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  • Better be

  • Gryffindor!”

  • Almost everybody wants to be a Gryffindor...

  • but how many of us would be?

  • What does being a Gryffindor really mean,

  • and how would that translate in our world?

  • Hogwarts' four houses embody different fundamental human qualities at play

  • in the Harry Potter stories.

  • To put it simply, Gryffindor represents bravery,

  • Hufflepuff loyalty, Ravenclaw wisdom,

  • and Slytherin cunning.

  • The series isn't exactly subtle about who we're supposed to root for.

  • Excellent.

  • Ten points to Gryffindor!”

  • Pretty much all of our heroes are Gryffindors.

  • And J.K.

  • Rowling frames Gryffindor as the best house, which tells us that courage

  • and other Gryffindor qualities are the heart of the story she's trying

  • to tell.

  • Because in this series, being a good, strong person ultimately comes down

  • to moral courage --

  • If Voldemort's raising an army, then I want to fight!”

  • it's the daring to always do the right thing.

  • To Mr. Harry Potter... for pure nerve and outstanding courage.”

  • So let's look at what it takes to be a Gryffindor --

  • and how the house's deeper identity is reflected in its colors, animal,

  • and the wizards and witches who are sorted into it.

  • Welcome to Gryffindor.”

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  • Every student at Hogwarts issortedinto a house

  • shortly after they arrive...

  • it's like a reading of who the students are at their cores.

  • Plenty of courage I see.

  • Not a bad mind, either.

  • There's talent, oh yes

  • And a thirstto prove yourself.”

  • The definitiveness of this sorting makes it seem at first like

  • the students are organized according to the innate qualities

  • they're born with --

  • Hah!

  • Another Weasley.

  • I know just what to do with you…”

  • but the story eventually teaches us

  • It is not our abilities that show what we truly are.

  • It is our choices.”

  • The Sorting Hat is really trying to ascertain a person's will --

  • it listens to what students are feeling and thinking,

  • and it considers their deepest desires.

  • Famous, special Harry could easily have excelled in Slytherin,

  • but he begs the hat not to put him there.

  • Then he worries that he's only in Gryffindor because he pleaded with the hat.

  • Sir, the Sorting Hat was right.

  • I should be in Slytherin.”

  • And Harry's not the only Gryffindor who on the surface seems like a better fit

  • for another house

  • Hermione comes across as a brainy Ravenclaw,

  • and we know from the books that the hat considered putting her there.

  • If genes or upbringing were the main things,

  • then Sirius Black would have been in Slytherin like his many ancestors.

  • Loyal and fair Ron and Neville could be Hufflepuffs.

  • In the books, Neville even asks the hat to sort him into Hufflepuff,

  • because he doesn't think he has what it takes to be a Gryffindor.

  • But the hat can see that deep down, he wants to be a brave person,

  • like his parents.

  • “I'm quite proud to be their son.”

  • So the sorting is combination of what the students want

  • and what the hat knows they're capable of.

  • All these Gryffindors have very different personalities and talents,

  • but what they share is the will to be brave, the choice to do the right thing,

  • and the determination to earn that great Gryffindor reputation.

  • Over time we're most impressed by the character who overcome

  • their non-Gryffindor natural instincts to give into fears or do what's easy,

  • You'll get Gryffindor into trouble again.

  • I'll fight you.”

  • and instead prove what it means to be a Gryffindor.

  • Why spiders?

  • Why couldn't it be 'follow the butterflies'?”

  • So, if you really want to be a Gryffindor,

  • then you would be --

  • If it really means that much to you, you can choose Gryffindor.”

  • but you'd have to really want it enough, for the right reasons.

  • Not just because you like the idea or sound of Gryffindor

  • or because it's considered the best house by most Potterheads--

  • but because you desire to be a heroic, moral person so much

  • that you can overcome all the other instincts

  • that might keep you from being truly brave at heart.

  • Gryffindor's house element is fire -- Gryffindors have a strong inner flame.

  • Their house colors, scarlet and gold, visually match fire.

  • Like Gryffindors, these colors are bold and unequivocal.

  • Rowling has cited red's connection to passion and emotion --

  • and the Gryffindors are nothing if not passionate

  • and driven by their emotions.

  • Gold makes us think of being the best, as in winning the gold medal

  • or being the gold standard.

  • And of course, Gryffindors do think they're in the best house.

  • There's also the idea of having a heart of gold --

  • and Gryffindors are known for their strong friendships

  • and love for one another.

  • In the first book,

  • the Sorting Hat defines the Gryffindor qualities

  • with the lines:

  • "You might belong in Gryffindor, Where dwell the brave at heart,

  • Their daring, nerve, and chivalry Set Gryffindors apart.”

  • We've already talked some about daring and nerve,

  • but chivalry is also an interesting addition.

  • In modern language, chivalry tends to be used

  • in the context of men being gallant towards women.

  • But originally this word had a broader meaning

  • it referred to a knightly code of honor in medieval times.

  • And we can kind of see that Harry and his clan are like modern knights.

  • They hold themselves to a moral standard and code of conduct

  • that others don't always see as necessary.

  • "I think we agree Potter's actions were heroic.

  • The question is, why were they necessary?"

  • Harry and his creator share the same birthday, July 31st,

  • which makes them both Leos, and that happens to be a fire sign.

  • So it's almost like much of the Gryffindor imagery

  • is originally inspired by Rowling's own zodiac sign.

  • Leo is also Latin for lion, which is the Gryffindors' house animal.

  • The lion makes us think of leadership, courage, strength, and nobility.

  • In the same way, Gryffindors seem like the leaders of Hogwarts...

  • like when Hermione, Harry and their friends

  • create Dumbledore's Army to go up against Dolores Umbridge.

  • A group of lions is called a pride, and Gryffindors show pride

  • in the positive sense of the word.

  • Gryffindors take pride in the strength of their community

  • and their shared values.

  • They know they're most powerful when they team up and protect each other.

  • Sometimes, though, Gryffindors can come across as too proud

  • in the negative sense of the word, too.

  • They can be reckless or act like the rules don't apply to them,

  • and not everyone finds this so charming.

  • Gryffindors are even accused of arrogance --

  • Harry's father James was guilty of this

  • in the way he bullied Snape.

  • Right.

  • Who wants to see me take off Snivelly's trousers?”

  • The Slytherins tend to see the Gryffindors as show-offs

  • who engage in heroic antics for the glory

  • Clearly, fame isn't everything.

  • Is it

  • Mr. Potter.”

  • and who enjoy unfair favoritism at the school.

  • Gryffindor wins the House Cup!”

  • Yes!”

  • Another Slytherin criticism of Gryffindors is that their so-calledbravery

  • can look more like stupidity.

  • “I've always admired your courage, Harry.

  • But sometimes you can be really thick.”

  • And to be fair, we can think of times when Harry's attempts to be brave

  • make his situation worse.

  • Where's Sirius?”

  • You know, you really should learn to tell the difference

  • between dreamsand reality.”

  • Despite their flaws, most Gryffindors eventually learn to channel

  • their proud or reckless energy in a positive direction.

  • Unofficially, the phoenix is another animal that's connected to Gryffindor.

  • Dumbledore's phoenix, Fawkes, embodies the element of fire

  • and the house's colors.

  • In The Chamber of Secrets, Fawkes helps Harry defeat the basilisk,

  • and this feels explicitly like the Gryffindor creature

  • taking down the Slytherin one.

  • Fawkes' closeness with Dumbledore also makes it seem like the phoenix

  • is an animal version of the man himself.

  • In Order of the Phoenix, Fawkes helps Dumbledore

  • avoid being sent to Azkaban.

  • And when Dumbledore created an organization to resist Voldemort back in the day,

  • he putphoenixin the name.