A lot of the fanfiction seems to like to give Hermione her letter in September to coincide with her birthday. That just doesn't seem very logical for the Statute of Secrecy, as you then have 10 out of every 12 10-year-old wizards and witches knowing about magic while finishing the school year (assuming even distribution of birthdays).

It seems to me that this is just asking at least one of them to brag about knowing magic and spill the secret.

Also this would mean that the poor kid born on 30 of August would only have 2 days to adjust to being magical before being shepherded off to a boarding school in the middle of nowhere.

From another point of view, getting such news on your birthday can screw up a lot of celebration plans.

Also, from rereading the memory from Dumbledore where he introduced magic to Tom, there is no mention of snow or even closeness to his birthday from the caretaker.

I believe this view came from the fact that Harry got his letter on his birthday but that piece of fanon seems to forget that letters were being sent up to at least a week or 2 beforehand (leading to the Dursleys hiding on a rock in the sea in the first place).

  • 3
    No mention of snow doesn't mean anything - most parts of the UK don't consistently get snow in the winter. Aug 13, 2012 at 9:57
  • 5
    something else I just remembered the deadline to confirm admittance was July 31 so Hagrid was out of options to get the letter to Harry Aug 13, 2012 at 14:59

2 Answers 2


It's the summer before Hogwarts. They tried to deliver Harry's letter a full week before his birthday, but the Dursleys kept it from him.

(Which you already noted, had I read your question fully before answering. Sorry, but yeah, you're right.)

As to why they delivered it personally on his birthday, here's a bit of speculation. There's no proof of what I'm about to say, but I suspect that when Hagrid or Dumbledore realized he'd have to deliver it personally, they may have chosen his birthday to do it so that they could give him a decent birthday for once.

  • 5
    the personal delivery might have been because of the deadline for the "reply by owl" which coincided with his birthday Aug 13, 2012 at 15:00
  • 3
    I think what ratchet freak says about the deadline is much more likely than singling out Harry's birthday. Aug 13, 2012 at 17:51
  • Also, Hagrid at least didn't know Harry's birthdays hadn't been particularly nice historically. Dumbledore may have known, since he also knew Harry had to stay with the Dursleys for his own protection.
    – RDFozz
    Aug 31, 2018 at 16:45

It seems like the summer before starting Hogwarts.

Harry’s Hogwarts letters start arriving before his birthday - the Dursleys had time to change his bedroom, go to a hotel, and hide in a hut in an attempt to hide from the letters. Harry’s birthday just happened to be the deadline to reply, when Hagrid had to make sure to get Harry by.

*“Dear Mr Potter,

We are pleased to inform you that you have a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment.

Term begins on 1 September. We await your owl by no later than 31 July.”*
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 4 (The Keeper of the Keys)

As soon as Hagrid finds him, he sends off a reply to the owl.

“With his tongue between his teeth he scribbled a note which Harry could read upside-down:   Dear Mr Dumbledore,
Given Harry his letter. Taking him to buy his things tomorrow.
Weather’s horrible. Hope you’re well.

- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 4 (The Keeper of the Keys)

Therefore, from the books, the deadline seems to just coincidentally fall on Harry’s birthday. Additionally, in the Pottermore writing on Angus Buchanan, his letter was expected when the time for him to begin Hogwarts approached. Nothing is mentioned about a letter expected on his birthday.

The deception was innocently begun, but as the time approached for him to leave for Hogwarts, Angus and his siblings became uneasily aware that they could not maintain the pretence much longer. No letter from school arrived for Angus, but his panicking sister Flora forged one, which kept the parents in ignorance for several weeks more.
- Scottish Rugby (Wizarding World website)

Particularly considering what was actually in the books, the primary canon source, it seems most logical that students’ letters arrive at the same time each year for all students due to attend Hogwarts.

However, one writing on Pottermore has it as their eleventh birthday.

According to the writing on Minerva McGonagall published on Pottermore, her letter came on her birthday.

Minerva never forgot how much her mother cried, when the letter of admittance into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry arrived on Minerva’s eleventh birthday; she knew that Isobel was sobbing, not only out of pride, but also out of envy.
Minerva McGonagall (Pottermore)

This doesn’t quite make sense for the reason stated in the question.

  • McGonagall wrote Harry's letter of admittance. Since her own letter soured her birthday, I can see why she'd send Harry's initial letter ahead of his birthday.
    – Gaultheria
    May 13, 2018 at 0:59

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