In HP and the Chamber of Secrets, when Ginny Weasley was taken into the Chamber of Secrets how did Minerva McGonagall and the other teachers know it was her that had been taken?

If anyone had seen it happening, wouldn't they have been attacked by the monster as well?

  • Are you asking how they knew she was in the chamber of secrets? Jun 21, 2014 at 13:39
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    I think this was because of the final message she wrote in blood.... I think. Not sure though. Jun 21, 2014 at 13:40
  • I'm not sure if the message said explicitly who had been taken, though. Pretty sure it's never clarified in the books. It's possible it was a process of elimination; Ginny wasn't where she was supposed to be at that time, hadn't returned to the Gryffindor common room, etc. so they assumed she must have been the student that was taken. I don't know if the timeline works for that, though. Jun 21, 2014 at 13:54
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    I would suggest it's in the message. Although we don't see the message, Riddle says: "So I made Ginny write her own farewell on the wall and come down here to wait."
    – Mac Cooper
    Jun 21, 2014 at 14:02

3 Answers 3


If you read the chapter carefully, the answer is in plain sight:

But the bell to signal break never came. Instead, echoing through the corridors came Professor McGonagall’s voice, magically magnified.

All students to return to their house dormitories at once. All teachers return to the staff room. Immediately, please.’


‘Right,’ said Professor McGonagall, whose nostrils were flared, ‘that’s got him out from under our feet. The Heads of Houses should go and inform their students what has happened. Tell them the Hogwarts Express will take them home first thing tomorrow. Will the rest of you please make sure no students have been left outside their dormitories.’

The clear implication is that the students are taken straight from their lessons and locked into their dormitories. Since Ginny must have either been missing from her lesson (or at the very least failed to return to her assigned dorm room), from that point onwards it should be very easy to determine whose "skeleton will lie in the Chamber for ever" by the simple expedient of working out which female student is missing.

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    If they do a headcount of students, then wouldn’t she have remarked that Harry and Ron were also missing from their dormitory?
    – alexwlchan
    Jun 21, 2014 at 14:46
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    @alexwlchan - They know a girl is missing ("her skeleton") so they're only counting missing girls. McGonagall knew that Harry and Ron were in the infirmary so their being missing wouldn't have raised serious eyebrows...
    – Valorum
    Jun 21, 2014 at 14:50
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    That second quote you've posted comes after she's already said that it was Ginny Weasley, though. It's possible that they were able to do a very quick check to figure out Ginny was missing, but it seems unlikely. Jun 21, 2014 at 15:45
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    @b_jonas - She'd already given them permission to go to the infirmary to see Hermione.
    – Valorum
    Jun 21, 2014 at 17:15
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    @bp_phoenix - As I said, there's clearly been some (unseen by us) delay while they did a headcount
    – Valorum
    May 22, 2015 at 11:45

When Harry and Ron are hiding in the teachers' wardrobe, this is what they hear:

"The Heir of Slytherin," said Professor McGonagall, who was very white, "left another message. Right underneath the first one.'Her skeleton will lie in the chamber forever.'"

Professor Flitwick burst into tears.

"Who is it?" said Madam Hooch, who had sunk, weak-kneed, into a chair.
"Which student?"

"Ginny Weasley," said Professor McGonagall.

It's not clear what exactly was the message. Professor McGonagall reports that it said 'Her skeleton will lie in the Chamber forever'. Whether the real full message specified which particular person or not is still not clear. However, one of two things can be inferred:

  1. The message does not say which student it was, but the teachers do a role call in all the Houses and find out who is missing.

  2. Since Ginny was also bait to lure Harry towards the Chamber by the memory Tom Riddle, the full message itself said that it was Ginny (so that the message would reach Harry quickly and clearly) (although, as already mentioned, this is just speculation).

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    I think you might be mistaken. McGonagall seems to be relaying the message verbatim...
    – Valorum
    Jun 21, 2014 at 14:15

I think Minerva has seen Ginny going inside the Chamber of Secrets, or it may be Ginny who was absent in her classes. Of course, at that time all were worried about the opening of Chamber Of Secrets, so they thought he took Ginny.

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