Admission to the hallowed halls of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is the secret, long-held dream of many: the parchment envelope, the trip to Diagon Alley, the pumpkin pasty on the Hogwarts Express and then, finally, Hogwarts itself – packed full of history, ghosts, magic and, er, the probability of being eaten by a three-headed dog. Just kidding. That was only that one time.
So yes, obviously we continually wait for our Hogwarts letters on the first day of September to no avail. But even with all the extra-curricular fun that Harry and his cohorts had, it’s still worth remembering that Hogwarts was, first and foremost, a school. School, with lessons and exams and teachers and a plethora of rules put in place to prevent hundreds of magically-gifted hormonal hazards from accidentally turning themselves into sharks, or falling foul of a centaur, or provoking the wrath of a giant spider, or blowing themselves up, or whatever.
However, here’s some of the many rules we would have absolutely delighted in defying.
Entering the Forbidden Forest
Quite apart from the fact that it seems like the majority of Hogwarts teachers broke this rule regularly, both with and without student company, we would have been completely unable to resist the allure of this darkest of magical forests. Giant horrifying spiders and hostile centaurs aside – there were still nice things in there too, like unicorns and half-siblings of Hagrid. Look, it’s a giant mysterious forest right next door to our school and we’re incredibly naïve – we are absolutely definitely going in there.
‘First-years should note that the forest in the grounds is forbidden to all pupils. And a few of our older students would do well to remember that as well.’
Dumbledore’s twinkling eyes flashed in the direction of the Weasley twins.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Using Auto-Answer Quills
Cheating is, of course, frowned upon even in the most Muggle of schools, but even so… We wouldn’t possibly have been able to refrain from purchasing a couple of questionable quills, just to see how quickly they could complete our homework. Zonko’s Joke Shop is so tantalisingly close to Hogwarts, after all. Besides, without the aid of the internet, it’s confounding how Hogwarts students ever managed to source any important information at all. They couldn’t all fit in the library at once. And besides, is it really cheating? Those quills were basically the wizarding equivalent of Google.
Using magic on each other in the hallways
What is the point of learning how to use a wand if you can’t occasionally make someone tap dance apropos of nothing? Restricting the use of magic to the confines of the classroom seems like an absolute cruelty, and we feel firmly that, as Hogwarts students, we would have got the most out of our education by regularly practicing the charms and incantations we learned. Like, for example, busting out a bit of Wingardium Leviosa to clear the corridors. We’d never be late again. We’re just trying to get to our lessons here!
‘Go on, then, Potter,’ Malfoy said quietly, drawing out his own wand. ‘Moody’s not here to look after you now – do it, if you’ve got the guts –’ For a split second, they looked into each other’s eyes, then, at exactly the same time, both acted.
‘Furnunculus!’ Harry yelled.
‘Densaugeo!’ screamed Malfoy.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Being in bed by ten
Hogwarts is supposed to be a place of excitement and possibility, and it seems extremely unreasonable that, as a student there, you would have fewer freedoms than the average British teen (who stays up until 3am binging on boxsets until their eyeballs fall out). Teenagers are well-known for their strange sleeping patterns, staying up until dawn and then napping until mid-afternoon – and given how very cosy and alluring the Gryffindor Common Room is, all thick carpets and roaring fires, we’d find it very hard to stay put in our four-poster. And judging by the Gryffindor Common Room parties that happened during Harry’s time, we’re not alone in this want. With a flick of the Muffliato Charm, let the pyjama parties flourish, we say.
Swimming in the lake
Quidditch aside, there’s no denying that physical education at Hogwarts was somewhat restricted. Being a boss on a broomstick probably doesn’t give you the best cardio workout, even if you are The Chosen One, so there’s a strong argument that the student body should be allowed access to the Black Lake in order to do some laps and burn off that treacle tart. We’re sure the rules were put in place for a reason, but there seems to be no evidence that the aquatic inhabitants of the lake were anything but friendly: the giant squid SAVED little Dennis Creevey. The Grindylows were possibly just trying to play when they interfered with Harry in the Triwizard Tournament. And the Merpeople stay at the bottom. Mostly. Probably.
As June approached, the days became cloudless and sultry, and all anybody felt like doing was strolling into the grounds and flopping down on the grass with several pints of iced pumpkin juice, perhaps playing a casual game of Gobstones or watching the giant squid propel itself dreamily across the surface of the lake.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Reading from the Restricted Section
Come on Madam Pince, you’re basically halving a wizarding education by not letting the students into the Restricted Section of the library. They aren’t all making illegal Polyjuice Potions and checking out fun facts about Horcruxes – some of the kids might just want a challenging read. A book that endlessly wails, for example? What could be more challenging than that, right?