"Harry wandered over to the Restricted Section... 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."

The Restricted Section is an area in the Hogwarts Library, closed off by a rope. Books in this section may be rare, valuable, and/or considered inappropriate for younger students, thus why it is restricted.

Rita Skeeter once claimed that the Restricted Section was nothing less than a repository for Dark Magic, going as far as saying that it might has well just have been called an armoury, given the number of tomes that it would have potentially catastrophic consequences to fall into the wrong hands.[1]

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.


1991–1992 school year

"The Restricted Section was right at the back of the library. Stepping carefully over the rope that separated these books from the rest of the library, he held up his lamp to read the titles."
—Harry wonders into the Restricted Section[src]
Library book PS

Harry searching the Restricted Section at night

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, in order to discover Flamel's connection to the Philosopher's Stone. 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 unwanted attention, Harry closed the book and ran out of the library.

1992–1993 school year

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.

1994–1995 school year

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.

1996–1997 school year

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.

Known books

Behind the scenes


Notes and references

Hogwarts Castle
Locations on the fourth floor

Class 67 · Cuthbert Binns's office · Fourth Floor balcony · Fourth Floor Corridor · Fourth Floor hospital tower corridor · Hogwarts Library · Disused classroom · Restricted Section · Study Area

Portraits, statues and other artwork located on the fourth floor

Barking Mad Male Gargoyle · Brutus Scrimgeour · Edward Rabnott · Hengist of Woodcroft · Landscape with trees · Temeritus Shanks