Badges are often worn to celebrate your tastes, your interests, or maybe something you really strongly believe in. They can be symbolic of status, of what you represent, or maybe just your little way of wearing your passions in life with pride.
At Hogwarts, we saw badges of honour and badges of dishonour, depending on who was in charge of them... cough, Malfoy. Take a look at all the times they cropped up in the stories, and what we learnt about the characters that donned them!
Of course, the most obvious badge that may leap to mind is a prefect badge, a hugely emblematic moment for any ambitious student. And who do you think of when you think of a prefect badge? Percy Weasley, of course, who was rarely seen without his from the moment we first met him. In fact, so enamoured with his position as a prefect was Percy, that his brothers Fred and George delighted in hiding it, or ‘amending’ it on a semi-regular basis, and this only escalated when Percy upgraded to a Head Boy one.
Fred and George were crouching in the shadows on the landing, heaving with laughter as they listened to Percy dismantling his and Ron’s room in the search for his badge. ‘We’ve got it,’ Fred whispered to Harry. ‘We’ve been improving it.’ The badge now read Bighead Boy.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Beyond Percy, we also saw Ron and Hermione pick up their prefect badges in their fifth-year, which spawned a profound reaction in Harry, one of burning jealousy, and for Ron, a sense of shock. After all, a prefect badge meant power, success and a sense of authority, something Ron never felt he had before, and there’s a sweet moment where Ron can’t help but admire his reflection wearing something with so much meaning. Harry even had a dream about the whole thing, where Hermione and Ron were wearing a different status symbol... crowns!
‘That gives you equal status with prefects!’ cried Hermione happily. ‘You can use our special bathroom now, and everything!’ ‘Wow, I remember when Charlie wore one of these,’ said Ron, examining the badge with glee. ‘Harry, this is so cool, you’re my captain – if you let me back on the team, I suppose, ha ha …’ Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry finally did get a shiny badge to don, when he was dubbed the new Quidditch Captain for Gryffindor. Interestingly, Harry reacts quite calmly to what must have been a dream come true – clearly the ascent of Lord Voldemort the year before gave him a fresh perspective on things.
Inside were about fifty badges, all of different colours, but all bearing the same letters: S.P.E.W. ‘“Spew”?’ said Harry, picking up a badge and looking at it. ‘What’s this about?’ ‘Not spew,’ said Hermione impatiently. ‘It’s S – P – E – W. Stands for the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare.’
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Sometimes a badge simply represents something you passionately believe in, or a cause you want to fight for. For Hermione, in her fourth year, that passion became S.P.E.W., her self-created society raising awareness for the way house-elves were continually mistreated in society. Although she was met with a lot of derision (notably from Ron, who eventually learnt to care about the house-elves as much as Hermione did) she stayed true to herself and true to the cause adorned on her badges. By wearing her message proudly, Hermione taught us all a great lesson in standing up for what is right, even if it wasn’t easy.
Sometimes a badge can be a conversation starter, which was the case when Harry, Ron and Hermione bumped into Cho Chang. Although, admittedly, not a fun one.
‘Is that a Tornados badge?’ Ron demanded suddenly, pointing to the front of Cho’s robes, where a sky-blue badge emblazoned with a double gold ‘T’ was pinned. ‘You don’t support them, doyou?’ ‘Yeah, I do,’ said Cho. ‘Have you always supported them, or just since they started winning the league?’ said Ron, in what Harry considered an unnecessarily accusatory tone of voice. ‘I’ve supported them since I was six,’ said Cho coolly. ‘Anyway … see you, Harry.’
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Oh dear. This led to Ron arguing with Hermione about Cho not wearing her badge authentically – like the Muggle equivalent of wearing a band t-shirt and not knowing their songs, perhaps? Either way, it stopped Harry from getting to talk to his crush at the time, so well done Ron, but it did show us just how much Cho liked Quidditch – one of the things Harry fancied about her.
What is it with Draco Malfoy and badges? In Half-Blood Prince, once again does Malfoy employ the use of a badge to torment others. This time, it was poor Ron who suffered Malfoy’s badge-making wrath, with the Slytherins devising the cruel slogan “Weasley is our King” to taunt Ron’s Quidditch skills during matches. There was a sarcastic, crown-shaped badge. There was even a song. Thankfully, the Gryffindors turned the song around when Ron helped his team win the Quidditch cup. Where’s your badge now, Malfoy?
Malfoy crops up again on the subject of badges when Dolores Umbridge created a new hierarchy at Hogwarts: the Inquisitorial Squad. And, of course, they had their own badges.
‘The what?’ said Hermione sharply. ‘The Inquisitorial Squad, Granger,’ said Malfoy, pointing towards a tiny silver ‘I’ on his robes just beneath his prefect’s badge. ‘A select group of students who are supportive of the Ministry of Magic, hand-picked by Professor Umbridge...’
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Like a twisted version of a prefect, a member of Umbridge’s exclusive group could dock house points from students – something Malfoy indulged in quite frequently.
Perhaps Draco's cruellest usage of badges was in Harry's fourth year. If Harry wasn’t having the most miserable time anyway in Goblet of Fire, having been mysteriously picked for the Triwizard Tournament and falling out with Ron in the process, Malfoy made things all the worse when he conceived enchanted badges that flashed two messages: “Support Cedric Diggory” and “Potter Stinks”. A testament to Draco Malfoy’s maturity, we don’t think.
Interestingly, this badge cropped up again for Harry as he was packing his trunk to leave Privet Drive in Deathly Hallows. The badge is described as ‘flickering feebly’. After everything Harry had been through, it was quite poignant seeing how a once-horrible memory was reduced to a simple afterthought: a sign of how much Harry had grown up.
We now have our own selection of badges, or should we say pins, for you to collect! Go back to the pins hub for further info.