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"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 was the main gathering area in the school, which was located off the Entrance Hall. It was a large hall where students and teachers dined and congregated.[1] Three meals a day were hosted in this hall.

The Great Hall was the main place where students received their meals and daily owl post.[2] They also held certain special events, such as the Sorting Ceremony,[1] and the Hallowe'en Feast.[3]

The large hall had enough space to hold every student, as well as the main staff and guests. The Hall had tall walls that reached up to the ceiling, which was covered with floating candles and enchanted to look like the sky above.[1]

At the front of the hall was the staff table, also known as the High Table, which was designed to house the entire Hogwarts staff. In the centre of the table was a throne chair where the present Headteacher sat.[1] At the left of the table was a door which led to a chamber with portraits.[4]

The Great Hall had 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.[5]


Great hall

Interior of the Great Hall

The Great Hall was a large hall with four long tables where students of each House sat during the day and at mealtimes. The staff table was at the front, where the entire Hogwarts staff sat. There was a throne-like chair in the centre of the table where the current Headmaster or Headmistress sat. The ceiling of the Great Hall was covered with candles and it was enchanted to look like the sky above.[1] To the left of the table was a door which led to a chamber with portraits.[4] There was a gallery which overlooked the hall.[6]

From the staff table, the House tables were as follows (from left to right): Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Slytherin.[1]

During the Hallowe'en feast, the hall was festooned with sweets-filled pumpkins, bats, orange streamers, water snakes and many other Hallowe'en-related decorations.[3] At Christmas, before and during the holidays, twelve large Christmas trees were placed around the room.[7]


Start-of-Term Feast[]

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

The 1996 Start-of-Term Feast

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

Hallowe'en feast[]

Main article: Hallowe'en feast
Hallowe'en Feast

The 1991 Hallowe'en feast

The Hallowe'en feast at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry occured on 31 October every year. The Great Hall was decorated with Hallowe'en decor, such as sweet-filled pumpkins, bats, orange streamers and water snakes. At the end, there was entertainment, such as the ghosts of Hogwarts popping up out of the wall and performing formation gliding.[3]

It was a highly anticipated feast which most Hogwarts students looked forward to every year.[3]

Christmas feast[]

Main article: Christmas feast
Christmas feast at Hogwarts

The 1991 Christmas feast

The Christmas Feast was held on Christmas Day. It was attended by the teachers and any student who had chosen to remain at Hogwarts over the Christmas Holidays. The feast was prepared by the house-elves in the kitchens, and consisted 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 were served, with silver sickles hidden within the pudding. There were also surprise firecrackers, which, when popped, gave forth a gift.[7]

Duelling Club[]

Main article: Duelling Club
B2C11M2 Great Hall Duelling Club

The first and only meeting of the 1992 Duelling Club

On 17 December 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.[8] In 1996, the Gryffindor Duelling Club held their gatherings in the Great Hall.[9]

Morale Booster[]

B2C13M2 Lockhart's Valentine's Day Great Hall decoration

The Great Hall decorated for Valentine's Day

On 14 February 1993, Lockhart decided to organise a "morale-booster" against the gloomy atmosphere generated by the Chamber of Secrets' opening. Come morning of Valentine's Day, Lockhart's "morale-booster" was revealed to be an overly lavish party, mainly for him to garner attention for himself more than to help the school residents regain their confidence.

As the opening of this party, he overly decorated the Great Hall during breakfast with lurid pink flowers, falling heart-shaped confetti, and Lockhart himself dressed in matching pink robes. This vivid scene disgusted the majority of the staff, as well as some male students. However, female students who fawned over Lockhart's charm, were rather excited by this. When Harry first walked into the Great Hall for breakfast, the severe change in decor made him thought he walked through the wrong doors initially.[10]

Yule Ball[]

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

The Yule Ball

The Yule Ball, a formal dance held on the evening of Christmas Day, was a tradition of the Triwizard Tournament, though not regularly held at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.[11]

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.[11]

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.[11]

Apparition Lessons[]

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

An Apparition lesson being held 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.[12]

The class began shortly after the Christmas Holidays and was offered to students who were seventeen, or who will turn seventeen during the school year. The class costed twelve Galleons.[12] 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 was temporarily removed in the Great Hall for students to practise.[13]

Ordinary Wizarding Level Examinations[]

OWLS 1996

Fifth years doing an O.W.L. exam in the Great Hall

An O.W.L. (Ordinary Wizarding Level) was 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. determined whether or not he or she will be allowed to continue taking that subject in subsequent school years.[14]

During these examinations, a giant clock face and a huge swinging pendulum were placed at the far end of the hall in order for students and examiners to keep an eye on the time.[15]

Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests[]

N.E.W.T.s (Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests) were subject-specific exams that seventh year wizards and witches at Hogwarts took to help place them in some careers. As not all wizards passed or even took the N.E.W.T.s, they can find other jobs using their O.W.L. results.[16]

End-of-Term Feast[]

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

Gryffindor having won the House Cup

The End-of-Term Feast (or Leaving Feast) was a traditional part of the school year at Hogwarts, held in the Great Hall. It occured on the last night of the term; the Feast was notable for including the awarding of the House Cup to the house with the highest points.[17]

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.[18]

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.[18]

Battle of Hogwarts[]

B7C36M2 Voldemort vanquished

Voldemort's defeat and death at the hands of Harry Potter in the Great Hall

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.[5] Shortly before then, the Great Hall was also the place where many other duels took place.[19]

Before Harry duelled Voldemort, Bellatrix Lestrange duelled Hermione Granger, Ginny Weasley, and Luna Lovegood. At the same time Lord Voldemort duelled Professor McGonagall, Professor Slughorn, and Kingsley Shacklebolt.

Molly Weasley also duelled Bellatrix after the latter nearly murdered her daughter. Molly emerged the victor of this duel. When Voldemort saw this his anger blasted his three adversaries away, but Harry stepped out from under his Invisibility Cloak and took on Voldemort and defeated him.

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.[20]


In 1932, Albus Dumbledore, Newton Scamander and his army met in the Great Hall to discuss their plans.[21] The Muggle Jacob Kowalski ate lunch with two Gryffindor students and one Ravenclaw, who asked him about his wand.[21]

In 1993, the students were forced to sleep there over night in sleeping bags after Sirius Black broke in.[22]

The Divination Workshop was held in the Great Hall at 12:45. This suggests that lunch in the hall was to be finished by that time.[23]

Behind the scenes[]

Lego Great Hall

LEGO Great Hall

PAS Great Hall

The Great Hall, partial view as seen in Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells

Great Hall 2 - PAS

The Great Hall as seen in Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells

PAS Great Hall 3

The Great Hall at night as seen in Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells

  • 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.[24] 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 addition of the Viaduct Courtyard in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film) brought about a major inconsistency between the exterior model and interior set that remained unfixed in both the films and video games until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. With the re-design of the front entrance to resemble the Clock Tower and its courtyard, the design team forgot to include stairs leading up to the Great Hall's elevated position that had been previously been represented by the Chamber of Reception. The floor level of the Great Hall is between the short and tall sets of windows. The short windows below the Great Hall had been originally designed for the Hogwarts kitchens, but that area was not seen in the films. The lack of stairs means that anyone walking through the new entrance would "magically" teleport up to the first floor, which is where the windows corresponding with the interior sets of the Entrance Hall and Great Hall were. The video games hid this issue by using different textures for the interior and exterior areas so they could exist at the same time. The issue was fixed in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 by inverting the window positions so that the taller windows that matched the floor of the interior sets were on the bottom of the model and then the smaller windows were on top (which completely removed the original intention of the smaller windows being for the Kitchens). However, it still was not fixed in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (video game). This issue has proven to be catastrophic to fan-made models of the castle, notably those made in Minecraft, because it almost always resulted in the interior areas not being made correctly.
  • Despite being categorised as being on the ground floor, the Great Hall was portrayed in the films as being on the first floor until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.
  • The door behind the staff tables leads to a staircase, shown in the first film, which is architecturally impossible because the exterior wall is directly against the back wall of the Great Hall. This staircase could only be supported by magic, and is impossible to include on fan-made models of the castle without modifying the design somehow.
  • 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 uses a powerful spell to shatter the Great Hall windows


The Harry Potter Wiki has 929 images related to Great Hall.

Notes and references[]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 7 (The Sorting Hat)
  2. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 8 (The Potions Master)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 10 (Hallowe'en)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 17 (The Four Champions)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 36 (The Flaw in the Plan)
  6. Hogwarts Legacy
  7. 7.0 7.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 12 (The Mirror of Erised)
  8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 11 (The Duelling Club)
  9. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game)
  10. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 13 (The Very Secret Diary)
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 23 (The Yule Ball)
  12. 12.0 12.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 17 (A Sluggish Memory)
  13. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 18 (Birthday Surprises)
  14. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 31 (O.W.L.s)
  15. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film) - Chapter 23 (O.W.L.S.)
  16. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 29 (Careers Advice)
  17. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 17 (The Man with Two Faces)
  18. 18.0 18.1 The Tales of Beedle the Bard, "The Fountain of Fair Fortune"
  19. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 31 (The Battle of Hogwarts)
  20. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 33 (The Prince's Tale)
  21. 21.0 21.1 Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
  22. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 8 (Flight of the Fat Lady)
  23. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  24. Harry Potter Film Wizardry
Ground floor of Hogwarts Castle
Boys' toilets · Haunted Toilets
Classroom Eleven · Classroom 1B · Temporary Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom · Transfiguration department
Corridors & Bridges
Corridor off the Entrance Hall · Courtyard corridor · Great Hall balcony · Ground-floor corridor · Herbology corridor · Musical corridor · Owl Corridor · Oxford Corridor · Quad balcony · Staffroom passage · Suspension Bridge · Terrace · Tracery Hall · Viaduct
Astronomy Tower courtyard · Central tower courtyard · Courtyard · Middle Courtyard · Northern Courtyard · Northern Courtyard Annex · North Tower courtyard · Paved grounds · The Quad · Storeroom courtyard · Viaduct Courtyard · West Tower courtyard
Halls and rooms
Bean Bonus Room · Bell Tower Entrance Hall · Central Hall · Chamber off the Great Hall · Chamber of Reception · Duelling Club room · Entrance Hall · Great Foyer · Great Hall · Ground-floor green room · Hall of Herodiana · House Point Ceremony chamber · Link Building · Out Of Bounds · Portrait Room · Resting chamber of Lord Voldemort · Side chamber · Staffroom · Suspension Bridge entrance · Training Grounds Entrance · Viaduct Entrance · Suspension Bridge foyer
Room 234-00
Other locations
Keep Out! · Secret student sweetshop · Viaduct Courtyard Gatehouses · West Well
Portraits, statues, and other artwork
Architect of Hogwarts · Brian Gagwilde · Broken Broom · Circe · First Headmaster of Hogwarts · Gargoyles at the staff room entrance · George von Rheticus · Giffard Abbott · Girl with flowers · Glanmore Peakes · Godric Gryffindor · Google Stump · Greta Catchlove · Heath Heatherton · Henry Bumblepuft · Jocunda Sykes · Kelpie Statue · Lonely Male Gargoyle · Lonely Male Gargoyle's friend · Medieval couple · Merwyn the Malicious · Mirabella Plunkett · Miserable Female Gargoyle · Norvel Twonk · Pangur Donn · Old Posh Baron · People watching Quidditch · Sarcastic Male Gargoyle · Staring Portrait · Statue symbolising heartbreak · Professor Swoopstikes · Sylvia Pembroke · Temeritus Shanks · Three Sisters Bells · Timothy the Timid · Violet · Wizard with a walrus moustache · Wyvern Fountain · The Yawning Gargoyle
Boathouse Steps · Faculty Tower staircase · Grand Staircase · Marble Staircase · Slughorn's Stairs · Staircase to the Entrance Dungeon · Staircase to the Serpentine corridor · Staircase to the second-floor corridor · Staircase to the third-floor corridor · Turris Magnus staircase
Artefact Room · Broom cupboard (Entrance Hall) · Broom cupboard (ground floor) · Herbology Store · Storage Cupboard · Storeroom
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 · Fawcett · 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