Some ‘Harry Potter’ fans are never going to look at Hogwarts the same ever again.
In honour of National Trivia Day, on Friday, the Pottermore Twitter account decided to share a tidbit of information about Scotland’s premier magical educational institution: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry didn’t always have bathrooms.
“Before adopting Muggle plumbing methods in the eighteenth century, witches and wizards simply relieved themselves wherever they stood, and vanished the evidence,” the official account for everything Wizarding World-related tweeted.
Yes, before the 18th century, the students and professors at Hogwarts didn’t have anywhere specifically designated for standard bodily functions such as urination and defecation. But it wasn’t much of a problem because they could magically make the waste go away.
The information is a bit horrifying, but it isn’t completely new.
‘Harry Potter’ author JK Rowling herself revealed the news in passing back in 2015 in an essay published on the Pottermore website about the history of the Chamber of Secrets.
Potterheads will remember the Chamber of Secrets from the second novel of Rowling’s fantasy series. In the book, Harry and his friends access the Chamber through an entrance in one of the school’s bathrooms.
Created by one of the school’s co-founders, Salazar Slytherin, the Chamber pre-dates the existence of bathrooms and for centuries was accessed “through a concealed trapdoor and a series of magical tunnels.”
According to Rowling “when Hogwarts’ plumbing became more elaborate in the 18th century (this was a rare instance of wizards copying Muggles, because hitherto they simply relieved themselves wherever they stood, and vanished the evidence), the entrance to the Chamber was threatened, being located on the site of a proposed bathroom.”
Luckily, a descendant of Slytherin was a student at the time and was able to keep the entrance hidden through the construction.
This, of course, still leaves plenty of questions about life at Hogwarts before there were bathrooms, such as how soon first-year students were taught the necessary magic to vanish their waste and what they did before they mastered this skill.
For now, fans unable to obliviate this memory away are left to wonder what the wizarding etiquette for relieving oneself at Hogwarts might have been before the 18th century.