Gryffindor is arguably the most important house in the Harry Potter series — here are the best and worst Gryffindor traits. When the Boy Who Lived was introduced to the world, with him came Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and its four separate houses. Founded by Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw, Salazar Slytherin, and Godric Gryffindor, the Hogwarts professors decided it would be best to sort their incoming students via the Sorting Hat based on specific traits they want to see in their students. Famously, the three main protagonists of the Harry Potter series were sorted into Gryffindor house.
While it’s easy to put the four Hogwarts houses into categories like Ravenclaw being the house for smart people, or Slytherin being the house for evil wizards, it’s actually much more complicated. Common Gryffindor traits are made much more complex by character choices and no two Gryffindors are wholly motivated by the same thing. Characters like Gilderoy Lockhart proved things like Ravenclaws may be smart in different ways and Horace Slughorn showed that not all Slytherins are drawn to the dark arts. Here are the best and worst Gryffindor traits exemplified by various Harry Potter characters and their choices.
The Best Gryffindor Traits
While Hufflepuff displays this in spades, Gryffindors are definitely known for their loyalty, and its one of the best Gryffindor traits. Though they aren’t the only house that exhibits this trait, they are thought of the most as being loyal and devoted to people as well as to causes. This is why Peter Pettigrew having no loyalty made him such a shocking outlier. Gryffindors are likely to stick up for their friends and be quite intense about doing the right thing. They want to have high morals and don’t want to let the people they care about down.
Despite Ron leaving the Horcrux hunt for a time in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, he proved his fierce loyalty to Harry and Hermione by coming back and finishing the job, saving Harry’s life in the process. Hermione and Ron nearly always had Harry’s back throughout the series, displaying one of the best Gryffindor traits, whether it was against horrid teachers like Umbridge who refused to believe Voldemort returned or bullies like Draco Malfoy who sought to make Harry’s life a nightmare.
Possibly the most defining Gryffindor traits over anything else is being brave. This is probably why the mascot of the house is the lion. Gryffindors are seen as loud and willing to put themselves on the line to do the right thing. These are people who will make the big sacrifice play and try to be the hero. This is especially true when it comes to anything they feel loyal to, such as their friends or an organization or ideology they believe in.
Gryffindors like the golden trio displayed their bravery a myriad of times throughout Harry Potter, but they weren’t the only ones. Neville proved his bravery by carrying out Harry’s mission and defeating the final Horcrux. Most of the members of Dumbledore’s Army in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix were Gryffindors, operating right under Umbridge’s nose knowing the dire consequences of if they were caught.
One of the other main Gryffindor traits that is really admirable is their courage. They are known for facing down their fears in order to do the right thing. There are many Gryffindors that show this trait. While Harry is one of them, Neville also shows this in a quieter way when he stands up to his friends in Sorcerer’s Stone. These are definitely the people viewers would want around in a scary situation, as they would rally their courage.
Hermione showed countless times how courageous she was throughout Harry Potter, by standing up for her muggle-born status in the face of pureblood supremacy. She even punched Draco Malfoy in the face in Prisoner of Azkaban for his hand in Buckbeak’s execution and never backed down from him no matter how many bigoted insults he threw her way. In the face of certain death, Harry’s friends displayed immense courage as they delved into the unknown and spent many a fruitless month hunting Horcruxes.
Another one of the biggest defining Gryffindor traits is their nerve and daring. These are the people who will jump right into a challenge. They won’t turn down something just because it could be dangerous or hard to do. They are likely to be the people who would do extreme sports, and they definitely are associated with sportiness and team-playing. Daring can definitely be a positive thing unless it’s taken too far.
One of Harry’s best, and worst, traits is that he would jump into nearly any challenge without question. While he was scared of having to compete in the Triwizard Tournament in Goblet of Fire, he never once backed down from a task despite his competitors being much older and more experienced. In addition, he also willingly faced death in the Forbidden Forest, seeking Voldemort out himself in the final moments of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.
Having an adventurous spirit is definitely a great trait to have, and it’s one of the best Gryffindor traits. Being adventurous can inspire a person to do a lot with their lives and achieve great and new things. Gryffindors are definitely the most likely to go on some kind of adventure and want to explore the world. They love to experience new things. They are a house that is all about experiencing life in the biggest way possible.
Harry Potter wouldn’t be complete without the adventures that the Golden Trio finds themselves in. In Chamber of Secrets, Harry and Ron decided to take the flying car to Hogwarts after being barred from taking the train, resulting in an exciting high-speed ride through the countryside. In the same film, the pair investigated Aragog’s lair in the Forbidden Forest to seek answers about Slytherin’s monster, showing that the two Gryffindors were always up for an adventure.
The Worst Gryffindor Traits
This is one of the most obvious negative Gryffindor traits. While many of the good things about Gryffindor are apparent, these traits also have a bit of a dark side. Gryffindors can be loyal to a fault and can be a little bit black-and-white in their thinking. This can cause them to be stubborn. They often get ideas in their heads or feel they are right about something, and it’s hard to sway them once they’ve dug their heels in. Harry Potter himself is a good example of how stubborn people in this house can be.
While Harry was right in suspecting Draco was a Death Eater in Half-Blood Prince, he refused to let the notion go even at the behest of everyone around him. He also never let go of his grudge against Snape and refused to believe that Dumbledore’s trust in him was worth something, until Snape revealed the whole story in his dying moments. Finally, when looking into Gryffindor’s being stubborn, look no further than Ron taking seven movies to finally admit his feelings for Hermione.
The dark side of the bravery of Gryffindors is that they often have a hero complex, and it’s one of the worst Gryffindor traits. Harry Potter is one of the best examples of this. While his heart is in the right place, he can often be too over-the-top about trying to be the hero and lose common sense in the process. For many Gryffindors, they also enjoy the glory that comes along with being the hero. They like the attention and being seen as brave, strong, and chivalrous. This need to be the best and most heroic can definitely go to their heads.
There were a lot of instances in which Harry’s hero complex was his downfall, but the one that stands out as the most detrimental was in Order of the Phoenix. Voldemort sent Harry a false vision that Sirius was being held at the Department of Mysteries, and while Harry did attempt to tell Snape, he told nearly no one else and he and his friends followed the false trail, only to be attacked by Death Eaters. Harry felt he was duty-bound to save Sirius, but in the end, it was all a lie and the skirmish resulted in Sirius’ death.
Many of the best Gryffindor traits can definitely be associated with a knight or a warrior of some kind; because of this, it’s easy to see how things can go sideways and cause many Gryffindors to be self-righteous. They are quite proud of themselves, and while having pride can be good, they often think they are the best house and the most heroic people of all. It’s also interesting because they are rather arrogant just like Slytherins are. Gryffindors are just more likely to judge other people for not being as brave or moral as they perceive themselves to be.
Harry had to be reminded that black-and-white thinking serves no one in a conversation with Sirius, in which his godfather gently said, “The world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters. We’ve all got both light and dark inside us.” Due to his own self-righteousness, Harry had a hard time believing that someone like Snape could be as brave as he was, and questioned the fact that he could possibly return to the light after his foray into the dark arts. It wasn’t until Snape’s fateful memory was revealed that Harry accepted he was wrong about him, and he was one of the bravest men he knew.
It’s pretty clear that the worst Gryffindor traits are a result of their admirable traits taken to the extreme. Recklessness is just the more extreme, unhealthy version of daring. While having nerve can be a good thing, it’s also important to have common sense and to know when one is going too far. Gryffindors are a bit prone to being extreme for attention and glory. Their recklessness can get them and others into trouble.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione deciding to brew Polyjuice Potion to sneak into the Slytherin Common Room and question Draco Malfoy in Chamber of Secrets was certainly one of their more reckless decisions, as Hermione ended up botching her transfiguration. Ron and Harry going after a troll in Sorcerer’s Stone may have saved Hermione’s life, but even McGonagall had to point out how stupid of a decision it was. In addition, going after Quirrell/Voldemort to save the stone in the first film/book as 11-year-olds may not have been the ideal strategy either.
This is another example of how the best Gryffindor traits can also lead to the worst traits. While they can be quite passionate and loyal, this can also lead to being too angry or hot-headed. They aren’t very good at thinking through things calmly, and they are often quite controlled by their emotions. Sometimes Gryffindors need to practice having a cool head and even temper.
For example, Harry’s first reaction to finding out the lie that Sirius had betrayed his parents, resulting in their death, in Prisoner of Azkaban was to throw an outright fit and vehemently proclaim that if they crossed paths he would murder him. It also wasn’t shown nearly as much in the films, but in the books, Sirius was quick to jump down Snape’s throat at any chance he got throughout Harry Potter and even maintained calling him by his childhood bullying nickname “Snivellus.”