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"If being good at Divination means I have to pretend to see death omens in a lump of tea leaves, I'm not sure I'll be studying it much longer! That lesson was absolute rubbish compared with my Arithmancy class!"
—Hermione Granger's opinion of the class[src]

Arithmancy is a magical discipline that studies the magical properties of numbers, including predicting the future with numbers and numerology.[1] Wizards and witches who study and practise Arithmancy are called Arithmancers.

Arithmancy is an elective subject offered from the third year on at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the homework assignments of which include writing essays that require the consultation and/or composition of complex numerical charts.[2]

History

Numerology and Grammatica,[3] a third year textbook at Hogwarts.

New Theory of Numerology, which Harry Potter gave to Hermione Granger for Christmas in 1995, due her love and passion for this academic subject.[4]

Notable Arithmancers

Wizard(s) Notes
Bridget Wenlock The archetypal example; she was a celebrated witch who first discovered the magical properties of the number seven in the 13th century.[5]
Septima Vector Taught Arithmancy and Advanced Arithmancy Studies at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for at least six years (possibly more).
Hermione Granger Famous high-ranking official in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, who strongly contributed to Voldemort's downfall as she accompanied Harry Potter in the hunt for Horcruxes; translated the Tales of Beedle the Bard into English from Runic.
Percy Weasley Achieved an O.W.L. in this subject at Hogwarts.
William Weasley Achieved an O.W.L. in this subject and worked as a Curse-Breaker for Gringotts Wizarding Bank.
Curse-Breakers An O.W.L. in Arithmancy is required to take the job.

Arithmantic texts

Etymology

Arithmancer and Arithmancy come from the Greek αριθμός (arithmos), meaning "number", and μαντεία (manteia), meaning "divination". Hence "Arithmancy" literally means "number divination", which is fitting.

Behind the scenes

  • In reality, the term "Arithmancy" refers to a supposed form of divination based on assigning numerical values to words or phrases; the term "Numerology", referred to in canon as a branch of Arithmancy, refers to any of a number of different beliefs in a divine or mystical relationship between a number and coinciding events.
  • Hermione has expressed open contempt for the subject of Divination, yet has also proclaimed that Arithmancy (in which numerology is prominent) is her favourite subject. While this may seem contradictory at first, a possible explanation is that Arithmancy applies a more rigorous and mathematical approaches to predicting the future (which the scientifically-inclined Hermione would respond to), unlike Divination, which she detested because it seemed to be "a lot of guesswork."
  • Some fans[citation needed] have speculated that the field of Arithmancy, within the universe of Harry Potter, serves as a foil to the wooliness of Divination in that it might be a magical equivalent to probability calculations. If this is indeed the case, this might explain why the subject would be required for Curse-Breakers (it would allow them to evaluate the potential success of a curse-breaking strategy without having to actually do it, meaning they could minimise the risk of failure and/or injury).
  • In film adaptation Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Hermione seems to choose Ancient Runes, not Arithmancy, as her favourite subject, comparing its superiority over Divination

Appearances

Notes and references

External links

Arithmancy
Professors: Septima Vector
Known Arithmancers: Bridget Wenlock
Textbooks: Numerology and Grammatica · New Theory of Numerology
Arithmancy at Hogwarts: Arithmancy (class) · Classroom 7A · Advanced Arithmancy Studies
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