The Great Lake (alternatively known as the Black Lake) is a large body of water, freshwater and landlocked, located to the south of Hogwarts Castle. It is about half a mile in diameter and the castle's plumbing network drains into it.
Every school year at Hogwarts, after the Hogwarts Express arrives at Hogsmeade station, Rubeus Hagrid (or a substitute) calls the first year students to follow him to the lake shore and the Hogwarts boats. Whereupon Hagrid occupies one boat and each other boat carries up to four students. The boats then self-propels across the lake to a dock under Hogwarts Castle as per tradition. 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.
Upon reaching the castle, Hagrid and the first years disembark and climb the stairs to the lawn, entering the castle through the front doors. First years then waited until summoned into the Great Hall to get Sorted into their houses. At the end of their first year, students take the boats back to Hogsmeade Station, while most older students ride down the lane in carriages.
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. 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.
Students from Durmstrang Institute arrived at Hogwarts on their enchanted boat via the Great Lake. As part of the Second Task of the 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. 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.
The grounds of Hogwarts function partly as a nature reserve for magical creatures which have difficulty existing in Muggle-inhabited areas. There are Grindylows (vicious little water demons), Selkies (of a hardy Scottish strain) and a giant squid, which is semi-domesticated and permits students to tickle its tentacles on sunny days, when it basks in the shallows. The lake has a Bowtruckle Island.
The lake is 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, is located in a place that is even colder).
Behind the scenes
- In the Harry Potter films, the Great Lake is portrayed by Loch Shiel.
- In the films, the lake is known as "The Black Lake."
- In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, the lake has quays.
- In the films, Dumbledore's body is placed on a small island in the middle of the Great Lake. After this, in 1998, Voldemort accesses Dumbledore's grave and takes the Elder Wand from it. It is possible that the island was first seen in in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
- In an early draft of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J.K.Rowling planned to have Harry and Ron crash the car into the lake and be introduced to the merpeople at that point.
- Although most likely a coincidence, Lily's character token in LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 is collected in the lake after swimming in a floaty by following a path of studs.
"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."
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film) (First identified as Great Lake)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (Appears in vision(s))
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Appears in alternate realities)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (play) (Appears in alternate realities)
- Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book
- LEGO Harry Potter: Building the Magical World (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Characters of the Magical World (Merpeoples' grotto and various mentions)
- Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- Harry Potter for Kinect
- Wizarding World
- LEGO Harry Potter (Merpeoples' grotto)
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
- Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells
Notes and references
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 7 (The Sorting Hat)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 26 (The Second Task)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 12 (The Triwizard Tournament)
- Pottermore Insider - "It's time to pass the magic on with the new Bloomsbury Harry Potter books"
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game) - see this image
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 17 (The Man with Two Faces)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 10 (Luna Lovegood)
- 2007 PotterCast Interview
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Chapter 20 (The Dementor's Kiss)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Chapter 21 (Hermione's Secret)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 30 (The White Tomb)
- Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Toads" at Wizarding World (transcript available here)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 16 (Through the Trapdoor)
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay, Scene 70
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 24 (Rita Skeeter's Scoop)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 28 (Snape's Worst Memory)
- Loch Shiel on Wikipedia