An Introduction to Arithmancy

Arithmancy is one of Hermione’s favorite subjects at Hogwarts, because it is a very precise, measurable and almost scientific method of predicting the future, a way to apply book studying to divination, not normally something that can be learned out of books.

Hermione Granger
Hermione Granger

Arithmancy is a method of divination by numbers first used by the ancient Greeks. They assigned values to the letters in the names of combatants to foretell the outcome of battles. Later, in the ninth century BC, the Chaldeans in Arabia (where our modern number system also comes from) practiced a form of arithmancy that divided their alphabet into three parts, each part composed of seven letters which they attributed to the then known seven planets. Wizards still use a similar system today, all these thousands of years later.

In Harry Potter’s world, Wizards can use arithmancy to help predict trends in the future. Predicting the future can be used in conjunction with other forms of magic to increase your power or chances of success. For example, if you’re going to make a love potion for someone you fancy, wouldn’t it be helpful to know what day they’re more likely to be in a receptive mood?

The most basic form of arithmancy is used with the names of people you want more information about. First, you must convert the name into a number. Each letter of the alphabet corresponds to a number, as shown in this chart:

123456789
ABCDEFGHI
JKLMNOPQR
STUVWXYZ

For example, the following numbers correspond to the letters in Hermione’s name:

HERMIONEGRANGER
859496557915759

Next, you “reduce” your number by adding your numbers together until all you are left with is one digit. To reduce the numbers in Hermione’s name:

8 + 5 + 9 + 4 + 9 + 6 + 5 + 5 + 7 + 9 + 1 + 5 + 7 + 5 + 9 = 94
9 + 4 = 13
1 + 3 = 4

When working with someone’s name, you can calculate three different numbers for them. The first, called the “Character Number”, can be used to find out the general personality type of the person, and is derived by using all the letters of the name, as we did above.

The second number you can calculate for someone is their “Heart Number”. This represents the individual’s inner life and can indicate desires and fears hidden from others. You calculate it as we did above, but using only the vowels contained in their name. Hermione’s Heart Number is 4:

5 + 9 + 6 + 5 + 1 + 5 = 31
3 + 1 = 4

The final number you can calculate for someone is their “Social Number” and is calculated using only the consonants of the name. The Social Number represents the outer personality, the face an individual shows to the outside world. Hermione’s Social Number is 9:

8 + 9 + 4 + 5 + 7 + 9 + 5 + 7 + 9 = 63
6 + 3 = 9

While this sort of thing looks like fun for someone as studious as Hermione, that math’s a lot of work for most people, so I have created a program to calculate the numbers for us.

While this sort of thing looks like fun for someone as studious as Hermione, that math’s a lot of work for most people, so I have created a program to calculate the numbers for us. You can access the Arithmancy Calculator here.

Now, we can do something with the numbers. When people are involved, each number also corresponds to a kind of person or personality. Here is a chart of what the personality numbers mean. Both this chart and the Arithmancy Calculator above open in pop-up windows so you can keep them on the screen together while also following along with the rest of this article, or for doing your own research.

At the most basic level, simply comparing people’s Character Numbers can aid in seeing if they would be compatible. It’s interesting to see how these numbers apply to people we know in the Harry Potter books. For example, Hermione’s very good friends Harry Potter and Ron Weasley are both 2’s. They, indeed, became instant best friends from the first moment they met. A generation earlier, Harry’s father James Potter, and James’ best friend, Sirius Black, Harry’s godfather, were both 7’s. And Ron’s parents, Arthur and Molly Weasley, are both 5’s.

harryandron
Harry and Ron, Instant Best Friends

We can also see some amazing paralells to people we know when we look at the numbers using the Personality Numbers chart. For example, Albus Dumbledore is a 1, and from the chart we can see that 1’s are leaders. Gilderoy Lockhart is a 3, which the chart describes as unfocused and superficial. Severus Snape is a 2, and 2’s are known to be of two minds, containing opposing forces, both good and evil. Professor Snape, who seems to be on the Dark side but who also works for the good guys, is a classic 2. Interestingly, or perhaps some people might say ominously (but I wouldn’t), as we’ve seen Harry Potter is also a 2, reflecting the battle between Harry’s good side, and those bits of you-know-who’s powers that were inadvertently transferred to Harry when you-know-who’s killing curse backfired.

Different numbers can also be compatible and fit together in many interesting ways. Take, for example, Ron’s twin brothers Fred and George, who get along and work together better than any twins we’ve ever seen, as if they complete each other. Fred Weasley is a 6 and George Weasley is a 3. The number 6 represents harmony, as in two getting along, and 3 represents completeness, two becoming one. In addition, they both add up to 9, which signifies completion to its fullest degree. Although they’re typical teenagers separately, together Fred and George are a formidable force. Argus Filch, the Hogwarts caretaker, might even use the word dangerous. (Everyone else just thinks they’re very funny.)

While we’re on the subject of the completeness of 9, try typing the entire alphabet into the Arithmancy Calculator and you’ll see why Hermione loves Arithmancy so much. The results are spooky!

Another pair of twins we know is equally as interesting. Twin sisters Parvati and Padma Patil have the same Heart Number, which shows their sisterly love for each other, but they don’t have compatible Character Numbers. Padma Patil is a 3, which represents completeness, and Parvati Patil is a 1, a loner. The Hogwarts Sorting Hat obviously knew this when it sorted Parvati into Gryffindor and Padma into Ravenclaw, even though brothers and sisters are usually sorted into the same houses.

Once we see how these numbers play out around us in the present, we can use the same principles to judge what might happen in the future. For example, no one knows if Hagrid and Madame Maxime will eventually get together, but Rubeus Hagrid and Olympe Maxime are both 7’s. In regard to other possible relationships, Viktor Krum’s Heart Number is 9, the complete number. People who have a Heart Number of 9 frequently are loners, not feeling in need of another for completion. And as we know, although Viktor was fun to be with, Hermione doesn’t end up with him…

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David Haber
David Haber

D.S. Haber (known to his friends as Dave) is a professional muggle computer programmer and web designer and lives in Los Angeles. He is proud of the fact that he is a new-blood wizard with no (apparent) previous magical blood in his family. His favorite Quidditch team is the Falmouth Falcons, who's motto is "Let us win, but if we cannot win, let us break a few heads." He is also a West Ham United (Hammers) fan.

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diana
diana
17 years ago

does the personality chart represent character, heart and social?

Dave Haber
Dave Haber
17 years ago

The personality chart is most commonly used to interpret the character number, but all three numbers are similar. The character number describes your overall personality, your heart number describes what you’re like emotionally inside, and your social number applies to your relationships with others. So, the personality chart can apply to all three numbers.

Javed
Javed
17 years ago

It’s really interesting that “Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore” and “Tom Marvolo Riddle” give the same result in the Arithmancy Calculator.

Character: 7
Heart: 6
Social: 1

What could this mean?

Dave Haber
Dave Haber
17 years ago

It means that arithmancy is SPOOKY!

The fact that the two most powerful wizards of all time have the same arithmetic in their name is really weird, isn’t it?

metsburg
metsburg
17 years ago

Both Voldemort, Tom Marvolo Riddle and Albus Percival…..Dumbledore shows 7. Thats spooky….maybe JKR had it in mind while devicing the names.
By the way…Harry James Potter shows 5 whereas Ronald Weasely shows 1. How come they are friends?

Dave Haber
Dave Haber
17 years ago

If you enter their names as “Harry Potter” and “Ron Weasley”, they’re both 2’s.

Dave M.
Dave M.
17 years ago

I’ve found this works relly well if you include your whole name, it’s really scarry.

David Haber
David Haber
17 years ago

Here’s another spooky arithmancy calculation!

Monchi in Tokyo has discovered that when you put all of the Hogwarts founders first names into the Arithmancy Calculator together (“godric helga rowena salazar”) you get 9,9,9, the ultimate complete number! That means they were the four best Wizards who could have come together to form a school, as together they were perfectly complete.

It reminded Monchi of the sorting hat’s warning, to unite or crumble from within. An ominous warning, especially in the light of the fact that Arithmancy agrees that Hogwarts was perfect only when all four of its founders were together…

Jazzmine Duff
Jazzmine Duff
17 years ago

can arithmancy be used for anything other than comparing character numbers for compatability?

Mandy McKnight
Mandy McKnight
17 years ago

This is creepy.

Character: 2
Heart: 3
Social: 8

These are the numbers for my full name, Amanda McKnight, and it is soo right!

riot-girl
riot-girl
17 years ago

this is really freaky! my best friend & i got the same numbers!

Character:5
Heart:3
Social:2

WOW! it really surprised me!

Abdul Buho
Abdul Buho
17 years ago

OMGGG this is soooooo freaky me and my two best freinds full naems coems out with
Character: 9 – Ultimate Complete number
Heart: 7 – We Like Each other(best freinds)
Social 2 – Our trio hang around our selves(dont like many otehr people)
Oh my God How true.

Stoira
Stoira
16 years ago

that it so annoying. my numbers are the same as hitlers. is that a good thing or a bad? my friends and my numbers are the same but reversed, like, i’m 238, he’s 832. i wonder why some peples are the same? i think we can be sure most peoples are the exact explanation of their personality, but some are completely wrong. this is odd. again, i wonder why? I think JK must have planned the whole ron and harry same number thing, otherwise thet’s just too much of a coincidence, or maybe she made up the names and THEN decided on peronalitys? when i tiped in Percy Weasly, it came up with
C:8
H:2
S:6
and i reckon all of them fit except 6. i mean, 8’s are good in politics, and percy was working at the ministrty, 2’s are ‘opposing forces’ and perce goes from being a complete snob to sticking with the good guys in the end, like snape.
i just realised something, i hav this little tag thing which has the meanign of your name on it and it says “Meaning: the PURE and the DARK”. opposing forces, correct? and my character number is 2! how right is that? another wierd thing is that parts of the number explanations are completely right, while others are really true, like, my character number is 3, and most of it’s correct, though I honestly don’t believe i’m talented and have an artistic nature. I wonder what thats all about?

C.J.
C.J.
16 years ago

I think the way Arithmancy works is on baby name stereotypes. I mean, when you name a kid, say, Velma, you’d think that person who the name describes is really smart, and naturally, the person conforms to that name. Names are made to suit the person you are talking about. If someone was named Velma and she wasn’t that smart at all, then Arithmancy wouldn’t really work for her.

emma holloway
emma holloway
16 years ago

Tee hee. Rupert Grint completes my heart. I always knew we we made for eachother.

jaime
jaime
16 years ago

all the leters in the alphabet are 9,6,3 weird!

Jenny
Jenny
16 years ago

I wonder…do you use your given name or your taken name? For example, would you use Ron or Ronald? And am I supposed to use Jenny or Jennifer?

Christian
Christian
15 years ago

Some thoughts-
My numbers(1-2-8) are the same as Tom Riddle as well as Cedric Diggory, and Seattle.

Geordge
Geordge
15 years ago

I’ve been freaking out on this. And i’ve ended a (Not so serious) Relationship partially because of this. not that i’m blaming anything on this site:-) But if someone has different numbers does it mean they are doomed to eternal dis-likable?

Adine
Adine
15 years ago

Arithmacy indicated a solution to a deep and long lasting dilemma in my heart and in my life. Thank you

C.J.
C.J.
15 years ago

I know we’re all huge Harry Potter fans and everything, and that Arithmancy is kinda cool, but really, if you rule your life by numbers you’re not really going anywhere, because numbers are a pattern, uncomplicated, and unbending, and humans aren’t. Humans are bending, erratic, and always changing. Albus Dumbledore wisely tells us that our choices make us who we are. Destiny is an imprecise concept, and not well defined by what our names are.

Aura
Aura
15 years ago

hmm….. mine wasn’t very accurate… maybe this doesn’t work on some people? I got an 8,4,4, and i know i’m not powerhungry, domineering, down to earth, or good at organizing. i’m determined and reliable (i hope) though.

Ali Lewis
Ali Lewis
15 years ago

My numbers are 9,6,3 just like the spooky alphabet.

Lily Evans
Lily Evans
15 years ago

For me (with my real name of course) it’s:
Character: 5
Heart: 8
Social: 6

But i definetely am not imbalanced, conceited, impatient, i do not gossip, jealous, greedy, domineering, and power-hungry.

ithil
ithil
15 years ago

Arithmacy is spooky! Everything I tried works. Except, when I put in my last name, which I hardly ever use, it was tottaly different than when I used my middle name, the one I usually use. When I did the middle name, it was SOOO right!

lizzzy
lizzzy
15 years ago

ok- you go by dave, right? well we both have the same numbers- 3, 3, 9! i’ve only found one other person with those exact numbers and that’s Padma Patil- awesome! you must be, like, my twin from the past or something!
but what’s weird is when you type in names from history- try Zeus- 8, 8, 9; or Odysseus- 1, 5, 5- fits him pretty well! I don’t know if you’ve heard of the epic of Gilgamesh (it’s reallly old) but Gilgamesh is 9, 6, 3- it’s scary how accurate these things can be! You get a perfect fit every time!
I have a twin, though- and her numbers are completely different from mine- I wonder what that could mean… It could explain why we don’t often get along…
You said this was the most basic concept of arithmancy? what are the more advanced parts to it? Man, I’d love to go to hogwarts and take this class, it’s so awesome!

Danie
Danie
15 years ago

Okay! It is: Ronald Bilius Weasley, and Harry James Potter! The results are quite different then

Kaylie
Kaylie
15 years ago

Woah. That is the coolest thing I’ve ever read about. I’ve been obsessed with finding out what Arithmancy was since I first came across it in Harry Potter. It’s so neat, J.K. Rowling included so many interesting things in her books…

Thank you so much for posting that, it made it so simple. I’m dying to go to Hogwarts now and take Arithmancy!

Diana
Diana
15 years ago

omg! my numbers are 7,4,3 the exact same as sirius! he was always my favorite character, too. that is spooky!

Laforge Geoffrey
Laforge Geoffrey
15 years ago

Man that’s really creepy!
7,1,6 that’s really me!

Abhinav Sonkar
Abhinav Sonkar
14 years ago

What is the significance of 9,9,9? What type of personality does it indicate? Is it complete fullness to the extent that the person doesn’t need anyone and can live alone?

Dave Haber
Dave Haber
14 years ago

It could mean that, but it could also mean that you’re so complete, you’re so 100% OK, that you get along with the world and enjoy everybody’s company.

ithil
ithil
14 years ago

this is soooo spooky.I put in my name and got 1,5,5…same as Odysseus,and I read his story when i was little,and i have loved it ever since!

esma.
esma.
14 years ago

My brother’s numbers are:

Character: 9
Heart: 9
Social: 9

This is so… spooky.

Max Coleman
Max Coleman
14 years ago

There’s a lot of talk about whether Grindelwald and Dumbledore were lovers, and if you type in their names (Dumbledore’s full name; I don’t know Grindelwald’s full name), they are BOTH 6’s in the “Heart” section!

aranel
aranel
14 years ago

Whoa, I wonder if parents can name their kid to certain numbers? that would be scary-Imagine, a whole world full of 999!

Jennifer
Jennifer
14 years ago

My numbers are 9, 8, 1. My Patronus (heh) is a Sphinx, my wood is Eldar, and somehow my letter from Hogwarts was never delivered…

Don’t normally post on websites, but this concept is exceptional. Thank you for an egrossing afternoon.

Ashlee
Ashlee
14 years ago

OMG! Arithmancy is awesome! It’s really spooky too. All of my numbers are the same as Hermione Granger’s!

ushma
ushma
14 years ago

hi this is really spooky. i typed my name and it came as 898 and when i typed ‘horcrux’ it was 898
i cant believe this its spooky
isnt it?

Nick
Nick
14 years ago

ok just so everyone is clear the heart and social number of any combination when added together will always equal or reduces to equal the “character number”. so it isn’t “spooky” if it happens…it’s supposed to.

Anas
Anas
14 years ago

Amazing! Rediculous! That’s very interesting! Now I quite understand, why Arrithmency is Hermione’s favourite subject, though it is neglected by Harry and Ron!
And honestly, I can say, if I would go to Hogwarts, obviously it would be my one of the favourite subjects! My twin brother Abbas thinks so!

Eli
Eli
14 years ago

I think you made a mistake with Molly and Arthur Weasley. Molly’s maiden name is Prewitt, and when I typed in her full maiden name, her Character number is 8, while Arthur’s is a 5. When you type in “Molly Weasley”, that is when you get a 5. I’m not educated in Arithmancy at all, but do you take into account the maiden name?
PS. This is article has been really helpful! Thanks!

Mark
Mark
14 years ago

Interesting, ‘Minerva McGonagall’ makes 5 5 9. Perfect on the exterior as a ‘teacher, scientist and humanitarian,’ all of which I think fit Minerva perfectly. But 5 at heart and overall? The number of instability, irrationality and confusion? Definately not the McGonagall I know.

Also, compare Lucius Malfoy, with Draco Malfoy; 449 and 559 respectively. Interesting, huh? Draco is almost like Lucius, but confused and erratic.

Lisbry
Lisbry
14 years ago

Woah. Like someone pointed out earlier, if you put in Dumbledore’s and Voldemort’s given, FULL name, they come to the same numbers, namely:

Character:4
Heart:9
Social:4

I got the same numbers on MY full name. Spooky.

Ra�l Llavaneras
Ra�l Llavaneras
17 years ago

When I typed my full name, Ra�l Miguel Llavaneras Baradlay, I got

Character: 9
Heart: 5
Social: 4

And, dude, it’s really freaky! I’m a scientist (baby scientist, actually, I just started studying Chemistry in college) and I would like to teach too! I’m a very determined person, I work my @$$ off and, according to my girlfriend and friend, I’m their “rock and I always find a way to get to them to do things and make them feel better” (I’m blushing over here!). I also am arrogant and proud of myself, mind you, I have reasons to be so…

Heartwise, well… “Five is the number of instability and imbalance, indicating change and uncertainty.” I am sort of unstable, in my relationships, although it’s never my fault:S:S:S “They are adventurous, energetic and willing to take risks.” Soooooooo true, I’m always going all in… “quick-tempered and impatient”, I do get mad really fast (I am of the belief that stupidity should be punishable by law)…

Socialwise: “Like a table that rests solidly on four legs, four indicates stability and firmness. Fours enjoy hard work. They are practical, reliable and down to earth; they prefer logic and reason to flights of fancy. They are good at organization and getting things done. Like the cycle of the four seasons, they are also predictable. They can be stubborn, suspicious, overly practical and prone to angry outbursts. The conflicts possible in ‘two’ are doubled in four.”

I am a true social four, there is no discussion about that. =)

Linda
Linda
17 years ago

Sybil Trelawney is a 1, 2, 8. The descriptions seems to fit her pretty good. Since she’s an 8, maybe she should leave Hogwarts and join the Department of Mysteries (politics) or start her own business….

Raven
Raven
17 years ago

I’m thinking you guys didn’t do Harry’s character number right. You didn’t include his full name. Just Harry and Potter. So it wouldn’t equal 2.

Dave Haber
Dave Haber
17 years ago

When doing arithmancy, you can use either the person’s full name, or the person’s name as they most commonly use it. That’s why, in the article, I used “Harry Potter” and “Ron Weasley”. Sometimes you might not know a person’s middle name, for example, but the magic still works.

Pranita
Pranita
17 years ago

This thing is so cool! My personality is on 5, heart on 6 and social on 8! believe it or not, my crush is also on 5 for personality! Do you think we’ll get along?

Rebecca
Rebecca
17 years ago

Maybe I missed this in the article, but how did you come across this information?