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In the Triwizard Tournament in the HP and the Goblet of Fire film, a cannon is used at the start of each of the three tasks. It can be seen e.g. in this video clip:

Having been convinced by @Au101 that the cannon is canon, my question is:

why is there such a thing as a cannon in Hogwarts?

It's easy to make loud bangs with magic, and the Reducto curse can probably do the same amount of damage as a cannonball. We know wizards don't tend to use firearms, so why was an exception made in this case? Why would wizards even know about such Muggle devices, when they can perform all the tasks of a cannon with magic?

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Hogwarts is technically a castle/keep/fortified building. Can you imagine a castle without a cannon? Especially in Great Britain where "my house is my castle"? There is such thing as tradition after all... shees... – Yasskier Jan 11 at 0:02
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@Yasskier But it's MAGICAL! They don't have cannons at Minas Tirith or Cairhien either. – Rand al'Thor Jan 11 at 0:03
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It's a running joke in the films, that the contestants will begin on the sound of the cannon, and Filch repeatedly sets the cannon off too early, at least twice while Dumbledore is still talking. I don't think it's in the books either. However, in the Muggle world, cannons are used for ceremonial purposes, too, the salutes for example. Possibly it had had a similar function at Hogwarts and evolved out of an acquaintance with the Muggle world? – Au101 Jan 11 at 0:06
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Is the cannon a canon cannon? – Valorum Jan 11 at 0:11
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Wait... you have a magical castle with moving staircases, 1000 year old eye-petrifying magical monster, and portraits that are sentient and ask for passwords and get drunk... and you're incredulous about a cannon? – DVK-in-exile Jan 11 at 0:15
up vote 29 down vote accepted
  • Magical world clearly knows what a cannon is, since Chudley Cannons team is the best Quidditch team ever </Ron>

  • A cannon wasn't used in the book. That's a film invention. (Just checked book text for the word "cannon" and it's only used for Quidditch)

  • The book used a whistle

    • Task 1: whistle

      'Well, there you are!' said Bagman. 'You have each pulled out the dragon you will face, and the numbers refer to the order in which you are to take on the dragons, do you see? Now, I'm going to have to leave you in a moment, because I'm commentating. Mr Diggory, you're first, just go out into the enclosure when you hear a whistle, all right? Now – Harry – could I have a quick word? Outside?'

      ...

      A whistle had blown somewhere.

      'Good Lord, I've got to run!' said Bagman in alarm, and he hurried off.

      Harry walked back to the tent, and saw Cedric emerging from it, greener than ever. Harry tried to wish him luck as he walked past, but all that came out of his mouth was a sort of hoarse grunt.

      (Chapter 20, The First Task)

    • Task 2: Ludo Bagman and the whistle again

      Bagman gave his shoulder a quick squeeze, and returned to the judges' table; he pointed his wand at his throat as he had done at the World Cup, said 'Sonorus!' and his voice boomed out across the dark water towards the stands.

      'Well, all our champions are ready for the second task, which will start on my whistle. They have precisely an hour to recover what has been taken from them. On the count of three, then. One – two – three!'

      The whistle echoed shrilly in the cold, still air; the stands erupted with cheers and applause; without looking to see what the other champions were doing, Harry pulled off his shoes and socks, pulled the handful of Gillyweed out of his pocket, stuffed it into his mouth, and waded out into the lake.

      (Chapter 26, The Second Task)

    • Task 3: Ludo Bagman and the whistle again

      'So – on my whistle, Harry and Cedric!' said Bagman. 'Three – two – one –'
      He gave a short blast on his whistle, and Harry and Cedric hurried forwards into the maze.

      (Chapter 26, The Third Task)

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Cannon is way cooler. And it makes sense to show Filch as a man using it since it makes him feel important and powerful. – Yasskier Jan 11 at 0:27
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cannons arnt even contemporary tech when hogwarts was built /sigh, the guys who made these movies boggle my mind. (obviously toilets were added, but toilets could be muggles greatest invention!) – Himarm Jan 11 at 1:22
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@Yasskier canon trumps cannons any time. – ibid Jan 11 at 2:12
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@Himarm Hogwarts is old. When it was built, there weren't even glass windows or chandelliers, or even paintings. What's so weird about new stuff being added over time? It's perfectly plausible that the muggle-hate (and indifference) is a relatively recent phenomenon, and there used to be more interaction between the two groups in the past. A cannon might have been a gift from a father of some high-borne muggle-born (that school doesn't even have a single cannon?), or just a sign of wealth. It might very well be that Hogwarts only started hiding when muggles became dangerous. – Luaan Jan 11 at 8:45
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So the cannon is non-canon because in the canon they didn't use a cannon. Got it. – Thomas Jacobs Jan 11 at 15:08

To elaborate somewhat on points not mentioned in the previous answer, while Hogwarts was indeed founded in the 10th (or 11th) century, the Statute of Secrecy was not established until the late 17th century, by which point cannons were already fairly popular in Muggle use. (Note that the firearms referred to in the question text are from a good deal later than the 17th century.)

That said, it does not appear that the wizards are entirely against copying Muggle technology (at least in shape and function) - Hogwarts Express anyone? (Or the Wizarding Wireless, for that matter.)

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There are several instances where the film story does not comply with the logic of the books. One example is in the film Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, as Harry and the Aurors are travelling from the Dursleys' to Grimmauld Place via broomstick, they fly just over the Thames river past several popular London landmarks.

However, the point of the escape by broomstick is to not draw attention to themselves. Which is why, in the book, they fly in the clouds, with Moody asking them to divert their route just because a Muggle is looking up.

If one were to actually see people flying over the Thames as shown in the film, it would cause quite a controversy, would it not? Which defeats the entire purpose of the magic community hiding themselves from Muggles.

NOTE: I understand this answer deviates from the question quite a bit. But the question is related to discrepancies in the films. Just thought I would point out another example to show that one shouldn't scrutinize the films too closely for logic.

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The films are so rubbish compared to the books :-/ – Rand al'Thor Jan 11 at 11:25
    
That "seen flying over the Thames" thing is the point of departure of my favorite HP fanfic (Hogwarts Exposed Timeline). I mean, there's a good deal more in it - to be honest, by sheer amount of chapters, it might well be the longest HP fanfic ever - but the initial point of departure (and reveal of the magic world) is just that scene. (And yes, once they get over the initial shock, both sides get a great deal of technoiogy from each other.) – January First-of-May Jan 11 at 12:43
    
@JanuaryFirst-of-May HP MoR seems rather longer than that. – ANeves Jan 11 at 15:57
    
@ANeves I'm talking about chapter count here, not length. HPMoR has only 120 or so chapters (though the chapters themselves are fairly long), while Hogwarts Exposed Timeline has 500 numbered chapters (many of which are themselves split in separately posted subsections, so, depending on how you count them, there might be even more chapters). Actually, I'm only aware of less than a dozen other fanfics in any fandom that are over 300 chapters long (maybe two or three over 400, none over 500), and if we exclude all the multiverse crossover SIs that list shortens to only one (Heromaker's Legacy). – January First-of-May Jan 12 at 5:06
    
@ANeves As far as word count goes, I don't think Hogwarts Exposed Timeline has an official one. My estimates put it at between 400K and 900K words, which makes it roughly as long as HPMoR - perhaps longer, perhaps shorter. You might be thinking of the public version on HPFF, which is indeed tiny (but is only about the first 1% of the actual fanfic - for some reason, the author never bothered to put any more of it there). There's a longer version (up to chapter 28) on an Indonesian forum of all places, but if you want to read more than that, you'd have to join AH.com (accounts are free though). – January First-of-May Jan 12 at 5:36

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