While you’ve already seen the four different Hogwarts house symbols in Harry Potter, there isn’t much explanation as to what they actually mean.
Harry Potter House Symbols Are:
- Gryffindors: Stalwart Heroics
- Hufflepuffs: Ardent and Modest
- Ravenclaws: Curious Smarts
- Slytherins: Aggressive Aspirations
Some of the meanings are apparent enough just by looking at the characteristics of the members of each house, though it’s not always so obvious.
Part of it has to do with the fact that you need to understand the history of these symbols.
Keep in mind that this article will mostly go over what these symbols mean irrespective of any events in the series.
However, some spoilers are unavoidable if you absolutely want to avoid any.
Table of Contents
Gryffindors: Stalwart Heroics
This group values the characteristics displayed in most traditional warriors and heroes, including chivalry, bravery, and courage.
These are all parts of Godric Gryffindor’s personality that he valued most and wanted to instill in the students sorted here.
Each house has a ghost, and in this case, it’s Nearly Headless Nick.
The House Symbols
The Gryffindors house symbols are:
- The Emblem: A Shining Fire
- Sword of Gryffindor
The Emblem: A Shining Fire
Instead of depicting a griffin that would relate to its founder’s name, Gryffindor decided to go with a lion instead.
This relates to the founder’s image, with his fiery and wavy thick red hair.
The animal seems to be performing some kind of action, possibly in the middle of a battle.
This does well to display the sense of courage and bravery that members in this group value. It seems to be a necessary trait for being sorted here.
Additionally, gold and scarlet are its main colors.
A fiery red flame burns in the background of the gold lion that has a reddish and fiery mane. It’s a traditional image of what people thought of as glory during a battle.
This all relates very well to the fact that Gryffindor correlates to the fire element.
Sword of Gryffindor
While not officially associated with the house, it still has strong ties to it.
Its age is a thousand years and it was created by the goblin, King Ragnuk the First, one of the best goblin silversmiths of his day.
As you can tell, Godric Gryffindor wielded it in his day.
However, the work of this sword was done so well that the goblin king actually coveted it but failed to retrieve it.
This is the only one of the founders’ artifacts that wasn’t taken by Voldemort.
The main connection between this sword and modern Gryffindors is that it’s mostly used by them.
The artifact first appeared out of the sorting hat in the main story when the young wizard needed it most fighting the basilisk.
This artifact was used to finally defeat the monster. In another event, Neville Longbottom used it to defeat Voldemort’s pet snake during the final battle against the Death Eaters at Hogwarts.
Hufflepuffs: Ardent and Modest
These are some of the most hardworking and loyal individuals at the school.
They also value traits such as justness, fairness, and patience.
To keep their values intact, they remain impartial except in cases when their moral code comes into contact with shadowy individuals.
The ghost of this community is the Fat Friar.
The House Symbols
The Hufflepuffs house symbols are:
- The Emblem: Earth and Nature
- Hufflepuff’s Cup
The Emblem: Earth and Nature
You may be wondering what animal could represent these students, and it turns out that it’s a badger.
This mammal was likely chosen because of its association with the earth and soil, particularly because it likes to dig up holes. It appears to be lurking about while trying not to draw too much attention to itself, a trait displayed in many Hufflepuffs when it comes to their achievements.
While they aren’t particularly ambitious, many of them have great talents.
As far as the colors are concerned, a yellow field of wheat remains in the background of the black badger.
The animal also sits on black soil.
This corresponds to the fact that Hufflepuff correlates very well to the earth element.
It also relates very well to the fact that Hufflepuffs are very hard-working, provoking an image of working hard on a farm.
This is a small golden cup with various magical properties.
It has an appropriately engraved badger on the side with two fine handles. It’s also the only known object stolen from a Gringotts Wizarding Bank vault, though it was taken by the heroes from Voldemort’s possession.
The fact that this artifact is a cup relates well to Hufflepuff. It brings a sense of good cheer in good company at the dinner table.
Also, the Fat Friar was known for his drinking and eating.
Ravenclaws: Curious Smarts
The students in this group display and value some of the most academically and mentally focused traits, such as wit, wisdom, learning, and intelligence.
They also are characterized by some more curious traits, such as creativity and acceptance.
However, their motivation sometimes leads them to even backstab other students to get good marks. This house’s ghost is the Grey Lady.
The House Symbols
Ravenclaws house symbols are:
- The Emblem: The Watchful Bird
- Ravenclaw’s Diadem
The Emblem: The Watchful Bird
Instead of a raven that the name would suggest, the animal in this emblem is a flying eagle.
Regardless, at least it’s still a bird in this case.
While it’s flying in motion, it also appears to be curious and watchful of what’s below, much like a student or researcher.
The symbolic meaning of the bird is that it soars upwards where others cannot or fail to climb.
It’s more related to academic achievement than ambition as a whole because of the academic context.
In this case, the colors are blue and bronze. In the emblematic crest, a bronze eagle soars throughout a blue sky.
It all roughly corresponds to the air element, which is highly relevant to a bird.
Instead of the typical academics that stay glued to their books all day, Ravenclaws are characterized as individuals who are curious about the world around them.
This is another one of the founders’ relics and was worn by Rowena Ravenclaw during her time.
Etched on it contains the writing “Wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure.”
Of course, this is one of the founder’s valued traits.
Legend has it that anyone who wears this on his or her head will gain enhanced wisdom, which is another trait that Ravenclaws value most.
Slytherins: Aggressive Aspirations
These individuals are some of the most cunning and ambitious witches and wizards in the Harry Potter world.
In addition to these traits, they also value pride, determination, self-preservation, and resourcefulness.
These members also tend to stick together, forming cliques away from the other houses.
The group also strongly favors pure-blooded magicians.
Unnervingly, this group’s ghost is the Bloody Baron.
The House Symbols
Slytherins house symbols are:
- The Emblem: Slithering Serpent
- Slytherin’s Locket
The Emblem: Slithering Serpent
Compared to the other houses, the animal that represents this group is strongly associated with its name.
The crest is a snake slithering about what looks to be some kind of swamp or sewer.
It appears to be lurking around and watchful for its next opportunity or victim.
Also, it appears that it almost wants to be seen by anyone unfortunate enough to get too close to it.
This relates well to the group’s penchant for ambitious boastfulness and shadowy nature.
The colors of this house are silver and green, with a silver serpent seen roaming about a green area.
Typically, snakes are associated with places such as swamps, sewers, and marshes with a lot of green vegetation.
Regardless, determining the snake’s intentions is quite difficult.
This is Salazar Slytherin’s family heirloom that was passed down from generation to generation.
It’s a gold piece of jewelry with an emblematic green “S” in the center.
It’s not clear what this artifact’s powers are, but it’s said to be many, which could be a cunning trick in and of itself.
When worn by Tom Riddle, the locket seemed to allow him to pass by other people virtually unnoticed.
The only way to open the locket is by talking in Parseltongue, which is the language of snakes.
The four different house symbols of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter universe each display certain characteristics related to their founders.
These individuals wanted to leave an impact that would affect future generations of students for many years to come.
It turns out that it happened sooner than later for one of those individuals who had a falling out with the rest.
Many of these symbols are related to how things were done in England and many other parts of Europe, particularly with different groups and subdivisions’ emblems in schools, guilds, families, and more.
These were usually either animals, colors, or even objects. In the case of Hogwarts, these emblems included both animals and colors.