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Harry Potter: "Underwater... Myrtle ... what lives in the lake, apart from the giant squid?"
Myrtle Warren: "Oh all sorts. I sometimes go down there ... sometimes don’t have any choice, if someone flushes my toilet when I’m not expecting it...."
Harry Potter and Myrtle Warren discussing the inhabitants of the Great Lake[src]

The Great Lake,[3][4] alternatively known as the Black Lake,[5] was a large body of water, freshwater and landlocked, located to the south of Hogwarts Castle. It was about half a mile in diameter and the castle's plumbing network drained into it.[6]



The Merpeople village in the Great Lake

The grounds of Hogwarts functioned partly as a nature reserve for magical creatures which had difficulty existing in Muggle-inhabited areas. There were Grindylows (vicious little water demons), Selkies (of a hardy Scottish strain) and a giant squid, which was semi-domesticated and permitted students to tickle its tentacles on sunny days, when it basked in the shallows.[2] The lake also had an island of Bowtruckles located somewhere within it.[7]


The lake was often said to be very cold, but Viktor Krum was known to have swam in it, wearing nothing but swimming trunks, apparently not affected by the low temperature (although this was probably due to the fact that his school, Durmstrang, was located in a place that was even colder).[8]

Hogwarts students like Tulip Karasu[9] and Barnaby Lee[10] were known to swim in the lake.

Lily Evans and her school friends were also said to dangle their legs over the water, which could mean that there were no rules whilst they were in school against swimming in the lake.[11]


Hagrid and first-years sailing on boats

Every school year at Hogwarts, after the Hogwarts Express arrived at Hogsmeade station, Rubeus Hagrid (or a substitute) called the first-year students to follow him to the lake shore and the Hogwarts boats. Whereupon Hagrid occupied one boat and each other boat carried up to four students. The boats then self-propelled across the lake to a dock under Hogwarts Castle as per tradition.[1] At the start of the 1994–1995 school year, first-year Dennis Creevey said he fell into the lake and the Giant Squid pushed him back into a boat.[12]

Upon reaching the castle, Hagrid and the first-years disembarked and climbed the stairs to the lawn, entering the castle through the front doors.[1] First-years then waited until summoned into the Great Hall to get Sorted into their houses.[13] At the end of their first year, students took the boats back to Hogsmeade Station,[14] while most older students rode down the lane in carriages.[15]

At the end of every school year, graduating seventh-years leaft the school by sailing back across the lake.[16]

Saving the innocent

Harry conjuring a Patronus

On 6 June 1994, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Sirius Black were attacked by Dementors on the shore of the lake. Harry tried to protect them by using Patronus Charm, but he did not succeed. Before he fainted he suddenly saw a person conjuring a corporeal Patronus on the opposite side of the lake.[17] Later that night, after using Hermione's Time-Turner in Hospital Wing, they went back in time to save Black. Harry circled the lake and waited for the Dementors. Watching the events, he realised that he earlier saw himself and conjured a corporeal Patronus in deer form to flush the Dementors.[18]

Triwizard Tournament

Main article: Second Task

The Second Task of the Triwizard Tournament

Students from Durmstrang Institute arrived at Hogwarts on their enchanted boat via the Great Lake. As part of the Second Task of the 1994–1995 Triwizard Tournament, the four champions Harry Potter, Fleur Delacour, and Cedric Diggory, and Viktor Krum had to swim in the lake for one hour to rescue something that was taken from them. A clock showed how much time had passed. Harry used Gillyweed to be able to breath underwater, while Cedric and Fleur used the Bubble-Head Charm, and Krum partially Transfigured himself into a shark.[6]

Albus Dumbledore's funeral

White Tomb, Albus Dumbledore's resting place

In 1997, Albus Dumbledore was laid to rest in a white tomb on the shores of the lake following his death in the Battle of the Astronomy Tower.[19]

Trevor's escape

At some point in his life, Trevor managed to escape from Neville and into the lake. Both pet and owner felt a sense of relief at this.[20]

Behind the scenes

Author's comments

"The lake is the setting for the second task that the Triwizard competitors must face in Goblet of Fire, which is also my favourite task. I find it satisfyingly creepy; I like the diversity of the methods employed by the competitors to breathe underwater, and I enjoyed plumbing the depths of a part of the grounds that had never been seen before. In the original draft of Chamber of Secrets, I had Harry and Ron crash into the lake in Mr Weasley's Ford Anglia, and meet the merpeople there for the first time. At that time I had a vague notion that the lake might lead to other places, and that the merpeople might play a larger role in the later books than they did, so I thought that Harry ought to be introduced to both at this stage. However, the Whomping Willow provided a more satisfying, less distracting crash, and served a later purpose in Prisoner of Azkaban, too. The Great Lake (which is really a Scottish loch, apparently freshwater and landlocked) never did develop as a portal to other seas or rivers, although the appearance of the Durmstrang ship from its depths in Goblet of Fire hints at the fact that if you are travelling by an enchanted craft, you might be able to take a magical shortcut to other waterways."[2]


The Harry Potter Wiki has 127 images related to Great Lake.

Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 6 (The Journey from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Writing by J. K. Rowling: "The Great Lake" at Wizarding World
  3. Pottermore Insider - "It's time to pass the magic on with the new Bloomsbury Harry Potter books"
  4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game) - (see this image)
  5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
  6. 6.0 6.1 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 26 (The Second Task)
  7. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay, Scene 70
  8. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 24 (Rita Skeeter's Scoop)
  9. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 3, "The Frog Choir" Achievement
  10. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 5, Side Quest "Crushed"
  11. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 28 (Snape's Worst Memory)
  12. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 12 (The Triwizard Tournament)
  13. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 7 (The Sorting Hat)
  14. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 17 (The Man with Two Faces)
  15. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 10 (Luna Lovegood)
  16. 2007 PotterCast Interview
  17. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 20 (The Dementor's Kiss)
  18. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 21 (Hermione's Secret)
  19. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 30 (The White Tomb)
  20. Writing by J. K. Rowling: "Toads" at Wizarding World (transcript available here)
  21. WP favicon.PNG Loch Shiel on Wikipedia
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