In the world of Harry Potter, there are magical objects like wands, or enchanted mirrors, there are magical creatures like the Hippogriff or the Cornish Pixie, or dragons (for eg), and of course there are spells, there are witches and wizards. There are even hidden passageways, rooms and secret chambers. One of the quite remarkable ideas of JK Rowling in the series, I feel, is to have created this room, which changes into anything the person wishes it to be. The room is hidden before that and only as you walk past it, thinking of what room you want, will the door to the room appear and allow you to enter.
The Room of Requirement, or as the house elves call it – the Come-And-Go Room, is a room located on the seventh floor of Hogwarts Castle. The first time I read of it was in the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, but only after reading that did I realize that it was mentioned in passing by Albus Dumbledore in the previous book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It was then I realized how far ahead JK Rowling had thought of in the series, and how magically she brought it to life.
Dumbledore mentions that there are secrets to Hogwarts Castle even he’s unaware of, that there was a time he really needed to use the bathroom, and he discovered a room full of chamber pots he was previously unaware of. And when he tried to find it again, he was unable to. Fred and George mention that they hid in the room when running from Filch, but it was a broom closet. And Dobby uses it to treat Winky after she drank too much butterbeer. The room had cures for butterbeer overdose then and even a bed for Winky.
The Room of Requirement plays a prominent part in the last three books of the series. The room transforms into the headquarters of Dumbledore’s Army, giving the students all the help they need to learn Defence Against The Dark Arts when Professor Umbridge’s lessons do not help them in their Ordinary Wizarding Level year. The room also had Dark Detectors that would help the students see when danger was near. And it was only revealed to those who knew how to make the room appear. In the sixth book, Harry uses the room to hide the Half-Blood Prince’s copy of Advanced Potion Making, and Draco uses it to help the Death Eaters enter Hogwarts via the Vanishing Cabinet. In the seventh book, Neville uses it to help the students escape the wrath of the Death Eater teachers Alecto and Amycus Carrow. And of course, the big Fiendfyre scene where the Gryffindor trio of Harry, Ron and Hermione face off against Draco, Crabbe and Goyle also takes place in the Room of Requirement. The fate of the Room is unsure, as no mention of it happens after.
Bookworm that I am, I imagine that the Come-and-Go room would transform into a library with access to any book that I want to read, even the banned books. I imagine there’d be bean-bags for me to sit on and read, with lots of chocolate goodies on shelves nearby should I feel hungry (bought from Honeydukes of course, since the Room of Requirement cannot get food, as it is one of the principal exceptions to Gamp’s Law of Elemental Transfiguration). Think about it. What would the room transform into for you, at this very moment?
(© 21st April 2016)