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"Bathilda Bagshot embarked on the journey of magical knowledge decades ago. She has always been fascinated by the mysteries and curiosities of the wizarding world. A History of Magic examines significant moments and facts from the beginning of time to the 19th century making this book an essential piece of wizarding literature."
— The back cover[src]

A History of Magic was a book written by Bathilda Bagshot, one of the most eminent magical historians to date. It covered the history of the wizarding world up to the end of the 19th century. The contents of the book covered various people and events such as: witch hunts, goblin rebellions, Uric the Oddball, giant wars, and other events as well. This book cost two galleons at Flourish and Blotts.[4]


A copy of this book

The book was first published in 1947 by Little Red Books.[2] A second edition was released by M. L. Books at an unknown date.[3]

This was not one of the textbooks that Harry had read most attentively. Harry said he opened it once and since he said he got the name for his owl from the book, that may have been the only time he opened the book.[5]

A History of Magic was one of the books Hermione packed in her handbag when the trio went to hunt Voldemort's Horcruxes. When Harry admitted that he did not know Godric's Hollow was named after Godric Gryffindor, she read an extract from the book to him.[5] After their trip to Godric's Hollow, Hermione read A History of Magic at night while Harry struggled with the loss of his wand and learning about Albus Dumbledore's friendship with Gellert Grindelwald.[6]

It was a required text for all Hogwarts students from the first year onward for the History of Magic class taught by Professor Binns. Hermione Granger had an extra copy of this book in her school trunk.[4]

Known extracts

"Little could be heard over the squawking of the Diricawls, the moaning of the Augureys and the relentless, piercing song of the Fwoopers. As witches and wizards attempted to consult the papers before them, sundry pixies and fairies whirled around their heads, giggling and jabbering. A dozen or so trolls began to smash apart the chamber with their clubs, while hags glided about the place in search of children to eat. The Council Chief stood up to open the meeting, slipped on a pile of Porlock dung and ran cursing from the hall."
— Bagshot describes a meeting of the Wizards' Council (headed by Burdock Muldoon) with representatives of all beings, at the time defined as every creature who walked on two legs[src]
"Non-magic people (more commonly known as Muggles) were particularly afraid of magic in medieval times, but not very good at recognising it. On the rare occasion that they did catch a real witch or wizard, burning had no effect whatsoever. The witch or wizard would perform a basic Flame Freezing Charm and then pretend to shriek with pain while enjoying a gentle, tickling sensation. Indeed, Wendelin the Weird enjoyed being burned so much that she allowed herself to be caught no less than forty-seven times in various disguises."
— Bagshot describes the witch-burnings in medieval times[src]
"Upon the signature of the International Statute of Secrecy in 1689, wizards went into hiding for good. It was natural, perhaps, that they formed their own small communities within a community. Many small villages and hamlets attracted several magical families, who banded together for mutual support and protection. The villages of Tinworth in Cornwall, Upper Flagley in Yorkshire, and Ottery St Catchpole on the south coast of England were notable homes to knots of Wizarding families who lived alongside tolerant and sometimes Confunded Muggles. Most celebrated of these half-magical dwelling places is, perhaps, Godric's Hollow, the West Country village where the great wizard Godric Gryffindor was born, and where Bowman Wright, Wizarding smith, forged the first Golden Snitch. The graveyard is full of the names of ancient magical families, and this accounts, no doubt, for the stories of hauntings that have dogged the little church beside it for many centuries."
— On the consequences of wizard seclusion after the signature of the Statute of Secrecy in 1689[src]

Behind the scenes

  • In early British editions of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the book is incorrectly said to be written by Adalbert Waffling, instead of Bathilda Bagshot. The error was corrected in the American editions and later British editions.
  • Although required and used in his class, Harry Potter says he has never read it, maybe just opened it, showing his obvious dislike for the subject. However Hedwig is a name that Harry found in the book (perhaps he found it when he read the book for the first time).


Notes and references