Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Magic/Flying

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Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Magic
Flying lessons
Type Class
Features
First Appearance Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone


Overview[edit]

The subject of flying using brooms is taught by Madam Hooch to the first-years at Hogwarts.

Extended Description[edit]

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

Flying is done using brooms; we are led to believe that it is not possible for a wizard to fly without a broom or some other charmed device (e.g. a flying carpet, though those are currently not allowed in England) or animal (e.g. a Thestral).

One of the rules at Hogwarts is that first-years aren't allowed to posess brooms. This rule was bent for Harry, though: in his first-ever flying lesson, Professor McGonagall sees that he is a natural flier. As a result, Harry was recruited to the Gryffindor Quidditch Team, as Seeker, and was given a Nimbus 2000.

Once his natural ability has been discovered, there is little that Madam Hooch can teach him; his flying lessons are taken over by Oliver Wood, the captain of the Quidditch team, and Harry has no further lessons with Madam Hooch. We must assume that lessons continue for the other students, however.

Analysis[edit]

Among Muggles, the ability to fly is often seen as one of the most cherished uses of magic. Flying carpets, flying broomsticks, flying animals, and (lately) flying cars have been a mainstay in imaginative fiction for centuries. This series being centered on magic, it would be unusual indeed if flying were not a part of the story. And in fact, we hear of or experience all of these: Harry, of course, has his broomsticks, but also rides on a Hippogriff and a thestral, drives and rides in Mr. Weasley's flying Ford Anglia, and rides in Sirius' flying motorcycle; and we hear that there is an import ban on flying carpets.

Teachers at Hogwarts actually instruct students on two of these, though one of them may be somewhat informal. Madam Hooch, as mentioned, instructs the first year classes in the use of brooms, and Hagrid has Harry riding the Hippogriff Buckbeak. The latter, we believe, may be less formal; Hagrid seems to be straying from the Ministry-approved curriculum towards areas he finds more interesting.

There is also Hagrid's off-hand remark in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: asked how he had reached the island, he simply replies "Flew." In the morning, he uses the boat to return to shore, so he can't have used the flying motorcycle or a broom; and we are told that the flying charm cannot be applied to a wizard, so we have to assume that Hagrid somehow found a flying animal, such as a thestral, large enough to carry him.

We do note that in the final book, Voldemort is seen to be flying without equipment of any sort, and later in that book, Snape is seen to have the same ability. Comments made at the time suggest that this is a charm that Voldemort has created, and taught to Snape.

Questions[edit]

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

  1. We are led to believe that flying is only possible with the use of an object (broom, Sirius' flying motorcycle, Mr. Weasley's flying Ford Anglia), or with the assistance of a flying creature (Thestral, Hippogriff, Dragon). How is it that Voldemort, and later Snape, seem to be capable of unassisted flight in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows?

Greater Picture[edit]

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