Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Major Events/Head Boy

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Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Major Event
Head Boy or Head Girl
Location Hogwarts
Time Period throughout the series
Important Characters Percy Weasley

Overview[edit]

Head Boys and Head Girls are not, strictly speaking, magical. They are an integral part of the power structure of any school run on the English model; a Head Boy typically is the senior of the male Prefects, as the Head Girl is the senior of the female Prefects. Typically they have a few additional privileges, and in return are responsible for assigning duties to other prefects and seeing that they are carried out.

Event Details[edit]

Beginner warning: Details follow which you may not wish to read at your current level.

In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Percy Weasley has just been made Head Boy, and his pomposity has increased incredibly. The only thing that makes him tolerable at all is that the twins are perpetually puncturing his ego, or at least trying to; their continual japing makes him a figure of fun rather than a simple bore.

Hagrid has mentioned to Harry, in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, that Harry's father and mother were Head Boy and Head Girl while they were at Hogwarts.

While there must be a Head Boy and a Head Girl in each year Harry attends Hogwarts, the only one we ever hear of is Percy.

Notable Consequences[edit]

Generally speaking, consequences will be few, as the Head Boy and Head Girl will invariably be in their last year at Hogwarts. It is true that Percy, as Head Boy, became even more pompous and stuffy than he had been as a Prefect.

Analysis[edit]

There is a minor contradiction here. Hagrid says in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, as mentioned above, that Harry's father was Head Boy. Yet, in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Sirius Black states that Remus Lupin was a Prefect; both Sirius and James were spending too much time in detention to be considered for that post. Later, Lupin and Sirius did say that James had improved by his seventh year; so we have three possibilities.

  1. With some other prefect's departure before 7th Year, it may have been necessary to appoint a new prefect, and that job, with the Head Boy promotion, might have fallen to James. This is somewhat unlikely as James had not previously been Prefect; as Lupin had, it seems more likely that Lupin would be Head Boy, although Lupin being a Werewolf, and the Werewolf potion having not been invented yet, could have precluded him from being appointed to this position.
  2. Hagrid might have over-inflated ideas about James' student office, or might be improving on the truth, either to make Harry more aware of his fame, or just on general principles.
  3. James' character, which granted seems unsuitable for the Head Boy office, might not have been totally firmed up that early in the series, and the author might have chosen to have him be Head Boy to build up his apparent status in the Wizarding world.

Of the three options, the third seems most likely; however, the second makes more sense in the context of the story.

As we can see from Percy, by comparison with Fred and George, the students chosen for prefect and head boy positions are not necessarily the most powerful wizards in residence. Thus, if James Potter was not head boy, it is unlikely that it bears any reflection on his Wizarding ability.

Questions[edit]

Study questions are meant to be left for each student to answer; please don't answer them here.

  1. How likely is it that both Head Boy and Head Girl would be in the same house?

Greater Picture[edit]

Intermediate warning: Details follow which you may not wish to read at your current level.

It is possible that Hermione would have been made Head Girl had she returned to Hogwarts for her seventh year, and if Hogwarts had remained a place that she could go to. However, she chooses instead to accompany Harry to help him deal with Lord Voldemort. Also, with the school largely under Death Eater control at that point, it is unlikely that Gryffindor House would have been honoured with the position, no matter how worthy Hermione was. In fact, being Muggle-born, Hermione would not be allowed to return to the school for her seventh year; instead, she would have been arrested and convicted of stealing a wand, and sentenced to a Dementor-guarded prison.