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Or perhaps in Slytherin,
You’ll make your real friends,
Those cunning folk use any means,
To achieve their ends.
The Sorting Hat[src]

Slytherin is one of the four Houses at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Founded by Salazar Slytherin, the house is composed mostly of pure-blood students, due to its founder’s mistrust of Muggle-borns. The house is traditionally home to students who exhibit such traits as cunning, resourcefulness, and ambition. Its emblematic animal is a snake and its colours are green and silver. The house ghost is the Bloody Baron and its gem is the emerald.

Slytherin corresponds roughly with the element of water with serpents being commonly associated with the sea and lochs in western European mythology, as well as serpents being physically fluid and flexible animals.[6] The colours also correspond with waters around lakes and lochs often being green, and silver being often associated with grey rain water.



Traits and values


You could be great, you know, and Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, no doubt about that.
—The Sorting Hat to Harry Potter[src]

Slytherins tend to be ambitious, shrewd, cunning, strong leaders, and achievement-oriented. They also have highly developed senses of self-preservation.[7] This means that Slytherins tend to hesitate before acting, so as to weigh all possible outcomes before deciding exactly what should be done.

This in no way makes them ”mean” or ”ruthless”. Matter of fact, it makes them an important part of everyday the Harry Potter world. It is a well known fact that Slytherins and Hufflepuffs would make great allies. As most Hufflepuffs are Muggleborns, this repels the fascist idea that all Slytherins are rude to wizards with such blood purity.

According to Albus Dumbledore, the qualities which Salazar valued in the students he chose included cleverness, resourcefulness, determination, and ”a certain disregard for the rules.” Dumbledore noted that all of these were qualities possessed by Harry Potter, who was in Gryffindor.

Blood purity

I always knew Salazar Slytherin was a twisted old loony, but I never knew he started all this pure-blood stuff. I wouldn’t be in his house if you paid me. Honestly, if the Sorting Hat had tried to put me in Slytherin, I’d’ve got the train straight back home…
Ron Weasley expressing his claims about Slytherin’s views[src]

Slytherin’s founder, Salazar Slytherin

The Sorting Hat claims that blood purity is a factor in selecting Slytherins. This suggests that it bases its decisions more upon the views of its members than on any accurate test of a student’s lineage. Muggle-born Slytherins exist, but are very rare, as noted insultingly by Scabior the Snatcher.[8] There have also been definite examples of half-bloods sorted into the house, including Tom Marvolo Riddle, Dolores Umbridge, and Severus Snape. Harry Potter was nearly sorted into Slytherin, but because he asked for it, he ended up in Gryffindor instead. Also, pure-bloods are not automatically placed in Slytherin. There have been various examples of pure-bloods sorted into other houses, including the: Weasley Family, Sirius Black, Neville Longbottom, and James Potter all being sorted into Gryffindor house, Ernie Macmillan being sorted into Hufflepuff, and Morag MacDougal and Stephen Cornfootbeing sorted into Ravenclaw.Contrary to the wishes of the other founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Salazar Slytherin wanted a stricter policy of admission to the school —one limited strictly to pure-blood students. The controversy this created apparently led to him leaving the school and the Chamber of Secrets behind. A millennium later, the house’s students are still considered affiliated with Salazar’s reputed views, and open expression of pro-blood purity sentiment does seem to be more common in Slytherin than in other Houses. Also, no one can really blame him for not letting Muggleborns into Hogwarts, when Muggles were actively trying to kill all wizards, regardless of intent at the time.

This disagreement over blood purity, which caused Salazar Slytherin’s friendship with Godric Gryffindor to break, is the origin of the feud between Slytherin and Gryffindor, the two most competitive of the houses. Slytherin and Gryffindor are generally rivals in Quidditch and for the House Cup, which the former had won seven years in a row prior to Harry Potter’s arrival at Hogwarts in 1991. It is also rare for Slytherin and Gryffindor students to be friendly with one another, and common for them to share animosity. This was particularly the case during the First and Second Wizarding Wars. During the second war, no Slytherin students joined an association known as Dumbledore’s Army; however, this could be because only those Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, and Harry Potter trusted were invited, as the three shared a deep mistrust of any Slytherins. Some Slytherins declined to defend their school in the Battle of Hogwarts, (although they were forced out of the school when Voldemort attacked) with some joining their families in becoming Death Eaters. However, there are exceptions, such as Slytherin Severus Snape and Gryffindor Lily Evans, who were best friends until Snape’s use of the slur Mudblood” and his aspirations to be a Death Eater caused Lily to sever their ties.


There’s not a single witch or wizard who went bad who wasn’t in Slytherin.
—Wizarding prejudice against Slytherin House[src]
Slytherin symbol

A serpent, symbol of Slytherin House

It is said that all Dark Wizards were in Slytherin (though this is untrue, as Peter Pettigrew was a Gryffindor and Quirinus Quirrell was a Ravenclaw), though how many were from this house before Tom Marvolo Riddle began recruiting Death Eaters there is unstated. As Slytherin was his own House, it was certainly most easy for him to recruit there.

It might also be possible (though quite unlikely) that the Sorting Hat simply sorts anyone with ill intentions into Slytherin, regardless of whether they possess cunning and ambition. Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle were both incredibly stupid and did not have clever or cunning minds, but were still sorted into Slytherin. Though it does appear that perhaps they had more of the minor Slytherin traits since the cowardly Peter Pettigrew was obviously not brought into Gryffindor by bravery, but by chivalry instead. It is also likely that Crabbe and Goyle were simply placed there by process of elimination, since they exhibited virtually none of the qualities valued by any of the other houses (lacking the work ethic or honesty of Hufflepuff, the academic prowess of Ravenclaw, or the bravery of Gryffindor).

However, it must be noted that Slytherins who oppose use of the Dark Arts and discrimination based on blood purity do exist, such as Horace Slughorn and Andromeda Tonks; Tonks was related to many Dark wizards and witches (most notably her sister Bellatrix Lestrange, her brother-in-law Lucius Malfoy, and her nephew Draco Malfoy), but chose to forsake the loyalty to her family in marrying the Muggle-born Ted Tonks. Also, the allegiance of Severus Snape was found to be ultimately towards Albus Dumbledore, serving as a triple agent for the Order of the Phoenix. Furthermore, there have been Dark wizards from other houses; Peter Pettigrew, who betrayed James and Lily Potter to Lord Voldemort, was a Gryffindor.


House ghost, The Bloody Baron

Cunning and ambition are easily turned towards ill purposes, but are not inherently negative; furthermore, daring, intelligence, and loyalty can as easily become negative. Slytherins may be thought less of by people because many of them seem to value their own lives more than the lives of others. When Harry was trying to run away, because he was afraid that his presence was putting his friends in danger, Phineas Nigellus saw him and said, ”We Slytherins are brave, yes, but not stupid. For instance, when given the choice, we will always choose to save our own necks”. There are exceptions to this rule, however, such as Snape, who Harry said was a ”Slytherin and… probably the bravest man I ever knewand Regulus Black, who gave his life in an attempt to destroy one of the Horcruxes of Lord Voldemort.

The truth is that while most Dark wizards are Slytherins, many members of Slytherin House do not have Dark leanings, and smaller groups of Voldemort ‘s supporters are aligned with other Houses. During the Battle of Hogwarts, while all of the Slytherin students left the school before the fighting started, several of them did return with Professor Slughorn as reinforcements to join the fight against Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters.

Common room

Main article: Slytherin Dungeon
Slytherin common room

Slytherin common room

The Slytherin common room is in the dungeons of Hogwarts Castle and underneath the Black Lake. Because of this, the light in the common room is green. Harry Potter along with Ron Weasley entered the common room in his second year to find out if Draco Malfoy was the one opening the Chamber of Secrets. To enter the Slytherin common room one must merely speak aloud the current password in front of a stretch of damp stone wall; once the word is uttered a concealed stone door will slide aside leaving a rectangular hole in the wall leading to the Slytherin common room. The only known Slytherin password is ”pureblood”, used in 1992.

Head of House

Slytherin’s head of house for Harry’s first six years of school was Severus Snape; however, as he fled with the Death Eaters in 1997, Potions master Horace Slughorn became the head of Slytherin House. Upon Snape’s return as Headmaster later that year, he apparently approved of Slughorn’s appointment, as he did not assign any Death Eaters as a new head of house.

Known Slytherins

Slytherin Period Attending Hogwarts Notes
Salazar Slytherin Medieval time One of the four founder of Hogwarts.
The Bloody Baron[9] Founder’s time Later became the house ghost.
Merlin[4] Medieval era Member of King Arthur’s court, advocate of Muggle rights, and arguably the most famous wizard in history.
Elizabeth Burke Unknown Her portrait hangs at Hogwarts, and tells Slytherins to be ”Nasty to Mudbloods.
Phineas Nigellus Black 18581865 In later years he was a Headmaster, his portrait hangs in the Headmaster’s office.
Black family Except Sirius Black
Horace Slughorn Unknown Later became Potions teacher and Head of Slytherin.
Tom Marvolo Riddle 19381945 Gave himself the alias ”Lord Voldemort” and later began to use it openly. Later became the most powerful Dark Wizardin history. Finally defeated by Harry Potter during the Battle of Hogwarts.
Lestrange Later became one of the first Death Eaters.
Avery, Snr Later became one of the first Death Eaters.
Dolores Umbridge[5] Unknown Later became Senior Undersecretary to the Minister for Magic, Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor, Hogwarts High Inquisitor, Headmistress of Hogwarts (1996), and Head of the Muggle-Born Registration Commission. Imprisoned for her crimes against Muggle-borns.
Rodolphus Lestrange 1960s Later became a very loyal Death Eater.
Bellatrix Black 19621969[10] Later became one of Lord Voldemort‘s most loyal Death Eaters alongside her husband Rodolphus Lestrange. Killed by Molly Weasley during the Battle of Hogwarts.
Lucius Malfoy 19651972 Prefect; later became a Death Eater (defected).
Narcissa Black 19661973 Sister of Bellatrix, who eventually married Lucius Malfoy and became the mother of Draco.
Evan Rosier 1960s or 1970s Became a Death Eater. Killed by Alastor Moody.
Rabastan Lestrange Later became a very loyal Death Eater.
Avery Later became a Death Eater.
Severus Snape 19711978 Became Death Eater, but defected to the Order of the Phoenix; later Potions master and Head of Slytherin, and became Headmaster for one year. Murdered by Voldemortduring the Battle of Hogwarts.
Regulus Black 19721979 Became Death Eater but defected and gave his life in an attempt to destroy one of the Horcruxes.
Gemma Farley[4] 1980s and 1990s A Prefect
Marcus Flint 19861994 Captain and Chaser of the Slytherin Quidditch team and he repeated a year.[11]
Lucian Bole 19881995 Beater for the Slytherin Quidditch team during the 1990s.
Peregrine Derrick
C. Warrington 19891996 Chaser of the Slytherin Quidditch team from 1993 to 1996; member of the Inquisitorial Squad.
Graham Montague Chaser of the Slytherin Quidditch team during the 1990s
Adrian Pucey 1990s Chaser of the Slytherin Quidditch team until 1993.
Flora Carrow[12] Member of the Slug Club
Hestia Carrow[12]
Miles Bletchley Keeper of the Slytherin Quidditch team from 1991 to 1995.
Terence Higgs Seeker of the Slytherin Quidditch team in the 1980s and 1990s.
Urquhart Captain and Chaser of the Slytherin Quidditch team during the 1996–1997 school year.
Vaisey Chaser of the Slytherin Quidditch team in 1996.
Draco Malfoy 19911998 Prefect, Seeker for the Slytherin Quidditch team, member of the Inquisitorial Squad and later blackmailed by Lord Voldemort to become a Death Eater (defected).
Vincent Crabbe Beater of the Slytherin Quidditch team from 1995 to 1997; member of the Inquisitorial Squad; became a Dark Wizard in his seventh year. Killed by his own Fiendfyre during the Battle of Hogwarts.
Gregory Goyle Beater of the Slytherin Quidditch team from 1995 to 1997; member of the Inquisitorial Squad; became a Dark Wizard in his seventh year.
Millicent Bulstrode Member of the Inquisitorial Squad
Pansy Parkinson Prefect and member of the Inquisitorial Squad.
Blaise Zabini Member of the Slug Club.
Daphne Greengrass Sister of Astoria Greengrass.
Theodore Nott Was supposed to be a member of the Slug Club.
Tracey Davis
Bridget 1992 – 1993 Duelling Club member
Harper 19921999 Reserve Seeker of the Slytherin Quidditch team in 1996.
Graham Pritchard 19942001
Mafalda The infamous cousin of the Weasley family who was cut from the books.[13]
Malcolm Baddock
Albus Potter[14] 2017 – 2024 The second son and child of the famous Harry Potter. The only member of his family to be sorted into Slytherin House.
Scorpius Malfoy[15] The only child and son of Draco and Astoria Malfoy.
Tabitha Bainbridge
Sadie Baldock
Tristram Bassenthwaite
Darius Berrow
Kinjal Bhatia
Cameron Boyle
Sebastian Daley
Damon Gosforth
Amrish Gupta
Niles Hanley
Manami Ichijoh
Sourav Kartik
Hirohisa Kubo
Gertrude Meads
Sylvia Melville
Byron Miller
Titus Mitcham
Garrick Newbourne
Ona Parangyo
Mildred Peebles
Horatio Pershore
Poonima Shah
Bhupen Shastri
Archana Shetty
Reiko Sibazaki
Norman Stacey
Atsushi Takagi
Spencer Whiddon
Phylis Whitehead

Translations of the name

In many translations they have changed the name:

French Serpentard
Norwegian Smygard
Finnish Luihuinen (taken from the adjective ‘luihu’ which means ‘deceptive’ or ‘sneaky’)
Dutch Zwadderich (taken form the old dutch noun ”zwadder” which means snake poison)
Afrikaans Sibberin
Portuguese (Brazil) Sonserina (taken from ”Sonso” a term to someone who pretends to be innocent or harmless)
Czech Zmijozel (taken from ”Zmije” = viper snake)
Hungarian Mardekár
Russian Слизерин [Slizerin](Sleezerin – Слизь means slime), Слайзерин [Sluytherin], Пресмыкайс [Presmykais] (Пресмыкаться means to slither)
Bulgarian Слидерин [Sliderin]
Greek Σλίθεριν [Slitherin]
Serbian Слитерин/Sliterin
Slovak Slizolin
Romanian Viperini
Italian Serpeverde (”Green Serpent”)
Albanian Gjarpërblertit (Green snake)
Slovenian Spolzgad
Hindi Nagshakti नगशक्ति (Sanskrit naga-shakti = ”snake-power”)
Macedonian Змијолик (Zmijolik, which means ”Snakeface”)
Welsh Slafenog
Traditional Chinese 史萊哲林 (Shi-lai-zhe-lin)
Simplied Chinese 斯莱特林 (Si-lai-te-lin)
Thai สลิธีริน (Sa-li-thee-rin)
Lithuanian Klastūnynas (taken from the noun ‘klasta’ meaning ‘guile’ or ‘ruse’. Also could be translated as ‘viper’ or ‘scoundrel’.)
The same name is used for the Arabic, Croatian, German, Hebrew, Swedish, Spanish, Danish, Turkish, Icelandic, Irish, Polish, Portuguese (Portugal), and Indonesia languages. Slytherin

Behind the scenes

Slytherin Banner (WBshop)

Slytherin Banner


Screenshot 849

See also

Notes and references

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Hogwarts Houses:
0.31 Gryffindor Crest Transparent 0.51 Hufflepuff Crest Transparent 0.41 Ravenclaw Crest Transparent 0.61 Slytherin Crest Transparent
Namesake Founders:
Godric Gryffindor · Helga Hufflepuff · Rowena Ravenclaw · Salazar Slytherin
Heads of House:
Minerva McGonagall · Pomona Sprout · Filius Flitwick · Horace Slughorn
House Ghosts:
Nearly Headless Nick · Fat Friar · Grey Lady · Bloody Baron


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Fredrik Lindkvist

Welcome to your personal Pottermore page



You probably know that some of Ravenclaw’s most renowned members include Gilderoy Lockhart and Luna Lovegood. But did you know Ravenclaw’s Grey Lady is the least talkative Hogwarts house ghost, or that Ravenclaw’s common room boasts the most stunning views of the castle grounds?

Here you can discover more about your beloved house through writing by J.K. Rowling, articles by Pottermore and all the latest Ravenclaw news.

You can also share your Ravenclaw pride with your friends, with downloadable wallpaper and house emblems.

Sybill Trelawney

Sybill Trelawney

Gilderoy Lockhart

Gilderoy Lockhart


Ravenclaw traits

Intelligent, wise, sharp, witty, individual


Famous Ravenclaws through the ages

Famous Ravenclaws through the ages

6 reasons to get excited if you’re sorted into Ravenclaw

6 reasons to get excited if you’re sorted into Ravenclaw


Tell your friends you’re a wise Ravenclaw

Download Ravenclaw wallpaper

Ravenclaw Welcome Message

By J.K. Rowling

Congratulations! I’m Prefect Robert Hilliard, and I’m delighted to welcome you to RAVENCLAW HOUSE. Our emblem is the eagle, which soars where others cannot climb; our house colours are blue and bronze, and our common room is found at the top of Ravenclaw Tower, behind a door with an enchanted knocker. The arched windows set into the walls of our circular common room look down at the school grounds: the lake, the Forbidden Forest, the Quidditch pitch and the Herbology gardens. No other house in the school has such stunning views.

Without wishing to boast, this is the house where the cleverest witches and wizards live. Our founder, Rowena Ravenclaw, prized learning above all else – and so do we. Unlike the other houses, who all have concealed entrances to their common rooms, we don’t need one. The door to our common room lies at the top of a tall, winding staircase. It has no handle, but an enchanted bronze knocker in the shape of an eagle. When you rap on the door, this knocker will ask you a question, and if you can answer it correctly, you are allowed in. This simple barrier has kept out everyone but Ravenclaws for nearly a thousand years.

Some first-years are scared by having to answer the eagle’s questions, but don’t worry. Ravenclaws learn quickly, and you’ll soon enjoy the challenges the door sets. It’s not unusual to find twenty people standing outside the common room door, all trying to work out the answer to the day’s question together. This is a great way to meet fellow Ravenclaws from other years, and to learn from them – although it is a bit annoying if you’ve forgotten your Quidditch robes and need to get in and out in a hurry. In fact, I’d advise you to triple-check your bag for everything you need before leaving Ravenclaw Tower.

Another cool thing about Ravenclaw is that our people are the most individual – some might even call them eccentrics. But geniuses are often out of step with ordinary folk, and unlike some other houses we could mention, we think you’ve got the right to wear what you like, believe what you want, and say what you feel. We aren’t put off by people who march to a different tune; on the contrary, we value them!

Speaking of eccentrics, you’ll like our Head of house, Professor Filius Flitwick. People often underestimate him, because he’s really tiny (we think he’s part elf, but we’ve never been rude enough to ask) and he’s got a squeaky voice, but he’s the best and most knowledgeable Charms master alive in the world today. His office door is always open to any Ravenclaw with a problem, and if you’re in a real state he’ll get out these delicious little cupcakes he keeps in a tin in his desk drawer and make them do a little dance for you. In fact, it’s worth pretending you’re in a real state just to see them jive.

Ravenclaw house has an illustrious history. Most of the greatest wizarding inventors and innovators were in our house, including Perpetua Fancourt, the inventor of the lunascope, Laverne de Montmorency, a great pioneer of love potions, and Ignatia Wildsmith, the inventor of Floo powder. Famous Ravenclaw Ministers for Magic include Millicent Bagnold, who was in power on the night that Harry Potter survived the Dark Lord’s curse, and defended the wizarding celebrations all over Britain with the words, ‘I assert our inalienable right to party’. There was also Minister Lorcan McLaird, who was a quite brilliant wizard, but preferred to communicate by puffing smoke out of the end of his wand. Well, I did say we produce eccentrics. In fact, we are also the house that gave the wizarding world Uric the Oddball, who used a jellyfish for a hat. He’s the punch line of a lot of wizarding jokes.

As for our relationship with the other three houses: well, you’ve probably heard about the Slytherins. They’re not all bad, but you’d do well to be on your guard until you know them well. They’ve got a long house tradition of doing whatever it takes to win – so watch out, especially in Quidditch matches and exams.

The Gryffindors are OK. If I had a criticism, I’d say Gryffindors tend to be show-offs. They’re also much less tolerant than we are of people who are different; in fact, they’ve been known to make jokes about Ravenclaws who have developed an interest in levitation, or the possible magical uses of troll bogies, or ovomancy, which (as you probably know) is a method of divination using eggs. Gryffindors haven’t got our intellectual curiosity, whereas we’ve got no problem if you want to spend your days and nights cracking eggs in a corner of the common room and writing down your predictions according to the way the yolks fall. In fact, you’ll probably find a few people to help you.

As for the Hufflepuffs, well, nobody could say they’re not nice people. In fact, they’re some of the nicest people in the school. Let’s just say you needn’t worry too much about them when it comes to competition at exam time.

I think that’s nearly everything. Oh yes, our house ghost is the Grey Lady. The rest of the school thinks she never speaks, but she’ll talk to Ravenclaws. She’s particularly useful if you’re lost, or you’ve mislaid something.

I’m sure you’ll have a good night. Our dormitories are in turrets off the main tower; our four-poster beds are covered in sky blue silk eiderdowns and the sound of the wind whistling around the windows is very relaxing.

And once again: well done on becoming a member of the cleverest, quirkiest and most interesting house at Hogwarts.


Harry Potter Wiki


Minister for Magic

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Several Ministers in recent times, from left to right: Cornelius Fudge(1990-1996), Rufus Scrimgeour(1996-1997), Pius Thicknesse(1997-1998) and Kingsley Shacklebolt (1998-c. 2019)

The Minister for Magic is the leader of the wizarding community in the United Kingdom and Ireland and the highest ranking member of the Ministry of Magic, which they control. The position somewhat corresponds to the Prime Minister of British Muggles.

The Minister is advised on wizarding matters by their staff membersand by the other Heads of Departments. They also chair the Wizengamot to pass Wizarding Laws, or to hear important trials (such as Harry Potter‘s case), though the verdict is decided by majority vote, including that of the Minister themselves. Many other wizarding countries also have Ministers and have the similar governmental systems such as the Bulgarian minister.

Despite being the head of the wizarding community of Britain and Ireland, it is common for the Minister to uphold a facade of peace and safety to maintain control and the satisfaction of the public, even if it means blatantly lying to the citizens, putting them at risk, and forcing the media to corroborate the Ministries claims. This was a sign of the corruption during the times of the Second Wizarding War.

The Minister for Magic was formally appointed in 1707 when Ulick Gamp was voted in as the first Minister for Magic. The minister is democratically elected through a public vote and there is no fixed limit to a Minister’s term in office. However, regular elections must be held at a maximum interval of seven years.[1]




Albus Dumbledore was offered, but refused, the position on at least three occasions. This was due to Dumbledore’s past, leading himself to believe that he was not to be trusted with power.

After Millicent Bagnold was preparing to retire, Barty Crouch Snr was the next prime candidate, due to his cruel but effective methods of combating the Dark Arts during the First Wizarding War, until he sentenced his son to Azkaban for being a Death Eater. It was after his son’s presumed death that the public began to take pity on the boy and thought Crouch was too neglectful as a father, which led to a drop in his popularity, causing him to lose out to Fudge.

Cornelius Fudge was Minister from 1990 to 1996. During his first days in office, he was not very confident and, as a result, constantly bombarded Dumbledore with letters for advice. During the last year of his tenure, Fudge was overcome by self-induced persecution delusions because Dumbledore claimed Voldemort had returned, and abused his own position to prevent that news from spreading, in order to protect both his position of power and the peace that the Ministry had worked so hard to maintain. In the end, when Fudge was forced to accept that Voldemort had indeed returned, the entire wizarding community called for his resignation and, after a fortnight of futile attempts to remain in office, in July 1996 he was replaced by Rufus Scrimgeour.

Scrimgeour’s term ran for one year, in which he was little better than Fudge, despite his aura of experience and pro-activity; he created cover-ups and detained incorrect suspects to make it look as though he was accomplishing something. Making the same mistakes as his predecessor, he gave little chance to build up any effective defence as a whole, and it eventually cost him his life when he was overwhelmed and killed in August of 1997, with the official line saying that he had resigned. He was replaced by Voldemort‘s puppet, Pius Thicknesse.

Thicknesse, under Yaxley‘s Imperius Curse, was appointed as Minister, though he was really only Voldemort’s puppet, with the Dark Lord effectively becoming the true Minister. While Thicknesse was to handle everyday business, which included changing the entire Ministry to suit the Death Eaters’ ideology, Voldemort was free to extend his reign beyond the government. Voldemort did not announce himself Minister, but instead kept himself hidden in the shadows, in order to plant uncertainty and doubt within the wizarding community, preventing them from trusting anyone and forming any rebellion that may have overwhelmed the Ministry and the Death Eaters.

By the end of the war, Kingsley Shacklebolt was appointed as temporary Minister, the position later becoming permanent. His term led to the revolutionising of the entire Ministry, removing any and all corruption that had permeated it before and during the takeover.

By 2019, Hermione Granger had succeeded Kingsley as Minister for Magic.

List of British Ministers of Magic

18th century

# Portrait Minister for Magic
(term of office)
Other Ministerial offices held Notes
1 Ulick Gamp cropped Ulick Gamp
1707 to 1718
Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot (Wizards’ Council) First person to use the title of Minister for Magic. Established the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
2 Damocles Rowle
1718 to 1726
Established Azkaban Prison in 1718. Forced to step down after his actions as Minister towards Muggles led to him being censured by the International Confederation of Wizards.
3 Perseus Parkinson
1726 to 1733
Attempted to pass a bill to prevent wizardMugglemiscegenation (the interbreeding of people considered to be of different racial types); the public did not approve and voted him out at the first opportunity.
4 Eldritch Diggory
1733 to 1747
First established an Aurorrecruitment programme. Tried (unsuccessfully) to close down Azkaban or remove Dementors as guards. Died in office.
5 Albert Boot
1747 to 1752
Resigned after mismanaged goblin rebellion.
6 Basil Flack
Shortest-serving Minister for Magic. Resigned due to the advancement of goblin rebellions (goblins allied themselves with werewolves).
7 Hesphaestus Gore Hesphaestus Gore
1752 to 1770
Auror One of the earliest Aurors. Successfully put down a number of revolts by magical beings. Renovated and reinforced Azkaban Prison.
8 Maximilian Crowdy
1770 to 1781
Routed out several extremist pure-blood groups planning Muggle attacks. Died in office, under mysterious circumstances.
9 Porteus Knatchbull
1781 to 1789
Correspondence with Muggle Prime Minister Lord North led to the latter being forced to resign after word leaked out that he believed in wizards.
10 Unctuous Osbert
1789 to 1798
Too much influenced by pure-bloods of wealth and status; was little more than a puppet in the hands of Septimus Malfoy.
11 Artemisia Lufkin Artemisia Lufkin
1798 to 1811
First female Minister for Magic. Established the Department of International Magical Cooperation, and lobbied (successfully) to have a Quidditch World Cup held in Britain during her term.

19th century

# Portrait Minister for Magic
(term of office)
Other Ministerial offices held Notes
12 Grogan Stump Grogan Stump
1811 to 1819
Defined ”Being” and ”Beast”, settling a debate that had been going on since the 14th century. Deeply restructured the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, and established the Department of Magical Games and Sports.
13 Josephina Flint
1819 to 1827
Revealed a severe anti-Muggle bias during her term; specifically attacked new Muggle inventions such as the telegraph, which she claimed interfered with wand function.
14 Ottaline Gambol
1827 to 1835
Came up with the idea of having the Hogwarts Expressto solve the dilemma of how to transport students to Hogwarts School without attracting Muggle attention. Established committees to investigate Muggle brainpower.
15 Radolphus Lestrange
1835 to 1841
Unsuccessfully attempted to close down the Department of Mysteries. Resigned due to ill health (widely rumoured to have been unable to cope with the strains of office).
16 Hortensia Milliphutt
1841 to 1849
Introduced more legislation than any other Minister. Political downfall came when she began passing regulations on hat pointiness and other wearisome laws.
17 Evangeline Orpington
1849 to 1855
Had concealed platforms built at King’s Cross Station to house wizarding trains. Believed to have intervened magically (and illegally) in the Crimean War.
18 Priscilla Dupont
1855 to 1858
Developed an irrational loathing of the Muggle Prime Minister Lord Palmerston, which led to a series of Muggle-baiting incidents. Forced to resign after it became too much.
19 Dugald McPhail
1858 to 1865
A period of calm and stability. Established the Knight Bus in 1865.
20 Faris ”Spout-Hole” Spavin
1865 to 1903
Longest-serving Minister. Left office at age 147, after attending Queen Victoria‘s funeral wearing an admiral’s hat and spats. Survived an assassination attempt by a centaur, who took offence to the punchline of his ”a centaur, a ghost and a dwarf walk into a bar” joke.

20th century

# Portrait Minister for Magic
(term of office)
Other Ministerial offices held Notes
21 Venusia Crickerly
1903 to 1912
Auror Competent and likeable Minister. Died in 1912 in a Mandrake-related gardening accident.
22 Archer Evermonde
1912 to 1923
Passed emergency legislation preventing wizardsfrom taking part in the on-going First World War, lest this cause a massive breach of the International Statute of Secrecy.
23 Lorcan McLaird
1923 to 1925
An exceptionally taciturn man who preferred to communicate in monosyllables and expressive puffs of smoke that he produced with his wand. Forced out of office out of sheer irritation.
24 Hector Fawley
1925 to 1939
Term in office coincided with the beginning of Gellert Grindelwald‘s ”For the Greater Good” revolution. Fawley did not take Grindelwald’s threat to the world wizarding community sufficiently seriously and was, as a result, forced from his office.
25 Leonard Spencer-Moon
1939 to 1948
Tea-boy in the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes A sound Minister, oversaw a period of great turmoil in both the wizarding (global wizarding war) and the Muggle world (Second World War). Maintained a good working relationship with Winston Churchill.
26 Wilhelmina Tuft
1948 to 1959
Presided over a period of welcome peace and prosperity. Died in office, after eating Alihotsy-flavoured fudge (which she was allergic to).
27 Ignatius Tuft
1959 to 1962
Son of his predecessor, who gained election based on his mother’s popularity. Tried to institute a controversial and dangerous Dementorbreeding programme, and was forced from his office.
28 Nobby Leach
1962 to 1968
First Muggle-born Minister for Magic. Denied having had anything to do with England’s 1966 World Cup win. Left office after contracting a mysterious illness (conspiracy theories abound — Abraxas Malfoy is widely believed to have been part of the shady plot that made him leave his post prematurely).
29 Eugenia Jenkins
1968 to 1975
Dealt competently with the pure-blood riots during the Squib Rights marches of the late 1960s. The first rise of Lord Voldemort saw her ousted from office, as the people saw her as innadequate to meet the challenge.
30 Harold Minchum
1975 to 1980
Hard-liner. Placed even more Dementors in Azkaban, but could not contain Voldemort‘s seemingly unstoppable rise to power.
31 Millicent Bagnold
1980 to 1990
Minister during the terminal phase of the First Wizarding War. It was during her term that Lord Voldemortseemingly died following the James and Lily Pottermurders in 1981. Responsible for the successful Death Eater trials immediately after the war.
32 INb P9CXong Cornelius Fudge
1990 to 1996
Junior Minister at the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes
Advisor to the Minister for Magic
Most of the wizarding world supported Albus Dumbledorefor Minister when Bagnold retired, but Fudge was appointed when Dumbledore refused the office. Fudge relied heavily on Dumbledore in the first years of his term. When Lord Voldemortreturned, Fudge persistently refused to accept it, and launched a smear campaignto discredit those who claimed the Dark Lord had returned. Was ousted from office when Voldemort appeared in the Ministry itself.
33 Scrimhallows22 Rufus Scrimgeour
1996 to 1997
Head of the Auror Office Replaced Cornelius Fudge in the height of the Second Wizarding War. Tried to reassure the wizard population that the ministry were making progress in the war. This was done through reorganising some Ministry offices, publicising arrests, and trying to recruit Harry Potter as the Ministry’s poster-boy. As a result, actual progress was reduced and the ministry was not able to meet the threat posed by a returned Voldemort. Murdered at the hands of Voldemort during a Death Eater coup.
34 (omitted) Pius Thicknesse Pius Thicknesse
1997 to 1998
Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement Put under the Imperius Curseby the Death Eaters, and appointed Minister following their coup. Thicknesse was effectively a puppet of the Death Eater regime and was unconscious of anything he was doing (the reason why he is ommited from most official records as a Minister).
35 Shacklebolt Kingsley Shacklebolt
1998 to c. 2019
Auror Named ‘Caretaker Minister for Magic’ after the Battle of Hogwarts and the end of the Second Wizarding War, but subsequently elected to the office. Oversaw the capture of Death Eaters and supporters following Voldemort’s death. Led a massive reform of the Ministry, in order to rid it of corruption and pro-pure-blood laws. Purged Dementors from Azkaban.

21st century

# Portrait Minister for Magic
(term of office)
Other Ministerial offices held Notes
36 Deathly-hallows-epilogue Hermione Granger
c. 2019 to ?
Worker in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures
Deputy Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement
Had previously been one of the top Ministry employees during Shacklebolt’s massive reform of the Ministry, a progressive voice who ensured the eradication of oppressive, pro-pureblood laws.


Hermione Granger Kingsley Shacklebolt Pius Thicknesse Rufus Scrimgeour Cornelius Fudge Millicent Bagnold Harold Minchum Eugenia Jenkins Nobby Leach Ignatius Tuft Wilhelmina Tuft Leonard Spencer-Moon Hector Fawley Lorcan McLaird Archer Evermonde Venusia Crickerly Faris Spavin Dugald McPhail Priscilla Dupont Evangeline Orpington Hortensia Milliphutt Radolphus Lestrange Ottaline Gambol Josephina Flint Grogan Stump Artemisia Lufkin Unctuous Osbert Porteus Knatchbull Maximilian Crowdy Hesphaestus Gore Basil Flack Albert Boot Eldritch Diggory Perseus Parkinson Damocles Rowle Ulick Gamp

Relationship to the Muggle Prime Minister

One of the Minister for Magic’s duties is to correspond with the British Prime Minister of Muggles regarding any ongoing events in the wizarding world that will or may affect the United Kingdom as a whole. e.g. Voldemort‘s return. This includes introducing themselves to the Muggle Prime Minister, should there be a change in office on either side.

A small portrait in the corner of the Prime Minister’s office serves as an envoy between the two Ministers. It announces the arrival of the Minister for Magic, seeking the Prime Minister’s reply (usually acquiescence to the unavoidable). It is believed that a Permanent Sticking Charm must have been placed on the portrait, for neither the Prime Minister nor his experts were able to remove it from its location.

Known correspondences

Sometime between 1990 and 1993, Fudge introduced himself to the newly elected Muggle Prime Minister and informed him of the existence of the magical population living among Muggles in secret. Fudge assured the Muggle Prime Minister that they would likely not see each other again unless there was an emergency. Fudge also claimed that the previous Prime Minister had tried to throw him out of the window, believing him to be a hoax planned by his political opposition.

In around July 1993, Fudge visited the Prime Minister’s office again, to inform him of Sirius Black‘s breakout from Azkaban, the wizard prison. On this visit, Fudge also told the Prime Minister about Voldemort, in order to allow the Prime Minister to have an in-depth understanding of what was going on, though as he dared not say the name out loud, he instead scribbled it on a piece of paper.

In August 1994, Fudge turned up to report on the fiasco at the Quidditch World Cup, since its victims included Muggles. He also informed a bewildered Prime Minister that the Ministry of Magic would be importing dragonsand a sphinx into Great Britain for the Triwizard Tournament, taking place at Hogwarts later that year.

Sometime prior to July 1996, a flustered Fudge appeared in the Prime Minister’s office briefly to inform him that there had been a mass breakout from Azkaban, the wizard prison.

Around July 1996, Fudge turned up and announced to the Prime Minister that the Second Wizarding War had begun, and admitted that the Dark forces in their community were responsible for the various gloomy and tragic events occurring in the Muggle world. In addition, Fudge introduced his successor, Rufus Scrimgeour.

When Voldemort took over the Ministry of Magic, it was possible that the the puppet Minister Pius Thicknessewas not sent to meet the Muggle Minister, as was the tradition in the past, due to the Death Eaters’ attitudes towards Muggles and Muggle-borns. However, once Kingsley Shacklebolt was appointed Minister in 1998, it is possible, if not likely, that he did meet with the Prime Minister to not only introduce himself (indeed, he had been put in as secretary to the Prime Minister in 1996 to watch over his security)[2] but to assure the Muggle Minister that the war had ended.

When Hermione Granger was appointed Minister around 2019, she, like her predecessors, likely also introduced herself to the incumbent Prime Minister.

Behind the scenes

  • In the American editions, the Minister is called the Minister of Magic. In the films, both Minister of Magic and Minister for Magic seem to be acceptable, as different characters call it different names. For example, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, when Scrimgeour arrives at The Burrow, George wonders what the ”Minister of Magic” is doing there; likewise, when Kingsley’s Patronus interrupts the Bill and Fleur’s wedding, he calls the Minister the same thing. However, when Pius Thicknesse gives his speech later in the film, he calls himself the ”Minister for Magic”. The reason behind this is unknown.
  • Basil Flack has the distinction of being the Minister for Magic with the shortest known term in office: 2 months, in 1752. The longest term was that of Faris Spavin, lasting 38 years, from 1865 to 1903. There has been at least one foreign Minister for Magic with a shorter term then Flack’s, though: Joshua Sankara, Minister for Magic of Burkina Faso for two days in 2006.
  • Apparently, the Minister must get the approval of a Wizengamot majority for any legislation.
  • Since Kingsley’s appointment as the next Minister for Magic is omitted from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, there is no mention of who is appointed to that position after the final battle.
  • Supposing that the liaison between the Minister for Magic and the Muggle Prime Minister has been conducted in the same way since the Ministry’s inception, as well as supposing that the Muggle Prime Ministers in the Harry Potter universe are all the same as their real-life counterparts, then the following table illustrates the Ministers for Magic that would have introduced themselves to the respective Prime Ministers:
Minister for Magic
(term of office)
Prime Minister
(term of office)
Artemisia Lufkin
1798 to 1811
William Pitt the Younger
1783 to 1801
Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth
1801 to 1804
William Pitt the Younger
1804 to 1806
William Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville
1806 to 1807
William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland
1807 to 1809
Spencer Perceval
1809 to 1812
Grogan Stump
1811 to 1819
Robert Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool
1812 to 1827
Hortensia Milliphutt
1841 to 1849
William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne
1835 to 1841
Robert Peel
1841 to 1846
John Russell, 1st Earl Russell
1846 to 1852
Evangeline Orpington
1849 to 1855
Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby
George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen
1852 to 1855
Faris ”Spout-Hole” Spavin
1865 to 1903
John Russell, 1st Earl Russell
1865 to 1866
Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby
1866 to 1868
Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield
William Ewart Gladstone
1868 to 1874
Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield
1874 to 1880
William Ewart Gladstone
1880 to 1885
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
1885 to 1886
William Ewart Gladstone
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
1886 to 1892
William Ewart Gladstone
1892 to 1894
Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery
1894 to 1895
Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury
1895 to 1902
Arthur James Balfour
1902 to 1905
Nobby Leach
1962 to 1968
Maurice Harold Macmillan
1957 to 1963
Sir Alec Douglas-Home
1963 to 1964
James Harold Wilson
1964 to 1970
Millicent Bagnold
1980 to 1990
Margaret Thatcher
1979 to 1990
Cornelius Fudge
1990 to 1996
John Major
1990 to 1997
Rufus Scrimgeour
1996 to 1997
John Major
1990 to 1997
Tony Blair
1997 to 2007
Pius Thicknesse
1997 to 1998
Tony Blair
1997 to 2007
Kingsley Shacklebolt
1998 to c. 2019
Tony Blair
1997 to 2007
James Gordon Brown
2007 to 2010
David Cameron
2010 to 2016
Theresa May
2016 to present
Hermione Granger
c. 2019 to present
Theresa May
2016 to present

Notes and references

Minister for Magic of Great Britain
Ministers for Magic:
MinistryOfMagicLogo - Cursed Child
<center>Minister for Magic and Support Staff
MinistryOfMagicLogo - Cursed Child
Minister for Magic:
Kingsley Shacklebolt
Advisor to the Minister for Magic
Cornelius Fudge
Senior Undersecretary to the Minister for Magic:
Dolores Umbridge
Junior Assistant to the Minister for Magic:
Percy Weasley
Head of the Muggle-Born Registration Commission
(1997 to 1998 only)
Dolores Umbridge
Others: Eduardus Limus (Exotic Symbol Analyst) • Mdme. Miraforum (Quill Control & Rune Translation) • Loretta Fieldwake(Special Advisor for Elf Legislation)



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The top 9 coolest pubs and shops in the wizarding world

Magic may be quite cool, but combining magic with shopping and Butterbeer is even cooler.

The Weasleys and the Malfoys square up to each other in a crowded bookshop.
© JKR/Pottermore Ltd. ™ Warner Bros.

From Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade, there are an enticing variety of unusual emporiums to visit; from joke shops to sweet shops, from apothecaries to banks, there’s truly something for every witch or wizard. Here are some of the shops and pubs in the wizarding world that would make for the ultimate day out.


Ollivanders is the cramped, dusty hotspot for wizards hoping to get their hands on a wand (or, rather, for the wand to get its hands on a wizard). For Harry, Ollivanders was a pivotal moment for Harry realising his wizarding potential. After all, it was one of the first places he visited in Diagon Alley and where he acquired his all-important 11-inch holly and phoenix feather wand. But there’s also a lot of personal value for Harry at Ollivanders. The misty-eyed, soft-spoken owner was also one of the first people in the wizarding world to talk to Harry about his parents. For an orphan, who had only recently learned the truth about his mum and dad, this must’ve been a really special moment.

‘You have your mother’s eyes. It seems only yesterday she was in here herself, buying her first wand. Ten and a quarter inches long, swishy, made of willow. Nice wand for charm work.’
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Harry at Ollivanders wand shop.
© JKR/Pottermore Ltd. ™ Warner Bros.

The apothecary

The walls of the apothecary are lined with unicorn horns and black beetle eyes. The shop has an… interesting aroma to it, but it’s a perfect spot for stocking up on Potions ingredients. Who knows what manner of oddities lie on its shelves if you had a proper rummage around.

Then they visited the apothecary’s, which was fascinating enough to make up for its horrible smell, a mixture of bad eggs and rotted cabbages. Barrels of slimy stuff stood on the floor, jars of herbs, dried roots and bright powders lined the walls, bundles of feathers, strings of fangs and snarled claws hung from the ceiling.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

The seven potions testing logic that protect the Philosopher's Stone.
© JKR/Pottermore Ltd. ™ Warner Bros.


Where else could you pick up a Chocolate Frog or a jar of Pepper Imps or even some of Dumbledore’s favourite goodies, Acid Pops, but in Honeydukes? The famous Hogsmeade establishment was one of Harry, Ron and Hermione’s most frequented places and it’s well known by Hogwarts students for the oodles of exotic confectionery it stocked. Ron, especially, was a strong advocate for its business.

‘It’s this sweetshop,’ said Ron, a dreamy look coming over his face, ‘where they’ve got everything …’
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Honeydukes is full of students.
© JKR/Pottermore Ltd. ™ Warner Bros.

The Magical Menagerie

Filled to the gunwales with all manner of magical creatures, the Magical Menagerie is best known for being the venue where Hermione met Crookshanks, the once-neglected ginger cat. It’s exactly the kind of unkempt, slightly chaotic establishment that fits well in Diagon Alley.

There wasn’t much room inside. Every inch of wall was hidden by cages. It was smelly and very noisy because the occupants of these cages were all squeaking, squawking, jabbering or hissing.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Crookshanks tries to attack Scabbers in the Diagon Alley petstore
© JKR/Pottermore Ltd. ™ Warner Bros.

Flourish and Blotts

A good bookshop is something to treasure and despite being in the wizarding world, Flourish and Blotts is no different. It’s a dusty treasure trove of literature, absolutely perfect for any budding wizard hoping to catch up on their reading, providing you can actually open the book, in the case of Monster Book of Monsters.

The shelves were stacked to the ceiling with books as large as paving stones bound in leather; books the size of postage stamps in covers of silk; books full of peculiar symbols and a few books with nothing in them at all.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Queues spiral around the shop to meet Lockhart at his book signing in Flourish and Blotts.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets


While strictly not a shop, you certainly couldn’t shop without it. Yes, Gringotts is an essential part of Diagon Alley experience, and the street would be a lesser place without the grand bank, which is run by a team of grumpy goblins. Also, who doesn’t love a rollicking, slightly dangerous-sounding cart ride in order to draw out a bit of cash?

‘Gringotts is the safest place in the world fer anything yeh want ter keep safe – ‘cept maybe Hogwarts.’
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Harry and Hagrid enter Gringotts for the first time.
© JKR/Pottermore Ltd. ™ Warner Bros.

The Leaky Cauldron

The Leaky Cauldron was never just your standard joint for a quick pint of Butterbeer. Without this iconic little pub, you’d be short of the gateway going into Diagon Alley, so we don’t think we’d be going out on a limb by saying that this is probably more than the average London pub offers. This is also the place where Harry truly realises he’s kind of a big deal, and who doesn’t love good old Tom?

It was a tiny, grubby-looking pub. If Hagrid hadn’t pointed it out, Harry wouldn’t have noticed it was there.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

The Three Broomsticks

Life at Hogwarts seems like it can be quite tiring sometimes, what with all the homework and the occasional troll in the dungeons. The Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade is just the ticket. Toasty, comfortable with the colourful Madam Rosmerta running the shop, the Three Broomsticks was perfect for when Harry, Ron and Hermione just wanted somewhere cosy to hang out, or overhear a bit of gossip.

It was extremely crowded, noisy, warm and smoky. A curvy sort of woman with a pretty face was serving a bunch of rowdy warlocks up at the bar.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

No Image
© JKR/Pottermore Ltd. ™ Warner Bros.

Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes

Fred and George are the kind of chaps who were born to run a joke shop like Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. Packed with Pygmy Puffs and more practical jokes than you can shake a stick at, Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes is one of Diagon Alley’s most brightly coloured and popular destinations, and a welcome appearance during the ascent of Lord Voldemort. (U-No-Poo, anyone?) Thank goodness Harry decided to be the mysterious benefactor for the twins’ eccentric business.

Set against the dull, poster-muffled shop fronts around them, Fred and George’s windows hit the eye like a firework display. Casual passers-by were looking back over their shoulders at the windows, and a few rather stunned-looking people had actually come to a halt, transfixed … Harry’s eyes began to water just looking at it.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Inside Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes
© JKR/Pottermore Ltd. ™ Warner Bros.



JUNE 10TH, 2014


Jurassic Park: Trespasser is an unique piece of software: It is a game that has managed to reach both infamous and cult status.

Released in October 1998 after a three years development cycle, it was unanimouslydestroyed by critics. But it did not fail by much and managed to grow an impressive mass of fans that wrote editors, released patches, reverse-engineered the assets, added features, produced new dinosaurs, levels and even started a remake. 20 years later, bloggers still write about it and the post-mortem by Richard Wyckoff is one of the most fascinating behind-the-scene tale I have ever read.

From a technology standing point, Trespasser engine is a milestone in the history of realtime CG: It demonstrated that physics and outdoor environments were indeed possible.

During my exploration, I found a special flavor of C++ that was representative of the game final result: Genius and Talent ultimately impaired by ambition and it’s resulting complexity.

Moon shot and high expectations

Jurassic Park: Trespasser was a moon shot. An attempt to make the impossible become reality powered by a lot of money and insanely talented developers/artists. But it happened during the late 90s which saw widespread adoption of Internet: Online magazine florished, developers were getting interviews, news and rumors circulated fast and high expectations resulted from customers (a phenomenon later exhacerbated during the development of Daikatana).

The trailer demonstrated unprecedented interactivity and graphisms :

CD-Rom were also becoming common. Embedded in magazines they often contained videos and interview of developers. Here are Seamus Blackley (Lead Programmer) and Terry Izumi (Art Director) talking for Next Generation :

Many impressive ”screenshot” were exchanged on the internet :

Even the game box was quite appealing:

The printed press, usually more reserved was also praising the game:

Wired (March, 1997):

Jurassic Game Flouts Hyper-Real Physics

Game Master (December, 1998):

Next Generation (November, 1997) :

The list of features was crazy :

  • Bump-mapped dinosaur skin.
  • Outdoor environments with hundreds of trees.
  • Inverse kinematics (no predetermined animation).
  • Realtime shadows.
  • Physic engine.
  • Physic based sound engine.

Gamers were crazy too. But after the dissapointment brilliantly naratted by Research Indicates in ”Let’s play Trespasser”:

I decided I wanted to know how it worked.

Source Code: First contact

The source code has never been officially released but it is everywhere on the internet. I will obviously not provide a link to the source or even show code snippets but I think to provide a roadmap for historical value is acceptable and will probably help fellow code readers.

The solution is for Visual Studio 6.0 (development started on VS 4.1 but C++ support was not satisfactory: The team updated the dev tools as soon as a new version became available). It can be automatically converted to a modern version of Visual Studio (2008/2010/2012). Attempting to compile shows that the source code has heavily suffered from erosion: C++ has evolved a lot since 1998 and certain things are not permited anymore (like things that now require the typename keyword).

Before starting to open files and read, I ran a few metrics since cloc can give an idea of the volume of code to read:

    fabiensanglard$ cloc jp2_pc
    1596 text files.
    1555 unique files.                                          
     418 files ignored. v 1.60  T=14.08 s (88.1 files/s, 40859.1 lines/s)
    Language                     files          blank        comment           code
    C++                            469          64881          86607         195287
    C/C++ Header                   762          32170          89234         105606
    C                                2            253            177            884
    DOS Batch                        7              5              0            174
    Teamcenter def                   1              0              0              8
    SUM:                          1241          97309         176018         301959

Standing alone, those numbers don’t mean much. But comparing them to others games (Quake,Doom,Duke3D,…) helps a lot:

    Game             Year         files         blank         comment          code
    Wolfenstein3D    1992           80           7223           7516          27311
    Doom             1993          149          10213          10234          39080
    Duke 3D          1996          182          18537          11364          77166
    Quake 1          1996          543          45550          38262         171065
    Quake 2          1997          399          37743          31735         163928 
    Trespasser       1998         1241          97309         176018         301959 
    Quake 3          1999          799          65988          93977         313311
    Doom  3          2004         1466         137589         164894         593899
    Doom iOS         2009          237          15080          24054          70766
    Wolfenstein iOS  2009          326          20403          20170          63609
    Doom  3 BFG      2012          977          92735         119965         363239

The volume of code is twice more than other titles released at the same time. The volume is very representative of the complexity of the engine and the collosal scope of features. What really stands out is the volume of comment: Trespasser code base is exceptionnaly well commented and that is usually an indication of high skills.

The solution contains 23 projects which clearly show the different subsystems but I suspect was done to make compile time bearable. Even on a modern machine a full built take close to 10mn. I would not be surprised if 1998 and its lack of precompiled header took an hour for a full build.

An interview of Seamus Blackley (Lead developer on Trespasser) shows that compile time was a problem back in the days:    : What fraction of the development time was spent waiting on the C++ compiler?

   Seamus Blackley : It felt like 103%

Details of each projects :

Projects Generates Notes:
AI Artificial Intelligence subsystem A lot of code unused since most traits had to be disabled.
AI Test JP2_PC.exe A standalone program allowing to test AI with graphics.
Audio Audio.lib The audio sub-system static library featuring the ”real time Foley”.
Bug Bugs.exe A project concentrating all compiler errors. Since the team switched from VS4 to VS4.1 to VS4.2 to VS6.0 it was usefull
CollisionEditor CollisionEditor.exe Sound effects editor to test the audio engine (very powerful at the time)
EntityDBase EntityDBase.lib Classes representing all objects in the game.
File File.lib Abstraction classes for File and Images, used to build the Groff archives.
File Test File Test for the file and image abstractions.
Game Game.lib Glue, triggers, Player, Gun classes.
GeomDBase GeomDBase.lib The 3D representation (Geometry) of all objects defined in EntityDBase.
GroffBuild GroffBuild.exe The tool in charge of gathering all game assets (3d,sounds,maps) in one GOFF file.
GroffExp GroffExp.dle The DLL loaded by 3DS Max that export all data to GOFF sections. This was originally outsourced to an other dev and is standalone.
GUIApp GUIApp.exe A wrapper around the game. The GUI allows to change the game values at runtime for testing. Like the console allowing to change the cvar in Quake engines.
Loader Loader.lib The library loading GOFF assets to RAM.
Math Math.lib The math library (features a fInvSqrt that is not as good as QuakeIII’s InvSqrt since it uses a lookup table but also uses Newton-Raphson).
Math Test MathTest.exe A few functions to test the speed of the math routines.
Physics Physics.lib The pelvis heavy, penalty force based Physic engine library.
PhysicsTest PhysicsTest.exe A sandbox level where physic can be tested.
PipeLineTest PipeLineTest.exe Testbed for the rendering pipeline
Processor Processor.dll Uses CPUID to detect 8086, 80286, 28386 or a 80486, Pentium, K6-3and K7, Detect Floating Point Unit and CPU speed. Loaded at runtime by System project in order to set automatically details level (based on CPU Mhz).
QuantizerTool QuantizerTool.exe Aborted project. Does nothing.
Render3D Render3D.lib The hybrid software/Direct3D renderer.
ScreenRenderDWI ScreenRenderDWI.lib Pentium, PentiumPro and K6_3D specific code ASM optimized code for scanline and cache rendering. Direct3D code.
Std Std.lib Extension of STL. An horrible mess of specific containers of containers of set of hashmap. Arg.
System System.lib Contains scheduler, Virtual Memory. Thread control. SetupForSelfModifyingCode (via modify the page tables associated with the application). Many things are not used.
trespass trespass.exe The game we played.
View View.lib Raster to window code. Blitter, DirectDraw, Direct3D, software palette viewers.
WaveTest WaveTest.exe Shell to test wave modeling.
WinShell WinShell.lib win32 windows creation and management library

The project names and the post-mortem are giving us a good idea of the production pipeline :

  1. Artist and game designer used 3D Studio Max.
  2. When a level was ready, it was exported (GroffExp).
  3. All assets were compiled into a resource file GROFF (GroffBuild).
  4. The engine worked on all subsystems and generated the game (trespass).
  5. Debugging and research was done with a secondary screen displaying GUIAPP, allowing to change the engine settings at runtime.


The 3D Renderer is based on Depth Sorting Algorithm coupled with a quadtree sliced map to help remove as many polygons as possible. There is actually a comment in the code which indicate the implementation is taken straight from ”pages 673 to 675 in ”Computer Graphics: Principles and Practices by Foley, Van Dam et al”. Here are the pages (and I highly recommend you to buy the book):

The engine walks the map quadtree recursively, discarding as much geometry (terrain and objects) as possible via backface culling and frustum culling. The list of surviving polygon is then sorted by depth and the scene is sent to the rasterizer: Back to front in one batch as illustrated by the wikipedia drawing :

This method generates a visually correct scene but can potentially lead to overdraw that waste a lot of CPU cycles. A typical worse case scenario would be the player in front of mountains but inside a house :

The engine would first rasterize all the mountains in the back:

Only to overwrite every single pixel with the front objects such as walls, stairs and crates resulting in a terrible waste :

Even though the rasterizer was fast hand optimized ASM (even exploiting floating point SIMD from AMD processor K6), something had to be done in order to limit overdraw. The developers asked the 3DS Max designer to place ”occluders” on the map : Invisible surfaces that were used to create occluding volumes. Here they are in gray on the right image:

Those occluders were used to construct occluding volume and discard more primitives during the quadtree rundown. Each frame the quadtree was used to find all the occluders intersecting the view frustum. By connecting the player’s point of view through each occluder vertice, an occluding volume was created. Each primitive retrieved via the quadtree was hence tested not only against the view frustum but also against each occluding volume. This is a technique that reminded me a lot of shadow volumes.

This technique was instrumental when the player was inside a building but it also to important to limit overdraw in pure outdoor scenes. Items behind a hill could be discarded this way so occluders are also placed within hills and terrain curves :

This mechanism worked well but it could be problem if the designers placed them poorly. In the following scene, at first sight things looks fine but if we look closer we can see that occluder are ”sticking out”: Crossing that part would result in objects suddenly appearing:

A other occurence at the end of the first level :

Not to mention the problems related to generating the terrain on the fly based on wavelet: Sometimes occluders did not match the geometry :/ !

The engine also used two other big tricks to lower the poly count: The most famous was ”object caching”: While rendering objects, the distant ones would be rendered to a cache and drawn as sprite on a quad. This trick originally resulted in mixed results since the mesh would remain a sprite too close from the player and changed from 2D to 3D in a very noticeable way as see in the two next images :

The pixelating problems were partly corrected in a patch 1.1 (see comparative in this no so kind review). There were still issues related to depth correctness since the trick turned a volume turned into a plane but visual results were much more acceptable as seen on the right image (Trespasser v1.1):

An other less known trick to reduce the number of primitive to rasterize was to generate the terrain poly on the fly via wavelets. Wavelets can be used in order to generate lower detail version of a mesh. Depending on the distance of the terrain to draw, a specific Level Of Detail wavelet was selected. If you want to read deeper into this topic, here are two very good PDFs:

The renderer high level pipeline is a follow.

  • For each frame :
    1. Update the terrain and generate appropriate distance related LOD polygons using wavelet.
    2. Draw skybox (called backdrop).
    3. Walk the quadTree and find occluders within the view frustum, use them to build occlusion volume tetrahedron.
    4. Walk the quadTree to select all terrain polygons: Discard via backface culling, frustum culling and occlusion culling.
    5. Walk the quadTree to select all objects meshes: Discard via backface culling, frustum culling and occlusion culling. For distant objects, generate a proxy and render to a cache that is then rendered as a sprite.
    6. If shadow is enabled: Generate a shadowmap .
    7. Sort all polygons far to near using the Depth Sorting algorithm.
    8. Rasterize the full scene. Use bumpmapping and shadowmapping.

Here is the first scene with each steps. In this scene, overdraw is severely limited (the mountains polygon are generated but not rasterized, some overdraw occurs where crates and walls are in front of each others):

Note : The C++ polymorphism really was beautiful when shadow was enabled: An instance of the renderer pipeline templated with a depth only rasterizer generated the shadow map. That part of the code was extremely elegant.

The same scene viewed from above (notice the occluders placed within the mountains in the distance):

The rasterizer code was hard to read since it features a lot of ASM and ”old” AMD K6-2 3DNow! instructions but it was state of the art especially when bumpmapping T-Rex skin :

In the end, the renderer did no have the elegance of Quake II software renderer ”zero overdraw (video)” but thanks to a few tricks, it worked well enough.

The rest and the C++ box of chocolate

The rest of the engine looked interesting (I.A, Physics, ”real time Foley” Sound) and I would have loved to read and write more about it. Unfortunately the code is hard to read for me and the experimental/research/release date rush aspects of it felt very real. Once I figured the 3D renderer, my motivation vanished.

On top of time constraints and research aspects, I felt like the team was pushing C++ at a time it should’t have:

  • The code is full of cursing against Visual Studio bugs.
  • The code is full of cursing against slow generated code.
  • A full build took forever.

Trivia : The first things one should run on a new codebase are the following greps :

    find . -exec grep --with-filename --ignore-case fuck   {}   \; 2>/dev/null
    find . -exec grep --with-filename --ignore-case shit   {}   \; 2>/dev/null
    find . -exec grep --with-filename --ignore-case hack   {}   \; 2>/dev/null
    find . -exec grep --with-filename --ignore-case lame   {}   \; 2>/dev/null
    find . -exec grep --with-filename --ignore-case stupid {}   \; 2>/dev/null

I was not a game developer in the 90s but I wonder if C++ was a good choice (many did not recommend it) when the solid C with Watcom was available.

My second issue with C++ is that a C++ codebase it is like a box of chocolate: You never know what flavor you are going to get :

    I think C++ was pushed well beyond its complexity threshold and yet there are a lot of people programming it. But what you do is you
    force people to subset it. So almost every shop that I know of that uses C++ says, “Yes, we’re using C++ but we’re not doing 
    multiple-implementation inheritance and we’re not using operator overloading.” There are just a bunch of features that you’re not going
    to use because the complexity of the resulting code is too high. And I don’t think it’s good when you have to start doing that. You 
    lose this programmer portability where everyone can read everyone else’s code, which I think is such a good thing.

                                                                                                                     - Joshua Bloch (source)

Or more simply :


          With C++, it’s possible to make code that isn’t understandable by anyone, with C, this is very hard. 

                                                                                                                     — Mike Abrash (source)

In the case of Trespasser the subset selected was STL, smart pointers and extreme metaprogramming which is not a flavor I really enjoy. I will probably get back to it one day when I am more comfortable with it.

For now I will feel better thinking I am not alone. Really Really not alone 🙂 !

Closing up

In the end, the source code of Jurassic Park: Trespasser re-inforced the sense of a missed opportunity which Seamus Blackley summarized in his an interview with

   Q: Trespasser is unfortunately known for not bringing in the sales it deserved. If you could change one thing about the production what 
      would you do differently?

   A: I would have assigned the 25-year-old Seamus a strong producer, who would have bullied him to restrict the scope of innovation to 
      something manageable. I wanted to make this beautiful vision that I had for this amazing island become real, and I was too young 
      and stupid to realize that less is more.

Less is more. Enough said.

Recommended readings

   TreCom:    The physics system in Trespasser was your baby, how much work went into developing the setup achieved in the final product and 
              how much heart ache came from the realization that the hardware at the time simply did not support the complexity of some ideas 
              for  gameplay?

   SBlackley: Well, in order to make it fast enough, it had to be compromised in various ways. Today, there’s power to do analytic constraint 
              and such. In the 90s, it was tough. The real issue, honestly, was that it was too much for me to do physics and also be in charge,
              and I never figured out how to fix that. Back then, there were no books or libraries on game physics, it was all research, and 
              it was really, really hard.

Two excellent books are availables now :

Pot Pourri

All of


Fabien Sanglard @2014

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