- "I bet you'll think twice about breaking a school rule again, won't you, eh? Oh, yes… hard work and pain are the best teachers, if you ask me… It's just a pity they let the old punishments die out… hang you by your wrists from the ceiling for a few days, I've got the chains still in my office, keep 'em well oiled in case they're ever needed… Right, off we go, and don't think of running off, now. It'll be worse for you if you do."
- —Filch's sadistic enjoyment when punishing students[src]
Argus Filch was a Squib and the caretaker of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry since around 1973. Filch usually wandered around the school corridors with his cat Mrs Norris, trying to catch students breaking the school rules and complaining about Peeves the Poltergeist.
In 1992, after Mrs Norris was petrified by Salazar Slytherin's Basilisk, Filch was furious; however, his cat was healed by the end of the year. In 1995, when Dolores Umbridge became High Inquisitor at Hogwarts, Filch gladly supported her. The next year, he was responsible for recognising Dark objects that were brought into Hogwarts.
Filch helped the students evacuate during the Battle of Hogwarts in 1998 and participated in the battle himself. He kept his job of caretaker after the Second Wizarding War. Filch is also the only one of the Hogwarts staff to stay at Hogwarts Castle during the summer holidays.
Little is known about Filch's early life. He was born to at least one wizard parent sometime before 1956 somewhere in the British Isles. Despite his magical parentage, Filch was a Squib, meaning he could not perform magic.
Career at Hogwarts
In around 1973, Filch joined the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, succeeding Apollyon Pringle as Caretaker. Filch waged a constant war against the students and Peeves, the school's resident poltergeist. He disliked the students and constantly hassled them over the littlest infraction and took delight in the doling out of detention-worthy write-ups. By the end of the 1970s, Filch had already filled at least one thousand and fifty-six boxes with punishment records.
Filch frequently patrolled the hallways at night-time, hunting down students wandering out of bed and looking for excuses to give them detentions. In his years as Caretaker, Filch learned all about the Castle's secret passageways and hidden doors better than anyone but the Weasley twins and the Marauders.
Filch lived in a dingy and windowless office containing filing cabinets with detailed records of all the students Filch had disciplined. A highly polished collection of chains and manacles hung on the wall behind Filch's desk. He always begged Headmaster Albus Dumbledore to let him suspend students by their ankles from the ceiling.
During the 1970s, Filch did many write-ups of James Potter and Sirius Black, occasionally accompanied by the names of Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew. In the 1977-1978 school year, Filch, probably on a tip-off from Severus Snape, whose obsession it had become to expose his arch-rival, James Potter in wrongdoing, confiscated the Marauder's Map after the Marauders over-reached themselves and were cornered. Filch stored the map in a cabinet marked "Confiscated and Highly Dangerous". It is doubtful that Filch knew what the Map was, as he was a Squib and could not make the map work properly.
The Map was kept in Filch's office until Fred and George Weasley 'nicked' it during their first year (1989-1990 school year) at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry after being hauled to his office for letting off a Dungbomb in a corridor.
1991–1992 school year
- Peeves: "STUDENTS OUT OF BED! STUDENTS OUT OF BED DOWN THE CHARMS CORRIDOR!"
- Argus Filch: "Which way did they go, Peeves? Quick, tell me."
- Peeves: "Say 'please'."
- — Filch tries to catch the trio and Neville Longbottom breaking rules[src]
On their very first morning at Hogwarts, 2 September, 1991, Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley managed to get on Filch's wrong side. Filch found them trying to force their way through the door of the out-of-bounds corridor on the third floor. Despite their truthful claims that they were lost, Filch did not believe them and threatened to lock them in the dungeons. They were saved by Quirinus Quirrell, who vouched for them while passing by.
On 12 September, Draco Malfoy challenged Harry Potter to a duel in the Trophy Room at midnight. Malfoy, however, never showed up and instead tipped Filch that would be students out of bed in the Trophy Room. Filch almost caught Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley, Hermione Granger, and Neville Longbottom, but they managed to hide in the Forbidden Corridor as Peeves distracted Filch with his jokes.
On Christmas, Albus Dumbledore gave Harry Potter his father's Invisibility Cloak. Harry used it that night to sneak into the Restricted Section and research about Nicolas Flamel, which he knew was related to the Philosopher's Stone. After he opened a book that screamed, Filch arrived on the scene almost immediately but was unable to see Harry. Filch warned Snape at once and Harry, while trying to avoid them, hid in an unused classroom and stumbled into the Mirror of Erised for the first time.
After Harry Potter and Hermione Granger had carried Norbert to the Astronomy Tower, so that Charles Weasley's colleagues could take the dragon to Romania, Filch caught the pair roaming the Astronomy Corridor on their way back to Gryffindor Tower in the early hours of 10 May, 1992. The caretaker took them to Minerva McGonagall's office, where they were joined by Neville Longbottom and Draco Malfoy who were too caught out of bed. They were given detention in the Forbidden Forest, along with a large house point deduction each.
On 26 May, Filch brought them to Rubeus Hagrid, who would go with them into the Forbidden Forest. Filch tried to frighten them, by telling that many dangerous creatures lived there, but he did not manage to, as Hagrid was friendly and ensured that all of them were safe.
1992–1993 school year
- Argus Filch: "What's going on here? What's going on? My cat! My cat! What's happened to Mrs Norris? You! You! You've murdered my cat! You've killed her! I'll kill you! I'll —"
- Albus Dumbledore: " Argus! Come with me, Argus. You, too, Mr Potter, Mr Weasley, Miss Granger."
- — Argus Filch accuses Harry Potter of having killed Mrs Norris[src]
At the beginning of the year, Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley arrived at school, not via the Hogwarts Express, but in Arthur Weasley's Flying Ford Anglia; Minerva McGonagall, their Head of House, gave them different punishments. Ron had to help Filch polish the silvers at the Trophy Room without using magic for his detention. Ron spent the evening of 5 September, 1992 with Filch, and kept burping up slugs all over Tom Riddle's Special Award for Services to the School.
During the 1992–1993 school year, Filch tried to improve his status as a Squib using a Kwikspell course. Of course, as Filch had no inherent magical powers this was of little use. After the Gryffindor Quidditch team trainings on 24 October, Mrs Norris saw Harry Potter who was covered in soil and dirt. Soon, Filch discovered Harry and got him to his office; however, before he attempted to punish Harry, Filch heard a noise and realised that Peeves had damaged a very valuable Vanishing Cabinet. He left Harry and ran to find Peeves. This, however, made the caretaker excited, as he thought that Dumbledore would kick Peeves out of Hogwarts. However, when he returned to his office, he learned that Harry had read his letter, about Kwikspell courses. Filch was furious and kicked Harry out off his office, trying to convince him that the letter was not his, and ordering him not to tell anyone.
During the school year, a mysterious, dangerous monster wandered around the Castle corridors and attacked people. The first individual to be attacked was Mrs Norris, Filch's cat, whom he had a very close relationship with. The cat was found petrified under a message written on the wall saying that "THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS HAS BEEN OPENED. ENEMIES OF THE HEIR, BEWARE", causing Filch tremendous stress and concern: he believed that Harry Potter was the one who petrified her, as he knew that Filch was a Squib. Severus Snape agreed with Filch, not because he had the same opinion, but because he wanted Harry to be punished. However, Dumbledore managed to convince Filch that Harry was not responsible, as he could not have performed such Dark magic, being twelve years old at the time.
After the attack, Filch frequently paced the corridor in which it had taken place, as though hoping for the attacker to return. He even put a chair against the wall to keep guard there. On occasion, he fruitlessly scrubbed the message with Mrs Skower's All-Purpose Magical Mess Remover, but to no effect. During this time, he became more vicious than ever, and wrote students up for things like "breathing loudly" and "looking happy".
Sometime in January, 1993, Moaning Myrtle flooded her bathroom after Ginny Weasley tried to dispose of Tom Riddle's diary in her bathroom. Filch shouted in a hysterical voice about all the work he would have mopping up all night, and ran to Headmaster Dumbledore slamming a door behind him.
In early February, Professor Sprout kindly assured Filch she would have Mrs Norris back in no time, as the Mandrakes, who were maturing for the Mandrake Restorative Draught, were already moody, secretive, and with acne. Filch was also present when in a corridor with all the other staff when a new message from the Heir of Slytherin appeared on the wall stating that Ginny had been taken into the chamber and that her skeleton will lie there forever.
At the end of the year, Filch attended the End-of-Term Feast, reunited with his cat. His cat was cured via the administration of Professor Snape's Mandrake Restorative Draught, brewed with Professor Sprout's Mandrakes. He learned that the one who petrified Mrs Norris was the memory of Tom Riddle, the one who controlled Salazar Slytherin's Basilisk.
1993–1994 school year
- Argus Filch: "What are you doing?"
- Harry Potter: "Nothing."
- Argus Filch: "Nothing! A likely story! Sneaking around on your own — why aren't you in Hogsmeade buying Stink Pellets and Belch Powder and Whizzing Worms like the rest of your nasty little friends? Well, get back to your common room where you belong!"
- — Filch is suspicious of Harry Potter as he wanders around the school[src]
During the next school year, the alleged mass-murderer Sirius Black escaped from Azkaban and the Ministry of Magic stationed Dementors around the entrances to the grounds in order to protect the school and Harry Potter, which was thought to be Black's target.
On 1 September, 1993, Filch attended the Start-of-Term Feast, and stood in the raised platform by the High Table while the school choir and orchestra led a presentation of Something Wicked This Way Comes.
On 31 October, Filch stood by the Entrance Hall checking the names of those going to the first Hogsmeade trip of the term. He later told Harry Potter off for wandering around on his own, which he thought suspicious.
Later in the evening of that same day, Sirius Black broke into the Castle and tried to enter Gryffindor Tower; this resulted in the destruction of the Fat Lady's portrait. Filch helped secure the Castle on Professor Dumbledore's instruction, lowering the portcullis and bolting the front doors of the Clock Tower. Filch searched both the dungeons, the Astronomy Tower and the Owlery, but found no sign of him. Filch was also charged with restoring the Fat Lady's portrait, and he did so expertly.
In December, Filch attended the Christmas feast, in which he departed with his usual brown coat and wore a very old and rather mouldy-looking tailcoat.
After Sirius Black's second break-in in the evening of 5 February, Filch bustled around the corridors boarding up everything from tiny cracks in the walls to mouse holes.
1994–1995 school year
- "So! Now that we are all fed and watered I must once more ask for your attention, while I give out a few notices. Mr Filch, the caretaker, has asked me to tell you that the list of objects forbidden inside the castle has this year been extended to include Screaming Yo-yos, Fanged Frisbees, and Ever-Bashing Boomerangs. The full list comprises some four hundred and thirty-seven items, I believe, and can be viewed in Mr Filch's office, if anybody would like to check it."
- —Albus Dumbledore starts his announcements over the Start-of-Term Feast[src]
Before the start of the school term, Filch extended the list of forbidden objects within the school premises so that it included four hundred and thirty-seven items, including Screaming Yo-yos, Fanged Frisbees, and Ever-Bashing Boomerangs.
That school year, the Triwizard Tournament took place at Hogwarts. Delegations of students from Beauxbatons Academy of Magic and Durmstrang Institute came to Hogwarts in order to watch the Tournament and sign up to be chosen as one of the champions.
In October, Filch underwent an extra-thorough cleaning of the Castle and acted ferociously to any students who forgot to wipe their shoes. On one occasion, he terrified a pair of first-year girls into hysterics. During the Hallowe'en feast on 31 October, Filch wore his mouldy old tailcoat and added chairs to accommodate Igor Karkaroff, Olympe Maxime, Ludovic Bagman, and Bartemius Crouch Senior at the Staff Table. Filch, later, brought the jewel-encrusted casket with the Goblet of Fire inside.
In the night of 21 January, 1995, Filch almost caught Harry Potter while he was on his way back to Gryffindor Tower after having been in the Prefects' bathroom trying to solve the golden egg riddle for the Triwizard Tournament. Harry sank into one of the trick steps and got stuck in it, making his golden egg break open and wail. Hearing this, Filch thought that Peeves stole the egg. This made him even more hopeful that Dumbledore would kick Peeves out of Hogwarts for it. Filch was then joined by Severus Snape when the two got hold of Harry's egg and the Marauder's Map. As Snape discussed with Filch, he wanted to take those objects in order to find who they belonged to (suspecting that they were Harry's). He also told him that someone had broken into his personal office.
Then, Professor Alastor Moody (actually Barty Crouch Jr under the Polyjuice Potion) appeared and made them leave, convincing them that no one was there, saving Harry and later giving Harry's things back.
1995–1996 school year
- "Yerse… I've been telling Dumbledore for years and years he's too soft with you all. You filthy little beasts would never have dropped Stink Pellets if you'd known I had it in my power to whip you raw, would you, now? Nobody would have thought of throwing Fanged Frisbees down the corridors if I could've strung you up by the ankles in my office, would they? But when Educational Decree Number Twenty-Nine comes in, Potter, I'll be allowed to do them things… and she's asked the Minister to sign an order for the expulsion of Peeves… oh, things are going to be very different around here with her in charge."
- —Filch takes Harry Potter to Headmistress Dolores Umbridge[src]
After Lord Voldemort's return, and as part of its campaign to discredit Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter, the Ministry of Magic instated Dolores Umbridge as Defence Against the Dark Arts professor.
Prior to the start of the school term, Filch fastened the list of forbidden items to his office door in an attempt to make students read it. He also told Professor Dumbledore, in what he said was the four-hundred-and-sixty second time, to remind the students that magic was not permitted in corridors between classes.
Filch attended the Start-of-Term Feast in the evening of 1 September, 1995 in which he stood by the double doors leading to the Entrance Hall, and listened attentively to Dolores Umbridge's speech. He apparently realised the Ministry of Magic was going to interfere at Hogwarts that school year, and clapped enthusiastically. Umbridge was a sadistic woman who, like Filch, enjoyed torturing and punishing students. Thus, the caretaker started to support Umbridge and follow her orders.
On 7 September, Filch got a tip-off that Harry Potter was sending in a massive order of Dungbombs. When he got to the Owlery, he found Harry Potter (who had just sent a letter for Sirius Black) and Cho Chang (who was sending her mother a parcel for her birthday). Hermione Granger later speculated that this was Umbridge's doing, as she probably needed an excuse to read Harry's post. But Cho vouched for Harry and stated that he was not ordering Dungbombs.
With the passing of Educational Decree Number Twenty-Three, which appointed Dolores Umbridge to the post of High Inquisitor of Hogwarts, the Ministry effectively started its interference at the school. Umbridge started passing Educational Decrees to suppress and outlaw behaviour of which the Ministry did not approve.
In the morning before the first school trip to Hogsmeade of the school year, Filch matched the names of those visiting the village to the long list of students who had permission from their parents or guardian to do so. When Harry Potter reached Filch, the caretaker gave a great sniff as though to detect a whiff of Dungbombs.
On 7 October, Filch hung a copy of the Educational Decree Number Twenty-Four on the Entrance Hall. He was also probably the one to affix the notices with the Decree on the noticeboards of the Common Rooms. Filch also assisted Umbridge when she had Trelawney sacked, something he most likely took pleasure in, as it caused Trelawney great stress and reduced her to tears.
On Valentine's Day, 1996, Harry Potter and Cho Chang departed for Hogsmeade together. Filch signed the students out in a queue in the Entrance Hall. Later that same month, after Gryffindor's abysmal performance in their Quidditch match against Hufflepuff, the Slytherin sang Weasley is Our King so loudly and frequently that Filch banned the song from the corridors out of sheer irritation.
In the evening of 20 April, 1996, Marietta Edgecombe denounced the unsanctioned Dumbledore's Army to Dolores Umbridge. Umbridge and her Inquisitorial Squad then managed to catch the students leaving the Room of Requirement and Harry Potter, head of the organisation, was taken to the Headmaster's office while joined by Umbridge, Edgecombe, Deputy Headmistress Minerva McGonagall, the Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge and his Junior Assistant Percy Weasley, and two Aurors.
Professor Dumbledore took full responsibility for the group, and was to be escorted to the Ministry, where he would be formally charged, and then sent to Azkaban to await trial for conspiracy and sedition. Dumbledore then knocked down the Ministry officials, and left the school undetected. The Ministry passed the Educational Decree Number Twenty-Eight overnight, making Dolores Umbridge Headmistress of Hogwarts.
Under Umbridge, Filch walked around in an extremely good mood. He hummed creakily under his breath, under the prospect of the changes Umbridge had announced him. He was going to be permitted to bring back the "old punishments" and give students whippings, and she asked the Minister for Magic to sign an order for the expulsion of Peeves, the resident Poltergeist. However, the counterattack against Umbridge was now in full force: much of the student body opposed Umbridge and Filch.
On the former's first afternoon as Headmistress, Fred and George Weasley set off an enormous crate of Weasleys' Wildfire Whiz-bangs which spread all over the school. At the end of the day, Umbridge was dishevelled, sweaty-faced and soot-blackened from trying to extinguish the fireworks, and Filch set one of his brooms ablaze when he tried to swat at the fireworks in midair. Harry Potter helped Dean Thomas mess up the clock in the Clock Tower, Colin Creevey sent the Inquisitorial Squad several rude Howlers in chocolate boxes, and Parvati and Padma Patil poured Babbling Beverage onto the loudspeakers.
Sometime after the Easter holidays, Fred and George Weasley set off a Portable Swamp on the Fifth Floor Corridor, and left the school in a blaze of glory. They did not leave instructions on how to remove the swamp and as such, Umbridge and Filch tried fruitlessly different means of removing it. The other teachers, who could have removed the swamp in an instant, preferred instead to watch Umbridge struggle. The area was roped off, and Filch was given the task of getting students across it to their classrooms in a small punt.
Inspired by the twins' legendary flight to freedom, a great number of students wreaked havoc in the school: Lee Jordan put Nifflers into Umbridge's office, which promptly tore the place apart while searching for shiny objects and leapt on Umbridge when she entered, trying to gnaw the rings off her fingers. Dungbombs and Stink Pellets were frequently dropped in the corridors, so that students performed Bubble-Head Charms on themselves to get a supply of fresh air. Due to all those misdeeds, Filch prowled the corridors with a horsewhip ready in his hands, desperate to catch students in the act, but the problem was that there were now so many of them he never knew which way to turn. He was aided by the Inquisitorial Squad, but odd things like antlers sprouting from their heads kept happening to its members.
After the skirmish between Umbridge and the Forbidden Forest centaur herd and the Battle of the Department of Mysteries on 18 June, Umbridge was confined to the Hospital Wing in what Madam Pomfrey said was a case of shock. Umbridge left Hogwarts the day before the end of term, having crept out during dinnertime in hope to depart undetected. She, however, met Peeves on the way, who chased her from the premises, whacking her alternately with Minerva McGonagall's walking stick and a sock full of chalk as the students and teachers watched. Filch brought her her luggage, as she was stopped by a mob of Daily Prophet reporters who took pictures of her escape. Filch was reportedly miserable, as he thought Umbridge was the best thing ever happened to Hogwarts.
Umbridge's Educational Decrees were abolished, as well as her Approval for Whipping, as Albus Dumbledore was reinstated as Headmaster.
1996–1997 school year
- Hermione Granger: "We were all searched when we arrived, weren't we?"
- Harry Potter: "Were you? I wasn't!"
- Hermione Granger: "Oh no, of course you weren't, I forgot you were late. Well, Filch ran over all of us with Secrecy Sensors when we got into the Entrance Hall. Any Dark object would have been found, I know for a fact Crabbe had a shrunken head confiscated. So you see, Malfoy can't have brought in anything dangerous!"
- — Hermione Granger and Harry Potter discussing the new security messures[src]
Now in open war, upon the students' arrival at the school on 1 September, 1996, Filch was charged with checking the students and their possessions for dark objects with Secrecy Sensors. Filch confiscated a shrunken head from Vincent Crabbe. Filch also had the responsibility of checking all the owls to prevent potentially harmful objects from entering the premises. During the Start-of-Term Feast, Albus Dumbledore informed the students that Filch had asked him to remind the them that there was a blanket ban on any joke items bought at Fred and George Weasley's shop, Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes. Filch, however, was hoodwinked by Fred and George's Owl order service, in which their products came disguised as perfumes and cough potions.
After Harry Potter's discovery of the Half-Blood Prince's copy of Advanced Potion-Making he learnt several new spells such as Langlock, a jinx that glued the victim's tongue to the roof of the mouth. Harry cast this jinx, to general applause, on an unsuspecting Argus Filch.
In October, Filch stood as usual in the Entrance Hall checking the names of students who had permission to go in a Hogsmeade weekend trip. The process took longer than normal as Filch triple-checked everybody with his Secrecy Sensor. Ronald Weasley demanded to know what did it matter if the students were smuggling Dark objects out of the premises, and his cheek earned him a few jabs with the Sensor. When the students arrived after the attack on Katie Bell, who had touched a cursed necklace, Filch held his secrecy sensor aloft, but was dismissed by Minerva McGonagall who told him to take the necklace, wrapped in a scarf, to Severus Snape, the expert on Defence Against the Dark Arts.
In the evening of the Slug Club Christmas party, on 20 December, Filch caught Draco Malfoy lurking in an upstairs corridor, most likely going to the Room of Requirement to repair the Vanishing Cabinet. In an excuse to escape punishment, Draco told Filch he had been invited to Professor Slughorn's party, and Filch dragged him by the ear to Slughorn's office to see if his claim was true. Once there, Slughorn said that he had not issued him an invitation. Draco then told Filch that he was trying to gatecrash. Filch said that this did not make him happy, but the look on his face seemed to say otherwise, but as it was Christmas, Slughorn let Draco stay with no punishment.
In the evening of 1 March, 1997, as Rubeus Hagrid was escorting Harry Potter and Hermione Granger from the Hospital Wing where Ronald Weasley stayed after ingesting poisoned mead, Filch came across them threatening the students with detention. Hagrid vouched for them, but Filch rudely undermined Hagrid's authority as a teacher, with Hagrid insulting Filch for being a squib in retaliation. and the two argued loudly as Harry and Hermione hurried off on Hagrid's instruction.Aragog's funeral, Harry Potter, presumably as a consequence of having taken Felix Felicis, strolled the Castle on his way to Hagrid's cabin in the grounds without meeting anyone in his way. Upon arriving at the Entrance Hall, he found that Filch had forgotten to lock the front doors. Harry met Horace Slughorn by the Herbology greenhouses and told him this. The professor said he would be reporting Filch, as "he's more concerned about litter than proper security". As a result, Harry managed to take information from Slughorn about the Horcruxes Voldemort created in order to become immortal, and how he could destroy it.
Filch had been looking for someone to clear out his old punishment files, and when Severus Snape put Harry Potter in detention for hurting Draco Malfoy, he put Harry copying out the misdeeds and punishments afresh and making sure that they were in alphabetical order without the aid of magic.
On 30 June, 1997, a small gang of Death Eaters managed to penetrate the magical protections around the Castle with the help of Draco Malfoy and an assault took place at the Astronomy Tower and the corridors beneath it. Severus Snape joined them, and killed Albus Dumbledore atop the Tower (in fact, Snape was a double agent and was working on Dumbledore's orders, meaning since Dumbledore was already slowly dying, Snape's killing of him was a mercy killing).
In July, Argus Filch attended Dumbledore's funeral in an ancient black suit and tie reeking of mothballs, paying his respects for the man who, despite their opposing views on student punishment, gave him employment as a Squib. During his funeral he sat next to Irma Pince, something Harry Potter took notice of, as he suspected a romantic relationship between the two.
1997–1998 school year
On 1 August, 1997, the Ministry of Magic was taken over by Lord Voldemort's Death Eaters. By 1 September, 1997, Severus Snape was made Headmaster of Hogwarts while his fellow Death Eaters, Alecto Carrow and Amycus Carrow became the Muggle Studies and Defence Against the Dark Arts teachers respectively, as well as Deputy Heads.
The Carrows were put in charge of all discipline and punishments, which were violent, including beatings and placing students under the Cruciatus Curse. Filch was kept working at Hogwarts in his capacity of caretaker. It is unknown what was made of Filch, or even if he was mistreated by the Carrows simply for being a Squib. Apparently, Filch lost some of his duties, as punishment seemed to be given out exclusively by the Carrows and Severus Snape.
In the evening of 1 May, Argus Filch was patrolling the corridors while Harry Potter and Luna Lovegood went to Ravenclaw Tower. Later, after Lord Voldemort gained knowledge from Alecto Carrow that Harry Potter was in the school premises, the Heads of House started conjuring protective enchantments around the school, preparing to fight and waking up students. Filch, unaware of what was happening, came to Professor McGonagall shouting that students were out of bed. Frustrated, McGonagall sent him to do something constructive and find Peeves, for the Poltergeist would be helpful against the Death Eaters. Though clearly thinking that Professor McGonagall had gone insane, Filch complied.
Later on, Filch and Madam Pomfrey oversaw the evacuation procedure of underage students and of those not willing to fight, via the Room of Requirement. The caretaker stayed in the Castle during the battle, although it is unknown how, as a Squib, he participated in the battle: perhaps he stayed to tend to the fighters' injuries or to aid the Hogwarts forces with his extensive knowledge of the Castle layout and secret passages. During the first stage of the battle, Filch was left with a deep gash in his left arm. During the one hour-long interruption in the battle, Filch was at the Great Hall, where his injuries were treated by Horace Slughorn.
When the Death Eaters marched to Hogwarts Castle with Harry Potter's "dead body", Filch stood by Pomona Sprout, Poppy Pomfrey, and Horace Slughorn with a gloomy expression on his face. Battle recommenced shortly afterwards, and it all ended when Lord Voldemort was finally defeated by Harry Potter in the Great Hall.
Immediately after the battle, Filch grimly looked at a large pile of rubble in the Entrance Hall, which he dutifully began trying to sweep up, while the fighters gathered in the Great Hall mourning over the dead, and celebrating over their victory.
After the battle, he returned to his position of caretaker, as he is immediately seen sweeping near the Great Hall. He presumably kept doing what he was used to: punishing the students and arguing with Peeves the Poltergeist, under Headmistress Minerva McGonagall.
Argus Filch was a rheumatic man with hunched-shoulders and a hunchback. He had a horrible, pouchy and pasty face and bulging, pale eyes, along with sunken, veined cheeks. He had thin grey hair and quivery jawls. Skinny-ankled, Filch would usually wheeze and shuffle when walking. He had knobbly hands and whenever he got the flu, a bulbous and unusually purple nose.
Filch usually wore a brown coat, although on special occasions he would wear a mouldy-looking tailcoat or an ancient black suit and tie reeking of mothballs. At night, while not patrolling the corridors, Filch wore an old flannel dressing gown.
Personality and traits
Filch had an extremely unpleasant personality. Despite working at a school, Filch seemed to really hate children, and he was universally despised by all the students, and some members of staff, as well; however, he cared enough about them that he was willing to oversee their escape from the castle when it was threatened. Filch is quite sadistic and delights in doling out punishments, and is always lamenting that he is not allowed to use corporal punishment on students. Filch liked to have the Castle neat and tidy, and was infuriated when students made a mess with potion ingredients, or forgot to wipe their feet.
He was also very domineering and controlling, as demonstrated by the numerous times he asked students what they were doing when they were simply wandering around in what he thought was a suspicious manner.
He seemed to be bitter and embarrassed about not being able to use magic, as is demonstrated when Harry Potter accidentally discovered his Kwikspell letters in 1992. Ron Weasley also suspected that Filch was always in such a foul mood due to his status as a Squib. Filch also had a difficulty in recognising potions, as he did not notice the Love Potions disguised as perfumes and cough potions by the Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, nor did he notice the poisoned mead sent in by Madam Rosmerta (while under the Imperius Curse cast by Draco Malfoy).
- "Sniff around, my sweet, they might be lurking in a corner."
- —Filch talking to Mrs Norris[src]
Filch was very attached to his cat, Mrs Norris. She had dust-coloured fur and yellow, lamp-like eyes. She was said to be highly unpleasant, like her master. Filch had a very strong relationship with his cat; they seemed to have a way of communication, as Mrs Norris usually discovered students breaking rules and Filch always managed to appear on the scene almost seconds later. Filch talked to her and called her "my sweet". When she was Petrified by Salazar Slytherin's Basilisk, Filch was devastated and started sobbing, which made Harry Potter feel slightly sorry for him, though he felt a lot more sorry for himself, fearing he might be expelled.
- "PEEVES! What's this racket? Wake up the whole castle, will you? I'll have you, Peeves, I'll have you, you'll… and what is this? Egg? My sweet! This is a Triwizard clue! This belongs to a school champion! PEEVES! You've been stealing! Hiding, are you? I'm coming to get you, Peeves… You've gone and stolen a Triwizard clue, Peeves… Dumbledore'll have you out of here for this, you filthy, pilfering poltergeist…"
- —Filch's paranoia with Peeves, after Harry Potter (under his Invisibility Cloak) drops his Golden egg[src]
Filch and Peeves, the Poltergeist, were sworn enemies for over twenty-five years. Filch never ceased his futile efforts to get Peeves expelled from the castle, and Peeves never stopped taunting Filch. To annoy Filch, Peeves would trap Mrs Norris in suits of armour, drop chandeliers, play tennis against the Castle walls in the middle of the night, stick wads of gum in keyholes and caused general mayhem, which Filch was later responsible for fixing and cleaning up. It is presumed that this on going war between them continued after the Battle of Hogwarts.
Fred and George Weasley
- George Weasley: "Well… when we were in our first year, Harry — young, carefree, and innocent —"
- Fred Weasley: "— well, more innocent than we are now — we got into a spot of bother with Filch."
- George Weasley: "We let off a Dungbomb in the corridor and it upset him for some reason —"
- Fred Weasley: "So he hauled us off to his office and started threatening us with the usual —"
- George Weasley: "— detention —"
- Fred Weasley: "— disembowelment —"
- George Weasley: "— and we couldn't help noticing a drawer in one of his filing cabinets marked Confiscated and Highly Dangerous."
- — Fred and George to Harry Potter about the trouble they cause Filch[src]
The twins Fred and George Weasley had as bad a relationship with Filch as Filch had had with Peeves ever since their first year. Sometime in 1989 or 1990, Fred and George let off a Dungbomb and were caught by Filch, who took them to his office and threatened them with his usual unpleasant punishments he always had in mind. The twins noticed a filing cabinet marked Confiscated and Highly Dangerous so, curious, they let off another Dungbomb in his office and "nicked" the Marauder's Map, which was stored inside that drawer, from him. The caretaker had punished them many times during their Hogwarts years, for their trouble-making. Among his many file cabinets documenting the punishments he handed out over the years, Filch had an entire drawer dedicated to the twins. Upon the opening of the Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, Filch has placed a blanket ban on all the joke items that could be purchased at their shop, but the twins managed to sneak past security by disguising all their Love Potions as cough potions and perfumes.
Although Filch disliked most students, Harry Potter was one of those he disliked most. In 1991, Harry and Ron managed to get on Filch's bad side on their very first day at Hogwarts School, when he and Ronald Weasley got lost and inadvertently tried to enter the out-of-bounds Third-floor corridor. The next school year, Filch was furious when Harry learnt that he was a Squib. Then, he believed that Harry was the one who petrified Mrs Norris, Filch's cat, as he was one of the few people who knew he was a Squib. During the next years, Harry disliked Filch even more, especially when the caretaker took the side of Dolores Umbridge, during Harry's fifth year. However, Filch, in a way, helped Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix defeat the Death Eaters, as he helped McGonagall call Peeves during the Battle of Hogwarts. During the Battle, when the Death Eaters marched towards the Castle with Harry's "dead body", he stood grimly by Horace Slughorn, Pomona Sprout, and Poppy Pomfrey, presumably because he knew Harry's death meant the victory of the Death Eaters.
As Dolores Umbridge was a sadist who enjoyed torturing students, Filch could relate to her views on a number of levels. Also, as Umbridge granted Filch permission to torture misbehaving students, whereas Dumbledore would never even think of such things, he had loyalty to her. He is the only person who liked her at the school.
Umbridge had gone through great lengths to gain Filch's loyalty, such as giving him permission to torture, and to have Peeves dismissed, due to Filch's knowledge around the school's secret passageways being second only to the Weasley twins. Otherwise, she didn't seem to like him much, telling him not to Stun some enchanted fireworks and having it explode all over the place, when it was in fact her own doing.
As Severus Snape is a strict and somewhat cruel teacher, Filch respects that and acts a loyal subordinate to him. They both love to give students a hard time, unfair punishments, and cruel aspects of such punishments. Snape, however, does not show much respect to the caretaker, and simply treats him as a minion. Also, while Snape gives leniency to the Slytherin, Filch sees no such mercy with any of the students. Filch was also caretaker when Snape was a student at Hogwarts. The two also share a particular dislike of Harry Potter.
During his tenure as Headmaster, Snape kept Filch working at Hogwarts despite his status as a Squib. It is unknown whether this was for his loyalty to Snape, his long years of service to the school, or his ability to catch troublemakers through his extensive knowledge of the Castle's secrets.
- Hermione Granger: "She'll ban you from the library if you're not careful. Why did you have to bring that stupid book?"
- Harry Potter: "It's not my fault she's barking mad, Hermione. Or d'you think she overheard you being rude about Filch? I've always thought there might be something between them…"
- — Harry Potter speculates about a relationship between Pince and Filch[src]
Harry Potter once speculated that there was "something going on" romantically between Filch and Irma Pince, the equally ancient and irascible Hogwarts librarian. It is possible that he only said this in jest, however they were seen at Dumbledore's funeral together, and this seems to imply that they are involved with each other.
Filch's relationship with most professors is unknown. The only thing that is known is that he respects many of them, and does what they say without question. Most of the staff appeared to dislike Filch's grumpy and antipathetic personality, such as Minerva McGonagall, who could often be irritated by his behaviour, and Horace Slughorn, who intended to report him for being more concerned about cleaning up than with the students' security. Slughorn seemed to have, however, put their differences aside when he tended to Filch's injuries during the Battle of Hogwarts. Others, like Pomona Sprout were sympathetic and kind towards him.
Filch also appeared to respect Headmaster Albus Dumbledore very much. Dumbledore appeared to like Filch, although the latter was unpleasant. When Filch's cat, Mrs Norris, was petrified, Dumbledore seemed to care about Filch and his cat. However, Filch did always plead to Dumbledore to permit corporeal punishments on the students, a request that was never granted, which became a primary reason why Filch preferred Umbridge as head of the school.
Filch disliked Rubeus Hagrid, the Gamekeeper and later Care of Magical Creatures professor. Filch thought that Hagrid was an oaf, and he also told Mrs Norris, his cat, to watch Hagrid when he entered the castle. Filch also did not care for Hagrid as a professor and treated him as if he were inferior, possibly because he was half-giant. Hagrid, on his side, insulted Filch, calling him "that old git", and a "sneakin' Squib", when the latter insulted him.
The name "Argus" comes from Greek mythology, where it was the name of a giant with one hundred eyes who served the goddess Hera as a watchman (much like Mr Filch's role in patrolling the hallways of Hogwarts). His surname, "Filch", is an English word meaning "to steal", usually in a sneaky manner.
Behind the scenes
- Filch is portrayed by British actor David Bradley in the film adaptations of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows: Part 2.
- Filch's role in the films is much the same as his role in the books, though in the fourth movie, he was used more as a comic relief character. He was seen setting off the cannon to signal the start of a Triwizard task too early, dancing with his cat, and running into the Great Hall in a bizarre manner. He was also present with Mrs Norris as Professor McGonagall conducted a dance lesson, and played the tune "Neville's Waltz" from the album Wizard Waltz for her. Similarly, in the fifth movie, Filch is constantly making unsuccessful attempts to uncover Dumbledore's Army, and is jinxed with exploding boils by Fred and George Weasley. In the final film instalment, Filch is once again a more comedic role: screaming that students are out of bed shortly after the ousting of Severus Snape, and attempting to sweep a huge pile of rubble with his broom immediately after the Battle.
- The films omit Peeves the Poltergeist, and so Filch's ongoing war with him is omitted also.
- Filch's status as a Squib is not mentioned for most of the films — the scene when Harry discovers it in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was deleted from the final cut. In the sixth film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Draco refers to the caretaker's Squib status when Filch catches him in the corridor and brings him into Slughorn's Christmas party.
- In the early Harry Potter films, Filch is seen supporting the Slytherin Quidditch team during matches.
- Filch plays a minor role in LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4. He is generally just an obstacle, introduced in "The Restricted Section" level. In most levels involving Filch, he would walk around waving his lantern, unless Mrs Norris, his cat, meowed at the player. This would cause Filch to run up to the player who attracted Mrs Norris and strangle them. While being attacked, the player must switch characters and jinx the cat, causing Filch to run away and search the nearest exit. In one bonus level, Filch and Ron must work on a team to make a Polyjuice Potion, and get a Gold Brick from a Slytherin-Only Door. Being a Squib, Filch cannot do any magic and has only two actions: mêlée with his lantern, and unleash Mrs Norris, who can dig and jump over far areas.
- Despite the fact that Filch never directly participated in the Battle of Hogwarts in the book, he appears to have participated in some measure in the film. In a deleted scene, he was seen locking up all of the Slytherin students in the dungeons, although they were all freed when the dungeons were damaged in an explosion. He is seen later being tended by Horace Slughorn, where Filch apparently suffered a significant gash to his arm.
- In the PC version of the video game adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, when Harry is escaping from the library after seeing the Mirror of Erised, he claims to have "locked the only door out of there". Said door (actually a secret passage concealed behind a bookcase) is obviously magically locked. How Filch accomplished this is unclear, given his status as a Squib.
- Interestingly, Filch's love of medieval punishments would finally be achieved when the actor who played him in the films, David Bradley, would go on to play Lord Walder Frey in the famous Game of Thrones television series. In the show, Frey was a grouchy, temperamental man (much like Filch), and committed one of the most violent acts on television, the Red Wedding, where he oversaw the brutal murders of Robb Stark and his army. He also had Catlyn Stark killed, whose actress ironically also played Hermione Granger's mother in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (video game) (Appears on Collectible Cards)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- LEGO Harry Potter: Building the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter: Characters of the Magical World
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- LEGO Harry Potter
- J. K. Rowling's Official Site (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter Trading Card Game
- The Making of Harry Potter
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault
- LEGO Dimensions (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery
Notes and references
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 McGonagall says in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 30 (The Sacking of Severus Snape), that Filch has been working at Hogwarts for "a quarter of a century". This means he was already of age (17) by 1973.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 9 (The Writing on the Wall)
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 7 (The Sorting Hat)
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 14 (Percy and Padfoot)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 12 (The Mirror of Erised)
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 30 (The Sacking of Severus Snape)
- ↑ South West News Service interview with JKR
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 31 (The Third Task)
- ↑ 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 8 (The Potions Master)
- ↑ 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 8 (The Deathday Party)
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 24 (Sectumsempra)
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 9 (The Midnight Duel)
- ↑ Writing by J.K. Rowling: "The Marauder's Map" at Pottermore
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 10 (The Marauder's Map)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film) - Chapter 12 (Sorting Hat)
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 11 (Quidditch)
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 14 (Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback)
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 18.2 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 15 (The Forbidden Forest)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 7 (Mudbloods And Murmurs)
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 13 (The Very Secret Diary)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film) - Chapter 36
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 18 (Dobby's Reward)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 5 (The Dementor)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film) - Chapter 8 (Welcome and Warning)
- ↑ 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 8 (Flight of the Fat Lady)
- ↑ 26.0 26.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film) - Chapter 14 (Substitute Teacher)
- ↑ 27.0 27.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 14 (Snape's Grudge)
- ↑ 28.0 28.1 28.2 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 11 (The Firebolt)
- ↑ 29.0 29.1 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 12 (The Triwizard Tournament)
- ↑ 30.0 30.1 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 15 (Beauxbatons and Durmstrang)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 16 (The Goblet of Fire)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 2 (The Scar)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
- ↑ 34.0 34.1 34.2 34.3 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 25 (The Egg and the Eye)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 35 (Veritaserum)
- ↑ 36.0 36.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 11 (The Sorting Hat's New Song)
- ↑ 37.0 37.1 37.2 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 18 (Dumbledore's Army)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 15 (The Hogwarts High Inquisitor)
- ↑ 40.0 40.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 17 (Educational Decree Number Twenty-Four)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 16 (In The Hog's Head)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 25 (The Beetle at Bay)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 26 (Seen and Unforeseen)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 27 (The Centaur and the Sneak)
- ↑ 45.0 45.1 45.2 45.3 45.4 45.5 45.6 45.7 45.8 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 28 (Snape's Worst Memory)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- ↑ 47.0 47.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 29 (Careers Advice)
- ↑ 48.0 48.1 48.2 48.3 48.4 48.5 48.6 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 30 (Grawp)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 31 (O.W.L.s)
- ↑ 50.0 50.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 38 (The Second War Begins)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 11 (Hermione's Helping Hand)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 8 (Snape Victorious)
- ↑ 53.0 53.1 53.2 53.3 53.4 53.5 53.6 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 15 (The Unbreakable Vow)
- ↑ 54.0 54.1 54.2 54.3 54.4 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 12 (Silver and Opals)
- ↑ 55.0 55.1 55.2 55.3 55.4 55.5 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 19 (Elf Tails)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 21 (The Unknowable Room)
- ↑ 57.0 57.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 22 (After the Burial)
- ↑ 58.0 58.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 27 (The Lightning-Struck Tower)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 33 (The Prince's Tale)
- ↑ 60.0 60.1 60.2 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 30 (The White Tomb)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 8 (The Wedding)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 12 (Magic is Might)
- ↑ 63.0 63.1 63.2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 29 (The Lost Diadem)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 21 (The Tale of the Three Brothers)
- ↑ 65.0 65.1 65.2 65.3 65.4 65.5 65.6 65.7 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 36 (The Flaw in the Plan)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 7 (The Boggart in the Wardrobe)