Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Places/Hog's Head Inn
|Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Place|
|Hog's Head Inn|
|Location||Hogsmeade Village side street|
|Permanent Residents||after spoiler warning|
|First Appearance||Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone|
The Hog's Head Inn is a "small, dingy" pub in the Village of Hogsmeade.
There are two pubs in Hogsmeade, one, the Three Broomsticks, which caters to the general population, and one which is mostly frequented by those living on the Wizarding outskirts. The Hog's Head is the latter. It is a much grimier place than the Three Broomsticks, and there are many fewer restrictions; Ron comments in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix that he could probably buy a Firewhiskey there without being questioned about his age.
Many events occurring in the Hog's Head are apparently somewhat on the shady side.
- This pub is where Albus Dumbledore interviews Sybill Trelawney for the post of Divination Teacher, where she gives the prophecy about Harry, and is where that prophecy is overheard.
- It is in the Hog's Head that Hagrid joins a card game with a man who never lowers his hood, and "wins" a dragon's egg in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Ron comments, on first seeing the inside of the place, that it is the sort of place where someone not lowering their hood would be understandable.
- The Hog's Head is home to the first meeting of Dumbledore's Army in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and is where plans for that organization are overheard.
- The innkeeper of the Hog's Head is seen to consider purchasing probably stolen goods from Mundungus Fletcher in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
When Harry, Ron, and Hermione are nearly captured by Death Eaters in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, it is the innkeeper at the Hog's Head who rescues them, pulling them into the bar and claiming to have cast the Patronus that the Death Eaters had seen. We overhear discussion then between the innkeeper and the Death Eaters where it is more than suggested that the reason the Hog's Head remains undisturbed by Death Eaters is because it provides a safe haven for their under-the-table dealings. We later learn that the Room of Requirement, called upon to provide food for Neville, had created a secret passage which terminated in an upstairs room at the Hog's Head.
Though never stated outright in the first six books, there are clues suggesting that Professor Dumbledore's brother, Aberforth, is the landlord at the Hog's Head. The author confirmed this on her web site, and stated it explicitly in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
A major source of our understanding of the Wizarding world's seedy underbelly and the establishments its denizens typically frequent is Mundungus Fletcher, properly introduced in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Before that, of course, we had learned of the places the underworld would frequent with our visit to Knockturn Alley. The Hog's Head Inn is another such establishment, though not as actively evil as much of what we have seen in Knockturn Alley. To a lesser extent, most pubs will attract some unsavory patrons; for instance in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry thinks he notices a hag patronizing in The Leaky Cauldron.
The importance of this type of location to the story cannot be overlooked. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry needs some place away from the school and the malign influence of Professor Umbridge, where he can meet with other students to plan rebellion. While The Three Broomsticks serves this purpose usually, it is far too public for such a large group to gather without raising questions. The perceived lawlessness of the Hog's Head serves the purpose admirably, giving us also the opportunity to have Harry overheard by Willy Widdershins and Mundungus Fletcher, characters who have their own reasons for wanting to limit the spread of information about the meetings to only a very select few – those who will pay for the information, and those who are engaged in protecting Harry, respectively. It is this same lawlessness that will make the Hog's Head a safe haven for the Trio, even if only briefly, in the seventh book.
More to the point, the Hog's Head and its denizens fill a void far too often left in heroic fantasy. Always, there is a hero, and often forces arrayed on his side; always there is a villain, equally with forces of some sort; and there is a population of lesser characters to be oppressed or rescued. Many authors do not take much time to consider how the lesser characters live their lives when they are not being beaten down or lifted up. Here, with the Hog's Head and the character of Mundungus Fletcher, we see that the Wizarding world is not only made up of the Order, Death Eaters, and drones. There is a criminal class, who would be working around and under the laws of the land no matter which group promulgated them. Fletcher is, in this series, our archetypal petty grifter, and the Hog's Head his native environment – or it would be had he not been banned. The continuing existence of both Fletcher and the Hog's Head implies strongly that other instances of the underworld, both persons and places, exist. It is this attention to detail that brings the Wizarding world alive for us. If Mundungus and the Hog's Head were not part of the story, we likely would not miss them, but it would significantly weaken our belief in the story, as their absence would make the fictional world far less real for us.