Bumping into Hogwarts' more dangerous inhabitants
‘And finally, I must tell you that this year, the third-floor corridor on the right-hand side is out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die a very painful death.’
Like everyone else still waiting for that letter, going to Hogwarts has always been the ultimate dream. But at least Muggle schools don’t have magical creatures prowling the corridors ready to eat you, just because you got lost on the way to Transfiguration.
Fair enough, Fluffy was only there for the one school year, but there was also a Basilisk having a fifty-year-long nap under the school, Dementors on the train, Umbridge, a lake full of Grindylows and a forest full of Acromantula.
Don’t even get us started on the Triwizard Tournament – P.E. was hard enough without dragons.
You’d have to have an Outstanding in Arithmancy just to deal with wizarding money. With twenty-nine Knuts to a Sickle, and seventeen Sickles to a Galleon, quick maths is essential to your Diagon Alley shopping spree.
Bank notes and credit cards also don’t exist in the wizarding world, so a lot of forward planning is required – and spontaneous online-shopping for racing broom purchases are off the table. You'll still have to trek all the way down to Gringotts and visit your vault.
Every seventeen-year-old in the UK gets ready for that first taste of freedom, as they can start driving lessons and take their test for a license. In the wizarding world, Apparating is of course all the rage. British witches and wizards also learn to Apparate at seventeen, take lessons and try to pass their test. Major pro of the wizarding way: instant and traffic-free. The con? One word: Splinching.
Driving tests may be scary, but at least there is zero risk of trying to get to a hula hoop and leaving your leg behind.
‘Spattergroit’s really contagious, so they’re not going to want to go near him. It won’t matter that he can’t say anything, either, because apparently you can’t once the fungus has spread to your uvula.’
Spattergroit. Enough said, really. The list of magical maladies goes on; dragon pox makes the chicken pox sound like a walk in the park. The entire second floor of St. Mungo’s is dedicated to these “magical bugs” (we don’t even want to know what “scrofungulus” is), while the other floor names remind us just how badly magic can go wrong. When you’re not worrying about “creature-induced injuries” you have to watch out for poisoning from potions and plants, which could result in anything from a rash to uncontrollable giggling.
With the average Hogwarts student spending a large portion of their time in the hospital wing instead of lessons, with leeks sprouting from their ears or no arm bones, we’ll think twice before moaning about a cold again.
Ink and parchment
With a loud ripping noise, his bag split in two. His books, wand, parchment and quill spilled onto the floor and his ink bottle smashed over the lot.
Imagine having to carry around bottles of ink and quills at school in the 90s. It must have made subtly passing notes to your friends at the back of History of Magic difficult when you have to scratch away at parchment. Not to mention having to lug them around, up and down a hundred and forty-two staircases, from the dungeons if you’re a Slytherin, up a ladder in the North Tower if you have Divination, with a book that tries to eat everything else in your bag if you have Care of Magical Creatures that afternoon. Our backs hurt thinking about it.
There are some wizarding workarounds to an ink bottle in the form of self-inking pens, but the Muggle magic of a ballpoint pen is also pretty great, to be honest.
There’s no WiFi at Hogwarts
And if you think ink and a quill is a bit old school, let us paint a really scary picture for you – no internet. Easily the biggest downside of being a wizard at Hogwarts is living a life offline. Not that Hogwarts is short of things to do – sign us straight up for Quidditch, a bit of Wizard chess and Gobstones Club while we’re at it. And it’d probably be good to have a social media cleanse, anyway.
But what about the convenience of the internet? It would have been so much easier to learn about Nicolas Flamel by popping his name into a search engine, rather than trawling through the Hogwarts library (including the Restricted Section).
All in all, being a wizard definitely has its downsides, and a Hogwarts letter should probably come with a warning letter.