Gilderoy Lockhart

By J.K. RowlingOriginally published on pottermore logo on Aug 10th 2015Born to a witch mother and a Muggle father, with two older sisters, Gilderoy Lockhart was the only one of his parents’ three children to show magical ability.

Early Life

Born to a witch mother and a Muggle father, with two older sisters, Gilderoy Lockhart was the only one of his parents’ three children to show magical ability. A clever, good-looking boy, he was his mother’s unashamed favourite, and the realisation that he was also a wizard caused his vanity to blossom like a particularly pernicious weed.


The young Lockhart’s arrival at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was not the triumph that he and his mother had expected. Somehow, Lockhart had not appreciated that he would be in a whole school full of witches and wizards, many of them more accomplished than himself. (In fact, he had visualised for himself an entrance into Hogwarts not unlike the one that Harry Potter experienced, decades later. He had imagined walking down the corridors to excited whispers of his magical prowess, it never having occurred to him that every student at Hogwarts had had similar experiences before starting school.) In Lockhart’s own mind he was already a fully-fledged hero and genius, and it was a most unwelcome shock to discover that his name was unknown, his talents were unexceptional and that nobody was particularly impressed by his naturally wavy hair.

This is not to say that Lockhart had no talent. Indeed, his teachers felt that he was of above-average intelligence and ability, and that, with hard work, he might make something of himself, even if he fell short of the ambitions he shared freely with classmates (Lockhart told anyone who would listen that he would succeed in making a Philosopher’s Stone before leaving school and that he intended to captain England’s Quidditch team to World Cup glory, before knuckling down to becoming Britain’s youngest Minister for Magic).

Sorted into Ravenclaw house, Lockhart was soon achieving good marks in his schoolwork, but there was always a kink in his nature that made him increasingly unsatisfied. If he was not first and best, he would rather not participate at all. Increasingly, he directed his talents towards short cuts and dodges. He valued learning not for its own sake, but for the attention it brought him. He craved prizes and awards. He lobbied the Headmaster to start a school newsletter, because he liked nothing better than to see his name and photograph in print.

Never very popular, he nevertheless achieved his primary goal of school-wide recognition through repeated, attention-getting exploits. He received a week’s worth of detentions for magically carving his signature in twenty-foot-long letters into the Quidditch pitch. He managed to create a massive, illuminated projection of his own face, which he would send skywards in imitation of the Dark Mark. He sent himself eight hundred Valentine’s cards one year, which caused such a pile-up of owls in the Great Hall that breakfast had to be abandoned (far too many feathers and droppings in the porridge).

Post-Hogwarts Career

When Lockhart finally left Hogwarts, it was to a faint sigh of relief from the staff. He was soon heard of in foreign parts, where his exploits began garnering increasing publicity. Many of his ex-teachers began to feel that they might have misjudged him because he was demonstrating both bravery and resilience in ridding various far-flung places of dangerous, dark creatures.

The truth was that Lockhart had found his true calling at last. He had never been a bad wizard, only a lazy one, and he had decided to hone his talents in one direction: Memory Charms. By perfecting this tricky spell, he had succeeded in modifying the recollections of a dozen highly accomplished and courageous witches and wizards, allowing him to take credit for their daring exploits, returning to Britain at the end of each ‘adventure’ with a new book ready for publication which retold ‘his’ feats of bravery with a wealth of invented detail.

Within a decade of leaving school, Lockhart had achieved bestseller status with his series of autobiographical books and a reputation as a world-class defender against the Dark Arts. He even received the Order of Merlin, Third Class, became an Honorary Member of the Dark Force Defence League and – his good looks untarnished by the many life-and-death, tooth-and-claw battles he claimed to have had with werewolves, banshees and the like – won Witch Weekly’s Most-Charming-Smile Award no less than five times in a row.

Return to Hogwarts

Many staff were baffled as to the reason that Albus Dumbledore chose to invite Gilderoy Lockhart back to Hogwarts as Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. While it was true that it had become almost impossible to persuade anybody else to take the job (the rumour that it was cursed was gathering strength both inside and outside Hogwarts), many teachers remembered Lockhart as thoroughly obnoxious, whatever his later achievements.

Albus Dumbledore’s plans, however, ran deep. He happened to have known two of the wizards for whose life’s work Gilderoy Lockhart had taken credit, and was one of the only people in the world who thought he knew what Lockhart was up to. Dumbledore was convinced that Lockhart needed only to be put back into an ordinary school setting to be revealed as a charlatan and a fraud. Professor McGonagall, who had never liked Lockhart, asked Dumbledore what he thought students would learn from such a vain, celebrity-hungry man. Dumbledore replied that ‘there is plenty to be learned even from a bad teacher: what not to do, how not to be’.

Lockhart might not have been keen to return to Hogwarts, given how well his career of stolen glory was progressing, had Dumbledore not dangled the promise of Harry Potter over his fame-hungry head (a ruse that Dumbledore was to repeat four years later, when another teacher needed to be persuaded to come back to school). By subtly suggesting that teaching Harry Potter would set the seal on Lockhart’s fame, Dumbledore had set a lure that Lockhart could not resist.

By the time that he arrived at school, Lockhart’s magical skills (once rather good) had become rusty almost beyond repair. The only spell for which he had real ability was the Memory Charm, which he had been using repeatedly for years. His classes quickly became a charade, as he was revealed to be completely inept at everything in which he claimed, in his books, to be expert.

The accident that cost Lockhart his sanity occurred at the end of his year at Hogwarts, when he was hit by a backfiring Memory Charm that forever erased his past. He has since resided in the Janus Thickey Ward of St Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.

J.K. Rowling’s thoughts

An extract taken from a BBC Radio 4 interview with Stephen Fry and J.K. Rowling, recorded in the late summer of 2005 and broadcast as a Christmas special in December 2005:

Stephen Fry: Now do you actually trawl through books of rare words or OED [Oxford English Dictionary] or things, or are they just things that you somehow, you’ve got a good memory for words?

J.K. Rowling: I don’t really trawl books. They tend to be things I’ve collected or stumbled across in general reading. The exception was Gilderoy – Gilderoy Lockhart. The name Lockhart, well, I know it’s quite a well-known Scottish surname…

SF: Yeah.

JKR: …I found on a war memorial. I was looking for quite a glamorous, dashing sort of surname, and Lockhart caught my eye on this war memorial, and that was it. Couldn’t find a Christian name. And I was leafing through the Dictionary of Phrase and Fable one night. I was consciously looking for stuff, generally, that would be useful and I saw Gilderoy, who was actually a highway man, and a very good-looking rogue.

SF: Really?

JKR: And Gilderoy Lockhart, it just sounded perfect.

SF: It is a perfect, perfect…

JKR: Impressive, and yet, in the middle, quite hollow, of course.

SF: Indeed, as we know, he was.

JKR: As we know.

© HNP Limited 2005

jk rowling signature stamp
jk rowling signature

Original Writing

Trivia #6

According to Pottermore, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter website, the Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry stands at the highest peak of Mount Greylock, where it is concealed from non-magic gaze by a variety of powerful enchantments. Mount Greylock is the highest natural point in Massachusetts at 3,489 feet.

The Knight Bus

By J.K. RowlingOriginally published on pottermore logo on Aug 10th 2015

For witches and wizards who are Floo-sick, whose Apparition is unreliable, who hate heights or who feel frightened or queasy taking Portkeys, there is always the Knight Bus, which appears whenever a witch or wizard in urgent need of transportation sticks out their wand arm at the kerb.

A purple, triple-decker bus, it has seats during the day and beds at night. It is not particularly comfortable, and I would advise against ordering hot drinks even if offered, because the bus’s habit of leaping from one destination to another at a moment’s notice can result in a lot of spillage.

The Knight Bus is a relatively modern invention in wizarding society, which sometimes (though it will rarely admit it) takes ideas from the Muggle world. The need for some form of transportation that could be used safely and discreetly by the underage or the infirm had been felt for a while and many suggestions had been made (sidecars on taxi-style broomsticks, carrying baskets slung under Thestrals) all of them vetoed by the Ministry. Finally, Minister for Magic Dugald McPhail hit upon the idea of imitating the Muggles’ relatively new ‘bus service’ and in 1865, the Knight Bus hit the streets.

While some wizards (mainly pureblood fanatics) announced their intention of boycotting what was dubbed ‘this Muggle-esque outrage’ in the letters page of The Daily Prophet, the Knight Bus proved hugely popular with most of the community and remains busy to this day.

J.K. Rowling’s thoughts

The Knight Bus was so-named because, firstly, knight is a homonym of night, and there are night buses running all over Britain after normal transport stops. Secondly, ‘knight’ has the connotation of coming to the rescue, of protection, and this seemed appropriate for a vehicle that is often the conveyance of last resort.

The driver and conductor of the Knight Bus in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban are named after my two grandfathers, Ernest and Stanley.

jk rowling signature stamp
jk rowling signature

Original Writing

The Magic Wand Story

It has a dark magic and a condemned, unknown core, which is cursed probably. Rarely has a dark object reminded me more of the fingers of an old snake.

Its wood is as flawless as an exemplary, weird spells , which has been sleeping absentmindedly in the magical, broken sleet (clatter!).

Naturally, it has all the glory of an wizard, which once boated blindly. There is nothing like an owner that once boated blindly.

Lest not forget the expensive, enthusiastic essence of an energetic engravement gently partying.

Grandmas likes its dark magic. Deers likes its cursed core.

It is a magical Wand!


By J.K. RowlingOriginally published on pottermore logo on Aug 10th 2015

J.K. Rowling’s thoughts

Alchemy (the search for the Philosopher’s Stone, which would turn base metal to gold and give the possessor eternal youth) was once believed to be possible and real. However, the central quest of alchemy may be more complex, and less materialistic, than it first appears.

One interpretation of the ‘instructions’ left by the alchemists is that they are symbolic of a spiritual journey, leading the alchemist from ignorance (base metal) to enlightenment (gold). There seems to have been a mystical element to the work the alchemist was engaged upon, which set it apart from chemistry (of which it was undoubtedly both an offshoot and forerunner).

The colours red and white are mentioned many times in old texts on alchemy. One interpretation is that they, like base metal and gold, represent two different sides of human nature, which must be reconciled. This was the inspiration for the Christian names of Rubeus (red) Hagrid and Albus (white) Dumbledore. These two men, both hugely important to Harry, seem to me to represent two sides of the ideal father figure he seeks; the former is warm, practical and wild, the latter impressive, intellectual, and somewhat detached.

Although there are books on alchemy in the library at Hogwarts, and I always imagined that it would be studied by very clever students in their sixth and seven years, Hermione most uncharacteristically ignores the opportunity. Perhaps she feels (as Harry and Ron certainly do) that, far from wishing to make another Philosopher’s Stone, they would be happy never to see another one in their lives.

jk rowling signature stamp
jk rowling signature

Original Writing

The Pink Dementor! | Arash

It has an gigantic mouth and large, black legs, which are curvy. Rarely has an incredible mouth reminded me more of the abs of a charming donkey.

Its scent is as flawless as an exemplary, open mouth, which has been thinking enjoyably in the magical, sexy sun (damn!).

Naturally, it has all the glory of a fur, which once trembled deftly. There is nothing like a fur that once trembled deftly.

Lest not forget the alert, afraid ambiance of an aggressive azkaban boldly skipping.

boys likes its incredible mouth. girl likes its curvy legs.

It is a pink Dementor after all!

Happy Valentine