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Nearly Headless Nick Character Analysis: Gryffindor Ghost

Nearly Headless Nick Character Analysis: Gryffindor Ghost

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Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington became the ghost known as Nearly Headless Nick after his death.

He spends his afterlife haunting Hogwarts as the Gryffindor ghost.

About Nearly Headless Nick

Born15th Century
Blood StatusPure Blood or Half Blood
Zodiac SignLibra (speculative)

Nearly Headless Nick Biography

Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington was a 15th-century British wizard who attended Hogwarts as a member of Gryffindor House.

As an adult, he lived in the Muggle world and was knighted by King Henry VII.

He met Lady Grieve shortly before his death and told her that he could straighten her crooked teeth. But the spell he attempted backfired, and she grew a tusk.

Sir Nicholas was taken into custody and sentenced to death for his actions.

His wand was taken from him when he was arrested, so he could not use magic to escape. He cried through the night, awaiting his execution, saying that he could fix Lady Grieve.

Sir Nicholas was a gibbering wreck before his execution. The executioner’s blade was blunt, and it took 45 hacks to kill Sir Nicholas.

And even after all this, his head was only partially severed.

Nearly Headless Nick Afterlife

When he died, Sir Nicholas decided not to move on, so he became a ghost.

He became known as Nearly Headless Nick since his head was still attached to his body by a few sinews.

For some reason, his ghost became tied to Hogwarts, and he was made the ghost of his former house.

I was afraid of death, I chose to remain behind. I sometimes wonder whether I oughtn’t to have… well, that is neither here nor there… in fact, I am neither here nor there… So, I know nothing of the secrets of death, Harry, for I chose my feeble imitation of life instead.

Nearly Headless Nick, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Nearly Headless Nick enjoyed greeting new students to his house, and he was highly competitive and always wanted Gryffindor to win the house cup.

The house ghosts seemed to recognize the Blood Baron, the Slytherin ghost, as their leader.

Nearly Headless Nick had a healthy fear of the Baron and would never argue with him. But he would call the Baron when he needed help dealing with Peeves.

He would often help his students. For example, when Argus Filch wanted to write Harry Potter up for a trespass, Nearly Headless Nick convinced Peeves to smash the school’s vanishing cabinet as a distraction so that Harry could leave.

On various occasions, Nearly Headless Nick applied to join the Headless Hunt, a hunt organized for headless ghosts.

But each year, his application was rejected, and he was extremely bitter about this.

He celebrated his 500th death day party on 31 October 1992.

Nearly Headless Nick Adventures with Harry Potter


Nearly Headless Nick was among the first to greet Harry Potter when he arrived at Hogwarts at the start of term feast.

He sat opposite Harry at the feast and patted his arm, which was a disconcerting experience for the young boy.

At the same feast, he showed the new Gryffindor first years why he is called “Nearly” Headless Nick when Seamus Finnigan wondered how someone could be nearly headless.


After Nick helped Harry avoid being punished by Argus Filch in his second year, he invited Harry to his 500th Death Day party on 31 October.

Harry attended with Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. They were eager to leave the party since there was only rotten and moldy food available.

At the party, the members of the Headless Hunt, from which Sir Nicholas continued to be excluded, started playing Head Hockey, learning the host ignored.

Later in the year, Nearly Headless Nick was found petrified along with Justin Finch-Fletchley.

He had inadvertently saved the boy who only saw Slytherin’s Monster, a Basilisk, through the ghost.

Nick did not die since he could not die again. Luckily, by the end of the year, a potion had been brewed to restore the ghost and everyone else petrified by the monster during the year.


On his following death day, Nick participated in entertainment for the Halloween Feast provided by all the ghosts. He even re-enacted his own death.


At the start of term feast, Nearly Headless Nick revealed to Harry, Ron, and Hermione that House-Elves made all the food at Hogwarts.

He was describing the trouble that Peeves was causing in the kitchens.

This led Hermione to accuse the school of using slave labor and refusing to eat for a while. She later started S.P.E.W. to try and liberate the House-Elves.


At the start of term feast this year, the Sorting Hat did not sing its usual song but instead gave a dire warning about inter-house conflict and things to come.

While the Gryffindor students thought that this was strange, Nick assured them that the hat often shared dire warnings.

After Sirius Black died, Harry sought out Nick to ask him about the afterlife. Nick anticipated but dreaded the conversation which he occasionally had with students.

Nick explained that the life of a ghost was a strange half-life and was not one that most wizards would choose.

He assured Harry that Sirius would have passed on. Something Harry did not want to believe.


When Harry returned to school this year, rumors were spreading about his status as the chosen one.

Many of the other ghosts approached Nick for information since he was known to be friendly with Harry.

But Nick assured Harry of his friendship and loyalty and said that he would not pester him for information.

In April, when Harry was seeking out Dumbledore but assumed that he was not on school grounds, Nearly Headless Nick told Harry that the Bloody Baron had seen him return just recently.

Nick later attended Dumbledore’s funeral at the school.


When Death Eaters took over the school under Severus Snape as Headmaster, the ghosts continued and probably joined the teaching staff in doing what they could to protect the students from the new Death Eater teachers, Amycus and Alecto Carrow.

When Harry, Ron, and Hermione arrived at the school in May 1998, Harry asked Nick to help him find the Ravenclaw ghost.

He was initially disappointed that Harry needed a ghost’s services other than himself but helped.

Nick then went to the Great Hall to help prepare for battle. One of his responsibilities was helping to evacuate underage students.

He was seen in the Great Hall mourning the dead after the battle’s conclusion.

Nearly Headless Nick Personality Type & Traits

Nearly Headless Nick comes across as affable and kind, and he seems to have enjoyed his role mentoring new Hogwarts students.

Unlike some of the other ghosts, who could be aloof, Nick was always ready to help students.

Sir Nicholas does seem to have regretted his decision to become a ghost.

He tells Harry that he chose a ghostly life for fear of death. But he wonders if passing on may have been a better choice.

Nearly Headless Nick Zodiac Sign & Birthday

While we know Nearly Headless Nick’s death day, we do not know his birthdate. But his personality suggests that his zodiac sign could be Libra.

People born under this sign are caring and helpful, like Nick, but also love to gossip.

Libras can also experience fear of the unknown, which might encourage them to hold on to life and become a ghost after death.