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"By Gryffindor, the bravest were prized far beyond the rest."
Sorting Hat regarding Gryffindor[src]

Godric Gryffindor (fl. c. 993) was an English wizard and one of the four founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He was great friends with Salazar Slytherin, but opposed him when he later thought that they should not accept Muggle-born students at Hogwarts. It is unknown when he died. In his honour, Gryffindor's birthplace became known as Godric's Hollow.


Early life[]

"Bold Gryffindor, from wild moor..."
— The Sorting Hat singing about the founders' birthplaces[src]

Gryffindor hailed from a moor which was known as Godric's Hollow,[7] a small West Country village in England. He was described as being "the best duellist of his time".[8]

Hogwarts founder[]

"We'll teach all those with brave deeds to their name."
— Gryffindor's preference of students[src]

Said to be one of "the four most brilliant witches and wizards of the time",[4] Godric Gryffindor founded Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in his adulthood, with friends Salazar Slytherin, Helga Hufflepuff, and Rowena Ravenclaw, though he later severed ties with Slytherin. He even appeared to have carefully selected members of his own House.

Godric Gryffindor

Godric Gryffindor with his sword

Gryffindor was said to have praised courage, determination, and strength of heart above all other qualities. Indeed, he selected students for his house based upon their daring and bravery, according to the Sorting Hat. He also was the most in favour of allowing Muggle-borns into the school.

The founders, however, were unsure of how they would sort the students when they were dead. To solve this, Gryffindor took off his hat and all four of them enchanted it so that it could sort the students long after their deaths. It was, from then on, known as the Sorting Hat.

Gryffindor was initially a close friend of Salazar Slytherin, but over time their friendship deteriorated. After a number of years of working peacefully together, Slytherin eventually grew apart from his fellow founders due to his distrust of Muggle-borns, and his belief that they should not be accepted into Hogwarts. When Slytherin failed to convince Gryffindor and the others to accept his ideas, he chose to leave the school. Unbeknownst to Gryffindor, his former friend built a hidden chamber within the castle, in which he hid a basilisk that his heir would later use to try and purge the school of Muggle-borns.

It is unknown how or when Gryffindor died, though he left an enduring legacy.


A portrait of Gryffindor hung at Hogwarts Castle guarded a secret short cut between the seventh-floor landing of the Grand Staircase and the Entrance Hall side room. The password required to gain access to said shortcut was Starshine.[9] Gryffindor left two known relics: a goblin-made sword (adorned with rubies) and the Sorting Hat. The two items share a particular bond; whenever a "true Gryffindor" needs it, the Sword will let itself be pulled out of the hat.

Godric's sword was capable of acquiring powers from those it had slain and thus was imbued with venom from Harry Potter's defeat of the Basilisk, making it suitable as a tool for destroying Voldemort's Horcruxes. Albus Dumbledore used it to destroy Marvolo Gaunt's Ring, Ron Weasley used it to eliminate Salazar Slytherin's Locket, and Neville Longbottom used it to kill Nagini, the final Horcrux.

Physical description[]

Godric Gryffindor's portrait depicted him as a tall, muscular man with a lion-like mane of wavy red hair and a beard to match. He had green eyes, peach-coloured skin and was often shown with his famous sword, with which he had great skill in wielding.

He had also been shown as wearing segmented red sword gauntlets adorned with gold fittings that were often depicted as being rather worn and burned-looking. He was also shown as wearing magnificent red robes with gold highlights and rather intricate designs on the sleeves. He was also frequently depicted with a rather powerful and stern gaze.

Personality and traits[]

Godric Gryffindor valued courage, determination, chivalry, and strength of heart, and was described as one of the four most brilliant witches and wizards of his time. He was also the most tolerant and accepting of Muggle-borns out of the Founders, a point which brought about the end of his friendship with Salazar Slytherin. He was very forward thinking due to his creating the Sorting Hat to preserve the selection of the students after his time. This showcases his cleverness and creativity.

He also had a versatile mindset as he chose to wield a sword as well as a wand, making him a rather dynamic man who deferred to the duelling style of his opponent, Muggle and wizard alike. Going along with this, it shows that he was respectful and fair, choosing to wield a sword instead of magic against Muggle combatants out of a sense of fair play as magic would be a most decidedly unbalanced weapon in a duel against a simple sword. In addition to showing his sense of fairness, his deference to the duelling style of opponent also shows a need to challenge himself, proving his worth and courage, which became one of the signature traits of his House at Hogwarts.

His threat to unsheathe and use his famous blade against Ragnuk the First and his followers shows that despite his noble heart and good intentions, that Godric was very much capable of taking the lives of sapient beings such as goblins. This would not have been an uncommon trait for a man of his era or personality due to the constant violence that pervaded medieval Europe and the acceptability of duelling to the death among both wizard and Muggles alike.

Magical abilities and skills[]

  • Duelling: Godric Gryffindor was said to be the greatest duellist of his time with considerable talent in martial magic, and was also highly skilled in Muggle duelling, using his sword in combat. His skill as a swordsman was such that he preferred to duel Muggles with his sword instead of his magic, despite magic being the more decisive and powerful weapon.[10]
  • Charms: Godric was shown to be highly proficient in charm-work, as he helped enchant the Sorting Hat into a sentient magical artefact with personality, to sort students after his lifetime, with the help of the other founders.[11] He was also capable of producing a non-corporeal Patronus,[6] a testament to his superior magical abilities as a wizard, given the immense difficulty of conjuring a Patronus.


  • Wand: Gryffindor owned a wand made of an unknown wood, length, core, and flexibility.
  • Sword: Gryffindor owned a goblin-made sword made from goblin-wrought silver. Gryffindor used this sword in Muggle duelling.
  • Sorting Hat: Gryffindor was said to have owned the Sorting Hat. He, alongside the other four founders, enchanted the Sorting Hat into a sentient artefact to sort students into appropriate Hogwarts Houses after his lifetime.[11]


  • His surname is a reference to the half-lion magical beast, the Griffin, a fierce, legendary beast with the body of a lion, and the head and wings of an eagle. The Hogwarts house named after him uses a lion as its symbol. Furthermore, the last part of his surname, "dor", is similar to both the French d'or, "made from gold", "golden", which is one of the colours of his Hogwarts House, or the suffix dore, which means "gift of", in which case the meaning of "Gryffindor" would be "gift of the Gryffin".
  • Gryffindor is also a pun on the golden griffin, which is a lion that only has eagle wings, so it has the head and front paws of a lion, and has golden fur and feathers. Even the French for Griffindor, Griffondor is a French homophone for the actual beast, Griffon d'Or.

Behind the scenes[]

Godric Gryffindor

Godric Gryffindor in LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7


Godric Gryffindor as a LEGO mini-figure

  • Godric Gryffindor was named the July 2007 "Wizard of the Month" on Rowling's website. "One of the four famous founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Godric Gryffindor was the most accomplished dueller of his time, an enlightened fighter against Muggle-discrimination and the first owner of the celebrated Sorting Hat."
  • J.K. Rowling once jokingly stated that if Godric Gryffindor was still alive: he would be the Giant Squid that lives in Hogwarts lake, that would make him the biggest Animagus (and, quite possibly, the oldest) in the Wizarding world. At the eleventh hour of each night the squid would change back into Gryffindor, who would wander the school grounds before returning to his squid form. It should be noted that Rowling was sarcastically trying to make a point, so obviously this statement is not considered canon.
  • Godric Gryffindor is the only founder who is not mentioned to have any descendants, although for a time it was speculated that Harry Potter himself was a descendant of Gryffindor either through James Potter possibly because James hailed from Godric's hometown, or possibly through a line of Muggles descended from a Squib to James's wife Lily Evans. However, this theory was later debunked by J. K. Rowling in an interview.[12]
  • Gryffindor appears in the queue of the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride inside of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at both Universal Studios Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood as a portrait.
  • On the official website of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Godric mentions that he is proud to have Harry Potter in his house and calls him "A remarkable young man".
  • Gryffindor's name and birthplace may allude to the Hardy Boys story "The Witchmaster's Key", which references the fictional village of Gruffinmoor.
  • Godric of Finchale was a medieval English merchant and a famous, though not officially canonised, saint. He was known for his kindness to animals, hiding a stag being chased by hunters and allowing snakes to warm themselves by his fire.
  • The real-world Gryffindor family name is apparently of Welsh origin, although it spread to Ireland in the 12th century.[13]
  • A new species of spider was named after Gryffindor, Eriovixia gryffindori. The name was chosen due to the spider's triangular body's resemblance to the Sorting Hat, of which Gryffindor was the first owner.[14]


The Harry Potter Wiki has 43 images related to Godric Gryffindor.

Notes and references[]

  1. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 9 (The Writing on the Wall) - "You all know, of course, that Hogwarts was founded over a thousand years ago - the precise date is uncertain - by the four greatest witches and wizards of the age." Binns says this late in the year 1992. Given that Gryffindor would be of age by the school's founding, the latest he could be born is 976.
  2. Given Slytherin's contempt of Muggle-borns, it is unlikely he would work with one.
  3. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 9 (The Writing on the Wall)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 J. K. Rowling's official site
  6. 6.0 6.1 LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
  7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  8. Wizard of the Month, July 2007, on J.K. Rowling's official website
  9. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game) - PC version
  10. Writing by J. K. Rowling: "The Sword of Gryffindor" at Wizarding World
  11. 11.0 11.1 Writing by J. K. Rowling: "The Sorting Hat" at Wizarding World
  12. http://www.accio-quote.org/articles/2005/0705-tlc_mugglenet-anelli-3.htm
  13. "Gryffindor Family Crest and Name History" at houseofnames.com
  14. http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/14/world/spider-india-harry-potter-hat-gryffindor/index.html
  15. Gryffindor is available in the Nintendo DS version of LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7. For other devices, he is available in the "Downloadable Character Pack" DLC for the game.

See also[]

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Hogwarts Houses
Gryffindor ClearBG
Hufflepuff ClearBG
Slytherin ClearBG
Namesake Founders
Godric Gryffindor · Helga Hufflepuff · Rowena Ravenclaw · Salazar Slytherin
Heads of House
Minerva McGonagall · Pomona Sprout · Filius Flitwick · Horace Slughorn
House Ghosts
Nearly Headless Nick · Fat Friar · Grey Lady · Bloody Baron
Ground floor of Hogwarts Castle
Boys' toilets · Haunted Toilets
Classroom Eleven · Classroom 1B · Temporary Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom · Transfiguration department
Corridors & Bridges
Corridor off the Entrance Hall · Courtyard corridor · Great Hall balcony · Ground-floor corridor · Herbology corridor · Musical corridor · Owl Corridor · Oxford Corridor · Quad balcony · Staffroom passage · Suspension Bridge · Terrace · Tracery Hall · Viaduct
Astronomy Tower courtyard · Central tower courtyard · Courtyard · Middle Courtyard · Northern Courtyard · Northern Courtyard Annex · North Tower courtyard · Paved grounds · The Quad · Storeroom courtyard · Viaduct Courtyard · West Tower courtyard
Halls and rooms
Bean Bonus Room · Bell Tower Entrance Hall · Central Hall · Chamber off the Great Hall · Chamber of Reception · Duelling Club room · Entrance Hall · Great Foyer · Great Hall · Ground-floor green room · Hall of Herodiana · House Point Ceremony chamber · Link Building · Out Of Bounds · Portrait Room · Resting chamber of Lord Voldemort · Side chamber · Staffroom · Suspension Bridge entrance · Training Grounds Entrance · Viaduct Entrance · Suspension Bridge foyer
Room 234-00
Other locations
Keep Out! · Secret student sweetshop · Viaduct Courtyard Gatehouses · West Well
Portraits, statues, and other artwork
Architect of Hogwarts · Brian Gagwilde · Broken Broom · Circe · First Headmaster of Hogwarts · Gargoyles at the staff room entrance · George von Rheticus · Giffard Abbott · Girl with flowers · Glanmore Peakes · Godric Gryffindor · Google Stump · Greta Catchlove · Heath Heatherton · Henry Bumblepuft · Jocunda Sykes · Kelpie Statue · Lonely Male Gargoyle · Lonely Male Gargoyle's friend · Medieval couple · Merwyn the Malicious · Mirabella Plunkett · Miserable Female Gargoyle · Norvel Twonk · Pangur Donn · Old Posh Baron · People watching Quidditch · Sarcastic Male Gargoyle · Staring Portrait · Statue symbolising heartbreak · Professor Swoopstikes · Sylvia Pembroke · Temeritus Shanks · Three Sisters Bells · Timothy the Timid · Violet · Wizard with a walrus moustache · Wyvern Fountain · The Yawning Gargoyle
Boathouse Steps · Faculty Tower staircase · Grand Staircase · Marble Staircase · Slughorn's Stairs · Staircase to the Entrance Dungeon · Staircase to the Serpentine corridor · Staircase to the second-floor corridor · Staircase to the third-floor corridor · Turris Magnus staircase
Artefact Room · Broom cupboard (Entrance Hall) · Broom cupboard (ground floor) · Herbology Store · Storage Cupboard · Storeroom
Seventh-floor of Hogwarts Castle
Disused bathroom
Classroom 7B · Classroom 7C · Divination Classroom · Seventh-floor classroom
Common rooms
Gryffindor Boys' Dormitory · Gryffindor common room · Gryffindor Girls' Dormitory
Divination corridor · Fat Lady's Corridor · Hall of Hexes · Porticus Olidus · Pungent Passage · Runic Corridor · Seventh-floor corridor
Halls and rooms
Bean Challenge rooms · Gryffindor Tower reading room · Knights' Room · North Wing
Filius Flitwick's office · Sybill Trelawney's office
Other locations
Dark Tower topmost cell · Room of Requirement · Vivarium
Portraits, statues, and other artwork
A Young Professor McGonagall · Bridget Wenlock · Sir Cadogan · Caged monkey · Edward Rabnott · Elephant · Elizabeth Burke · Fat Lady · Flowering almond trees · George von Rheticus · Giraffe · Godric Gryffindor · Healers · Hippopotamus · Journeying wizards · Lachlan the Lanky · Man in a chair · Mother and baby · Oraclitus Spheer · Staring Portrait · The Lady and the Unicorn · Three young ladies · Tiger · Troll Tapestry · Two lovers in a graveyard · Valeria Myriadd · Wailing Egyptians · Witch flying to the moon · Wizard in black flowing robes · Wizard in blue · Wizard with a broomstick · Wolfhound
Detention Escape Route · Divination Stairwell · Grand Staircase · Grumpy Staircase · Ravenclaw Tower staircase · Secret stairway to the fourth floor · Slughorn's Staircase · Staircase to the sixth-floor corridor · Turris Magnus staircase
Albus Dumbledore-101-chocFrogCard
Chocolate Frog Cards
Gold cards

Armando Dippet · Albus Dumbledore · Barberus Bragge · Bertie Bott · Carlotta Pinkstone · Dzou Yen · Falco Aesalon · Godric Gryffindor · Harry Potter · Herpo the Foul · Helga Hufflepuff · Montague Knightley · Phillipus von Hohenheim · Rowena Ravenclaw · Salazar Slytherin

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