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Ottaline Gambol

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Minister Ottaline Gambol was a British Minister for Magic who was in office in the late 1930s.[2] Fascinated with Muggle technology, she "daring[ly] and controversial[ly]" proposed the train as a solution to the age-old dilemma of how to transport hundreds of students to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry without attracting non-magic attention, leading to the creation of the Hogwarts Express.[3]


Early life

Ottaline Gambol was born sometime in or prior 1921, somewhere in the British Isles, to at least one magical parent. It is likely she attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in her youth.

As Minister for Magic

Ms. Gambol rose to the office of Minister for Magic in the 1930s[2] and proved to be effective in the solution of the problem of how to transport hundreds of students to and from Hogwarts Castle without attracting the Muggles' attention.[3]

Portkeys had been arranged at collecting points all over Britain ever since the imposition of the International Statute of Secrecy in 1692. However, Portkeys proved not to be the ideal solution to the problem of school transportation (up to a third of students would fail to arrive every year, and many students were prone to Portkey-sickness). A return to the unregulated travel of the past was impossible, and other magical routes into the school (like the usage of Floo Powder) were strongly resisted by successive Headmasters, who were concerned the security of the Castle would be breached.[3]


The Hogwarts Express at Hogsmeade Station.

Sometime between 1936[4] and 1 September, 1938[5] Minister Ottaline Gambol made a daring and controversial suggestion to solve the problem: intrigued by the Muggle technology, the Minister saw the potential of using a train as a secure and comfortable alternative to Portkeys. Thus the Hogwarts Express came to be. Where the locomotive was actually obtained from remains unknown, but there are classified files at the Ministry of Magic pertaining to a large-scale operation involving one hundred and sixty-seven Memory Charms, as well as the biggest Concealment Charm ever performed in Britain. The morning after this operation, the residents of Hogsmeade awoke to find a railway station that had not been there previously, and Muggle railway employees in Crewe had the feeling they had misplaced something, which stayed with them for the rest of the year.[3]


Notes and references

  1. According to Pottermore, Nobby Leach (Minister for Magic between 1962 and 1968) was the first Muggle-born wizard ever to be appointed to the office)
  2. 2.0 2.1 As the Hogwarts Express was built in 1936 (vid. "The Hogwarts Express" on Youtube), and the train was already in operation in the 1938-1939 school year (vid. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Chapter 13) Minister Gambol must have been in office sometime in between these years.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Hogwarts Express information on Pottermore (transcription available here)
  4. "The Hogwarts Express" on Youtube
  5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Chapter 13 (The Secret Riddle)

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