Corvinus Gaunt (fl. 18th century) was a pure-blood wizard, and a member of the pure-blood House of Gaunt. As such, he was one of the direct descendants of Salazar Slytherin and was a Parselmouth, as well as being presumably very inbred and rich (assuming their wealth has yet to be completely squandered from grandeur and lack of sense). Gaunt knew about the Chamber of Secrets, and he was instrumental in keeping the entrance to the Chamber a secret.
In the 1700s, there was a proposal to install an elaborate plumbing system at Hogwarts Castle. This, of course, threatened the secrecy around the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets which, at the time, still had its original appearance — a concealed trapdoor and a series of magical tunnels — and which was located on the site where a girls' bathroom would be set up.
Corvinus Gaunt was, at the time, a student at Hogwarts and, as a descendant of Salazar Slytherin himself, knew where the entrance to the Chamber was and how to open it. Corvinus was responsible for secretly protecting the entrance, having concealed it behind plumbing fixtures and a sink (which today are part of Moaning Myrtle's Bathroom), so that those who knew how could still access the Chamber.
Corvinus appeared to be sufficiently intelligent, as he was able to learn the location of the Chamber of Secrets that has not been found by centuries of searching. He was also able to adapt the new plumbing system into hiding the Chamber from the school staff in a discreet manner. Likewise, he seemed to be mentally stable despite inbreeding (as he was born at least in the early stages of the practice, thus not enough to damage his genes) enough to attend Hogwarts.
His willingness to hide the Chamber that was meant to drive off all Muggle-borns from Hogwarts indicate his belief in pure-blood supremacy. Despite this he never sought to open the Chamber himself suggesting that, while ill-intentioned, he was unwilling to be the one responsible for the deaths of all the Muggle-borns.
Magical abilities and skills
- Parseltongue: Being a descendant of Salazar Slytherin, Corvinus was a natural born Parselmouth, being able to magically communicate with snakes along with most of his ancestors and relatives. He was able to use his ability to speak Parseltongue to cleverly conceal the opening to the Chamber of Secrets, and would have been able to open it himself, though he never did.
- "Corvinus" is the diminutive of "Corvus", which derives from Latin corvus, "raven". Matthias Corvinus was a 15th-century Hungarian king, possibly referring to Corvinus' status as a pure-blood, as many pure-bloods consider themselves akin to royalty. Also, Marcus Valerius Messalla Corvinus was a Roman general, author and patron of literature and art.
- The word gaunt is defined as "haggard, drawn and emaciated" and "bleak, desolate".
Behind the scenes
- As a member of the House of Gaunt, Corvinus presumably owned Salazar Slytherin's Locket, and possibly owned Marvolo Gaunt's Ring, assuming the latter had passed into the family's possession by this time.
Notes and references
- The earliest date that the plumbing could have been installed is the eighteenth century. The 18th century began on January 1st, 1701 and finished on December 31st, 1800, making the plumbing installed between these two dates. Corvinus was a student in the 18th Century, making the first date the earliest he can be born (assuming the plumbing was exactly in 1701) and the second date the latest he can be born (any later and it's the 19th century, by which time the plumbing was already installed).
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 10 (The House of Gaunt)
- "World Exclusive Interview with J K Rowling," South West News Service, 8 July 2000 - "Hogwarts just serves Britain and Ireland."
- At least one member of the family, Gormlaith, was residing in Ireland in the 1600s, barely 100 years before Corvinus was born, making it likely that he too was Irish, especially as the family frequently interbred.
- Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Chamber of Secrets" at Wizarding World