Ghosts. There’s nothing new about ghosts in the Wizarding World. They’re a staple at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Each house has their own ghost. Murder is also not uncommon. After all, Harry Potter’s story begins with two murders.
Throughout the Wizarding World saga, we learn murder victims become ghosts. In this exposé, we look into shameless murders of characters and how their ghosts aid Harry.
Where It All Begun - October 31, 1981
Harry’s adventures begin on the night of Halloween, 1981. His life takes a tragic turn when his parents are murdered by the dark wizard, Lord Voldemort. His father, James was murdered first as he turned to fend off the wizard who wanted his son dead.
While James was Voldemort’s first victim that fateful night, he was not the last. Upstairs, Lily barricaded herself and Harry in, trying to keep Voldemort at bay. Of course, it didn’t help. Voldemort was willing to let Lily live if she moved aside while he killed her beloved son.
Lily, of course, wouldn’t allow the murderous wizard to kill her son. So, what does Voldemort do? He kills Lily before he turns his wand on Harry. Everybody knows what happens next. Furthermore, the beginning of Harry’s adventure becomes clearer, though it must wait.
Introducing Harry Potter a.k.a The Boy Who Lived
Fast-forward to Harry’s first year at Hogwarts. He begins his trip to Hogwarts alone. This comes before he meets Ron Weasley, who would become his lifelong best friend. They soon meet Hermione Granger, who would join them on their Hogwarts adventures.
The entrance into the Great Hall introduces the audience to the Hogwarts Ghosts. We meet the ghost of Hufflepuff house, the Fat Friar. The ghost of Ravenclaw was known only as the Grey Lady.
We learn later the Grey Lady was, in fact, Helena Ravenclaw. We’ll get to that later. The audience also meets Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington or rather, Nearly Headless Nick. The other ghost they meet is the Bloody Baron.
The First Known Ghost That Came From Murder
Skip forward twelve months and we’re back at Hogwarts for Harry’s second year. When he and Ron miss the Hogwarts Express, the friends take Ron’s father’s flying car. After almost getting expelled, the boys reunite with Hermione. In the meantime, they get letters sent to their families.
To cut the story short, the golden trio discovers the opening of the Chamber of Secrets. With their discovery leads them to learn Hagrid was expelled for a crime he didn’t commit. According to the story, a vicious beast killed Myrtle Warren, a Muggle-born student.
As the mystery unravels, Harry and Ron work without Hermione after she gets petrified. As they continue to work, they discover how Myrtle died. They also discover Hagrid wasn’t responsible for killing Myrtle.
After following spiders, the friends discover Salazar Slytherin placed a Basilisk in the chamber. Slytherin was long dead. The only person who could control the beast was a descendant of Slytherin.
It’s revealed Riddle was the heir to Slytherin. He had framed Hagrid to move the suspicion off himself. The only person who knew what was going on was Dumbledore.
The Ghosts Of Murder’s Past
Two years later, Harry is entered into the Twiwizard Tournament. Upon reaching the Twiwizard Cup, Harry and Cedric discover the cup is in fact, a Portkey.
Upon reaching the graveyard, Cedric gets murdered by Peter Pettigrew. After Voldemort is ‘reborn’, he tries to kill Harry, unaware their wands are ’twins’.
Voldemort casts the killing curse at the same time Harry casts Expelliarmus. The spells meet and because of the twin cores, Priori Incantatem occurred.
The connection allowed Harry to communicate with the spirits of Voldemort’s previous victims. Three of these victims include Harry’s parents James and Lily and Cedric. The spirits of Voldemort’s previous victims were able to hold him back. This allowed Harry to return to Hogwarts via the Portkey with Cedric’s body.
While the spectres weren’t ghosts, they assisted Harry in getting back. This way, he could raise the alarm about Voldemort’s return. Sure, this backfired as people weren’t willing to believe Voldemort had returned.
Nightmares About Cedric’s Murder, Bellatrix And The Battle Of Hogwarts
Over the summer before his fifth year, Harry has nightmares of Cedric’s murder. It continues to haunt him and his cousin, Dudley overhears his screams. Using the information he has, he taints Harry to the point where Harry pulls his wand on him.
When Dolores Umbridge is appointed DADA teacher, she refuses to teach her students self-defense. Hermione ultimately becomes frustrated. She pulls Harry and Ron into the idea of forming Dumbledore’s Army.
Cedric’s murder and Harry’s near-fatal duel with Voldemort aren’t what haunted Harry. Harry has nightmares of Arthur Weasley getting attacked by Nagini.
While Arthur wasn’t killed, the nightmare brought on a vision of Voldemort torturing Sirius. Sirius was Harry’s godfather and the vision showed he was in the Department of Mysteries. During the fight, Sirius goes up against his deranged cousin, Bellatrix Lestrange.
In the Order of the Phoenix book, Bellatrix kills Sirius with an unidentified spell. It’s believed the spell is stunning spell Stupefy, due to the red flash expelled from her wand. The spell knocked Sirius through the veil, which kills him. In the film, the madwoman casts Avada Kedavra on her cousin before he is knocked through the veil.
Two years later, Harry summons his parents, Remus and Sirius via the resurrection stone. They advise him on what he must do. This is the last time, Harry sees the spirits of those closest to him. The spirits mightn’t have aided Harry anymore, but their names lived on in his children.
After marrying best friend Ron’s sister, Ginny, Harry would father three children. His eldest son was named in honour of Harry’s father and godfather. James Sirius Potter was a troublemaker like his namesakes. Harry’s only daughter, Lily Luna was named after her grandmother and Luna Lovegood. It’s possible Lily may also be named after Remus Lupin. Harry’s youngest son and middle child, was named after Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape.
The Role Of Helena Ravenclaw
For six books, the Grey Lady of Ravenclaw House was just a simple ghost. It wasn’t until Deathly Hallows did fans learn there was more to the character.
We learn the Grey Lady is the spirit of Rowena Ravenclaw’s daughter, Helena. Through flashbacks of her life, we learn she had stolen her mother’s diadem and hidden it. She was later ‘befriended’ by a young Lord Voldemort, Tom Riddle.
Riddle managed to gain Helena’s trust so he could extract the information he needed. He needed the location of the diadem. The tiara was used by Riddle to be one of this Horcruxes, a device to hide a part of his soul.
Helena hid this information from everyone for years. The diadem was believed to be lost for a long time. Though, Lord Voldemort knew the location and used it to his advantage.
What Harry Achieved From Listening To The Ghosts
Harry’s adventures would never have succeeded without the assistance of the ghosts.
The relationship he had with Nearly Headless Nick helped him overcome Sirius’s death. Though, he would never totally get over it.
The Chosen One also listened to Myrtle, despite his better judgement. He listened when he needed advice with the Chamber of Secrets. He also hesitated when asking for help on the first task of the Twiwizard Tournament. Even though Myrtle had a massive crush on Harry, he ignored her advances the best he could.
While Myrtle’s intentions were good, she just wanted Harry to herself. Talk about awkward, given she was dead and he was alive.
When it came to his final mission, Helena’s story inspired Harry to keep going. If it weren’t for her story, Harry would never have succeeded in his mission.
Lessons Learned From Talking To Ghosts
If the readership of the Harry Potter series learned anything, it was never make a ghost angry. I think Ron learned that the hard way when he got Myrtle angry. Yeah, we wouldn’t want to go there either. Sorry, Ron, but you’ve really put your foot in it!
Also, the story of how Olive Hornsby ended up becoming Myrtle’s main victim becomes a laugh. Why? Well, who has ever said they’ve been haunted, figuratively and literally by a ghost? Very few people. Let’s look at this from Olive’s perspective. She had been picking on Myrtle because she was wearing glasses. She was also the one to find Myrtle’s body. Myrtle thought she could get revenge by stalking Hornsby. She got away with it until the Ministry of Magic was forced to step in.
Also, always address a ghost by its proper name. Look at the offence Hermione caused when she asked Nick how he was nearly headless. Also, Helena wasn’t too happy when Harry addressed her as the Grey Lady. She states she doesn’t like when people call her by that name. If you had a nickname you despised, you’d be telling people you hate it too.
Okay, she’s a little dramatic, but she had a good reason to be cautious. She didn’t want to make the same mistake she did before. She didn’t want Harry to know the secret she unknowingly told Voldemort years earlier. She thought Harry would use the information in a negative way. However, Harry reassured her he wasn’t like Voldemort. He told her he would use the information to bring about the dark wizard’s downfall.
Ghosts. They’re a privative part of the Wizarding World. Murders weren’t uncommon in Harry’s time as they tended to happen so much, no one seemed to question it. Yes, they were terrible and people were dying, seemingly for no reason. Their lives might have been taken, but their deaths weren’t in vain. They sacrificed their lives to ensure their friends and family were live in a safer world.