The Revised Forty
Let’s talk about one of my favorite things – the minutiae of canon! I’d like to start this essay by offering a bit of fandom history to those who were not in the fandom fifteen years ago – if you’re an old hag like me, please allow your attention to wander freely. Way back in 2001, the BBC ran a special about J.K. Rowling called “Harry Potter and Me.” To put it in context, the first movie had just come out, and Harry Potter was a very big deal, but had not become a world-altering phenomenon quite yet. In this documentary, Jo showed the interviewer her scraps of notes, and at one point held up a piece of paper that had details about Harry’s entire year at Hogwarts – forty students.
This was the last time Jo was ever so flippant about revealing her notes, because the Potter fandom (even in those days) showed its customary resourcefulness and determination, and we soon had screengrabs of the list. While Jo’s thumb obscured most of the latter half of the alphabet, it was enough to set the fans to theorizing, analyzing, and peopling their fanfictions with list-compliant background characters. The fact that this list is not canon, due to many changes occurring between the list and the actual books, deterred no one. Indeed, this list has proven to be an invaluable resource to this day – when NYC’s Puffs: The Play created original Hufflepuff characters in Harry’s year, all the names were drawn from this list.
Enter, into this picture, one HP fan who has contributed more to our understanding of canon than almost any other. Diana Summers, who frequently goes by the online name of Grace has Victory, wrote an essay on the HP Lexicon called “Secrets of the Classlist.” In that essay, she utilized the then-current information up to Order of the Phoenix, along with impressive research into British demographics, to present a picture of all forty students – ancestry, name meanings, blood purity, House, religion, etc. My essay, and indeed this entire fandom, owes her an enormous debt of gratitude.
If you were to hunt down information about the off-camera students in Harry’s year, all sources eventually come back to “Secrets of the Classlist” – even the HP Wiki uses it (for as little as that’s worth). Diana updated the essay after Deathly Hallows came out, posting the essay with addendums on the Sugar Quill. For many years, this was the definitive version of Harry’s class.
However, the story was not over – in 2012, the early days of Pottermore, Jo posted an entry titled “The Original Forty.” In it, she talked about this classlist and then listed the forty in question… sans Houses, ancestry, or all the other information she had. There was a bit of commentary on which characters were crossed out (which caused the list to diverge from Diana’s lists), and like everything else on Pottermore, there were mistakes. In this case, it was the exclusion of Runcorn, a surname clearly visible on the handwritten list, and one that would make the original forty actually forty, instead of the 39 on Pottermore. No matter – we’re used to mistakes on Pottermore, so moving on.
I thought it would be a rather valuable exercise to cross-reference the two pieces – “Original Forty” and “Secrets of the Classlist” (SotC, henceforth) – with canon, to create an updated and canon-compliant list of Harry’s classmates. I shan’t even attempt the demographic breakdown that Diana did, but want to walk away with an idea of who’s in what House.
The Crossed-Out Classmates
The biggest deviation from the Original Forty in SotC came from confusion about which names were crossed out and which were not. In the “Unnamed and Unsorted” section, Diana deems our five thumb-obscured students to be Moon, Perks, Rivers, Roper, and Spinks (and Runcorn too in the Lexicon version, who was moved to Pansy’s Gang in the revision). Per Pottermore, Spinks was the second failed attempt at giving Draco a last name (the first was Spungen). Instead of Spinks, Malone remained a character, whereas Diana thought Malone had been replaced by Moon.
Once we make that correction, here is the list of forty names:
MacDougal, Isobel [Katrina crossed out] Macmillan, Ernest
Smith, Sally [Georgina crossed out] Thomas, Gary
The astute reader will notice that lots of names have changed since they were first drawn up – and, along with names, Houses and ancestries also changed. For example, Gary became Dean Thomas, the Patel twins became Parvati and Padma Patil, Trevor became Terry Boot, Queenie became Daphne Greengrass, and Isobel became Morag MacDougal (seen at the Sorting in Sorcerer’s Stone).
Students’ Houses were also liable to change: both Michael Corner and Anthony Goldstein transferred from Hufflepuff into Ravenclaw. Diana attempted to figure out which boys transferred the other way to keep the Houses even; I shan’t even try, since it’s pure guesswork and does not have much bearing on canon, but the pedantic among us could have fun with that. (In a way, this class is the ultimate logic puzzle, given there’s clearly a correct solution and we have a lot of clues but no complete info. Time to make like Hermione and use that cool logic!)
Ancestries, even though we don’t have a complete set, are likewise fluid – Hannah Abbott was Muggleborn on the list, pureblood in Jo’s mind, so Jo split the difference and called her a half-blood on PotterCast.  The same must have happened to Terry Boot, who cannot be a Muggleborn as he was at Hogwarts before the Battle of Hogwarts. This no-Muggleborns-at-Hogwarts criteria is actually invaluable in piecing together the identities of the students – call it the Year 7 Rule.
Please note: we are not going by Death Eater definitions here, so a pureblood would just mean two magical parents, like Harry. A half-blood, for the purposes of this essay, is someone with a magic parent and a muggle parent – a different definition from the one used in canon (where Harry would be considered a half-blood). But Jo specifically uses the word “parentage” when talking about the list. While using these terms may cause slight confusion, I believe it to be expedient to use “half-blood” and “pureblood” as opposed to “half-blood with specifically one magical parent” and “half-blood with two magical parents.”
However, the single biggest change occurred to Sally Smith, who underwent gender reassignment and became Zacharias Smith, everyone’s least favorite Hufflepuff. This throws all the symmetry off – instead of five boys and five girls in each House, there are twenty-one boys and nineteen girls, with Hufflepuff having six boys and presumably four girls. The assumption about Smith’s original House, while lacking in basis, does lend itself to one concrete solution to the puzzle instead of many, so we will treat it as an axiom in order to prove more useful theorems.
So, let’s go through the boys first, because there is way more information about them.
We have the five Gryffindors, no problem: Seamus Finnigan (half-blood), Neville Longbottom (pureblood), Harry Potter (pureblood), Dean Thomas (secret half-blood), and Ronald Weasley (pureblood). Oddly, none of the Gryffindor boys are Muggleborn, even though Dean thinks he is. In fact, this will be a recurring theme in our discovery: Muggleborns are much less prevalent than one might think.
The Slytherin boys are all pureblood, since their fathers are Death Eaters and wouldn’t marry muggles, with the possible exception of Blaise (who may have had a muggle father). They are: Vincent Crabbe, Gregory Goyle, Draco Malfoy, Theodore Nott, and Blaise Zabini.
For Ravenclaw, we also have a full set: Terry Boot (at least a half-blood), Michael Corner (half-blood), Stephen Cornfoot (pureblood), Kevin Entwhistle (Muggleborn), and Anthony Goldstein (half-blood).
That leaves Hufflepuff. We already know from canon that Hufflepuff includes Justin Finch-Fletchley (Muggleborn), Ernie Macmillan (pureblood for nine generations), and the pesky Zacharias Smith (who is at least a half-blood, since we see his father at Hogwarts in HBP). From the classlist, we add Wayne Hopkins (half-blood). By process of elimination, the two boys we don’t know about go into Hufflepuff: Roger Malone and Oliver Rivers, creating an overcrowded dorm of six. We don’t know about Roger or Oliver’s parents.
It’s interesting that of the twenty-one boys, only between two and four out of twenty are Muggleborn, with all but one going to Hufflepuff.
Our data for the girls in Harry’s year is much less complete (a problem directly related to the Two Missing Gryffindor Girls). This is for two reasons: more of the girls’ last names are at the end of the alphabet, and are therefore thumb-obscured; Harry also interacts less with girls.
There are four girls whose House we do not know: Lily Moon, Sally-Anne Perks, Sophie Roper, and Runcorn (whose first name starts with an “A,” and who’s definitely a girl only because we have too many guys). I’ll use process of elimination to decide where they all go, working on the assumption that Sally-turned-Zacharias Smith was always meant to be a Hufflepuff and there are therefore only four Puff girls.
Oddly enough, the only House whose female roster is complete is Ravenclaw: Mandy Brocklehurst (half-blood), Su Li (half-blood), Morag MacDougal (pureblood), Padma Patil (at least half-blood per Year 7 Rule), and Lisa Turpin (ancestry unknown). Su Li was probably a forerunner of Cho Chang.
We can guess Slytherin’s reasonably: Millicent Bulstrode (half-blood), Tracey Davis (half-blood), Daphne Greengrass (pureblood), and Pansy Parkinson (at least half-blood, though almost certainly pureblood or Draco wouldn’t give her the time of day). The last slot almost certainly belongs to A. Runcorn. We meet another A. Runcorn in Deathly Hallows – Albert, the man Harry impersonates at the Ministry. Albert capitalizes on prejudices against Muggleborns to advance at the Ministry, which is as Slytherin a thing to do as I can think of. Assuming his namesake is his daughter or other close relative, we can place A. Runcorn in Slytherin, making her at least a half-blood and probably a pureblood.
Moving on to Hufflepuff: Hannah Abbott (newly half-blood through her dad’s magic), Susan Bones (half-blood, magic on her dad’s side), and Megan Jones (half-blood). Into the fourth and final slot, I’m assuming Sally-Anne Perks will go. Here, I defer to Diana’s argument – while not ironclad, it makes sense. There is already a surname similar-sounding to Perks in every other House (Parkinson in Slytherin, Patil in Gryffindor and Ravenclaw). To avoid confusion, Perks was probably meant to be in Hufflepuff, so that’s where we’ll place her. Either way, the bigger question regarding Sally-Anne is why she wasn’t taking O.W.L.s with the rest of her year.
And that leaves Gryffindor. Confirmed are Lavender Brown (pureblood), Hermione Granger (the ONLY confirmed female Muggleborn), and Parvati Patil (at least half-blood per Year 7 Rule). So through some careful sleuthing, we can deduce that the Two Lost Gryffindor Girls are Lily Moon and Sophie Roper. Congratulations, we now have the answer that has plagued Jo throughout her interviews!
Of course, it’s slightly ludicrous that Gryffindor girls in Harry’s year never rated a passing mention. At least in the case of Lily Moon, she was meant to play a role – Jo said on Pottermore that Moon was the “first intimation of Luna Lovegood.” I believe this is further evidence that she was intended to be in Gryffindor – in the earlier books, the Gryffindor bias is even bigger than in the later books, and I’ve no doubt a character as significant as Luna was intended for Gryffindor alongside the other heroes.
So, we have our final list of the Original Forty, along with their Houses, and most of their parentage. Interestingly, there are only three confirmed Muggleborns out of the forty, with six unknowns – I have always gotten the impression Muggleborns are more prevalent than that. Of the forty, an even ten never were actually mentioned in the canon, and therefore cannot be considered canonical characters. But it is still immensely satisfying to see the full list (things that were different on the original list versus canon are in brackets).
|Boot,||Terry [Trevor]||Boy||mp1+ [mp0]||Ravenclaw|
|Smith,||Zacharias [Sally,Georgina]||Boy [Girl]||mp1+||Hufflepuff|
What Does It Mean?
Now that we have the full list of forty, we can data mine it! Specifically, we have a much better idea of the wizarding population’s makeup in terms of parentage. In the forty, there are:
three Muggleborns, fourteen confirmed purebloods, twelve confirmed half-bloods, five who are either half-blood or pureblood, and six whose parentage is completely unknown. The Muggleborns are really a minority, which explains why the prejudice against them is so rampant.
It also makes sense why there are a lot of purebloods by our definition, even if purebloods in the snooty nine-generations-back sense are dying out. Of the six characters whose marital fate we know (not counting Crabbe, who has no fate), all of them marry fellow wizards, and four of them marry others off this list. As McGonagall’s backstory illustrated, wizard-muggle marriages are difficult, and Hogwarts represents all the magical population within six years of one’s age – no wonder they all marry their high school sweethearts!
It’s also interesting that in these half-blood families, it’s very often the dad who is magical (in the case of Susan Bones, Hannah Abbott, Millicent Bulstrode, and Dean Thomas; as well as Zacharias Smith if he’s a half-blood). The only one of the forty who has a witch mum and muggle dad is Seamus.
When extrapolating this finding out to other characters, it’s closer to an even split. With magical dads we have are Remus Lupin, Umbridge, Trelawney, and Celestina Warbeck. Characters with magical mothers are Snape, Voldemort, Lockhart, and McGonagall (along with Cho Chang’s children if she has any). Interestingly, the witch-muggle marriages seem to be overwhelmingly unhappy – is Jo making a point here, or am I reading too much into it?
This has been a lot of fun! As we keep getting more and more new canon this year, it’s nice to go back and solidify what we already have. I have good news for anyone who wants to know more about the Original Forty: Diana has updated her “Secrets of Classlist” with the Pottermore entry, and offers some incredible analysis of these students – where they’re from, what Quidditch team they support, and a whole host of other fun stuff. It’s available as an e-book from Amazon, and is well worth the read!
Now go forth, fanfiction writers, and flesh these characters out before Jo does!
“I’ve been misremembering that, because I thought she was pureblood. Interesting. I’ve certainly written about her, and thought about her for years now, as pureblood. So that’s interesting. Maybe we’ll just split the difference and call her halfblood.”
 For those interested in fanon: in Puffs: The Play, Oliver is a Muggleborn – which I’ll accept because I like the play.