Too often in the books and movies, however, he’s portrayed in ableist tropes and made to be a figure of vague fun. I’m thinking of all the times JKR described him simply as “tiny” or wrote that he “squeaked” something. In the film of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, I cringed at the Yule Ball scene that had the students passing Flitwick overhead—an image I found all too reminiscent of “dwarf-tossing,” which many little people oppose, although actor Warwick Davis apparently proposed the scene to the director as a fun “crowd-surfing” moment for Flitwick.
In the Epithalamium series, I wanted to explore Flitwick further and concocted a detailed backstory for him. Ultimately, I wasn’t able to use much of what I conceived in the stories, but I was pleased to include him as one of Albus’s best friends.
Here, then, is the full backstory for “my” version of Filius Flitwick.
Born: 16 April 1884Blood status: Half-blood
Wand: Red oak & unicorn hair, 11″, flexible
Patronus: Black mambaHeight: 3′6″Build: MediumHair: Brown, later greyEyes: BrownSkin: Beige
Persephone Flitwick (née Worme) † (wife)Hesione Flitwick † (daughter)Adele Flitwick (née Swann) † (mother)Honorius Flitwick (father)Agatha Flitwick (sister)John Longbottom (brother-in-law) †Cornelius Longbottom (nephew)Harfang Longbottom (nephew)Gerontius Flitwick (grandfather) †Agnitha Lek-Ragnok (grandmother) †
Filius Frederick Flitwick was born on 16 April 1884 in London, England, the second child of Honorius Flitwick, a half-blood wizard, and Adele Flitwick (née Swann), a Muggle-born witch. His older sister, Agatha, had been born in 1882.
Honorius, though a brilliant wizard, worked in a low-level position in the Ministry of Magic’s Department of Transportation connecting wizarding homes to the Floo Network. As the child of a wizard, Gerontius, and a Goblin, Agnitha Lek-Ragnok, who could not legally marry, Honorius was considered illegitimate and a “half-breed”, and was subject to much discrimination.
Despite Honorius’s inability to advance in his Ministry career, the Flitwick family enjoyed financial stability, thanks to an inheritance from Filius’s mother’s family, who had made a fortune in coal mining, and Filius and his sister were afforded many of the advantages of growing up relatively wealthy in Victorian London, despite the family’s vaguely outcast status. Honorius and Adele were loving and attentive parents and made sure Filius and Agatha had happy childhoods.
During his early years, however, it became apparent that Filius would face other challenges. He was consistently smaller than his peers, and it was clear that, unlike his father and sister (who were considered on the small side of “normal” height), Filius had inherited his short stature from his Goblin grandmother. His parents, however, treated him no differently from their first child. They taught Filius to stand up for himself and not to let the prejudices and ableism of Muggle and wizarding society stand in his way.
Filius and Agatha knew of their Goblin heritage and were taught not to be ashamed of it, but it was rarely spoken of in the Flitwick household. Honorius’s childhood had been a difficult one; he did not know his mother, whose family had prevented her from raising her child and wanted nothing to do with him or Gerontius. The Flitwick family never met their Goblin relatives.
Filius and Agatha received a solid early education from their mother and from magical tutors, including extensive music lessons, which Filius in particular enjoyed. Although the smallness of his hands precluded any great achievements in instrumental musical performance, he learned to play the piano, the violin, and the flute and developed an interest in conducting at an early age.
In 1895, an anxious Honorius and Adele saw eleven-year-old Filius off on the Hogwarts Express to begin his official magical education. The Sorting Hat debated for several minutes between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw House for Filius, but in the end, it placed him in the latter.
He did well in all his classes and excelled in several, including Ancient Runes, Charms, Defence Against the Dark Arts, and Transfiguration. He found Potions the most challenging, but he worked hard to improve, and of the six N.E.W.T.s he eventually earned, his Exceeds Expectations in Potions was the one of which he was most proud.
In general, Filius enjoyed his classes and was well liked by most of his teachers, although the Arithmancy mistress held a deep prejudice against him due to his Goblin blood and treated him unfairly, which led him to drop the subject in his fifth year.
Young Filius found it difficult to make friends, due to his differences from the other students, and he often found himself the butt of cruel jokes and even hexes and jinxes from some students. Although unfortunate, this maltreatment had one positive effect: it led Filius to develop a prodigious capacity for defensive magic, and he would eventually become one of England’s top amateur duellists.
Filius’s magical abilities and his academic achievements brought him to the attention of Hogwarts’s most famous student of the era, Albus Dumbledore. Dumbledore, a Gryffindor and three years ahead of Flitwick, was considered the most brilliant scholar Hogwarts had ever had. Like Filius, he had had a rocky start at the school, due to his family’s infamy (his father was imprisoned in Azkaban for torturing Muggles), and, once he’d been accepted by his peers, he’d made it a mission to support and befriend other outcasts.
Despite their age difference, Filius and Albus became fast friends, thanks to their intellectual and magical interests and compatible personalities. Albus helped Filius with his Potions work, and he and Filius played chess, often joined by Albus’s good friend and classmate, Elphias Doge.
Albus also helped Filius develop his defensive magic. When the pair began duelling for fun, word quickly spread, and other students began to watch the exciting matches. Filius and Albus’s recreational duels eventually paved the way for the Hogwarts Duelling Club, which was established by new DADA mistress Galatea Merrythought in 1898 after she witnessed a friendly duel between the pair.
During Filius’s two N.E.W.T. years, he had begun experimenting with creating new charms, and he often surprised and delighted his professors with his innovative work. By the time he finished Hogwarts, Filius knew he wanted to pursue advanced studies in the field of Charms. He had often found that a cleverly applied charm could help when he was confronted with a world that didn’t quite fit him.
As his studies continued, he discovered that he enjoyed both the theoretical and practical sides of the discipline, and from his early years, he often worked on improving existing charms to make them more efficient, simpler, or longer lasting. Among the most important of these, from a practical perspective, was his variation on the common Levitation Charm which allowed him to self-Levitate while remaining upright and in control of his movements.
In 1902, Filius went to Istanbul to do a mastery in Charms at the University of Constantinople (which had split off from the Muggle university after the fall of Constantinople in 1453) and continued on to receive a doctorate in Charms in 1906.
Shortly after arriving in Istanbul, Filius met a young German witch, Persephone Worme, who was studying Astronomy at the university. The pair became friends, and then lovers. Filius had never been in love before, and he was utterly smitten with the young witch. Although he wanted to marry her, he was reluctant to ask her, afraid that she would turn him down for fear of having children with the same obvious Goblin ancestry as their father. Filius was stunned but overjoyed when Persephone finally proposed marriage to him, telling him she didn’t care if their children were two feet or ten feet tall.
In the summer of 1904, the couple wed in a small ceremony at Persephone’s family home near Leipzig. The wedding was attended by Filius’s parents; however, to his sorrow, his sister Agatha did not attend. The previous year, she had married a pure-blood wizard, John Longbottom, who encouraged her to hide her Goblin ancestry, leading to an estrangement between Agatha and Filius that would last until her death of leukaemia in 1929. Sadly, Filius never got to know his nephews, Cornelius and Harfang, who rebuffed his attempts at reconciliation.
Filius and Persephone settled happily into a tiny flat in Istanbul and continued their studies. In 1906, they were over the moon when they welcomed a daughter, whom they named Hesione. Filius was a doting father and could often be found walking with his wife and infant daughter along the banks of the Dâmbovița in Bucharest, where they had relocated when Filius, doctorate in hand, had been hired by the International Confederation of Wizards, which was headquartered in the Romanian capital.
His job was to investigate and advise the international body on protective charms to prevent large-scale breaches of the International Statute of Secrecy. Filius found the work challenging and enjoyable, and he and his little family integrated contentedly into life in the city, which was enjoying an extended renaissance under the rule of Romania’s Muggle King Carol I.
In 1913, Filius had to return briefly to England after the sudden death of his mother in a broom accident. Saddened, he returned to Romania and was soon cheered by the support of his wife and the enjoyment he got from watching his daughter grow and develop.
Sadly, this happiness was not to last.
It’s unknown where in Eastern Europe the first case of dragon pox arose in 1914, but by the time it reached Bucharest in 1915, the deadly disease had become epidemic in the region, thanks in part to the displacement of mages and Muggles that had resulted from the Balkan wars.
Recognising the danger, Filius and Agatha tried to leave the city, but the boarders had closed for mages, and all legal methods of emigration from the area were blocked.
Hesione was the first to fall ill, on 30 April 1915. Persephone and Filius cared for her as best they could, but the city’s magical hospital was overrun and could offer no help. Filius watched helplessly as his daughter and then his wife grew increasingly sick and weak while he himself remained well.
Persephone and Hesione died within hours of one another on 4 May 1915. An exhausted and grief-stricken Filius sat with the corpses for three days, not leaving their flat, eating, or drinking, until a colleague from the International Confederation came to see why he had not turned up for work and found him nearly unconscious with hunger and thirst.
The colleague arranged for hasty burials and took Filius to his own flat, caring for the distraught man until he could once again look after himself.
Over the ensuing months, Filius endured a deep depression and turned to alcohol to dull his pain. Although he never became incapacitated by it, he would remain, essentially, a functioning alcoholic for the remainder of his life.
As the epidemic waned and travel restrictions eased, Filius decided to leave Bucharest, which—aside from being a constant reminder of his former happiness—was increasingly threatened by the tensions that would eventually explode into the conflict that became World War I.
In early 1916, he made his way back to London and called on noted Charms master Hektor Gamp, whom he had met at several conferences. Gamp ran a research laboratory at Mallory College, the magical constituent of the University of Oxford, and Filius asked him for a position as a researcher, which Gamp was happy to provide. The pair would spend the next ten years studying complex charms, developing new spells, and mentoring doctoral students.
At Oxford, Filius renewed his friendship with Albus Dumbledore, who was there starting up a new Transfiguration programme with his colleague Griselda Marchbanks.
Filius and Albus quickly became close again, each having endured terrible heartache since their Hogwarts years. Albus confided in Filius that his sister, who had been disabled by an attack by Muggle boys, had accidentally killed their mother and then died herself under Albus’s watch. Filius told Albus of his feelings of guilt for having “trapped” his wife and child in Bucharest to be sickened in the dragon pox epidemic.
Filius was pleased to have Albus as a friend again, but he was often lonely and wished he could charm women as easily as Albus seemed to. Filius secretly envied his friend’s amorous successes, but he also worried that Albus would never find the kind of real love he himself had enjoyed, however briefly.
Albus left Oxford in 1917 to work with alchemist Nicolas Flamel, but he and Filius stayed in touch over the ensuing years, and Filius was proud of his friend’s subsequent successes and his growing fame.
During this period, Filius took up competitive duelling once again, surprising enthusiasts, many of whom underestimated his power and prowess, by winning the All-England Championships in 1920 through 1926, and bringing home the World Championship for England in 1924.
Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Dumbledore, who had become a teacher and Deputy Headmaster at Hogwarts, invited Filius to officiate as a guest referee at the school’s Inter-House Duelling Championship.
In 1944, Filius witnessed a duel between seventh-year Gryffindor Minerva McGonagall and fifth-year Slytherin Tom Riddle that ended in the only tie ever recorded in the tournament’s history. It was clear to Filius that Riddle had performed an unusual and highly illegal Legilimens spell on McGonagall, but Filius was puzzled when Albus prevented young Riddle’s crime from being exposed. Dumbledore later confided to Filius that though he believed Riddle to be a dangerous young man, he, Albus, had acted primarily to protect Minerva from having to testify about the Legilimency.
Filius suspected that his friend had personal reasons for protecting Miss McGonagall, but he didn’t voice them and tucked them away in the back of his mind.
During late 1943 and 1944, the Ministry of Magic began to collaborate with the Muggle Allied forces to bring about an Allied victory in World War II. Dumbledore, who was working with the Ministry, asked Filius to help him with his work on Operation Fortitude, the Allied strategy to deceive the German forces that the long-awaited Allied invasion of the Continent would occur either in Norway or at Pas de Calais rather than at the real invasion site at Normandy.
Over several months, Filius developed and perfected complex, interactive charms to make the objects and animals Dumbledore Transfigured appear to be aircraft, tanks, and a small force of soldiers to fool German spies into believing the Allies were gathering an invasion force in southern England. Their ruse was successful and played an important role in the ultimate success of the D-Day invasion at Normandy.
In 1926, Filius left Oxford to strike out on his own as an independent Charms master, providing specialised charms for businesses and individuals around Britain and taking on a series of apprentices. He quickly secured a regular position consulting for the British Ministry of Magic on security charms, which provided a steady income, supplemented by the healthy inheritance he received after the death of his father in 1935.
Over the years, Filius had maintained his interest in music, and, in his spare time, he studied conducting and arranging with Scottish composer Sir John Blackwood McEwen and joined the choir of Worcester Cathedral under the direction of celebrated choirmaster and organist Sir Ivor Atkins.
Always gregarious and interested in other people, Filius made many friends and acquaintances across professions during this period and delighted in providing introductions whenever he felt they might enjoy or help one another.
In the summer of 1956, Albus Dumbledore became the Headmaster of Hogwarts, and, eager to replace an ageing and ineffective Charms master, Herbert Burke, asked Filius to take the position. He also asked Filius to become Deputy Headmaster, wanting his deputy to be someone he could trust with the school’s secrets and with whom he had a good personal rapport.
Ready for a change, Filius was happy to take the teaching position; however, he was less certain about becoming Deputy Headmaster. He appreciated Albus’s trust, but Filius had never enjoyed the administrative aspect of any of his previous jobs. Moreover, the deputy position would require him to live in Hogwarts Castle, and he was unsure if he wanted to make such a large lifestyle change.
Albus persuaded him by telling him that, if he didn’t like the deputy post, he could serve only a year or two, until Albus could find someone else who would fit the bill. Filius agreed, and in August 1956, he moved his things into the Deputy Head’s suite in the castle.
Somewhat to his surprise, he found he enjoyed life in the Scottish Highlands. It was pleasantly peaceful after the bustle of the big cities he had always lived in, and he found himself taking many walks around the grounds, noticing interesting plants and wildlife for the first time in his life.
Living in the castle turned out to be an equally pleasant change for Filius. His quarters were roomy compared with the series of flats he had occupied in London, and Albus gave him free rein to use any of the castle’s many empty rooms for any magical experiments he wanted to do.
Best of all, however, were the students. At Oxford, and as an independent Charms master, Filius had taught many upper-level pupils and apprentices, but he found an especial delight in introducing younger magical practitioners to the art and science of his discipline. The pleasures of teaching a strong young mage to control their magic or helping a child with an undeveloped magical talent find their footing were many, Filius found. He was reinvigorated by their youth and energy and relished living among them.
As Deputy Headmaster, Filius took charge of the castle whenever Albus was away, and performed the Headmaster’s duties in Albus’s place. He was instrumental in helping Albus improve the school’s security measures after he had discovered Tom Riddle wandering about the castle in 1957. Filius was aware of Albus’s suspicions that the young man was a Dark wizard, and, at Albus’s request, Filius put in place special charms to monitor the various secret passages into and out of the school. Albus and Filius completed yearly audits of the castle’s protections to ensure the safety of the students and staff.
As he’d expected, Filius didn’t love the paperwork and other administrative duties that came with being deputy, nor did he like attending meetings of the Hogwarts Board of Governors, a number of whom were snobbish, if not outright rude to him. Nevertheless, he did enjoy helping Albus revise curricula and select new teachers.
With the retirement of Herbology master Herbert Beery in 1963, Dumbledore found himself also in need of a new Head for Ravenclaw House. Filius agreed to take on the position with the proviso that he be permitted to step down from his duties as Deputy Headmaster.
It was with a sigh of relief that he relinquished the Deputy Head’s quarters to Minerva McGonagall that autumn and moved into chambers in Ravenclaw Tower.
He loved being a Head of House and guiding young Ravenclaws in both their academic pursuits and helping them with personal difficulties. He became a mentor to several students, including future Minister for Magic Kingsley Shacklebolt, who had lost his father at a young age and came to regard Filius as a father figure.
Minerva McGonagall was among the staff Filius had helped hire during his time as Deputy Headmaster. After she joined the faculty in December 1956, Filius got to know her, and they became friends, sharing their quick wits and inquisitive natures. Minerva, who had been an Auror for several years, had also kept up with her duelling, and Albus prevailed upon her and Filius to provide a demonstration of competitive duelling to the students, establishing a tradition that continued for several years.
An observant man, Filius recognised early on the attraction between Albus and Minerva, and he encouraged Albus to pursue her, although he was shocked when Albus confessed to him that he had had an affair with Minerva when she had still been a student. Nevertheless, Filius was pleased when the pair married in December of 1957, and he was one of the very few guests at their wedding.
Filius got on well with all his colleagues. He and Potions Master and Slytherin Head Horace Slughorn quickly became friends and could often be found on a Sunday afternoon enjoying a butterbeer or two at the Three Broomsticks and keeping an eye on students visiting Hogsmeade.
Julian Meadowes, Hogwarts’s Defence master when Filius first joined the staff, became another friend; he was extremely knowledgeable about Dark magic, and Filius enjoyed discussing the topic with him. Filius was saddened when Julian went suddenly and inexplicably blind in November 1957 but was happy to be able to connect him with an acquaintance who specialised in training disabled mages in using special charms to help them navigate the Muggle and wizarding worlds.
When Pomona Sprout joined the staff in 1963 as Herbology mistress and Head of Hufflepuff, the pair formed a close bond. Filius enjoyed picking her brain about his newfound interest in plants, and he was happy to develop charms that would help her with the considerable work of keeping up Hogwarts’s greenhouses and gardens. In the summer of1969, the pair would even travel to Asia together to explore the region’s unique plants and animals.
Although Filius did not become especially close to the Head of Gryffindor House, Arithmancy professor Diophantus Lemmas, they enjoyed a friendly and collegial relationship until Lemmas’s retirement in 1978.
Lemmas’s successor as Arithmancy professor, Septima Vector, was a brilliant witch in her early forties. Filius was attracted by her intelligence and her undeniable beauty, but Septima held herself a bit aloof from the rest of the staff, and Filius was unsure if he should attempt to court a witch so much younger than himself.
They slowly got to know one another over teas in the staff room, chess games, and long discussions about music, which Septima also loved. She eventually confided to Filius that she had had an unhappy marriage when she was quite young, and Filius shared with her his heartache over the deaths of his wife and daughter. Septima found herself drawn to the kind, funny, brilliant wizard, and eventually, they became lovers. The couple enjoyed a long, but quiet, relationship that would last for the remainder of Filius’s life.
Septima encouraged Filius to pursue his interest in music and to begin composing his own work, and, in the early 1980s, to begin a student choir at Hogwarts.
A witch of Indian heritage, she also introduced him to the Carnatic music of India, and she enjoyed accompanying Filius on her chitravina. Filius became fascinated by the Sangita-Ratnakara, a thirteenth-century text on music and dance, and he studied Sanskrit in order to read it in the original language.
The rise of Voldemort and his Death Eaters in the 1970s troubled Filius, and when Albus Dumbledore started his Order of the Phoenix organisation to fight them, Filius was eager to join.
Albus, however, persuaded him not to. He told Filius that it would be crucial to their cause to have someone at Hogwarts who was ostensibly neutral but on the side of the Light. Because Ravenclaw students historically got on well with Slytherins, Filius was able to keep a close eye on students at risk of being drawn into Death-Eater circles and tried to guide them in a better direction. This was especially important, as the Slytherin Head, Horace Slughorn, preferred to stay out of any conflicts and avoided involving himself in his students personal lives.
Among Filius’s greatest regrets was his inability to prevent Severus Snape, a talented but misguided young Slytherin, from falling under the influence of the Death Eaters.
Filius was surprised when, after the end of the war, Albus hired Snape to teach Potions and, even more surprising, to lead Slytherin House after the retirement of Horace Slughorn.
Albus assured Filius of his certainty that the young man had turned his allegiance from Voldemort, and confided that he wanted Severus as a spy, which would be essential if, as he believed would happen, Voldemort returned to bring more strife to the wizarding world.
Filius sought to befriend and mentor Severus; however, the young man at first resisted all friendly overtures. Eventually, however, Severus came to admire Filius and appreciated his kindness and offers of friendship, even if he did not fully accept them. They shared the occasional drink and chess game, and Filius quietly let Severus know he could count on Filius for support in the difficult times to come.
Shortly after dinner on 30 June 1997, Filius received a note from Minerva telling him that Albus would be away from the castle that evening and that she needed Filius and the other senior staff members to help patrol the castle and ensure its security.
Later that evening, Filius was discussing with Minerva the charms that secured the passages into and out of the school when she received a Patronus from Order member Remus Lupin saying that Death Eaters had breached the school’s defences and appeared to be headed for the Astronomy Tower. She sent Filius to find Severus, who had not responded to her earlier summons, and bring him to join the castle’s defenders.
An agitated Filius went first to the dungeons, and, ignoring the surprising presence of students Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood lurking there, hurried into Snape’s office, telling him he was needed to help fight Death Eaters at the Astronomy Tower.
Snape Stunned Filius, leaving him unconscious on his office floor. When Filius regained consciousness a few minutes later, he told Hermione and Luna, whom Snape had sent to aid him, to get to their common rooms. Despite dizziness from having hit his head when he fell, he went to join the fight.
By the time he reached the Astronomy Tower, however, the battle was over. On the way to the Great Hall, where he assumed everyone would be, he met Pomona and Horace, who had been seeing to the safety of the students. The trio were startled to run into a weeping Hagrid coming out of the Great Hall. When Hagrid informed them that Dumbledore was dead, murdered by Snape, a still-dizzy Filius swayed on his feet and nearly collapsed again.
After a brief rest, at Pomona’s and Horace’s insistence, the trio joined Minerva, Hagrid, and members of the Order of the Phoenix in the infirmary, where they discussed the terrible situation.
Dumbledore’s murder shook Filius deeply. He could hardly believe that Severus Snape, the man they had trusted as a spy, had fooled them all so completely. In his heart, he held a glimmer of hope that it was a ruse and that Snape and Dumbledore had cooked up a scheme to make it seem as if Snape had done it, but Filius told himself not to be foolish and to face the unpleasant facts as they were.
After Dumbledore’s funeral, Filius joined the remainder of the staff in helping Minerva, now interim Headmistress, prepare the school for the upcoming term with additional security in place. Everything changed, however, in the small hours of 1 August, when they received word that the Ministry of Magic had fallen to Voldemort’s forces and that wizarding Britain was now under the Dark Lord’s control.
Neither Filius nor anyone else at Hogwarts knew what this would portend for the school, but he, Minerva, Pomona, and Horace determined that, if they could, they would stay and maintain Hogwarts as a sanctuary for any students who wished to come.
When they heard that Voldemort had appointed Snape Headmaster, most of the Hogwarts staff planned to leave; however, the four Heads of House, including Filius, made heartfelt pleas to them to stay and help protect and educate the children. Filius was proud and pleased when every staff member elected to remain at their post, with the exception of Muggle Studies teacher Charity Burbage, who had disappeared during the summer, murdered, as it would turn out, by Voldemort for her pro-Muggle stance.
Life under the new regime was grim. Newly appointed staff members, Death Eaters Alecto and Amycus Carrow, carried out terrible punishments against the students, despite the rest of the staff’s efforts to stop them. Filius suffered more than one bout of the Cruciatus Curse after attempting to intervene in the Carrows’ discipline.
With the other Heads of House and Madam Pomfrey, Filius quietly taught his Ravenclaws basic healing and calming charms, and the more whimsical lessons he had taught as a way of keeping his classes interested gave way to serious protective and even offensive spells that would have been more in line with the Defence Against the Dark Arts curriculum, which had been taken over by Amycus Carrow and consisted of teaching the students gruesome spells.
Filius was among the appalled captive audience one evening when Voldemort had Snape sexually assault Minerva McGonagall as punishment for her resistance and as a warning to the other rebels. Minerva had been Filius’s friend and colleague for forty years, and it caused him great pain to see her abused.
Despite his initial doubts about Snape’s allegiances, Filius vowed to kill him if he got the chance. Snape, however, rarely showed himself at Hogwarts and never made himself vulnerable to attack, so Filius was forced to bide his time.
On the evening of 1 May 1998, after the Carrow siblings mysteriously insisted on being let into the Ravenclaw common room, Minerva told Filius that she believed an attack on the castle was imminent.
Filius alerted the other Heads and prepared his Ravenclaws for evacuation. On their way to find Minerva to plan for the castle’s defence, Filius, Pomona, and Horace came upon her duelling Snape, and Filius immediately added his wand to the fight. In a fury at everything Snape had done over the previous months, he duelled to kill the young man he had once sought to help, but Snape fought his opponents off and leapt from a window. Filius and his colleagues were shocked to find that Snape was able to fly without a broom, escaping over the school’s perimeter walls.
Filius received another shock when Harry Potter, who had been on the run from Voldemort’s forces, revealed himself and told them Voldemort was on his way to Hogwarts.
The teachers immediately set to preparing to defend the castle, Filius casting numerous powerful protective spells, including several of his own devising that no one else knew. He realised they would likely only delay Voldemort and his Death Eaters, but he hoped his magic would help buy time to evacuate the students and summon help from the Order of the Phoenix.
When Voldemort’s forces finally broke through the defences later that night, Filius fought numerous Death Eaters, killing several without compunction, and used his powerful magic to help fight off the Dark creatures Voldemort had unleashed on the castle.
Filius’s relief at Harry Potter’s final defeat of Voldemort was profound, but the devastation wrought by the battle sickened him. With Pomona and Horace, he undertook the grim task of finding and identifying bodies of those who had fallen—among them, many students and several colleagues and friends.
Fortunately, along with Minerva, Pomona, and Horace, Septima, who had joined the battle alongside the other staff, had survived, although she was seriously injured. Filius spent several weeks helping Poppy nurse her back to full health in the Hogwarts infirmary, which was fortunately unscathed by the battle.
Potter’s assertion that Snape had been a double agent and on the side of the Light came as both a relief and a burden to Filius. Glad that Snape had indeed chosen the side of Light, Filius was also ashamed of the hatred he had allowed to pervade his judgement of Severus over the past difficult year, and he mourned Severus’s death.
Filius and the rest of the Hogwarts staff remained at Hogwarts over the summer—at first housed in tents on the grounds, as much of the castle was in ruins and its magic unstable after the onslaught of Dark spells it had endured during the battle. Joined by a large cadre of volunteers, they worked furiously to rebuild the school, and after helping nurse Septima and lending his wand to the labour of shoring up crumbled walls and patching holes, Filius turned his attention to clearing the castle and grounds of any residual Dark magic and to repairing its defences.
All of the staff exhausted themselves, but Hogwarts was ready for students in the autumn, and with a sigh of relief, Filius once again moved into his rooms in Ravenclaw Tower and readied himself to teach and, more challenging, to help students navigate the difficult waters of life after a major conflict had roiled their world.
Filius helped and supported Minerva, now Headmistress, in developing and implementing reforms at the school, many of which were aimed at reducing the divisions between Houses and providing students with help and guidance during the transition from childhood to adult life.
Along with Pomona, Horace, and numerous others, Filius was awarded an Order of Merlin, Second Class, for his work during the war.
At Minerva’s suggestion, Filius stood for election to the Wizengamot and was duly elected, remaining for eight years and serving on several committees, including the Thaumaturgical Practices Committee, the Magical Education Committee, and the Delegation to the International Confederation of Wizards.
As a member of the Wizengamot, Filius also served on the War Crimes Tribunal, which investigated alleged crimes by Death Eaters and others during the war. He was part of the shocked group that received Minerva McGonagall’s testimony that she and Severus Snape had engaged in an intrigue to mislead the Dark Lord into believing that Snape had continued to sexually abuse her at Voldemort’s command.
The degree to which Minerva had suffered during the war appalled Filius, and he found he admired her courage all the more. After the war, however, Minerva appeared to pull away from her friends and colleagues, and it was several years before Filius felt they had truly re-established their old friendship. Eventually, they became close again, and Minerva began to speak with Filius about Dumbledore, each trying to sort out their complicated feelings about a wizard they had both loved but who had so often hurt those who cared about him.
Filius retired from Hogwarts after the 2002–2003 school year. He had originally thought to return to London to live, but after decades in the Scottish Highlands, he found the idea no longer appealed.
Moreover, Septima Vector had become Head of Gryffindor House in 1998 and lived in the castle. Reluctant to leave her, Filius purchased a small home in Hogsmeade, where he settled comfortably into his retirement, continuing his music studies and frustrating Pomona by refusing to garden.
A diminutive 3′6″, Filius was of medium build, with dark brown hair and eyes and a clear, medium-beige complexion. Later in life, he grew a moustache and wore round reading glasses.
He dressed carefully but unfussily, preferring frock coats and trousers to robes.
Naturally cheerful and optimistic, Filius could also fall into occasional bouts of melancholy. He was prone to drinking too much but never to the point that it affected his work. Fortunately, he was a happy drunk, and his friends and colleagues generally looked on his dependence on alcohol as a personal quirk rather than a problem.
Unlike many men of his era, Filius had easy access to his emotions and often allowed them to show, laughing or weeping freely.
He was a fierce and loyal friend who was also well liked by most of his colleagues and those casual acquaintances who could look past his physical differences and appreciate the clever, funny, warm-hearted man he was.
Relentlessly curious and inquisitive, Filius was a brilliant student and a lifelong learner, often taking up new skills and subjects to keep his busy mind occupied.
As a teacher, he was kind and forgiving of error, but he insisted on excellent wand work and perfect pronunciation of spells before he allowed students to cast in his classroom. He often used humour to demonstrate spells, believing that it kept the students interested.
Filius’s wand, of red oak with a unicorn-hair core, was eleven inches long and flexible. When young Filius first grasped it and cast a perfect, if accidental, Tickling Charm on Gerbold Ollivander, the wandmaker declared that he had been waiting ten years for the unusual wand to choose an unusual witch or wizard, and now that it had, he expected great things from young Filius Flitwick.
Early in his career, Filius’s special focus was security charms. He was especially interested in developing spells that would protect the caster and render an opponent harmless without seriously injuring them.
This interest, and his prodigious duelling abilities, grew out of his need to protect himself from the bullying (and worse) he endured due to his stature and his Goblin heritage.
As a duellist, Filius was unpredictable and inventive on the piste, often using archaic or unusual spells against an opponent, although he was rigid about following the rules and observing the courtesies of recreational duelling.
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If you haven’t read the series through Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart, there will be some spoilers, so read at your own risk.