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"Yer mad. His name's been down ever since he was born. He's off ter the finest school of witchcraft and wizardry in the world!"
Rubeus Hagrid to Vernon Dursley about Harry Potter[src]

The Book of Admittance[1] was a large, parchment book bound in black dragon hide[1] at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, in which the Quill of Acceptance wrote down the birth of every magical child.[2][3] A powerful magical artefact in its own right, the book served as a regulatory system, refusing to allow the quill to write in it until sufficient evidence of magical ability was displayed, thus guarding against Squibs being incorrectly admitted.[1]

History

The Book of Admittance, with the Quill of Acceptance

In the Small Locked Tower, never visited by any student at Hogwarts, was an ancient book that had not been touched by human hands since the four founders placed it there on completion of the castle.[1] There were very few wizards who had observed the process (several Headmasters and Headmistresses had enjoyed spending quiet hours in the Book and Quill's tower, hoping to catch them in action).[1]

Though some wizards may have known the secret of the book, none ever divulged it. Albus Dumbledore was implied to have known how both the quill and book work, but noted that divulging such information would cause needless, tedious explanations to wizarding parents who would be furious that their child was not selected.[1]

During the 2008–2009 school year, Daniel Page and another student went up the Small Locked Tower following Gossamer's direction and visited the Book of Admittance to find out the name of Ivy Warrington's Vanished sister, who was revealed to be Winifred Warrington. However, they were interrupted by Cassandra Vole and they had a brief fight beside the book before Ivy caught up with them.[4]

Nature

The Book and Quill's decision was final, and no child was ever admitted whose name had not first been inscribed on the book's yellowing pages.[1]

The Quill might have judged more leniently than the Book. A mere whiff of magic sufficed for the Quill.[1] The Book, however, would often snap shut, refusing to be written upon until it received sufficiently dramatic evidence of magical ability.[1] In fact, the Book's sternness had a purpose: its track record in keeping Squibs out of Hogwarts was perfect. Non-magic children born to witches and wizards occasionally had some small, residual aura of magic about them due to their parents, but once their parents magic had worn off them, it became clear that they would never have the ability to perform spells.[1] The Quill's sensitivity, coupled with the Book's implacability, never made a mistake.[1]

Use

As this record contained the name and birthdate of every magical child, it was used to tell who was eligible to attend Hogwarts, and when. Every year, Professor Minerva McGonagall checked the book and sent acceptance letters by owl to children who were close to turning eleven, letting them know of their place at the school.[2][3] Additionally, for Muggle-born children, "special messengers" were sent to personally explain the wizarding world to their parents.[5]

For some reasons, the book must not be touched, not even by the professors, and the pages should only be turned by saying the name one wanted to look up, in which case the book would turn to the page with the name on it.[4]

The Ministry of Magic did not have its own means of detecting magical births and did not have access to the Hogwarts birth register.[3] This is presumably why the creation of the Muggle-Born Registration Commission was necessary for the Ministry to determine who was Muggle-born and persecute them accordingly during the Second Wizarding War.

Behind the scenes

  • It is assumed (though not explained) that this book only records magical births within Great Britain and probably Ireland.
  • It is unknown why Professor McGonagall is the one to check the book. It is possibly due to her status as Deputy Head (and later Headmistress).
  • On Pottermore.com, the Magical Quill was used as a way to register people on the website early, starting on July 31st, 2011, and ending on August 6th, 2011. People solved a riddle on the homepage and added the answer to the riddle to the end of the URL http://www.quill.pottermore.com/ to obtain a chance at early registration for the site. If they answered the riddle correctly, then they had "found the Magical Quill" and were granted access to the website prior to the scheduled public launch on October 1st, 2011 (delayed until the ides of February). There were seven riddles, one for each day of the competition week, each about one of the different Harry Potter books. Day one's riddle was about Philosopher's Stone, day two's about Chamber of Secrets, and so on.

Appearances

Notes and references

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