|Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter - Place
|Ravenclaw Tower, on the west side of the castle
|Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
General Overview edit
Ravenclaw House is one of the four Houses in Hogwarts. 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.
Extended Description edit
Housemaster: Professor Filius Flitwick
Founder: Rowena Ravenclaw
Coat of Arms: bronze eagle, blue
Ghost: The Grey Lady
Characteristics: "If you've a ready mind, Where those of wit and learning, Will always find their kind," according to the Sorting Hat, in year 1. Other characteristics include wit, wisdom, creativity, and originality.
Location of common room: Ravenclaw Tower, west side of the castle
It is only late in the seventh book that we learn where the common room is, though Harry does note that when they leave the first meeting of Dumbledore's Army, in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the Ravenclaw students head for a tower on the west side of the school. While the entrances to at least two of the other common rooms are guarded by means of passwords, the entrance to the Ravenclaw common room is a wooden door with no handle, only a knocker in the shape of an eagle. When the knocker is used, the eagle, in a musical voice, asks a question; if a reasonable answer is provided, the door will open. Only twice do we see people admitted to the tower, so we see only two of the questions. Luna is asked, "Which came first, the phoenix or the flame?" to which Luna says "I think the answer is that a circle has no beginning." When Amycus Carrow seeks entrance, he is asked, "Where do Vanished objects go?" Amycus is unable to answer, but eventually Professor McGonagall answers with "Into non-being, which is to say, everything."
Within, the common room is a large, circular, and airy room, with wide windows facing in all directions. The ceiling is domed and starry, and there are the usual tables, chairs, and bookcases, and in a niche in one wall, a marble statue of Rowena Ravenclaw.
That an answer to a philosophical question is required at the entrance to the common room is meant to highlight the nature of Ravenclaw House. Ravenclaw is said to have most treasured intellect, and these questions are apparently designed to highlight the type, if not the level, of intellect most desired by this Founder. It is arguable that this sort of pure reasoning is a high form of intelligence; however, the questions selected in our hearing are relatively simple, of the sort that could be expected to be answered by someone with the simplest grounding in philosophy. This would seem appropriate, as first-year students clearly must be able to enter their dormitories.
It is perhaps interesting that Professor McGonagall has no trouble with the question that is asked, though clearly Amycus Carrow does, as did his sister Alecto — McGonagall says that Professor Flitwick had let Alecto in earlier. Presumably, this is meant to highlight the brute nature of the Carrows, and possibly through them, Death Eaters in general. It is perhaps misleading, however, to generalize from these two examples; it is certainly true that the brutish bully, like the Carrows, or like Crabbe and Goyle, would be attracted to a regime in which their limited abilities would prove useful. But against them, we must put the intelligence of Snape, or Lucius Malfoy and his son Draco. For more on the subject of Death Eaters, please see the article.