Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin, the four Hogwarts Houses, have formed a major part of Harry Potter's Hogwarts journey, with house points up for grabs in classes, sports, extra-curricular activities and even through acts of bravery that Harry, Ron, and Hermione have exhibited whilst attempting to thwart the efforts of dark wizards and witches.
In Harry's sorting hat ceremony, we saw how each Hogwarts house represents different personalities and values, which together with Harry's will, went into the sorting hat's decision to place him in Gryffindor. Let's take a look at the stories about how each Hogwarts house was founded, and what went into the makeup of each house that gave them their respective reputations today.
Founded by Godric Gryffindor, this house's students are known for their chivalry and bravery. This is because the house's founder, Godric Gryffindor, exhibited such traits in his own lifetime. He was known for being an accomplished dueller, and vigorously opposed Muggle discrimination in the wizarding world. A courageous and strong wizard, he had the sword of Gryffindor created for him by esteemed goblin silversmith Ragnuk the First. When Ragnuk started the rumor that Godric actually stole the sword from him, so daring was Godric that he was able to successfully overcome his animosity and retrieve what was his from the goblin community.
When the Hogwarts founders were debating over how students should be sorted once they are no longer there, Gryffindor took his hat off and the founders enchanted it with their knowledge. This hat became known as the sorting hat, which is tasked with placing students into each house depending on their personalities. Because Gryffindor is associated with bravery, the house's emblem features a lion. The house colors, scarlet and gold, are synonymous with fire, which is representative of the daring, brave and fearsome personalities of the students that Gryffindor instructed the sorting hat to look for to place in his house. Later on, the Gryffindor common room that is accessible from the grand staircase was established, with the Fat Lady guarding access to it.
In her lifetime, founder Helga Hufflepuff was known to value fair treatment of all people, loyalty, patience, and dedication. It is for this reason that when she established Hufflepuff house, she decided to accept students based on their possession of values such as friendliness, hard work, and loyalty, rather than their aptitudes. This gave Hufflepuff a reputation of being more open and accepting than the other houses. Apart from her strong moral code, Hufflepuff was also known for excelling at charms and preparing food.
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Her meals were known to always be delicious and plentiful; they were successful in bringing the school together in harmony. It is for this reason that Helga's recipes are still used in the Hogwarts kitchens to this day, with the many feasts in the great hall reminiscent of those that were prepared by Hufflepuff herself. In what is no coincidence, the Hufflepuff common room is located through a large pile of barrels in a corridor near the kitchens. It is also the only common room armed with repelling devices in case of intruders.
Hailing from Scotland, Rowena Ravenclaw was said to be one of the wisest and most knowledgeable witches of her time. It is for this reason that the sorting hat selects students who show wit, wisdom, and an appreciation for learning to be members of Ravenclaw house. Rowena was known for wearing a diadem, which was rumored to enlighten its wearer with wisdom. Unfortunately, Ravenclaw's daughter Helena stole the diadem and ran away, which lead to Rowena appointing the Bloody Baron to pursue her and bring her home. When he failed at this task, he killed Helena partly due to the fact that she rejected his love for her. News of Helena's death deeply saddened Rowena, and she died soon after.
Ravenclaw is associated with the element of air, and as such its colors are blue and bronze, with an eagle being sported on its crest. Its common room is located at the top of a tower, and a winding staircase that must be climbed to get there. Considering that Ravenclaw students are required to have wit and logic, it is the only common room in Hogwarts that requires a riddle to be solved in order to gain access, rather than knowledge of a password.
The house's founder, Salazar Slytherin, got along well with the other Hogwarts founders for quite some time. This all changed, however, when he opposed the notion of allowing Muggle-born students to attend Hogwarts. This prompted his decision to leave the school, but not before he built a secret room, namely the Chamber of Secrets, within the school, which housed a monster that only he could control. He also left behind a golden locket, which would later become a Horcrux. While Slytherin and Gryffindor were initially close friends, such ideological differences created a rift between the two and resulted in the rivalry between the houses that has persisted until this very day.
Salazar himself proved to be an ambitious, cunning and resourceful wizard, which is exactly the type of students that he looked for when sorting them. While he would only allow purebloods into his house, the sorting hat will allow muggle-borns into the house if they possess the ideal qualities. Slytherin is commonly associated with water, and its colors are green and silver to represent lochs surrounding lakes and grey rain later respectively. The house emblem sports a snake, which is most closely related to the fact that Salazar could communicate with snakes by use of Parseltongue. The Slytherin common room is located within the dungeons, underneath the Black Lake. This has caused the light in the common room to be green, as is evident in the house's crest.