Magic is at the heart of the Wizarding World, but even witches and wizards have an appreciation for music. During Harry’s first welcoming feast at Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Albus Dumbledore takes a second to acknowledge that music is a magic of its own.
“Ah, music,” he said, wiping his eyes. “A magic beyond all we do here!”
Music makes an appearance many times in the series. Harry, Ron, and Hermione have one memorable experience with music when they play a flute to put Fluffy, the three-headed dog, to sleep in their first year, so they can save the Sorcerer’s stone. To add excitement to the Triwizard Tournament, the Weird Sisters bring their tunes to the Yule Ball, and that’s not all. Songs play their role at Hogwarts, from the Sorting Hat to a group of Slytherins belting out their hit, “Weasley is Our King.” Warm up your vocal cords because it’s time to sing our way through the melodies of the Magical World.
The Sorting Hat
It’s not a new year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry without a song from the Sorting Hat. Before being placed on each first year’s head to determine their House, the Sorting Hat sings about the Hogwarts founders and the four Houses. During the Sorting in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the Sorting Hat does a fantastic job telling everyone in the Great Hall about the qualities that define each House, rhymes and all.
You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart,
Their daring, nerve, and chivalry
Set Gryffindors apart;
You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true
And unafraid of toil;
Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
If you’ve a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind;
Or perhaps in Slytherin
You’ll make your real friends,
Those cunning folk use any means
To achieve their ends.
The Sorting Hat’s intelligence reaches beyond its task of sorting students into the Houses. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the Sorting Hat puts a dark twist on its song. It sings of the history of the four founders, pointing out what each of them looked for in the students they selected. The Houses existed in harmony, but then, they soon became divided, especially when Salazar Slytherin left the school. In light of Lord Voldemort’s return, it is more important than ever for the Houses to unite, as they were always meant to be, so the Sorting Hat ends its song with a warning to everyone at Hogwarts to stand together.
And now the Sorting Hat is here
And you all know the score:
I sort you into Houses
Because that is what I’m for,
But this year I’ll go further,
Listen closely to my song:
Though condemned I am to split you
Still I worry that it’s wrong,
Though I must fulfill my duty
And must quarter every year
Still I wonder whether sorting
May not bring the end I fear.
Oh, know the perils, read the signs,
The warning history shows,
For our Hogwarts is in danger
From external, deadly foes
And we must unite inside her
Or we’ll crumble from within
I have told you, I have warned you…
Let the Sorting now begin.
The Sorting Hat is one of the most clever objects in the Wizarding World, and its song definitely adds creativity to the Sorting each year. For the first years, waiting to be sorted can be quite stressful, but the Sorting Hat eases some of their nerves through the power of music.
Hoggy Warty Hogwarts
There are school songs in the Muggle World, and Hogwarts isn’t any different. There’s no better way to kick off a new year than by showing some school spirit with the Hogwarts school song, “Hoggy Warty Hogwarts.”
Teach us something, please,
Whether we be old and bald
Or young with scabby knees,
Our heads can do with filling
With some interesting stuff,
For now they’re bare and full of air,
Dead flies and bits of fluff,
So teach us things worth knowing,
Bring back what we’ve forgot,
Just do your best, we’ll do the rest,
And learn until our brains all rot.
In Harry’s first year, Dumbledore flicks his wand, and a golden ribbon rises into the air, forming the lyrics of the song. Everyone sings to their favorite tune and finishes at a different time. Fred and George are last to reach the end of the song because they chose a slow funeral march, and Dumbledore conducts their final notes with his wand. The song marks the end of the feast, and the students head to their dormitories to get sleep before their first day of classes the next morning.
Peeves greatly enjoys causing a ruckus in Hogwarts, and he finds a reason to tap into his own songwriting skills in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. After Harry speaks Parseltongue during the Dueling Club, the other students start to think that he’s Slytherin’s heir. It gets even worse for Harry when Peeves spots him next to Nearly-Headless Nick and Justin Finch-Fletchley, who both had been petrified. Peeves alerts the school of the double attack and breaks into song.
“Oh, Potter, you rotter, oh, what have you done,
You’re killing off students, you think it’s good fun—”
Professor McGonagall cuts him off, not having the patients for Peeves and his glee when it comes to disasters. Peeves eventually gets bored of singing his song, but he couldn’t miss an opportunity to add to the growing anxiety in the school surrounding the opening of the Chamber of Secrets.
Love is in the air on Valentine’s Day during Harry’s second year. The students go into the Great Hall for breakfast to find it decked out with pink flowers covering the walls and heart confetti falling from the ceiling. Professor Lockhart, wearing pink robes to match the decorations, claps his hands, and dwarfs with golden wings carrying harps come into the Great Hall. The card-carrying cupids will be going around the school all day, delivering everyone’s valentines. To Harry’s embarrassment, a dwarf catches up with him on his way to Charms to deliver a musical message.
His eyes are as green as a fresh pickled toad,
His hair is as dark as a blackboard.
I wish he was mine, he’s really divine,
The hero who conquered the Dark Lord.
Though it isn’t confirmed, Ginny most likely is the one who sent the valentine. It’s no secret she has a huge crush on Harry, and when Draco Malfoy calls after Ginny, “I don’t think Potter liked your valentine much,” she covers her face and runs into class.
The Merpeople’s Song from the Golden Egg
After retrieving his golden egg from the Hungarian Horntail in the first task of the Triwizard Tournament, Harry opens it in Gryffindor Tower. Imagine his confusion when all it does is wail. What kind of clue for the next task is that? Well, Sedric Diggory knows a thing or two, and after the Yule Ball, he tells Harry to go to the prefects’ bathroom, the fourth door to the left of the statue of Boris the Bewildered on the fifth floor, and take a bath with the egg. This leaves Harry feeling pretty bewildered himself, but after running out of ideas, he takes Sedric’s advice. When he goes to the bathroom, he doesn’t have much luck until Moaning Myrtle pops in and tells him to open the egg under the water. Harry sinks under the bubbly surface of the water and opens the egg to hear a chorus of eerie voices singing a riddle.
“Come seek us where our voices sound,
We cannot sing above the ground,
And while you’re searching, ponder this:
We’ve taken what you’ll sorely miss,
An hour long you’ll have to look,
And to recover what we took,
But past an hour—the prospect’s black,
Too late, it’s gone, it won’t come back.”
Finally knowing the golden egg’s clue, Harry pieces it all together. He has to find a way to survive under water for an hour, and Dobby comes to the rescue on the morning of the task to give him Gillyweed. Harry swims in the lake and hears the Merpeople’s song. He follows it to find Ron and the others taken for the task tied up. Harry frees Ron and Fleur Delacour’s sister, Gabrielle, and swims back up to the lake’s surface.
Weasley is Our King
The students at Hogwarts take Quidditch very seriously, and there are no limits when it comes to the Slytherins being cunning and ambitious. So, when Ron becomes Keeper for the Gryffindor team, the Slytherins turn their desire to sabotage Ron on a broomstick into lyrics. The Slytherins go all out, writing their song, “Weasley is Our King,” and even wear crown badges to go along with it.
Weasley cannot save a thing,
He cannot block a single ring,
That’s why Slytherins all sing:
Weasley is our king.
Weasley was born in a bin,
He always lets the Quaffle in,
Weasley will make sure we win,
Weasley is our king.
Weasley is our king,
Weasley is our king,
He always lets the Quaffle in,
Weasley is our king.
Imagine how Ron must feel when he hears the song coming from the students in green and silver at the match. A song like that is enough to make anyone’s anxiety level skyrocket. Still, who knew Draco Malfoy and his friends could write a song and make matching badges? Seems like they have a little bit of Ravenclaw in them to have pulled it off, or maybe, songwriting is just a secret Slytherin talent.
The Sorting Hat and Merpeople have clever songs, and Peeves and the Slytherins have not so friendly ones. Hogwarts has its own school song, and even Ginny finds a way to confess her feelings to Harry in a song on Valentine’s Day. Witches and wizards may be very different than Muggles in many ways, but the magic of music in both worlds blends them together in harmony.
You are reading an article from The Rowling Library Magazine Issue 35 (November 2019).
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