Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

by

J. K. Rowling

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Phineas Nigellus Character Analysis

A former Hogwarts headmaster who was widely disliked, and the last headmaster from Slytherin until Snape takes over the position at the beginning of the novel. Though long dead, Nigellus still exists in his portraits, which hang in the headmaster's office at Hogwarts and in a bedroom at number twelve Grimmauld Place. He's a snide, self-important person, and Hermione steals his portrait from number twelve so that Snape can't use Phineas to spy on them. This later turns out to be exactly what Snape hoped for: Phineas is able to pass information about the trio's whereabouts to Snape so that Snape can help them and pass them the sword of Gryffindor.

Phineas Nigellus Quotes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows quotes below are all either spoken by Phineas Nigellus or refer to Phineas Nigellus. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Choices, Redemption, and Morality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scholastic Inc. edition of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows published in 2007.
Chapter Sixteen Quotes

Indeed, as Phineas Nigellus talked about Snape's crackdown, Harry experienced a split second of madness when he imagined simply going back to school to join the destabilization of Snape's regime: being fed, and having a soft bed, and other people being in charge, seemed the most wonderful prospect in the world at that moment.

Page Number: 314-15
Explanation and Analysis:
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Phineas Nigellus Character Timeline in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The timeline below shows where the character Phineas Nigellus appears in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter Twelve
Knowledge and Power Theme Icon
Hermione returns with Phineas Nigellus's portrait and stuffs it in her beaded purse. A former Hogwarts headmaster, Phineas could... (full context)
Chapter Fifteen
Friendship, Community, and Resistance Theme Icon
Hermione digs Phineas's portrait out of her bag, reasoning that he might've seen someone swap the swords. As... (full context)
Chapter Sixteen
Grief and Coming of Age Theme Icon
Hermione brings out Phineas's portrait at night, and he visits every few days. He's touchy about perceived insults to... (full context)
Chapter Thirty-Three
Choices, Redemption, and Morality Theme Icon
Mortality and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Friendship, Community, and Resistance Theme Icon
...Mundungus. Snape digs through Grimmauld Place, pockets the last page of Lily's letter, and then Phineas and Dumbledore's portrait tell Snape where to leave the sword for Harry. (full context)