So basically, Hogwarts is the setting to rule all settings, the school that everyone wants to go to, the place where magical bathrooms appear in walls when you need them, where staircases change to make you late and the nosy people that live in the portraints will follow you around, where there are hidden passages and chambers of secrets, Hogwarts is the keeper of dreams for all those who have followed the adventures of the ordinary boy put into extraordinary circumstances.
This is probably going to be the shortest history lesson you have ever recieved but it's necessary to keep you up to speed with what's going on in the world of Harry Potter because the school is the most important thing to the series aside from magic.
Thousands of years ago, when muggles (non magic people) first started to persecute witches and wizards, the magical community seperated itself from mainstream muggle society (it is a widely disputed fact whether they actually seperated themselves so that they don't belong to a society that appreciates people like Kim Kardashian, Snookie and the Situation--although Hogwarts Historians agree that even their magic could not tell them of the horrors of Jersey Shore in the future).
Four of the most powerful sorcerers of the time came together and built a school for magic called Hogwarts. These were: Godrick Gryffindor, Salazar Slytherin, Helga Hufflepuff and Rowena Ravenclaw. They had a problem however because Salazar (Sal) Slytherin and Godrick (not God for obvious reasons but Rick) Gryffindor had some problems because Sal did not want to let in students that had any kind of muggle lineage. Rick knew this wasn't a good idea because he didn't want any magical child to be deprived of education and also understood the population dynamics of magical people and that the number of witches and wizards in the world was dwindling.
So Rowena and Helga sided with Rick and they kicked Sal out of the club a couple decades after the school was established. Although Sal built a secret chamber before he left called The Chamber of Secrets that only his heir could access and inside it, he put the Basilisk which was basically a giant snake that would kill anyone who looked it in the eyes (meant for mudbloods and students with any muggle limeage)
Technology does not work in Hogwarts because, imagine if Harry could google how to defeat voldemort, where's the fun in that?)
Hogwarts is concealed so that only someone who was supposed to go there can see it.
At the end of every school year, the House with the most points (gained by getting right answers in class, winning quidditch matches and lost by making stupid comments and getting in trouble) Winning is a big deal.
Hogwarts is surrounded by a lake filled with killer mermaids a sea monster and other things. There is a forbidden forest on one side that contains other miscellanious dangerous creatures and there is a Quidditch Pitch. Hogwarts looks like a castle. There is a great hall whose ceiling changes according to its mood.
Each house has its own common room and dorm room (girls and boys seperate). Access the gryffindor common room by giving a password to a portrait of a Fat Lady (how creative)--colours are red and gold. Access the Ravenclaw common room by answering a question--you had better make sure the Sorting Hat (a hat that looks like Whoopie Goldberg with a pointed head and picks which House you are going to belong to) made the right choice or you'll be waiting outside for a long time. Access the Slytherin common room by going through a complicated tunnel under the lake and giving it a password. Hufflepuff has a password too, but nothing about it is really special.
On one side of the castle is an angry tree (never thought I'd use those words together) called The Whomping Willow that moves around of its own accord and will literaly smack anyone that touches it. Underneath the tree is something called the Shireking Shack which is supposed to be haunted. (see more in Book 3).
Near Hogwarts is the only full wizard village called Hogsmeade. It actually looks like a postcard picture of a perfect ordinary magical village complete with a corner candy shop, a secret passage to Hogwarts and a bar called The Three Broomsticks that serves butterbeers to underage wizards.
Now that you have a comprehensive knowledge of the bare outlines of the world of Harry Potter, you will no longer make embarressing comments about why did the tree suddenly hit that little kid and, "Hogwarts, what's that?"
Stay tuned for the next installment! In the mean time, please please leave comments and vote if you like it so far! Check out my other story, The Scrap Metal Princess if youa are in the mood for some sci fi, some deception, some evil, some art and one very dangerous cyborg.