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Detentions are punishments allotted to students at Hogwarts who break the rules. They commonly involve menial labor without the aid of magic, such as cleaning the bedpans in the hospital wing, cleaning cauldrons in the Dungeons, and polishing trophies in the Trophy Room.

Under Albus Dumbledore's regime, detentions were not allowed to include any form of physical punishment. Argus Filch, the Hogwarts caretaker, however, supports the reinstatement of corporal punishment as a detention. For a brief period of time, during Dolores Umbridge's term as Headmistress of the school, corporal punishment was reinstated, causing Filch to be the only staff member in the school who supported Umbridge (OP29).

Detentions are given out by teachers, prefects (OP10), and the Head Students, and are often carried out by Filch, though any teacher may administer the punishment for a detention, as was the case when Gilderoy Lockhart assigned Harry to help him answer his fanmail as punishment for crashing Arthur Weasley's flying Ford Anglia into the Whomping Willow (CS7).

Umbridge was known for assigning particularly cruel detentions. Both Harry and Lee Jordan had to do lines with a special quill that drew blood from the student's hand, etching a somewhat self-healing wound in the back of his or her hand (OP13). Harry's numberous detentions with Umbridge caused him to keep a scar in the back of his hand that reads 'I must not tell lies' (HBP16).

Detentions in canon

  • Arthur Weasley, while out with the student who would become his wife, Molly Prewett, was caught by Apollyon Pringle and physically punished (GF31).
  • James Potter and Sirius Black, notoriously fond of rulebreaking, were frequently assigned punishments numberous, sometimes along with Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew. Harry Potter finds records of a double detention that the pair was assigned to for hexing Bertram Aubrey (HBP24).
  • Minerva McGonagall gives Harry, Draco, Neville and Hermione detention for being wandering around the castle after hours. They go to the Forbidden Forest to search for herbs; Harry then sees the weakened Lord Voldemort feeding off a murdered unicorn (PS15).
  • When Harry and Ron ride the Ford Anglia to school, Harry is assigned to Lockhart, who has him answering fanmail; this is the first time that Harry hears the voice of the Chamber of Secrets Basilisk. Ron has to polish trophies. He is forced to repeat the job several times because of the accidental Slug-vomiting Charm he had cast on himself: he vomits over some awards, including one attributed to Tom Marvolo Riddle (CS7).
  • During Remus' 'sick leave', Ron criticises Snape's skill as substitute. This earns him a detention spent cleaning the bedpans in the hospital wing (PA9).
  • After Fred and George Weasley use their Portable Swamps on a corridor to upset Umbridge, she allows Filch to use whipping as punishment for the pair. The Weasleys fly off the castle and abandon school instead (OP29).
  • Harry is ordered to sort out rotten and good Flobberworms without gloves (HBP11) for being unrespectful towards Snape ("There's no need to call me 'sir', professor." - HBP9).
  • Seamus Finnigan has to do lines ("I am a wizard, not a baboon brandishing a stick") for having accidentally knocked over Flitwick with clumsy spellwork (HBP17).

Detentions in fanon

Detentions are often the setting of NC-17 fanfiction.

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