- Hermione Granger: "We wanted to ask you if you've seen anything funny lately. Because a cat was attacked right outside your front door on Halloween."
- Harry Potter: "Did you see anyone near here that night?"
- Myrtle: "I wasn't paying attention. Peeves upset me so much I came in here and tried to kill myself. Then, of course, I remembered that I'm—that I'm—"
- Ronald Weasley: "Already dead."
- — Hermione Granger, Harry Potter, and Ronald Weasley ask Myrtle on the attack on Mrs. Norris[src]
Myrtle (c. 1929—13 June, 1943), more commonly known as "Moaning Myrtle", was a Muggle-born witch who attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from 1940 - 1943 and was sorted into Ravenclaw house. She was killed in 1943 by Salazar Slytherin's Basilisk, under Lord Voldemort's (Tom Riddle) orders.
Myrtle was a witch born circa 1929 to a Muggle mother and father, making her a Muggle-born. She started her education at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in 1940 or 1941 When she arrived at Hogwarts she was Sorted into the house of Ravenclaw. While at Hogwarts she was unable to make any friends and was constantly teased and bullied because of this and her physical appearance.
Opening of the Chamber of Secrets
- "Ooooh, it was dreadful, it happened right in here, in this very cubicle. I'd hidden because Olive Hornby was teasing me about my glasses. I was crying, and then I heard somebody come in."
- —Myrtle telling Harry, Ron and Gilderoy Lockhart about her death.[src]
In 1943, some time into Myrtle's education, the Chamber of Secrets was opened for the first time. The Chamber of Secrets was a legendary chamber built by Salazar Slytherin and inside was a beast that only his heir could control. It was believed that Gryffindor student, Rubeus Hagrid had opened the Chamber because he was caught raising Aragog (an acromantula), but it was actually Tom Marvolo Riddle, a Slytherin student. Hogwarts was soon facing closure as Muggle-born students were being mysteriously attacked by the mythical beast thought to be down inside the Chamber.
- "Nobody missed me even when I was alive. Took them hours to find my body- I know, I was sitting there waiting for them. Olive Hornby came into the bathroom- 'Are you in here again, sulking Myrtle?, she said, 'because Professor Dippet asked me to look for you-' And then she saw my body...ooooh, she didn't forget that until her dying day, I made sure of that..."
- —Myrtle to Harry Potter[src]
On her final day of life, Myrtle was teased by student Olive Hornby. She had made fun of Myrtle's glasses and, as a result, left Myrtle sobbing. Myrtle then ran into one of the bathroom's stalls, took off her glasses and started crying. Shortly after Myrtle had entered the bathroom, Riddle entered and started speaking in Parseltongue in order to open the Chamber of Secrets, the entrance of which was hidden behind the bathroom sinks. The Monster of Slytherin (a basilisk) then emerged from the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets.
Myrtle, still in one of the stalls, recognised the voice as being from a boy. Opening the stall's door, she yelled at Riddle to go away. On Riddle's command, the Basilisk stared at Myrtle, and her eyes met with the monster's. Since looking at a Basilisk's eyes was a fatal act, Myrtle's body fell to the bathroom floor. Tom (Lord Voldemort) used her murder to make his first Horcrux: the Diary.
Following her death, Myrtle returned as a ghost so she could haunt student Olive Hornby in revenge for her teasing and insults. Olive went to the Ministry of Magic to exorcise Myrtle, who was there after obliged to remain at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Myrtle haunted the bathroom where she had died, although she was sometimes seen in other bathrooms, and was even flushed into the lake occasionally. As a result of her haunting, her favourite lavatory was rarely used, and was thus available for clandestine activities such as illegal potion-brewing, as long as one did not mind the company.
The true importance of Myrtle's bathroom was that it contained an entrance to the Chamber of Secrets, the home of the basilisk of Salazar Slytherin. In the 1992–1993 school year, the Chamber was opened again, fifty years after its previous opening, by a Gryffindor first year, Ginny Weasley, who was possessed by the diary of the earlier opener, Tom Riddle. (The diary was a Horcrux, though it was described as a "memory" at the time.) Myrtle later flooded her bathroom in a fit of pique when Ginny tried to dispose of the diary by flushing it down one of Myrtle's toilets.
Hermione Granger used Myrtle's bathroom in 1992 to brew Polyjuice Potion, which Harry Potter and Ron Weasley used to impersonate Slytherin students Gregory Goyle and Vincent Crabbe. Thus disguised, they entered the Slytherin common room to interrogate Draco Malfoy about the Chamber of Secrets. They learned only that, according to Draco's father Lucius Malfoy, the last time the chamber was open a Mudblood was killed.
Harry and Ron later learned from Aragog the Acromantula that the murdered student had been killed in a bathroom, and Harry realised that the student must have been Myrtle. Myrtle was flattered by Harry's request that she tell the story of her death, the manner of which was one of the most important and interesting events of her short life. (It is possible that Harry was the first person to treat it as something worth asking about.) Myrtle remembered only having seen a pair of enormous eyes, but neither Harry nor Ron recognised this as a clue that the monster was a basilisk. Hermione had already deduced the monster's nature by library research before she was petrified, so Myrtle's clue was of no practical importance.
During the 1994–1995 school year, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry hosted the Triwizard Tournament. Before the second task, the champions had to solve the mystery behind their golden eggs, which, when opened, emitted a harsh screeching sound. The secret was that the noise became speech when heard underwater. One champion, Cedric Diggory, decided to meditate upon the clue in the prefects' bathroom. Myrtle spied on Cedric in the tub, admitting to Harry that it took Cedric a long time to figure it out; nearly all the bubbles in the bath were gone by the time he cracked it. Cedric later suggested to Harry Potter that he take his egg the prefects' bathroom. With Myrtle's hints, Harry was able to decipher the riddle.
Myrtle also appeared to Harry whilst he was in the Black Lake, and pointed him in the right direction to find the village of the merpeople, thereby helping him to reach the Tournament hostages before the other champions.
That same year, Myrtle briefly spotted some Polyjuice Potion in the drains and asked Harry if he had been doing any more illicit brewing, which he denied. Had Harry (or more likely, Hermione) investigated Myrtle's suspicions, it might have been discovered much earlier that Barty Crouch Jr. was impersonating Alastor Moody.
- "…he's sensitive, people bully him, too, and he feels lonely and hasn't got anybody to talk to, and he's not afraid to show his feelings and cry!"
- —Moaning Myrtle about Draco Malfoy[src]
In 1997 Draco Malfoy confided in Moaning Myrtle about his failed attempts to assassinate Albus Dumbledore. Myrtle comforted him, feeling that she understood him, though in fact his situation was nothing like hers. When Draco and Harry engaged in a violent duel, Myrtle, as usual, enjoyed the spectacle. The last time Myrtle was seen by Harry Potter was when she was ordered to leave the bathroom by Severus Snape. It is unknown if she participated in the Battle of Hogwarts.
- Myrtle: "Don't you think I know what people say behind my back – fat Myrtle, ugly Myrtle, miserable…?"
- Peeves: "Don't forget pimply."
- — Exchange between Myrtle and Peeves
Myrtle was a squat student with dark lank hair with a fringe, pimples and thick glasses. She died in 1943 and became a ghost, wearing her school uniform, as well as her glasses, for eternity.
Personality and traits
Myrtle was constantly bullied during her education at Hogwarts, for both her physical appearance and her personality. Myrtle hardly ever smiled and took great offence at the smallest slight, crying rivers of tears and wailing. She was often upset so badly that she tried to kill herself, until she realised that she was already dead. Myrtle did tend to be happy when something bad happened to other students, like when Hermione Granger accidently gained cat fur, ears and a tail after taking a contaminated Polyjuice Potion. She did, however, seem to warm to some male students, including Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy. Myrtle also appeared to be a desperate flirt; she constantly flirted with Harry Potter, and showed her desperation to find love by spying on students such as Cedric Diggory whilst he bathed in the prefects' bathroom. Myrtle liked to take bubble baths when she was alive, due to "all those pretty bubbles".
- "Harry, if you die down there, you're welcome to share my toilet."
- —Myrtle to Harry before he enters the Chamber of Secrets[src]
During his education at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry was nice to Myrtle so she developed a crush on him. Harry wasn't exactly known to stay out of life-threatening trouble so Myrtle offered to share her toilet with him if the event of his death occurred. She also was more than happy to help Harry during his studies at Hogwarts, with any task; during his Second year she helped him solve the mystery of the Chamber of Secrets and in his Fourth year she helped him solve the mystery of the Triwizard Tournament's second task. During his fourth year Myrtle acted- to an extent- sexually towards Harry, while he bathed in the Prefects' bathroom, causing him to feel uncomfortable as he did not reciprocate her feelings of attraction. She acts coldly to Harry when he has not visited her for a while, but still remains his friend.
Myrtle also got on well with Draco Malfoy, who was Harry Potter's enemy whilst at Hogwarts. Despite Draco being prejudiced against Muggle-borns and constantly bullying and threatening Hermione Granger for being muggle-born, the two managed to become close as both needed company for comfort. It is also possible that he is unaware of her status as a Muggle born. They became friends whilst she comforted him during his Sixth year at Hogwarts; that year Draco had become a Death Eater and was feeling the strains of it as he was required to murder Albus Dumbledore. He shared his feelings and thoughts with Myrtle, who listened and comforted him. Also she seems to have taken preference of Draco to Harry as Harry never visits Myrtle when she asks him to.
Olive Hornby and Myrtle were very much enemies. Olive teased Myrtle about her glasses during school and constantly bullied her. When Myrtle was crying in the bathroom and then got killed by the basilisk, it was Olive who first saw her dead body. Myrtle wanted revenge on Olive so bad she stalked her where ever she went reminding her that it was her fault she was dead and how horrible she was. Myrtle even went so far to interrupt her brother's wedding, though that was enough for Olive, who went to the Ministry of Magic. The Ministry of Magic demanded Myrtle to stay at Hogwarts. Myrtle claimed she didn't forget her until her dying day.
Both Peeves and Myrtle resided at the school and were known as bothersome. Myrtle did not like Peeves who took enjoyment in bothering her as he did to everyone. At Nearly Headless Nick's Death day party both Peeves and Myrtle attended, when Peeves heard Hermione Granger complaining about Myrtle he found it as the perfect time to cause trouble. Peeves called Myrtle over, Myrtle did not look happy to see him but Peeves informed her that Hermione was talking about her. Myrtle assuming she was talking behind her back ran off crying, Peeves seemed to enjoy her pain and began pelting her with peanuts. Myrtle later told Harry, Ron, and Hermione that Peeves made her so upset she wanted to kill herself but then of course she reminded herself that she's already dead.
It was shown that Myrtle did not like Hermione in the least. At Nearly Headless Nick's death day party, Hermione told Harry and Ron how horrible and whiny Myrtle was. Peeves who overheard this called Myrtle over. Peeves told Myrtle that Hermione was talking about her. Myrtle knew she must be talking about her meanly like most students did, Hermione however who never wanted to hurt Myrtle's feelings tried to tell Myrtle how she was only saying how pretty Myrtle was looking tonight. However Myrtle did not buy this and yelled at Hermione for lying to her and left the party crying. To brew the Polyjuice potion Hermione was in Myrtle's bathroom quite a lot as she knew nobody would want to go there because of Myrtle's presence, Myrtle seemed cold to Hermione probably because of Hermione talking bad about her at the death day party. Myrtle did take great enjoyment in Hermione being upset though (also probably because of her talking behind her back at the party) when Hermione's potion turned her into a cat, Myrtle teased and laughed at Hermione only making Hermione feel worse about her cat like appearance. Harry had never seen Myrtle happier than when she was teasing Hermione.
Nearly Headless Nick
Myrtle's relationship with Nick is unknown, though he did invite her to his Death day party. Nick probably invited her because either he liked her, felt bad for her or because of the fact that she is also a ghost and dead. Nick and Myrtle seem not to have the same point of view on death. Nick, of course, celebrates it and Myrtle is highly offended and touchy about it, although she sometimes likes to talk about it at length.
On the year of the Triwizard Tournament Diggory was greeted by Myrtle in the prefects bathroom on the 5th floor. When Harry took his golden egg into the bathroom to have a bath Myrtle talked about Diggory and said that he was "The Handsome One".
- Myrtle is a type of evergreen shrub that is often overlooked because of its plainness, native to southern Europe and north Africa.
- Myrtle is a variety of the colour green. It is immoderately dark, slightly more so than the colour spinach.
- It is possible she was named "Myrtle" to continue J.K. Rowling's tradition of naming characters after flowers.
Behind the scenes
- Moaning Myrtle was portrayed by Shirley Henderson in the film adaptations of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Being 5' 0½" (1.54 m) and 37 years old when she first played Moaning Myrtle, she is the oldest actress to play a teenage Hogwarts student in the Harry Potter films.
- Moaning Myrtle was based on the concept of crying girls found in communal bathrooms, such as those in parties and discos.
- The myrtle tree is a close relative of the willow tree. "Moaning Myrtle" is a similar phrase to "weeping willow." Her name is also possibly related to the "Moaning Minnie," the British name for a German WWII artillery shell that made a distinctive moaning whine before it hit.
- According to J. K. Rowling's early drafts for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, this character was supposed to have been called "Wailing Wanda".
- Though never seen or mentioned, Ron and Hermione may have seen Myrtle when they went back down the Chamber of Secrets to destroy Hufflepuff's Cup in Deathly Hallows.
- The myrtle (Myrtus) is a flowering plant of southern Europe and north Africa. In Greek mythology, it was sacred to Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty, and to Demeter, goddess of grain and fertility; Pausanias relates it to the tragedy of Adonis. The Roman poet Virgil relates the myrtle to Venus and used them in wedding rituals, something that Jewish liturgy, which deemed it sacred, also used. Myrtle has also uses in Wiccan rituals, and was considered medicinal by the ancients, including Hippocrates, Pliny, Galen and Arabian writers.
- Myrtle's surname is not known, as it has never been said in the canon.
- In one scene of Chamber of Secrets, Ron jokingly suggests that Tom Riddle earned his Special Award for Services to the School for killing Myrtle; this foreshadows the fact that Riddle did indeed kill her.
- Myrtle is shown to have a crush on Harry throughout the series. In the Goblet of Fire film, the bathroom scene shows her acting sexually towards Harry.
- Myrtle was also the first person to be killed by Lord Voldemort.
- Shirley Henderson's first scene in the film Bridget Jones's Diary involves her character, Jude, crying in a womens' toilets.
- In LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4, Harry and Ron battle Myrtle.
- Hermione and Myrtle have a lot in common. They are both Muggle-born and both Hermione and Myrtle run to the girls' lavatory upon being teased by classmates, a move that puts both in mortal danger (from a troll and basilisk, respectively). But while Hermione is saved by a repentant Ron and Harry, Myrtle is killed by the unfeeling Riddle.
- At The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Moaning Myrtle haunts the restrooms, though only her voice is heard.
- Shirley Henderson and Kelly Macdonald, who played another Hogwarts ghost The Grey Lady, played sisters in the film Intermission.
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (First appearance) (Appears as a ghost or a spirit)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film) (Appears as a ghost or a spirit)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game) (Appears as a ghost or a spirit)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Appears as a ghost or a spirit)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film) (Appears as a ghost or a spirit)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game) (Appears as a ghost or a spirit)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Appears as a ghost or a spirit)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 (Appears as a ghost or a spirit)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 (Appears as a ghost or a spirit)
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Pottermore (Appears as a ghost or a spirit)
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Shirley Henderson Coming Back for GoF" from The Leaky Cauldron
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 12
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 F.A.Q. question on J. K. Rowling's Official Site
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- ↑ Technically, graduate students such as Albus Dumbledore are still Hogwarts students, and played by actors older than Henderson. Myrtle, being dead and not actively studying, is neither an active student. Although she died in 1943 and must have been 60 to 68 years old when she first appeared in the novels, she stopped aging when she became a ghost, and thus she can arguably be considered a teenager.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Pottermore - Book 2 - Chapter 9 - Moment 1 - New from J. K. Rowling - Hogwarts Ghosts
- ↑ Myrtle on Wikipedia
- ↑ See this video