Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Godric Gryffindor

"We'll teach all those with brave deeds to their name."
—Professor Gryffindor's preference of students.

Professor Godric Gryffindor was a wizard of medieval times and one of the four Founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He was good friends with Salazar Slytherin, but opposed him when the latter thought that they should not accept Muggle-bornstudents at Hogwarts. It is unknown when he died. Gryffindor's birthplace became known as Godric's Hollow, in his honour. Godric Gryffindor's portrait still remains at Hogwarts.
It is possible, due to his personal colours and the appearance of a Lion Rampant on his personal crest that Gryffindor is related to the Cornish royal family, later rulers of the Duchy of Cornwall, whose crest is remarkably similar (Argent, a lion rampant gules, a border azure equidistant fifteen estoils.)

Early life
"Bold Gryffindor, from wild moor..."
—The Sorting Hat singing about the founders' birthplaces.
Gryffindor hailed from a moor which is now known as Godric's Hollow, a small West Country village in England. He was described as being "the best duellist of his time" 
Founder of Hogwarts
Said to be one of "the four most brilliant witches and wizards of the time", Godric Gryffindor founded Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in his adulthood, with friend Salazar Slytherin and companions Helga Hufflepuff and Rowena Ravenclaw.
Preferences for students
"By Gryffindor, the bravest were
Prized far beyond the rest."
—The Sorting Hat on Professor Gryffindor.
Gryffindor is said to have praised courage, determination and strength of heart above all other qualities. Indeed, he selected students for his house based upon their daring and bravery, according to the Sorting Hat. He also was the most in favour of allowing Muggle-borns into the school.
"Twas Gryffindor who found the way,
He whipped me off his head
The founders put some brains in me
So I could choose instead!''"
—The Sorting Hat on how Professor Gryffindor decided to use him to Sort.
The founders, however, were unsure of how they would Sort the students when they were dead. To solve this, Gryffindor took off his hat and all four of them enchanted it so that it could Sort the students long after their deaths. It was, from then on, known as the Sorting Hat.
Gryffindor was initially a close friend of Salazar Slytherin, but over time their friendship deteriorated. After a number of years of working peacefully together, Slytherin eventually grew apart from his fellow founders due to his distrust of Muggle-borns, and his belief that they should not be accepted into Hogwarts. When Slytherin failed to convince Gryffindor and the others to accept his ideas, he chose to leave the school. Unbeknownst to Gryffindor, his former friend built a hidden chamber within the castle, in which he hid a Basilisk that his heir would later use to try and purge the school of Muggle-borns.
It is unknown how or when Gryffindor died, though he left an enduring legacy.
Image: Godric Gryffindor's legacy: the Sorting Hat and sword.
A portrait of Gryffindor hung at Hogwarts Castle guarded a secret short cut between the seventh-floor landing of the Grand Staircase and the Entrance Hallside room. The password required to gain access to said shortcut wasStarshine. [4] Gryffindor left two known relics: a goblin-made sword, adorned with rubies, and the Sorting Hat. The two items share a particular bond; whenever a "true Gryffindor" needs it, the Sword will let itself be pulled out of the hat. Godric's sword was capable of acquiring powers from those it had slain and thus was imbued with venom from Harry Potter's defeat of theBasilisk, making it suitable as a tool for destroying Voldemort's Horcruxes.Albus Dumbledore used it to destroy Marvolo Gaunt's Ring, Ron Weasley used it to eliminate Salazar Slytherin'sLocket, and Neville Longbottom used it to kill Nagini.
Behind the scenes
Image:Godric Gryffindor'sChocolate Frog Card.

Image:Godric Gryffindor, as of J.K. Rowling's website.

§  Gryffindor was named the July 2007 "Wizard of the Month" on Rowling's website. "One of the four famous Founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Godric Gryffindor was the most accomplished duellist of his time, an enlightened fighter against Muggle-discrimination and the first owner of the celebrated Sorting Hat."
§  It is possible that Gryffindor taught Defence Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts due to his acclaimed talent as a duellist.
§  J.K. Rowling once jokingly stated that if Godric Gryffindor was still alive: he would be the Giant Squid that lives in Hogwarts lake, that would make him the biggest Animagus (and, quite possibly, the oldest) in the Wizarding world. At the eleventh hour of each night the Squid would transform back into Gryffindor, who would wander the school grounds before returning to his Squid form. It should be noted that Rowling was sarcastically trying to make a point, so obviously this statement is not considered canon.
§  Godric Gryffindor is the only founder who is not mentioned to have any descendants, although for a time it was speculated that Harry Potter himself was a descendant of Gryffindor either through James Potterpossibly because James hailed from Godric's hometown, or possibly through a line of Squibs to James' wifeLily Evans. However, this theory was later debunked by J. K. Rowling in an interview.
§  Gryffindor will appear in Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in Universal Studios as a portrait.
§  On the official website of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Godric mentions that he is proud to haveHarry Potter in his house.
§  The name Godric is Anglo-Saxon in form, and can have several meanings, including, "he who rules with God" or "he who rules well".
§  His surname is a reference to the half-lion magical beast, the Griffin, a fierce, legendary beast with the body of a lion, and the head and wings of an eagle. The Hogwarts house named after him uses a lion as its symbol. Furthermore, the last part of his surname, "dor", comes of the French d'or, "made from gold", "golden", which is one of the colours of his Hogwarts House.

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