Visitor's Guide to Hogwarts

Other Denizens
of the Castle

paintings and other artwork

Hogwarts is a place of many surprises. Not only are the doors and staircases unusual, but also the paintings on the walls and the suits of armor in the corridors act in ways a visitor might not expect. Everything seems to be alive in some fashion. The armor creaks and moves and even laughs at unsuspecting students. And the paintings... well, the paintings are practically full-fledged Beings. They speak and intereact, not just with the humans in the castle but even with each other.

paintings & other artwork


  • bowl of fruit, painting of
    One of a series of cheerful paintings (mainly still lifes featuring food, although "still life" is a rather relative term to use in the wizarding world) that hang in a broad stone corridor to the left of the staircase leading one flight down from the Entrance Hall. The painting of the bowl of fruit will open to reveal the entrance to the Hogwarts kitchens if the pear is tickled (GF21)
  • Sir Cadogan is a little knight whose picture hangs in a seventh-floor corridor near the South Tower. He is a silly fellow whose bravura outshines his commons sense and who glories in quests and challenges. Sir Cadogan spent some time guarding the Gryffindor Common Room after Sirius Black attacked the Fat Lady (he was the only painting brave enough to take the job). He thought up ridiculous passwords and changed them on a daily basis. He challenged people to duels whenever they would try to enter or leave through the portrait hole. Sir Cadogan has a huge sword and a little fat pony (PA6, PA9) He chased after Harry when Sir Cadogan's picture was hanging on a landing near the North Tower and the Divination classroom, but was stopped in his pursuit when he entered a picture which had a large and angry-looking wolfhound in it (OP12)
  • group of women in crinolines, painting of
    Hangs on the narrow spiral staircase leading up to Professor Trelawney's classroom in North Tower (PA6)
  • Fat Lady, painting of wearing a pink silk dress hangs over the round doorway into the Gryffindor Common Room. To gain admittance to through the portrait hole, a person must give the correct password to the Fat Lady, in which case she swings her frame out from the wall. She has been known to get a bit testy with people who wake her up for no good reason and even to wander off late at night out of her frame to go visiting, making it impossible to get into Gryffindor Tower. She is friends with Violet (GF17). At Christmas, The Fat Lady and Violet tend to consume a good bit of holiday cheer; during Harry's fourth year they got a bit tipsy on chocolate liqueurs (GF23), and over the holidays of Harry's sixth year they drank their way through quite a lot of five-hundred-year-old wine (HBP17).
  • landscape with trees
    On the fourth floor. Peeves saw the Fat Lady running through this painting after she fled from Sirius' attack (PA9)
  • mermaid, painting of
    She resembles the mermaids of folklore (that is, like merfolk who live in warm climates such as the Mediterranean Sea) rather than like the merpeople living in Hogwarts' own lake. Her painting hangs in the prefects' bathroom; she apparently flirts with the young gentlemen while they bathe, which doesn't seem to impress Myrtle much (GF25).
  • monks, painting of a group of
    Hangs on the narrow spiral staircase leading up to Professor Trelawney's classroom in North Tower (PA6). At first Harry thought they looked "sinister".
  • soppy-looking witch standing in a meadow, painting of
    Her painting seems to hang in the Entrance Hall (OP28)
    "soppy" in this case means "overly emotional, maudlin, weepy "
  • Violet ("Vi")
    the Fat Lady's best friend, a wizened, pale old witch whose painting is located in the antechamber off the Great Hall (GF17, 23, HBP17 ).
  • walrus mustache, wizard with
    His painting hangs next to Violet's in the antechamber off the Great Hall (GF17).
  • wizards playing cards
    painting located in the Entrance Hall, next to the painting of the soppy-looking witch in the meadow (OP28)
  • Entrance to the Hufflepuff common room
    Like the Gryffindor common room, the entrance to the Hufflepuff common room is hidden behind a painting. In the case of Hufflepuff, the painting is a still life and it's located in a corridor somewhat below the level of the Entrance Hall, near the kitchens (BLC).
  • Argyllshire, map of
    On second floor, Fat Lady hid here after being attacked by Sirius (PA9)
  • portraits of previous headmasters
    These portraits apparently spend their days snoozing in the Headmaster's office (CS12). In fact, often they are faking sleep and listening to everything that goes on; they are duty-bound to help the current Headmaster in any way they can, which usually means travelling to their other portraits on other places and reporting what they see or delivering messages.

suits of armor



Tapestries on the walls of the corridors sometimes hide secret passages (PS9, CS8, OP28, HBP14), including the entrance to the staircase with the trick step (GF12, 25). There are tapestries in the Gryffindor common room (HBP9).

Barnabas the Barmy, moving tapestry of
depicting his foolish attempt to train trolls for the ballet, hangs on the seventh floor of Hogwarts Castle, opposite the entrance to the Room of Requirement (OP18, 26, HBP20).



secret passages to Hogsmeade

strange stairways

  • one with a trick step halfway up - your foot sinks into it (GF12, 25 )

  • the staircase up to Dumbledore's office moves magically upward, like an escalator (CS11, OP22, DH36)

  • Although the films show a huge hall filled floor to ceiling with moving staircases, the books only mention one. It is refered to as "the swivelling staircase", which suggests that it's the only one (OP32). There is mention, however, of staircases that lead someplace different on different days (PS8).

weird doors

  • the huge oak front doors of Hogwarts are apparently semi-sentient, because Flitwick taught them to recognize a picture of Sirius Black so that they could refuse to let him enter the castle (PA9)