In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), Harry, Ron, and Hermione find a stack of brooms in the Room of Requirement and use them to escape the incoming flames. What struck me, is that they just picked up the brooms and flew off on them. So, can any old broom in the wizarding world be used to fly, or is there some enchantment involved? If the latter, then there couldn't be a guarantee that the brooms could be used in the moment as intended.

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    Wasn't that the room of requirement? If so, it would have had exactly what they needed in that moment. Was "the room where everything is hidden" something else, or just an arcane reference to the room of requirement? – Anthony X Sep 19 '17 at 1:07
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    @AnthonyX that's a brilliant point !! They required an escape in the room of requirement. And the "room of requirement" accommodates and conjures up stuff that its inhabitants need (part 7, room of requirement turns into a hideout for students and is said to have "procured a bathroom once the girls started turning up") so its most likely procured broomsticks for their requirement ! – Anu7 Sep 19 '17 at 5:21
  • Anu7 and @AnthonyX - While your logic is nice, it's not in line with the in-universe logic. The Room of Requirement does, indeed, appear as a room containing whatever someone desperately needs at the time of needing it and being at the seventh floor, so your logic would hold up. Thing is, the room during that scene is specifically the Room of Requirement's defacto "hide your stuff" iteration, which is why it's so filled up with junk which generations of students have needed to hide there. Those brooms were there because they needed to be hidden, not because the Room produced them for escape. – Ghoti and Chips Sep 19 '17 at 10:00
  • continued for more detail @Anu7: The reason it's the defacto "hide your stuff" iteration is because that's where Voldemort hid Rowena Ravenclaw's diadem (one of the horcruxes). It's been used by many students before, including Harry, when he hid the Half-Blood Prince's textbook, and Draco Malfoy, who was using the vanishing cabinet to sneak the Death Eaters into the castle. That's also how Malfoy knew how to get in there when chasing after them into the Room. Those brooms must have been hidden by a past student at some point, and weren't "produced" by the Room because they needed to escape. – Ghoti and Chips Sep 19 '17 at 10:05
  • The official name for that "hide your stuff" iteration of the Room of Requirement is the Room of Hidden Things. – Ghoti and Chips Sep 19 '17 at 10:07

So can any old broom in the wizarding world be used to fly, or is there some enchantment involved?

No, a broom must be enchanted for it to fly. There must always be an enchantment for it to be used as a flying broomstick. If it interests you, you can read about the origin of the first flying broomsticks in "Quidditch through the Ages" by JKR

If the latter then there couldn't be a guarantee that the brooms could be used in the moment as intended.

You're right for all we know they could have been non-enchanted useless broomsticks that couldn't fly and the trio would have kind of died there.

But I think since its the "Room of Hidden Things", we would not expect ordinary objects (like a cleaning broomstick) to be put into that room. But you would most definitely have/expect a flying broomstick. A non-enchanted broomstick would be too much of an useless object to go and hide it in 'Room of Hidden Things'.

Oh! and you can identify a normal broomstick (no handles no polish) from a flying broomstick (polished, bristles are neat, has handles and markings). Since 1900s, all broomsticks were mass produced with polishing and a lot of tidying up [source: Quidditch through ages book]

First Broomstick First Broomstick

Current Broomsticks Current Broomsticks

From the movie (you have handles near Harry's hands) Movie Scene

And I think some things happen to conveniently be available at the right time just for the sake of moving the story forward. This is not specific to Harry Potter but I guess in general applicable to many stories/movies.

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    In addition: what would you buy a non-enchanted broomstick for? Sweep the floor? ^^ – Layna Sep 18 '17 at 8:50
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    "you can identify a normal broomstick from a flying broomstick" Going by the first part of your answer, can't a normal-looking broomstick be enchanted to then become a flying broomstick? It seems like the handles and footrests are only added because they were intentionally building a (better) flying broomstick from the get go. Similarly, just because racecars usually have spoilers when they leave the factory, doesn't mean that a normal car can't be converted into a racecar at some point after leaving the factory. – Flater Sep 18 '17 at 11:21
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    @Flater True, but I think Anu7's point was that Harry saw the broomsticks (which had handles/footrests) and thus can safely deduce that they were enchanted. If he saw one that didn't have handles/footrests, he could safely deduce they aren't enchanted. I'm sure most people purchase their broomsticks rather than make their own just like most people purchase their cars rather than build their own (even if it's possible to do so). – Doc Sep 18 '17 at 15:39
  • @Doc: Fair point. I hadn't considered that the linked image was from the actual scene in question. – Flater Sep 18 '17 at 15:43

They would have to use magic to make them fly and control it. It's likely that the more expensive brooms that are designed to be flown give better control and speed than a normal old broom.

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Probably, yes.

Of course, a broom would have to be enchanted in order to fly, however wizards have absolutely no use for ordinary, non-enchanted brooms. No self-respecting wizard would clean their house using "muggle methods" (for example Severus Snape considers that a particularly cruel form of punishment in his detentions).

So it is safe to assume that any old broomstick you happen to stumble upon in the wizarding world can actually fly.

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