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While discussing why Fred and George never spot Peter on the Marauders map I realised I've always visualised the Gryffindor dorms as being stacked over several different floors of the tower (one for each year). I can't recall if this is actually mentioned in the books, or if I'm entirely mistaken and it's just different rooms on the same floor. Which is it?

Answers from the books, please!

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As far as I know, this is not explained in detail in the books. I have read all books multiple times and there are only a few certainties:

The common room is on the 7th floor of Hogwarts behind the fat lady's painting

Now, as percy explained in the first book, there are two stairs:

The stairs to the left lead to the boys dormitory, and the stairs to the right lead to the girl dormitory

Nothing proves that there are multiple floors for the dormitories. However, this is a quote from the second book:

"They [Harry and Ron] managed to get to the other side of the common room, still having their backs slapped, and gained the peace of the staircase. They hurried up it, right to the top, and at last reached the door of their old dormitory, which now had a sign on it saying SECOND YEARS. They entered the familiar, circular room, with its five four-posters hung with red velvet and its high, narrow windows. Their trunks had been brought up for them and stood at the ends of their beds."

-Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

And in the fourth book:

Harry, Ron, and Neville climbed up the last, spiral staircase until they reached their own dormitory, which was situated at the top of the tower.

-Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

This suggests that there are multiple dormitories reachable using the spiral stairs on different floors of the tower.

So, I think your imagination and assumptions are right. I hope this somewhat answers your question.

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    I'd say the key point from that second book quote is "familiar, circular room". The dormitories for Gryffindor are in a tower, so the room would need to occupy (almost) the entire floor for it to make sense for it to be circular. – Anthony Grist Jul 28 '17 at 14:49
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    @AnthonyGrist - you realize you just said "make sense" regarding a magical castle that has demonstrated on multiple occasions the ability to defy architectural logic? ;D – NKCampbell Jul 28 '17 at 16:03
  • I've just realised how many floors Gryffindor tower would need. JKR has said in the past that there are about 1000 kids at Hogwarts. If we assume that exactly 25% of students are Gryffindors and that there is a 50/50 gender balance that means 125 boys and 125 girls. Dorms are 5 per room and there is one room per floor. That means 25 levels of dorms. Harry and Ron are on the top level. That's one hell of a trek if you forget your broomstick. – The Dark Lord Jul 28 '17 at 17:51
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    @TheDarkLord Dormitories are per year, not per five people, so there's only seven floors. 125 boys split across 7 floors is 17 or 18 people per room. Given that we know that dwellings in the Potterverse can be larger on the inside than the outside, fitting 18 people into a dormitory located within a tower doesn't seem like much of a stretch. That said... there clearly aren't 17 or 18 Gryffindor boys in Harry's year - JKR is just absolutely terrible at having numbers that make sense. – Anthony Grist Jul 28 '17 at 18:28
  • @NKCampbell Yes, I do. I stand by it. I'm more than happy to accept that it's a magical castle with rooms that potentially move around, staircases that switch positions or lead to different areas, and quite possibly has rooms that are larger on the inside than they appear from the outside. But putting a circular room in a circular tower, and not using the entire floor? That's a bit too far. – Anthony Grist Jul 28 '17 at 18:29
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Rowling draws the towers as only one circle, seen from plan view

Baring any sort of undetectable expansion charms, or who knows what magic, this would imply that indeed the dorms are stacked. This matches with the description of the dorms being on different levels than the common room and circular.

Rowling's hand-drawn map of Hogwarts

As a kid, pre-movie days, I would scour the books and the internet for more info on what Hogwarts looks like. However as @Rubenxfd stated, it's not clearly laid out in the books

Although it's mentioned Hogwarts changes, we don't see this happen much in the books from Harry's perspective. The layout seems fairly consistent. We don't see rooms flying all over the place.

I haven't drawn a [floor plan of Hogwarts], because it would be difficult for the most skilled architect to draw, owing to the fact that the staircases and the rooms keep moving. However, I have a very vivid mental image of what it looks like.

Rowling Scholastic Interview

I seem to remember there being canonical comments on this, but my memory could be wrong.


Edit: added

Also, we know that the girls' dorms are above the common room as well.

I don't have the books around, but when Harry and Ron go up the girls' staircase, it turns into a slide, and they slide back down. This tells us that the girls' dorms are also higher than the common room.

HP wiki, girls's dorm


Other sources, possibly non-canon:

Harry Potter Lexicon - Harry's Dorm Room

In-depth book-based analysis of Hogwarts

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