J.K. Pottermore, Rowling’s official Harry Potter website, used the New Year to remind everyone how magicians were before the plumber’s invention. Hogwarts is famous for its toilets, among other things because a certain women’s toilet is the hidden entrance to the Chamber of Secrets, while the tubing became especially useful for the Slytherin monster, the Basilisk.
But plumbing is of course a relatively new invention and Muggle in that sense. Hogwarts was founded in 990 AD, hundreds of years before the creation of modern sanitation systems. And so J.K. Rowling decided that her Pottermore website should answer the question that no one really asked: how were the sorcerers in Hogwarts’ bathroom in the centuries before the toilets were installed?
The answer seems remarkably serious. To support the National Trivia Day, Pottermore went to Twitter to remind Harry Potter fans that the pipe installation was not installed until the 18th century. Before, the witches and the magicians in public simply relieved, and then the evidence disappeared. Presumably, this also explains the designs of the long robes normally worn by wizards, which could potentially help to keep their excretions secret. Everything sounds pretty unhygienic; It is not hard to imagine that young students are wrong and do not let everything disappear.
The reality, of course, is that hygiene was not a priority in the Muggle world when it came to bathing habits before the drain. Although Sir John Harrington invented the first cistern in 1596, the idea failed. Muggles favored the use of chamber pots and drip pans, and in towns and communities it was not uncommon for body waste to be thrown out the window through a window. This was often introduced to the water supply and, in fact, proper hygiene was not practiced until it became clear that this could lead to problems such as cholera.
But why did Hogwarts believe that a proper outflow was better than a simple spell that had disappeared? The answer, of course, is that there is no “disappearance” magic. Even in the magical world, matter can not be created or destroyed, which means that witches and sorcerers have probably transported their waste elsewhere, perhaps to a landfill. There is a possibility that the spells will go wrong and (depending on your point of view) funny or embarrassing results. Meanwhile, it is not hard to imagine chaos when school killers decide to use their unpopular victims and transport feces to their dorm or school backpack. In the end, Hogwarts decided to ban the use of spells outside the classroom, which would have banned him as well.
Ironically, there is a reason why Rowling has stated this on their Pottermore website: This is because the installation of water in the Harry Potter story is really important. Their installation almost led to the discovery of the Chamber of Secrets, but unfortunately a member of the Gaunt family was present to hide it in the pipe around the girls’ toilet.