Some content in this article is derived from information featured in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and, as such, spoilers will be present.
The forest is a very old place that holds many secrets and houses many creatures, some dark and Dangerous, others friendly. The trees in the forest are considered ancient, they are dense and rough looking from years of exposure to the elements.
As the forest's name suggests, it is strictly off limits to students — except in the case of detention, or Care of Magical Creatures lessons that occasionally take place there. Of course, with the various dangerous creatures living in the Forest, few students would even want to venture into it. Black flowers are known to grow in the forest.
History of the Forest
Prior to 1991
The Forest appeared to hold some great interest for Fred and George Weasley, as both Rubeus Hagrid, and less overtly, Albus Dumbledore, indicated that considerable efforts had been made in the past to keep the boys out.
After a Quidditch match, Harry Potter secretly followed Severus Snape to the outskirts of the forest, where he overheard a furtive conversation about the Philosopher's Stone, in which Snape asked Professor Quirrell if he had found a way past the three-headed dog and menacingly told Quirrell to decide where his loyalties laid.
As part of their punishment for being caught out of bed at night, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Draco Malfoy and Neville Longbottom were assigned to help the gamekeeper Rubeus Hagrid find and rescue a badly-injured unicorn in the Forbidden Forest. They split into two parties, and Harry and Draco found the unicorn dead, surrounded by its own blood. A hooded figure crawled to the corpse and drank the blood, while Draco fled, screaming. The hooded figure moved towards Harry, who was knocked out by an agonising pain spreading from his scar. When Harry regained consciousness, the hooded figure had gone and a centaur, Firenze, offered to give him a ride back to the school. Firenze told him that the hooded figure was actually Lord Voldemort, who had been trying to regain strength by drinking the unicorn's blood.
Following the re-opening of the Chamber of Secrets, Harry and Ron went to visit Hagrid and ask him about his possible involvement in the last opening, 50 years previous. However, before they could receive any information, Hagrid was taken away by Lucius Malfoy and Cornelius Fudge. Before leaving his hut, he said that if anyone wanted to know anything they just had to "follow the spiders."
Harry and Ron, who had been hiding under the invisibility cloak, decided to follow the spiders, per Hagrid's advice, which were streaming en masse towards the Forest. The spiders eventually led them to the Forest's acromantula colony, headed by Aragog, the "monster" Hagrid had been accused of setting on other students 50 years ago. Aragog explained that Hagrid is innocent, but rather than letting Harry and Ron go, he decided to leave them as dinner for his children. Mr Weasley's Ford Anglia came blasting through the layers of spiders, however, and rescued the boys. Remembering that Aragog had said that Salazar Slytherin's real monster had killed its last victim in a bathroom, it occurred to Harry that Moaning Myrtle might have been that victim.
After being in the Shrieking Shack for several hours, Harry, Ron, Hermione, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, Snape and Ron's rat Scabbers, who had recently been discovered to be Peter Pettigrew, left the secret passage in the Whomping Willow. Unfortunately, Lupin had forgotten to take his Wolfsbane Potion, and the full moon caused him to turn into an uncontrollable Werewolf; when Sirius Black changed to his Animagus dog form to protect the others, Pettigrew took the opportunity to turn back into Scabbers and escape. After injuring Black, Lupin fled to the Forbidden Forest.
Later, when Harry and Hermione rescued Buckbeak and Sirius Black by going back in time with the Time-Turner, they hid with the Hippogriff in the Forest, while their counterparts were in the Shrieking Shack.
Near the end of the Triwizard Tournament, Harry and the other champions were informed that the third task would be a maze, filled with magical obstacles. Viktor Krum asked to speak to Harry alone (about his relationship with Hermione Granger), but as they moved away from the Quidditch pitch, a barely coherent Barty Crouch Snr emerged from the forest, asking for Dumbledore. Harry left to retrieve Dumbledore, but upon his return, found that Krum had been stunned at the edge of the forest and Crouch was nowhere to be seen. Bartemius Crouch Jr, disguised as Alastor Moody, had killed his father and hid his body using Alastor Moody's invisibility cloak. Later, he returned, transfigured the body into a bone, and buried it in the forest.
Rubeus Hagrid, along with Olympe Maxime, paid a visit to a tribe of giants in 1995, on the orders of Hogwarts Professor and Headmaster Albus Dumbledore, to try and bring the giants over as their allies in the Second Wizarding War against Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters. Along the way, Hagrid found his half-brother, brought him back to Hogwarts, and kept him hidden deep within the Forest. Throughout the year, Hagrid regularly visited his half-brother, whom he dubbed "Grawp," emerging from the Forest with suspicious injuries he refused to explain to Harry, Ron or Hermione. During the final game of the Hogwarts Quidditch Cup, Hagrid brought Harry and Hermione into the forest and revealed Grawp to them, asking them to keep him company in the inevitable event that Dolores Umbridge should force Hagrid off school grounds.
Hagrid's first Care of Magical Creatures lesson inspected by Professor Umbridge involved mysterious creatures called Thestrals. For this lesson, he lead his class into the forest in order to experience the Thestrals (which most of the students could not see, due to the fact the only way to see thestrals is by seeing someone die) in their natural habitat.
In 1996, Harry received a false vision that Sirius Black was being held and tortured by Lord Voldemort in the Department of Mysteries. When Harry desperately attempted to contact Sirius at 12 Grimmauld Place via the Floo Network in Umbridge's office fireplace, he was caught. As she was about to use the Cruciatus Curse to force Harry to reveal exactly what he'd been trying to do, Hermione claimed that Dumbledore had hidden a powerful weapon in the Forbidden Forest. She lead Harry and Umbridge into the forest where they encountered a heard of Centaurs. Umbridge foolishly insulted them, and an angry Centaur picked Umbridge up and carried her off screaming into the woods. Hermione and Harry were able to escape the Centaur's anger, which had turned to them for bringing Umbridge into the forest in the first place, amidst the chaos caused by Hagrid's giant half-brother, Grawp, crashing onto the scene. This event is known as the Skirmish in the Forbidden Forest.
As Hagrid was coming out of the forest one day, he overheard Professors Snape and Dumbledore arguing over something that involved Snape not wanting to do something any more. However, Dumbledore argued that he had promised to do whatever it was, and that was that.
Harry later found out the task Snape didn't want to do anymore involved a promise he made to Dumbledore to fulfil the task assigned by Lord Voldemort to Draco Malfoy ie. to kill Dumbledore.
Towards the end of 1997, while Harry, Hermione and Ron were camping out during their search for Voldemort's Horcruxes, they overheard Ted Tonks, Dirk Cresswell, Dean Thomas, the goblins Griphook and Gornuk discussing Ginny Weasley, Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood getting caught trying to steal Godric Gryffindor's Sword from then-Headmaster Severus Snape's office, and being forced to serve detention with Hagrid in the Forbidden Forest; while Griphook was under the impression that this was a "cruel" punishment, it was undoubtedly Snape's way of sparing the students a far worse fate at the hands of Alecto and Amycus Carrow.
On 2 May, 1998, a great battle occurred within the Castle and on the grounds of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The Forbidden Forest served as the temporary headquarters of Voldemort and his followers. A horde of Acromantula emerged from the Forbidden Forest and climbed into the walls of the Hogwarts Castle.
When Harry later learned he had to die for Voldemort to regain mortality, he headed in to the Forbidden Forest and, using the Resurrection Stone, called his parents, James and Lily, his godfather, Sirius Black, and his close friend, Remus Lupin, to give him the strength to face Voldemort for what he believed would be the last time.
Harry dropped the Resurrection Stone near the Acromantulas' hollow in the Forest, and he had no desire to ever go looking for it. Harry approached Voldemort with every intention to die, not defending himself when Voldemort struck him with the Killing Curse, he was temperately in Limbo but, woke up on the forest floor. The stone was pressed into the ground by the hoof of one of the centaurs who joined the battle against the Death Eaters, and thereafter became buried, likely never to be found again.
- An Acromantula colony, once led by Aragog, the Death Eaters forced the remaining colony out of their nest during the Battle of Hogwarts assumedly hoping they would assist them however, the Acromantula started attacking both defenders of Hogwarts and the Death Eaters alike.
- A colony of centaurs, including Bane, Magorian, Ronan and Firenze.
- Herds of unicorns, hippogriffs and thestrals.
- A pack of wolves descended from two werewolves mating at the full moon.
- Grawp, an undersized Giant and Rubeus Hagrid's half-brother, who was moved by Albus Dumbledore to a cave in the mountains surrounding Hogwarts.
- Fluffy, a massive, three-headed dog who was released into the forest after serving as one of the guards to the Philosopher's Stone during the 1991–1992 school year.
- Blood-Sucking Bugbears
- A Blast-Ended Skrewt who survived the third task of the Triwizard Tournament was also released into the forest.
- Deer and foxes (non-magical)
- It is also rumoured that many other types of creatures reside there including trolls and a few giants, though of the last, Grawp is the only known example. (However, Forest Trolls have also been seen in the Forest.)
- Although not technically a "creature", an enchanted and somewhat sentient Ford Anglia, once belonging to Arthur Weasley, took up residence in the forest after crashing into the Whomping Willow in 1992.
Behind the scenes
- In the first two Harry Potter films the forest is referred to as the Dark Forest.
- J. K. Rowling stated in J.K. Rowling: A Year in the Life that the forest is her favourite part of the grounds, and that could be the reason that Harry and his friends find themselves entering the forest in every book but Half-Blood Prince.
- In the film adaptations of Philosopher's Stone and Chamber of Secrets, the Forbidden Forest is located mainly to the North of the castle. However, in Prisoner of Azkaban and subsequent films, the forest is located mainly to the west. This is probably because of the relocation of Hagrid's Hut, the Whomping Willow and the additional areas of Hogwarts such as the Wooden Bridge.
- On W.O.M.B.A.T. it is rumoured that the forest started out as a small wood tended by a centaur herd. Whether it's true or not is unknown, however, this could explain why the centaurs in Order of the Phoenix say that the forest belongs to them.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (play)
- Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book
- LEGO Harry Potter: Building the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- Harry Potter for Kinect
- Harry Potter Trading Card Game
- LEGO Harry Potter
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault
Notes and references
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (video game)
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 35 (Veritaserum)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- ↑ J.K. Rowling and the Live Chat, Bloomsbury.com, July 30, 2007
- ↑ Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Werewolves" at Pottermore
- ↑ http://www.accio-quote.org/articles/2001/0301-bluepeter.htm
|Professors: Silvanus Kettleburn · Rubeus Hagrid · Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank (substitute teacher)|
|Textbooks: The Monster Book of Monsters · Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them|
|Care of Magical Creatures at Hogwarts: Hagrid's Hut · Forbidden Forest · Care of Magical Creatures classroom|
|Creatures studied: Hippogriffs · Flobberworms · Salamanders · Blast-Ended Skrewts · Nifflers · Unicorns · Thestrals · Bowtruckles · Crups · Fire crabs · Knarls · Kneazles · Porlocks|