The Stairwell Gargoyle was one of the sapient gargoyles who could be found in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.



The Stairwell Gargoyle was a stone gargoyle, described as large and ugly. Like all of the Hogwarts Gargoyles, it is likely that it was carved at some point in the past (before 1992, at any rate) and was enchanted into sentience. The Gargoyle was tasked with guarding the stairway to the Headmaster's Office, only stepping aside if it heard the right password. The Gargoyle rarely spoke during its duties.


Late in the year, Dolores Umbridge proclaimed herself the Headmistress of Hogwarts after Albus Dumbledore was forced to into hiding. However, she was unable to penetrate the Headmaster's Office, shut out of it by the Gargoyle (presumably backed by the Sorting Hat and Headmaster portraits).[1] While whether she made a serious attempt to force entry following her initial rejection is doubtful, the Stairwell Gargoyle apparently managed to hold his ground against Umbridge for the remainder of the year.


At the end of the Battle of Hogwarts, Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger went to the Headmaster's office, and the Gargoyle (who had been a rather battered by the battle) let them in without a password, telling them to move along without worrying about itself. It is unknown, though probable, whether the Gargoyle was then repaired and reinstated in its duties after the Battle ended for good.[2]

Behind the scenes

  • From the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets onwards, the Stairwell Gargoyle in the films was depicted as golden and resembling a griffin (possibly in allusion to the name Gryffindor, etymologically derived from the French for "golden griffin", or a simpler pun between the name Gryffindor and the Gargoyle being a "griffin door" to the Office).
    • This is all in apparent contradiction with the books' description of the Gargoyle as being made of stone, though it is possible that the gargoyle may be made of stone with a golden varnish.
  • The Stairwell Gargoyle does not talk in the films, and, indeed, shows no signs of being sentient at all, as it is magically moved aside (instead of stepping away on its own) when the password is spoken, standing absolutely still. 
  • The Stairwell Gargoyle is comparable to the Fat Lady and Eagle door knocker, all three being sentient enchanted object of dubious origin who were tasked with restricting some areas of Hogwarts unless their questions were answered correctly.


Notes and references

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