- "Madam Pomfrey, the matron, was a nice woman, but very strict."
- —Description of Madam Pomfrey[src]
Madam Poppy Pomfrey (b. 1950s or earlier) was the Matron and nurse in charge of the Hospital wing at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and is depicted as a stern and professional woman who takes her chosen path quite seriously. Madam Pomfrey seemed a healer with considerable ability, as she herself said, "I can mend bones in a heartbeat."She was apparently on cordial terms with Professor Minerva McGonagall, who calls her by her first name.
Pomfrey was already the school nurse when Harry's parents were students, as she is mentioned as escorting Remus Lupin out to the Whomping Willow, the entrance to the Shrieking Shack, in order for him to transform. Severus Snape sees the two of them walking out on the school grounds, and decides to follow them, causing Sirius Black to play a near-fatal prank on Snape. Due to their knack at getting involved in things over their heads, Harry Potter and his friends ended up in Pomfrey's care relatively often while they were students.
Poppy Pomfrey was born during or prior to the 1950s, and purchased her wand prior to her magical instruction, possibly at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Her success in her O.W.Ls and, possibly, N.E.W.Ts are unknown, though she presumably had a talent for healing spells and Potions.
Career at Hogwarts
Poppy Pomfrey (or known as Madam Pomfrey by students) started her career at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as the school's matron and nurse at a relatively young age. She is a well-respected staff member at Hogwarts and is good friends with fellow staff members Albus Dumbledore and Minerva McGonagall. By 1971, Albus Dumbledore trusted her to take on the task of caring for new student Remus Lupin, who was infected with lycanthropy due to the bite received from werewolf Fenrir Greyback, which turned him a werewolf on every full moon.
As his caretaker, Poppy would escort Lupin to the Whomping Willow and use its secret passage way into the Shrieking Shack, where he would be kept overnight to prevent any harm caused to the other students. She is dedicated to her job, hardly asking questions on how students got some of their injuries (despite how suspicious they may seem), but just concentrating on treating her patients and ensuring that they get ample rest after treatment.
- Harry: "You let Professor Dumbledore in..."
- Pomfrey: "Well, of course, that was the Headmaster, quite different. You need rest."
- Harry: "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 Norbert. 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.
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 bought 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.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 fatal Dementor's Kiss. They managed to get back in time without Madam Pomfrey realizing that what they had done. 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".
- "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 to take the body of Cedric Diggory to the Hospital Wing after he had been killed 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.
- "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. 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 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 for the students too much. She subsequently helped treat the assorted injuries that Luna Lovegood, Neville Longbottom, Ginny Weasley, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley and Harry Potter 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 conjured 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. Later in the year, Hogwarts fell under attack from the Death Eaters. 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 had savaged and bit him whilst in his human form, 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 wolf-like qualities. Since it was an unique case, neither Madam Pomfrey nor the others knew what would become of Bill when he woke up. When he woke up, all that happened to Bill was a liking for raw meat.
Shortly afterwards, Madam Pomfrey attended the Funeral of Albus Dumbledore to pay her respects to her lost colleague and friend.
Battle of HogwartsFollowing 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. At the end of the Battle of Hogwarts, students and staff alike were injured, or even killed. After the battle Madam Pomfrey would tend to all the injured and dead.
Personality and traits
Poppy Pomfrey is described as a stern woman who, like Minerva McGonagall, tolerates no nonsense, and takes her job very seriously. For example she snapped at Harry Potter after spitting out Skele-gro. She takes care of her patients like they were her own children, making sure they make a full recovery.
Magical abilities and skills
- Healing spells: Madam Pomfrey is very likely to have undergone Healer training as she had a very high level of understanding in Medical Charms, and could mend broken bones in "a heartbeat" and relatively moderate injuries in an instant. Remus Lupin had once stated that he could never heal bones like Madam Pomfrey, although it may be because he received less training in the area. However, although she can cure most of her patients, she does have her limits; for more serious cases, as with a heavily stunned Professor McGonagall and a cursed Katie Bell, patients would be transferred to St. Mungo's instead for better treatment.
- Transfiguration: Madam Pomfrey was able to quickly conjure a chair out of thin air for Professor McGonagall to sit on after hearing about Albus Dumbledore's death.
- Patronus Charm: Madam Pomfrey is able to cast a non-corporeal Patronus Charm.
- Duelling: Madam Pomfrey proves herself to be a skilled duellist by duelling and probably defeating several Death Eaters like Unidentified female Death Eater at the Battle of Hogwarts, and survived the Battle of Hogwarts.
- Poppy juice was used as a pain reliever in Medieval times; opium is also made of poppy sap.
- 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 of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire, several unidentified nurses, played by unknown actresses, appear only in the background.
- In Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Madam Pomfrey will be joined by Nurse Wainscott who is the only extra nurse to be named.
- 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 sixth film and 8th is very similar and could be based on very early NHS nurse's uniforms from the 1940's and 50's.
- In Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Madam Pomfrey is seen in the Skirmish at the Great Hall fighting some Death Eaters which one of them is the unidentified female Death Eater at the Battle of Hogwarts.
- 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
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- Harry Potter Trading Card Game
Notes and references