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Book of Admittance

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"Yer mad. His name's been down ever since he was born. He's off ter the finest school of witchcraft and wizardry in the world!"
Rubeus Hagrid to Vernon Dursley about Harry Potter.[src]

The Book of Admittance[1] was a large, parchment book bound in black dragon hide[1] at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, in which the Quill of Acceptance wrote down the birth of every magical child.[2][3] A powerful magical artefact in its own right, the book served as a regulatory system, refusing to allow the quill to write in it until sufficient evidence of magical ability was displayed, thus guarding against Squibs being incorrectly admitted.[1]

History

In a small locked tower, never visited by any student at Hogwarts, sits an ancient book that has not been touched by human hands since the four founders placed it there on completion of the castle.[1] There are very few wizards who have observed the process (several headmasters and headmistresses have enjoyed spending quiet hours in the Book and Quill's tower, hoping to catch them in action).[1]

Though some wizards may know the secret of the book, none have divulged it. Albus Dumbledore implied to have known how both the quill and book work, but noted that divulging such information would cause needless, tedious explanations to wizarding parents who would be furious that their child was not selected.[4]

Nature

The Book and Quill's decision is final and no child has ever been admitted whose name has not first been inscribed on the book's yellowing pages.[1]

The Quill might be judged more lenient than the Book. A mere whiff of magic suffices for the Quill.[1] The Book, however, will often snap shut, refusing to be written upon until it receives sufficiently dramatic evidence of magical ability.[1] In fact, the Book's sternness has a purpose: its track record in keeping Squibs out of Hogwarts is perfect. Non-magic children born to witches and wizards occasionally have some small, residual aura of magic about them due to their parents, but once their parents magic has worn off them it becomes clear that they will never have the ability to perform spells.[1] The Quill's sensitivity, coupled with the Book's implacability, have never yet made a mistake.[1]

Use

As this record contained the name and birthdate of every magical child, it was used to tell who was eligible to attend Hogwarts, and when. Every year, Professor Minerva McGonagall checked the book and sent acceptance letters by owl to children who were close to turning eleven, letting them know of their place at the school.[2][3] Additionally, for Muggle-born children, "special messengers" were sent to personally explain the wizarding world to their parents.[5]

The Ministry of Magic did not have its own means of detecting magical births and did not not have access to the Hogwarts birth register.[3] This is presumably why the creation of the Muggle-Born Registration Commission was necessary for the Ministry to determine who was Muggle-born and persecute them accordingly during the Second Wizarding War.

Behind the scenes

  • It is assumed (though not explained) that this book only records magical births within the United Kingdom and probably Ireland.
  • It is unknown why Professor McGonagall is the one to check the book. It is possibly due to her status as Deputy Head (and later Headmistress).
  • On Pottermore.com, the Magical Quill was used as a way to register people on the website early, starting on July 31st, 2011, and ending on August 6th, 2011. People solved a riddle on the homepage and added the answer to the riddle to the end of the URL http://www.quill.pottermore.com/ to obtain a chance at early registration for the site. If they answered the riddle correctly, then they had "found the Magical Quill" and were granted access to the website prior to the scheduled public launch on October 1st, 2011 (delayed until the ides of February). There were seven riddles, one for each day of the competition week, each about one of the different Harry Potter books. Day one's riddle was about Philosopher's Stone, day two's about Chamber of Secrets, and so on.

Appearances

Notes and references

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