Four Houses of Hogwarts

In the Harry Potter series, the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is divided into four houses, each bearing the last name of its founder: Godric Gryffindor, Salazar Slytherin, Rowena Ravenclaw and Helga Hufflepuff.

A. Gryffindor

Gryffindor values courage and chivalry. Its emblematic animal is the lion and its colours are red and gold. Minerva McGonagall is the most recent Head of House. Nearly Headless Nick is the house ghost.

As this is the house to which Harry Potter belongs, its private quarters are the only ones that have been described in any detail, and its members tend to get the most attention. These are located in one of the castle's towers, the entrance to which is located on the seventh floor and is guarded by a painting of a fat lady in pink. She permits entry only after being given the correct (regularly changing) password. Behind her is a large common room, with a fireplace, and two staircases leading up to the boys' and girls' dormitories.

According to J. K. Rowling, Gryffindor corresponds roughly to the element of fire, which may partly be the reason for its colours.

B. Slytherin

Slytherin values ambition and cunning. Its emblematic animal is the serpent and its colours are green and silver. The temporary Slytherin head is Horace Slughorn, a former head; previously it was Severus Snape. The Bloody Baron is the house ghost. According to J. K. Rowling, Slytherin corresponds roughly to the element of water. The Slytherin common room and dormitories are located underneath the Hogwarts lake, and are reached through a bare stone wall in the dungeons. The Slytherin common room is a long, low underground room with rough stone walls and round, greenish lamps hanging from the ceiling.

Contrary to the beliefs of his peers, Salazar Slytherin wanted a stricter policy of admittance—one limited to pureblood students. The controversy this created eventually led to Salazar leaving the school, leaving the Chamber of Secrets behind. A millennium later, the house's students are still considered affiliated with Salazar's views (though some half-bloods, most notably Tom Riddle and Snape, have been in Slytherin); sometimes undeservedly, sometimes not. Blood purity is certainly one of the things in Lord Voldemort's agenda. It is often mentioned in the novels (especially in PS and CoS) that most of the dark wizards were in Slytherin.

C. Ravenclaw

Ravenclaw values intelligence, knowledge, and wit. Its emblematic animal is the eagle, and its colours are blue and bronze (silver in the films). The Ravenclaw head is Filius Flitwick. The house ghost is the Grey Lady. According to J. K. Rowling, Ravenclaw corresponds roughly to the element of air. The Ravenclaw common room and dormitories are located in a tower on the west side of the school.

Ravenclaw seems to have been second-best preference (behind Gryffindor) for Hermione Granger.

D. Hufflepuff

Hufflepuff is the most inclusive among the four houses, valuing hard work and patience, loyalty and friendship, and justice and fair play rather than a particular aptitude in its members. Its emblematic animal is the badger, and yellow and black are its colours. Professor Pomona Sprout is the head of Hufflepuff. The Fat Friar its ghost. According to J. K. Rowling, Hufflepuff corresponds roughly to the element of earth. The Hufflepuff common room and dormitories are located somewhere in the basement, near the castle's kitchens.

Perhaps as a consequence of the broad principles of acceptance upon which it is founded, Hufflepuff has been stereotyped as the house of the unexceptional (or, more unkindly, as "a lot o' duffers"). One of the few Hufflepuffs of note is Cedric Diggory, who brought his house rare glory as its Quidditch captain and Seeker, and later as Hogwarts' champion in the Triwizard Tournament in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

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