To be clear, I am referring to the books ONLY and not the movies (as I don't like them).

In the Deathly Hallows when Harry and the others break into Gringotts to steal the horecrux from Bellatrix's vault, their cart passes through a waterfall which "washes off" all magical enchantments. As Griphook says-

It washes away all enchantment, all magical concealment! They know there are imposers in Gringotts, they have set off defenses against us!

If this enchantment was so useful, why wasn't something like this cast around Hogwarts? Because something like this would surely be useful during Voldemort's reign of terror and also when he returned.

Fake Mad-eye (Crouch Jr) got into Hogwarts in a disguise. Quirrell got in too.

Wouldn't so many things be avoided if something like this was put up?

  • 5
    Presumably it needs an actual waterfall, something that could not simply be put around Hogwarts. Dec 2, 2017 at 13:59
  • 4
    I assumed that, due to poor trust between goblins and magical humans, the goblins aren’t sharing this particular trick.
    – Adamant
    Dec 2, 2017 at 23:12

3 Answers 3


They do have a lot of protection around Hogwarts, especially in Harry's sixth year:

What protection does Hogwarts have at the school entrance?

  • In the 1st and 2nd year, there was no particular need for massive protective enchantments around the school. Voldemort hadn't returned, and the only real dangers were already inside Hogwarts (Quirrell and Riddle's diary - probably the waterfall wouldn't have had much effect against either of these, since the diary is more than just a magically enchanted object).

  • In the 3rd year, the main (apparent) danger was Sirius Black, but again this was a threat against which the waterfall wouldn't have been much use. He could do a lot of damage without using magic at all, as when he got into the Gryffindor dormitory with a knife (not even a wand). The better measure against him would be Dementors, which were used a lot in that year.

  • In the 4th year, the waterfall actually would have been useful to reveal Barty Crouch Jr. ... but nobody knew there was an impostor in the school. Also, with the Triwizard Tournament going on, it might have been diplomatically unwise to install extra security measures that year.

  • In the 5th year, the thorny situation with the Ministry must have made extra security impossible. If they'd installed Gringotts-style security around Hogwarts at that point, Fudge would have taken it as proof that Dumbledore was working against him, and made his move sooner.

  • In the 6th year, they did install a lot of extra security:

    But when he put out a hand to push open the gates, he found them chained shut.

    “Alohomora!” he said confidently, pointing his wand at the padlock, but nothing happened.

    “That won’t work on these,” said Tonks. “Dumbledore bewitched them himself.”

    “I could climb a wall,” he suggested.

    “No, you couldn’t,” said Tonks flatly. “Anti-intruder jinxes on all of them. Security’s been tightened a hundredfold this summer.”

    They might well have considered a Gringotts-style waterfall, but decided on these other security measures instead. As this answer points out, different methods for different purposes: this is a school, not a bank.

  • In the 7th year, Hogwarts was essentially run by Death Eaters, so obviously they wouldn't have put up an enchantment to defend themselves against Voldemort. Instead, they did quite the opposite and put up an enchantment which went off when Harry Potter Apparated in!

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    Nitpicking but the charm they set for Harry was for Hogsmeade, not Hogwarts. Dec 5, 2017 at 10:16

There are different motives behind the enhancements.

Short example: You manage a university. You do have a guard at the entrance to write down who enters and who exits the building. Would you install steel, 20" doors, with magnetic locks and biometric authentication just to make sure that no... book would get stolen?

The reason of all the protective spells around Hogwarts was to keep people from entering the castle and grounds as also as to prevent students from leaving the school without permission. Although illegal, no one would ever thought to shield the castle with "anti-Imperiatus" spells etc.

The guys at Gringotts, on the other hand, designed their defenses primary for avoiding theft and impersonation -since the authorization that was taken into account was ridiculously only to show up and show your wand.

Although the waterfall was put in place also for the shake of allegory (both in and out of universe), I cannot imagine that there are no similar and distinct defenses to the anti-Apparition charms for the Imperio or for the Polyjuice Potion. But it's like putting an electroshock kit in every door and window of your house that recognizes only you and your family! Yes, it would catch potential intruders, but who installs these kinds of things in every day life?


It seems to me that Hogwarts simply doesn't NEED it. They have more effective barriers in place than that.

The idea at Hogwarts is to keep people out. Gringotts wanted to make sure that imposters couldn't get to the vaults. If the people in question weren't imposters under the waterfall, they would probably keep going to the vault.

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