Widely considered one of the finest institutions of magic instruction by witches and wizards across the globe, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is home to much more than just an education. Inside the 10th century castle are many mystical creatures, magical secrets, and plenty of moving staircases. Nestled somewhere in the Scottish Highlands, the school encompasses a large space that includes a full-sized quidditch pitch, a massive black lake, and a foreboding dark forest. If there is one thing that can be said about Hogwarts, it’s that there is never a dull moment to be had, and perhaps one of its most intriguing features can be found in its extensive history.
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Hogwarts was founded in the 10th century by four of the greatest wizards and witches of the time: Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Salazar Slytherin. Each of these individuals believed that future students should embody a particular set of traits. Students would be sorted into a house that best reflected these characteristics, which would become known as the Houses of Hogwarts, named Slytherin House, Gryffindor House, Ravenclaw House, and Hufflepuff House. Unfortunately, not too long after having established the school, a rift between the members emerged. Salazar Slytherin believed that only “pure-blood” students should be emitted into the institution, meaning no wizards or witches with any blood connection to “muggles” (or non-wizards) would be allowed to enroll, as they are unworthy of learning magic. The other founders strongly disagreed with Slytherin’s beliefs and he parted ways — but not before he secretly built a chamber in the castle. The chamber, named The Chamber of Secrets, would come to play a large part in several dark events of the school later on. In fact, all four members would continue to have an impact throughout the school’s existence.
Slytherin: Cunning, Ambitious, and Prone to the Dark Side
Salazar Slytherin was many things, and a great wizard was certainly one of them. Well-versed in legilimency (or ‘mind-reading’), wand-making, and charms, Slytherin was talented and highly regarded by his fellow witches and wizards. Ironically, what made him worthy of founding a school led to his eventual separation from the rest of its founders. Slytherin was cunning, ambitious, and was willing to do just about anything to be a leader in his field — even if those things bordered on dark or illegal. Perhaps the darkest act he committed was in creating Hogwarts’ Chamber of Secrets. Found deep down in Hogwarts, the chamber is occupied by a ruthless basilisk and would be opened only by the rightful heir of Slytherin. The heir would then use the basilisk to murder students who were not pure-blood, ensuring that Hogwarts would be completely pure. This Chamber was indeed opened by Lord Voldemort in the early 20th century, one of the darkest wizards in all of magic history. Eventually, the destroyer of the basilisk would be a Gryffindor student, none other than Harry Potter — the epitome of Gryffindor’s desired traits.
Godric Gryffindor: Brave, Daring, and Never Without Nerve
Godric Gryffindor was admired by friends and strangers alike for his unwavering courage, determination, and strength. He was also notably one of the biggest supporters of Muggle-born witches and wizards, which was a big contrast to Salazar Slytherin. His greatest talent was in dueling with the use of his magical sword, The Sword of Gryffindor, which he used to fight wizards and muggles alike. This sword would prove to be imperative in the 1998 Battle of Hogwarts, in which Harry Potter defeated Lord Voldemort. Potter used the sword to destroy Horcruxes, objects which were parts of Voldemort’s soul. In addition to the sword, Gryffindor owned another important object for Hogwarts — The Sorting Hat. Gryffindor and the other founders enchanted this hat so that it may be the determining factor in which house future students would be placed in.
Rowena Ravenclaw: Intelligent, Creative, and Wise Beyond Her Years
Rowena Ravenclaw played the part in naming Hogwarts and creating its floor plan. A sharp mind and an innovative drive were characteristics most admired by Ravenclaw, and therefore students of her house are usually the most intelligent ones at Hogwarts. Ravenclaw had a wide variety of talents, including an expertise in magical architecture, a proficiency in charms, and an inclination towards divination. She was regarded with enormous respect by peers and students alike. But what Ravenclaw became most known for was Ravenclaw’s Diadem. Ravenclaw enchanted the diadem so that its wearer would have greater wisdom. Ravenclaw treasured her invention, but it would eventually pass that her own daughter would steal the diadem for herself, abandoning her mother. Centuries later, the diadem would be taken by Lord Voldemort, who would turn it into a Horcrux.
Helga Hufflepuff: Loyal, Patient, and Always Jolly
Helga Hufflepuff can best be described in a simple manner: kind. Hufflepuff admired the traits of loyalty, honesty, and patience, but she accepted all kinds of students into her house. She was also a particularly big supporter of Muggle-born witches and wizards, but she differed from the other founders in also supporting house-elves. Compassionate towards these poorly treated creatures, Hufflepuff employed the elves to work in the Hogwarts kitchen, a safe and peaceful environment. Hufflepuff was well-known for her food-related charms, often creating new dishes or perfecting well-loved ones by students. The greatest impact she had on future Hogwarts events was in the creation of her magical cup. The cup would be passed down to future generations but would eventually be stolen by Lord Voldemort, who turned this into a Horcrux as well.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry remains a highly respected magical institution, teaching some of the greatest minds of magic. With a deep history and rich culture, the school is not simply a castle with shifty staircases and talking portraits — it is a place where wizards and witches can feel safe, inspired, and always magical.