The First Wizarding School: Founders
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is both the
oldest and most accomplished wizarding school ever established. Built around
990 A.D., it set a precedent that then the rest of the world would soon follow.
Other prominent European schools such as Beauxbaton’s Academy of Magic and
Durmstrang Institute were not established until after Hogwarts’ initial
Along with Hogwarts’ three other founders, Godric
Gryffindor is considered to be one of the most talented wizards of all time,
known especially for his duelling prowess. Of all the founders, Godric was closest to Salazar Slytherin. However, by
the time that Salazar had fully formulated his intention to ban Muggle-born
wizards to Hogwarts, their friendship had been severed. Born in a moor village
(now known as Godric’s Hollow) to Muggle parents, Godric’s sensitivity towards
Muggle-borns were certainly understandable, and, even though he had never told
Salazar of his heritage, their break over this issue was inevitable.
Godric was known for his
admirable bravery and loyalty. Those who duelled him found him to be a
fearless, if slightly reckless, opponent. In early years, he often duelled to
defend Salazar when he found a witch or wizard foolish enough to slander his
friend. When Godric with the remaining two founders ejected Salazar from any
further association with Hogwarts, Godric was devastated. During the rest of
his years serving at Hogwarts, he held particular favour for students who would
stand up to their friends, combining his two favourite qualities of bravery and
loyalty with a bit of his own personal experience.
was born in Scotland in 976 A.D. From her youth, she possessed an innate
proclivity for knowledge. She was skilled in all areas of scholastic magic and
dabbled in other areas such as magical architecture. As a young witch, Rowena
studied wandlore extensively before designing and creating her own wand.
her youth and early adulthood, Rowena dedicated herself to learning as much
about everything as she could. Her home, the ruins of which are now a popular
Scottish tour site, was covered wall to ceiling in books spanning every subject
imaginable. Those who came into contact with her, Muggle, witch, and wizard
alike, often shied away from both her undeniable beauty and daunting
vocabulary. As such, Rowena formed very few relationships in her lifetime. At
age twenty, nevertheless, Rowena met Jares Ravenclaw, a magical philosopher ten
years her senior. While Rowena did her best to discourage him, love-struck
Jares was persistent and eventually won her over.
Hufflepuff, Jares’ cousin, met Rowena shortly thereafter, and the two formed a
close friendship that led to Rowena’s introduction into the project that became
Hogwarts. As a founder, Rowena threw her entire self into the school, designing
several key portions of the castle, most notably the innovative enchanted
staircases that contain magic that still baffles witches and wizards today. The
witch also taught the most varied subjects of the founders to her young
students, encompassing everything from Transfiguration to Herbology (although
she steadfastly refused to teach Divination).
was widowed when a wizard’s misfired spell killed her husband. Rowena then
moved into the castle with her young daughter Helena and threw herself even
further into her work. As Helena grew older, she resented her mother and
eventually fled the castle, taking with her the fabled diadem of wisdom.
Although Godric and Helga both knew the truth, Rowena denied that her daughter
had run away. Often, Rowena left the castle to search for her daughter, always
under the guise of doing something else. Her friends and co-founders allowed
Rowena her pride and soon hired another two full-time professors to cover
Rowena’s frequent absences.
years of searching to no avail, Rowena’s health declined rapidly until she was
bedridden. Desperate, Rowena instructed Baron Rasmus, a man who had long loved
her daughter, to find Helena. The Baron soon located his love, who in turn
rejected him. In anger, he killed her and, full of remorse, then killed
himself. Almost luckily, Rowena died of her illness and a broken heart before
she could hear the news.
Upon her death, Rowena’s
extensive library was donated to Hogwarts and even still comprises over half of
the school’s total book count.
Hufflepuff, while also one of the most talented witches of her time, used her
magic in mostly maternal ways. Considered by many to have cared more about the
mental well-being of her students than any of the other founders, Helga was
known to take many students under her wing every year. Because of this, Helga
was very seldom alone.
in Wales to low-class, magical parents, her parents were unable to have any
children after Helga was born, but they adopted a Muggle boy and girl as well
as a young wizard. This diversity and wide collection of different ideas helped
build Helga into the legendarily tolerant witch that she became.
was the only one of the founders who was significantly immersed in Muggle
culture, as Godric’s magical abilities were discovered early on, and he then
spent most of his time learning from the wizard who ‘discovered’ him. Helga
attended school for young Muggles with her adopted siblings until the age of
thirteen. She and her wizard brother often received extremely low marks in
school because they spent most of their time outside of school practicing
magic. As Helga’s magical talents became more apparent, her parents scrimped
and saved to pay for her to study with some of the most clever witches and
wizards of the time. She worked her hardest to learn everything that they knew
and eventually surpassed them all.
met Godric and Salazar when they were travelling together in search of
adventure. Being several years older than the wizards, she provided a maternal,
caring figure that both the young men craved. She kept in close contact with
the two wizards as they grew older, and through her experiences watching them
grow had the idea to create a wizarding school. With her discovery of Godric
and Salazar and inclusion of Rowena, her project had all the components it
needed to begin.
Slytherin had many unusual magical talents. As a young boy, his friendship with
Godric began when Salazar challenged Godric to a duel, then used Legilimency to
anticipate the other boy’s move and quickly disarm him. Too impressed to be
offended, Godric offered friendship on the condition that Salazar never read
his mind again. To even Salazar’s own surprise, it was a promise that he kept
for the entire time that they were on good terms.
up, Salazar’s wealthy parents kept him segregated from Muggles, never quite
explaining to Salazar why they did so. One day, a Muggle boy was bullying a
Muggle girl whom Salazar found quite beautiful. Seeing a serpent nearby,
Salazar used Parseltongue to set the snake on the boy. The frightened girl ran
back to her village to fetch adults, who returned to find the boy dead from the
snake’s venom. The girl implicated Salazar, and the boy’s father went in search
of the young wizard. When found, Salazar was nearly murdered in a brutal
beating administered by the boy’s father, but Salazar’s own parents discovered
the scene and killed the man.
experience planted seeds of distrust and hatred in Salazar that later defined him.
When he told Helga, Godric, and Rowena of his plan to bar Muggle-borns from
Hogwarts, he was genuinely surprised at Godric’s and Rowena’s adamant refusals.
Salazar had expected Helga to strongly disapprove, but hoped that with the
support of the others he could convince her otherwise.
Salazar had kept his promise to stay out of Godric’s mind, he had no idea that
his friend was Muggle-born. As for Rowena, she had never considered the idea
that Muggle-borns were any different than pure-bloods, and when asked to
consider the concept, she was able to quickly decide that she liked them both
of bitterness and still hoping to ‘cleanse’ the school, Salazar created the
Chamber of Secrets and placed a basilisk within that mirrored the hate in his
heart. Godric, sensing that Salazar was practicing a very Dark magic, attempted
to use Legilimency against him. Betrayed, Salazar pushed Godric out of
his mind and with that contact finally discovered Godric’s heritage. That push,
along with the continued and ever-growing hostility of the other founders,
convinced Salazar to leave Hogwarts, but not before preparing the Chamber.