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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 4)

To everyone who said, "JK wrote the books, if she says so, it is so," I think one of the important points of the article was that she said there were 1000 in an interview. If she had said it in the books, that would be one thing. But she said said it in what I believe was an off-hand comment, and I think it's possible she didn't think it through.

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on December 10, 2007 08:57 AM

I agree with Dave Haber. I heard that comment about one thousand students and it struck me as way too many considering the number of people in Harry's year. It would be interesting to find out exactly how many different people are mentioned in total in Hogwarts.

Posted by thermos26 from Edmonton, Canada on December 10, 2007 4:52 PM

okay, well dave, that makes sense - sort of. JK could have always just thought about it and then she would have realized that it was reasonably a good answer. i mean it's true, she did write the book and i think youre wrong.

Posted by Natasha from Italy on December 11, 2007 3:14 PM

First, I don't think it really matters how many students there are. However, that said, arguments can be made both ways. I think Rowlings' comment about about 1000 students should be considered a ballpark estimate at best, but I do think it suggests that in her mind, the school is rather large and that we only meet by name a FEW of the students, mainly the ones Harry knows best.

I always imagined that (like a dorm suite in college) the guys Harry shares a room with are only one cluster of Gryffindor students for that year, and that there are more rooms around for the others. So there could be any number in one dorm. And four dorms, of course.

With electives and multiple instructors for various classes, the faculty could be larger than we have seen, too.

And the equivalent of a common room in MY college dorm held about 300 women if everybody managed to show up for a dorm meeting, not that we all did... it would be tight, but certainly possible.

So I think it's entirely possible for Hogwarts to be more populated than we have seen...

Posted by Sherry the Librarian on December 12, 2007 5:29 PM

Yeah, I did that same piece of maths a few years ago, and got the same results. I agree that there should only be 280 students at Hogwarts, but if that's so, why is the castle so huge?

Posted by Fawkes on December 13, 2007 10:36 AM

Showing off? Why is Malfoy's mansion so huge? Do those three people need all that space?

The castle has many rooms and areas that serve specific functions, like classrooms just for one subject. All those specialized classrooms aren't necessarily in use all the time. In addition, we know large areas of the castle are unused (a whole wing of the third floor was closed off in Harry's first year), not to mention a whole big unused classroom where Dumbledore "hid" the Mirror of Erised.

Also, the castle was built at least a thousand years ago. We have evidence there are 280 students now, but there may have been more in centuries past. Also, in centuries past, Hogwarts Castle may have served more purposes than just housing and teaching students. In the days of the founders, for example, where did they do their business, hold their meetings, etc.?

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on December 13, 2007 11:03 AM

Ok here's what I think. All math aside, I believe J.K. for this reason: not every detail is mentioned in the books, because if they were there would probably be like 70 installments instead of just 7. Just like the movies; they glaze over a few unnecessary details, because if they didn't each movie would be about 8 hours long, and we would have all run out of popcorn before it was even a fourth over! Think about this: not once in any of the books does J.K. have a scene with someone brushing their teeth. So should we just automatically assume that they all have gingivitis and tooth decay? No. Of course they all brush their teeth. My point is that just because something is not directly mentioned in the books, does not mean it can't be true. What about Dumbledore? The books never flat-out say he was , but we know he was because J.K. SAID SO. Her word is pretty much Harry Potter Law in my book!

Posted by Tina on December 13, 2007 2:32 PM

We don't see wizards brushing their teeth in the books because wizards don't have to brush their teeth. One application of the spell "dentify" keeps their mouths clean and minty fresh for an extended period of time.

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on December 13, 2007 2:55 PM

If there was around about two to three hundred students atending, then there is a big chance that hary would know all if not most of them. on the other hand, whose to say that all of that space is used all of the time. I also think that the size of hogwarts can change as needed.

Posted by eragon on December 13, 2007 7:10 PM

more schools? doesn't lupin mention in ly hallows that almost every student in britain goes to hogwarts except very few while he's asking harry that if he can join him in the search?

Posted by rahul on December 14, 2007 06:38 AM

hey, david. I think your theory is somewhat right. But, hello! There are more wizarding schools. I dont know if in Britain, but in other countries. Remember GoF, Beaxbatons and Durmstrang?

And joshua, the quidditch world cup thing. were only Hogwarts students present there? no. Those 100 thousand include wizards from all over the world. How can one forget that?

Posted by Ridhi from India on December 14, 2007 08:39 AM

I'm glad Tina brought up teeth-brushing. I've wondered why the students never seem to shower. They take their clothes off to climb in bed, then pull on their clothes upon arising. The only time bathing is mentioned is when Harry and Cedric bathe in the prefects' bathroom. Apparently they scurgify themselves! I think some scenes both in the book and in the movies could have taken place with students crowded around dorm sinks.

Posted by Alice from milton on December 14, 2007 12:55 PM

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