Harry Potter Universe is a home to a variety of Paranormal creatures and beasts. Owing to its diversity and its incredible nature, it draws curiosity and interest how Rowling assigned the four Houses of Hogwarts their symbolic beasts, which is what is going to be demonstrated in this post.
The four Houses of Hogwarts stand for their distinct characteristics, owed to their respective founders, according to which the Sorting Hat sorts young Witches and Wizards to their respective houses in the Sorting Ceremony held in their first year. These Houses of Hogwarts are represented by their respective beasts.
Gryffindor, founded by Godric Gryffindor, and represented by Lion, stands for the virtues of courage, bravery and determination.
Lions are symbols of strength and courage and have been celebrated throughout history for these characteristics. Lions are the only big cats to live in groups, called prides. Prides are close family groups. They work together to defend territory and hunt. This characteristic is also attributed to the Gryffindors who stand together as family and defend each other in hour of need. Astrology tells us that those born under the sign of Leo the lion are fiercely loyal and will defend loved ones to the death. We see this with many of the Gryffindors throughout the books. Lions are also common symbols for royalty and stateliness, and they are very proud creatures, which can again be attributed to the arrogance of the Gryffindors.
Another interesting characteristic of Lions is that they are partially nocturnal animals, hunting mainly at night. Nighttime is known to represent the subconscious and dream states. It is believed that the lion symbolizes having command of subconscious thought. When thinking of the nature of bravery, this makes sense. Bravery is mostly subconscious. No one sets out with the main purpose of being brave. It is something that happens in an instant of survival. Gryffindors, when faced with a situation, make sudden “brave” decisions.
In Ancient Egypt, the goddess Sekhmet is depicted with the head of a lioness. she was a power to protect good and destroy evil, delivering justice. Gryffindors are big promoters of the importance of right over wrong, another attribute justifying Lion as a beast fit to represent Gryffindor.
Ravenclaw was founded by Rowena Ravenclaw and it is represented by its Golden Eagle. Ravenclaw prizes wit, learning, and wisdom.
Eagles are said to symbolize skill, focus, determination, and vision. Eagle teaches that you can achieve balance and intuit the winds of change while remaining connected and grounded. In case of Ravenclaw, it often arises curiosity as to why it has been represented by Eagle and not Raven, curiosity owing to the house name perhaps. It is interesting to note that Eagle and Raven both are symbols
of Wisdom and Vision, which would further instigate the fans to question the crest of Ravenclaw. If we look deeper into the cultural history of Raven and Eagle, we find that although Raven is a symbol of Wisdom, it has often been looked upon as symbolism pertaining to ill omen, death or other gruesome turns of events. However, Eagle has often been attributed to the symbol of Power, Wisdom and Cleverness.
Eagles are fantastic hunters, but they go about it in a calculated and strategic manner. Therefore, these birds of prey represent efficiency through planning and practiced skill. They go about gaining their needs in ways that are most efficient. This is a lesson for conserving resources. Work smarter, not harder. This attributes to the witty nature of Ravenclaws.
Through this extremely brief history of what eagles represent, we can see that there is a clear connection between the Ravenclaw emblem and the concentration on wisdom and knowledge that the founder of the house held to such esteem.
The founder of Hogwarts next House Hufflepuff is Helga Hufflepuff and it is represented by a Badger. Hufflepuffs value hard work, patience, loyalty, and fair play. They have been associated with wizards who have been great but meek, not arrogant. They strongly proclaim the message “Actions speak louder than Words”.
Badgers are prevalent in Native American folklore. These animals are typically portrayed as hardworking, protective, and family oriented. According to Native Americans, the sighting of badger tracks was very auspicious. Seeing badger tracks was a message that all things are possible when we tap into our inner creative powers. The badger stops at nothing to get what it wants, this attributes to the hard working nature of the Hufflepuffs.
Badgers are also a clan animal in some Native American cultures. This further supports the Hufflepuff tendency of gathering family and friends close. Badgers are also credited with helping humans learn which plants are safe to eat. This is an interesting connection since Professor Sprout, the Herbology teacher, is head of Hufflepuff House.
Badgers are thought to be enduring. They lead relatively quiet lives and are often underestimated since they don’t show their ferocity until attacked. This reflects the way the other three Houses view Hufflepuff House. Hufflepuff is shrugged off as a bit of a joke, but they were the second most represented House in the battle of Hogwarts.
Hence it would not be wrong to conclude that Badger truly justifies the message of House Hufflepuff and serves well to represent the House.
Last but not the least, comes Slytherin, founded by Salazar Slytherin and represented by Serpent. Slytherin produces more than its share of Dark wizards, but also turns out leaders who are proud, ambitious and cunning.
Though the reason why Slytherin is represented by a Serpent is obvious, because Salazar Slytherin was a Parseltongue, but is the relation just limited to that is what I aim to explore here. Historically, serpents and snakes represent fertility or a creative life force. As snakes shed their skin through sloughing, they are symbols of rebirth, transformation, immortality, and healing. The casting off of this skin metaphorically, represents the release of old ways of thinking that don’t work in our lives. This can be attributed to Voldemort’s and his followers’ wish of immortality.
Serpents are represented as potent guardians of temples and other sacred spaces. This attribute of Serpents can be related to Salazar’s desire to protect the Wizard legacy by not sharing it with muggle-born magical folks.
Snakes and serpents have been associated with both good and evil throughout myths and legends over the years. Sometimes they are portrayed as a healing power, while other times they represent death or sin. This division in moral leanings of snakes is similar to how Slytherin House is comprised of wizards with both good intents and evil leanings. Slytherin is arguably one of the most diverse and interesting Houses at Hogwarts. While it gets a bad reputation for turning out evil witches and wizards, Slytherin also has been home to some incredibly brave and versatile characters within the Harry Potter series.
Thence I conclude the assumed connection of the Houses and their respective beasts, owing to the wide known and now accepted reality that nothing in Harry Potter series happens without a reason.