Despite being a decidedly dark story that includes a lot of death, corruption, and sad moments, Harry Potter still seems like a dream world we’d all like to experience IRL. Even those who aren’t rabid fans have wondered what it would be like to grow up as a Hogwarts student. Think about it: learning magic spells all day instead of math and science, hanging out in a cozy common room instead of leaning against lockers, and watching people fly around on broomsticks instead of kicking around a ball. For readers, Hogwarts has always seemed idyllic, exciting, and interesting… so much so, that we’ve completely neglected to think about all of the things that would actually suck about being a Hogwarts student.
Before you, a loving Harry Potter fan, angrily comment about how I don’t know anything about HP, let me just say that I am a huge fan of the books. I’ve read them more times than I can count, and I honestly don’t know how people grew up without this story. But even as a big fan, I can acknowledge that there were a lot of things about Harry’s world that aren’t as perfect as they might seem – and this Ask Reddit thread about the negative aspects of going to Hogwarts reminded me of that.
I know this is a fictional world and I also know that Hogwarts is supposed to be behind the times – wizards in HP don’t use Muggle inventions and, aside from all of that, these books were written a long time ago. But still, some of these users made good points! Here are a few things that would suck about being a student at Hogwarts, so the next time you’re wishing you were there, remember: the grass is always greener on the other side.
You Have To Go Through The Sorting HatI think that even in the books, the Sorting Hat ceremony is seen as embarrassing and anxiety-inducing. User The_Naked_Snake points out exactly why it would be the worst: "Someone at some point decided that this talking hat gets to play God and essentially determine these student's lives. Let's be real, you're in Gryffindor you're a hero, you're in Slytherin you're a villain, you're in Ravenclaw you're supporting allies, and if you're in Hufflepuff it's because you're painfully average. And this talking hat is a dick. He runs Hogwarts like the American prison system. Rather than focus on rehabilitation, he just throws all the potentially bad kids down in the dungeon together where they are almost bound to fall back into a life of bad shit, or repeat a cycle passed down from evil parents. If the hat were to take a bad kid and surround him with the kind of positivity and kinship that Gryffindors take for granted, that kid might want to change and be a better person. But no, this hat just throws all the bad kids into one pot and says 'f*** em.' "So as a 'bad' kid, you've got your life determined at age 11(?) by a talking piece of clothing that essentially plays God, you're surrounded by future murderers, you're watched over by a miserably strict former gang member, and all this is endorsed by the big bosses who clearly play favorites and set your house up for failure every year with a rigged points system."
There Is No Privacy At AllUser tokyoghouls says one of the worst things about going to school at Hogwarts would be: "Zero privacy whatsoever." Think about it: between the common rooms, the sleeping arrangements, the fact that everyone eats together, the fact that you're basically not allowed to go anywhere alone, the ghosts wandering wherever they want, the portraits that see all and gossip.... you would never have enough time to be by yourself to do ANYTHING.
Getting A Hogwarts Letter As A Muggle-BornAs readers, we've all thought about how exciting it would be to be told we're actually a witch or wizard. Like, magical and amazing and perfect. But let's stop for a second and really consider reality. Imagine being born as a Muggle, living as one for years, never knowing a magical world existed, and then randomly getting a letter from an owl, and reading it to find out your whole world is about to change. User [deleted] sums it up by paraphrasing it in letter form: "Hello Muggles, you don't believe in magic, but your 11 year old is magically gifted therefore we want to take him or her away to a magic school for months at a time. No, you can never visit the school, or call, or tell anyone your child is in this special school. Yes of course stranger, here take my child." Seems... accurate.
You Don't Learn Any Basic SkillsLearning about spells and curses and how to make potions and how to take care of magical plants and animals sounds amazing, and like it would be so much better than learning complicated math equations or definitions of words nobody even uses. But in reality, you need that stuff! User Tumbling-Dice said, "Here's a big one. Kids going into Hogwarts have a fifth grade (Year 6 in the UK) education and do not seem to get any non-magical education even though they would still need it in the magical world. They don't get a political science class. Jesus, no wonder the wizarding world is so corrupt and prone to instability - they have no idea how government works! The closest thing they get is Muggle Studies, which sounds like an anthropology class, but that is still extremely limited in its ability to study government. They don't get any more language classes. What sixth grader besides Hermione knows how to identify and avoid logical fallacies in their essays? What about math? Arithmancy is the study of the magical properties of numbers, not an actual applied math. You still need accounting in the magical world."
Using Owls As A Major Form Of CommunicationOkay, yes, reading Harry Potter made me want to own an owl, and yes, it seems charming and magical to use one to send letters, but uh... it also sounds like a nightmare. User thewid10 said one of the worst things about being at Hogwarts is, "You know magic but your best communication method with the outside world is f***ing owls." I mean... yeah. I know they obviously don't use technology, but I just feel like there's a better way.
The Moving Staircases Are A Disaster Waiting To HappenEveryone who has read or watched HP knows about the moving staircases in Hogwarts. You know, the ones that just switch things up whenever they feel like it? Yeah, those. They've always seemed low-key terrifying to me, so I totally understand this point from user _FLDSMDFR, who said one of the worst things is, "That when you sneak back to the castle drunk on Rosmerta's mead, there's a high chance you'll miss one of the moving staircases and fall a few stories down." So true.
The Possibility Of Getting Sorted Into SlytherinGetting sorted into a house seems exciting to us, but imagine being a little witch or wizard and being terrified of the idea of being sorted into Slythern. User Triseult said, "The absolute worst about Hogwarts would be to be sorted into Slytherin. Oh, they tell you all four Houses are equal and none of them are inherently good or evil, but c'mon. Gryffindor is named after a brave and noble creature, and you're named after the sound of a snake slithering about. Half your Housemates are dicks and bullies, and when they get caught bullying the teacher's pets, your House is the one being penalized by the Headmaster who clearly has a bias against Slytherin. So imagine that... You're just a kid who likes to dress in black and maybe brew a potion or two, but then that asshole of a Sorting Hat puts in you in Slitherin and poof. Welcome to the House everybody loves to hate. Good luck not being eaten alive by a basilisk."
Having Your Portrait Taken Seems ComplicatedYou know how the portraits in Harry Potter have lives of their own? It's something I've never completely understood, even when Dumbledore explained it. This comment from one user sums up why it must suck pretty well: DudeWhoSaysWhaaaat said, "The existential crisis of having your portrait taken. Like, is that me in there? It has my personality and my memory. And it can move from painting to painting. Is it a clone? Or does my consciousness transfer to the painting and now I'll be stuck in a 2 dimensional world for eternity, unable to escape?" Um, honestly, true.
You Can Easily Be Tricked Into Being With SomeoneSimilar to the horrible spells all around, there are so many ways to get away with raping someone. User UncleRico1 says one of the worst things is, "The fact that love potions are essentially a date rape drug." I guess we could compare a love potion with a date rape drug, but in general, love potions seem pretty terrifying.
Having To Deal With HarryHarry is the fictional character we all wish we were friends with in real life, but let's be honest: having to deal with him in the world would be exhausting. Harry takes up all of the attention no matter what he does, and he always seems to have a knack for bringing about bad luck and doom and gloom. User Barbieheels points out one of the crappiest things about being in Hogwarts would be: "having your year f***ed up by some stupid heroic thing Harry Potter did and not getting to take your OWLs/NEWTs because Dumbledore decided to cancel exams in honour of Harry's latest daring-do."
It's Probably Cold AFDoesn't Hogwarts seem cozy and wonderful? Uh, think again. User -eDgAR- points out that one of the worst things about going there would be: "It's basically a giant castle, with no heat (aside from fireplaces) and no AC. That place probably gets ridiculously cold/hot depending on the time of the year. AFAIK the books never addressed this."
There's No Sex EducationIf you think the state of sex ed in America is bad, think about it for Hogwarts - there literally is none! User xxruruxx said a negative thing about going there is, "No sex ed! With those dorms, the teen pregnancy rate would be through the roof. At least college gives you condoms."
Writing With QuillsI'll be honest: every time I read Harry Potter, I think about how charming it seems to write with paper and a quill. So old-fashioned and cute! That is, until I read cheribella's reason for not wanting to be a Hogwarts student: "Having to use quills. The novelty might be cool at first, but it must be a pain in the ass if you're a muggleborn knowing that there are pens and pencils out in the world." I guess the reason quills aren't a thing anymore is because they're not practical. So, yeah, that would kind of suck.
The Fact That Hogwarts Is Really DangerousWhy is Hogwarts considered one of the safest places in the Wizarding world? There are monsters, threats everywhere, the Forbidden Forest is terrifying, and so much more. User notbobby125 says, "The fact that Hogwarts is a OSHA nightmare that is probably deadlier than the Death Eaters. Forbidden forest filled with centaurs and giant spiders, sport is played 200 feet in the airs with heat seeking cannon balls, some of the steps disappear when you try to use them, stair cases will make you go where every they want, the plumbing was home to a snake that could kill you with a glance, potions is done without any kind of eye protection, Hagrid was allowed to run a class where even the books wanted to kill the students, teachers are either criminally neglectful if not outright abusive, and did I mention the giant fucking murder tree on the lawn?"
The Possibility Of Being Turned Into Something Is Always There1As "regular" students, we all worry about being bullied, made fun of, or embarrassed. But imagine if we were worried about someone casting a horrible, humiliating, painful spell on us? User diz_s said one of the worst things about being a Hogwarts student would be this possibility, saying, "It's always funny when someone gets turned into a ferret or sprouts tentacles all over their face, but in real life, that would suck." Uh, yeah. It would suck a lot.
The Threat Of A Horrible Spell Is Always AroundUser Luvs_to_splooge_ makes a good point about something that would be less than fun about being in Hogwarts, saying, "Implications of imperio, confundus charm, polyjuice potion, love potions, etc. How can anyone trust anyone else in anything they say or do?" Good point! Of course, the threat of evil is all around us too - guns, knives, various weapons, terrorism, rape, etc. - but for some reason, they seem more accessible in Harry Potter's world.
Which one of these points do you agree with? What do you think is wrong? What did we forget to add? Share in the comments!