"At first, Gryffindors passing the giant hourglasses that recorded the House points the next day thought there’d been a mistake. How could they suddenly have a hundred and fifty points fewer than yesterday? And then the story started to spread: Harry Potter, the famous Harry Potter, their hero of two Quidditch matches, had lost them all those points, him and a couple of other stupid first years."
— Gryffindor house having lost 150 points in 1992 due to Harry Potter and his friends[src]

The House point hourglasses were four giant hourglasses located in the Entrance Hall used to record the number of house points that had been awarded or deducted.[1]


The house point hourglasses

There was one hourglass for each of the Hogwarts Houses: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. When points were earned, some gems (depending on house colours) would fall from the upper bulb into the lower. When points were deducted, they did the opposite, retreating into the upper bulb. For example, when ten points were taken from Gryffindor, ten red gems would ascend back into the upper half of the hourglass.[2] The Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin hourglasses contained rubies, diamonds, sapphires and emeralds, respectively.[3][4]


1991–1992 school year

The four hourglasses in the entrance hall

In 1992, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Neville Longbottom and Draco Malfoy were caught out of bed by Minerva McGonagall, and each individual had fifty house points taken from their houses as punishment. This meant Gryffindor lost 150 points, which shocked and angered other Gryffindors when they saw the deducted points taken from the Gryffindor house glass, along with Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws, as Gryffindor was beating Slytherin before then. However, Slytherins were pleased that Gryffindor had lost so many points.[1]

1995–1996 school year

Around 1996, Harry Potter would view the hourglasses when passing by; due to being at odds with the tyrannical Dolores Umbridge, he saw the Gryffindor hourglass almost empty,[5] which actually reached to such after the Battle of the Department of Mysteries. However, Minerva McGonagall granted fifty points apiece for Harry, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Ginny and Neville Longbottom for Gryffindor for their bravery in the battle, along with fifty for Luna Lovegood's house Ravenclaw as well.[2]

1996–1997 school year

During Severus Snape's escape from Hogwarts after he killed Albus Dumbledore in 1997, a curse shattered the Gryffindor hourglass,[6] causing red rubies to flood the floor like blood.[7] It was almost certainly repaired and remounted on the wall by the next year.

1997–1998 school year

The Slytherin hourglass was shattered in 1998 during the Battle of Hogwarts and green emeralds rolled across the floor.[8] As with the Gryffindor hourglass that was destroyed the previous year, the Slytherin hourglass was almost certainly repaired and remounted on the wall after the battle.

Behind the scenes

The four house point hourglasses as depicted in the films

The Hourglasses as seen in Harry Potter: Wizards Unite

  • In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, when Severus Snape takes points from Harry after meeting him at the Hogwarts gates, he remarks that Gryffindor would be starting out in negative points. However, previously in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Snape was unable to take any more points from Gryffindor when they had none left. McGonagall had to add points before any more could be removed.
  • In the video game adaptations of Philosopher's Stone, Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban, they are roughly ten feet tall, and located in the Entrance Hall on either side of the door leading to the grounds, as described in the books.
  • In all of the Harry Potter films as well as the video games of Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince, the Hourglasses are located in the Great Hall to the right of the staff table.
  • In the films, the "jewels" inside the hourglasses were actually coloured beads. Due to the large quantity of beads that were ordered for the films, a national shortage occured.
  • There is possible symbolism in that when Albus Dumbledore died in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the Gryffindor hourglass was smashed (spilling blood-red rubies everywhere) and likewise, when Lord Voldemort was defeated in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, it was the Slytherin hourglass that was shattered.
  • The hourglasses are also featured at the entrance in the Hogwarts castle in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. They show that Gryffindor is in the lead, Slytherin second, Hufflepuff third, and Ravenclaw last in achieving house points. Ironically, Ravenclaw students are famous because of their wisdom, creativity, and intelligence, some of the factors that apply to earning house points.
  • In the video game adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, casting the Banishing Charm on the hourglasses causes house-coloured banners to appear in the Great Hall, depending on which hourglass is charmed.


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 15 (The Forbidden Forest)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 38 (The Second War Begins)
  3. Pottermore (screenshot available [1])
  4. SnitchSeeker.com.
  5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 28 (Snape's Worst Memory)
  6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 28 (Flight of the Prince)
  7. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 29 (The Phoenix Lament)
  8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 32 (The Elder Wand)
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