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The ultimate guide to the Hogwarts houses

The Hogwarts houses are a vital part of living at the famous school for witchcraft and wizardry. Not only do they tell students what colours to wear, but they say a little something about the wizard wearing them. Bottom line is, they’re kind of important, each one with a unique history and cast of characters.

Nowadays you and the kids can even put on a virtual sorting hat and get put into one of the four houses. While the common rooms and houses don’t actually exist, they come pretty close on the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London, where real life props and sets from the films are on display. Before you and the little ones start buying house scarves at the gift shop, here’s a breakdown of just what it means to belong to one of Hogwarts’ four exclusive houses.

 

Gryffindor

Notable Gryffindors:
• Harry Potter
• Hermione Granger
• Albus Dumbledore

History:
Gryffindor house was founded by Godric Gryffindor, and its members are known to be heroes. This probably comes as no surprise, seeing as Harry Potter was sorted into this noble house. Gryffindor house flies scarlet and gold as its colours and has the mascot of a lion. Dumblemore tended to favour Gryffindor, but its core trio (Harry, Ron and Hermione) were kind of a big deal.

Defining characteristics:
• Courage, sometimes to a death-defying degree, at least in Harry Potter’s case
• Determination, which was undoubtedly necessary as Harry continuously broke out of the Gryffindor Common Room time and again – illegally, might we add
• Recklessness, because without it, none of the above would be possible

 

Ravenclaw

Notable Ravenclaws:
• Luna Lovegood
• Gilderoy Lockhart
• Garrick Ollivander

History:
The Ravenclaw branch of Hogwarts was founded by Rowena Ravenclaw, a Scottish witch known for her smarts and creativity. Their colours are blue and bronze, and their house mascot is an eagle. The most notable object from the Ravenclaw family was Rowena Ravenclaw’s diadem, which was stolen by her daughter Helena and ultimately fell into the hands of Voldemort, who turned it into one of his infamous horcruxes.

Defining characteristics:
• Wise, though air-head Gilderoy Lockhart might convince you otherwise
• Quirkiness, as exhibited through the unique Luna Lovegood
• Competitive, especially where grades are concerned

Hufflepuff

Notable Hufflepuffs:
• Cedric Diggory
• Nymphadora Tonks
• Newt Scamander

History:
This lovable house was formed by Helga Hufflepuff, a Welsh witch. Hufflepuff’s colours are yellow and black, and their animal mascot is a badger. While the other three houses choose only special students, Hufflepuff is known for being inclusive and, as a result, often does poorly in the end-of-year House Cup tournament. However, Cedric Diggory was chosen as the most worthy Hogwarts representative in the Triwizard Tournament, at least until Harry Potter showed up.

Defining characteristics:
• Patience, which is what they’ll need when it comes to finally winning a House Cup
• Kindness, because you’d have to be considering the cockiness of the other three houses
• Tolerance, see above

Slytherin

Notable Slytherins:
• Tom Riddle (AKA Voldemort)
• Severus Snape
• Draco Malfoy

History:
Slytherin house was formed by Salazar Slytherin, a cunning dark wizard that was one of the first Parselmouths – meaning he could talk to snakes. It was Slytherin’s belief that Hogwarts should be more selective in its admissions process and limit its students to only pure-bloods. Though many of its students turn out to be evil, not all Slytherins are dark wizards. Its house colours are green and silver and its mascot is, unsurprisingly, a serpent.

Defining characteristics:
• Cunning, which explains all the scheming
• A disregard for rules, hence the tendency to be evil
• Ambitious, which makes sense, seeing as Voldemort tried to take over the world

Which house do you think you’d be sorted in to? Let me know in the comments below.

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