- "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]
The Hogwarts founders, also known as the Hogwarts Four, were four witches and wizards who established Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry during the medieval era, in the 10th century. These four founders are widely described as being the most brilliant witches and wizards of the time and were the following: Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw and Salazar Slytherin.
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. 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 seeing 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. 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.
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. 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.
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. Rowena also had a daughter, Helena, who later became the Grey Lady of Hogwarts as a ghost.
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. She was the best friend of Helga Hufflepuff. Her house corresponds to the element of air.
The founder of Slytherin house. Sly and cunning, he was not unlike many of the students he brought into his house. He believed strongly that only 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. Before he left, however, he created the Chamber of Secrets, complete with a huge statue of himself with a horrible monster lurking inside.
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. 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. His house corresponds to the element of water.
After the founding
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.
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. Slytherin's Locket was one of Voldemort's Horcruxes.
Ravenclaw's Diadem was sought by Voldemort to be one of his Hocruxes. 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.
Hufflepuff's Cup was claimed by Voldemort from Hepzibah Smith, a collector of antiquities, who also had the Locket of Salazar Slytherin. The Cup was entrusted to Bellatrix Lestrange for safe-keeping in her Gringotts vault.
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, 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
- Interestingly, all of the four founders' names constitute alliterations; their first and last names begin with the same letter.
- Ken Bones plays Slytherin and Lynne Pearson plays Ravenclaw in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First mentioned) (Appears on a Famous Wizard Card)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game) (Appears on a Famous Wizard Card)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Mentioned only) (Appears as statue)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film) (Mentioned only) (Appears as statue) (Appears in portrait(s))
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game) (Mentioned only) (Appears on a Famous Wizard Card) (Appears as statue)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film) (Appears in portrait(s))
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game) (Appears in portrait(s)) (Appears on a Famous Wizard Card)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film) (Appears in portrait(s))
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (Mentioned only) (Appears as statue)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Mentioned only) (Appears as statue) (Appears in vision(s))
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (video game) (Mentioned only) (Appears as statue)
- J. K. Rowling's official site
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Appears in portrait(s)) (Appears as statue)
- Wizarding World
- LEGO Harry Potter
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 (Only unlocked through buying the extra character set)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: Wizards Unite (Appears in portrait(s))
Notes and references
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 17 (The Heir of Slytherin)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 9 (The Writing on the Wall)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 11 (The Sorting Hat's New Song)
- The Leaky Cauldron and Mugglenet interview Joanne Kathleen Rowling
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 31 (The Battle of Hogwarts)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 20 (Lord Voldemort's Request)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 23 (Malfoy Manor)