Harry Potter Universe Was Toilet-free for Centuries, But What About Wiping?

Wizards in the world of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series have always been real dum-dums about normal human things. Arthur Weasley, Harry Potter's father-in-law, was head of the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office—a supposed expert in the tools and devices of the Muggle world—but couldn't even manage to ride an escalator without beclowning himself. But J.K. Rowling has revealed new information about the wizarding world of Harry Potter that makes bumbling, stumbling Arthur look like wizarding civilization's peak by comparison. Wizards didn't used to know how to poop right, Rowling's online Harry Potter home, Pottermore, revealed.

"Hogwarts didn't always have bathrooms. Before adopting Muggle plumbing methods in the eighteenth century, witches and wizards simply relieved themselves wherever they stood, and vanished the evidence," said the official Pottermore account on Friday afternoon.

This is disturbing new information.

Animals manage to create toilet areas, pooping and peeing away from food and other activities, but it seems wizards couldn't rise to such standards. But this could explain the omnipresence of robes in wizarding circles, which would allow for more discrete squatting. More mysterious is the nature of their clean-up. Toilet paper has been in use, in various forms, for hundreds of years. Did the wizards keep a supply at hand, then vanish that as well? Or is there a bidet spell—a cleansing squirt from their wand tip?

However they did it, we know for a certainty that Rowena Ravenclaw, Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff and Salazar Slytherin deposited floor cakes all over Hogwarts, since Pottermore specifically describes how the introduction of plumbing came after the construction of the Chamber of Secrets.

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Wizards make their own toilets. Warner Bros. Pictures

"When Hogwarts' plumbing became more elaborate in the eighteenth century (this was a rare instance of wizards copying Muggles, because hitherto they simply relieved themselves wherever they stood, and vanished the evidence), the entrance to the Chamber was threatened, being located on the site of a proposed bathroom," Rowling's Pottermore entry on the chamber reads, once and for all cloaking the mystic history of Hogwarts in the lingering stench of recently-disappeared human feces. The Sorting Ceremony feast has forever lost its luster.

Harry Potter Universe Was Toilet-free for Centuries, But What About Wiping? | Culture