Who would have signed Tom Riddle's permission slip to go to Hogsmeade?

That asked, are there instances in canon showing Tom Riddle in Hogsmeade, or going to Hogsmeade?

As an orphan with no parents or available relatives (I realize Marvolo and Morfin Gaunt were alive during Tom Riddle's Hogwarts days. Or at least most of Riddle's days! But they weren't parents), would the Ministry have given him permission to go to Hogsmeade, or would Headmaster Dippet?

Does canon refer to this particular issue?

  • 3
    imo we can leave both open, as the first one was "can he go to hogsmeade "and this one is "specificly who would hav signed the slip", the answer on the first question attempts to address that but seems to fail imo.
    – Himarm
    Dec 18, 2015 at 15:39
  • 1
    @Himarm I disagree; the title notwithstanding, the question I linked to almost exclusively deals with the issue of how Riddle would have gotten permission, which is the same question as here Dec 18, 2015 at 15:41

5 Answers 5


The canon says that nobody can grant special dispensations.

Harry asked for one, and was refused - by Minister of Magic.

He held out his hand and Harry, shaking it, had a sudden idea.
'Er – Minister? Can I ask you something?'
'Certainly' smiled Fudge.
'Well, third years at Hogwarts are allowed to visit Hogsmeade, but my aunt and uncle didn't sign the permission form. D'you think you could?'
Fudge was looking uncomfortable.
'Ah,' he said. 'No. No, I'm very sorry, Harry, but as I'm not your parent or guardian –'
'But you're the Minister for Magic,' said Harry eagerly. 'If you gave me permission –'
'No, I'm sorry, Harry, but rules are rules,' said Fudge flatly. 'Perhaps you'll be able to visit Hogsmeade next year. In fact, I think it best if you don't & yes & well, I'll be off. Enjoy your stay, Harry.'
(Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 3, "The Knight Bus")

As such, Riddle would have had to have gotten permission from his legal guardian - and in his case, since he still had to live in the Orphanage while in school - it would have been Mrs Cole.

In the summer of his sixteenth year, he left the orphanage to which he returned annually and set off to find his Gaunt relatives. (Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 17, "A Sluggish Memory")

Whether he would have been permitted to ask Mrs. Cole or not, her being a Muggle, is a separate question, presumably the permission slip can be worded to avoid breaching Statute of Secrecy.

  • 2
    Given that Riddle was already causing trouble with magic even before he left for Hogwarts I find it easy to imagine that he can quickly get Mrs. Cole's permission after he's been there - whether using Dumbledore's technique, or one of his own. He would have to deal with the Trace ... or maybe not ... he's pretty crafty. (Plus, unfortunately: Fudge saying "rules are rules" doesn't convince me. We know pretty well from the canon that rules sometimes aren't rules.)
    – davidbak
    Dec 18, 2015 at 17:51
  • 5
    to be fair, Fudge was motivated by sirius black. Fudge just bent laws to save harry, and then refused to bend a school rule because it was detrimental to Harry.
    – Himarm
    Dec 18, 2015 at 17:57
  • 5
    Oh geez, not another Fudge apologist! :) Dec 18, 2015 at 17:58
  • Not an apologist, but the point is there - it is possible no one was willing to make an exception for him because of who he was, and the situation with Black. On the other hand, since they weren't telling him about it, the rules-are-rules stance makes more sense than anything else they could have said. After all, Dumbledore accepts Black's signature later, which means he had a lot more leeway than he admitted to, in deciding what signature counted. And if Fudge can waive the breaking of both the statute of secrecy and underage magic laws, he could probably give permission for field trips.
    – Megha
    Dec 19, 2015 at 13:46
  • @Megha - The reason Dumbledore accepts Black's signature later is because Black is Harry's legal guardian, according to Potter's will. And I was mostly sarcastic about "apologist" thing :) Dec 19, 2015 at 15:14

Aside from the obvious answer of his legal guardian. It is possible that this rule change is new and children did not need permission or the school could grant it.

Harry being born on 1980 would put him attending around 1995 as opposed to Riddle born in 1926 and attending in ~1940. This was in the start of the second world war so I reckon a teenager could do whatever they pleased.


  • 3
    I think you've got a good point there. Hogmead is obviously subject to the same increasing nannyism that affects muggle schools. Look how they emasculated the Triwizard Cup!
    – davidbak
    Dec 18, 2015 at 18:00
  • 7
    This is what I was going to say, too: it's likely that when Voldemort was in school, it had not yet occurred to anyone that students might need parental permission for something as ordinary as going into town. Even 10 years later, in 1950s Europe, first graders were routinely expected to take public transportation to get to/from school, and there was no such thing as a school crosswalk or a crossing guard.
    – Martha
    Dec 18, 2015 at 18:00
  • 3
    I think It's a good possibility. If you could edit out the link to the wikia, that would be great. Dec 18, 2015 at 21:37

Canon indicates that only parents and legal guardians may sign permission slips to Hogsmeade. Riddle's legal guardian was the orphanage, and Mrs. Cole or her successor would have been the signatory agent for the orphanage. Since there was nothing inherently magical about leaving school grounds and walking to Hogsmeade town, there would have been no Statute of Secrecy complication about this. It was simply a permission slip to leave the protected school grounds and visit the local town on specified days.

  • 3
    Doesn't this answer basically repeat what another answer already said? Dec 18, 2015 at 17:27
  • It partly agrees with what you? said but you indicated that there could be a potential problem with the Secrecy Act, perhaps thinking that Hogsmeade was more like Diagon Alley? . I thought I was correcting that part. Maybe I put this in the wrong place?
    – Psychee22
    Dec 18, 2015 at 18:32
  • then you should phrase it this way: "blah blah I agree with previous answer.... blah blah in previous answer is wrong, I thing xyz" Dec 18, 2015 at 18:34
  • 1
    Yeah, it's not your fault, you're a new member, but the tagline for Stackexchange should really be: not a discussion forum. Nor a message board. We generally expect answers to stand on their own and contribute something original - ideally with quotes, author interviews, and other canonical evidence. Saying something very similar to somebody else is usually not acceptable unless it really is an interesting take or provides some really nice quotes and references or in some way is a genuine improvement. Otherwise, generally, such comments should go ... in the comments :)
    – Au101
    Dec 18, 2015 at 18:35
  • OK, I'm learning. Could have sworn I read somewhere here that we were not allowed to comment on another's post and didn't even see the grey comment link. Sorry about that!
    – Psychee22
    Dec 18, 2015 at 18:50

You are assuming two students, attending decades apart would have to abide by the same rules.

It you talk to a chichéd "old person" long enough they no doubt tell you about the time their friends and they walked to <insert major city> right down the middle of the road and they never got run over or stabbed or any of that other nastiness you read in the newspaper. They'll explain this away purposefully: times were different back then.

If yesteryear's children acted out, they were beaten, sent down the mines, sent to borstal, enlisted, etc. Indeed the attitudes of Filch and Moody would suggest that corporal punishment (hanging from their wrists, transfiguration) was acceptable... at least at some point in the past.

That is all to say boundary rules were less common in Riddle's era. Children had more ultimate responsibility for their own whereabouts, behaviour and the ramifications of getting either wrong.

Indeed the very notion of a "parental consent form" or "permission slip" is of a much more recent time. It wasn't until 1974 that many of these things were legislated (or suggested) by UK muggle law... Around the time when aforementioned "old people" might be telling you that 'elf 'n' safey [had] gone maaad.

Moreover there's certainly nothing canon to uphold you base assumption. Nothing suggests this permission slip rule was an old or immutable law. Given that many of the protections the students had at Hogwarts were of Dumbledore's implementation, and that he wasn't even the headmaster when Riddle was attending, it seems most likely that this rule may have been implemented by him as it came into fashion in the muggle world.

But if the rule had existed, I do not think Mrs Cole would have been his guardian, at least not for this. I went to a school that had long-term boarders —the sort who only went home once or twice a year— and they were essentially signed over to their house -masters and -mistresses. They were the guardians. They would be the people who make guardian and medical decisions in place of the actual parents.

It might sound weird but it actually makes a lot of sense. If you have a child in your school with parents who could very well be in another country, you need the executive power to make decisions like this.

But anyway, following this logic Tom Riddle would have needed the signature of Horace Slughorn (or whomever the Head of Slytherin was in Riddle's time).


I have no evidence for this, but is it not possible that Tom Riddle would be able to do the exact same thing Harry did and use the secret passage? I would assume the secret passage isn't exactly a new development.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.