Godric Gryffindor

Godric Gryffindor was a wizard and was among the four founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The Gryffindor house was named after him in his honour.

The Definitive Glossary for Harry Potter

Godric Gryffindor is believed to have been born somewhere before the 10th century, as Hogwarts was created in that century. Godric Gryffindor was one of the most brilliant wizards of his time and had a proclivity for dueling, charms, and magic in general. He was known to be fearless and valued these traits greatly in wizards and witches. He, along with his friends Salazar Slytherin, Helga Hufflepuff, and Rowena Ravenclaw, decided to create an institution to teach magic to witches and wizards. While his friendship with Salazar Slytherin was very strong initially, it swiftly deteriorated after Slytherin tried persuading the other three founders, only to accept wizards and witches of pure-blooded ancestry.

Godric Gryffindor is considered one of the greatest wizards of his lifetime. He was known for his daring, chivalry, strength of heart, and his enduring legacy. 

Godric Gryffindor – The Founder of Hogwarts

Godric Gryffindor was instrumental in founding the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft of Wizardry. He was one of the most important reasons for the founding of this school. He also gave away his hat, which was later bewitched by the four founders to form the Sorting Hat. This hat became a sentient artifact that could choose the right house for each student who would come to Hogwarts based on the expectations of the four founding members. He also possessed a sword, which was goblin made and had a body of silver, and its hilt was adorned with rubies. It was one of the relics other than his hat that was left behind in Hogwarts. 

Among the founders of Hogwarts, Godric was believed to be the most welcoming of accepting Muggle-born students. However, although a close friend of Salazar Slytherin, his distrust of Muggle-borns and his views laden with Muggle-discrimination led to a rift between the two, and despite being great friends and the most brilliant witches and wizards of their time with immense magical abilities and a versatile mindset, the founders couldn’t come to an agreement. The particular bond of friendship was broken, and Slytherin leaving Hogwarts spelled the end of his friendship with Gryffindor.

Etymology, Personality, and Physical Traits

Gryffindor was a muscular man with a tall physique, peach-colored skin, and a lion-like mane of wavy red hair. He also had a beard of the same color and green eyes. He wore segmented red sword gauntlets with gold fittings and similarly wore bright red robes with gold highlights and intricate designs on his sleeves, which were adopted as colors of his Hogwarts house. It is not surprising that the Gryffindor house is strongly associated with the lion. Furthermore, his surname Gryffindor or Griffindor, is derived from an actual beast from the magical world known as the Griffin or Gryphon, which is half-lion and half-eagle. This legendary beast is known to have the body of a lion and the wings of an eagle. It also has the front paws of a lion. 

His first name Godric is most likely an Anglo-Saxon name that was common in England among wizards of the time. The last part of his surname, dor in Gryffindor, is similar to both the French D’or and the suffix dore. The French D’or means “golden,” and therefore, Gryffindor would imply “golden griffin.” Gold is interestingly also one of the colors of the Gryffindor house. The suffix dore means “gift of” and in this case, Gryffindor would collectively mean “gift of the gryffin.” The Frech term for Griffindor, which is Griffondor, is a French homophone for the magical beast Griffon D’or. Finally, the name Gryffindor is a pun on the beast, the golden griffin, as it has the front paws and head of a lion but has eagle wings, golden fur, and feathers too.

Why Was Gryffindor’s Name Synonymous With Courage?

Godric Gryffindor was born in a small west country village near an English moor. Gryffindor’s birthplace later came to be known as Godric’s Hollow after his first name Godric. It is believed that he was in constant contact with Muggles during his time which is where he may have learned of their culture. He wielded a sword that later came to be known as the Sword of Gryffindor. He was very skilled in Muggle dueling, probably the best of his time, and is believed to fought his Muggle opponents with his sword instead of using magic. He was considered a very courageous man because of how many duels he won successfully without using the advantage of magic against Muggle opponents and his exhibition of great skill in combat.

Why Did Voldemort Hate This House?

It is possible that Voldemort hated this house because he didn’t understand its values and legacy completely. Furthermore, it was common knowledge that his ancestor Salazar Slytherin had severed ties with Godric Gryffindor in his time. This may also have impacted Voldemort’s hatred towards this house. Lord Voldemort was more interested in being unbeatable and finding means to become powerful than using bravery and courage as a means to prevent wrongdoings from happening as a true Gryffindor would. Therefore, he might have hated this house. Another reason may also be that most of the people who directly thwarted him from his evil plans were from Gryffindor, like Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, Neville Longbottom, and Minerva McGonagall. Even after Harry Potter’s defeat (apparent), several Gryffindors, especially Neville, stood up to Voldemort without exhibiting fear.

The ‘Gryffindor’ Traits

The Gryffindor traits of bravery and courage were mostly traits that Godric himself valued during his adulthood. He was known to be very skillful in Muggle dueling as well. To inculcate a sense of fairness, he mastered both wizard dueling and Muggle dueling, and depending on the dueling style of his opponent, he would choose either a wand or his sword for the duel. A wand would be the most decidedly unbalanced weapon against a Muggle, which is why he used his famous sword, matching the dueling style of opponent parties. He was a rather dynamic man and the most accomplished dueller of his time, a swordsman with a sense of fair play, good intentions, and a noble heart. These became signature traits of his house. He once drew his sword against Ragnuk, a goblin, displaying his acceptability and lack of hesitation to fight anyone.

Gryffindor’s Sword

Godric Gryffindor’s sword was one of his most prized possessions. He faced several battles with it in violence-ridden medieval Europe. He was considered the greatest duellist of his time, and many also thought he was the best duellist of his time in Muggle dueling. His sword was, therefore of great importance. It was a goblin-made sword and was very strong. It also had several magical properties. Its famous blade was known to absorb anything that made it strong, which is why it was capable of destroying Horcruxes after Harry killed the Basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets with this sword. 

Godric’s sword was a very powerful weapon, and it was very useful for Harry Potter to kill the Basilisk in the hidden Chamber of Secrets, after which it absorbed the venom of the Basilisk and even came in handy to destroy Horcruxes like Marvolo Gaunt’s ring and several other Horcruxes of Voldemort.


Godric Gryffindor left behind a very memorable legacy. Besides his hat, which became the Sorting Hat, and the Sword of Gryffindor, which was irreplaceable relics at Hogwarts, there were a lot of other things at Hogwarts to remind one of Gryffindor. Godric Gryffindor’s portrait hung on the seventh-floor landing of the grand staircase. Its password was said to be This portrait of Gryffindor had been there for a number of years, and the exact year it was erected is unknown. There was a shortcut to this place through the entrance hall side room. The password for the portrait was “Starshine.” J. K. Rowling named Godric Gryffindor the “wizard of the month” in July 2007 on her website. 

Gryffindor is also the only founder of Hogwarts not to have any known descendants or an heir in the Harry Potter universe. It was speculated that James Potter and Harry Potter were descendants of Godric Gryffindor as they hailed from Godric’s Hollow, but it turned out to be untrue.

The Giant Squid and the Basilisk – A Fan Theory

J. K. Rowling once jokingly claimed that it would be really fun to imagine the possibility of Godric Gryffindor still being alive. She considered the possibility that Gryffindor would be an animagus in the form of the Giant Squid that resides in the Great Hogwarts Lake. This would make sense, given Gryffindor’s abilities in transfiguration. An interesting addition to this theory would be the possibility of Salazar Slytherin being alive as well. To add to it, if Salazar Slytherin was also an animagus, he would take the form of the Basilisk, the very creature that stayed in the Chamber of Secrets for so long. It would make sense for both the Hogwarts founders to stay alive and keep an eye on their school and to see how far it has come since they built it.


Is Harry a descendant of Godric Gryffindor?

No, Harry Potter is not a descendant of Godric Gryffindor. Although it was earlier speculated to be the case, it is highly unlikely. From his father James’s side, Harry’s earliest known ancestors are Linfred of Stinchcombe and Ignotus Peverell, both of whom are not known to be related to Godric Gryffindor. It is however possible that Harry may be related to Gryffindor through his mother from a long chain of Muggles who could eventually connect to Gryffindor.

What was Godric Gryffindor known for?

Godric Gryffindor was mostly known for being the founder of the famed Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and for being one of the best duellists of his time. He was skilled in the art of Muggle dueling, as well as he was in wizard dueling.

Is Godric Gryffindor still alive?

No, it is highly unlikely that Godric Gryffindor is still alive. However, J. K. Rowling once joked about the possibility of Godric Gryffindor still being alive and claimed that it could be possible if Godric Gryffindor was the giant squid in his Animagus form that resided in the Great Lake at Hogwarts. However, this is not considered canon and is just an imaginary possibility at best.

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