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In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Percy argues with Ron when he catches Ron and Harry in a corridor at night, and tells him, "Five points from Gryffindor." However, in Order of the Phoenix, it states that members of the Inquisitorial Squad, "unlike prefects," can take points from the houses.

Was Percy bluffing? Or is this just a small inconsistency in the books? I prefer to think that Percy just wanted to pretend, since he loved the feeling of power and authority, but I don't know of any other explanation.

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    Is it not possible that the rules changed under Umbridge? – Django Reinhardt Aug 7 '13 at 11:39
  • What charm would've had to have been placed on someone to give them the ability to add or subtract points from each house? – HeavenlyHarmony Jun 24 '20 at 20:36
17

J.K. Rowling web site's official FAQ #40

Q: Can prefects take points or not? A prefect took points from Gryffindor in the Chamber of Secrets, and then there was a reference to prefects not being allowed to dock points. What are the rules?

Answer: Ron got it wrong in 'Phoenix', from which we deduce that he hasn't been a very authoritarian prefect thus far; he clearly hasn't been taking points from anybody.

http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Prefect "Behind the scenes" section states:

There was some confusion about the point-taking ability of prefects after the original release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It had previously been stated in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets that prefects could dock points, but in a scene in the first printing of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Ron Weasley, Ernie Macmillan, and Draco Malfoy all either state outright or imply that prefects are not allowed to take points. This was pointed out as a mistake, and subsequent printings had a slightly different version of the dialogue, making it clear that prefects can take points, just not from other prefects.

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    making it clear that prefects can take points, just not from other prefects doesn't that back up what @NominSim said? – Xantec Feb 29 '12 at 15:03
  • @Xantec - no, he said "out of his own house in punishment". That's different from "other houses but not prefects" – DVK-on-Ahch-To Feb 29 '12 at 15:11
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    @DVK, are you sure that it does not mean that they can't take points from other prefects' houses? The rule just seems pointless if it only precludes prefects from taking points from other prefects a la "Oh I can't take points from you? O.K. 10 points from that other random member of your house." – NominSim Feb 29 '12 at 15:23
  • @DVK touché. your edits clear it up a bit too. – Xantec Feb 29 '12 at 15:30
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    @NominSim - while you are correct logically, nobody ever passed a law that JKR should be logical :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Feb 29 '12 at 15:53
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Just speculation, but perhaps because Percy was in Gryffindor he was allowed to take points out of his own house in punishment, much like how when Harry was threatened with expulsion it was McGonagall that held that decision, and not Snape. I'd imagine the school put this in place so that prefects didn't abuse their power, though I can't remember this being explicitly stated in canon.

Stated in the wiki page: http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Prefect

Prefects are allowed to take House points away from other students in their own house as a penalty for rule-breaking, but they are not allowed to take points from other prefects or students in other houses.

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  • Not quite. See my answer. It was a JKR error, first blamed on Ron by her and since corrected in subsequent printings. They can dock points from other houses, but NOT other prefects – DVK-on-Ahch-To Feb 29 '12 at 15:12
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    @DVK, reading further on the website you sourced, "Prefects are allowed to take House points away from other students in their own house as a penalty for rule-breaking, but they are not allowed to take points from other prefects or students in other houses." – NominSim Feb 29 '12 at 15:39
  • @NominSim feel free to edit your answer and improve it with additional information. – Xantec Feb 29 '12 at 15:43
  • @NominSim - what you quoted seems to be outdated information. Rememberm it's a Wiki and can contain dated info. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Feb 29 '12 at 15:52
  • @DVK, not to be argumentative, as I hate quoting Wiki in general, but what you quoted was added before my quote. Suffice it to say I don't think that wiki page is very reliable. – NominSim Feb 29 '12 at 16:07
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Probably the rule was changed. Or maybe prefects could only take points from their own house.

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    Do you have any sources to back up that the rule was changed? – Monty129 Aug 27 '14 at 9:56

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