Houses (Harry Potter)

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In the Harry Potter novels, students attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry are "sorted" into four Houses in their first year: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin. Students in the same house sleep, eat, and attend classes together. Each house has its own colors and, more significantly, its own character. Students are sorted according to temperament and, arguably, political affiliation.

It is common for fans even outside Harry Potter fandom to identify themselves by the house which they feel represents their personality. The house system has been the inspiration for much fanac, including

  • many, many personality tests
  • AU fanfiction that imagines what would happen if canon characters had been sorted into a different House (e.g. Slytherin!Harry)
  • crossover fanworks that sort characters from other fandoms into a House
  • knitting of scarves and other paraphernalia in the different House colors
  • meta

Many fans have argued that the House system as represented in the novels is problematic.

Gryffindor: bravery

All the major protagonists (Harry, Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore) were sorted into this House. During Harry's time at Hogwarts, the head of Gryffindor was Minerva McGonagall.

Slytherin: ambition

Most of the villains in the series were sorted into this House, including Harry's nemesis, Lord Voldemort. Although Slytherin House is coded as the "evil" house in canon, many fans are sympathetic toward or identify as Slytherins. This may be in part due to the popularity of characters like Severus Snape (Head of Slytherin) and Draco Malfoy. However, many fans identify with Slytherins' character traits in general (ambition, cunning).[1]

J.K. Rowling has stated that fans' preference for Slytherin characters derives from the attractiveness of the actors or from an unhealthy desire for "bad boys" [need quote]. Much meta has been written by frustrated Slytherin fans on the author's perceived failure to understand their interest. "If you identify with House Slytherin, the later books are essentially a series of slaps in the face"[2]

In fanon, Slytherin is often the House of Sexiness[3] and is perhaps the most popular House among fans. See also Fanon Draco.

Ravenclaw: intellect

The house of bookworms. Cho Chang and Luna Lovegood were sorted into this house.

Hufflepuff: loyalty

The also-ran of canonical houses, Hufflepuff is where you get sorted if the best someone can say of you is "she means well." Relatively few fans identify strongly with Hufflepuff. (source?)

There are fan forums for Hufflepuff Pride though, such as Hufflepuff Pride communities[4] on LJ, as well as a flourishing fan market for Hufflepuff Pride merchandise, such as cafepress shops[5] and Hufflepuff needlecrafts.[6] Those who do identify as Hufflepuff often assert that loyalty and hard work are underrated, and that while Gryffindors may get the glory and Ravenclaws the respect for their knowledge, it is the Hufflepuffs who will buckle down and stick it out to the very end.


Sparklypoo is a house first created in a fan comic[7] parodying the frequent self-insertion of Mary Sues into Harry Potter fiction. It is the house Mary Sues are sorted into.

Notable Fanworks

The following is a list of Harry Potter fanworks that focus on the Houses.

  • examples


  • Gryffindor!Draco: Maybe one of the most famous examples of the trope is "A Slytherin in Gryffindor Clothing" [6] by Mahaliem, in which Draco wakes in an alternate universe where he is in Gryffindor and Harry in Slytherin.

A themed list [7] containing a number of Sorting AUs was compiled by Painless-j.

Crossover and Fusion Fanworks


  1. sistermagpie. Those crazy fans. Posted to LiveJournal 2005-05-29. (Accessed May 9, 2009)
  2. puritybrown, Fannish meta: No, I don't want elephant for starters, thanks!, posted to Livejournal 2007-10-11. (Accessed April 27, 2009)
  3. furiosity, Christ on a cracker, posted to Livejournal 2005-12-03. (Accessed April 27, 2009)
  4. (accessed 9 May 2009)
  5. (accessed 9 May 2009)
  6. knottyknitter. Themed List: Harry Potter Patterns (accessed 9 May 2009)
  7. Accessed 5 May, 2009
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