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Lily Evans: "It is real, isn't it? It's not a joke? Petunia says you're lying to me. Petunia says there isn't a Hogwarts. It is real, isn't it?"
Severus Snape: "It's real for us, not for her. But we'll get the letter, you and me."
— Discussing of Hogwarts school[src]

The Hogwarts acceptance letter was a letter of acceptance to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, sent to wizards and witches residing in Great Britain and Ireland prior to their first year at Hogwarts.[2][5] A special quill existed, which wrote down the name and birth of every magical child at the moment they exhibited signs of magic. This allowed Hogwarts letters to be sent to all magical children at the appropriate time, even those who were Muggle-born.[6]

The Hogwarts letter consisted of a note of acceptance from the Deputy Headmaster or Headmistress of Hogwarts.[2] This note was written in green ink and was accompanied by a list of required textbooks and materials for the upcoming school year.[7]

Creation of the letters

From at least the 1982–1983 school year, Professor Minerva McGonagall would get help writing the letters from student volunteers, led by a lead volunteer. It was the students' jobs to write and address the letters, with the lead volunteer being in charge of collecting the book and equipment lists from teachers. Professor McGonagall's job was to get the names of the students in the Book of Admittance and give them to her volunteers. After all the letters had been sent, Professor McGonagall gave the lead volunteer Replicas of the Book of Admittance and the Quill of Acceptance as thanks.[8]

Letter delivery

Hogwarts letters privet drive

A bombardment of Hogwarts letters addressed to Harry Potter

The letter was written on parchment paper and delivered to the recipient by owl, except in the case of Muggle-borns. When a student was Muggle-born the acceptance letter was delivered in person by a member of the Hogwarts faculty. The faculty member acted as a special messenger, who explained everything to the student and parents.[5]

Harry Potter's initial acceptance letter was delivered by regular Muggle post, as Vernon and Petunia Dursley were aware of the existence of the wizarding world and Hogwarts.[4] Hogwarts was able to magically tell whether or not a child had read his or her Hogwarts letter.[4][2] This was evidenced by the later bombardment of 4 Privet Drive with letters via owl, despite at least one of them having been opened and read by Vernon and Petunia.[4]


A witch or wizard who would start Hogwarts as a fifth-year received an acceptance letter prior to 1 September 1890. Due to their unique situation, the contents of the letter were largely different from those sent to others, informing them of the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery as well as the school and the Ministry's decision of letting Professor Eleazar Fig personally mentoring them before the school term started.[1]

Jacob's sibling received their letter in 1984 while sitting on a bench reading a book.[9]

Harry Potter first received one during the summer holidays of 1991. He was stunned at receiving such a letter, as he normally never received any correspondence, and held on to it. This caused Vernon Dursley to joke that he might be checking for letter bombs. When Dudley discovered what the letter said, Vernon seized the letter and burned it. Then he moved Harry to the Smallest Bedroom.[4] He went to increasingly elaborate measures to try to stop the delivery of the letters, eventually resulting in Rubeus Hagrid personally visiting the Hut-on-the-Rock to deliver the letter.[2]

In 2008, Hagrid delivered the letter to a Muggle-born witch or wizard in their home. The letter required the newly accepted student to sign their name at the bottom of the letter.[3]

Example of contents

This was Harry Potter's acceptance letter:

First page


Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore
(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock,
Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards)

Dear Mr Potter,
We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.
Term begins on 1 September. We await your owl by no later than 31 July.
Yours sincerely,

Minerva McGonagall sig

Minerva McGonagall
Deputy Headmistress[2]

Second page


First-year students will require:
1. Three sets of plain work robes (black)[7]
2. One plain pointed hat (black) for day wear[7]
3. One pair of protective gloves (dragon hide or similar)[7]
4. One winter cloak (black, with silver fastenings)[7]
Please note that all pupil's clothes should carry name tags.[7]
All students should have a copy of each of the following:
The Standard Book of Spells (Grade 1)
by Miranda Goshawk[7]
A History of Magic
by Bathilda Bagshot[7]
Magical Theory
by Adalbert Waffling[7]
A Beginner's Guide to Transfiguration
by Emeric Switch[7]
One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi
by Phyllida Spore[7]
Magical Drafts and Potions
by Arsenius Jigger[7]
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
by Newt Scamander[7]
The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection
by Quentin Trimble[7]
1 wand[7]
1 cauldron (pewter, standard size 2)[7]
1 set glass or crystal phials[7]
1 telescope[7]
1 set brass scales[7]
Students may also bring, if they desire, an owl OR a cat OR a toad.[7]



Yours sincerely,

Lucinda Thomsonicle-Pocus sig

Lucinda Thomsonicle-Pocus
Chief Attendant of Witchcraft Provisions[7]

Behind the scenes

  • In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, the letters come from additional places inside 4 Privet Drive, like the toaster, washing machine and in between the windshield wipers on the way to the Hut-on-the-Rock.
  • In The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, customisable Hogwarts Acceptance Letters are sold, with the individual's name printed, along with a list of school supplies.
  • On Pottermore, the user was able to view Harry's Acceptance Letter in Chapter 4 (Keeper of the Keys), Moment 2 (Harry receives his Letter at last). Also, the Shopping List was viewable during the user's first encounter at Diagon Alley and was then placed in the user's trunk.
  • Since Harry received his first letter about a week before his birthday and most of the subsequent ones between then and his birthday, it is a wide misconception that students receive the letter around their 11th birthdays. he happened to receive his final letter that he actually read through Hagrid on his birthday.
    • At the very least students who have August birthdays would need to receive their letters prior to their birthdays as the cut off date for confirming their places is July the 31st and they would also need time to get supplies.
    • It was confirmed on Pottermore that Minerva McGonagall received her letter exactly on her birthday, meaning it does sometimes happen, though not always.
  • In the European Portuguese translation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry Potter e a Pedra Filosofal, "one caduceus" is added to the list of required equipment.
  • In the GBC version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the letter is much shorter and is written by Dumbledore:
Dear Mr Potter,
You have been accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Yours sincerely,
Albus Dumbledore


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Notes and references