The House point hourglasses are four giant hourglasses located in the Entrance Hall used to record the number of house points that have been awarded or deducted.


There is one hourglass for each of the Hogwarts Houses: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. When points are earned, some gems (depending on house colours) fall from the upper bulb into the lower. When points have been deducted, they do the opposite, retreating into the upper bulb. For example, when ten points are taken from Gryffindor, ten red gems will fall back into the upper half of the hourglass. The Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin hourglasses contain rubies, diamonds, sapphires and emeralds, respectively.[1][2]



The four hourglasses in the entrance hall

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,[3] 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.[4]

During Severus Snape's escape from Hogwarts after he killed Albus Dumbledore in 1997, a curse shattered the Gryffindor hourglass,[5] causing red rubies to flood the floor like blood.[6] The Slytherin hourglass was shattered in 1998 during the Battle of Hogwarts and green emeralds rolled across the floor.[7] The two broken hourglasses were almost certainly repaired and remounted on the wall after their breakages.

Behind the scenes

House points hourglass

Another depiction of the house point hourglasses


The four house point hourglasses


The Hourglasses 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 ofOrder 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. Pottermore (screenshot available [1])
  3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 28 (Snape's Worst Memory)
  4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 38 (The Second War Begins)
  5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 28 (Flight of the Prince)
  6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 29 (The Phoenix Lament)
  7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 32 (The Elder Wand)
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