Although no magic can truly bring back the dead, the wizarding world is haunted by ghosts who choose to stay behind. Ghostly existence is nothing like mortal life; no physical pleasure can be experienced, knowledge cannot be expanded, and worst of all, ghosts can’t fully taste Hogwarts food, unless it’s exceptionally mouldy. Why would anyone would choose such a fate?
But in full awareness of these facts, many witches and wizards do still stay behind after they’ve died, whether through guilt, regrets or simply unfinished business. In the case of Moaning Myrtle, she was able to help Harry solve the mysteries of her own death.
We’ve decided to weigh up the pros and cons of being a Hogwarts ghost to see if we can understand the desire for such a destiny...
The joys of haunting
Throwing pots, disturbing lessons, scaring the living daylights out of unsuspecting students – Peeves is one troublesome poltergeist. Most of us wouldn’t dream of following Peeves’ actions due to fear of the consequences that may arise, but as ‘an invisible entity that moves objects, slams doors and creates other audible, kinetic disturbances’, what’s the worst that can happen? Even if someone tried an unforgivable curse, it’s not going to do much as, well, you’re already dead. Causing mayhem sounds like a fun way to pass the days – but then again, you’ve got to stick around forever so probably best not to get on the wrong side of anyone…
Flying is an experience that most of us only get to experience on occasion – and even then, being on a plane is never quite the fun we anticipate it to be. Hogwarts ghosts are blessed with the pleasure of flying around as much as they wish – and without any issues about legroom.
Free of the shackles of money
It’s coming up to payday and once again, your wallet is feeling on the lighter side – a Muggle and wizard issue alike that only a ghost (or perhaps a Niffler) would evade. The expenses of being a ghost have got to be non-existent compared to your average mortal, so gold would definitely not be on their mind. It’s hard to know if Hogwarts ghosts enjoy the summer holidays like us, but if we were ghosts, we’d be spending our summer lounging by the pool in the lushest 5-star hotel imaginable – just think, you wouldn’t even have to ask anyone to put sun cream on your back!
Seeing the future
What’s the world going to be like in 1000 years? Unfortunately, we won’t be around to see for ourselves – but the Hogwarts ghosts will still be here and up to their usual tricks. Will aliens ever invade? What will life really be like in the year 3000? Only good ol’ Nearly Headless Nick and the Grey Lady will be there to find out. If only we could get our hands on a time machine!
The lonely afterlife
It’s hard to imagine living among hundreds of students would be lonely, but being a Hogwarts ghost must be rather isolating at times – constantly being around excited young people enjoying their mortal lives, hopeful and excited for their futures. While the Fat Friar seems jolly enough, and Nearly Headless Nick certainly makes an effort to befriend the students – such as inviting Harry, Ron and Hermione to his freakish Deathday Party – we’re not sure they’d count as real friends. We suppose Peeves is always around if you need a laugh.
Food not-so-glorious food
The food at Hogwarts is simply divine – especially if there’s a special occasion. We can’t imagine having to stare at the glorious roast potatoes, glazed parsnips and plump puddings and not be able to indulge. It is suggested that ghosts may be able to taste some food by walking through it (the older and more rotten the better), but it would never be the same experience as when they were mortal.
This next downside is one that is often overlooked, but one of the main reasons we would never want to be a ghost. Unless you’re Professor Binns, most Hogwarts ghosts don’t have a job – having a death date doesn’t look good on the CV. So what do ghosts do all day? Float around watching lessons? Moaning Myrtle keeps herself busy spying on as many boys as she can, but even that must get boring after a while.
Being a bit behind the times
As the Bloody Baron constantly reminds us by sporting blood-stained attire, returning as a ghost means existing in the state that you died in. There’s no time for a quick shower or makeover – however someone looks during their last few seconds of life is how they will remain for eternity. Perhaps that’s why Moaning Myrtle cries so much – imagine being stuck in school uniform forever? Yikes.
In conclusion, there’s plenty of upsides to being a Hogwarts ghost – but are they really worth the risk of getting stuck with Peeves forever? We’re not sure we’re convinced…