It seems fairly clear that Merope Gaunt did not attend Hogwarts; what magic she was able to perform was probably taught to her by her father before he gave up on her entirely, believing her to be almost a Squib. (Compare this question by Slytherincess, as well as her entry on the Harry Potter wiki, which also speculates that she was home-schooled.)

Things are less clear-cut when it comes to her brother, Morfin. He certainly shows enough magic ability to make Tom Riddle Sr break out in hives, and also enough to bang Bob Ogden to the ground with yellowish goo squirting from his nose and later on fire hexes at him and make him run for the hills and call for Ministry backup. So he was presumably taught more magic, for a longer period of time, than Merope was.

But where was he taught?

According to his wiki article, he was born some time between 1900 and 1907, so he would have been of schooling age from around 1911–1918 until 1918–1925. We know that Phineas Nigellus Black died in 1925 and was Headmaster of Hogwarts until his death, so it’s at least likely that Black was already Headmaster at the point when Morfin reached schooling age.

We need hardly doubt that Marvolo would not dream of sending his son to a Hogwarts led by Albus Dumbledore or—presumably—Armando Dippet; but Black, who shared Marvolo and Morfin’s views on Muggles and pure-blood supremacy, would probably be a different story.1

Is there any canon evidence whether Marvolo sent Morfin off to Hogwarts or home-schooled him?


1 Assuming Hogwarts, even under the Headmastership of Phineas Black, would have him, that is—Black may have been quite a nasty piece of work in many ways, and the most unpopular Headmaster Hogwarts ever had, but even he may have balked at the prospect of letting someone as obviously mentally unhinged and sadistically, psychopathically violent as Morfin Gaunt enter the school. Even an unpopular Headmaster presumably doesn’t want students murdering each other left, right, and centre.

  • I don’t think we’re told for sure, but I feel like Marvolo’s pure-blood fanaticism would have kept his children out of Hogwarts (just because it was admitting Muggle-borns) regardless of the head or their politics.
    – alexwlchan
    Commented Sep 13, 2015 at 18:00
  • 2
    His predilection for speaking parseltongue would have proved tricky for him as well
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 13, 2015 at 18:06

2 Answers 2


According to the HP Wikia, it is unknown whether Morfin attended Hogwarts. I found some discussion of the issue here. The general consensus is that no, he probably didn't attend.

The main argument for this is, of course, his father's arrogance and low opinion of the rest of wizardkind. From what we know of Marvolo, he would be reluctant to let his son, and perhaps even his daughter, mingle with 'lesser' wizards: anyone who wasn't a descendant of Slytherin, and particularly Muggle-borns, half-bloods, and so-called blood traitors. Here's a quote from that discussion which summarises it rather well:

Marvolo was arrogant and didn't want the teachers at Hogwarts telling his kids what to do. It would be a "my kids are too good for that riffraff" kind of attitude. That seems a plausible explanation, as does the idea that Marvolo was avoiding everyone. He may have wanted to be the sole influence on his children rather than having them be exposed to other viewpoints and other people's opinions.

(Which incidentally is sometimes a motivation for parents to home-educate their children in real life also.)

Another interesting argument is this:

I'm sure Dumbledore would have done at least a cursory search of school records for past students named "Tom Riddle" or "Marvolo", as a courtesy to young TMR, to see if he had identifiable magic roots. That implies Marvolo didn't go to Hogwarts and if his children had, he would be listed on their records.

Which leaves open the possibility of Morfin having attended another wizarding school (Durmstrang springs to mind), although we still have the first argument to counter this.

  • 1
    For me, the (failed) record-search by Tom Riddle seems conclusive.
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 13, 2015 at 18:19
  • 1
    I’m not convinced by the record search. There’s the book which records the name of all eligible students – whether or not they attend – which would quickly have lead Dumbledore to Marvolo and Riddle’s heritage.
    – alexwlchan
    Commented Sep 13, 2015 at 18:33
  • 2
    Can’t find where at the moment, but Dumbledore at some point says that Riddle likely was the first Parselmouth to visit Hogwarts since Salazar Slytherin himself. Since Dumbledore knows that all (?) of his descendants, at the very least Marvolo, Morfin, and Merope, are Parselmouths, that means none of them attended Hogwarts.
    – chirlu
    Commented Sep 13, 2015 at 22:34
  • 4
    @chirlu That’s not Dumbledore. Tom Riddle the memory says that to Harry in the Chamber of Secrets when mentioning how he and Harry are alike in many ways: “Probably the only two Parselmouths to come to Hogwarts since the great Slytherin himself”. Personally, I highly doubt the veracity of that. There must have been more—it’s beyond belief that no other Parselmouth descendant of Slytherin ever came to Hogwarts for a millennium after Salazar himself left the school. Riddle was making himself look important, as usual, and possibly hadn’t found his mother’s identity yet. Commented Sep 14, 2015 at 1:59
  • 1
    @JanusBahsJacquet: Indeed, if Parselmouths were so few that Slytherin, Riddle, and Harry were the only ones known to have been at Hogwarts, then it's highly unlikely that British wizards would have a word for the phenomenon or that it would be commonly known.
    – EvilSnack
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 3:38

Morfin likely did not attend Hogwarts.

Considering the personality of Marvolo, Morfin’s father, it seems incredibly unlikely that he would have sent his children to Hogwarts. Sending Morfin and Merope to Hogwarts would mean they would be among several wizards with lower blood statuses than their own. From his reaction to Bob Ogden’s arrival, it seems clear he avoids interaction with lower blood statuses.

“Should’ve made your presence known, shouldn’t you?’ said Gaunt aggressively. ‘This is private property. Can’t just walk in here and not expect my son to defend himself.’

‘Defend himself against what, man?’ said Ogden, clambering back to his feet.

‘Busybodies. Intruders. Muggles and filth.”
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 10 (The House of Gaunt)

Marvolo also held the Ministry of Magic in very low esteem, since he did not consider them as having the authority to summon his pure-blooded son to a hearing for his crimes. This further implies that he would not want to send his children to attend Hogwarts, where they as students of the school would be subject to the authority of teachers and staff who were not pure-blooded.

“Summons! Summons? Who do you think you are, summoning my son anywhere?’

‘I’m Head of the Magical Law Enforcement Squad,’ said Ogden.

‘And you think we’re scum, do you?’ screamed Gaunt, advancing on Ogden now, with a dirty yellow-nailed finger pointing at his chest. ‘Scum who’ll come running when the Ministry tells ’em to? Do you know who you’re talking to, you filthy little Mudblood, do you?”
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 10 (The House of Gaunt)

Marvolo did not even open letters he received by owl - which almost certainly would all sent by wizards, as very few Muggles would be capable of sending letters by owl.

“Yes, Mr Gaunt. I’ve already told you. I’m here about Morfin. We sent an owl –’

‘I’ve no use for owls,’ said Gaunt. ‘I don’t open letters.’

‘Then you can hardly complain that you get no warning of visitors,’ said Ogden tartly.”
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 10 (The House of Gaunt)

Since Marvolo did not wish for himself or his children to associate with anyone of a lower blood status than their own or be under their authority, it seems highly unlikely that he would choose to send his children to Hogwarts, where both were sureties. Additionally, it seems likely that Marvolo never attended Hogwarts himself, as Voldemort only found him after researching in old books of wizarding families. Presumably if there were records of him at Hogwarts, Voldemort would have able to find him through those instead.

“All he had to go upon was the single name “Marvolo”, which he knew from those who ran the orphanage had been his mother’s father’s name. Finally, after painstaking research through old books of wizarding families, he discovered the existence of Slytherin’s surviving line. In the summer of his sixteenth year, he left the orphanage to which he returned annually and set off to find his Gaunt relatives.”
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 17 (A Sluggish Memory)

There is precedent for a Gaunt choosing not to send the child in their care to Hogwarts - Gormlaith Gaunt chose not to send her niece Isolt to Hogwarts, which was a place far too egalitarian and full of Mudbloods for her taste.

Gormlaith refused to allow Isolt to take up her place at Hogwarts when the letter arrived, on the basis that Isolt would learn more at home than at a dangerously egalitarian establishment full of Mudbloods. However, Gormlaith herself had attended Hogwarts, and told Isolt a great deal about the school. In the main, she did this to denigrate the place, lamenting that Salazar Slytherin’s plans for the purity of wizardkind had not been fulfilled.
- Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (Wizarding World website)

Like Gormlaith before him, Marvolo wanted to ensure that his children grew up believing that they should only associate with pure-bloods. Sending them to Hogwarts would ensure the opposite - they would be forced to interact with wizards of every blood status daily while there. Therefore, it seems most likely that Marvolo did not send either of his children to Hogwarts.

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