"It was lit by thousands and thousands of candles that were floating in midair over four long tables, where the rest of the students were sitting. These tables were laid with glittering golden plates and goblets. At the top of the hall was another long table where the teachers were sitting... The hundreds of faces staring at them looked like pale lanterns in the flickering candlelight... Harry looked upward and saw a velvety black ceiling dotted with stars... It was hard to believe there was a ceiling there at all, and that the Great Hall didn't simply open on to the heaven."
—Description of the Great Hall[src]

The Great Hall in the Hogwarts Castle is the main gathering area in the school, which is located off the Entrance Hall. It is a large hall where students and teachers dine and congregate. Three meals a day are hosted in this hall.

The Great Hall is the main place where students receive their meals and daily owl post. They also have certain special events, such as the Sorting Ceremony and the Hallowe'en Feast.

The large hall has enough space to hold every student, as well as the main staff and guests. The Hall has tall walls that reach up to the ceiling, which is covered with floating candles and enchanted to look like the sky above.

At the front of the hall is the staff table, also known as the High Table, which is designed to house the entire Hogwarts staff. In the centre of the table is a throne chair where the present Headteacher sits. At the left of the table is a door which leads to a chamber with portraits.

The Great Hall has also held many important events, such as the defeat of Lord Voldemort at the hands of Harry Potter, ending the Battle of Hogwarts and the climatic end of the Second Wizarding War.


Great hall

Interior of the Great Hall

The Great Hall is a large hall with four long tables where students of each House sit during the day and at mealtimes. The staff table is at the front, where the entire Hogwarts staff sits. There is a throne-like chair in the centre of the table where the current Headmaster or Headmistress sits. The ceiling of the Great Hall is covered with candles and it is enchanted to look like the sky above. To the left of the table is a door which leads to a chamber with portraits.

From the staff table, the House tables are as follows (from left to right): Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Slytherin, Hufflepuff.

There are small windows around the side of the hall, and a large window behind the staff table where the light shines through, and a podium carved with an owl is put right in front of the Headteacher's chair, where they make their announcements.

During the Hallowe'en feast, the hall is festooned with sweets-filled pumpkins, bats, orange streamers, water snakes and many other Hallowe'en-related decorations. At Christmas, before and during the holidays, twelve large Christmas trees are placed around the room.


Start-of-Term Feast

Main article: Start-of-Term Feast
1995 Welcoming feast 1

The Start-of-Term Feast is a traditional part of the school year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, held in the Great Hall. The gathering is held on the evening of 1 September, following the arrival of the students from the Hogwarts Express. The Sorting Ceremony is held at the beginning, before the Headteacher makes their announcement and commences the meal.[1]

Hallowe'en feast

Main article: Hallowe'en feast
The Hallowe'en Feast at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry occurs on the 31st October every year. The Great Hall is decorated with Hallowee'en decor, such as sweet-filled pumpkins, bats, orange streamers and water snakes. At the end, there is entertainment, such as the ghosts of Hogwarts popping up out of the wall and performing formation gliding.[2]

It is a highly anticipated feast which most Hogwarts students look forward to every year.

Christmas Feast

Main article: Christmas feast
Christmas feast at Hogwarts

The Christmas Feast is held on Christmas Day. It is attended by the teachers and any students that have chosen to remain at Hogwarts over the Christmas Holidays. The feast is prepared by the house-elves in the kitchens, and consists of a hundred fat, roast turkeys, mountains of roasted and boiled potatoes, platters of fat chipolatas, tureens of buttered peas, silver boats of thick, rich gravy and cranberry sauce. For dessert, flaming Christmas puddings are served, with silver sickles hidden within the pudding. There are also surprise firecrackers, which, when popped, give forth a gift.[3]

Duelling Club

Main article: Duelling Club
B2C11M2 Great Hall Duelling Club

In 1992, Professor Lockhart created the duelling club when the Chamber of Secrets was opened. He was given permission by Headmaster Albus Dumbledore to teach students how to duel, in an attempt to help them learn to protect themselves. Lockhart was joined by Professor Snape, who worked as his assistant.[4] In 1996, the Gryffindor Duelling Club held their gatherings in the Great Hall.[5]

Yule Ball

Main article: Yule Ball
B4C23M1 Weird Sisters playing at the Yule Ball

The Yule Ball, a formal dance held on the evening of Christmas Day, is a tradition of the Triwizard Tournament, though not regularly held at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.[6]

The tournament was revived at Hogwarts in 1994, and they held the Yule Ball in the Great Hall for fourth year students or above, though younger students could also go if an older student invited them to accompany them. The ball began at 8 pm and ended at midnight.[6]

It started with a meal, with the champions and their partners dining at the head table with the teachers and judges, before the room was transformed into a dance floor. There was also a stage for the performing band.[6]

Apparition Lessons

Main article: Apparition (class)
B6C18M1 Apparition lessons in the Great Hall

Apparition is an optional twelve-week class offered at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for sixth year students to learn how to Apparate.[7]

The class begins shortly after the Christmas Holidays and is offered to students who are seventeen, or who will turn seventeen during the school year. The class costs twelve Galleons. It was taught by British Ministry of Magic employee Wilkie Twycross in 1997. Although mainly taught outside, weather conditions meant the lesson had to begin in the Great Hall before they moved out. The Anti-Apparition Charm placed on the entire school is temporarily removed in the Great Hall for students to practise.[7]

Ordinary Wizarding Level Examinations

OWLS 1996

An O.W.L. (Ordinary Wizarding Level) is a subject-specific test taken during Hogwarts students' Fifth year, administrated by the Wizarding Examinations Authority. The score made by a student on a particular O.W.L. determines whether or not he or she will be allowed to continue taking that subject in subsequent school years.[8]

During these examinations, a giant clock face and a huge swinging pendulum are placed at the far end of the hall in order for students and examiners to keep an eye on the time.[9]

Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests

N.E.W.T.s (Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests) are subject-specific exams that seventh year wizards and witches at Hogwarts take to help place them in some careers. As not all wizards pass or even take the N.E.W.T.s, they can find other jobs using their O.W.L. results.

End-of-Term Feast

Main article: End-of-Term Feast
B1C17M3 Gryffindor winning the House Cup

The End-of-Term Feast (or Leaving Feast) is a traditional part of the school year at Hogwarts, held in the Great Hall. It occurs on the last night of the term; the Feast is notable for including the awarding of the House Cup to the house with the highest points.[10]

The Fountain of Fair Fortune

Sometime in the early 20th century, when Professor Dippet was Headmaster, the hall was used to host a play version of The Fountain of Fair Fortune. It was directed by Herbert Beery. An hour before the play began, the students playing Amata and Sir Luckless, who were dating, broke up when he left her for the student playing Asha.[11]

As the curtain rose, an Ashwinder started a fire as the girls playing Amata and Asha started fiercely duelling, with Professor Beery getting stuck in the middle. The staff had to evacuate the hall as the fire consumed the hall. Since the play ended in disastrous results, the staff decided never to put one on ever again.[11]

Battle of Hogwarts

B7C36M2 Voldemort vanquished

On 2 May, 1998 the final battle between Lord Voldemort and Harry Potter took place here as the conclusion to the Battle of Hogwarts and the Second Wizarding War, and became Voldemort's death-place. Shortly before then, the Great Hall was also the place where many other duels took place.[12]

During moments of peace, it served as a holding area for the dead and wounded and when the battle was over, it was a gathering place for the survivors.[13]


  • In 1993, the students were forced to sleep there over night in sleeping bags after Sirius Black broke in.[14]
  • The Divination Workshop is held in the Great Hall at 12:45. This suggests that lunch in the hall is to be finished by that time.

Behind the scenes

Screenshot 867
  • The Great Hall set is arguably the most recognisable set from the Harry Potter films and has a rare distinction in the film industry of being in use for nearly a decade.[15] In those years the set has undergone relatively few changes:
    • In the third film, Dumbledore's Owl Lecturn has been added, and there are more floating candles of various shapes and sizes.
    • The fourth film sees the most noticeable change to the set in that a second, higher section has been added to the raised wooden platform on which the staff table sits, allowing for the addition of an additional table (presumably for the faculty of Beauxbatons and Durmstrang and the judges for the Triwizard Tournament to sit). Though the second table disappears following the fourth film the second section of the platform remains (although it was removed when the set was put on display for The Making of Harry Potter).
  • The design for the Great Hall set in the films was based on the dining hall at Christ Church, Oxford. The art made for Pottermore also appears to do the same.
  • While Hogwarts itself is based upon real castles is the UK, there was, obviously, a great deal of creative licence taken. The ceiling in the great hall, for example, is shown as having what is known as a hammer beam construction. The design was developed in the UK hundreds of years ago and used primarily in cathedrals, palaces, and royal homes. However, the weight of the ceiling, particularly under wind or snow load, would push the walls outward and collapse in on itself. Therefore, we must imagine the enchantment is not merely aesthetic but structural as well.
  • The enchanted ceiling is only seen once during the daytime in the films (the majority of the time it simply being absent), however in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, during the fifth year O.W.L exams, the sky can be clearly be seen as blue with a few clouds when Fred and George's fireworks go off.

    Bellatrix walking insanely over the Gryffindor table

  • Bellatrix Lestrange also wrecked the Great Hall in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, but this must have been a detour as Draco Malfoy, Severus Snape, Fenrir GraybackAmycus Carrow, Alecto Carrow and Thorfinn Rowle walked from the Astronomy Tower to Hagrid's Hut, the Great Hall is not between these two locations, and from the way they were exiting means they must have either come from the back of the Great Hall or the Trophy Room. This most likely is an error in the film or that the production decided to include another secret passage.

Bellatrix uses a powerful curse to break the Great Hall windows


The Harry Potter Wiki has 234 images related to Great Hall.
Lego Great Hall

LEGO Great Hall

Notes and references

Hogwarts Castle
Locations on the ground floor

Astronomy Tower courtyard · Balcony around the Great Hall · Bean Bonus Room · Boys' toilets · Caretaker's office · Central tower courtyard · Chamber off the Great Hall · Chamber of Reception · Classroom Eleven · Classroom 1B · Corridor off the Entrance Hall · Entrance Hall · Great Hall · Great Hall balcony · Ground Floor Corridor · Herbology Store · House Point Ceremony Chamber · Link Building · Marble Staircase · Middle Courtyard · Northern Courtyard · Northern Courtyard Annex · North Tower courtyard · Out Of Bounds · Oxford Corridor · Paved grounds · Portrait Room · Side chamber · Staffroom · Staffroom corridor · Storage Cupboard · Storeroom · Storeroom courtyard · Suspension Bridge · Temporary Defence Against the Dark Arts Classroom · Transfiguration department · Viaduct Courtyard · Viaduct Entrance · Viaduct · Viaduct Courtyard Gatehouses · West Tower courtyard · Suspension Bridge foyer · The Quad

Portraits, statues and other artwork located on the ground floor

Brian Gagwilde · Circe · Gargoyles at the staff room entrance · George von Rheticus · Giffard Abbott · Glanmore Peakes · Godric Gryffindor · Google Stump · Greta Catchlove · Henry Bumblepuft · Lonely Male Gargoyle · Lonely Male Gargoyle's friend · Medieval couple · Merwyn the Malicious · Mirabella Plunkett · Miserable Female Gargoyle · Norvel Twonk · Old Posh Baron · People watching Quidditch · Staring Portrait · Professor Swoopstikes · Temeritus Shanks · Timothy the Timid · Violet · Architect of Hogwarts · First Headmaster of Hogwarts · Jocunda Sykes · Sarcastic Male Gargoyle · Portrait of a girl with flowers · Wizard with a walrus moustache

Hogwarts Duelling Club
Duelling Club Captains
Hogwarts: Gilderoy Lockhart · Severus Snape
Gryffindor: Angus Matlock
Hufflepuff: Duelling Club Captain
Ravenclaw: Alannis
Slytherin: Duelling Club Captain
Duelling Club Members
Gryffindor: Edward · Emily · Harry Potter · Hermione Granger · Neil Randall · Neville Longbottom · Romilda Vane · Ronald Weasley · Seamus Finnigan · Stewart
Hufflepuff: Anthony Otterburn · Heather · Justin Finch-Fletchley · Karl Limpley · Kouta Ohnishi · Rhonda Fladbury
Ravenclaw: Andrew · Helen Dawlish · Rebecca · Shoma Ichikawa · Terry Boot · Trevor Birch
Slytherin: Bridget · Draco Malfoy · Fergus Cowley · Irfan Mustaq · Maynard Hatton · Millicent Bulstrode · Peter · Rachel · Roy
Crossfire Badge · Defender Badge · Duelling Beginner's Luck Badge · Duelling Club Champion Badge · Duelling Veteran Badge · Keen Duellist Badge · Master Duellist Badge · Nine Lives Badge · Persistence Badge · Reflex Badge
Duelling Club locations
Great Hall · Middle Courtyard · The Quad · Training Grounds
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