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The Hogwarts House Cup

"While you are at Hogwarts, your triumphs will earn you house points, while any rule-breaking will lose house points. At the end of the year, the house with the most points is awarded the house cup, a great honour."
— Professor Minerva McGonagall explaining the house point system and the House Cup[src]

The House Cup was a yearly award given at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.[1]


Headmaster Albus Dumbledore, along with Professors Severus Snape and Minerva McGonagall, presents Gryffindor with the 1992-1993 House Cup

It was given at the end of the school year to the House with the most House points. Points were given to Houses by teachers and prefects throughout the year for various things including answering questions correctly and doing good deeds. The winners of school Quidditch games also received points. Points could be taken away for things such as misbehaving or rule-breaking.[1]

Giant and enchanted hourglasses in the entrance hall kept track of the House points.[2] The hourglasses were filled with different jewels for each house - Gryffindor's were rubies, Ravenclaw's sapphires, Slytherin's emeralds and Hufflepuff's diamonds.[3]

The House cup championship was also a part of Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, introduced a few years after the school's founding once there were enough students.[4]


Behind the scenes

  • Due to events that befall Hogwarts and its students in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and to the death of Headmaster Dumbledore near the end of the school year in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, it cannot be said with certainty that the House Cup was awarded those years. The only film to make an issue of the House Cup was Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
  • The House Cup marks an important development of tone in the series. It is of considerable importance in the first book, with Harry feeling devastated to have put Gryffindor in last place after being caught out of bed. With each proceeding book, it is pushed further into the background (the winner not even being revealed after book 3), paralleling the main characters maturing and caring about more important issues.
  • Only Gryffindor and Slytherin are ever mentioned in the books to have won the House Cup. While Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff almost certainly have won the Cup, they have never been presented with it in the books. They may have won it while Harry was at school but during the years not specified.
  • The House Cup system was thrown into disarray in 1996, following the formation of the Inquisitorial Squad. The broad powers given to members of this group, consisting entirely of Slytherins, meant that points were docked en masse from other houses, Gryffindor in particular. Severus Snape noted at the end of school year that they had none left, prior to Minerva McGonagall adding a large number to the actions of Dumbledore's Army at the British Ministry of Magic. As the Inquisitorial Squad was disbanded following the removal of Dolores Umbridge before the end of the school year, it is entirely possible that the House Cup was simply not awarded out of fairness.
    • All of that being considered, Slytherin may have had the most points, due to the favoritisms they enjoyed during the 1995-1996 school year, and Gryffindor may have ranked in the last place, considering that the House had literally no points left in June: Minerva McGonagall awarded Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron and Ginny Weasley and Neville Longbottom fifty points each and then took ten points from Harry's following Snape's decision, but 240 points was too few to rank higher than the last place (in June 1992 Gryffindor had 312 points before Albus Dumbledore's intervention and they were fourth nonetheless).
  • In Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, which starts in the 1984–1985 school year, the player is allowed to choose their own house and earn House Points. Within the game, they can thus win the House Cup for their House at the end of each year, even if their House did not achieve this according to the books.


Notes and references