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An In-Depth Analysis of the Hogwarts Houses’ Characteristics

The "Harry Potter" franchise recently made a huge comeback in one of the least likely places you’d expect it to go viral on: TikTok. The iconic book and movie series featuring our favorite Gryffindor trio has reawakened a distant memory and almost-forgotten love within many Potterheads (including myself). One of the things every Harry Potter fan has done at least once before was determining which of the four Hogwarts Houses they belong to: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin. Each of the four Houses has distinct characteristics that define them—however, there is more to each House than the surface-level characteristics they’re often associated with.

Gryffindor

Gryffindor is notorious for housing many of the wizarding world’s most iconic, bravest heroes. Godric Gryffindor, Gryffindor’s founder, prided himself for selecting students who embodied the traits of courage, nerve, and chivalry to join his House. Gryffindors have a strong sense of care for others, possibly even to the point of being embodiments of the phrase, “I would literally die for you.” They would put the people they love ahead of themselves first and would do anything to ensure their safety. However, while some people would assume Gryffindors show this kind of passion in a singular way—most likely in a fiery and fierce manner—there are various ways in which a Gryffindor would demonstrate their care for others. Some are upfront, kind, and caring although coming on a little strong sometimes. Others may be a little rougher around the edges, but that doesn’t take away what’s in their heart; it simply means they’re more strongly-opinionated than most. While most people think all Gryffindors are extroverted, fiery people, this is not necessarily true. Some are also more on the sweet side and not as hard-headed or outspoken as the stereotypical Gryffindor, but their love and loyalty for the people close to them are the same.

Gryffindors are very pure of heart, meaning that while they’re not constantly all-around perfect and good (I mean, who is?), they have high moral standards and instinctively want to do the right thing. They will often act on their conscience, making them doers instead of thinkers. A Gryffindor’s loyalty is so strong, it may honestly rival that of a Hufflepuff’s. They’re the kind of people who will not give up on you, no matter how much you think otherwise, and are the ideal friend who will carry you through if you’re in a rough and hard place. That being said, this strong sense of loyalty may backfire such that their need to be there for others often causes them to forget themselves and their own emotional and mental needs. Gryffindors are probably the most emotional of all of the other Houses, so there will be a point where this kind of emotional bottling will cause them to lash out at inopportune moments if they do not find an outlet sooner. Their impulsive attitudes would not help in this kind of situation, and they may do or say something they will later regret if they do not have someone willing to hear them out.

Overall, while Gryffindors may not often think before they speak sometimes, their intentions are not often to truly hurt another person—they’re simply the kind of people who get caught up in the moment and this may cause them to do things they don’t really intend. The regret they feel afterward would hurt strongly because once they have the time or chance to think about their words or actions, their emotions take hold and their guilt is nearly unbearable.

All in all, a Gryffindor’s life mission is simply this: To make a difference, to make history, and to have plenty of fun in the process.

Daredevils – Journalists – Athletes – Authors – Travelers

Ravenclaw

Ravenclaws are well-known for their wit, wisdom, cleverness, intellectual ability and creativity. Rowena Ravenclaw housed the wizarding world’s greatest inventors, artists, and innovators. However, their strong academic intellect does not necessarily define the Ravenclaw house —it is their desire to gain knowledge at every opportunity. Their thirst for knowledge is not just to fulfill their ambitions and achieve greatness but rather to gain knowledge for knowledge’s sake. That is not to say Ravenclaws are not ambitious—if anything, Ravenclaws and Slytherins have some overlap in terms of their values, which includes ambition. However, while Slytherins thrive on achieving greatness, Ravenclaws tend to desire to know the why of everything. They will do whatever it takes, whenever possible, to seek as much knowledge as they can. They would even be willing to take some risk if that means they have a chance of acquiring the knowledge they seek. It is no surprise that Ravenclaws deeply enjoy reading—they love books and would choose to be buried in a book than most other things. Because they’re so well-read, that also makes them excellent critical thinkers and a treasure trove of knowledge and ideas—ideas in which they collect furtively because they’ll never know when something they read will benefit someone else.

What also makes Ravenclaws so great is their inclusivity. To them, being eccentric is acceptable—in fact, they welcome ideas that don’t necessarily conform to the status quo. They recognize that every person has a different way of thinking and rather than conforming to a singular train of thought; Ravenclaws welcome intellectual diversity and open-mindedness, making them the most inclusive Houses out of the four. After all, new ways of thinking lead to new possibilities. Since Ravenclaws are big on reason and inclusivity, they are also highly intolerant of ignorance, ineptitude, and close-mindedness. Their progressiveness is what makes Ravenclaws so futuristic. They are the kind of people who loves to peer over the horizon. As if the future were projected on a wall, they see in detail what the future might hold, and this detailed picture keeps pulling them forward, into tomorrow. They gravitate to projects and subjects that promise to shape the future. They’re dreamers who see visions of what could be, making them drastically different from Slytherins who tend to look into the past instead. Their high sense of futurism also makes them great achievers.

Of course, every Ravenclaw is not perfect. While Ravenclaws are very intelligent people, some of them can succumb to arrogance and use their intellect as a justification to view themselves as being better than others. Isolation may also be a problem for some Ravenclaws. While some isolation can occur for innocent reasons—for example, if they wish to be alone to study or to read a good book—it can also be a byproduct of arrogance. They may envision themselves as being better than others, so they may be unwilling to associate with those they deem as intellectually inferior to them.

Ravenclaws are also very individualistic, opinionated, and analytic. They typically don’t follow the crowd or succumb to peer pressure—they do what they want to do, even if it involves flouting social conventions. They are very attentive to details and see things that no one else sees. Chances are good that they’re usually quiet during conversations, taking in everything that is being said. By being well-informed, Ravenclaws can formulate well-thought-out opinions supported by facts and well-supported information. They don’t mind being alone, making them a little more cerebral or introverted than Gryffindors or Hufflepuffs. This gives them the chance to occupy themselves with books, theories, or their own thoughts, which allows them to enjoy their time for reflection and introspection. In this sense, Ravenclaws are their own best companions. However, should a Ravenclaw want to talk, they want people to listen attentively and will get very upset if people don’t care for what they have to say.

Scholars – Professors – Artists – Psychologists – Philosophers

Hufflepuff

Hufflepuffs are noted for their strong sense of loyalty, honesty, kindness, hard work, and care. They’re perhaps the most underrated House out of the four—most often, people associate Hufflepuff as the House that takes in those who don’t fit the brave Gryffindor, smart Ravenclaw, or cunning Slytherin stereotypes. This is false. Helga Hufflepuff was the only one who was willing to look past the competitive nonsense the other three Houses created and valued Hogwarts as a home for the students, not just as a school of magic.

Hufflepuffs are true, steadfast friends and typically are the embodiment of everything a good person should consist of, in my opinion. They’re highly empathetic people and are the kind of people who have a good sense of the emotions of others, even if they’re not expressed. While Hufflepuffs generally are very nice people, that does not mean they’re pushovers—in fact, they are far from it. Hufflepuffs are fiercely protective of their own and will defend their family and friends if push comes to shove. However, they are much less confrontational or daring about it than Gryffindors. They’re generally pacifists with a strong dislike for conflict and would rather resolve things through common sense and words, making them the literal embodiment of the phrase, “Kill them with kindness.”

Hufflepuffs don’t particularly care about attaining individual achievement or being the center of attention. They are more likely to focus on their relationships with others rather than the things they have done. While they may not have a Ravenclaw’s love of learning and knowledge or a Slytherin’s ambition, they pride themselves on being the hardest workers of them all. To them, hard work is usually all it takes, and they are often rewarded for it. 

Unfortunately, Hufflepuffs’ biggest strengths may also lead them to their greatest weaknesses. Since they are usually optimists and can find the good in everything, they can be naïve if their optimism is taken to an extreme. If they’re not careful, they can be easily tricked and taken advantage of. Additionally, since Hufflepuffs have a tendency towards modesty, they can sometimes fail to see their worth, leading to low self-esteem. At best, this can cause them to simply underestimate themselves, but at worse, it can cause severe problems such as a lack of self-confidence and self-worth.

Hufflepuffs are also very practical people, making them the antithesis of Ravenclaws in this aspect. While Ravenclaws relish in discovering the unknown, Hufflepuffs prefer to stick with what’s already known—the what is over the what if. They’re also not risk-takers by nature and would prefer to avoid danger whenever they can. They don’t see the point of putting themselves or others in danger, making them more practical than Gryffindors who are more willing to take risky chances.

Hufflepuffs are nurturing people, and you can see this clearly when they’re tending their plants, looking after animals, or cooking homemade food. They’re the embodiment of comfort and all that’s associated with the feelings of home. Just because they don’t outwardly exhibit typical “strong” traits like bravery, sharp intellect, or cunningness, their goodness and kindness are still very powerful weapons.

Caretakers – Sociologists – Poets – Counselors – Teachers

Slytherin

Over the years, Slytherins developed a bad reputation because of how strongly associated they are with the Dark Arts — perhaps to the point where it’s just downright unfair when, in every other Harry Potter Sorting Hat quiz you find on the Internet, choosing all the terrible and negative options would lead to you being Sorted into Slytherin. However, Slytherins as a whole are not evil by nature and to assume that they are based on several individuals would be incorrect. Evil comes in many forms and can manifest themselves in all sorts of ways in each House (yes, including Hufflepuffs, although they do produce the least number of Dark wizards and witches out of the three). Slytherins are primarily defined by their strong ambition, self-confidence, and drive. Emotions (either their own or others’) do not get in the way of their goals because once they’re set, Slytherins fully intend to fulfill them, no matter what falls on their path. They do not truly mean to hurt people—they may just be incredibly blunt and see no need to mince or sugarcoat words. This trait can be more shocking to the more emotional houses, but it’s also what makes Slytherins strong and beautiful. They hold their ground without letting anything waver them and refuse to be nothing in the world.

The most positive things about Slytherins are their determination and will. Nothing you can say will take them down, even if you have an opinion on their words or actions—they do not need your approval or consent and therefore your opinion means nothing to them. They are driven by the need to be successful in life and take pride in their accomplishments. That being said, their positive traits can also lead to their downfall. They have extreme highs and lows, caused by their own doing. While others cannot put them down, they are still capable of being hurt, often because of themselves. They’re the type of people who will silently beat themselves up if they do not live up to their expectations or do not meet their goal as expected. Their worst fears include being viewed as a failure or feeling like they’re not doing enough in their work towards their aspirations. On the Pottermore quiz, one of the questions asked what the taker’s worst fear is. A Slytherin may choose the option that said fear of heights. Of course, not everyone who genuinely has a fear of heights is a Slytherin and their fear of heights does not necessarily correlate with their characteristics. However, one can view this symbolically—a Slytherin aspires to be at the top so it makes sense that one of their fears would be their fall from greatness. Their near bloodthirsty craving for success can easily lead them into a darker place of self-loathing.

If you have a Slytherin as a friend, cherish their friendship. Slytherins often go in and out of friendships, mainly because friends aren’t always part of their plans, but they do have a select few that they consider close friends and they’re incredibly loyal to them—in fact, these friends are some of the people they care about most in their life. It’s harsh to say all Slytherins are cold and unfeeling, even if some may come off that way sometimes, but do not underestimate the love they have for their family and friends. However, as soon as someone in their circle begins to act toxically or in any manner that is detrimental to them, Slytherins will drop them instantly—this is their self-preservation trait kicking in. Of course, self-preservation isn’t bad—it just means that, like a Ravenclaw, they have the intellect to know when something is too reckless or bad for them, unlike a Gryffindor who may charge into a situation without really thinking it through. Additionally, this makes them analytical in nature like a Ravenclaw (as mentioned earlier, there is a lot of overlap in characteristics so one trait isn’t exclusive to just one house). They are easily capable of analyzing a situation and see what the costs and benefits of it are.

All in all, Slytherins plan to do what it is they do best, make their name known, and show pride in where it is they come from.

Lawyers – Politicians – Doctors – Actors 
Christine is a second-year student studying at the University of Florida and is one of Her Campus UFL’s feature writers. She majors in Health Science on the pre-med track and hopes to attend medical school after graduation. When she’s not busy writing or studying, she enjoys eating sushi, hanging out with friends, and browsing TikToks.
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