One of the most memorable moments in the first book, Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone is the sorting ceremony. In fact, it is possibly the most memorable for any first year, and whenever the sorting is shown, there’s also the eagerness to know which of the four houses you are placed in. The fun part of the sorting ceremony is that it doesn’t involve wrestling a troll, as Fred told when pulling Ron’s leg, but that you have to place the Hogwarts Sorting Hat on your head and let it look into your mind, before choosing the perfect house for you. Out of the four houses, the two that I thought would suit me best were Ravenclaw and Gryffindor. The bibliophile that I am and the studious geek that I was in my school days, I felt the former would be where I’d end up, but when I became a part of Pottermore, and took the sorting ceremony, to my surprise, the outcome put me in the latter option. One other character I could think of that felt more in tune with Ravenclaw but ended up in Gryffindor is Hermione Granger. I’m in the company of Gryffindor personalities like Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter, and Minerva McGonagall etc.
Each of the four founders of Hogwarts put their choices of the kind of witches and wizards they’d choose for their houses. Courage, chivalry, and determination are what set apart the Gryffindors from the other houses. The emblem of the house is a lion and the colors of red and gold represent the house. Professor McGonagall was the head of Gryffindor House till she became the headmistress of Hogwarts after the Battle of Hogwarts. It makes me wonder who got the position of head of Gryffindor House then. I’d love to think that Hagrid got the position till Neville took over as Professor of Herbology, and then Neville became Head of Gryffindor House. Since there aren’t any details, this is a pure, but pleasing conjecture on my part.
The Gryffindor Common Room, where the students of the house relax when there are no classes or get together to study, is located in one of the castle’s towers (named as Gryffindor Tower, not surprisingly), and it is guarded by an oil painting of the Fat Lady, a former Gryffindor herself, who is garbed in a pink silk dress. She permits entry only after being given the correct (regularly changing) password. The entrance itself is on the seventh floor of the castle. Only on one occasion is the painting changed, when the knight Sir Cadogan takes over the responsibility in The Prisoner of Azkaban.
One thing that I loved reading in the book was about Godric Gryffindor, the founder of the Gryffindor House and one of the four founders of Hogwarts magically ensuring any worthy Gryffindor who needs help can find his sword. The sword is initially in the headmaster’s chamber, but comes out of the Sorting Hat when Harry needs it in The Chamber of Secrets, is found inside the ice when Ron retrieves it in the last book, and also when Neville is put under the full body bind curse. It showed help is never far away when it’s needed. And made me wonder if the other founders also had similar help thought of for worthy Ravenclaws, Hufflepuffs and Slytherins should they need it.
The Gryffindors have a healthy and sometimes unhealthy rivalry with the Slytherins, and it is thought the two founders also had a similar rivalry. The rivalry, one on one, can be seen over generations. Godric and Salazar, James Potter and Snape, Harry and Draco… these are some I remember. The fierceness of the rivalry is also seen on the Quidditch field in the matches. Perhaps it is because of the arrogance of the house of Slytherin, the other two houses Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff also generally support Gryffindor. Only when Harry is chosen as a Triwizard champion is a smaller inter-house rivalry seen for a short time.
What house do you think you’d be perfect in? Gryffindor (brave, determined, daring), Ravenclaw (intelligent, witty), Hufflepuff (loyal, hard-working, determined, fair) or Slytherin (ambition, cunning) are the four. The letter H has so many choices in the world of Harry Potter, I’m still wondering what it is. Let’s see what I finally decide on.
(© 8th April 2016)