The First Wizarding School: The Castle
Hogwarts has not always been the seven-story
castle it is today. While proper documentation has never been found, popular
theory claims that the founders originally built a structure that resembled a
mansion, or a schoolhouse. However, the founders optimistically believed that
Hogwarts would grow to the point where students would no longer fit within its
walls. With this in mind, they enchanted the building to grow along with the
number of students. While Godric Gryffindor, Salazar Slytherin, and Helga Hufflepuff
did most of the collaborative spellwork, Rowena Ravenclaw designed and then
inserted most of the architecture of the castle into the original building on a
theoretical basis. Small features of the original structure were later
magnified into more magnificent structures as Hogwarts grew into a castle. In
order to keep students constantly on their toes, Rowena enchanted the different
rooms on each floor to occasionally change position. This ability was gradually
adopted by other parts of the castle, manifesting itself in features such as
the changing staircases.
Over the course of his time at Hogwarts, Salazar
filled nearly every wall space with moving portraits and photographs. While
some historians (who believe Salazar’s eventual dismissal from the castle
stemmed from a gradual mental breakdown) insist it was because of a growing
paranoia, most believe that he was at full mental capacity at his departure,
and used the portraits to spy on his fellow founders in order to learn titbits
of information he could later use against them.
The portraits are not strictly a part of shady
business, however, as their allegiances change often. Many a witch and wizard
who spend genuine time with a portrait or two have received timely token
At the time of Hogwarts’ creation, only a few
rooms were reserved for each founder’s students, but like many other features,
each set of rooms eventually expanded and gathered into separate wings
displaying trademark characteristics of each of their patrons.
The location of Hogwarts is somewhat vague, though
it is known to be in the Scottish Highlands, near the all-wizard village of
Hogsmeade. Hogwarts provides many learning opportunities for its students.
Behind the castle lies the Black Lake, approximately a half mile in diameter.
The lake houses several other species, including grindylows, an enormous giant
squid, and a colony of mer-people.
The Black Lake has commonly been given a negative
reputation. This belief may stem from the fact that Slytherin house has been
tied to its depths in more than one way. Not only is the Slytherin common room
located beneath the lake itself, but prevailing rumours insist that Salazar’s
Chamber of Secrets was also created somewhere nearby.
To the right of the main castle is a dense forest,
known by students as “The Forbidden Forest.” With few exceptions are students
allowed to enter, although the forest offers supplies and educational tools for
many classes such as Care of Magical Creatures and Herbology. The forest has
not been explored thoroughly by any witch or wizard, but many creatures have
been found within, from centaurs to unicorns to thestrals. A small hut lies on
the outskirts of the forest that serves as either a supply building or the
Gamekeeper’s house, depending largely on the amount of fear each Hogwarts
Gamekeeper has held for The Forbidden Forest. The current Hogwarts Gamekeeper,
Rubeus Hagrid, has dedicated a large amount of time to unearthing the mysteries
of the Forbidden Forest. Through his research, Hagrid has discovered many
surprising facts about various Magical Beasts, including the Acromantula.
Hogwarts’ Quidditch pitch lies to the left of the
castle, and is very large for the time in which it was built. By today’s
standards, the Hogwarts pitch houses minimal seating, even though portions of
it have been rebuilt numerous times. Unruly bludgers and other forms of
destruction constantly require rebuilding of the outer walls and stands, but
Hogwarts staff remains determined that the structure should remain the same.
The remainder of the grounds are largely empty, with the exception of the
Whomping Willow. Recently grown and from unknown origins, the tree has become a
sort of school symbol. While few (if any) would claim any affection for the
tree, its quirkiness seamlessly adds to the many mysteries of Hogwarts.