)

4. One winter cloak (black, silver fastenings)

And here in chapter 18 of book five, those hats are still mentioned. Here’s what it says:

‘What’s up?’ said several voices.
Harry emerged from behind his towel; the changing room was blurred because he was not wearing his glasses, but he could still tell that everyone’s face was turned towards him.
‘Nothing,’ he muttered, ‘I – poked myself in the eye, that’s all.’
But he gave Ron a significant look and the two of them hung back as the rest of the team filed back outside, muffled in their cloaks, their hats pulled low over their ears.

So there’s the hats and the cloaks for you.

A second cool thing is that we get a glimpse of one of the mundane details of life as a student at Hogwarts. It says:

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.

That implies that there are earlier curfew times for younger kids and maybe later ones yet for the sixth and seventh years. What might those other times be? This is a bit of a mystery. Since things like the Duelling Club and even the DA meetings are scheduled at eight o’clock, both of which were attended by second years, what would that earlier curfew be? Eight thirty? Seems unlikely, since both of those events could reasonably be expected to last more than a half hour. So if everyone is allowed out until nine, why does Rowling write that “fifth-years were allowed to be out”? Wouldn’t it make more sense to just say “Students were allowed”?



In the Harry Potter Lexicon Minute podcast you’ll hear the voices of our editors sharing some of the many little things which delight us about the Wizarding World. In each podcast, just a couple of minutes in length, we’ll talk about anything from cool trivia and interesting canon passages to the latest Wizarding World news. We hope you’ll join us! And we’d love to hear from you as well. Feel free to use the comment section on the blogpost for each podcast to post your thoughts.

Special thanks go to Felicia Cano who gave us permission to use her amazing artwork of Hermione reading a book for the logo, which was created by Kim B.

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Music: "Winter Chimes" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

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