Rowena Ravenclaw
Biographical information
Physical description




Hair colour


Eye colour


Skin colour


Family information
Family members

Helena Ravenclaw (daughter) †




Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

"Wit beyond measure is a man's greatest treasure."
—Rowena Ravenclaw

Rowena Ravenclaw was a witch and one of the four founders of Hogwarts. She was noted for her cleverness and creativity, and was described by Xenophilius Lovegood as "beautiful." The Sorting Hat introduced her as “fair Ravenclaw, from glen,” suggesting she was from Scotland.


Founding of HogwartsBearbeiten

Along with her friends Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff and Salazar Slytherin, Ravenclaw founded Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She devised the ever-changing, moving staircases in the Hogwarts Castle. She was particularly close to Helga Hufflepuff; their friendship is used as a foil to the failed friendship between Godric Gryffindor and Salazar Slytherin. As with the other founders, she is the namesake of one of Hogwarts' four houses.

Ravenclaw is described by the Sorting Hat as having selected students according to intelligence and wisdom. Ravenclaw house thus values a sharp mind, wisdom, creativity, and cleverness in its members. Thus, rather than asking for a password from members, a bronze eagle door knocker asks them a riddle which, if answered incorrectly, would force the student to wait until another could answer the question correctly, allowing the failed student to learn.

Door Knocker: "Which came first, the phoenix or the flame?"
Luna Lovegood: "...I think the answer is that a circle has no beginning."
Door Knocker: "Well reasoned."
— a riddle at the Ravenclaw common room entrance[src]

Later LifeBearbeiten

Helena Ravenclaw

Ravenclaw's daughter, Helena, as a ghost

Ravenclaw died at a relatively young age, though legend had it that a "broken heart" contributed to her early demise. This may have been her estrangement with her daughter, Helena Ravenclaw, who after her death became Ravenclaw house's patron ghost known as the Grey Lady.

Helena stole her mother's diadem, which had the phrase wit beyond measure is man's greatest treasure engraved upon it and was said to enhance the wisdom of the wearer. Helena was jealous of her mother's famous intellect, and took the diadem in hopes of surpassing her. When Rowena became fatally ill, she asked the Bloody Baron, who was in love with Helena, to go find her daughter. He eventually tracked her to Albania, but when she refused to return with him, the Baron flew into a rage and killed her. Immediately overcome with guilt, he then took his own life, and would become the Slytherin patron ghost.

Thus, Rowena did not get the chance to reconcile with her daughter before their deaths.

Tom Marvolo Riddle was able to charm the location of the diadem out of the Grey Lady centuries later. He turned it into a Horcrux and hid it in Hogwarts' Room of Requirement. The diadem was destroyed by cursed fire unleashed by Vincent Crabbe during the Battle of Hogwarts in 1998.



Rowena Ravenclaw on a Chocolate Frog card.

  • Rowena is a Latinised form of an old Germanic name: "Fame," (cf. the Anglo-Saxon hrōd, or hrōð), and "Joy," (cf. the Anglo-Saxon wyn(n)), or "Friend," (cf. the Anglo-Saxon wine). Rowena, Queen of Britain, is a figure in Britain's traditional history; she was supposedly the daughter of Hengest and the wife of Vortigern.
  • In Welsh poetry, Rowena is named "mother of the nation," which could link in to her being a founder of Hogwarts. She also is another character whose name surfaces in the great epic Ivanhoe.

Behind the scenesBearbeiten

  • Ravenclaw was featured as Rowling's "Wizard of the Month" for August 2007. "One of the four famous Founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Rowena Ravenclaw was the most brilliant witch of her time, though legend has it that a broken heart - cause unknown - contributed to her early demise."
  • Despite being a house that values intelligence, the house has its quota of female beauties (Rowena and Helena Ravenclaw, Cho Chang, Padma Patil, Luna Lovegood), and even Fleur Delacour, who decided to sit at the Ravenclaw table while staying in Hogwarts. Male Ravenclaws such as Roger Davies have also been described as good looking. Even Filius Flitwick, Ravenclaw's head of house in the 1990s, was described as good-looking in his younger days.
  • The Portuguese translation in Brazil for Ravenclaw was "Corvinal", taken from the word "Corvo" (Raven in portuguese), the suffix "inal" does not add any true meaning and the "claw" part of the name was completely lost in translation.
  • This meaning is also lost in Italian, as she was named "Cosetta Corvonero" ("Corvonero" literally meaning Black Raven).
  • Even though the word "Raven" is in Ravenclaws name, the symbol of her house is an eagle.

See AlsoBearbeiten


Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Hogwarts Houses:
Gryffindorcrest Hufflepuffcrest Ravenclawcrest Slytheirncrest
Namesake Founder: Godric Gryffindor · Helga Hufflepuff · Rowena Ravenclaw · Salazar Slytherin
Head of House: Minerva McGonagall · Pomona Sprout · Filius Flitwick · Horace Slughorn
House Ghost: Nearly Headless Nick · Fat Friar · Grey Lady · Bloody Baron