Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw both suffer from lack of development, and to some extent, lack of characterization. Slytherin and Gryffindor are both shown to have their good sides (Harry Potter, Severus Snape) and their bad (Peter Pettigrew, Lord Voldemort), as well as shades in between. With Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, however, there are no shades, and few characters of note. The only one truly worth mentioning is Luna Lovegood. Hufflepuff, even, is saddled with “all the rest”, a most pitiable cop-out on Rowling’s part to avoid leaving anyone out. Still, Hufflepuff has the same sort of traits you may find in the other houses. Loyalty, hard-working, patient. These tell you something about the characters in the house, something about who they are.
Ravenclaw, on the other hand, is the honours dormitory. It’s like at college, you have your math dormitory, your engineering dormitory, your music dormitory, and… your honours dormitory. Not really a major, honours. People in the honours dorm could be majoring in biology, literature, anything really. The only unifying feature is that they are intelligent. In a system of majors and fields of study, this works well enough. It is education that separates these dorms, and it is the focus of college in question. Hogwarts, however, separates its students based on personality. Yet her most famous traits are not really those I would consider personal.
To compare, the traits of Ravenclaw are wit, intelligence, knowledge, creativity, and wisdom. Wit, wisdom, and knowledge - those are acceptable. I wonder how many at eleven are wise, and I wonder if knowledge is a fair marker (it would, after all, likely depend on one’s upbringing, particularly in the time of Ravenclaw herself when literacy was not widespread), but we may perhaps interpret this as ‘knowledge-seeking’, or ‘thirst for knowledge’, which is most acceptable. Creativity is iffy, as someone who considers herself creative, I don’t believe it is a result of my life, far more nature than nurture. The science seems to point to early developmental stages, your years as an infant, as the source of creativity. This is not like bravery or wisdom, something which is ever changing, something malleable or something that may change in a powerful moment. This seems even more true of intelligence, which many scientists still believe to be mostly inherited, and the rest in early development.
Even accepting these as malleable traits, however, how much are these ones of personality? I would liken intelligence, or perhaps more so knowledge, to athleticism. Would it seem sensible if one of Gryffindor’s traits were athleticism? I would say not. Still, there is no better way to observe Ravenclaw traits than by looking at a few Ravenclaws.
Cho Chang is our first example, as she is the first Ravenclaw we get to know well in a positive light, as Harry’s first love interest. Unfortunately, that is the main facet in which she exists, as a woman very much like Ginny who ultimately falls short of being Ginny (solidified in her loss to the Weasley at Quidditch in Harry’s absence). The only personality trait that stands out very much for her is her kindness, her politeness. She never wore the ‘Potter Stinks’ badges, and she turned Harry down lightly when he asked her to the Yule Ball. She stood up for her friend, Marietta, who was the only one to stay close to her after Cedric’s death. That said, her feelings did seem to dictate much of what she did in her fifth year. Not without good reason, I am not faulting her for this, but it was her heart, not her brain, that dictated her actions. Particularly her jealousy over Hermione.
Briefly, we also have Marietta Edgecombe, the DA’s traitor, yet close friend of Cho’s. We know little of her, but she reminds me in a way of Hermione in their early years. She sticks to the rules, she believes what she reads. She never trusts Harry, which to me insinuates that she is susceptible to propaganda and is perhaps less inclined to think critically. Not a bad girl, though, as we see she is a loyal friend.
Gilderoy Lockhart is one of the Ravenclaws we get to know quite well, and is definitely worth a mention. Utterly incompetent with magic, but not necessarily unintelligent. He wrote books, and likely made up a great deal of the pomp and circumstance surrounding the events, implying some creativity and a skill with words - evidenced further by some of what he says in his place as a celebrity. And he kept up the act for years without heavy suspicion and could cover his tracks. Still, it is hard to ignore the fact that the man is more than a bit of a buffoon.
Moaning Myrtle, quickly, does bring up a short, but interesting point. Never had any friends, teased for wearing glasses. There are a rather large number of attractive people in Ravenclaw, aren’t there? Aside from Myrtle, I can’t think of one who was described as so little as average. Except Flitwick, I suppose, but that was more ‘little’ than ‘average’.
Luna Lovegood, at last. An eccentric, certainly creative, young woman who was very perceptive in her youth. Perhaps easy to believe in her youth, but comments on her as an older woman imply she accepts that some things do not exist (though seeks to prove that others do). It is hard to say for sure whether she is intelligent, as I cannot recall any remarks about her grades and a job hunting down animals is certainly not one that requires a great deal of wit, but we have no reason to believe otherwise. I suppose this does bring us to my last point, though, one which returns us to our idea of the ‘honours dormitories’.
How many of the top students we know of are Ravenclaws? The only students we know to have achieved all of their O.W.L.s were Percy Weasley, Bill Weasley, and Barty Crouch, Jr. The Weasleys are all Gryffindors, and Barty Crouch - being a Death Eater - was most likely a Slytherin, though this is not confirmed. Hermione was the top of her class, and a Gryffindor. It is likely that Voldemort was as well, a Slytherin. Though there are many years we know little of, it is never mentioned that - say - Luna or Cho are the best students in their year. It seems fair to presume that the numbers are relatively even, for students in any house to be the best in their class or to get top scores on their O.W.L.s. I must wonder, then, what defines a Ravenclaw? Creativity and a thirst for knowledge seem to be the most pervasive, but nonetheless not consistent, traits, but what do you think?
These things are rad. I am particularly fond of the little window inside the maple leaf (in the top left corner of these photos), because they’re like the final kick to the balls of counterfeiters. Like, “fuck you, try to imitate that shit”. I give them about a year to master it, mind, but still. It’ll make getting big bills from the bank all the more fun.
“It is my view you can’t hold back progress. Ebooks are here, they are here to stay. Personally I love printed paper, but very very recently, later than a lot of people because I’m not very technologically adept, in fact it was this year for the first time that I downloaded ebooks. And it’s miraculous, for travel and for children particularly, to carry around a thousand books in your pocket on a small device is an extraordinary thing, so I feel great about taking Harry Potter into this new medium. But I still love a printed paper book; I think you can enjoy both.”—J.K. Rowling (via writingadvice)
It would have been Ike/Soren, Harry/Luna, Gert/Chase, Erik/Charles, and Virginia/Wolf. But then I saw Merlin, so now it is just Merlin/Arthur, Merlin/Arthur, Merlin/Arthur, Merlin/Arthur, and Merlin/Arthur. I can’t even read Harry Potter shit now, man. People are like “Merlin’s beard” and I’m like, “beard, surely you mean ears”. This show.
On TV, they’re Castle and Beckett and in Harry Potter they’re Malfoy and Weasley and whatnot, but in real life I’ve always heard people talk to each other by their first names, never just their last.
Aside from a few professors - and even then, not very many of them - I don’t know anyone who refers to me by my surname. Though, that said, it is Hollingshead, and I don’t know many Americans/Canadians who get that right on the first try. And to my knowledge, the surname formality is more common in Britain (my father definitely has a few old friends who refer to him as ‘Hollingshead’ for at least the first hello). Professional settings, as well, lend themselves more to it. We usually say ‘Obama’ instead of ‘Barack’, and ‘Palin’ instead of ‘Sarah’.
That said, going to school in America, no matter how little I liked you, I’d probably never call you by your surname. I don’t even know most people I’m not friends with on Facebook’s surnames, honestly. Kids I hated most back in high school were just Mike and… Kayla? Kelsee? I can’t even remember her first name, honestly.