18

Flying lessons would be starting on Thursday — and Gryffindor and Slytherin would be learning together.

In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter Nine - The Midnight Duel Harry's first -

At three-thirty that afternoon, Harry, Ron, and the other Gryffindors hurried down the front steps onto the grounds for their first flying lesson.

(and only) flying lesson is described. During this single lesson Harry discovers that he has a tremendous natural ability to fly on a broomstick and is made Seeker of the Gryffindor Quidditch team.

Flying lessons are never mentioned again in the first book, and as far as I recall, not a single other time in the entire seven books. Harry clearly didn't require them but there were a lot of other students who would have benefited from them, including Hermione.

What amount of tutoring is actually available for those wishing to learn to fly at Hogwarts? Are flying lessons mandatory for first years? Do they continue in subsequent years as well?

  • 3
    HP wikia says that Harry was likely excused flying lessons since he was practicing with the quidditch team. Flying was compulsory for first years, as evidenced by the fact that the school employed a full time flying tutor – Valorum May 21 '14 at 18:33
  • Do you happen to know if it's mandatory? And if such, is it graded, and to what extent is that taken into consideration to the student's school life? – Oak May 21 '14 at 19:09
  • @Richard - HPWikia says "could be", not "likely"... Uncharacteristically for them – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 21 '14 at 20:24
  • @Oak - Hermione hates flying and isn't good at it. Clearly no consideration (aside from jock stuff), or she would excel. – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 21 '14 at 20:25
  • True, but still @DVK, there's no real picture of a young wizard's early schooling life – Oak May 21 '14 at 20:32
11

There doesn't seem to be any further explanation of their early flying education of witches and wizards but I think we can make some reasonable assumptions that it's a weekly event.

  • Hogwarts requires students to attend flying lessons. Philosopher's Stone describes Harry's lesson as his "first flying lesson" (suggesting the first of many).

  • The (admittedly non-canon) Harry Potter video game describes them as "Broom Flight Classes" and lists them in the first year syllabus.
    enter image description here

  • Hogwarts has a full time "Flying Instructor".

  • Notably, flying doesn't appear to be one of the subjects listed on the OWLS or NEWT exams suggesting that it's only taught to first years and focused primarily on safety, a bit like a Cycling Proficiency class.

  • As to why they aren't mentioned again, the first book focuses primarily on the exploits of Harry Potter. After his first lesson, it's reasonable to assume that because Harry was practising with the Quidditch team he would have been excused attending flying lessons.

  • 3
    I agree with the link to Muggle classes. I don't know about you but I had swimming classes as a kid. The aim of these classes is not to produce champion swimmers but to give children a basic skill so that they don't drown in later life. I imagine the Flying Class worked similarly - teach the kids how to handle a broom without falling off and the really keen beans can try and get onto a Quidditch team. – The Dark Lord Apr 20 '16 at 10:56
  • 1
    Great answer (+1 from me). Only minor quibble I have is I think it's largely unnecessary to assume Harry was excused lessons - that's something I would expect might be remarked upon in the final text. Any further flying lessons not making it into the final text, however, doesn't really surprise me. It's only 217 pages long (well, the last page is 223 but it starts on page 7) and classes don't begin until page 98, with the whole exciting finale beginning less than 100 pages later. So we don't see inside many lessons at all in book 1, if nothing happened in them, they don't make the cut – Au101 Oct 1 '18 at 0:54

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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