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.
Described by Professor Silvanus Kettleburn as 'massive', the forest is thick with trees — beech, oak, pine, sycamore, and yew are mentioned, as well as undergrowth such as knotgrass and thorns — but there are paths, brooks, and some clearings. Off the path the way is almost impassable, although people have moved through it and creatures as large as Acromantulas and a Ford Anglia have managed to get around.
It is hard to navigate the Forest at night, as there are tree roots and stumps that are barely visible in near blackness. Also clothes were known to snag on low-slung branches and brambles. The forest is home to a wide and strange assortment of creatures. Anything wild and dangerous that needs a place to live is put there. There are areas around the edges of the forest that are part of the Hogwarts grounds, but which are out of sight of the castle. Hagrid set up a paddock for hippogriffs in an area like this and the dragons which had been brought in for the first task were confined here.
History of the Forest
Pre-1967 to ca. 1981
Over the centuries since the school's inception, more than a few students have disappeared in the forest.
At some point during her magical education, Patricia Rakepick asked then , the easiest way to enter the forest undetected in order to study the magical creatures dwelling there in the hopes of learning enough about them to become a Magizoologist, which he against his better judgement explained to her. Upon learning how to enter the woods undetected, she allegedly spent as much time in there as she did in the school herself, though Professor Kettleburn later came to suspect she had ulterior motives to enter the forest.
At some point during the mid- to late 1970s or quite possibly the dawn of the 1980s, a Sleepwalking curse was unleashed when someone unwisely disturbed the Forest Vault, one of the five fabled Cursed Vaults of Hogwarts. This caused a number of students to sleepwalk into the forest, where some were gravely injured and even killed by the creatures living in there. Around this time, a student by the name of Jacob entered the forest hoping to break this curse, soliciting the aid of the centaur Torvus. In order to open the vault so he could break the curse, the pupil's research indicated that a specific jewel encrusted arrowhead was required. Being a precious heirloom, the centaur refused to hand it over to a human, prompting Jacob to use magic to steal it from their camp. He was expelled from Hogwarts before it could be returned where it belonged.
During the fourth year of his sibling's schooling, someone once again tampered with the Cursed Vault in the Dark Woods, prompting Jacob's younger sibling to locate and break the curse, just as their brother had tried to do. Distrusting of humans following Jacob's thievery, which lead to his own banishment from the herd for trying to help a human, challenged Jacob and his companions to battle, and ultimately refused to help them.
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 against Hufflepuff, 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 Lord Voldemort, who had been trying to regain strength by drinking the unicorn's blood while sharing Quirinus Quirrell's body.
- "So they followed the darting shadows of the spiders into the trees. They couldn’t move very quickly now; there were tree roots and stumps in their way, barely visible in the near blackness."
- —Harry Potter and Ron Weasley follow the spiders[src]
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. Harry received the information regarding Hagrid from Tom Riddle's diary. 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.
- "As ever, I would like to remind you all that the Forest in the grounds is out-of-bounds to students."
- —A warning to students new and old[src]
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. Crouch then asked for Dumbledore.
Harry left to retrieve Dumbledore, but was breifly held up by Snape. Upon Harry and Dumbledore's return, they 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 murdered his father and hid his body using Alastor Moody's invisibility cloak. He later returned, transfigured the body into a bone and buried it in the forest near Hagrid's pumpkin patch.
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.
Hermione 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 i.e. to kill Dumbledore.
- "I shall wait for one hour in the Forbidden Forest. If, at the end of that hour, you have not come to me, have not given yourself up, then battle recommences."
- —Voldemort issues an ultimatum to Harry[src]
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.
|Acromantula colony||Aragog||Once led by Aragog. Acromantulas named Aragog and Mosag, together with their large family, lived in a dome-shaped nest in the very heart of the forest until Aragog’s death during Harry’s sixth year. Hundreds of the giant spiders now dwell there, all decended from the original pair. Aragog was a pet of Hagrid’s fifty years ago. The Acromantulas are among the most dangerous creatures in the forest. 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.|
|Centaur colony||Bane||At least 50 centaurs of fighting age live in the forest. In typical centaur fashion, most of them avoid humans and do not involve themselves in human activities, simply watching portents in the stars and uttering cryptic responses to questions. Firenze is an exception, and was cast out from the herd and nearly killed because of it in Harry’s fifth year. Hagrid knows many of them by name and had a civil (though sometimes frustrating) working relationship with them until partway through Harry’s fifth year. When Hagrid brought Grawp home with him late in 1995, the centaurs objected.|
|Unicorns||Herd||The unicorns are among the most powerful magical creatures living in the forest. They are extremely fast and are seldom hurt. Hagrid found one dead in the spring of 1992 and signs that another had been horribly wounded, and spent a night searching the forest for both the injured unicorn and whatever could have done such a terrible thing. In the ordinary way, the unicorns shed hair that becomes tangled in the undergrowth of the forest; Hagrid collects it to use as bindings on bandages for various injured animals because of its strength.|
|Thestrals||A herd of about 100 thestrals lives in the forest; Hagrid said proudly that he is probably the only person in Britain to have domesticated them. Grubbly-Plank said he’s got them well-trained. Hagrid waited until Harry’s fifth year to cover them in Care of Magical Creatures, considering them a special treat.|
|Hippogriffs||Buckbeak||Hagrid has a herd of hippogriffs, that he showed is third year Care of Magical Creatures class. It can be assumbed that this herd lives in the Forest.|
|wolf pack||Descended from two werewolves mating at the full moon.|
|Giant||Grawp||An undersized Giant and Rubeus Hagrid's half-brother, who was moved by Albus Dumbledore to a cave in the mountains surrounding Hogwarts. When Hagrid and Madame Maxime acted as envoys to the giants in the summer and autumn of 1995, Hagrid learned of his mother’s death and of the existence of a half-brother he had never known: Grawp, a full-blooded giant. Since Hagrid had no other family, and Grawp (being a runt for a giant at only 16 feet) was being bullied, Hagrid managed to smuggle Grawp all the way back to the forest. This was the last straw for some of the forest’s inhabitants, specifically the centaurs.|
|It is rumoured that a few other giants, besides Grawp dwell in the Forest, there is no known examples of these other giants.|
|Three-headed dog||Fluffy||A massive dog that 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||In 1992, following the killing of two of his roosters, Hogwarts gamekeeper Rubeus Hagrid suspected that either a Blood-Sucking Bugbear or foxes were responsible. Implying that these Bugbears live in the Forest.|
|Bowtruckles||Flat-faced stick figures made of bark and twigs, which serves well as camouflage in its natural habitat.|
|Blast-Ended Skrewt||Survived the third task of the Triwizard Tournament was also released into the forest.|
|Non-magical||Deer||Alongside the numerous magcal creatures that resided in the Forest, non-magical ones dwell there as well.|
|Trolls||It is also rumoured that many other types of creatures reside there including trolls. (However, Forest Trolls have also been seen in the Forest.)|
|Other||Flying Ford Anglia||Although not technically a "creature". The Ford Anglia was an automobile owned and enchanted by Arthur Weasley. After a bad fright and an exhausting trip across the length of Britain, the Ford Anglia escaped into the forest. There it became wild and took to trundling around among the trees.|
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: Characters of the Magical World (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
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
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 4.2 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - Chapter 13 (Nicolas Flamel)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - Chapter 15 (The Forbidden Forest)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - Chapter 15 (Aragog)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Chapter 28 (Snape's Worst Memory)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Chapter 30 (Grawp)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - Chapter 15 (Aragog)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Chapter 21 (The Eye of the Snake)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Chapter 30 (Grawp)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Chapter 6 (Talons and Tea Leaves)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Chapter 19 (The Hungarian Horntail)
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 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
- ↑ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- ↑ Writing by J.K. Rowling: "Werewolves" at Pottermore
- ↑ http://www.accio-quote.org/articles/2001/0301-bluepeter.htm
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
|Care of Magical Creatures|
|Care of Magical Creatures at Hogwarts|
|Hagrid's Hut · Forbidden Forest · Care of Magical Creatures classroom|
|Silvanus Kettleburn · Rubeus Hagrid · Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank (substitute teacher)|
|The Monster Book of Monsters · Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them|
|Creatures studied at Hogwarts|
|Hippogriff · Flobberworm · Salamander · Blast-Ended Skrewt · Niffler · Unicorn · Thestral · Bowtruckle · Crup · Fire crab · Knarl · Kneazle · Porlock|