- "Harry wandered over to the Restricted Section. He had been wondering for a while if Flamel wasn't somewhere in there. Unfortunately, you needed a specially signed note from one of the teachers to look in any of the restricted books, and he knew he'd never get one. These were the books containing powerful Dark Magic never taught at Hogwarts, and only read by older students studying advanced Defence Against the Dark Arts."
Students may only check out a book from this section if they have a note of permission from a teacher. It is unclear if all students need a note, or only younger ones who are not yet at N.E.W.T.-level. The librarian will retrieve the book for the student. Again, this rule may not be enforced for older students.
In his first year, Harry Potter used his newly-acquired Invisibility cloak to sneak into the Restricted Section during the Christmas holidays. He went at night in order to look for information on Nicolas Flamel. Unfortunately, he picked up a large black book near the bottom of the shelf that began screaming when he opened it. Worried that he would attract attention, Harry closed it and ran off.
Hermione Granger entered the Restricted Section in her second year using an autograph from Gilderoy Lockhart, who was the Defence Against the Dark Arts professor that year, though the librarian Madam Pince made extra sure of the note, as though suspecting forgery. Inside, she found Moste Potente Potions, which contained instructions on brewing Polyjuice Potion. Hermione subsequently made the advanced Potion, facilitating Harry and Ron Weasley disguising themselves as Gregory Goyle and Vincent Crabbe and entering the Slytherin Dungeon to question Draco Malfoy about the Heir of Slytherin.
During his fourth year, Harry Potter receives Minerva McGonagall's permission to enter the Restricted Section so he could research a way about being able to breathe underwater for an hour to compete in the second task of the Triwizard Tournament, but is unable to find anything useful from any of the books.
It is possible that after students reach a certain age, they no longer need a signed note to access the Restricted Section, as in her sixth year Hermione Granger says she's "been right through the restricted section" when looking for information on Horcruxes, and as it is unlikely any professor would give her a note to research a banned subject at Hogwarts, it is likely she didn't need one. The same can be said for Tom Riddle from roughly 50 years earlier, when he too was researching on Horcruxes in the same section at about the same age as Hermione.
Behind the scenes
- In the video game adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the Astronomy Tower and the chamber where the Mirror of Erised is stored are located behind the Restricted Section. Argus Filch and his cat Mrs Norris guard the section.
- In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the Moste Potente Potions book was found in the regular section of the library, rather than requiring Lockhart's permission for the Restricted Section.
- In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the Restricted Section is mentioned to be separated from the main library by a rope. In the film adaptation, however, there is a locked door as an entrance.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Building the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter
- Harry Potter Trading Card Game
- Wonderbook: Book of Spells (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Mentioned only)
Notes and references