The four houses in J.K Rowling’s “Harry Potter” are each defined by a unique set of traits and values. The houses were created by the original founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry”; Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Salazar Slytherin. The Sorting Hat was used to fit each Hogwarts student into the house most suited to them, based on specific characteristics.
Ravenclaw is known for being the house for those who show intelligence, wit, and wisdom. However, like all the other houses, plenty of negative traits come with being a Ravenclaw. Here are the good and the bad of being a Ravenclaw:
GOOD RAVENCLAW TRAITS
This is the big one! Ravenclaws are generally stereotyped as the most intelligent of all the Hogwarts houses. Many Ravenclaws tend to be academically motivated, with a strong desire to learn. They are predominantly known for their wisdom, so much so that they can only get into their house common room by answering a riddle! The Sorting Hat sings, “Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw if you have a ready mind, where those of wit and learning, Will always find their kind.”
Ravenclaws tend to be original. This could be an extension of their intelligence; they see the world differently and often find their own path to success. Look no further than Luna Lovegood for the perfect example of a unique Ravenclaw. Luna is entirely herself and is often labeled as eccentric and “loony’. However, most often, Luna’s grand ideas can be seen to be effective and rewarding. For example, in “Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix,” Dumbledore’s army is lost for ideas on how to get to the Ministry of Magic to save Sirius Black. Luna very simply states, “We must fly, of course,” gesturing to the thestrals. Harry himself finds that Luna is sometimes the person who understands him most, with a strange sense for the emotions and thoughts of others.
Luna’s father, Xenophilius Lovegood, is another example of an eccentric Ravenclaw. His newspaper, “The Quibbler,” is often criticized for being outlandish. Hermione Granger even calls the paper “rubbish.” However, Xenophilius proves instrumental in “Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows” in re-telling The Tale of the Three Brothers. In discussing the three items that make up the deathly hallows, Hermione and Xenophilius disagree, leading to the following conversation:
“But,” said Hermione, and Harry could hear her restraint starting to crack, “Mr. Lovegood, how can you possibly believe–?”
“Luna has told me all about you, young lady,” said Xenophilius. “You are, I gather, not unintelligent but painfully limited. Narrow. Close-minded.”
Now, we can all agree that Xenophilius was correct in his theory. Could this explain why Hermione was sorted into Gryffindor instead of Ravenclaw? Intelligence is not all a Ravenclaw aspires to.
Ravenclaws sometimes seem strange or even erratic, but their unconventional ideas can save the day! After all, many inventions are created by outside-the-box thinking. The Wizarding World has seen many famous Ravenclaws, including Ignatia Wildsmith, the inventor of Floo Powder, Laverne de Montmorency, who invented love potions, and Perpetua Fancourt, the inventor of the Lunascope.
Outside of being intelligent, Ravenclaws are generally exceptionally talented. Most Ravenclaws we see in the movies have special skills that they excel at.
Filius Flitwick, the Hogwarts “Charms” teacher, is also the head of Ravenclaw house. Before being appointed to this post, Flitwick accomplished a “Master Duelling” title, becoming a champion in defensive magic spells.
Gilderoy Lockhart was exceptionally talented at the memory charm. This allowed him to steal the memories of other witches and wizards over the years. He tells Harry, “If there’s one thing I pride myself on, it’s my memory charms.” His heavy focus on the memory charm for his gain meant neglecting his other studies, ultimately becoming his downfall. Perhaps being skilled comes with its challenges.
BAD RAVENCLAW TRAITS
Unfortunately, with intelligence and a thirst for knowledge comes the potential to get swept up and become overly critical. Ravenclaws are sometimes unable to be content with their learning and can push for further knowledge or to have a perfect mark on a test. Ravenclaws, in short, can be over-achievers and perfectionists.
Ravenclaws are perhaps less likely to take “shortcuts” to complete work or be risk-takers. They are stereotypically very rigid when complying with the rules and have a low tolerance for mistakes and laziness.
The Sorting Hat spends almost 4 minutes deciding whether to place Hermione in Gryffindor or Ravenclaw. Although Gryffindor won, we still see lots of Ravenclaw qualities in Hermione. Perfectionism is one significant part of Hermione’s character and possibly a big reason she came so close to Ravenclaw. When battling the Bogart in “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” the Bogart takes the shape of her worst fear, Professor McGonagall telling Hermione she has failed all her exams.
Remember Gilderoy Lockhart? The conceited, pompous Defence Against the Dark Arts professor in “The Chamber of Secrets” is one of the best examples of negative traits in Ravenclaw.
Lockhart convinced the magical world that he was responsible for defeating many monsters throughout his career, when in fact, he was taking credit for the acts of more extraordinary wizards by skilled use of a memory charm.
He was continuously boastful about his accomplishments and even believed he was superior to others. While this may be emphasized in Lockhart’s personality, Ravenclaw’s thirst for knowledge tends to make them a little arrogant.
Being smart means always being two steps ahead of everyone else, and sometimes a Ravenclaw might use this for their devious benefit.
Helena Ravenclaw, daughter of house founder Rowena Ravenclaw, showed a calculating and devious nature in her admission of stealing The Lost Diadem from her mother. Helena tells Harry: “I sought to make myself cleverer, more important than my mother.” This envious nature leads to a cunning plot to become powerful.
Unfortunately, the potion of good traits in a Ravenclaw can create a position of superiority. Often, the Ravenclaws we come across can be a little judgemental.
The Lovegoods, although harmless, can be incredibly judgemental to those who are less imaginative than they are.
Hogwarts’s “Divination” teacher, Sybil Trelawney can be openly judgemental. We only need to look at her words to Hermione in “The Prisoner of Azkaban”:
‘I am sorry to say that from the moment you have arrived in this class, my dear, it has been apparent that you do not have what the noble art of Divination requires. Indeed, I don’t remember ever meeting a student whose mind was so hopelessly Mundane. ‘
So yes, a Ravenclaw might judge you for your shortcomings, but rest assured, they judge themselves just as harshly!
Ravenclaw And The Zodiacs
Aquarius are original, progressive, intellectual, independent, uncompromising, and detached.
Both Luna Lovegood and Gilderoy Lockhart are Ravenclaws born under the Aquarius star sign. This zodiac seems highly linked to the Ravenclaw house and embodies many traits in their characters. Luna is fiercely original and is always seen as independent. However, we do see an uncompromising belief in all things quirky (like the wrack spurts!) from Luna.
Lockhart is original, too, albeit in a negative way. He is independent and uncompromising in his deceit and crimes.
Scorpios are resourceful, passionate, brave, distrustful, and manipulative.
Xenophilius Lovegood is a Ravenclaw Scorpio. There are some matching aspects between this zodiac and being a Ravenclaw. Xenophilius is undoubtedly passionate about his efforts towards The Quibbler and his particular beliefs (The Deathly Hallows being one). An argument could be made for his bravery in printing the truthful story of Voldemort’s return against all odds. However, there aren’t a lot of hints of a manipulative nature in Xenophilius, and he seems to be too trusting in those around him.
Pisces are compassionate, intuitive, wise, fearful, and removed from reality.
Our favourite prophesizing divination teacher, Sybil Trelawney, is a Ravenclaw and a Pisces.
She has moments of intuition, although it could be argued they are not as frequent as she’d have us believe! Often, she speaks to give an illusion of intuition and wisdom, which distracts from the rare moments she truly shows these attributes. However, she is completely removed from reality as she seems to always be in a dream state – this aligns with the Ravenclaw independence and creativity aspects.
Why wasn’t Hermione a Ravenclaw?
As discussed, Hermione was almost a hat stall, with the Sorting hat taking 4 minutes to decide which house she belonged in. Besides not having that open-minded Ravenclaw flare, Hermione may have wanted to be a Gryffindor. In “Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone, “ Hermione says, “Books and cleverness. There are more important things: friendship and bravery.”
Hermione valued bravery over her intelligence. Could this have made her an aspiring Gryffindor? Perhaps the things we value are what makes us rather than the characteristics we show. Don’t forget; she was sorted at 11 years old!
Are the Zodiac linked to Hogwarts houses?
Aquarius especially being both original and intelligent. It does seem that some zodiacs are linked to the Ravenclaw traits. However, Gemini’s are considered one of the wisest zodiac signs, and we have no known Gemini Ravenclaws.
It seems as though, like most astronomical theories, we need to do further research on this one.
What is the Ravenclaw Stereotype?
Ravenclaws are stereotypically: Intelligent, creative, original, wise, calculating, arrogant and detached. They have an intense desire to learn with a unique concept of the world.
But Ravenclaws can be brave: Luna Lovegood is unapologetically herself, even in the face of ridicule. She never backs down from a fight and is first in line to help her friends.
Ravenclaws can be loyal: Cho Chang refuses to give up any information on Dumbledore’s Army to Professor Dolores Umbridge in “Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix” to protect the group.
And finally, Ravenclaws can be ambitious: Gilderoy Lockhart was determined to become a famous wizard and achieved his ambition in a very calculative way.
We see trait overlaps in all four Hogwarts houses. Only the Sorting Hat knows the true character within.