In the book Harry Potter and the The Chamber of Secrets, Percy (who is a prefect) is able to deduct house points from Gryffindor when Ron accuses with him about being more bothered about his chances of becoming a Head boy.

In a subsequent book, Harry Potter and The Order of Phoenix, in the context of the inquisitorial squad, it is mentioned that prefects cannot dock points from houses.

This seems to be contradictory to Percy's actions in second book. What accounts for this lack of consistency?

  • 1
    Definitely a duplicate. There is a clear contradiction of facts, but Rowling has admitted to this, and apparently Ron was simply incorrect in Chamber of Secrets, and reluctant to levy penalties in Order of the Phoenix.
    – Zibbobz
    Nov 12, 2014 at 18:49
  • Phantom42 : Agree with you. And the accepted answer in the link is satisfactory. Nov 12, 2014 at 18:53
  • Was just about to post that this question is a dupe.
    – Trish Ling
    Nov 12, 2014 at 18:55

2 Answers 2


From the Harry Potter Wiki:

Teachers, as well as librarians have the power to award or deduct points from students. Prefects, the Head Boy, and the Head Girl can deduct points as well, but not from other Prefects. During the 1995–1996 school year however, members of the newly-formed Inquisitorial Squad were permitted to do so.


It is stated that prefects are allowed to dock points from students in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. However, this idea is diminished in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix when it is stated that prefects are in fact not allowed to do so. In later editions, however, it seems that, with the exception of the Inquisitorial Squad, prefects can dock points only from their own house.

. .

Also, from The Harry Potter Lexicon:

Prefects are allowed to take points for infractions, but not from fellow Prefects.
NOTE: In the original version of OP, this was very confusing. It seemed from the text that Prefects were NOT allowed to take points, although Percy had clearly done so in book two. Rowling partially answered the question on her website, but it wasn't until the revision to the text (summer 2004) that the matter was resolved. Here are the original incorrect version and the updated, corrected version of the passage:

Old version:

  • 'Afraid I'm going to have to dock a few points from Gryffindor and Hufflepuff,' he drawled.
    'It's only teachers who can dock points from houses, Malfoy,' said Ernie at once.
    'Yeah, we're prefects, too, remember?' snarled Ron.

    'I know prefects can't dock points , Weasel King,' sneered Malfoy. Crabbe and Goyle sniggered. 'But members of the Inquisitorial Squad -'

New version:

  • 'Afraid I'm going to have to dock a few points from Gryffindor and Hufflepuff,' he drawled.
    'You can't take points from fellow prefects, Malfoy,' said Ernie at once.
    'I know prefects can't dock points from each other,'
    sneered Malfoy. Crabbe and Goyle sniggered. 'But members of the Inquisitorial Squad -'
  • Beat me to it! :-)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Nov 12, 2014 at 18:50

Prefects were allowed to dock points under Umbridge's rule. I believe members of the Inquisitorial Squad may have also been able to take points. In Order of the Phoenix, we see Draco take points from Harry, Ernie Macmillan (also a prefect), Ron (also a prefect), and Hermione (also a prefect). It might be that only Inquisitorial Squad members could take points. That would explain the discrepancy between Chamber of Secrets and Order of the Phoenix.

ETA: Yes, it was the Inquisitorial Squad that could take points in Order of the Phoenix

‘The Inquisitorial Squad, Granger,’ said Malfoy, pointing towards a tiny silver ‘I’ on his robes just beneath his prefect’s badge. ‘A select group of students who are supportive of the Ministry of Magic, hand-picked by Professor Umbridge. Anyway, members of the Inquisitorial Squad do have the power to dock points ... so, Granger, I’ll have five from you for being rude about our new Headmistress. Macmillan, five for contradicting me. Five because I don’t like you, Potter. Weasley, your shirt’s untucked, so I’ll have another five for that. Oh yeah, I forgot, you’re a Mudblood, Granger, so ten off for that.’

Order of the Phoenix - page 551 - Bloomsbury - chapter twenty-eight Snape's Worst Memory

  • Beg to differ, but there is no shred of text in the book that suggests, as you say, that only slytherin prefects are allowed to dock points! Nov 12, 2014 at 18:21
  • @PriyankaPatil - See my edit. Nov 12, 2014 at 18:22
  • Yes. But this only justifies my question and does not answer it.As for the ETA , I perfectly know that inquisitorial squad is able to dock points, but are prefects entitled as well?.If yes, then the three prefects(hermione, ,ron, ernie would have retaliated by docking points as well, if no, then there it is, the contradiction! Nov 12, 2014 at 18:33
  • 1
    Prefects can dock points, but not from each other (at least in the edition I've got). Just before the bit you quote, Ernie says to Malfoy, "You can't dock points from another prefect" (hence the "Macmillan, five for contradicting me").
    – Rand al'Thor
    Nov 12, 2014 at 18:52

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