The Best Nighttime Moments in the “Harry Potter” Series

When the most exciting events occur in the Harry Potter series, they usually happen during the night. From the rescue of Sirius Black to the Basilisk fight in the Chamber of Secrets, some of the most crucial moments in the books occur under the darkest sky. Perhaps this is because nighttime is associated with danger and mystery, something that Hogwarts is full of? In any case, the time of day fits with the dramatic and threatening atmosphere of evil wizardry.




1. The Quidditch World Cup



When the golden trio finally observes a professional Quidditch game, they do so at the end of a long, busy day. The stadium is lit by magical lights as well as fireworks from the Irish Quidditch team. It’s an overwhelmingly beautiful event! It’s not uncommon for sports events to take place in the evening, so it makes sense that J.K. Rowling wrote it this way. Also, the dark sky gives the event more allure and excitement, because we had never read about a Quidditch match taking place at night before. Plus, it’s an excuse to use magical leprechaun fireworks!


2. The Department of Mysteries



In one of the most menacing moments in the series, Harry and his friends head to the Ministry of Magic to rescue Sirius. When I read this chapter in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, I had goosebumps! Everything about the Department of Mysteries in the Ministry is creepy, from the floating brains to the veil with whispering voices. At the end of the day, Harry and his friends arrive at the Department of Mysteries, and a darkening sky quickly becomes pitch black. The light in the Department of Mysteries is murky at best, and the characters struggle to see everything. If this chapter had taken place at any other time of day, it wouldn’t have felt as unsettling, questionable, and mysterious. The lack of light only adds to the disturbing atmosphere.


3. Facing Professor Quirrell



It makes sense that the golden trio would go through the trapdoor on the third floor once everyone else in Hogwarts is asleep. Another reason why so many scenes in the series occur at night is due to the secretive nature of nighttime. Harry and his friends often have to sneak around when no one can find them, so after dark is the best time. Specifically, in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the golden trio can’t risk being discovered by Professor McGonagall during regular school hours. Instead of sneaking around during the day when anyone can find them, the trio heads through the trapdoor once no one else is walking through Hogwarts. When Harry finally faces off against Quirrell, he does so in a room lit only by torches. The lack of light makes this moment ominous and perfect for a wizard fight!


4. Dumbledore vs. Snape



When Dumbledore and Snape meet each other on top of the Astronomy Tower for a showdown, it’s only fitting that stars cover the night sky. However, at this moment, no one is using the late hour and darkness to hide. Dumbledore and Snape are out in the open, but evil in the Harry Potter series almost always strikes at night. When the Death Eaters attack, it’s almost expected. They strike at night, as they did following the 1994 Quidditch World Cup. Snape and a bunch of Death Eaters meet Dumbledore at the top of the tower, and there’s an air of uncertainty aided by the gloomy darkness. It’s even more dramatic that once Snape defeats Dumbledore, in the movie adaptation, the students and teachers cast their wands into the sky to light up the darkness. This symbolizes the removal of the Death Eaters from Hogwarts and a movement toward the light once again.


5. Discovering the Mirror of Erised



Unlike some of the other moments in this list, when Harry finds the Mirror of Erised, it’s a moment of unconditional happiness for him. Sure, Harry had a frightening run away from Filch, but after that he’s content with discovering the mirror. There’s still an air of mystery surrounding the mirror, but it’s not a threat like Voldemort or the Death Eaters. After a night of exploring Hogwarts, Harry finds a mirror that shows him his father and mother. The mirror makes Harry feel sad later, but on the first night, it allows him to be reunited with his family. The moment feels like a dream due to the shadowy room and the eerily lit mirror.


Monet Polny

"Harry Potter" has been my ultimate inspiration as a writer. Everything from the characters to the plot dynamics has impacted my writing style and aided me in making the decision to major in creative writing. I wanted to become Newt Scamander's protegee and work with magical creatures, but becoming a writer is the next best career choice.