Filch and Peeves-The Final Battle at Hogwarts

by Melly M. 

During this gap between books, many Harry Potter fans spend much of their time contemplating or, in many cases, making up their own theories as to the things to come in books 6 and 7. Who will die? Who’s working for the dark side? How will Harry defeat Voldemort? I, like most slightly obsessive Harry Potter fans, enjoy hearing the latest rumors and trying to form my own opinions as to the happenings in the future books. One such rumor that I now believe has become popular amongst the fans is the idea that in book 7 the “final battle” will take place at Hogwarts. I became intrigued by the idea that my beloved Hogwarts could someday host the ultimate battle of good and evil. The main thing I like about this theory is that it would force the characters to show their true colors once and for all.

The first name that pops up when loyalties are questioned is Snape. Personally, I have no clue about Snape. Every time I manage to convince myself that he’s good, I think of all the reasons he could be evil and vice versa. It’s a never ending cycle of confusion that, quite frankly, I don’t even want to think about anymore. Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that, should Hogwarts be besieged, Snape can’t yet be counted on to stay on the good side.

The next group that most people would think of to betray our heroes is the Slytherins. There are already plenty of articles dealing with the importance of uniting the houses to win the war against Voldy, so I don’t feel the need to really go into that subject too much.

Besides Snape and the Slytherins, who else could conspire against Hogwarts? I recently made a list of all the characters that I thought were “potential risks” to the safety of the school if, indeed, there was a battle there. Two names jumped out at me-Filch and Peeves.

Filch was introduced in SS/PS as knowing “the secret passageways of the school better than anyone (except perhaps the Weasley twins) and could pop up as suddenly as any of the ghosts.” (p. 133 Am. version). This idea of Filch’s castle expertise is constantly emphasized throughout the series. Now let’s say Voldemort was planning to attack Hogwarts. One of the most important things when planning battle is to know what kind of terrain one will encounter. Granted, Voldy and his minions have gone to Hogwarts and know its basic layout; however, they will want to know specifics: the best places to station Death Eaters, handy hideaways, little used corridors, and the typical movements of the castle’s occupants. Who better to give them this information than Filch? In addition, we find out from Fred and George in PoA that Filch knows four secret passageways out of the castle. Flip that knowledge around and Filch knows four secret passageways into Hogwarts. I wonder how useful that information would prove to be for certain dark wizards…

The fact of the matter is that Filch and his trusty sidekick, Mrs. Norris, would be the ideal spies, even if there is no ultimate battle at Hogwarts. They have almost unparalleled knowledge of the school. They’re known for sneaking up suddenly when they are least suspected. Mrs. Norris could probably slip in anywhere undetected to gather information. Plus, there is also the fact that Filch is often underestimated. Since the revelation in book 2 that Filch is a squib, I think many people have brushed him off as a mere annoyance. Since he has no magical powers, he is essentially powerless, right? Wrong.

On page 629 of OotP (Am version) it is stated that, “Umbridge had obviously gone to some lengths to get Filch on her side, Harry thought, and the worst of it was that he would probably prove an important weapon; his knowledge of the school’s secret passageways and hiding places was probably second only to the Weasley twins.”Doesn’t that sound like foreshadowing? Once again Filch’s all-important navigational talents are thrown in readers’ faces, but there are two carefully embedded new pieces of information. Firstly, Filch should be viewed as “an important weapon,” and secondly, for the first time, the words “hiding places” are thrown in. JK apparently thought it was important to add that information. This passage also highlights a few other key aspects to Filch’s character. He can easily be persuaded by the powers that be offering him the things he wants (in this case, permission to whip students and the expulsion of Peeves), and he has no loyalty to Hogwarts or Dumbledore. These qualities are significant to note because if he were to be approached by Voldemort, I highly doubt he would be hard to convince to turn on Hogwarts and Dumbledore. He certainly doesn’t possess enough allegiance to risk his neck by refusing Voldy.

One thing I wondered about was this lack of loyalty to Dumbledore. Upon thinking about this, I realized he was probably the caretaker at Hogwarts before Dumbledore was headmaster, and he was just allowed to stay. My reasoning for this is that Filch is always talking about the “good old days;” when he could torture students for misbehaving. Dumbledore would never have let him do that. Knowing Filch, he most likely blames the headmaster for “taking his rights away.” So why does Dumbledore keep Filch (not to mention Snape) when he’s such and obvious security risk? (I think I should also point out a flaw in this theory. Filch is almost too obvious. When has JK done anything obvious? But going on….)

“A highly polished collection of chains and manacles hung on the wall behind Filch’s desk. It was common knowledge that he was always begging Dumbledore to let him suspend students by their ankles form the ceiling.” (CoS p.125) Filch has never had any problems with tormenting students, so I don’t think he’d have any sort of moral dilemma if Voldy offered him a chance to do more than whip students and hang them from their ankles. Of course, Voldemort wouldn’t really be giving Filch some sort of place on the dark side as Voldy hates non-magical people. I’m positive he’d be more than willing to dispose of the creeping caretaker when he has fulfilled his purpose. Voldy would simply be using Filch much like he used Quirrel.

A few other notes about Filch:

1. He’s had a grudge against Harry in particular since book 2, when Harry discovered Filch was a squib and “attacked” Mrs. Norris, never mind the fact that Harry was innocent of that specific offense. Filch probably still associates Harry with the incident. So why not join Harry’s enemy and get some twisted form of revenge? (That would be quite ironic because Voldy was, in a sense, the one who really attacked Mrs. Norris in the first place. I love irony! 🙂 )

2. The only creature he really cares about is Mrs. Norris. I’m thinking that could be very important somehow.

3. The word “filch” means to steal, correct? This could, possibly, allude to Filch stealing something for Voldemort. Hogwarts’ secrets, perhaps….

The second character I’m going to analyze in this article is Peeves. I believe Peeves, the poltergeist that has exasperated and amused fans since book 1, could be another critical character should Hogwarts come under attack. One thing that struck me while I was doing research for this editorial is that, as annoying as he is, Peeves has fairly strong loyalties that are often disguised by his less-than-serious personality. For one thing, he seems to have a certain degree of respect for most of the teachers, most specifically Dumbledore.

“Rude and unmanageable as he almost always was, Peeves usually showed some respect toward the teachers.” (PoA p.131 Am. version)

“[Peeves] didn’t dare taunt Dumbledore.” (PoA p.161) This particular reverence for Dumbledore possibly comes from Dumbledore letting Peeves stay when others (Umbridge and Filch) would have him kicked out.

I think that, should a battle at Hogwarts come, Peeves would side with Dumbledore and the school (like he did in OotP might I add), if for nothing else because, Hogwarts is his home. Should it be threatened, he could almost certainly defend it masterfully. Also, he most likely knows more about the castle than readers are lead to believe. Surely in his years of practical joking, he’s noticed some helpful info about Hogwarts.

Peeves also has, it seems, a special affiliation with the Weasley twins. “And Peeves, whom Harry had never seen take an order from a student before, swept his belled hat from his head and sprang to a salute as Fred and George wheeled about…”(OotP p.675) “[Peeves] seemed to have taken Fred’s parting words deeply to heart.” (OotP p.678) I don’t think Peeves would betray Fred and George by siding with their enemy.

The rivalry between Peeves and Filch has thus far in the series been entertaining, but is it possible that it could grow into more than that? With the “second war” looming before them and the magical community choosing sides, it is all too likely that Hogwarts’ internal struggles could turn the tides of that war. It seems to me probable that Filch and Peeves will eventually become vital parts in the inevitable upcoming battles. But how these battles play out? We’ll have to wait until books 6and 7 to find out.