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Precursor

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February 4, 2005

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Why is Hermione so fascinated with Hogwarts, A History? 

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Main Entry: pre-cur-sor
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English precursoure, from Latin praecursor, from praecurrere to run before, from prae- pre- + currere to run -- more at CURRENT
1 a : one that precedes and indicates the approach of another b : PREDECESSOR
2 : a substance, cell, or cellular component from which another substance, cell, or cellular component is formed
synonym see FORERUNNER

From Hogwarts, A History:

When Hogwarts was established in 1004 AD there was little doubt that all four founders could not lead the school at the same time. Therefore they alternated the role of headmaster or headmistress among them in a two year cycle. During the times when the founders were not in the position as the leader of Hogwarts, they still had a special position among the other professors. In that respect they had to be able to enter the headmaster's office in emergencies, often without the headmaster being present.

In order to make the entry into the office easier without risking exposure of the password to unwanted ears, each of the founders had a specific field of words from which they chose their password. Slytherin himself has been rumoured to only use his passwords in Parseltongue, thereby sabotaging the whole system; although it is more likely that the other founders were able to persuade Slytherin to follow the rules they had set for themselves.

In response to this perceived injustice, Slytherin is supposed to have established his own office, the Chamber of Secrets. Nobody has been able to find this legendary chamber since the founders' time, but it has made appearance in many legends over the years. See chapter twelve 'Legend's and Other Flimflam Surrounding All Old Buildings' for more information on the Chamber of Secrets.

Over the years it became apparent that the founders would have to give the reigns over to a new headmaster. After Helga Hufflepuff had passed away in 1021 AD and Slytherin had left Hogwarts over a dispute with Godric Gryffindor, Rowena Ravenclaw and Godric Gryffindor established a plan to insure the safety of Hogwarts throughout the years. A part of this plan was to always give the deputy headmaster or headmistress the possibility to enter the headmaster's office.

As the customary method of choosing the password out of a specific field of interest of the headmaster or headmistress had already been well established and shown its usefulness, it worked as a precursor for all the following leaders of Hogwarts, giving each of them an original range of passwords.

This caused quite a conflict when in 1345 AD Aldred Brymble insisted on choosing indecent words to shock his wife and deputy headmistress Elagia. Until his death in 1363 AD, he maintained that the 'controllen old hagge' would only need a good shock to make her more agreeable to his temper and refused to change his range of passwords.
 
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