In OOTP, we see that the Room can give books when needed:

‘And just look at these books!’ said Hermione excitedly, running a finger along the spines of the large leather-bound tomes. ‘A Compendium of Common Curses and their Counter-Actions … The Dark Arts Outsmarted … Self-Defensive Spellwork … wow …’ She looked around at Harry, her face glowing, and he saw that the presence of hundreds of books had finally convinced Hermione that what they were doing was right.

So why did Harry (or anyone else who was there, really) shop for books next year? Just go into the Room wanting the books you need and you'll get them.

  • 1
    related, not quite dupe (I think): scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/32837/…
    – alexwlchan
    Sep 7, 2014 at 4:27
  • You mean besides the fact that they didn't find out about it until Year 5? And couldn't exactly access it until after they had gotten to school?
    – Zibbobz
    Sep 9, 2014 at 15:23
  • @Zibbobz Well, the classes weren't on the first day, and the room is right next to the Gryffindor dorm.
    – ike
    Sep 9, 2014 at 15:57
  • @Ike I thought the room constantly moved places.
    – Zibbobz
    Sep 9, 2014 at 15:59
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    @Zibbobz harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Room_of_Requirement#Location "The room is located on the seventh floor in the left corridor of the Hogwarts castle and has a hidden entrance opposite the tapestry depicting the attempt of Barnabas the Barmy to teach trolls ballet. The way to open the room is to walk past it three times thinking about what you need, and the door will appear."
    – ike
    Sep 9, 2014 at 16:06

2 Answers 2


That’s not how the Room of Requirement works. As Dobby describes it to Harry, you need to have “real need” of it to be able to access it:

“Because it is a room that a person can only enter,” said Dobby seriously, “when they have real need of it. Sometimes it is there, and sometimes it is not, but when it appears, it is always equipped for the seeker’s needs.”

Order of the Phoenix, chapter 18 (Dumbledore’s Army)

Since Harry et al. can get all their school books from Flourish & Blotts or the school library, it would be hard to argue that they genuinely “need” these books from the Room. I don’t think it would be forthcoming to such a trivial request.

By contrast, the DADA books were probably inaccessible to Harry et al. We know that Umbridge read all student post (so a mail order from F&B was out-of-the-question), they couldn’t get to London to buy them in person, and there’s no way Umbridge would approve them for class or allow them in the library. (Okay, we don’t see her banning library books, but would it surprise you?)

Edit: I would add that the Room was almost certainly installed by one of the Founders, who was a teacher and thus understood children. I’d be a little surprised if they didn’t spot and close this loophole.

  • I felt that the "real need" requirement is only if the room appears unrequested. We never find the Room refusing to appear when requested if there is no need.
    – ike
    Sep 7, 2014 at 4:34
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    @ike The negatives in that second sentence hurt my brain. Never find it not appearing if there is no need? Say what? Sep 7, 2014 at 19:21
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    @MeatTrademark The answer says that the Room only works if there is a "real need". I observe that this is only when the Room appears by itself. However, when it is asked for, it always appears, regardless of need. There are no counter-examples AFAIK. Better?
    – ike
    Sep 9, 2014 at 3:56
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    @ike If what one has true need of is the room of requirements, then it appears because of that True Need - Such as when they need to find something from the room of requirements. Also, Dumbledore mentions that he spent years looking for the room of infinite lavatories and never found it, so clearly you need a bit more than just wanting to find it.
    – Zibbobz
    Sep 9, 2014 at 15:27
  • @Zibbobz If someone already had true need, then they wouldn't have to request it; it would already be there before they walked back and forth in front of the door. So it only is requested when there is no real need. You don't need a real need unless it appears somewhere else in the castle. If you go to the seventh floor, and request it, it will appear regardless of degree of need.
    – ike
    Sep 9, 2014 at 16:05

There are several potential answers to this. We know that they did not do this. We do not know why. Reasons that make sense to me include:

1) They just never thought of it. There are a number of canon uses of magic that could have been applied to very great effect, where the only reason they did not do so was that it did not occur to them. Calling Dobby to teleport them is just one of many.

2) It is entirely possible that items created by the room can not be taken from it, or that even if they were taken, they would eventually fade away. Canon shows that conjured food cannot sustain life. How long something conjured continues to exist, and what other properties conjured items hold, is not revealed.

3) As mentioned above, the 'need' requirement might not be met if they're thinking about using it just to avoid spending some money. The Weasley's would most likely be able to do it, but it seems that one of the points of going over getting the books each year was because it provided a simple method of putting out clues about what would happen later in that book, and to reinforce the comments about the Weasley's being poor.

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