Anyone who’s read Hogwarts: A History — or Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban — knows that wizards and witches can’t apparate or disapparate onto Hogwarts grounds.
[Warning: The following contains minor spoilers for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.]
Apparition is the ability to teleport in the Harry Potter universe. Despite its usefulness, almost every book that Hogwarts explains that wizards are prohibited from trying to apparate onto the school’s grounds.
That’s why so many Potterheads are left scratching their head in confusion because of a scene in the first trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, whichfeatures numerous wizards doing just that. The group is presumably being led into Hogwarts by then-Minister of Magic Hector Fawley. Fawley was in power between 1925 and 1939, and best known for his term coinciding with evil wizard Gellert Grindelwald’s disturbing “For the Greater Good” revolution. The moment is captured in the GIF below.
The trailer doesn’t explain the wizards’ ability to apparate onto Hogwarts grounds, but it does hint at why Hogwarts is guarded off in the first place, much like the Azkaban and Nurmengard prisons. We know that, to some extent, these blockades exist to prevent people from simply appearing into those places and for safety reasons. That could very well be the case for Hogwarts too.
Still, we’ve never gotten a clear answer. The only rules that we know about Hogwarts are from Harry Potter’s time there during the ’90s. Hogwarts: A History, written by Bathilda Bagshot, was published in 1991. That means there’s a gap of 64 unaccounted years for the rules surrounding apparition to have gone into effect.
We don’t even hear about the rules until 1994. The first time we learn about the apparition rules is in The Prisoner of Azkaban. Hermione tells Ron in the book’s ninth chapter that special spells were put into place specifically to stop wizards and witches from entering the school unnoticed.
“Because the castle’s protected by more than walls, you know,” said Hermione. “There are all sorts of enchantments on it, to stop people entering by stealth. You can’t just apparate in here.”
There’s a very good chance that The Crimes of Grindelwald will provide insight into those new rules — perhaps something happens at Hogwarts during Grindelwald’s rise to power that forces the Ministry and Dumbledore to take further action in protecting Britain’s top wizarding school.
Hogwarts — and subsequently Dumbledore — has been the target of many evil wizards, most notably his childhood friend and former accomplice, Grindelwald, and his talented student, Tom Riddle (a.k.a. the future Lord Voldemort).
Grindelwald and Dumbledore’s relationship, which will factor somewhat in The Crimes of Grindelwald, centered on them devising a way to track down the Deathly Hallows and lead a wizarding revolutions. The idea was to demolish the International Statute of Secrecy and, in turn, create a new order to be led by powerful, but wise wizards and witches. But hen the two wizards got into a fight that ended with the death of Dumbledore’s sister, they went their separate ways.
Dumbledore later became the great wizard that Harry Potter came to know, while Grindelwald became consumed by a hatred for muggles. Eventually, their competing ideals found them hunting each other down.
It was a tumultuous time. Protecting himself, his school and his students was likely his top priority. But until Grindelwald’s rise to power in 1927, it’s possible Dumbledore and the ministry didn’t think prohibiting apparition was necessary. Grindelwald was eventually stopped at the height of his power in 1945 and imprisoned in Nurmengard: the same prison he built to lock up those who opposed him.
It’s very easy to get frustrated with the film’s obvious disregard for the rules laid out by J.K. Rowling in Hogwarts: A History, but we might have to wait until the movie’s out to see what happens before declaring war.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald will be released on Nov. 16.