Penelope Clearwater

Penelope Clearwater was a British Muggle-born or Half-blooded witch and a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from 1987 to 1994. She was sorted into Ravenclaw house.

The Definitive Glossary for Harry Potter

Penelope ‘Penny’ Clearwater was born in Ireland or Great Britain between 1 September 1975 and 31 August 1976. She joined Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in September 1987. She was a Ravenclaw student and was first introduced in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets when she was a sixth-year student at Hogwarts. She is best known for being Percy Weasley’s girlfriend and for being one among the half-blood or Muggle-born students at Hogwarts who got petrified by the serpent of Slytherin, the Basilisk. Penelope’s blood status is not known for sure, but it is highly likely that she was a Muggle-born witch, or at least a Half-blood as it is improbable that a pure-blood would be a victim of the Basilisk.

Early Life

Very little is known about Penelope’s early life. She is assumed to be born between 1 September 1975 and 31 August 1976 in either Great Britain or Ireland into the Clearwater family. She boarded the Hogwarts Express on 1 September 1987 and attended the Start-of-Term feast after being sorted into the Ravenclaw house.


The name Penelope might be a Greek name directly taken from Penelope, who was the wife of Odysseus in The Odyssey, the epic poem written by Homer about the Trojan Wars. In this poem, Penelope had to ward off suitors and claimed that she would only choose a suitor after she was done weaving a shroud. However, she would undo her work every night and prevent the possibility of being courted. The poetic sense of the name is meant to describe a faithful, clever woman.

This name is derived from the Greek words pene meaning ‘web,’ and ōps which translates to ‘eye’ or ‘face.’ This name is also possibly related to the words ‘weaver’ and ‘duck’ in Greek. Penelope was also a kind of duck that helped Penelope by rescuing her and taking care of her from getting killed when she was born. Clearwater is believed to be a descriptive place name which may indicate that her ancestors lived near a body of water as clear as the reflection of the mirror when their surname was created.


Penelope was said to have long and curly hair in the Harry Potter books. She was played in the film adaptations by the British actress Gemma Padley.

Sorting And Hogwarts Years

The character of Penelope Clearwater was played by British Actress Gemma Padley in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsShe is not shown as being petrified by the monster in the chamber. However, she is seen walking with Percy in the school hallways and is greeted by Nearly Headless Nick on the first day of term. She is also seen during the Duelling club meeting in the Great Hall, in some of the classrooms, and during the end-of-term feast.

Penelope was sorted into Ravenclaw house. During the events of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the book in which she was first introduced, she was already in her sixth year, which would mean that she was a fifth-year student when Harry joined Hogwarts. In the early printings of Harry Potter, Penelope was supposed to be a year younger, but it was changed for them to be in the same class in later printings of the book. She was selected as the Ravenclaw prefect, just like Percy Weasley was for Gryffindor. She wore the prefect badge.

During the Christmas vacation, when Harry and Ron disguised themselves as Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle to find out about the Heir of Slytherin, they came across Penelope in the corridor, and Ron asked her if she knew the way to their Slytherin common room. Penelope saw this as suspicious behavior as it was very unusual for a student to forget their own dormitory. She responded by stating that she was a Ravenclaw and went away from them. Soon after, the duo would meet Percy Weasley in the same corridor, which is probably because Percy and Penelope were meeting in secret.

Penelope was one of the students who was petrified by the Basilisk. She, along with Hermione, was believed to have seen the Basilisk through her mirror. She was the fourth muggle-born student to be attacked after Justin Finch-Fletchley, Colin Creevey, and Hermione Granger. Others include Mrs Norris, the pet cat of Mr Filch, and Nearly Headless Nick. Mrs Norris may have been attacked for the reason that she was a squib’s cat. 

However, after the attack, Percy was very sad and seemed to be distraught with grief. Everybody awaited the day that Madam Pomfrey would prepare a draught out of the Mandrake roots to cure the people who were petrified. The basilisk was eventually killed by Harry, and the apparition of Tom Riddle that caused this was also destroyed. Penelope was eventually treated with the potion. Although nobody knew about the relationship between Percy and Penelope, Percy’s sister Ginny Weasley eventually finds out about them after she sees them kissing in an empty classroom and told her brothers about it.

In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the Weasley family goes to Egypt to see Charlie Weasley, who worked there with dragons. After they came back from there and stay in the Leaky Cauldron, Percy once accuses Ron of dripping tea on his photo of Penelope. Ron later tells this to Harry, who is also in the Leaky Cauldron after Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic, requests him to stay there. Later in the same year, when they went to the King’s Cross station, Percy was very excited to meet Penelope as it was the start of his seventh year, and he wanted to show her his head boy badge.

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when the snatchers catch Hermione and ask for identification, she lies, claiming that her name is Penelope Clearwater and that she is a half-blood to avoid being identified.

Penelope also appears in the Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 even though the school years 5-7 are set after 1995, by when Penelope has already graduated from Hogwarts. This may just be because of aesthetic reasons and because Penelope is a popular character in the fandom.

Quidditch Fan

Penelope was a serious Quidditch fan, and during the events of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, she bet ten galleons on the outcome of the Gryffindor – Ravenclaw match with Percy Weasley. She bet on the victory of Ravenclaw as she was a supporter of the house of Ravenclaw. The outcome of the Ravenclaw match would directly influence the House Cup as it was the final match for that year. The Gryffindor match against Hufflepuff was earlier lost due to Harry falling from his broom after being attacked by Dementors.

She also admired Harry Potter’s new broomstick, the Firebolt, and wished to have a look at it. Harry’s Firebolt was an important topic in almost everybody’s discussion when it first came to Hogwarts.

After Hogwarts

Penelope is believed to have broken up with Percy after she left Hogwarts. The actual reason behind their separation is not known. Penelope did not marry her Hogwarts boyfriend, and it is unknown if she married another Hogwarts student or someone else. Percy married a woman named Audrey and had two children with her named Molly and Lucy.

Was Penelope a Muggle-Born or Not?

While it is mostly established throughout the series that Penelope is a Muggle-born witch, especially because the Basilisk would not attack her otherwise, there are some details that question her being a Muggle-born. Firstly, it is believed that while the Basilisk only attacks Muggle-born students, it was probably there to attack Hermione Granger. If that were the case, Penelope might just have been collateral damage as she was present with Hermione during the attack.

 Since they both just saw the eyes of the serpent, there is no exclusivity to who could get petrified. Therefore, although the serpent planned to only attack Muggle-borns, it was unsuccessful, as is evident from its attack on the cat Mrs Norris and the ghost Nearly Headless Nick. The exclamation that four Muggle-borns were attacked could, although unlikely, be referring to Nearly Headless Nick and the three others.

Another instance that questions Penelope’s blood status is Hermione using Penelope Clearwater’s name and claiming to be Half-blood with the snatchers. If they did have the records and registries that they checked, if Penelope was Muggle-born, there is a chance of Hermione being caught for lying, which doesn’t happen. Hermione would still be risking discovery as a Muggle-born, and a witch as clever as Hermione wouldn’t take that risk unnecessarily, which is why Penelope could have been a Half-blooded witch.


Was Penelope Clearwater petrified?

Yes, Penelope Clearwater was petrified after she looked at the Basilisk through her mirror. She was attacked along with Hermione Granger, both of whom were in the library together before the attack. Penelope was later revived with the help of a draught.

Why did Hermione call herself Penelope Clearwater?

Hermione called herself Penelope Clearwater so that she could save herself from getting identified by the snatchers. She tried very hard for her, Harry and Ron not to get identified by the snatchers, including jinxing Harry’s face with a curse that bloated his face to an unidentifiable degree.

Who did Percy Weasley marry?

Despite dating Penelope Clearwater during his time at Hogwarts, Percy didn’t end up marrying her. Instead, he married Audrey Weasley and had two children named Molly and Lucy with her.

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