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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 5)

I think JK's right. Remember the Ministry cars that would grow on the inside, but not on the outside? Hogwarts could be like too. Even if it wasn't, I think it could easily fit 1,000.

I also think at least some teachers (McGonangall and Snape included) would be able to keep 40 or how many would be on JK's side. I mean, if my old elementary school could hold on to 1,000+ kids, why couldn't a humongous castle?

Posted by JubJubqws from Neverland on December 15, 2007 06:56 AM

JubJubqws: Yes, but did all 1,000+ kids in your elementary school ALL eat lunch in the same room at the same time? Do you think your cafeteria could have served the entire student body at once? The great room at Hogwarts does.

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on December 15, 2007 06:57 AM

How many students, at six per coach compartment, fit on the Hogwarts Express?

Posted by Alice from milton on December 15, 2007 08:18 AM

I think this was very clever, but a bit tough on jk. being in an interview must be pretty stressful, especially when you're expected to know the answer, even if you don't. so maybe jk was just taking a rough guess and didn't really think properly (it's not really fair to assume she'll do all the maths on the spot) under pressure!

Posted by Qua Cau Gio Bay from Tinh tinh tinh on December 16, 2007 03:33 AM

Actually, Dave, I don't think the great hall serves all 1000 students at once routinely. I get the impression that meals go on over a period of time and students come and go during this time so not all are served at once. (Sometimes supper seems to be very early...immediately after lessons...which makes me think that maybe the students got up very early! but that's a bit of a red herring here.) This was the case where I went to school i.e. breakfast was served from 7.30 through 8.30 and you could choose to go early or dash in at the last minute. (I think the lower years had set times but not the older students and the sixth form..and this was without magic!.) The exception would be feasts say at the start and end of term and Halloween etc when magic could be used to accommodate everyone at once. I don't think the house elves would have any problem serving everyone at once however many there were.

Posted by Joe from England on December 17, 2007 03:19 AM

Dave is right on the money, no matter how hard anyone tries to convince themselves otherwise. Even IF Gryffindor is smaller than the other houses (and there is no indication that it is) and even if Harry's year was a "light" year for Gryffindor, you can't get beyond that there are only ten people in his house in his year. Plus, the books clearly show that each class, whether Potions, Transfiguration, Herbology, etc, is two full houses worth. Maybe, MAYBE, there could be 500, but not 1000. As for the hall not seating everyone at once, sorry, but at least at the beginning and end of term everyone is present.
JK is great, but not perfect. She missed this one. The fact is there are things like this that show up. Like Hagrid telling Harry his parents were head boy and girl, and we later learn his Dad didn't even make prefect...

Posted by John from California on December 17, 2007 10:51 PM

come on Alice from milton do you really want to know each time harry goes bathroom, it gets a bit sick when harry is thinking about ginny or cho. and it just makes the book even longer, writing down when people go to the bathroom.

Posted by Anonymous on December 18, 2007 06:20 AM

Lol, Alice from Milton, I used to wonder that too! It seems as if they never shower, but we just assume they do or stay clean via usage of some spell! Although, I agree with Anonymous, that it would be a waste of time mentioning it.

On the topic of number of students, I believe that JK was just saying a figure under pressure in an interview setting. If she has worked it out, then I sure would like to hear it...

Posted by Rashida from Northants, England on December 18, 2007 10:55 AM

well, it is possible that both gryffindor and slytherin didnt have a lot of students (bravery and pure blood being their terms) and therefore were learning together part of the classes, and the other houses werent. that solves the problem of numbers at classes.

Posted by dk from il on December 19, 2007 04:08 AM

On that double potions thing, it was always Double potions with slytherin. well, thats what it says in book 1 anyway.

Posted by Colum Roche from Kilkenny, Ireland on December 19, 2007 2:56 PM

I think that 280 is too small, but 1000 is too big -- somewhere around 500 might be reasonable. The Great Hall could be magically expanded as could dormitories and common rooms. It seems likely that both Gryffindor as a house and Harry's year in particular would be smaller than average.

Posted by Abby from Minneapolis, MN on December 20, 2007 09:47 AM

We can't always depend on the movies for information and just because J.K. says there are a 1000 students at Hogwarts, that doesn't mean 1000 kids be hired to appear in the movie.

Posted by Fran from nowhere and everywhere on December 21, 2007 08:55 AM

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