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Other Denizens of Hogwarts Castle

Through squares of moonlight upon the floor, past suits of armor whose helmets creaked at the sound of their soft footsteps, around corners beyond which who knew what lurked, Harry and Luna walked, checking the Marauder’s Map whenever light permitted, twice pausing to allow a ghost to pass without drawing attention to themselves (DH29).

Other Denizens of Hogwarts Castle

Hogwarts is a place of many surprises. Not only are the doors and staircases unusual, but also the paintings on the walls and the suits of armor in the corridors act in ways a visitor might not expect. Everything seems to be alive in some fashion. The armor creaks and moves and even laughs at unsuspecting students. And the paintings… well, the paintings are practically full-fledged Beings. They speak and interact, not just with the humans in the castle but even with each other.


painting of a bowl of fruit

One of a series of cheerful paintings (mainly still lifes featuring food, although “still life” is a rather relative term to use in the wizarding world) that hang in a broad stone corridor to the left of the staircase leading one flight down from the Entrance Hall. The painting of the bowl of fruit will open to reveal the entrance to the Hogwarts kitchens if the pear is tickled (GF21)

painting of Sir Cadogan

Sir Cadogan is a little knight whose picture hangs in a seventh-floor corridor near the South Tower. He is a silly fellow whose bravura outshines his commons sense and who glories in quests and challenges. Sir Cadogan spent some time guarding the Gryffindor Common Room after Sirius Black attacked the Fat Lady (he was the only painting brave enough to take the job). He thought up ridiculous passwords and changed them on a daily basis. He challenged people to duels whenever they would try to enter or leave through the portrait hole. Sir Cadogan has a huge sword and a little fat pony (PA6, PA9) He chased after Harry when Sir Cadogan’s picture was hanging on a landing near the North Tower and the Divination classroom, but was stopped in his pursuit when he entered a picture which had a large and angry-looking wolfhound in it (OP12)

painting of a group of women in crinolines

This painting hangs on the narrow spiral staircase leading up to Professor Trelawney’s classroom in North Tower (PA6)

portrait of the Fat Lady

She appears in a painting of wearing a pink silk dress hangs over the round doorway into the Gryffindor Common Room. To gain admittance to through the portrait hole, a person must give the correct password to the Fat Lady, in which case she swings her frame out from the wall. She has been known to get a bit testy with people who wake her up for no good reason and even to wander off late at night out of her frame to go visiting, making it impossible to get into Gryffindor Tower. She is friends with Violet (GF17). At Christmas, The Fat Lady and Violet tend to consume a good bit of holiday cheer; during Harry’s fourth year they got a bit tipsy on chocolate liqueurs (GF23), and over the holidays of Harry’s sixth year they drank their way through quite a lot of five-hundred-year-old wine (HBP17).

landscape with trees

On the fourth floor. Peeves saw the Fat Lady running through this painting after she fled from Sirius’ attack (PA9)

painting of a mermaid
She resembles the mermaids of folklore (that is, like merfolk who live in warm climates such as the Mediterranean Sea) rather than like the merpeople living in Hogwarts’ own lake. Her painting hangs in the prefects’ bathroom; she apparently flirts with the young gentlemen while they bathe, which doesn’t seem to impress Myrtle much (GF25).

painting of a group of monks

Hangs on the narrow spiral staircase leading up to Professor Trelawney’s classroom in North Tower (PA6). At first Harry thought they looked “sinister”.

painting of a soppy-looking witch standing in a meadow

Her painting seems to hang in the Entrance Hall (OP28). “Soppy” in this case means “overly emotional, maudlin, weepy .”

portrait of Violet (“Vi”)

Vi is the Fat Lady’s best friend, a wizened, pale old witch whose painting is located in the antechamber off the Great Hall (GF17, GF23, HBP17).

portrait of a wizard with a walrus mustache

His painting hangs next to Violet’s in the antechamber off the Great Hall (GF17).

painting of wizards playing cards

This painting is located in the Entrance Hall, next to the painting of the soppy-looking witch in the meadow (OP28)

painting which conceals the entrance to the Hufflepuff common room

Like the Gryffindor common room, the entrance to the Hufflepuff common room is hidden behind a painting. In the case of Hufflepuff, the painting is a still life and it’s located in a corridor somewhat below the level of the Entrance Hall, near the kitchens:

The Hufflepuff common room is accessed through a portrait near the kitchens, as I am sure you have deduced. Sorry – I should say ‘painting’ rather than portrait, because it is a still-life (BLC).

map of Argyllshire

This map of a region of Scotland hangs on second floor. The Fat Lady hid here after being attacked by Sirius (PA9)

portraits of previous headmasters

These portraits apparently spend their days snoozing in the Headmaster’s office (CS12). In fact, often they are faking sleep and listening to everything that goes on; they are duty-bound to help the current Headmaster in any way they can, which usually means travelling to their other portraits on other places and reporting what they see or delivering messages. The following portraits are specifically mentioned:

  • Albus Dumbledore – hangs directly behind the headmaster’s chair, concealing a hiding place (DH33)
  • Phineas Nigellus Black – visits his portrait in number twelve Grimmauld Place
  • Armando Dippet
  • Dilys Derwent – visits St. Mungo’s, where she had been a Healer
  • Everard – visits the Ministry of Magic
  • Dexter Fortescue
  • Severus Snape – eventually, Harry Potter saw to it that Snape’s portrait joined those of the other historical Heads of the school in this honored position (BLC, OBT/NYC):

Some have been asking why hasn’t the portrait appeared immediately. It doesn’t. The reason is that the perception in the castle itself and everyone who was in the castle, because Snape kept his secret so well was that he abandoned his post. So all the portraits you see in the headmaster’s study are all headmasters and mistresses who died, it’s like British royals. You only get good press if you die in office … I know, because I thought this one through, because it was very important to me, I know Harry would have insisted that Snape’s portrait was on that wall, right beside Dumbledore’s (OBT/NYC).

suits of armour

Suits of armour stand in a number of places around the castle. They are empty, mere metal and leather, but they do seem to have some amount of magical animation and even sentience to them.

They seem to move about:

The people in the portraits kept going to visit each other, and Harry was sure the coats of armour could walk. (PS8)

A suit of armour at the top of the staircase with the trick step laughs at Neville getting stuck:

Neville’s foot had sunk right through a step halfway up the staircase.  There were many of these trick stairs at Hogwarts; it was second nature to most of the older students to jump this particular step, but Neville’s memory was notoriously poor.  Harry and Ron seized him under the armpits and pulled him out, while a suit of armour at the top of the stairs creaked and clanked, laughing wheezily. “Shut it, you,” said Ron, banging down its visor as they passed (GF12).

The suits of armour creak on their own (CS5, DH29)

There is a suit of armour near the kitchens (PS12)

A suit of armour stands next to the front doors of the castle (CS12)

The suits of armour were bewitched into singing Christmas carols, but didn’t know all the words:

Everlasting icicles had been attached to the banisters of the marble staircase; the usual twelve Christmas trees in the Great Hall were bedecked with everything from luminous holly berries to real, hooting, golden owls, and the suits of armor had all been bewitched to sing carols whenever any­one passed them.  It was quite something to hear “O Come, All Ye Faithful” sung by an empty helmet that only knew half the words.  Several times, Filch the caretaker had to extract Peeves from inside the armour, where he had taken to hiding, filling in the gaps in the songs with lyrics of his own invention, all of which were very rude (GF22). During the Christmas Eve visit to Godric’s Hollow in 1997, Harry hears Christmas carols being sung in the church as they pass which reminds him of Hogwarts and of Peeves “bellowing rude versions of carols from inside suits of armour” (DH16).

Strange lights shine inside for Christmas (PA11), sometimes including everlasting candles (HBP15).

They still moved on their own, but did so silently after they’d been oiled for the visit by Durmstrang and Beauxbatons (GF15)

A suit of armour stands in the corridor near the office of the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. It turned its head to watch Harry as he hid behind it (OP29).

Peeves trapped Mrs. Norris inside suits of armour a couple of times (OP30).

In the Battle of Hogwarts, McGonagall uses the spell Piertotum Locomotor to call the suits of armour and statues of the castle to animate and defend Hogwarts (DH30).


Boris the Bewildered

a lost-looking wizard with his gloves on the wrong hands near the prefects’ bathroom on the fifth floor (GF25)

Gregory the Smarmy 

Stands in front of the entrance to a secret passage that the twins say they found during their first week at Hogwarts (PS9)


Near the bathroom where Hermione met the troll on the second floor stands a large stone statue of a griffin (PS10)

A statue of a humpbacked witch

This statue probably depicts Gunhilda of Gorsemoor, the famous healer. It stands halfway along a third-floor corridor between the staircase leading from the Entrance Hall and the way to Gryffindor Tower, this statue conceals the entrance to a secret passage leading to Honeydukes’ cellar (PA10)

Lachlan the Lanky

Located on the seventh floor very close to the head of the stairs leading down to the sixth floor. Ron hid from the twins behind it to avoid being teased about wanting to try out for Keeper (OP13)

Bust of Paracelsus

Located halfway down the corridor leading from the Gryffindor common room to the shortest route to the Owlery; requires a right turn from the common room (OP14)

Wilfrid the Wistful

Located between Gryffindor Tower and the Owlery, requires a left turn from the common room. Mrs. Norris disappeared behind this statue while setting out to report to Filch after encountering Harry on his way to the Owlery, so a secret passage or short cut may be in its vicinity (OP14)

A stone gargoyle

This statue protects the entrance to the Headmaster’s office, and will leap aside only if given the proper password; this statue has not spoken to Harry when spoken to or even when kicked (CS11)

two stone gargoyles

These stone guardians stand on either side of the door of the staffroom; they challenge any student who tries to knock on the door (OP17, DH31)

winged boars

Statues of winged boars flank the entrance gates (PA5)

One suit of armor was involved in the battle between McGonagall, Flitwick, and Snape just before the Battle of Hogwarts. During the battle, McGonagall animated the statues and armor to fight (DH30) using a Piertotum Locomotor spell.


Tapestries on the walls of the corridors sometimes hide secret passages (PS9, CS8, OP28, HBP14), including the entrance to the staircase with the trick step (GF12, GF25).

There are tapestries in the Gryffindor common room (HBP9).

A magically moving tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy depicting his foolish attempt to train trolls for the ballet, hangs on the seventh floor of Hogwarts Castle, opposite the entrance to the Room of Requirement (OP18, OP26, HBP20).



over a hundred live and work at Hogwarts


several turned up in PA, which suggests that they are fairly common

Peeves the poltergeist (sort of a ghost, but not really)


At least twenty ghosts live in Hogwarts castle, including the four House ghosts.

secret passages

behind the statue of Gregory the Smarmy – (unknown to Filch up through Harry’s third year)

under the hump of the statue of the hump-backed witch, leads to Honeydukes’ cellar (PA10) – (unknown to Filch up through Harry’s third year)

under the Whomping Willow, leads to the Shrieking Shack (PA10) – (unknown to Filch up through Harry’s third year)

one that is caved in, Hogwarts entrance is behind a mirror on the fourth floor (PA10)

strange stairways

one with a trick step halfway up – your foot sinks into it (GF12, 25 )

the staircase up to Dumbledore’s office moves magically upward, like an escalator (CS11, OP22, DH36)

Although the films show a huge hall filled floor to ceiling with moving staircases, the books only mention one. It is refered to as “the swivelling staircase”, which suggests that it’s the only one (OP32). There is mention, however, of staircases that lead someplace different on different days (PS8).

weird doors

The huge oak front doors of Hogwarts are apparently semi-sentient, because Flitwick taught them to recognize a picture of Sirius Black so that they could refuse to let him enter the castle (PA9)


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