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"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. The four school Houses are named after them: Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Salazar Slytherin. They built this castle together, far from prying Muggle eyes, for it was an age when magic was feared by common people, and witches and wizards suffered much persecution."
Professor Cuthbert Binns regarding the founding of Hogwarts[src]
Founders Hero

The four founders

The Hogwarts founders, also known as the Hogwarts Four,[1] were a quartet of witches and wizards who established Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry during the medieval era, in the 10th century. These four founders, Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Salazar Slytherin, were widely described as being the most brilliant witches and wizards of the time.[2]

Each of them created their own House in Hogwarts: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin respectively. Students were divided up into these Houses based on the virtues that each of the founders valued most in their students. They laid the foundations for the largest and most prestigious Wizarding school in Britain.[2]

The Founders[]

Godric Gryffindor[]

Godric Gryffindor

Godric Gryffindor

The founder of Gryffindor house. A fair man, he believed that any child who displayed magical abilities before their 11th birthday should be able to attend Hogwarts. Godric valued courage and bravery, believing these were the two most virtuous abilities a person can possess.[3] Gryffindor was the original owner of the Sorting Hat, which he and his fellow founders enchanted to select people to be sorted into their houses, by looking into the minds of the students who wore it and determining if they had the qualities each founder valued the most.

Gryffindor also had a sword made, which would present itself to any true Gryffindor in a moment of need.[1] The sword became an important item a thousand years later, and was instrumental in defending Hogwarts from Slytherin's descendant. He was allegedly the best friend of Slytherin before he left Hogwarts. His house corresponds to the element of fire.[4]

Helga Hufflepuff[]

Helga Hufflepuff

Helga Hufflepuff

The founder of Hufflepuff house. A kind and warm woman, she believed that, in order to be sorted into Hufflepuff house, a person must possess the values of loyalty, patience, and be hard-working above all else. However, unlike the other founders, who only took in students who possessed the traits they valued, Helga also took in all the other students who didn't fit in with any of the founders values. It is also known that she brought the house-elves to Hogwarts.

She owned a fine golden cup which was fairly innocuous aside from being her possession. The cup was sought by Lord Voldemort nearly a thousand years later, for him to turn it into a Horcrux. She was the best friend of Rowena Ravenclaw. Her house corresponds to the element of earth.[4]

Rowena Ravenclaw[]

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Rowena Ravenclaw

The founder of Ravenclaw house. A sharp and intelligent woman, intellect is a highly valued asset to the students of Ravenclaw house. Due to this, it is likely that Rowena wanted to make Hogwarts the very finest Wizarding school on earth, teaching those children with the highest intelligence.[3] Rowena also had a daughter, Helena, who later became the Grey Lady of Hogwarts as a ghost.[5]

Helena stole her mother's diadem, and it became lost. It was believed to have been lost for so long, that no one alive had seen it, however, it had actually been found by Lord Voldemort with the aid of the ghost of Ravenclaw's daughter. He turned it into a Horcrux and later hidden once more, this time within the Room of Requirement, where it would remain hidden for at least 50 years.[5] She was the best friend of Helga Hufflepuff. Her house corresponds to the element of air.[4]

Salazar Slytherin[]

Salazar Slytherin WWHP

Salazar Slytherin

The founder of Slytherin house. Sly and cunning, he was not unlike many of the ambitious students he brought into his house. He believed strongly that only witches and wizards of pure blood (i.e., those with a mother and father from wizarding families) should be allowed to attend Hogwarts. Slytherin caused great dispute over this with the other founders, and it eventually caused a permanent rift with Gryffindor, which led to Slytherin's departure from the school.[2] Before he left, however, he created the Chamber of Secrets,[2] complete with a huge statue of himself with a horrible monster lurking inside.[1]

Almost a thousand years later, Slytherin's descendant, Tom Riddle, would seek to fulfil his desires of banishing Muggle-borns from Hogwarts, and exterminating them.[1] One of his personal effects, a locket, was later claimed by Voldemort, to be used as a Horcrux. He was the best friend of Godric Gryffindor before the rift occurred and he left Hogwarts.[2] His house corresponds to the element of water.[4]

After the founding[]

"And never since the founders four / Were whittled down to three / Have the houses been united / As they once were meant to be."
— The Sorting Hat's song at the beginning of Harry Potter's fifth year[src]

After Hogwarts was built, the founders co-existed peacefully for many years. Eventually, however, the pressure from Slytherin to admit only pure-blood wizards affected the other three founders greatly, and none more than Gryffindor. Slytherin finally left Hogwarts following a massive argument with Gryffindor over the issue, and he never returned.[2]

Link to Lord Voldemort[]

Each of the founders would later be linked to the Dark Lord, Voldemort, in some way, as he used an item belonging to three of them for several of his Horcruxes.

Slytherin himself was the Ancestor of Voldemort. Voldemort aspired to see his vision of a pure-blood only Hogwarts come to fruition, as well as ridding the rest of the world of muggles.[1] Slytherin's Locket was one of Voldemort's Horcruxes.

Ravenclaw's Diadem was sought by Voldemort to be one of his Horcruxes. Voldemort found the missing Diadem by asking for its location from Ravenclaw's daughter, Helena, and promised that he would destroy it, however he broke his promise as soon as he had it.[5]

Hufflepuff's Cup was claimed by Voldemort from Hepzibah Smith, a collector of antiquities, who also had the Locket of Salazar Slytherin.[6] The Cup was entrusted to Bellatrix Lestrange for safe-keeping in her Gringotts vault.[7]

Voldemort didn't acquire an item from Gryffindor, although it is believed by some that he may have intended to use the Sword of Gryffindor. Although it wouldn't present itself to him since he was not a true Gryffindor, the sword would later become key to Voldemort's defeat, as it was used to kill Salazar Slytherin's Basilisk, when Voldemort tried to rid Hogwarts of Muggle-borns by reopening the Chamber of Secrets,[1] which resulted in it being infused with the venom of the Basilisk, granting it the ability to destroy Horcruxes, being used to destroy three of them.

Behind the scenes[]


Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 17 (The Heir of Slytherin)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 9 (The Writing on the Wall)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 11 (The Sorting Hat's New Song)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 The Leaky Cauldron and Mugglenet interview Joanne Kathleen Rowling
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 31 (The Battle of Hogwarts)
  6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 20 (Lord Voldemort's Request)
  7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 23 (Malfoy Manor)
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