Harry Potter: The Real Meaning Of Every Hogwarts House & Their Symbols

The Harry Potter series introduced readers and viewers to the Wizarding World and its most notable characters, objects, and settings, among those the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, one of the finest institutions in the Wizarding World, which is organized into four houses – and here’s the meaning of every Hogwarts house and their respective symbols as well. The Wizarding World is one of the most extensive and beloved worlds in the fantasy genre, and it all began in 1997 with the book Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first entry in a series of seven novels following “The Boy Who Lived” and his battle against Lord Voldemort, the darkest wizard alive who had dangerous plans for the Muggle and Wizarding worlds.


The Harry Potter novels quickly made the jump to the big screen in a series of eight movies, as the final novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was split into two movies, and while they made various changes to the source material in order to fit the format and narrative, they mostly stayed loyal to the books, allowing the audience to immerse themselves in this rich universe. One of the most exciting things about the big screen adaptation of the Harry Potter novels was getting a good look at Hogwarts, one of the most important places in the novels and in the history of the Wizarding World, as it’s not only the school Harry Potter and other prominent wizards attended, but it’s also a notable school founded by a group of brilliant wizards, each one with a different vision for the young wizards and witches they hoped to train.

Every new student in Hogwarts has to go through a process with the Sorting Hat in order to be assigned to one of four houses, depending on their dominant traits and potential. These houses are Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin, each of them with a unique crest representing one of the founders of Hogwarts and the traits they valued the most, so each one has a unique story – and here’s what each Hogwarts house represents and what their symbols mean.


Gryffindor was founded by Godric Gryffindor, who is considered one of the most brilliant wizards of his time. The Sorting Hat once belonged to him, who along with the rest of the founders of Hogwarts, enchanted the hat with their combined intelligence so it would sort all new students into their respective houses. Gryffindor’s emblematic animal is a lion, and its colors are scarlet and gold, which fit with the traits associated with this house. The lion represents courage, regality, and power, and Gryffindor is known for being the house that values bravery, daring, nerve, and chivalry, which are some traits Godric Gryffindor himself valued most. Each Hogwarts house also represents one of the four elements, with Gryffindor corresponding to the element of fire, thus why it’s represented by the colors scarlet and gold. Gryffindor has been home to some of the most notable wizards in history, such as Albus Dumbledore, Minerva McGonagall, Sirius Black, Lily Evans, James Potter, Remus Lupin, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, and Harry Potter. Each Hogwarts house also has its own ghost, and in Gryffindor’s case, it was the unforgettable Nearly Headless Nick.


The house of Slytherin was founded by Salazar Slytherin, one of the greatest wizards of the age and best known for being a parselmouth and a skilled Legilimens, but also for his radical ideas about Muggles and Muggle-born wizards. The traits that Salazar Slytherin valued most were ambition, leadership, self-preservation, cunning, and resourcefulness, which became the ones associated with the Slytherin house. Its symbol is a serpent, which represents resourcefulness and ambition, and its colors are green and silver. Slytherin represents the element of water, which appears behind the serpent in the house’s crest. Due to his ideas against Muggles and Muggle-born students, Salazar Slytherin left Hogwarts and never returned – however, he built the Chamber of Secrets, which concealed a basilisk, in hopes that his heir would return to the school and unleash the horror within the chamber so the basilisk would purge the school of those who, in Slytherin’s view, were unworthy to study magic. The Bloody Baron is this house’s ghost, and Slytherin saw the raise of many outstanding (though also dangerous) wizards and witches, such as Merlin (yes, that one), Letha Lestrange, Tom Riddle, Bellatrix Black, Draco Malfoy, and Severus Snape.


Ravenclaw was founded by Rowena Ravenclaw, a witch noted for her intelligence and creativity. The house of Ravenclaw, just like Rowena, values intelligence, knowledge, curiosity, creativity and wit, and it corresponds to the element of air. Its emblematic animal is the eagle, representing intelligence and wisdom as it “soars where others cannot climb“, and its colors are blue and bronze, with the element air present in the background of the house’s crest. Among Ravenclaw’s particularities is that, instead of giving a password, its students have to solve a riddle in order to enter the Ravenclaw common room. Ravenclaw’s ghost is the Grey Lady, the ghost of Rowena’s daughter, Helena, who was murdered by the Bloody Baron, who committed suicide once he realized what he had done. The most notable Ravenclaws are Filius Flitwick, Xenophilius Lovegood, Garrick Ollivander, Gilderoy Lockhart, Cho Chang, and Luna Lovegood.


Hufflepuff was founded by Helga Hufflepuff, who stood out from the rest of the founders of Hogwarts for accepting all students without preference, though there were obviously certain traits that she valued most, as were hard work, dedication, patience, loyalty, and fair play. Hufflepuff’s emblematic animal is the badger, which represents hard work, loyalty and tenacity, and this house corresponds to the element earth, which can be seen in the background of the house’s crest in the shape of leaves, along with the colors yellow and black. The Fat Friar is the house’s ghost, and the most notable Hufflepuffs in the history of the Wizarding World are Newt Scamander, Pomona Sprout, Nymphadora Tonks, and Cedric Diggory.

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