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"I haven't eaten for nearly five hundred years. I don't need to, of course, but one does miss it. I don't think I've introduced myself? Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington at your service. Resident ghost of Gryffindor Tower."
— Sir Nicholas greeting Gryffindor first-years[src]

Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington, known after his death as Nearly Headless Nick (d. 31 October 1492), was a wizard who attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and was Sorted into Gryffindor House.

He was a wizard of the royal court as an adult. He was executed by an improper decapitation, after he had a magical mishap with Lady Grieve. He tried to straighten her teeth but it backfired and she grew tusks. Since then, he became the resident ghost of Gryffindor Tower at the Hogwarts Castle.


Early life[]

"I hope I, Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington, have never been guilty of cowardice in my life! The noble blood that runs in my veins —"
— Sir Nicholas relays some information on his past[src]
Nearly-Headless Nick

Sir Nicholas during his lifetime

Little is known about Sir Nicholas's childhood. He lived in the fifteenth century and was born into the noble Mimsy-Porpington family[8] somewhere in the British Isles.[4]

When he turned eleven, Nicholas attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he was sorted into Gryffindor.[7] It is unknown at which subjects he excelled in, but he was apparently poor in Charms.[9]

In his adulthood, Sir Nicholas openly associated with Muggles. He was knighted and was a courtier at King Henry VII's royal court.[6]


"It was a mistake any wizard could make / Who was tired and caught on the hop / One piffling error, and then, to my terror, / I found myself facing the chop."
A self-penned ballad relaying Sir Nicholas's death[src]

A re-enactment of Sir Nicholas's beheading, as performed at the Hogwarts Hallowe'en feast

Sir Nicholas met Lady Grieve while strolling in the park on the evening of 30 October 1492. He was certain he could straighten her crooked teeth, but his attempt to do so backfired, causing her to grow a tusk.[9]

Sir Nicholas was immediately taken into custody and sentenced to death as a result of this mistake. Before being locked in a dungeon, his wand was taken from him, thus preventing him from using magic to escape.[6] Throughout the night he cried that he would soon undo the damage done to Lady Grieve.[9]

A priest came to Sir Nicholas's cell to comfort him and escort him to the execution site at dawn the following day. He became a "gibbering wreck" when the executioner told him to kneel before the block. However, the executioner's axe was blunt, as the grindstone used to sharpen it had been misplaced. Thus, it took forty-five hacks to kill Sir Nicholas and even then his head was only partially severed. Naturally, these acts of betrayal and idiocy alone were not enough to condemn Sir Nicholas to such a brutal death, but the rampant acts of previous juvenile encounters led to an unsympathetic public.[9]

Albus Dumbledore explained in his notes on The Wizard and the Hopping Pot that Muggle executions of wizards such as Sir Nicholas were rarely successful, given that wizards could magically protect themselves and escape.[6] Sir Nicholas had his wand taken away, however, thus was unable to leave his dungeon cell.[9]


"I was afraid of death. I chose to remain behind. I sometimes wonder whether I oughtn't to have... well, that is neither here nor there... in fact, I am neither here nor there... I know nothing of the secrets of death, Harry, for I chose my feeble imitation of life instead."
— Sir Nicholas explaining how he chose to remain among the living[src]
Nearly headless nick

Sir Nicholas after his death

Sir Nicholas chose to linger as a ghost rather than "go on", because, by his own admission, he feared death.[10] He became the resident ghost of Gryffindor Tower at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and would spend his life after death there.[4] By at least 1890, there was a bust carved in his honour that was located in the Faculty Tower, next to one of Phineas Nigellus Black.[11]

"Nearly Headless Nick", as he was called by the majority of the student body, was always happy to point new Gryffindors in the right direction when late to class.[12]

1890–1891 school year[]

Bust Nick

Bust of Nearly Headless Nick

By 1890, his bust had been gathering dust, and he wanted someone to clean it. He asked Scrope the house-elf to do so, but was rejected, and had to manipulate Scrope into doing so.[13]

1985–1986 school year[]

Sir Nicholas held a Deathday Party on 31 October 1985. He was preparing for the party when Erling the Great arrived at Hogwarts. Since they shared the same deathday, Jacob's sibling and the Fat Friar suggested the two celebrate together, but it got rejected by Erling.[14]

This collision gradually escalated to a strife in which Sir Nicholas attempted to sabotage Erling's party by preserving the food which was intended to be spoiled. This act, planned and committed by Sir Nicholas, Jacob's sibling and Merula Snyde, was discovered by Professor Sprout, who later ordered Sir Nicholas to give his food to Erling and help with Herbology classes. However, upon seeing Erling's pompous attitude, he decided to carry on throwing his party despite the lack of food.[14]

DeathDay Ballroom

Sir Nicholas's four-hundred and ninety-third Deathday Party

Halfway through his party in the Deathday Ballroom, the Fat Friar brought him to see Erling in the courtyard. Seeing as neither of their parties were going well, with Sir Nicholas's no food and Erling's requirements not fulfilled, the Fat Friar suggested once again that the two hold a party together. Sir Nicholas eventually agreed and cleared out space in the ballroom to allow Erling and his guests to join the party.[14]

1986–1987 school year[]

"Did someone say ghosts? Sir Nicholas de-Mimsy Porpington at your service. Resident ghost of Gryffindor Tower."
— Sir Nicholas to Angelica Cole and Jacob's sibling[src]
Sir Nicholas removing his head HM

Sir Nicholas partially removing his head in the Potions Classroom

During the 1986–1987 school year, Sir Nicholas helped Jacob's sibling find the Folio of Fortinbras, a book which belonged to an old Charms Master called Fortinbras, in order to learn more about the Cursed Vaults. After they found and read the book in the Charms Classroom after searching there, they then searched the Artefact Room, where they found a scroll detailing the Beaker of Bartholomew, a bottle belonging to an Potions Master called Bartholomew. They went to look in the Potions Classroom, where he partially removed his head for them after they inquired about his name, much to their disgust.

After finding the beaker and reading its inscription, he defended Jacob's sibling against Argus Filch who had found them there and threatened to report them, calling him a low-class bully and telling him he was supervising them. Afterwards, they searched the student's common room to find a house sigil which contained more information. After finding one, Sir Nicholas reported to them in the Great Hall he had deciphered the meaning of the sigil, he told that the message read that while Hogwarts was supposed to be safe, it kept dangerous things, thus making it more unsafe. After helping them, he told them he would happily help them again if needed, and went to stop Peeves hurling Snape's soup bowl.[15]

1988–1989 school year[]

Nearly Headless Nick in History of Magic HM519

Sir Nicholas teaching History of Magic with Professor Binns

During the 1988–1989 school year, Sir Nicholas met with Jacob's sibling on the Grand Staircase to discuss how Beatrice Haywood had got trapped in a portrait with the portrait curse. He mentioned to them that he had heard a rumour years ago that a student had been stuck in a painting in the Lower Chambers Portrait Corridor, but when he had gone see the student, they had already been freed, if had ever been stuck. After mentioning a faceless interloper who had been tampering with portraits, he told them to seek Professor Binns, given he was not asleep.[16]

Lumos in Jacob's room HM56

Jacob's sibling meeting Sir Nicholas in their brother's room

Later during the school year, Jacob's sibling met Sir Nicholas in their brother's room, with Bill, Charlie and Percy Weasley, along with his pet rat Scabbers, where he remarked how the Fat Friar had told him about their intention to locate the Marauder's Map, which reminded him about how their brother believed a dragon could be within the castle, which only the map could reveal.

He believed the map could be within the dark and dirty room as Jacob had once been in possession of. After they searched the room with the help of Jacob's sibling Wand-Lighting Charm, they found a hand-written letter from Jacob to a student called Olivia Green, whom Nick remembered for possessing exceptional bravery for a Ravenclaw, and told them to seek the Grey Lady for answers.[17]

Also during this school year, he helped Professor Binns, a fellow ghost, teach fifth-year History of Magic students about witch-hunts of the 14th century, using his knowledge of his own execution on the subject.[18]

Jacob's sibling later spoke to him in the Gryffindor common room to ask if he had Peeves about, as they wanted the Vault portrait from him. He gave them advice and told them to seek the Grey Lady.[19]

1989–1990 school year[]

During this school year, he again helped Professor Binns teach History of Magic classes, this year helping Binns teach sixth-years about ancient runes.[20]

1991–1992 school year[]

"So — new Gryffindors! I hope you're going to help us win the house championship this year? Gryffindors have never gone so long without winning. Slytherins have got the cup six years in a row! The Bloody Baron's becoming almost unbearable — he's the Slytherin ghost."
— Sir Nicholas regarding Gryffindors loss of the Quidditch Cup[src]
Nick at feast

Sir Nicholas surprising first-year Gryffindor students at the Welcoming Feast

On 1 September 1991, Sir Nicholas, the Fat Friar and the other ghosts had an argument on whether Peeves should be allowed to attend the Start-of-Term Feast or not. Sir Nicholas was of the opinion that the poltergeist gave the ghosts a bad name with his misdoings, while the Friar wanted to "forgive and forget". During this discussion, the ghosts passed through the Chamber of Reception, in which the first years were waiting for the start of the Sorting Ceremony. Sir Nicholas was surprised to see the newcomers.[4]

At the feast, Sir Nicholas sat opposite Harry Potter and patted his arm when the latter was Sorted into Gryffindor. He later introduced himself and showed the result of his botched beheading: his nearly chopped neck, when Seamus Finnigan wondered how could someone be Nearly Headless.[4]

Later in the year, Sir Nicholas told the Grey Lady how Harry Potter was made Seeker of Gryffindor.[21]

1992–1993 school year[]

"Half an inch of skin and sinew holding my neck on, Harry! Most people would think that's good and beheaded, but oh, no, it's not enough for Sir Properly Decapitated-Podmore."
— Nick bitter at his rejection by the Headless Hunt[src]

Nick at the Start-of-Term Feast talking among the Gryffindors

In 1992, Sir Nicholas tried to join for the Headless Hunt, although his application was denied by Sir Patrick Delaney-Podmore, who only accepted huntsmen "whose heads have parted company with their bodies". Nick was embittered that "half an inch of skin and sinew" connecting his head and neck was not good enough to qualify as "beheaded".[2]

After Harry Potter returned to the Castle after a rainy Quidditch practice on 24 October 1992, Argus Filch took him to his office in order to fill in a write-up in which Filch accused Harry of "befouling the castle" with mud. Sir Nicholas convinced Peeves to smash the school's Vanishing Cabinet over the office as a distraction.

Nicholas later invited Harry Potter to his upcoming Deathday Party, in order to try and convince Sir Patrick to let him join the Headless Hunt.[2]

Deathday Party Pottermore

Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington's five-hundredth Deathday Party

In the evening of 31 October, Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger went to Sir Nicholas's Deathday Party. Sir Nicholas greeted the attendees at the entrance of the dungeon in which the party was held. The trio did not find this party fun in the least and were eager to leave. The trio was also disgusted by the rotten and mouldy food that was present. The Headless Hunt arrived at the party at the time for Sir Nicholas speech and became the centre of attention, as they began a match of Head Hockey leaving the embittered host ignored.[2]

Also Sir Patrick Delaney-Podmore, the leader of the Headless Hunt managed to offend Sir Nicholas by pointing out that he was not properly decapitated, but the other guests found him quite amusing. This left Sir Nicholas humiliated and embarrassed for the remainder of his party. It is unknown what happened after the trio left, but it can be assumed that the party did not get any better for Sir Nicholas.

Later that same evening, a message was left on one of the Castle's walls, announcing the opening of the Chamber of Secrets and Mrs Norris, Argus Filch's cat, was found petrified.[2][22]

Nick petrified

Harry Potter stumbles upon a Petrified Sir Nicholas

Later in the year, on 18 December 1992 Sir Nicholas was petrified on one of the Castle's corridors, along with Justin Finch-Fletchley.[23] Sir Nicholas inadvertently saved Justin's life by taking the brunt of the Basilisk's otherwise-lethal gaze, with Justin seeing the basilisk through Nick rather than being directly exposed to its vision. Nick received the full blast of its power, but as a ghost it was naturally impossible for him to die again.[24]

Justin was then carried up to the hospital wing by Professor Flitwick and Professor Sinistra, but nobody seemed to know what to do for Sir Nicholas. This could have been the first time that a ghost was petrified, as Petrification does not seem to be something that happens often, seeing as it is incredibly advanced Dark Magic. In the end, Professor McGonagall conjured a large fan and gave it to Ernie Macmillan with instructions to waft the ghost up the stairs, most likely towards the hospital wing.[23]

Harry-potter2-nick hermione

Nick greeting Hermione Granger after she was unpetrified

By the end of the year, Professor Sprout's Mandrakes had fully matured and were used to make a Mandrake Restorative Draught which was administered to revive all those who had been Petrified, including Sir Nicholas. The method by which the draught was administered to Sir Nicholas is unknown.

He was later seen in the Great Hall at the End-of-Term Fest greeting Hermione after she was revived. He was not present in the Great Hall when Hagrid returned to the school after his stint in Azkaban.[25]

1993–1994 school year[]

"The feast finished with an entertainment provided by the Hogwarts ghosts. They popped out of the walls and tables to do a bit of formation gliding; Nearly Headless Nick, the Gryffindor ghost, had a great success with a reenactment of his own botched beheading."
— Sir Nicholas's reenactment at the Hallowe'en feast[src]

During the Hallowe'en feast on 31 October 1993, the school ghosts provided the entertainment, as they did a bit of formation gliding. On his five-hundred and first Deathday, Sir Nicholas hosted a reenactment of his own beheading, which was deemed a success.[26]

1994–1995 school year[]

"You're lucky there's a feast at all tonight, you know. There was trouble in the kitchens earlier... Peeves, of course. The usual argument, you know. He wanted to attend the feast — well, it's quite out of the question, you know what he's like, utterly uncivilised, can't see a plate of food without throwing it."
— Sir Nicholas tellingthe trio about the ghost council and Peeves[src]
Nick and Grey Lady

Sir Nicholas speaking with the Grey Lady

In the afternoon of 1 September 1994, the Hogwarts ghosts gathered to decide whether Peeves should be allowed to attend the Start-of-Term Feast. The Fat Friar wanted to give him another chance, but both Sir Nicholas and the Bloody Baron decided against it.

As a result, Peeves wreaked havoc in the kitchens, spilling soup all over the place and scattering pots and pans everywhere. At the Start-of-Term Feast, Sir Nicholas let this incident slip at the Gryffindor table, shocking Hermione Granger that "slave labour" made their dinner.[27]

1995–1996 school year[]

Sir Nicholas: "Wizards can leave an imprint of themselves upon the earth, to walk palely where their living selves once trod. But very few wizards choose that path."
Harry Potter: "Why not? Anyway — it doesn't matter — Sirius won't care if it's unusual, he'll come back, I know he will!"
Sir Nicholas: "He will not come back. He will have... gone on."
— Discussion about death and how to become a ghost[src]
Nick in Great Hall

Sir Nicholas talking with Ron Weasley and Harry Potter

By 1995, there was a tetraptych of Sir Nicholas hung in the Suspension Bridge entrance.[28]

At the Start-of-Term Feast in 1995, Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley, Hermione Granger, and Neville Longbottom found seats together about halfway down the table, between Sir Nicholas and Parvati Patil and Lavender Brown.

As the Sorting Hat sung a song warning students to stand together, Sir Nicholas told them that the Hat gave warnings at times when it detects periods of great danger for the school and that peaceful cooperation between the Houses is the key. Ron ended up saying Sir Nicholas was terrified of the Bloody Baron, annoying the ghost.[8]

A week later on 7 September, Sir Nicholas looked for the Bloody Baron to see if he could dissuade Peeves from dropping a bust of Paracelsus on top of anyone who passed the corridor in which the bust stood.[29]

Nick EntranceHall

Nick greeting students in the entrance hall

On 20 November 1995, Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger, while on their way to visit Rubeus Hagrid after his return, crossed paths with Sir Nicholas, who was gliding along absent-mindedly humming something that sounded like Weasley is Our King.[30]

After Sirius Black, Harry Potter's godfather, was murdered at the hands of Bellatrix Lestrange during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries on 18 June 1996, Harry asked Sir Nicholas if he could return as a ghost. Sir Nicholas explained to him that only a wizard afraid of death might choose to become a ghost and that a person like Sirius would not do something like that. Nicholas apologised that he could not be of more help to Harry and departed for the End-of-Term Feast.[10]

1996–1997 school year[]

"There has been much talk on that very subject even amongst the ghosts. I am considered something of a Potter authority; it is widely known that we are friendly. I have assured the spirit community that I will not pester you for information, however. 'Harry Potter knows that he can confide in me with complete confidence,' I told them. 'I would rather die than betray his trust'."
— Sir Nicholas's loyalty to Harry Potter[src]

Sir Nicholas, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley in 1996

With the rumours of Harry Potter's status as the 'Chosen One' following the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, Sir Nicholas noted during the Start-of-Term Feast, on 1 September 1996, that his friendship with Harry had increased his own reputation among the other ghosts as a possible source of information. However, Nicholas openly stated his loyalty to Harry and his refusal to pester him for information.[31]

On the early hours of 22 April 1997, the Bloody Baron saw Albus Dumbledore return to the Castle from one of his missions to find Voldemort's Horcruxes and reported it to Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington. Sir Nicholas later told this to Harry Potter.[32]

Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts, was killed at the hands of Severus Snape in the former's plan on 30 June 1997.[33] The Hogwarts ghosts were known attendees of his funeral in early July; this likely included Sir Nicholas.[34]

1997–1998 school year[]

Harry Potter: "Nick, you've got to help me. Who's the ghost of Ravenclaw Tower?"
Sir Nicholas: "The Grey Lady, of course; but if it is ghostly services you require —?"
— Sir Nicholas helping Harry find the Grey Lady moments prior to the battle[src]

On 1 August 1997, the Ministry of Magic was taken over by Lord Voldemort's Death Eaters.[35] By 1 September 1997, Severus Snape was made headmaster of Hogwarts while his fellow Death Eaters, Alecto Carrow and Amycus Carrow became the Muggle Studies and Defence Against the Dark Arts teachers respectively.[36]

The Carrows were put in charge of all discipline and punishments, which were violent. It is likely that Sir Nicholas, as did the Heads of House, tried to protect the pupils from Alecto and Amycus.[37]

Voldemort vanquished

Sir Nicholas watching as Harry Potter defeated Voldemort for the final time

On 2 May 1998, the Battle of Hogwarts ensued after Voldemort learned Harry Potter was in the premises. The ghosts, including Sir Nicholas, attended a gathering in the Great Hall, in which Professor McGonagall gave instructions on evacuation of underage students and Kingsley Shacklebolt organised the participants for battle.

Harry Potter, needing information on the whereabouts of Rowena Ravenclaw's Diadem, asked Nick who the ghost of Ravenclaw Tower was. Although he was initially slightly hurt that Harry needed another ghost rather than him, he pointed the Grey Lady to him.[38] Later on, the ghosts gathered at the Great Hall, joining the mass mourning over the fallen.[39]

When the Second Wizarding War came to an end, it is highly likely that the ghosts (including Sir Nicholas) celebrated Harry's victory and Voldemort's demise.

The Calamity[]

Prior to the outbreak of the Calamity, Sir Nicholas met and befriended Constance Pickering, who enjoyed listening to his stories despite finding him "terribly daft".[40]

During the Calamity in the late 2010s or early 2020s, Sir Nicholas met with a Calamity Investigator working for the Statute of Secrecy Task Force, where they discussed how his long time spent being living and dead had given him a unique perspective on loss. Nick suggested to the investigator that emotion could fuel desperate acts of magic, heightening the investigator's understanding of the Calamity spell. Nick also met with a member of the task force training to become a Professor and discussed his fears about death and avoiding dying with them, helping them to increase the amount of damage they could withstand during combat.[41]

During a Calamity surge in May 2020 focused on the Inter-House Quidditch Cup, Sir Nicholas was trapped as a Foundable, with members of the Statute of Secrecy Task Force returning him to his proper time. Professor Minerva McGonagall wanted to ask him for his opinions on the Calamity, as, having been somewhat separated from his original self already, he might have had interesting insights into the nature of Foundables.[42]

During a Calamity surge in December 2020 focused on Grim Fawley's memories of Christmases spent at Hogwarts with ghosts and portraits of the Hogwarts founders, Sir Nicholas suddenly developed a clear memory of Grim telling him to stand guard in the Grand Staircase "until he's been found". Nick informed Professor McGonagall of this memory, with McGonagall discussing with Minister for Magic Hermione Granger as to whether Grim was trying to tell them that someone was hiding in or behind one of the portraits in the Grand Staircase. Nick's memory was later revealed to be in reference to Kit Gerrard, whom Nick found trapped within the portrait of Merlin in the Grand Staircase with no memory of who he was or how he had gotten there.[43]

Physical description[]

"Pearly white and semitransparent, Nick was dressed tonight in his usual doublet, but with a particularly large ruff, which served the dual purpose of looking extra-festive, and insuring that his head didn't wobble too much on his partially severed neck."
— Description[src]
PM Hogwarts ghost Nearly Headless Nick

Sir Nicholas showing his partially severed neck

As a ghost, Sir Nicholas was pearly-white and slightly transparent.[4] He would usually sport a ruff, which would ensure his partially severed head stayed in place,[2] as well as tights,[4] a pair of breeches,[5] a doublet[27] or, occasionally, a tunic.[2] He had a preference for extravagant plumed hats.[2][10] He also sported long curly hair, and a small moustache and goatee.[2][5] He carried himself in a prim fashion[8] and spoke in an airy,[2] delicate tone.[4]

Personality and traits[]

Ronald Weasley: "I know who you are! My brothers told me about you — you're Nearly Headless Nick!"
Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington: "I would prefer you to call me Sir Nicholas de Mimsy —"
Seamus Finnigan: " Nearly Headless? How can you be nearly headless?"
Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington: "Like this."
— Sir Nicholas showing the Gryffindor first-years his poorly chopped neck[src]

Sir Nicholas was affable, kind, and always willing to lend a hand to Harry Potter and other fellow Gryffindors whenever they needed it.[12] Nicholas apparently enjoyed eating during his lifetime, as after his death he spent the feasts at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry looking wistfully at the food.[8] Sir Nicholas was polite and delicate, staying away from potentially indiscreet questions[12] and sensible about the fact that he was no longer living.[8][31]

Nicholas showed interest in the lives of the students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and took delight in showing off his wound to the dismay of those around him.[12] He was very proud of his bravery and noble heritage, getting easily offended if anyone referred to him as a coward.[8] He was very sociable, being friends with the Grey Lady,[21] Harry Potter,[2] and a number of other ghosts who attended his five-hundredth Deathday Party.[2] He also had a cordial relationship with the Bloody Baron[8] and Sir Patrick Delaney-Podmore.[2] He did not enjoy being known as Nearly Headless Nick, he preferred to be addressed by his full name or Sir Nicholas.[4]

Magical abilities and skills[]

"Unless you want your head mostly lopped off by an executioner, don't attempt to perform magical orthodontics."
— Sir Nicholas to Jacob's sibling[src]
  • Charms: Nick had some skill with charms, although his skills were evidently problematic and in serious need of improvement, considering that when he attempted to straighten Lady Grieve's crooked teeth with a charm, he made her grow tusks instead.[9]
  • Study of Ancient Runes: Nick was capable of reading and understanding ancient runes, probably due to his several hundred years of existence. He was thus able to teach his knowledge to help Hogwarts students understand and translate such ancient runes.[15][20]
  • History of Magic: Considering his execution, Nick had enough knowledge of Witch-hunts of the 14th century to help Professor Binns teach fifth-year students about the subject in History of Magic classes at Hogwarts.[18]


Nicholas is from the Greek Nikolaos, "victory of the people". Nick is a jokey, ironic nickname and pun -- one definition of nick is "to cut slightly", and he received more than just a little cut when he was beheaded. Sir indicates he was knighted by a British monarch when he was alive. Porpington is a name Rowling made up and is closest to porpentine, an obsolete name for a porcupine. "Like quills upon the fretful porpentine...": From Shakespeare's Hamlet. Nick can be a prickly-tempered person at times. Mimsy may have come from the same word coined by Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll. It appears in his nonsense poem "The Jabberwocky": "All mimsy were the borogoves..."

Behind the scenes[]

Nick Minifigure

Nearly Headless Nick as a LEGO minifigure

Headless Nick Pop

Nearly Headless Nick as a POP! Vinyl

Nearly Headless Nick - PAS

Nearly Headless Nick as he appears in Harry Potter: Puzzles & Spells

  • In the film adaptations of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Nearly Headless Nick is played by John Cleese.
  • In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Hermione Granger, rather than Seamus Finnigan, is the one to ask how he can be "Nearly Headless".
  • In the Welsh translation, Nicholas is called "Syr Goronwy ap Gwallter", which literally translated as "Sir Goronwy son of Gwallter", commonly Anglicised as "Walter".
  • In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Nick says he had not eaten in nearly 400 years; however, he had, at the time, already been dead for nearly 500 years. In later editions this was changed to "in nearly five hundred years".
  • It should be noted that Sir Nicholas's clothes do not match the time period he's said to be from. The ruff, doublet and breeches did not come into fashion until the sixteenth century and are mostly associated with the reign of Elizabeth I. This would be more consistent with earlier versions of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in which Sir Nicholas claims to have been dead for four hundred years.
  • The Harry Potter timeline is originally based upon Nick's Deathday Party in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. With him having died in 1492 and celebrating his 500th death day, this ostensibly places the novels in the early to mid 1990s. The timeline was later reinforced in Deathly Hallows on James and Lily Potter's graves.
  • In the first draft of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Nick sang a self-penned ballad explaining how his head had (nearly) come off. There was a priest who comforted him.
  • While most of the Hogwarts students call him "Nearly Headless Nick", he prefers the more formal "Sir Nicholas de Mimsy Porpington" or "Sir Nicholas". Harry, however, also calls him Nick. The fact that he prefers to be called Sir Nicholas is only mentioned in the first book and film.
  • It is unknown as to how he recovered from petrification by the Basilisk, since he is unable to drink potions.
  • In the PS1 versions of the first two video games, he is seen wearing a high hat and his head constantly falls off to the side.
  • In the German translation of the second game (PS1 version), Nicholas states that it is his 150th deathday. Which would incorrectly place his death in 1842.
  • Sir Nicholas was the first ghost named in the series.
  • Sir Nicholas is the only House Ghost who did not live during the founders' time.
  • The manner of Sir Nicholas's death may be a reference to Jack Ketch, an executioner in the service of King Charles II, who was infamous for taking multiple attempts to perform his executions.
  • If the player chooses Gryffindor house in Hogwarts Legacy, they receive a house-specific quest involving Nearly Headless Nick. If they choose a different house, this quest is contradicted by others. The quest for Gryffindor for Richard Jackdaw's Ghost is called The Search for the Missing Pages.
    • In the quest, Nick has learnt about a student's discovery of a book. He knew they were looking for missing pages so he offered to tell them information if the student helped him get some rotten beef. He attempted to join the Headless Hunt by bribing to Patrick Delaney-Podmore with the beef, but failed again nevertheless. He told the student to talk to a Nestor Amset.[45]


The Harry Potter Wiki has 98 images related to Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington.

Notes and references[]

  1. Pottermore gives his century of birth as the 15th century (https://www.pottermore.com/features/the-secret-lives-of-the-hogwarts-ghosts). He was already an adult when he died.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 8 (The Deathday Party)
  3. "World Exclusive Interview with J K Rowling," South West News Service, 8 July 2000 - "Hogwarts just serves Britain and Ireland."
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 7 (The Sorting Hat)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film), Chapter 13 (Nick and Other Residents)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Albus Dumbledore on "The Wizard and the Hopping Pot"
  7. 7.0 7.1 "If a teacher is head of a house, can we assume that they were sorted into those houses when they were students at Hogwarts? Is that also true for the house ghosts? So was Snape a Slytherin?" on J. K. Rowling's official site
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 11 (The Sorting Hat's New Song)
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 Extra Stuff - "Nearly Headless Nick" on J. K. Rowling's official site
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 38 (The Second War Begins)
  11. Hogwarts Legacy (see this image)
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 8 (The Potions Master)
  13. Hogwarts Legacy
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 2, "DUELLING DEATHDAY PARTIES" Achievement
  15. 15.0 15.1 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 3, Side Quest "Nearly Headless Nick"
  16. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 5, Chapter 3 (Detention Before Extension)
  17. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 5, Chapter 6 (The Ghosts of Hogwarts)
  18. 18.0 18.1 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 5, Chapter 19 (The Unforgivable Curses) - History of Magic Lesson "Witch Hunts of 14th Century"
  19. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 5, Chapter 21 (The Search for Peeves)
  20. 20.0 20.1 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 28 (Moving On) - History of Magic Lesson "Ancient Runes"
  21. 21.0 21.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film), Chapter 15 (New Seeker)
  22. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 9 (The Writing on the Wall)
  23. 23.0 23.1 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 11 (The Duelling Club)
  24. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 16 (The Chamber of Secrets)
  25. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 18 (Dobby's Reward)
  26. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 8 (Flight of the Fat Lady)
  27. 27.0 27.1 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 12 (The Triwizard Tournament)
  28. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
  29. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 14 (Percy and Padfoot)
  30. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 20 (Hagrid's Tale)
  31. 31.0 31.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 8 (Snape Victorious)
  32. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 23 (Horcruxes)
  33. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 27 (The Lightning-Struck Tower)
  34. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 30 (The White Tomb)
  35. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 8 (The Wedding)
  36. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 12 (Magic is Might)
  37. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 29 (The Lost Diadem)
  38. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 31 (The Battle of Hogwarts)
  39. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 33 (The Prince's Tale)
  40. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, Brilliant Event: First Year at Hogwarts
  41. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite
  42. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, Brilliant Event: The Quidditch Cup
  43. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, Brilliant Event: Hogwarts for the Holidays
  44. IMDb favicon Jason Anthony at the Internet Movie Database
  45. Hogwarts Legacy, Main Quest "The Hunt for the Missing Pages"

External links[]

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Hogwarts Houses
Gryffindor ClearBG
Hufflepuff ClearBG
Slytherin ClearBG
Namesake Founders
Godric Gryffindor · Helga Hufflepuff · Rowena Ravenclaw · Salazar Slytherin
Heads of House
Minerva McGonagall · Pomona Sprout · Filius Flitwick · Horace Slughorn
House Ghosts
Nearly Headless Nick · Fat Friar · Grey Lady · Bloody Baron
Third-floor of Hogwarts Castle
Class 34 · Class 72 · Classroom 2E · Classroom 3C · Classroom 3C backrooms · Classroom 3D · Classroom 7A · Classroom off of the Charms corridor · Classroom off of the Gunhilda of Gorsemoor Corridor · Ghoul Studies classroom
Charms corridor · Gallery · Gunhilda of Gorsemoor Corridor · One-Eyed Witch Passage · Serpentine Corridor · Third-floor corridor · Trophy Secret Passage
Halls and rooms
Abraham Ronen's quarters · Armoury · Clock Tower Entrance · Hesperius Hall · Mudiwa Onai's quarters · Trophy Room · Vastus Vestibule
Portraits, statues and other artwork
Damara Dodderidge · Dinah Hecat's Hebridean Black skeleton · Drunk Monks · Google Flange · Basil Fronsac · Gunhilda of Gorsemoor · Merwyn the Malicious · Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington · Valeria Myriadd · Helena Ravenclaw · Brutus Scrimgeour · Temeritus Shanks · Shepherdess · Winged horse · Witch in green · Witch in Pompadour hairstyle · Wizard in black · Wizard in red
Clock Tower staircase · Grand Staircase · Secret shortcut to the first floor · Staircase to the courtyard corridor · Staircase to the first-floor corridor · Staicase to the fourth-floor landing · Staircase to the ground-floor · Staircase to the second-floor arcade · Turret Stairwell · Turris Magnus staircase
Lost Wands · Storeroom
Order of the Phoenix
Fawkes WB F2 FawkesIllustration V2 Illust
Albus Dumbledore
Albus Dumbledore | Alastor Moody | Kingsley Shacklebolt
Original Order of of the Phoenix:
Aberforth Dumbledore | Alastor Moody | Alice Longbottom | Arabella Figg | Benjy Fenwick | Caradoc Dearborn | Dedalus Diggle | Dorcas Meadowes | Edgar Bones | Elphias Doge | Emmeline Vance | Fabian Prewett | Frank Longbottom | Gideon Prewett | James Potter | Lily Potter | Marlene McKinnon | Mundungus Fletcher | Peter Pettigrew (defected) | Remus Lupin | Rubeus Hagrid | Severus Snape | Sirius Black | Sturgis Podmore
Reconstituted Order of the Phoenix:
Aberforth Dumbledore | Alastor Moody | Arabella Figg | Arthur Weasley | Bill Weasley | Charlie Weasley | Dedalus Diggle | Elphias Doge | Emmeline Vance | Fleur Delacour | Fred Weasley | George Weasley | Harry Potter | Hermione Granger | Hestia Jones | Kingsley Shacklebolt | Minerva McGonagall | Molly Weasley | Mundungus Fletcher | Nymphadora Tonks | Remus Lupin | Ron Weasley | Rubeus Hagrid | Severus Snape | Sirius Black | Sturgis Podmore
Order of the Phoenix allies:
Andromeda Tonks | Augusta Longbottom | Buckbeak | Dobby | Fawkes | Filius Flitwick | Firenze | Garrick Ollivander | Ginny Weasley | Grawp | Helena Ravenclaw | Horace Slughorn | Karkus | Karkus's wife | Kreacher | Lee Jordan | Luna Lovegood | McKinnon family | Mr Westenberg | Mrs Westenberg | Muriel | Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington | Neville Longbottom | Oliver Wood | Olympe Maxime | Rita Skeeter | Patrick Delaney-Podmore | Peeves | Percy Weasley | Pomona Sprout | Poppy Pomfrey | Sybill Trelawney | Ted Tonks | The Fallen Fifty | Westenberg family | Winky | Xenophilius Lovegood
Other affiliations:
Dumbledore's Army | Forbidden Forest Centaur colony | Headless Hunt | Hogwarts Hippogriff herd | Hogwarts house-elves | Hogwarts Ghosts | Hogwarts Staff |
Hogwarts students | Hogwarts Thestral herd | British Ministry of Magic | Giant colony (Karkus's control)