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Doing the Math: How many kids are at Hogwarts?

by David Haber

On October 16, 2000, in an interview, J.K. Rowling was asked, "How many students attend Hogwarts, and how many students per year per house?" and she replied, simply, "There are about a thousand students at Hogwarts." And because she said it, this has persisted as the proper answer accepted by most fans. But I don't see how that could be correct.

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Reader Comments: (Page 12)

This is a difficult one. Is there a right answer? Do we go with JKR herself or the books that she wrote?

In any case, we can all agree that there is a discrepency. David's math is completely correct.

I think it comes down to one simple thing. JKR must have always envisioned 1000 students in her school, because this is a more realistic number. However it would have hurt the story (by weakening each side character) to have to introduce 30 other guys bunking with Ron and Harry. Even Dean, Seamus, Lavender, and Parvati were kind of secondary; no one really cared too much about them.

So realistically, JKR made a writer's move that deviated slightly from reality. She needed a smaller number of characters to work with to strengthen her story, but Hogwarts would be much less impressive as a tiny little shack next to a lake.

Posted by Steve Bradley from Bloomington, IL on April 24, 2008 08:38 AM

Well we know that there are more wizarding schools..we have the one where Fleur is from and the one where Victor Krum is from..But if there are that many wizards there have to be more..I think they only mentioned those two because it could only be three schools in the triwizard cup and it wasn't an important detail for her to mention it..Every story and movie is not always on point with each other..If you liked the movie and the books why can't you just enjoy it for what it was!

Posted by Cauncey from Riverdale, Maryland on April 24, 2008 2:12 PM

double potions means that its a double period and it goes for twice as long

Posted by josh from Sydney, New South Wales on April 24, 2008 11:48 PM

Yeah, but Josh, doesn't it also mean double students? Remember, the Gryffindors do Snape's class with the Slytherins.

Posted by David Haber from Los Angeles on April 25, 2008 06:23 AM

We know that Harry, Ron, Neville, Seamus and Dean's dorm room is in a tower, and that each year has a floor - there are five to a dorm so that would be 35 boys in Gryffindor and a further 35 females. So going by that there are 280 students but who is to say there's only two towers off the Gryffindor common room? If there were two towers (or equiv for other houses) for each gender then we have already doubled it to 560, double that and you've got 'about one thousand'. Hogwarts is so grand I wouldn't be surprised if there were 32 dorms availible for each year. The reason we never 'see' any of the other dorms is because Harry's the centre of the action. I hadn't heard of Romilda Vane until book six, 'though I'm fairly sure she wasn't a first year (11 years old) trying it on with a sixth year *rolls eyes*

Posted by Shannon Fanthorpe from Surrey, England on April 27, 2008 12:37 PM

I always thought double potions meant a doulbe period, like it does in normal schools. All classes hav 2 houses in them, such as herbology, thats with hufflepuff, but its never described as "double herbology" (I think)

Also I have always thought there were 10 pupils in each house in each year, but i did notice while I was reading CoS that, during the Gryffndor/Slytherin quidditch game that there were "a hundred" people supporting slytherin...

Posted by Lucy on April 30, 2008 11:26 AM

Ok, lets say there were 1000 students. That means that's approx. 145 per year (1000 divided by seven). Think about it in terms of sorting, say it takes an average of two minutes to sort someone (some are decided instantly, others take ages) then that's 290 minutes or almost five hours! Even if it took an insanely short amount of time to sort someone then I think you would be pushing two hours at best. Now I don't think anyone could expect a room of hungry children to sit that long!

Posted by George from Edinburgh on May 21, 2008 12:20 PM

Excellent point!

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on May 21, 2008 3:45 PM

I found something else! On page 218 of OotP when Harry and Seamus are fighting Harry tells Seamus to go to Professor McGonagall and get moved to another boys bedroom, which suggests that there is more than one 5th year boys' dorm! So if this is true for the whole school, then it could easily have 1000 students!

Posted by tina on May 21, 2008 5:06 PM

Very good point, but it's not conclusive one way or the other. The exact quote is "If you've got a problem sharing a dormitory with me, go ask McGonagall if you can be moved, stop your mummy worrying--"

So, he doesn't say "moved to another Gryffindor 5th year dormitory". He just says moved somewhere else. He could be moved to an underclassman dorm (a drag, but if you really can't live with someone...) or perhaps into a room that isn't even a regular dorm at all. Since it was only suggested in anger and we've never actually seen someone move, we can't know for sure.

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on May 21, 2008 7:01 PM

Well also once the third year starts they get to pick their own classes so if you think about it the classes after that could really be smaller but still with 1000 students. I'm still not sure which to believe but some of these guys have a point when they say JKR planned it out. But 300 students does seem a little bit of a low number, especially considering the size of the school. Just my thoughts.

Posted by Joe from Barrie, Ontario, Canada on May 23, 2008 9:39 PM

Also if the student-teacher ratio thing applies to Hogwarts their should be about 16 students per teacher. If you look at all the different subjects, that also means that their has to be a fair few teachers. But I don't know if my math is correct that is still only, lets say their is 30 subjects, that means their is only 480 students. Sounds a bit better than 300 but still not as good as 750. I think 750 would be a bit of a better number than 1000.

Posted by Joe from Barrie, Ontario, Canada on May 23, 2008 9:58 PM

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