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History of Magic

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History of Magic
Class information

Professor Cuthbert Binns

Required textbooks

A History of Magic by Bathilda Bagshot

Required equipment
"Time for History of Magic? Good, I've been needing a nap."
—An unidentified Hogwarts student[src]

History of Magic is a core class and subject taught at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This class is a study of magical history. This is one of the subjects where the use of magic practically isn't necessary.

History of Magic is taught from the first year to the fifth, with the option of N.E.W.T. courses in sixth and seventh year.

Class information

"History of Magic by common consent the most boring subject ever devised by Wizard-kind. Professor Binns, their ghost teacher, had a wheezy, droning voice that was almost guaranteed to cause severe drowsiness within ten minutes, five in warm weather."
Harry Potter[src]

The lesson plan usually consists of lectures on the 'History of Wizards and the Magical World' (in which goblin rebellions appear most memorably). This class is similar to the study of History in the Muggle World, as particular emphasis is placed upon remembering dates, names and events.

The class is currently taught by the ghost of Professor Cuthbert Binns. According to Hogwarts folklore, Professor Binns has failed to notice that he is dead: he simply got up from his chair in the staff-room one morning and left his body behind.

As Professor Binns was very old at the time of his death, he's very set in his ways and students find him difficult to relate to. Binns' lessons consist of him reciting (or "droning", as many would put it) lectures to his students. He doesn't seem to mind (or notice) that the class rarely pays attention or even sleeps through his class (with the exception of Hermione Granger, who alone "seemed able to resist the soporific power of Binns' voice"). Ron Weasley and Harry Potter both find History of Magic terribly boring, and only manage to pass the class by borrowing Hermione's notes.

In the office

Binns in the office (GBC)

When Hermione ventures a question, Professor Binns does not even remember her name calling her "Miss Grant," even though she is the only person in his class that pays attention. Professor Binns is also very dismissive of the Chamber of Secrets (Hermione's question) calling it "Legend" and maintaining that he teaches "Fact".

Location and time

Classroom 4F[1] is where the History of Magic classes are taught at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It is located on the first floor of Hogwarts Castle.

Classroom layout

Professor Binns filled the room with books on history, and kept a Draconifors spellbook locked in a side-room, protected with minor magical defences.


First year

"One hour of answering questions about batty old wizards who'd invented Self-Stirring Cauldrons and they'd be free [...]'"
—First year exam in 1992[src]

Second year

Third year

Fourth year

"Today, they suffered an hour and a half's droning on the subject of giant wars. "

Fifth year

Known professors

Cuthbert Binns

Required textbook

A history of magic-pottermore

A History of Magic

A History of Magic by Bathilda Bagshot

Known O.W.L.s

Behind the scenes

  • As Binns became a ghost, he can no longer move beyond the veil, and will remain earthbound for all eternity. This means that unless he resigned or was sacked, he would be the History of Magic teacher forever. This is probably the reason that the school has not sacked him thus far, despite his dreadful teaching technique.
  • No student is known to have continued at N.E.W.T. level in this subject and so it is unknown exactly what the curriculum would be at this level. Hermione received an Outstanding O.W.L. and thus would have been automatically cleared to continue the subject, but she chose not to continue studying it, despite seeming to have somewhat of an aptitude for it. It is also unknown if any careers in the Wizarding world specifically require the study of this subject. When she, Harry and Ron were studying Careers Advice, neither an O.W.L. or N.E.W.T. in History of Magic was mentioned as a specific requirement for any of the careers they studied.
  • Aside from a brief mention in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Professor Binns and the class are omitted from the film series. However, History of Magic is seen in some of the early video games, and Binns is included in the LEGO video games.


Notes and references

Wizarding Education
Beauxcrest Hogwarts shield DurmstrangCrest
Schools: Beauxbatons Academy of Magic · Brazilian wizarding school · Durmstrang Institute · Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry · Koldovstoretz School · Mahoutokoro School of Magic · Salem Witches' Institute (possibly) · Uagadou School of Magic
Specialised schools: Academy of Broom Flying · Charm School · Euro-Glyph School of Extraordinary Languages · Merge School of Under-Water Spellage · Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts
Examinations: First year exams · Second year exams · Third year exams · Fourth year exams · Ordinary Wizarding Level · Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Test
Core classes: Astronomy · Charms · Defence Against the Dark Arts · Herbology · History of Magic · Potions · Transfiguration
Elective classes: Alchemy · Arithmancy · Care of Magical Creatures · Divination · Muggle Studies · Study of Ancient Runes
Extra-curricular classes: Apparition · Advanced Arithmancy Studies · Ancient Studies · Art · Flying · Frog Choir · Ghoul Studies · Hogwarts orchestra · Magical Theory · Muggle Art · Muggle Music · Music · Xylomancy

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