Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Places/Gryffindor House
|Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Place|
|Permanent Residents||Gryffindor students|
|First Appearance||Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone|
Gryffindor House is one of the four Houses in the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Students are Sorted into Houses by the Sorting Hat upon their initial arrival at Hogwarts based on their character. While students remain at Hogwarts, they each represent their House; a tally of House points is kept, with good behaviour and good marks adding to that total, misbehaviour and bad marks subtracting from it. The House Cup is awarded each year to the House with the greatest tally of House points.
Housemistress: Professor Minerva McGonagall
Founder: Godric Gryffindor
Coat of Arms: gold lion, red
Ghost: Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington ("Nearly Headless Nick")
Characteristics: "Where dwell the brave at heart, Their daring nerve, and chivalry."
Location of common room: Gryffindor Tower, seventh floor, behind the portrait of the Fat Lady
The Common Room has a fireplace, with a fire fresh-laid each morning in the winter to heat the room throughout the day. There are many squashy armchairs, and also more upright chairs and tables for doing homework. The common room is generally filled with Gryffindor students studying or socializing during the day and late into the evening, though it generally clears out by midnight.
We find in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire that cleaning and upkeep of the Common Room is ordinarily handled by House-elves. It is safe to assume that House-elves also clean the dormitories during the day, as they do the Common Room at night. Hermione's attempts during that year to free the elves from what she considers slavery are seen by them as "insulting," and as a result, by early in the following year, all the cleaning duties in Gryffindor Tower have fallen to one Free Elf, Dobby.
There are two main staircases which lead from the common room to dormitories, one staircase for boys, the other for girls. The girls' dormitories are enchanted to prevent boys from entering, but the girls may freely enter the boys' dormitories because, according to Hogwarts, A History, the founders thought girls more trustworthy than boys. Each of the two dormitories is further divided into seven floors, one for each year; each dormitory room apparently has space for five students, and we suspect that there may be three dormitory rooms per floor. In the dormitory, a student will have at least a washstand, a four-poster bed with curtains, and a school trunk.
Harry is Sorted into Gryffindor House, as were his father and mother before him. It is never stated, but seems likely that Professor Dumbledore was also sorted into Gryffindor House.
Much of the story in the series' first six books, outside of classrooms, occurs in Gryffindor Tower. There is little in Gryffindor Tower, however, that is independently noteworthy. It is probably best to consider Gryffindor Tower, and especially the Common Room, as Harry's home ground, the one place where he can relax and simply be himself, with his friends. It is due to this home-like ambiance that Harry is particularly disturbed whenever he has done something that merits his fellow Gryffindors' ostracism, as happens several times in the series. This rejection always hits Harry particularly hard, as he feels there is no other place where he feels welcome.
Just how many students are actually in each House is uncertain. Only five boys and five girls in each year are mentioned, but the author has said in an interview, and it has been stated in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, that the average class size (all residents of one House for one year) is about thirty. Thus, we must assume there are approximately 210 students per house, fifteen boys and fifteen girls each year. From this, we can postulate that two unvisited dormitory rooms exist on each floor of the tower.
It should be noted that if the Gryffindor common room, as stated, is on the seventh floor (which would be the eighth floor in North America), and the dormitories, one per year, are above that, the top of Gryffindor Tower must be fifteen stories, or over a hundred feet tall. For a stone castle, this is quite impressive; the more so as we are led to believe that the Astronomy tower is taller yet.
From conversations in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, one gets the impression that House honours, notably the House cup and the Quidditch cup, are generally held by either Gryffindor house or Slytherin house, with Ravenclaw house occasionally winning an upset victory.
It should be mentioned that we hear contradictory stories about the connection of the Floo network to Hogwarts. We are told that the Floo network is not connected to Hogwarts, which is why the students must travel to Hogwarts by means of the Hogwarts Express. Against that, we have Sirius' head appearing in the Gryffindor common room fireplace on at least three occasions. No reason for this discrepancy is ever given, but we can speculate that while the various fireplaces are connected to the Floo network, they are also charmed to prevent anything larger than a head from passing through the connection. There is more speculation on this matter at the Floo Network article.