One of the most important questions every Harry Potter fan needs answered is which Hogwarts house do they belong in. It seems Gryffindor and Slytherin are the more popular houses among the four options. Although we often see them as polar opposites of each other are the two houses really that different and what exactly differentiates them.
Upon a closer look, you will realize that the two houses are actually pretty similar with only a few differences. Both houses strive for success and it often comes as a combination of different traits from the two houses. Some of the differences between the houses are their motives and means they are willing to use to achieve their goals.
This article will offer you a description of both houses and their common traits as well as an analysis of what is it that makes Gryffindors and Slytherins so similar and what are the few things which make them different. To make sure you are ready to make a call on which house is the better out of two make sure to read this article all the way to the end.
Gryffindor is one of the four wizarding houses the students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry can be sorted into. The house was founded by Godric Gryffindor, one of the four founders of Hogwarts.
The Gryffindor house symbol, although a bit unusual considering the house name, is a lion. The house colors are crimson red and gold and the House ghost is Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington, or as he is better known Nearly Headless Nick.
Nearly Headless Nick is a famous Gryffindor house member, who after his death caused by a magical mishap became the Gryffindor house ghost. Little is known about his early life and achievements in Hogwarts; however, he is noted as a wizard commonly associated with muggles, even being a courtier at King Henry VII’s royal court.
The Gryffindor common room is located in one of Hogwarts’ towers appropriately named the Gryffindor tower. The entrance is located on the seventh floor and is guarded by the portrait of the Fat Lady. The only way she will let you through is if you know the ever-changing password.
The main area of the Gryffindor common room consists of the space meant for all the Gryffindor students, something like a living room with a fireplace and walls covered in portraits of previous heads of the Gryffindor house. The area is often described as comfortable which is why it is commonplace for students to study or just relax.
The dorms can be accessed through the staircases in the main area. There are separate dorms for boys and girls and since the stairs leading up to the girls’ dorms have a charm on them the boys can not access them.
The sorting hat, a device created by the Godric Gryffindor himself, looks for the traits the founder of Gryffindor house valued the most. Godric Gryffindor valued courage, the strength of heart, bravery, and determination above all else.
Most of the students have some of these traits amplified which causes them to sometimes come off as short-tempered or reckless. This is also the cause as to why the members of the other houses often regard Gryffindors as engaging in pointless heroism.
Their traits often lead teachers to consider Gryffindors as self-righteous and self-important to the point of disregarding rules for their own beliefs which often makes them arrogant in the eyes of others.
Some of the most popular wizards in the world were Gryffindors. Even Godric Gryffindor himself is described as one of the most brilliant wizards of all time.
Another great member is Minerva McGonagall who upon her appointment as Transfiguration professor at Hogwarts became the Head of the Gryffindor house and later went on to become the Head of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Other notable Gryffindors include members of Dumbledore’s Army and the order of the Phoenix, Albus Dumbledore himself, the Marauders, and the Golden Trio.
The Slytherin house is often regarded as the most popular one but perhaps for all the wrong reasons. To further prove this one of the most popular sayings regarding the house of Slytherin is that while all the evil wizards and witches were from Slytherin, not all Slytherins are evil.
The house was founded by Salazar Slytherin. A snake is the symbol of the house and the house colors are green and silver.
The house ghost is the Bloody Baron, a famous Slytherin who attended Hogwarts during the founder’s time. He is known for falling in love with Rowena Ravenclaw’s daughter Helena.
However, she did not return his feelings and after rejecting him, in a fit of rage he killed her and then himself. After his death he came back to Hogwarts, assuming the role of Slytherins patron ghost, still covered in Helena’s blood.
The Slytherin common room is located in the Hogwarts dungeons below the Black Lake. Since there are no windows or other natural sources of light, the common room is illuminated by a faint green light.
Just like the Gryffindor common room, it is also protected by a password. To enter the student simply have to utter the password in front of a damp stone wall.
The password will reveal the common room behind it, creating a door shaped opening in itself to allow the students to pass through. However, unlike the other houses, Slytherin passwords are undocumented, with the only known one being the word pureblood used in 1992.
The traits the Sorting Hat looks for in potential Slytherin students are ambition, cunningness, orientation toward achievement, and leadership qualities.
Another thing that the Sorting Hat used to take into account when it came to Slytherins was their blood status. The founder of Slytherin house believed that learning magic should be kept in pureblood families alone which is why even after that thing was removed from the Sorting hat, a muggle-born witch or a wizard is a rarity.
Although this belief is common between Slytherins it is important to note that not all of the students sorted into Slytherin hold this belief.
It is often suggested that the Sorting Hat will sort anyone with ill intention into Slytherin since many of the Slytherin students don’t actually poses the traits valued by Salazar Slytherin, such as Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle.
However, it is safe to say that this theory is not true since a decent portion of the students sorted into Slytherin go on to become good and completely abandon stereotypical students sorted into Slytherin beliefs.
There are many examples of such students. One of the most memorable is Horace Slughorn, who was the head of Slytherin’s house during two different time periods, or Severus Snape who ultimately switched to Dumbledore’s side during both Wizarding Wars despite his affiliation with Deatheaters and the Dark Lord.
Some of the famous witches and wizards who were sorted into Slytherin while attending Hogwarts include Merlin, Leta Lestrange, Severus Snape, and Harry Potter’s oldest son Albus Severus potter.
Are Slytherin and Gryffindor similar?
The way the story is written would probably have you believe that Slytherins and Gryffindors are completely opposite. This is mostly due to the fact that all the prominent main characters on the good side were Gryffindors and all the evil characters were Slytherins.
This creates a mostly black and white picture of the two where Gryffindors are the good guys while all the Slytherins are bad guys with no redeeming qualities. However, if you take a closer look at the character you will see that they are more alike than you may think.
Both of the houses are extremely opinionated and goal-oriented. One of the best examples of this is the fact that Hermione and Draco were at the very top of Harry’s generation despite neither of the houses being described as the smart one.
One thing that takes away from the Gryffindors ambition per se is their regard for how other people see them. Maybe the best example of this in the entire series is Harry being sorted.
He chose Gryffindor only because he didn’t want to be a Slytherin despite not really knowing anything about the houses simply because of what the people he met told him about the house.
This need to be viewed a certain way exists with the Slytherins as well it simply manifests itself differently. Slytherins don’t feel the need for other people to approve of their actions or choices but they do care about looking sophisticated and for the lack of a better term, better than others.
Both houses are extremely vengeful. This paired up with their sense of honor and quick temper makes them seek revenge for any attack on their character no matter how small it was. The only difference between the two houses is that Slytherins would not stop what they wanted to do on the account of what others think of them.
Although you may feel this isn’t true for most Gryffindors there are plenty of examples throughout the series; harry being disappointed in himself for not killing Sirius in the Shrieking Shack, Remus being overcome with a vengeance once he learns Peter is still alive, and other similar examples.
The same goes for Slytherins. Perhaps the best example of their need for vengeance is Severus Snape taking out his frustrations with James on Harry who although is similar to his father never really meet him and at the end of the day had nothing to do with his father’s relationship with Snape.
One thing that makes them the most similar is the disregard for the rules. Although you may argue that there are clearly different motivations behind breaking the rules, one thing you can’t argue with is the fact that regardless of who is the offender in question there is always an underlining sense of overconfidence behind it all.
While the Gryffindors almost always break the rules for the greater good and Slytherins almost exclusively do it for their own gain the fact that they are rarely concerned about the consequences or stopping on that account remains true.
Whether it be Harry running to save a wandless Sirius from Voldemort despite it being quite clear that he would not be successful or Draco telling on Harry, Ron, and Hermione for sneaking around past their bedtime to get him back for embarrassing him the disregard for the rules is the same.
The last thing which is the same with both houses is the need to prove themselves. Although this trait is undoubtedly amplified by the constant competition between the two houses it certainly exists without it.
Differences between Gryffindor and Slytherin
Despite being more similar than either would be willing to admit, the best description of the two houses would be the two sides of the same coin. Despite all the similarities, there are a few key differences between the two.
Perhaps the greatest difference between the two is in the way they go about achieving their goals. While both houses have the need to prove themselves Gryffindors would never resort to cheap shots or morally ambiguous action to achieve their goals. On the other hand, when they have a particular goal in sight there is very little which would stop Slytherins on their way.
This is also perfectly illustrated in the fact that Gryffindors more often than not go into situations headfirst without giving it much thought, while Slytherins rarely make any moves without carefully calculating what is the best approach to the situation.
Another big difference between the two is the one we already mentioned; the motivation for their actions. Because of their concern with the way other people view them paired up with their other traits Gryffindors will most likely act for the greater good or someone else’s benefit, rarely acting on their own interest. They may go to great lengths for people they care about such people are extremely rare since Slytherins often rather have very few close people around the opposed to bigger groups of friends.
Slytherins on the other hand almost always act in a way that benefits them personally. It may not always be directly but there is always an underlined personal gain as motivation to their actions.
This often drives Slytherins to form friend groups with a clear leader. There is always going to be one person in the group who’s needed for leadership who will get the best of them. Since Gryffindors don’t have such traits their friend groups are just that, no leader in them since they equally participate in whatever they are doing.
One other difference is in their personalities. Although it is not true that all Slytherins are evil they do tend to have darker personalities and close themselves from other people due to their sense of self-preservation., while Gryffindors more often than not have this open and inviting personality making them seem more friendly.
Which one is better Gryffindor or Slytherin?
Although both sides have both positive and negative sides it ultimately comes down to which traits you value more. Both sides will be able to rationalize to you why one is better than the other; it will ultimately be decided by what you look for in other people.
With Gryffindors, you will usually get a more open person. Sure they may react before thinking things true and their temper may get the best of them. However, they will definitely do anything for you even if the action will bring some harm to them.
Because they are courageous and have nerve nothing will stop them from achieving this. If they ever come across an obstacle they won’t give up and the strength of heart will push them towards finding a solution for the problem.
On the other hand, Slytherins may be colder and more closed off towards new people, but once they get comfortable with you you’ll gain an extremely loyal friend. Although they may not want to help you themselves they will give you amazing advice, which is just as good once you consider how rational and thought through Slytherins are.
One thing to consider is their ambition. Once they are set on a goal there is no doubt about whether they are realizing it. It may be a bit much if this is not something you want to do, however, if you have similar goals you” le in a positive environment surrounded by Slytherins.