In the Harry Potter universe, can tapestries move, in the same way that photos and paintings can?

I know there are some other questions here already about what level of interactivity there is between photos vs paintings (e.g. talking), but can tapestries — as yet another type of image — move at all? Does this different between the books and the films?

It's been awhile since I've read the books, but rewatching the Order of the Phoenix the other day, I noticed that the Black family tree was completely static:

Harry Potter examining the Black family tree in 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix'

hp-lexicon has citations from this part of the book, but nothing mentions that the tapestry is moving either, like a photo or painting would.

In the film version of the Half-Blood Prince, when Harry and Ginny are going to the Room of Requirement, there's also a shot of a tapestry in one of the corridors, which is also not moving:

Ginny offering her hand to Harry; static, non-moving tapestry in the background

I don't have the books to hand, but I know there's meant to be a Troll Tapestry near the Room of Requirement in the books, but I can't remember if it moves or not. Harry Potter Wikia mentions it does:

The Troll Tapestry was an enormous moving tapestry depicting Barnabas the Barmy's foolish attempt to train a group of eight trolls for the ballet hung on the seventh floor corridor of Hogwarts Castle, opposite the entrance to the Room of Requirement.

[emphasis mine]

And it does cross-reference that to "Chapter 24 (Sectumsempra), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince", but doesn't provide any direct quote.

So are there are canonical references on whether tapestries can move, and does this change from book universe to film universe?

  • 2
    Didn't you just answer yourself? Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 10:10
  • 1
    @Gallifreian Heh, maybe so. I guess what I was asking two parts — are there canonical references that tapestries can move at all? (from what I'm aware of the wikia is unreliable; haven't gone through most of the pottermore material). 'Film v Book'-wise, am I overlooking anything? Conclusion I have doesn't feel definitive, but maybe it's a case that we can only conjecture from the source material? Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 10:15
  • 3
    I believe it's canon that you need a potion to make photos move, so maybe some do and some don't. (Though clearly most do). Also the Goblet of Fire film features a moving stained glass image, and isn't there also one in Fantastic Beasts? Just to complicate things!
    – ThruGog
    Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 11:03
  • 1
    @ThruGog I assumed the potion was the solution you developed the film in. Wizards use a different one to muggles. Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 11:20
  • 1
    @Bellerophon - Yes I suppose so! Doubt they get a mundane one just for fun. Maybe Arthur Weasley does...
    – ThruGog
    Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 11:59

1 Answer 1



There's canon confirmation from the books that tapestries can move. The tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy which was referenced in the question is a moving tapestry.

They hurried along the corridor to the place Dobby had described to Harry, a stretch of blank wall opposite an enormous tapestry depicting Barnabas the Barmy's foolish attempt to train trolls for the ballet.
"OK," said Harry quietly, while a moth-eaten troll paused in his relentless clubbing of the would-be ballet teacher to watch them.
(Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 18, Dumbledore's Army).

If the troll can pause then it implies that he is usually moving (in this case, clubbing). Also, the fact that he stops in order to watch the trio demonstrates that he was capable of independent decision-making.

The Black tapestry appears to be static but it's possible that it updates itself whenever a new Black baby is born.

The Half-Blood Prince film does indeed include a non-moving tapestry. So the books differ from the films in this regard.

Your Answer

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

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