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"Step away from your cauldrons, please, the examination is over."
— Griselda Marchbanks oversees the 1996 Potions O.W.L.[src]

Madam Professor Griselda Marchbanks was a British witch, who served as Governor of the Wizarding Examinations Authority that ran the O.W.L., N.E.W.T. and W.O.M.B.A.T. examinations from the late 19th century to, at least, the early 21st century. Before resigning in 1995, Madam Marchbanks was one of the Wizengamot elders.[2]


Early life

Griselda Marchbanks was born no later than the 1870s.[2] She presumably attended Hogwarts School in her youth, where she would have received her magical education.

Professional life

"Examined [Dumbledore] personally in Transfiguration and Charms when he did N.E.W.T.s… Did things with a wand I'd never seen before."
— Marchbanks remarking on Albus Dumbledore[src]

A W.O.M.B.A.T. exam paper, naming Professor Marchbanks as Governor of the W.E.A.

By the late 1890s, Professor Marchbanks was already working for the Wizarding Examinations Authority in the capacity of examiner.[2] She personally tested Albus Dumbledore in both his Transfiguration and Charms practical Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests. She held Dumbledore in great esteem from then on as he did magic she had never seen the likes of before.[2]

In its 29 November 1926 issue, the Daily Prophet published an interview with Marchbanks, in which she expressed her disappointment with recent poor test outcomes in Charms.[3]

At some point in her life, Marchbanks became a member of the Wizengamot and was, until 1995, one of its oldest members.[4] She was also a friend of Augusta Longbottom, and was very much like her in terms of personality.

1995–1996 school year

"Hogwarts is a school, not an outpost of Cornelius Fudge's office. This is a further disgusting attempt to discredit Albus Dumbledore."
— Griselda Marchbanks to the Daily Prophet in 1995[src]

Before the year began, Harry Potter (whom the Ministry had actively been trying to discredit along with Dumbledore) was brought before the Wizengamot to stand trial for using the Patronus Charm in the presence of a Muggle; the assembly likely included Madam Marchbanks. When Dumbledore appeared to defend Harry, two witches (possibly Marchbanks and another) waved at him in welcome, and when the verdict was to be given, she likely voted to clear Harry of all charges given her support for Dumbledore.[5]

On 8 September 1995, with the passage of Educational Decree Number Twenty-Three, Dolores Umbridge was appointed High Inquisitor of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry by then-Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge.[4] Professor Marchbanks, along with Tiberius Ogden, resigned from the Wizengamot in protest of Umbridge's appointment, declaring to the Daily Prophet that "Hogwarts is a school, not an outpost of Cornelius Fudge's office" and cited it as a "further disgusting attempt to discredit Albus Dumbledore". Marchbanks was also accused of having ties to "subversive goblin groups" on 9 September by the Daily Prophet. By this time, she was apparently hard of hearing and possibly somewhat senile.[4]

A 1995 Daily Prophet article: "Madam Marchbank [sic] Denies Links to Subversive Goblin Groups"

Later that school year, Umbridge became Headmistress of Hogwarts.[6] When Marchbanks arrived at the Castle with her colleagues from the W.E.A. to administer the Ordinary Wizarding Level Examinations, she showed no signs of respect for Umbridge, dismissing her attempts at flattery and expressing scorn at the belief that the Ministry could catch Albus Dumbledore.[2] She examined a variety of students in Harry Potter's year, including Draco Malfoy in his Charms practical, Harry Potter in his Divination practical and all the fifth-years in the Potions and Astronomy practicals; during the latter, she likely witnessed the failed assault on Rubeus Hagrid and the near-fatal injury of Minerva McGonagall by Umbridge and several corrupt Aurors, including John Dawlish.[2] It is not known whether she was reinstated in the Wizengamot after the Battle of the Department of Mysteries and subsequent sacking of Umbridge or not.

Marchbanks was said to be friends with Lucius Malfoy for many years, and in 1996, she went to Malfoy Manor for dinner. From the way Draco boasted about "it's who you know" and not "what you know", it was likely the dinner was arranged to win favour with Marchbanks and persuade her to award Draco a higher O.W.L. grade in the exam.[7]

After the war

After the end of the Second Wizarding War, for which she remained alive through, Marchbanks continued to work in the W.E.A. in her post of Governor.[1]

Physical appearance

Prof. Marchbanks was described as a short and very elderly witch.

Personality and traits

She took her role as an examiner very seriously and conducted her tests fairly, not being swayed by close relationships or bribes despite what Draco Malfoy thought. She was a friend and supporter of Albus Dumbledore having known him since testing him during his time as a student where she was, and continues to be, impressed by his incredible magical talents. She was not afraid to vocalise her disdain for the Ministry's treatment of Dumbledore, and showed confidence that they would not have a chance at capturing him. According to Neville Longbottom, she was a tough and strict woman much like his grandmother Augusta Longbottom.

Behind the scenes


The name "Griselda" is possibly derived from the Germanic elements gris "grey" and hild "battle". It is not attested as a Germanic name. This was the name of a patient wife in medieval tales by Boccaccio and Chaucer.


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 J. K. Rowling's official site
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 31 (O.W.L.s)
  3. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (film) (see this image)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 15 (The Hogwarts High Inquisitor)
  5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 10 (Luna Lovegood)
  6. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 28 (Snape's Worst Memory)
  7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 31 (O.W.L.s) - "'Of course, it's not what you know,' he was heard to tell Crabbe and Goyle loudly outside Potions a few days before the exams were to start, 'it's who you know. Now, Father's been friendly with the head of the Wizarding Examinations Authority for years - old Griselda Marchbanks - we've had her round for dinner and everything . . .'"
  8. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)

Level 10 employees
Wizengamot members
Amelia Bones · Elphias Doge · Albus Dumbledore · Cornelius Fudge · Griselda Marchbanks · Tiberius Ogden · Ralston Potter · Henry Potter · Dolores Umbridge · Two elderly witches · Dumpy, heavily-moustached wizard · Frizzy-haired witch
Council of Magical Law members
Albus Dumbledore · Alastor Moody · Bartemius Crouch Senior · Female juror · Male member · Clerk
Muggle-Born Registration Commission members
Dolores Umbridge · Yaxley
Ministry of Magic Departments
Unknown Levels
Archives · Committee on Experimental Charms · Department of Magical Artefacts · Department of Magical Education · Exploding Bonbons Disposal Unit · Magical Maintenance Department · Office for the Removal of Curses, Jinxes, and Hexes · Public Information Services · Remittance Office · Research Committee · Very Important Members of Section M.I. Trx. · Wizarding Examinations Authority
Committee on Experimental Charms Personnel
Balfour Blane · Gilbert Wimple
Department of Magical Artefacts Personnel
Sage Bragnam (Head Curator)
Magical Maintenance Department Personnel
Reginald Cattermole · Orford Umbridge · Lift attendant · Man
Research Committee Personnel
Phoebus Penrose (Head)
Wizarding Examinations Authority Personnel
Griselda Marchbanks · Professor Tofty · Unidentified plump little witch examiner · Unidentified examiner with a wart on his nose