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In PoA Dumbledore tells Hermione and Harry that Flitwick's office is located on the seventh floor at the thirteenth window from the right of the west tower,but is it the right of the tower itself (looking west) or the right of the observer (looking east)?

“Now, pay attention,” said Dumbledore, speaking very low, and very clearly. “Sirius is locked in Professor Flitwick’s office on the seventh floor. Thirteenth window from the right of the West Tower. "

  • I don't think there's going to be an answer to this (probably why the downvote). It's not something Rowling will have said in an interview. Without the quote at hand it's impossible to tell from context (have you got the quote?) The best I think anyone can do is guess: "I would say the right of the observer as that is how I would describe it to someone", would be mine, but is backed by 0 canon. – Mac Cooper Apr 11 '14 at 18:10
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    As a whole her work is wonderfull but I just can't stand her lack of thoroughness. I'm not asling for a comple Potter familly tree going back to to the 10th century, but a little bit of consitency and fact checking would have been most welcome. Mind you I'm saying this as an adult reader, back then when I was just eleven, I didn't notice nor care about such things. Anyway, thanks for your comment. – user24308 Apr 11 '14 at 18:47
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    I think this is a fairly trivial detail, and “lack of thoroughness” is a bit harsh. The books have many faults of inconsistency (see any of JKR’s maths), but I wouldn’t describe window placement as a significant one. (Although I wasn’t the downvote.) – alexwlchan Apr 11 '14 at 19:39
  • If I may speculate, surely "thirteenth window" in either direction is helpful to Harry and Hermione. They are, of course, looking for the window with an accused mass murderer sitting inside; if they go from their right and don't find him they'll surely just keep going a few more windows until they do. – Mac Cooper Apr 11 '14 at 20:25
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    Perhaps there's only one side of the tower that has windows? Or only one side of the tower that has 13 or more windows? Speaking of thoroughness, is it possible that the west tower has four (or more!) sides and, therefore, there's at least four options (north/south/east/west)? But agreed - almost certainly not going to be answered. Good luck with your map! – jimsug May 11 '14 at 12:01
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My original comment was fairly flippant, but I came across this interview that obliquely addresses this point. It doesn’t really answer your question, but instead suggests that it is unanswerable.

Have you ever made a map or blueprint of the school?

No, because all those staircases keep shifting around and rooms pop out of nowhere, and stuff just moves too much. But I have got a notebook that reminds me what floor everything is on, just to keep track. Of course, if anything moves, I can blame it on magic, not my mistakes.

America Online chat transcript, AOL.com (October 2000)

  • Yes I knew about this inter view just like I knew Hogwarts architecture is such that it coulnd never be build with non magical means. Yet the Marauders map exist though it is a magIcal artefact. Iam merely trying to create the next best thing. – user24308 Jul 25 '14 at 19:37
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I'm sure there's nothing in canon answering your question, but I have a pretty solid guess. Since Harry and Hermione were flying at the window from the outside, and Dumbledore knew this was the case, he would probably have told them what was most convenient, which means that it was thirteen windows to the right as you are looking from the outside at the West tower. That would be the right of the observer.

EDIT:

He looked up at the castle and began counting the windows to the right of the West Tower.

So Harry, looking at the castle, counts to the right. Therefore it is to the right of the observer.

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