Harry Potter Wiki
Harry Potter Wiki

"Harry wandered over to the Restricted Section... you needed a specially signed note from one of the teachers to look in any of the restricted books, and he knew he'd never get one. These were the books containing powerful Dark Magic never taught at Hogwarts, and only read by older students studying advanced Defence Against the Dark Arts."
— Description[src]

The Restricted Section was an area in the Hogwarts Library, closed off by a rope. Books in this section might have been rare, valuable, and/or considered inappropriate for younger students, thus why it was restricted.[1]

The entrance to the Vault of Fear, one of the five Cursed Vaults, was located in the Restricted Section.[2]

Students might only check out a book from this section if they had a note of permission from a teacher.[1][3] The librarian would then retrieve the book for the student.[4]


Early known history

The Restricted Section used to have books about Horcruxes,[5][6] including Secrets of the Darkest Art.[6] However by Tom Riddle's time at the school in the 1940s, it was a banned subject and Albus Dumbledore was very strict about it.[5] He eventually had every book about Horcruxes taken out of the section at an unknown date, before June 1997. It was later suspected that Riddle found the method to make a Horcrux in the book before Dumbledore removed it from the library.[6]


During the 1986–1987 school year, Jacob's sibling, along with Tulip Karasu, Barnaby Lee and a third friend, made a plan to get to the Restricted Section to locate the Vault of Fear. The third friend, either Rowan Khanna, Bill Weasley or Nymphadora Tonks made sure to distract Madam Pince. Once Pince was out of the way, the four went to enter the Restricted Section. Before they could, however, they were spotted by Merula Snyde and Ismelda Murk, the former of whom was also attempting to locate the Vault. Jacob's sibling beat Merula in a duel, and they and their friends entered the Restricted Section. The four looked for an entrance to the Vault. Jacob's sibling noticed one book was missing, and inserted the book they had found from the previous Vault there, causing some of the bookshelves to rise and open the entrance to the Vault of Fear.[2]

In the 1987–1988 school year, Rita Skeeter and Jacob's sibling entered the Restricted Section. During the meeting, Rita shared her view towards the Restricted Section, believing it was nothing less than a repository for Dark Magic, going as far as saying that it might as well just have been called an armoury, given the number of times that would have potentially catastrophic consequences should they fall into the wrong hands.[7]


"The Restricted Section was right at the back of the library. Stepping carefully over the rope that separated these books from the rest of the library, he held up his lamp to read the titles."
— Harry wanders into the Restricted Section[src]

Harry searching the Restricted Section at night

During the 1991–1992 school year, Harry Potter used his newly-acquired Invisibility cloak to sneak into the Restricted Section during the Christmas holidays. He went at night in order to look for information on Nicolas Flamel, in order to discover Flamel's connection to the Philosopher's Stone. Unfortunately, he picked up a large black book near the bottom of the shelf that began screaming when he opened it. Worried that he would attract unwanted attention, Harry closed the book and ran out of the library.[1]

During the 1992–1993 school year, Hermione Granger entered the Restricted Section using an autograph from Gilderoy Lockhart, who was the Defence Against the Dark Arts professor that year, though the librarian Madam Pince made extra sure of the note, as though suspecting forgery. Inside, she found Moste Potente Potions,[3] which contained instructions on brewing Polyjuice Potion.[4] Hermione subsequently made the advanced Potion, facilitating Harry and Ron Weasley disguising themselves as Gregory Goyle and Vincent Crabbe and entering the Slytherin Dungeon to question Draco Malfoy about the Heir of Slytherin.[8]

During 1994–1995 school year, Harry Potter received Minerva McGonagall's permission to enter the Restricted Section so he could research a way about being able to breathe underwater for an hour to compete in the second task of the Triwizard Tournament, but was unable to find anything useful from any of the books.[9]

By the 1996–1997 school year, according to Hermione Granger, she had "been right through the restricted section" in the hopes of looking for information on Horcruxes, but not finding much on the subject matter.[10]

Known books


Behind the scenes

  • Tom Riddle, obsessed with immortality even as a student, may have went into the Restricted Section to research any possibility of achieving such a feat. The section had a book once, the Secrets of the Darkest Art, about the concept and creation of Horcruxes. However, if he had searched in the section, he could not have found any documents on the possibility of creating more than one Horcrux, as no wizard in history before him had even attempted such a feat.[13]
    • Dumbledore thought he feigned a lack of understanding about Horcruxes when he asked Horace Slughorn for an opinion on the matter. However, the school had banned the subject of Horcruxes by then and Dumbledore was very strict about it.[14] He eventually removed every book that had information on Horcruxes but it's unknown when. It may be because of Riddle but it's unconfirmed. These books were kept in his office until Hermione Granger took the books when she tried a simple Summoning Charm after he was killed.[13]
  • In the video game adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the Astronomy Tower and the chamber where the Mirror of Erised is stored are located behind the Restricted Section. Argus Filch and his cat Mrs Norris guard the section.
  • In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the Moste Potente Potions book was found in the regular section of the library, rather than requiring Lockhart's permission for the Restricted Section.
  • In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the Restricted Section is mentioned to be separated from the main library by a rope. In the film adaptation, however, there are two gated doors as an entrance.
  • Fans have theorised about the possibility that after students reach a certain age, they no longer need a signed note to access the Restricted Section, basing on the notion that Hermione claimed to have gone through the Restricted Section when researching about Horcruxes, and that "it is unlikely any professor would give her a note to research a banned subject at Hogwarts," hence "it is likely she didn't need one".
  • In Chapter 9 for Jacob's sibling's Year 3 of Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, one way that they can break into the Restricted Section is to use Bill Weasley's Gryffindor prefect power to convince Madam Pince that a year 1 student broke into the section and planted Stink Pellets. Weasley may not need permission as a 5th year student and prefect to enter the section.

Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 12 (The Mirror of Erised)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 3, Chapter 9 (The Vault of Fear)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 9 (The Writing on the Wall)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 10 (The Rogue Bludger)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 23 (Horcruxes)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 6 (The Ghoul in Pyjamas)
  7. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 4, Side Quest "Rita Returns"
  8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 12 (The Polyjuice Potion)
  9. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 26 (The Second Task)
  10. 10.0 10.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 18 (Birthday Surprises)
  11. Sony announce Wonderbook™ launch for PlayStation®3 with Wonderbook: Book of Spells at Pottermore Insider (via the Internet Archive)
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film) - Chapter 22 (Cloaked in Darkness)
  13. 13.0 13.1 In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 23 (Horcruxes), Dumbledore thought that Tom knew how to create Horcruxes, but that he just wanted to know whether it was possible to create seven because "no book could have given him that information". In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 6 (The Ghoul in Pyjamas), Hermione had taken books about Horcruxes that Dumbledore "removed", and that she would "bet Voldemort got all the instruction he needed from here". Harry agreed that it "could" be "where he got the information".
  14. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 23 (Horcruxes) - "a banned subject at Hogwarts, you know ... Dumbledore's particularly fierce about it ..."
Hogwarts Castle
Locations on the fourth floor

Class 67 · Cuthbert Binns's office · Fourth-floor balcony · Fourth Floor Corridor · Fourth Floor hospital tower corridor · Guest Rooms · Hogwarts Library · Disused classroom · Restricted Section · Study Area

Portraits, statues and other artwork located on the fourth floor

Barking Mad Male Gargoyle · Brutus Scrimgeour · Edward Rabnott · Hengist of Woodcroft · Landscape with trees · Temeritus Shanks