The Harry Potter houses are a staple of the series, and every fan from the most casual to the most hardcore knows which they belong to, but the best and the worst Hogwarts house traits are often oversimplified. Gryffindor’s often thought of as the best house, as it’s the focus of Harry’s time at Hogwarts. Hufflepuff is stereotyped as a house for pushovers and Ravenclaw for bookworms. Finally, Slytherin is thought of as the ‘evil’ house. These stereotypes are found all throughout Harry Potter, with Harry himself refusing to be sorted into Slytherin and Draco Malfoy saying he’d leave if he were sorted into Hufflepuff.
The truth is, none of the Hogwarts houses are this two-dimensional. They each have positive and negative traits, and no two people are the same. Likewise, no one is purely good or purely evil. Hogwarts house traits are listed in the Harry Potter book series and are exuded through different characters. While the books ascribe a handful of traits to each house, characters of their respective houses demonstrate other common traits amongst each other that add to the list of qualities for each house. Here are some of the best and worst Hogwarts house traits.
The Best Hufflepuff Traits
One of the best Hogwarts house traits for Hufflepuff is that they’re loyal. J.K. Rowling pointed out that in the final book, the Hufflepuffs were the ones who stayed in the fight in the battle of Hogwarts because they knew it was right, not because they wanted credit or to show off. Many Hufflepuffs are incredibly brave without having to brag about it. Hufflepuffs are loyal to their morals and their friends right till the bitter end.
Hufflepuffs often get stereotyped as not having a lot of ‘strong’ traits but in this regard, they are actually the strongest of all the Hogwarts houses. The Hogwarts school song also points out that they are “unafraid of toil“. Vague to some, what this means is that Hufflepuffs never back down from a challenge. They may not enter the fray with the bravery of Gryffindor or the cunning of Slytherin, but it’s guaranteed a Hufflepuff will see the fight through.
One of the big differences between Hufflepuff and the rest of the Hogwarts houses is the complete lack of arrogance, with Hufflepuffs generally being far more humble than the likes of Gryffindor and even Slytherin and Ravenclaw. Not the most useful of the Hogwarts house traits in a duel, but it makes the average Hufflepuff much more likable.
Hufflepuffs are known for their kindness, and that is a big reason for them being such humble individuals. They do not look to ruffle feathers, and they want to make everyone happy instead of seeking attention for their own achievements. While being people pleasers may be where Hufflepuff’s pushover reputation comes from, not looking to brag and having a sense of humility is far from a bad thing.
One of the best Hufflepuff Hogwarts house traits is that they know the value of hard work. When Helga Hufflepuff founded her house, she chose students that would work the hardest at all of their magical endeavors equally. Industrious Hufflepuffs can be found throughout various Harry Potter books and movies.
Tonks must’ve worked extremely hard to bring her clumsiness down to a minimum in order to pass her Auror test. Cedric Diggory proved that he was worthy of the Triwizard Cup through his own dedication to hard work. Hufflepuffs are assuredly known for being very hard workers, and it’s easily one of their best Hogwarts house traits.
The Worst Hufflepuff Traits
Hufflepuffs are incredibly friendly and are, as previously pointed out, loyal to those people they form connections with. However, this can become a negative, even a weakness, when they become a bit too codependent on others, making it one of their worst Hogwarts house traits.
At times Hufflepuffs will seriously struggle with the prospect of being alone. Not only does this make them codependent, but it can also lead to them avoiding confrontations with those close to them and not putting forward their own opinions. Another consequence of their codependency can be their potentially naive belief in people, and being too forgiving and faithful to people who do not deserve it.
The problem with Hufflepuffs is that sometimes they think because they are fiercely loyal and kind, everyone else is. This sadly isn’t true of the world. Hufflepuffs expect that same loyalty back and often don’t get it. The naivety of Hufflepuffs means they’re often going out on a limb for people that just would not do the same for them, and their over-trusting nature is one of the worst Hufflepuff Hogwarts house traits.
Hufflepuffs are the easiest to take advantage of, and their good hearts mean that their kindness can sometimes be a burden on them. They would do well to be a bit more cynical of people instead of automatically assuming everyone wants the best for them.
The final Hufflepuff negative is that they are, despite outward appearances, an incredibly antisocial and insular bunch. While it’s true that Hufflepuffs are co-dependent, they are extremely antisocial outside their own house, making this one of their worst Hogwarts house traits. Throughout Harry Potter, Hufflepuffs are rarely seen interacting outside their own groups, and many Hufflepuffs could be considered introverts.
This seems to go against their reputation for being friendly, but there’s a reason there are few Hufflepuff characters in the Harry Potter novels compared to Gryffindor, Slytherin, and even Ravenclaw. Further proof is that Harry finds very few meaningful relationships with Hufflepuffs, save for perhaps Tonks, who doesn’t seem to interact with anyone outside the Order of the Phoenix. It’s true that Hufflepuff student Ernie Macmillan became somewhat of a tertiary friend for Harry, but this was out of the norm for most Hufflepuff characters.
The Best Gryffindor Traits
Gryffindor is the house of the brave, making this one of their best Hogwarts house traits. Harry ended up there because of his courage. Hermione and Ron joined him for the same reason. The Harry Potter books preach the lesson of how important it is to be brave in the face of hard times over and over, and each of the most courageous characters is placed in Gryffindor.
The Gryffindor bravery symbolism is heavy. The Gryffindor animal is a lion, often associated with bravery, and their regal red-and-gold house colors radiate heroism. To top it off, proof that being brave is a Gryffindor house trait can be found in the artifact Harry used to defeat the Basilisk in The Chamber of Secrets — Godric Gryffindor’s sword.
Gryffindors can often be incredibly likable individuals and one of the best Hogwarts house traits that best showcase why is their admirable sense of adventure which they often take into every aspect of life. To them, generally, life is one big adventure to be relished and enjoyed.
Of course, not taking life seriously is not the best thing. But, it is not that these notable Gryffindors are necessarily immature, more so that they just like to make the most of life, to find the fun and sense of adventure in all facets of it from career to social life to education. They love to get out there and do rather than sit in and dream.
Along with being brave and adventurous, one of the best Hogwarts house traits for Gryffindors is that they’re a daring group. A Gryffindor will not only not back down from a challenge, but they often welcome it, diving headfirst into the action.
Sirius Black showcases this Gryffindor characteristic in spades, as does Ginny Weasley. Sirius has a constant need to be at the heart of the action, never one to idly let life pass him by. Despite all warnings, Sirius would join a fight in a heartbeat, rising up to whatever challenge was put before him. Ginny Weasley was the same. During the Battle of Hogwarts, Ginny was told to stay hidden because she wasn’t of age yet, but that didn’t stop the youngest Weasley sibling from joining the fray in the end.
The Worst Gryffindor Traits
As much as people think of Gryffindor as being flawless heroes, this simply is not the case — in fact, they share many traits with the often lambasted Slytherin house. Gryffindors are not without their imperfections, and trying to argue with a Gryffindor or change their mind on a subject is a near-impossible task, making stubbornness one of their worst Hogwarts house traits.
This makes them hard to debate with and also can just make them a pain to deal with in general. Even Harry, the bravest heroic Gryffindor of the series, never wants to admit when he’s wrong. For example, when Harry runs off to save Sirius in The Order of the Phoenix and cannot accept that it might have been a trap set by Voldemort — despite the clear evidence it was.
As well as some arrogance, some cockiness, and a lot of stubbornness, Gryffindors tend to be a reckless bunch, diving headfirst into situations and confrontations that could have done with cooler heads prevailing. The Harry Potter stories are full of examples of this, as pretty much everything Harry, Ron, and Hermione get up to outside the classroom in some way. Then there is of course the Weasley twins, who are “do it first, think about it later” incarnate.
There are many reasons why Gryffindors are so reckless, and it varies from Gryffindor to Gryffindor. Some are reckless possibly out of arrogance, or like Ron have an innate need to prove themselves, or it may be down to an overly-enthusiastic sense of adventure as is the case with several of his brothers. No matter the specific cause, Gryffindors often let adventure lust lead them to predicaments they later come to regret.
Every Harry Potter fan knows that the Gryffindor characters tend to be the heroes of the stories they’re in. However, there’s also a sense that Gryffindors also know this — and it tends to go to their head. Unfortunately, because they believe that their intentions behind their bravery are of the highest moral value, one of the worst Hogwarts house traits for Gryffindor is that they can come across as self-righteous.
This negative Gryffindor trait comes from a very black-and-white sense of right and wrong. While Ravenclaws and Slytherins are more comfortable with the gray areas of morality, Gryffindors often possess a staunch moral code. This means that a Gryffindor will do what they believe is right, even if what they believe may not be right at all. But it is this idealistic inflexibility that makes Gryffindors come off as self-righteous.
The Best Ravenclaw Traits
It’s no secret that Ravenclaw is known around Hogwarts as “the smart house”, and their most well-know Hogwarts house trait is that they tend to be clever. The password to the Ravenclaw common room is a riddle, that apparently most of its students even as young as eleven can solve but none of the other houses can. This alone is a huge indication that Ravenclaws are extremely smart, making intelligence one of their best Hogwarts house traits.
Some of them may not be naturally so, but those who aren’t are inclined towards study, to keep improving themselves until they’re just as clever as the rest of their housemates. It is a huge intelligence compliment to be placed in this house, which is the main reason the Sorting Hat nearly put Hermione in Ravenclaw house — but which also sadly may put a lot of pressure on students when it comes to grades and exams.
Intelligence and wisdom are perhaps the most typical and most valued traits of Ravenclaw house. However, what they have in abundance alongside the smarts is creativity — a trait that is not only valued by Ravenclaws but present in most individuals sorted into the house. Creativity, therefore, is one of Ravenclaw’s best Hogwarts house traits.
Someone like Luna, in all of her eccentricity and imagination, is the perfect example of this trait in action in Ravenclaws. Ravenclaws tend to be free-spirited, which only aids the quality and prominence of their creativity. Their intelligence and passion also play into their creativity, getting the creative juices flowing and creating a lot of brilliance in the Wizarding World.
Another one of the best Hogwarts house traits that Ravenclaws possess is that they are intuitive. Legend has it, Rowena Ravenclaw had a dream about a warty hog that led her to a cliff by a lake. This is eventually where Hogwarts would be built, and how the school got its name.
Ravenclaws possess a keen intuition and are able to understand things almost instantly, with little need for conscious reasoning. Luna Lovegood often portrayed this enviable trait, with the many “uncomfortable” truths that she would unabashedly share out loud. Most Ravenclaws simply “know” things based on their instinctive feelings, and if it weren’t for Rowena Ravenclaw’s intuition, Hogwarts could’ve been a very different place with an equally different name.
The Worst Ravenclaw Traits
The thing about Ravenclaws, though, is that they know they are smart, making being judgmental one of their worst Hogwarts house traits. They have spent their academic career being told how intelligent they are, and the smugness they feel is woven into their identity. They are aware of the high intelligence around them and this often makes them judgmental of others, deeming them inferior to themselves.
This might not be the case though, as much as it is what they are assuming. People from other houses may just be clever in a different kind of way. But arrogance and unfair judgment can be present in Ravenclaws’ traits and needs to be watched for in case it becomes too much.
The ignorance, arrogance, and dismissiveness of Ravenclaw house all stem from their superiority complex. However, their confidence in their own intelligence, and placing book-smarts on a pedestal generally, means Ravenclaws actually miss a lot. Therefore, ignorance is one of Ravenclaw’s worst Hogwarts house traits.
Generally speaking, Ravenclaws are pretty closed off to ideas that go against their own logical ones. They are also pretty ignorant of others, more interested in themselves and their circles, rarely venturing out to form group friendships with other houses, for example. While not on the level of Slytherin, there are definite prejudices evident in Ravenclaw.
Much like Gryffindors being aware of their tendency to play the hero, Ravenclaws are well aware of their reputation for being smart — and some of them wear this on their sleeve a little too openly. Since Ravenclaws know that they are the most intelligent and wise house, it’s not uncommon for many to come off as self-important. A more unfortunate one of the Hogwarts house traits, Ravenclaws are aware that their ideas are profound and that their wit is unmatched.
It’s clear that this would go to anyone’s head, but the Ravenclaw trait of being self-important is portrayed most poignantly through the character of Hogwarts newly hired teacher Gilderoy Lockhart. While Lockhart certainly portrayed a more Slytherin-esque ambition, one must not forget that he was sorted into Ravenclaw, and the sorting hat doesn’t make mistakes. Lockhart was an incredibly self-important character with a highly exaggerated view of his own value in the Wizarding World.
The Best Slytherin Traits
Slytherin is the best house to have around in a crisis, making resourcefulness one of their best Hogwarts house traits. They are good at keeping a cool head. They can pause, think, and find their way out of a situation when they need to. They are not likely to lose their minds out of fear and pressure, and they are inventive problem-solvers.
This trait has often been used for dark things, like what we see the likes of Voldemort and Draco Malfoy doing, but on its own, it’s a positive trait, and many Slytherins use it as such. A clear example of this Slytherin trait is Regulus Black, who managed to sneak around working on the Horcruxes right under Voldemort’s nose.
One of the main Hogwarts house traits common in those aligned or sorted into Slytherin house is incredible ambition. This could be related to careers, education, or just life overall, but Slytherins that show no ambition are few and far between.
Of course, this trait plays into the hands of the worst Slytherin has to offer, fueling their pursuit of power for example. But, generally, there is nothing wrong with ambition — it is an admirable quality for any group and any individual to have. The pursuit to be better, more successful, or more powerful, attracts many to Slytherin. It is traits like these that make people, including the Sorting Hat, believe Harry himself was a Slytherin.
One of the best Hogwarts house traits for Slytherin is that students of this house are gifted with being incredibly shrewd. This can go hand in hand with their ambition, leading to students learning how to best calculate their next moves in order to achieve their ends.
Slytherins are incredibly astute, possessing sharp powers of judgment in any given situation. A Slytherin is able to weigh all of their options before acting, something Gryffindors don’t often do, and have a keen sense for judging a situation or a person’s motives. While this can, unfortunately, lead to more cunning behaviors from Slytherin students, Snape used his shrewdness to his advantage as a double agent, being key to bringing down Voldemort during the Second Wizarding World War.
The Worst Slytherin Traits
Although Slytherins are not all evil, they do have their bad Hogwarts house traits — like any other house. One of their main worst traits is that they can be manipulative. Sometimes it is unconscious, sometimes it is awful and on a large scale like Voldemort’s takeover, but it has a tendency to happen, and Slytherins should look for it within themselves and work on it.
They want to get their own way, and their ambition means they will go to any lengths necessary — which often means telling people things that are not true or twisting situations to move everything in their favored direction.
The unfortunate reality of Slytherin house is that, while they are perhaps unfairly judged, they do produce a great number of evil wizards, and as a whole can be called the cruelest of the houses. There’s way to put a positive spin on the fact that cruelty is one of Slytherin’s worst Hogwarts house traits.
Their elitist attitudes and prejudices are examples of this, as is many a Slytherin’s superiority complex. Examples of cruel Slytherins in action are Voldemort, Bellatrix, Snape, Draco, etc. who are all cruel to varying degrees. Whether on the grand scale or on a more personal basis, cruelty is a trait that echoes throughout the history of Slytherin house.
One of the worst Hogwarts house traits for Slytherin is that this house’s students are often vindictive. A Slytherin is not one to suffer an insult or grievance. While a Gryffindor’s traits may lead a student to confront someone, a Ravenclaw might deduce the best course to a solution, and a Hufflepuff may let it go — a Slytherin wants revenge.
Voldemort made revenge against Harry Potter his life, and Snape endlessly bullied the protagonist because of James Potter’s past misdoings. Malfoy was also a constant antagonistic force in Harry’s life, all because he refused to be friends with him on the first day of school. Slytherins in Harry Potter are a vengeful group, not taking slights lightly.