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Gryffindor House: Character Analysis



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Old April 1st, 2012, 12:32 pm
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Gryffindor House: Character Analysis

The welcome letter by prefect Percy Weasley isn't as extensive compared to the other houses. Still it gives us confirmation that Albus Dumbledore was in Gryffindor.

Gryffindor
House History:
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Congratulations! I’m Prefect Percy Weasley, and I’m delighted to welcome you to GRYFFINDOR HOUSE. Our emblem is the lion, the bravest of all creatures; our house colors are scarlet and gold, and our common room lies up in Gryffindor Tower.

This is, quite simply, the best house at Hogwarts. It’s where the bravest and boldest end up – for instance: Albus Dumbledore! Yes, Dumbledore himself, the greatest wizard of our time, was a Gryffindor! If that’s not enough for you, I don’t know what is.

I won’t keep you long, as all you need to do to find out more about your house is to follow Harry Potter and his friends as I lead them up to their dormitories. Enjoy your time at Hogwarts – but how could you fail to? You’ve become part of the best house in the school.


Previous threads: Post-DH and Pre-DH

1. Some important Gryffindors experienced (near) hatstalls during their sorting. McGonagall and Hermione could have been Ravenclaws. Neville wanted to be a Hufflepuff but was sorted into Gryffindor. Harry didn't want to be in Slytherin. Does bravery really trump every other quality?

2. Professor Dumbledore was sorted into Gryffindor House. Do you agree with this? Was he a hatstall? Which character trait was the deciding factor to put him in Gryffindor?

3. What do you think about the comments made by the prefects of other houses about Gryffindor?



Last edited by SusanBones; April 15th, 2012 at 4:13 pm. Reason: added House welcome letter
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Old April 14th, 2012, 10:55 pm
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Re: Gryffindor House: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by Hes View Post
The welcome letter by prefect Percy Weasley isn't as extensive compared to the other houses. Still it gives us confirmation that Albus Dumbledore was in Gryffindor.
Was there a question about Dumbledore's House? Dumbledore's House is in the Magical History books that Hermione read before she first boarded the train to Hogwarts. It's a key reason she wanted to be in Gryffindor.

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Originally Posted by Hes View Post
1. Some important Gryffindors experienced (near) hatstalls during their sorting. McGonagall and Hermione could have been Ravenclaws. Neville wanted to be a Hufflepuff but was sorted into Gryffindor. Harry didn't want to be in Slytherin. Does bravery really trump every other quality?
It's an interesting question whether or not bravery trumps every other quality. But bravery is not the only Gryffindor quality, and bravery is no guarantee of sorting into Gryffindor (see Severus Snape; see Luna Lovegood). I think the crucial indicator is that Gryffindors are brave idealists.

Regarding Neville...

He was not technically a hat stall. Neville did not belong in Hufflepuff, and the Hat was never confused about that. Neville is the one who was confused. He argued with the Hat, but the Hat was never swayed. The Hat intended the entire time to place Neville in Gryffindor. The reason it took so long is that Neville kept begging the Hat not to place him there.

This, of course, is due to Neville's lack of confidence. He didn't believe he was brave enough for Gryffindor. But actually, we learn early in the story that Neville is far braver than he gives himself credit for. And he's definitely a Gryffindor idealist through-and-through.

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2. Professor Dumbledore was sorted into Gryffindor House. Do you agree with this? Was he a hatstall? Which character trait was the deciding factor to put him in Gryffindor?
I find Dumbledore's sorting quite confusing. He seems in many ways the quintessentially cunning Slytherin strategist. Also, his youthful ambition and pursuit of greatness are quintessentially Slytherin qualities. Plus, he's a Merlin-like character, and Merlin was a Slytherin.

I suppose my answer to Dumbledore's sorting is that he was also an idealist (but then, so was Merlin - who was off helping establish one of the most idealistic Muggle kingdoms ever). Dumbledore's idealism took a horribly wrong turn when he became friends with Grindelwald, but even his youthful ideology of Wizarding Dominance for the "greater good" was framed in idealistic terms. Ariana's death made him come to his senses, but the dark turn that Grindelwald imposed on Dumbledore's idealism could have permanently damaged Dumbledore and made him into a very dangerous Dark Wizard.

I think I'm rambling to some extent, because I do have a hard time understanding how Dumbledore ended up in Gryffindor. I suppose it could ultimately be argued that Dumbledore's idealism in some ways trumped his strategic thinking (i.e., cunning) - or at least informed his strategic thinking. After all, Dumbledore's battle is an idealistic one. All of the cold, clear logic and strategic planning that he must apply in the course of the battle is aimed at ultimately achieving an idealistic end. But the same could be said for Merlin.

Perhaps Dumbledore was ultimately sorted into Gryffindor because that is where he was needed most at one of the most crucial times in Wizarding history... and where he would best develop the skills that the Wizarding World would need when that time came. I don't know the extent to which the Hat may have prescience, but that is perhaps the best explanation I can arrive at for Dumbledore's sorting. And the Hat does seem to hint at prescience in one of its later sorting songs.

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3. What do you think about the comments made by the prefects of other houses about Gryffindor?
I think Ravenclaw's comment seemed on target. Aside from the occasional Dumbledore or Hermione, most Gryffindors (at least in Harry's year) do seem singularly uninterested in the pursuit of knowledge, or even in pretending to pursue knowledge.

I thought the Slytherin comment was pretty amusing, particularly after reading Percy go on and on and on about Gryffindor being the Best. House. Ever. I just found the comment funny (and ironic) about Gryffindors not being destined to greatness.

At the same time, I do think Gemma is on target about the two Houses being two sides of the same coin... and that is one of the deepest sources of their conflict. Both Salazar and Godric sought students who had the potential to achieve greatness.


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Last edited by ccollinsmith; April 14th, 2012 at 11:04 pm.
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Old April 15th, 2012, 6:21 pm
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Re: Gryffindor House: Character Analysis

Why didn't we get as much information about Gryffindor like the other houses? Was it because that's were we spent most of our time?


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Old April 15th, 2012, 6:24 pm
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Re: Gryffindor House: Character Analysis

Yes that´s very likely. In the books we see what Gryffindors think about the other houses. We know about the Common Room and various famous Gryffindors.


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Old April 16th, 2012, 5:27 am
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Re: Gryffindor House: Character Analysis

I was sorted into Ravenclaw but read all the other house letters and felt like the Gryffindors were jipped. Only, like, three short paragraphs? Not cool. Even though we "spent most of our time with Gryffindors" in the books I still think it would have been nice to have a standardized welcome letter comparable in length to all the other houses.


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Old April 16th, 2012, 5:56 am
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Re: Gryffindor House: Character Analysis

I felt the same way and when I was sorted into Gryffindor I was a bit disappointed that it was all we got. And now that I've read the other House welcome letters it was a bigger disappointment.


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Old April 16th, 2012, 4:00 pm
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Re: Gryffindor House: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by xhanax315 View Post
I felt the same way and when I was sorted into Gryffindor I was a bit disappointed that it was all we got. And now that I've read the other House welcome letters it was a bigger disappointment.
If you think about it, all we really know about Gryffindor House is what the sorting hat songs give you and how a handful of characters fitted in to that house, but that doesn't mean that every Gryffindor was automatically as prejudiced against Slytherin as Harry was (Lily), not every Gryffindor was as loyal as Ron or Hermione were (Peter Pettigrew), etc. I would have liked to see a description of Gryffindor house that wasn't so tainted by the characterization of someone in the story.

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Old April 16th, 2012, 7:23 pm
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Re: Gryffindor House: Character Analysis

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If you think about it, all we really know about Gryffindor House is what the sorting hat songs give you and how a handful of characters fitted in to that house, but that doesn't mean that every Gryffindor was automatically as prejudiced against Slytherin as Harry was (Lily), not every Gryffindor was as loyal as Ron or Hermione were (Peter Pettigrew), etc. I would have liked to see a description of Gryffindor house that wasn't so tainted by the characterization of someone in the story.

Badly done, Pottermore, you get another
I think this is probably more to do with the fact that Pottermore is very keen to avoid spoilers. People reading through the books for the first time alongside Pottermore, would learn too much about how Gryffindor house sees others before they are introduced to this in the books. We'll probably gain more information when we get into later books, such as Godric Gryffindor's life. In all of the house letters, very few important plots points (such as Hogwarts ghosts or artifacts of the founders) are mentioned, and hopefully we'll learn more in the future.


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Old April 16th, 2012, 8:32 pm
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Re: Gryffindor House: Character Analysis

I think there is more information about the house in Pottermore - but its what other houses say about Gryffindor; this gives us a new perspectives on the house in addition to the 'inside' view we get through the 7 books.

Potter_gleek good point


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Old April 16th, 2012, 11:53 pm
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Re: Gryffindor House: Character Analysis

Quote:
Originally Posted by potter_gleek View Post
I think this is probably more to do with the fact that Pottermore is very keen to avoid spoilers. People reading through the books for the first time alongside Pottermore, would learn too much about how Gryffindor house sees others before they are introduced to this in the books. We'll probably gain more information when we get into later books, such as Godric Gryffindor's life. In all of the house letters, very few important plots points (such as Hogwarts ghosts or artifacts of the founders) are mentioned, and hopefully we'll learn more in the future.
What was there to really spoil?

Gyffindors generally loath Slytherin which is a story point begun in Madame Malkin's when Harry meets and immediately detests Draco Malfoy and is further reinforced by his and Rom's discussion on the train about Slytherin House (or was it Harry and Hagrid's conversation?)

The location of the Gryffindor common room is no secret, you find out about that immediately after the sorting.

Gryffindor attitudes towards the other houses are also not generally big secrets and we actually don't know too much about Gryffindors feel about Ravnclaws or Hufflepuffs, something that would have been discussed in the prefect's letter but it never really discussed in the books because so much of the drama happens between Gryffindor and slytherin. I also felt like the relationships between the houses in all the prefect letters were so general anyway that nothing would have been spoiled.


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Old April 17th, 2012, 12:32 am
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Re: Gryffindor House: Character Analysis

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What was there to really spoil?

Gyffindors generally loath Slytherin which is a story point begun in Madame Malkin's when Harry meets and immediately detests Draco Malfoy and is further reinforced by his and Rom's discussion on the train about Slytherin House (or was it Harry and Hagrid's conversation?)
.
I don't know if Harry hated Draco the moment he met him. He wasn't predisposed to like him because he reminded him so much of Dudley but I think most of it was Draco made Harry insecure about not knowing enough magic and information about the wizarding world. Harry wasn't disgusted by Draco's bigotry on muggle families, he wanted to fit in and prove he wasn't inferior because he was raised by a muggle family.


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Old April 17th, 2012, 2:56 am
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Re: Gryffindor House: Character Analysis

Interesting point about the presentation of Gryffindor in the welcome letter, potter_gleek.

Regarding the brevity of the "welcome letter." I think we also have to remember that this is being put in the mouth of Percy. Presumably, it's what Percy said to the first years the night that Harry and his peers were sorted into Gryffindor.

So, this is also - to some extent - about who Percy is. Percy, at this time in the story, is a huge Dumbledore fanboy who simply thinks that Gryffindor is the best. He is seemingly not as well able to articulate Gryffindor's qualities as the other prefects are able to articulate their House's qualities. And you know, actually, what Percy says to his first years is fairly consistent, if I recall, with the tone of his remarks at the table during the Welcoming Feast. I don't want to go into a detailed discussion of that scene here because that's more fitting for the Percy thread.

But I'm not convinced that the Gryffindor Welcome Letter is a Pottermore flaw. I did find it disappointing when I first read it, but when I realized that it was just Percy talking, I thought that it was fairly consistent with the sorts of stuff that Percy would say.

And as others have mentioned, we know a ton about Gryffindor already. JKR did want to focus on giving us new information about the other Houses. This isn't the "fault" of a faceless entity called "Pottermore." This was JKR's own choice. She is the one who chose to introduce Gryffindor this way. Personally, I think she simultaneously gave us a sense of both Percy and of how the House sees itself:

"We're the best because... we're the best. Albus Dumbledore! And OMG we got Potter! We're the best!" That's pretty much the tenor of the Gryffindor letter.


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Old April 17th, 2012, 7:04 am
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Re: Gryffindor House: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by Goddess_Clio View Post
What was there to really spoil?

Gyffindors generally loath Slytherin which is a story point begun in Madame Malkin's when Harry meets and immediately detests Draco Malfoy and is further reinforced by his and Rom's discussion on the train about Slytherin House (or was it Harry and Hagrid's conversation?)
We may have a brief impression of the rivalry between Slytherin and Gryffindor early into the story, but we don't really get a real idea of this until we see more interactions later into the book. Furthermore as others have said, Percy would have mainly focused on Dumbledore when discussing notable Gryffindors. If all this was revealed at this point it would spoil readers with points such as the alchemy and Nicholas Flamel, his achievements throughout the years and his opposition to Voldemort in the first war.


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Old March 3rd, 2013, 8:42 pm
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Re: Gryffindor House: Character Analysis

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Originally Posted by Hes View Post
1. Some important Gryffindors experienced (near) hatstalls during their sorting. McGonagall and Hermione could have been Ravenclaws. Neville wanted to be a Hufflepuff but was sorted into Gryffindor. Harry didn't want to be in Slytherin. Does bravery really trump every other quality?
I am actually quite surprised that Neville wanted to be in Hufflepuff... Not that Hufflepuff isn't a great house, I've always liked the puffs, but I just don't understand why... Were his parents in Hufflepuff?

I am not at all surprised about McGonagall and Hermione (obviously, I knew Hermione was almost a Ravenclaw)


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Old March 3rd, 2013, 10:48 pm
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Re: Gryffindor House: Character Analysis

1. I don't think bravery triumphs, I solely think that for the sake of the story, the characters had to be sorted where they were.

2. I my opinion, I don't believe dumbledore should have been in Gryffindor. Yes, he showed some bravery, but it was only to make up for his ambition in slytherin. He also was very wise and knew and guessed pretty much everything. I am pretty much certain that Dumbledore was a hatstall, but in the end, I would have sorted him in either Slytherin or Ravenclaw.

3. I have only read Ravenclaw's, and they made gyrffindor sound genuine- neither good nor bad. I guess that that the fact that Gryffindor and Ravenclaw students were fairly close plays a part.


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