The Heartbreaking History of Nearly Headless Nick

As you know, Hogwarts has many, many ghosts that have a home at the school. One of the ghosts is the Gryffindor ghost, Nearly Headless Nick. Today we are going to dive in deep with the heartbreaking, tragic story of how he died, some information about him, and even a sneaky interview with him at the end.

He attended Hogwarts years back and was placed into Gryffindor house. He was also a wizard of the royal court as an adult (very fancy). Unfortunately, his death resulted in incomplete decapitation, which is why he is commonly known as Nearly Headless Nick.

Very little is known about Nicholas’ childhood—he doesn’t really like to discuss it when we talk to him. He lived in the 15th century, and was born somewhere in the British Isles. After he turned 11, he hopped off to Hogwarts School and started learning about witchcraft and wizardry. It wasn’t clear to us what subjects he was great in, but he was definitely awful at transfiguration…

Nicholas openly spoke with a lot of Muggles as an adult. He was actually knighted by King Henry VII! (He must have been great at hiding his magical identity.) He was quite the opposite of Muggle-haters. In fact, he got on really well with them.

Now, huddle round kids, grab your popcorn and get comfy, as this is the part where it all gets interesting. Story time!

One night, Sir Nicholas decided he was going to have a stroll in the park, not knowing that was going to be the last stroll in the park he would ever do… On his stroll, he met Lady Grieve, he noticed her extremely crooked teeth, and he couldn’t help but try and straighten them. His attempt however, backfired, and she then grew tusks. This landed him in jail, where he was sentenced to death. His wand was even taken away, which meant he was stuck with no chance of escaping.

The following day was execution day! As the executioner told him to kneel down before the block, he became a wreck. He was freaking out about it all—I mean, wouldn’t you?! The executioner’s axe happened to be extremely blunt, and they couldn’t sharpen it at that time. So this meant as they chopped his head off, it took 45 swings to kill poor, old Sir Nicholas. Even then, his head was only partially cut off. It still hung on by a few stray bits of skin and muscle (sorry, that’s kind of gory).

Sir Nicholas decided he would prefer to linger in the world than move on, as he feared death. His home became Hogwarts, in Gryffindor tower. He is now stuck there for his afterlife. We decided we would interview him and ask him some questions about his life as a ghost.

“What can I say? I haven’t eaten for nearly five-hundred years. I don’t need to, of course, but one does miss it. I can’t really go anywhere either; I have to stay here all the time, and it gets pretty boring. If I would have known now what the afterlife is like, I would have chosen death. Anything would be better than this,” he told the Quibbler on Tuesday morning.

But as he is fond of informing anyone who will listen, “Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington at your service. Resident ghost of Gryffindor Tower.”

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