Some content in this article is derived from information featured in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and, as such, spoilers will be present.
- "Madam Pomfrey, the matron, was a nice woman, but very strict."
Madam Pomfrey was very possessive of the patients in her care while in the Hospital Wing and their visitors upset her somewhat, as she frequently insisted they must rest. She was proficient in her area of expertise (healing magic) and can take care of some ailments "in a heartbeat". She fought in the Battle of Hogwarts, the final battle of the Second Wizarding War, during which she personally dispatched at least one Death Eater in a duel and was seen after the battle treating the wounded and attending to the dead.
Not much is known about Madam Pomfrey's life after the final battle. By 2014, she had retired or was thinking of retiring, since Hannah Abbott reportedly applied for the position of Matron at Hogwarts. Regardless, either because she did not retire or because she was pulled out of retirement, Madam Pomfrey was working at Hogwarts in 2020.
Matron at Hogwarts
Madam Pomfrey began her career at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry sometime before 1971, being trusted in that year by Headmaster Albus Dumbledore to escort new Gryffindor student Remus Lupin, who was infected with lycanthropy due to a bite from Fenrir Greyback, to the Whomping Willow every full moon.
At some point before 1 November, 1981, Madam Pomfrey complimented Dumbledore on a set of earmuffs he had recently acquired. The compliment made him blush in such a manner that would only be rivalled when Professor McGonagall compared his magical prowess satisfactorily against Voldemort's.
- Harry Potter: "You let Professor Dumbledore in...."
- Poppy: "Well, of course, that was the Headmaster, quite different. You need rest."
- Harry Potter: "I am resting, look, lying down and everything. Oh, go on Madam Pomfrey...."
- — Harry pleading with Madam Pomfrey to allow Ron and Hermione to visit him[src]
In 1991 after visiting Rubeus Hagrid, Ron Weasley was required to go to Madam Pomfrey after being bitten by the dragon Norberta. Ron told her that he had been bitten by a dog, but Madam Pomfrey had doubts about it due to the unusual colour of the purple, green, and black wound, but in the end she dropped the subject and continued to treat him after Ron insisted it was a dog.
Later on in the year, after Harry Potter fought Professor Quirrell in the Hogwarts dungeons over the Philosopher's Stone, he spent three days unconscious in the hospital wing under Madam Pomfrey's care. She was reluctant for Harry to have any visitors, even Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger as she thought that all Harry needed was bed rest but she allowed headmaster Albus Dumbledore to visit Harry time to time, saying that the reason he was allowed to visit was because he was the Headmaster.
In 1992, Madam Pomfrey administered Skele-Gro on Harry to regrow his bones in the arm after Gilderoy Lockhart's attempt to fix a broken bone failed disastrously. Pomfrey was annoyed that Harry had not been brought straight to her in the first place, as re-growing bones is a more difficult task than mending bones, which she claims she can do "in a heartbeat".
In the same year, Hermione Granger ended up in the hospital wing for a month after an accident in an unauthorised high-level Potion-making (Polyjuice Potion) left her half-feline; apparently the group felt comfortable letting Madam Pomfrey to treat her since she would not ask too many questions and just get on with the job in hand. Hermione was allowed visitors, but it bothered Madam Pomfrey somewhat.
Also in the 1992–1993 school year Hogwarts was facing potential closure as a monster had been attacking Muggle-born students around the school. It was Madam Pomfrey's job to make sure that these students were found and treated to the best of her ability, though for those petrified she could not treat students without Pomona Sprout's Mandrake potion. She also refused to allow any students to visit the victims, in fear of the attacker might return to finish them, but allowed Harry and Ron to visit Hermione with Professor McGonagall's permission. Eventually, they managed to get the potion made and cured: Hermione Granger, Colin Creevey, Penelope Clearwater, Justin Finch-Fletchley, Nearly Headless Nick, and Mrs Norris. At the end of the year, Madam Pomfrey and Professor Sprout sat at the staff table and Albus Dumbledore asked the whole school to thank them both for their efforts in helping all petrified students, as well as applauding in Lockhart's departure and Hagrid's return.
- Poppy: "Oh, it's you is it?... I suppose you've been doing something dangerous again?"
- Minerva McGonagall: "It was a dementor, Poppy"
- Poppy: "Setting dementors around a school... He won't be the last one that collapses. Yes, he's all clammy. Terrible things, they are, and the effect they have on people who are already delicate —"
- — Poppy and Professor McGonagall discuss the effect that dementors have on people[src]
In 1993, Hogwarts found itself under the questionable protection of the Dementors of Azkaban, horrible creatures whose mere presence was enough to induce the worst feelings and sensations in people. When one took it upon itself to inspect the Hogwarts Express for the escaped criminal Sirius Black, it caused many students great distress and actually caused Harry Potter to pass out due to recalling his mother's death. Madam Pomfrey was summoned to Minerva McGonagall's office to see if Harry was alright and administer treatment. While inspecting the boy, she exchanged a significant look with Professor McGonagall and expressed her disapproval of setting Dementors around the school, anticipating many more collapses all over the place due to the effect they had on people, particularly those who were 'delicate'. Madam Pomfrey recommended some chocolate, but was surprised and very pleased to hear that he had already been given some by Professor Remus Lupin.
During the 1993 Quidditch match between Gryffindor and Hufflepuff Madam Pomfrey tended to the injured, which included: Harry Potter who fell over fifty feet due to Dementors being on the pitch, a Hufflepuff team member, and Angelina Johnson who was injured after the tail of her broomstick caught fire.
At the end of 1994 Harry, Ron, and Hermione all had endured injuries following the events that took place when Sirius Black returned to Hogwarts and revealed Peter Pettigrew to be alive. The three all woke up in the hospital wing after Ron broke his leg the previous evening, and both Harry and Hermione had passed out from the Dementor attack along with Sirius Black. Madam Pomfrey was not surprised to have the three in her care again.
Whilst in the Hospital Wing, Hermione, at Dumbledore's hint, used her Time-Turner to go back in time with Harry to three hours before. They rescued Sirius Black on Buckbeak the hippogriff to prevent him from being administered the Dementor's Kiss. They managed to get back in time without Madam Pomfrey realising what they had done, something that would have caused dire consequences. Madam Pomfrey also spoke approvingly of Remus Lupin's use of chocolate to relieve the effects of a Dementor's presence on students, commenting that Hogwarts has "finally got a Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher who knows his remedies", as the previous DADA prodessors were not particularly good teachers with any real expertise.
- "Last year dementors, this year dragons, what are they going to bring into this school next?"
- —Madam Pomfrey complains about the Triwizard Tournament[src]
When several students, including Fred and George Weasley, S. Fawcett, and Summers "decided to age themselves up a little" in order to be eligible to enter the 1994 Triwizard Tournament, Madam Pomfrey had to remove the beards which they had grown in attempting to cross Dumbledore's Age Line. She was most annoyed by the students actions and treated them with regret. She felt that the Triwizard Tournament would bring the school nothing but grief.
During the same school year, it was Madam Pomfrey's job to tend to the injuries that the four Triwizard Champions, Harry Potter, Viktor Krum, Fleur Delacour, and Cedric Diggory received during the course of the tournament, and expressed distaste for the dragons for the first task.
She was also responsible for taking the body of Cedric Diggory to the Hospital Wing after he had been murdered by Peter Pettigrew under the order of Lord Voldemort during the last task. Later, after being questioned by Albus Dumbledore on the details of the incident, Harry Potter was sent to the hospital where Madam Pomfrey prescribed a Dreamless Sleep Potion for him, in order to get ample rest. Madam Pomfrey was also present when Minister for Magic Fudge visited the wing, the Minister refused to believe that Voldemort returned, therefore Professor Snape used his Dark Mark as proof.
- "I don't wonder you're shocked, Potter, as if one of them could have stunned Minerva McGonagall face-on by daylight! Cowardice, that's what it was... despicable cowardice... if I wasn't worried what would happen to you students without me, I'd resign in protest!"
- —Madam Pomfrey to Harry Potter on her intention to resign[src]
In 1996, Hogwarts was under the control of the Ministry. Albus Dumbledore had escaped after facing potential imprisonment in Azkaban and Dolores Umbridge had taken over. Minerva McGonagall, Madam Pomfrey's close friend, was hit by four Stunning Spells to the chest by Aurors while Umbridge was trying to sack and remove Hagrid from Hogwarts, very nearly killing her in the process. Madam Pomfrey was deeply shocked by this attack and was unable to help Minerva. She transferred her to St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries where she could receive better treatment by qualified healers. Also, after the Dumbledore's Army's traitor, Marietta Edgecombe, was struck with Hermione Granger's Dumbledore's Army parchment jinx, Madam Pomfrey could not do the slightest in improving the pustules instilled on Marietta's face.
Madam Pomfrey considered resigning in protest after the attack, but did not as she cared and feared for the students too much. She subsequently helped treat the assorted injuries that: Luna Lovegood, Neville Longbottom, Ginny Weasley, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley sustained during the battle in the Department of Mysteries, including a broken ankle, broken nose, and the effects of an unknown curse on Hermione, which if cast verbally could have been fatal.
In 1997, Madam Pomfrey examined Katie Bell after she had been cursed by an Opal necklace. She could not help Bell and transferred her to St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries for a specialist's opinion.
Madam Pomfrey also tended to Ron after he had almost been poisoned after drinking a glass of mead, which had been poisoned by Draco Malfoy in an attempt to kill Dumbledore.
She also helped Harry after his skull was cracked open by a Bludger which had been hit by Cormac McLaggen (whom she had presumably treated when he foolishly ate a pound of toxic Doxy eggs the previous year) during a Quidditch match; the injury was mended in an instant, but she kept him in overnight so as to ensure he did not undergo anything strenuous, which included murdering McLaggen for his actions. Later in the year, the Death Eaters attacked Hogwarts. Several students and Aurors were caught up in the Battle of the Astronomy Tower, a battle which resulted in the death of headmaster Albus Dumbledore. Madam Pomfrey tended to the wounds and injuries of those in the battle; Bill Weasley was injured the worst of all, as werewolf Fenrir Greyback in human form had savaged and bitten him, causing Bill to be badly scarred. Madam Pomfrey noted that there is no cure for werewolf bites and scars. Lupin, being a werewolf himself, assumed that Bill would not take the form of a true werewolf since he might not be entirely infected with Lycanthropy, though he could develop lupine qualities. Since it was an unique case, neither Madam Pomfrey nor the others knew what would become of Bill when he awoke. When he woke up, the only change was that Bill developed a liking for raw meat.
Shortly afterwards, Madam Pomfrey was one of the hundreds of witches and wizards who attended the Funeral of Albus Dumbledore. During the funeral she paid her respects to the passing of a great wizard, friend, and colleague. She was devastated by his death, something which brought her to tears after Harry Potter told her of his demise at the hands of former colleauge and Potions master Severus Snape.
- "I know that you are preparing to fight. Your efforts are futile. You cannot fight me. I do not want to kill you. I have great respect for the teachers of Hogwarts. I do not want to spill magical blood. Give me Harry Potter, and none shall be harmed. Give me Harry Potter, and I shall leave the school untouched. Give me Harry Potter, and you will be rewarded. You have until midnight."
- —Lord Voldemort's ultimatum[src]
Following the death of former headmaster Albus Dumbledore, Lord Voldemort had taken control of Hogwarts and the Ministry of Magic. He had appointed Severus Snape as Headmaster. Detentions and punishments imposed on students were severe under the cruel Death Eaters Amycus and Alecto Carrow as teachers. Students were noted to be in and out of the Hospital Wing often. In particular, Seamus Finnigan's face was unrecognisable with bruises.
Later on in the year, Harry, Ron, and Hermione returned to Hogwarts in search of the final Horcrux in Hogwarts, triggering a battle. The staff and students defended the school against Voldemort and his Death Eater army bravely whilst Harry searched for the Horcrux, with Poppy herself engaging and defeating a female Death Eater in the Great Hall. At the end of the Battle of Hogwarts, students and staff alike were injured, or even killed. After the battle Madam Pomfrey tended to all the injured and dead.
By 2014, Madam Pomfrey had retired or was thinking of retiring, since Hannah Abbott reportedly applied for the position of Matron at Hogwarts. Regardless, either because she decided not to leave, or because she ended her retirement, she was working at Hogwarts in 2020.
After Albus Potter travelled back in time to 1994 and broke his arm, in 2020, Madam Pomfrey had him placed in an induced sleep for twenty-four hours so that the arm could be reset. Unsure of what else to prescribe, she recommended eating lots of chocolate.
Personality and traits
Madam Pomfrey was described by her students as being exceptionally kind, but even more so strict. She was very obsessive, lining up the her patients' sweet boxes in neat rows, and was intensely worried about all of the students under her care, believing even feasts to be risky. Working in a school where magical accidents were almost an undeniable certainty, she appeared to have resigned herself to treating whoever came her way. Indeed, she never asked questions about how her patients received their ailments or questioning the sometimes ludicrous stories they told her, but instead immediately set to fixing them up. She had a tendency to burst into tears at moments where great sorrow was appropriate, but she was capable of controlling herself if need be.
Magical abilities and skills
- Healing magic: Madam Pomfrey had a very high understanding of medical charms and could mend broken bones in less than sixty seconds.
- Transfiguration: She was proficient at Transfiguration, being able to quickly and wordlessly conjure a chair for Professor McGonagall to sit on after hearing of the death of Albus Dumbledore.
- Defence Against the Dark Arts: Pomfrey was able to create a non-corporeal Patronus, a feat that is noted to be difficult. She is also a skilled enough duellist to survive the Battle of Hogwarts, defeating at least one witch and surviving the onslaught of thousands more. She also recognised a Dementor attack and knew immediately to prescribe chocolate, expressing grim approval of Professor Lupin when she learned that he had already treated the student.
- Poppy juice, better known as opium, is one of the oldest known medicines; it has been used as a painkiller and soporific for, at the very least, thousands of years. King Tutankhamun's tomb contained jars of poppy juice, presumably to relieve the pain he suffered from a head injury. Although it is mostly known today as an addictive drug, opium's derivatives, such as morphine and codeine, are vital to modern medicine for their anaesthetic properties.
- Pomfrey sounds like comfrey, a plant in the borage family which can be made into a soothing salve. Meanings of her names are, therefore, both in some way medically related. Pomfrey cakes are small, sweet lozenges made from the roots of the licorice plant. Licorice also has been a medicinal ingredient for hundreds of years.
Behind the scenes
- Pomfrey is portrayed by British actress Gemma Jones in the film adaptations of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Half-Blood Prince, and Deathly Hallows: Part 2.
- In the film adaptations, Madam Pomfrey wears a cloth in her hair similar to caps worn by British Nurses at various points in history. Her uniform costume as seen in the second film is very similar and could be based on Victorian and Edwardian nurse's uniforms. Her uniform that we see in the 6th and 8th films is very similar and could be based on very early NHS nurse's uniforms from the 1940's and 50's.
- In the German audio books, Madam Pomfrey speaks with a French accent.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film) (Mentioned as "Nurse")
- 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) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game) (Mentioned as "Nurse")
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (play) (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- Harry Potter Trading Card Game
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
Notes and references
- ↑ As Madame Pomfrey was already working at Hogwarts in 1971, having led Remus Lupin to the Whomping Willow to transform, she must have been at least seventeen years old to be working there.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 19
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 17 (The Man with Two Faces)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Pottermore - DUMBLEDORE'S ARMY REUNITES AT QUIDDITCH WORLD CUP FINAL Daily Prophet 08 July 2014 (Archived)
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Act Two, Scene Eight
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 18 (Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs)
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 1 (The Boy Who Lived)
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 29 (The Phoenix Lament)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 14 (Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 5 (The Dementor)