I haven’t found any actual proof to back this up, but I’m pretty sure the “all the questions” pottermore based tests are less accurate. I think that pottermore bases what questions it asks off of what you’ve previously answered to verify you are in fact whichever house. Like if you were to answer the first question it asks one way it will send you to a certain second question, but if you answer that first question differently it will send you to a different second question.
I can’t think of how exactly to explain this, but I think it works like the aptitude test in Divergent, if you’ve read that…
Slytherin house and Gryffindor house are at it again.
Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff are just standing there like…
FIVE SALEM WITCHES’ INSTITUTE HEAD CANONS
1. The Salem Witches’ Institute is actually located in Oregon, not Massachusetts. The school was founded in 1742 and named after the Salem Witch Trials, which had ended fifty years previously. The location was chosen in part due to its remoteness from muggle culture, but in 1842 the town of Salem, Oregon was founded – named after the Institute, because at the time the population of the town was actually largely magical. The Institute is located about an hour’s broom flight away from Salem, on a magically shrouded bit of coastline.
2. It is not a girls’ school and never was. Even though it was named after the Salem Witches, the school has always been open to both witches and wizards. Even though this had been the standard in European wizarding communities for some time, it was practically unheard of in North America at the time, where there were already two major magic academies in place; one for men and one for women. The Salem Witches’ Institute was founded by a family of four professors of magic – mother, father, brother and sister – who were tired of having to split up yearly to teach at the segregated academies. Recently, the Salem Witches’ Institute has been come to be known by an alternate, gender-neutral name: The Salem Institute of Magic.
3. It is attended by students ages seventeen to twenty two. Most magical youth in the United States and Canada attend muggle schools and then apply to magical institutes in lieu of muggle colleges and universities. This practice is seen as frivolous and unnecessary by many European wizards, but because the wizarding communities in North America are so spread out over the continent, it is important for American wizards to be well-versed in muggle culture.
4. Its students are divided into houses, but they work differently than the Hogwarts houses. Student housing works on a fraternity/sorority system. Upon arrival, all students are placed in freshman dorms, where they live for their first year at the school. They are required to pledge to one of the houses by the end of the year. Some houses are more exclusive than others; some are all-girls or all-boys, one is for those specifically interested in becoming professional Quidditch players, etc. It is truly a rare thing for any student to not find a house they feel they were meant to belong to. There forty-seven established houses at the institute with an average of fifty students in each of them.
5. It is the most prestigious wizarding school in North America, but it’s not the only one. Both of the gender-specific schools still exist, although they are now both co-ed, and there are several other academies for magic scattered about the continent, as far south as the Yucatan Peninsula and as far north as Alaska. The Salem Witches’ institute receives as many as 2000 applications a year and accepts only 500 students to each graduating class.
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FIVE BEAUXBATONS HEAD CANONS
1. Teaching students ages eight to twenty two, Beauxbatons has the largest age range of any magical academy world-wide. At the end of their third year of study, students are divided into different class levels based on their academic apitude, with the top ten percent in the highest rank, the next forty percent in the middle rank, and the bottom fifty percent in the third rank. They take their OWL equivalents in their sixth year of study, at age fourteen, a year before Hogwarts students. Any studies after the age of eighteen are non-mandatory, though many students do choose to continue their studies either because they enjoy academics or for vocational training.
2. Unlike Hogwarts, The Salem Institute, and Durmstrang, Beauxbatons does not have any system to divide its students. It has only two sets of uniforms - one for the younger students, one for the older ones. Its dormotories are in a separate building complex a ways away from the palace. The dormotories are suite-styled, with eight students to each four bedroom suite - but those students don’t necessarily need to be in the same year or class division, and rooms are assigned by student preference. Students who are of age and therefore able to aparate are allowed to live off-campus in the nearby city of Cannes.
3. It does not teach divination, care of magical creatures, or muggle studies, but it does teach fine arts. Official classes are offered in the arts of music, dance, acting, writing, and drawing. Also offered are classes for horseback riding, archery, public speaking, ettiqute, foreign languages, and a variety of other things. Beauxbatons students are generally considered get the most well-rounded education in terms of culture and most world-renown wizard artists are Beauxbatons graduates.
4. Quidditch is not nearly as important a fixture of their student culture as it is at Hogwarts. They do still have six teams, however - separated by gender, three boys’ teams and three girls’ teams. Quidditch is considered to be an extraciricular activity and while the school grounds do have a pitch and there is a student-organized yearly tournament, the turn-out for the games is often rather poor. Coincidentally, no boys’ team has won in the last hundred years or so, and nearly all of the Beauxbatons students who go on to become professional Quidditch players are women. France’s national team is usually all-female.
5. Beauxbatons is one of the wealthiest wizarding academies world-wide. This is one of the reasons that it can afford to spend so much money on its fine arts programs, but it also means that it can fund trips for older students to travel the world. It also frequently funds the wizarding equivalent of graduate work and sabbaticals, making Beauxbatons Academy one of the foremost institutes responsible for advances in wizarding academics and technologies.
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FIVE DURMSTRANG HEADCANONS
1. Located well north of the Arctic circle in the fjords of Norwary, Durmstrang castle would probably be better described as a fortress. The school looks small from the outside, but is built into the surrounding mountain and is largely underground. Because of its remote location and sub-levels, the castle does not get much natural light, but a natural hot spring keeps its lower levels warm and livable year-round. The dormitories are located on the lowest level, then the dining hall and other living spaces, with the classrooms on the ground floor. The above-ground rooms are constantly frigid during winter months, but this is said to keep students alert during lessons.
2. The environments surrounding the school are treacherous. Perched on a jutting hillside overlooking a lake, steep footpaths and avalanches are the least of residents’ worries. The local fauna is deadly: trolls live in the lake caves, lindworms live on the mountainsides, and a powerful nøkken lives in the icy recesses of the lake. Even though danger often befalls those who wander outside the walls of the school, most students brave the wilderness starting their first year in attendance, preferring it to the confined and spartan living space in the castle. Teachers encourage this even in the youngest students, but also flatly refuse to help those who are captured by magical creatures; “only the strong survive” is a common mantra.
3. Students attend the school for five years of study, usually beginning when they are thirteen or fourteen. Although it is rare, students may begin study at whatever age they are accepted to the Institute (the youngest student on record began at ten, the oldest at over twenty). After their second year at the school, they must choose a field to concentrate their study on. There are four options. The College of Healing is of the lowest prestige and teaches herbology, life magic, and healing. The College of Theory is next in the hierarchy, and teaches subjects focused on book-learning such as history, arithmancy, Latin, and the process of creating new spells. The College of Practice offers a curriculum that would be most familiar to Hogwarts students: charms, transfiguration, potions, alchemy, and defense. The most prestigious and exclusive option is the controversial College of Arcana, which teaches the dark, dangerous, and ancient arts.
4. It is the only school to offer classes in more than one language. Though it is located in Norway, it accepts students from all over the world. General classes are taught primarily in Russian or German, though some small classes may be taught in students’ native languages if there is enough demand. Though students are encouraged to learn German or Russian, it is not academically required, and language barriers sometimes exist between students and faculty. Despite this, no one language has ever been elected as the standard, largely due to a centuries-long feud between the Theory professors (who favor Russian) and the Arcana professors (who favor German).
5. Race, gender, and blood purity politik is complicated at Durmstrang. Women are only allowed to specialize in healing or theory, and only pure-blood European students are permitted into the College of Arcana. Motions have been made to change these outdated rules in recent years, although any political progress is arduous and slow at Durmstrang, which covets its age-old traditions.
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FIVE SLYTHERIN HEAD CANONS
1. Slytherins are fiercely protective of their first years. Seriously. Messing with a baby Slytherin is comparable to harassing a newborn grizzly bear. It’s a long known fact that first year Slytherins are absolutely off-limits in terms of hazing unless you want to invoke the unholy wrath of the thirty upperclassmen who play the role of overprotective big siblings. Speaking of which - upon being sorted into Slytherin House, each first year student is assigned a fifth year “mentor”, and they remain paired up until the older student graduates.
2. Slytherin is the only house with an organized Alumni donation system. They use the funds they collect to do things like buy fancy new broomsticks for everyone on their Quidditch team, redecorate their common room every other year, and host summertime social events like debutante balls and dinner parties.
3. Their prefects don’t enforce any rules about “being nice to each other” or getting along”, mostly because Slytherin house is a fairly tight-knit community already, but one thing that is never tolerated is questioning if a fellow housemate really belongs in Slytherin. It’s seen as the worst possible insult and moreover it’s always seen as false. The Sorting Hat put everyone in the house for a reason, and the Sorting Hat was enchanted by Slytherin himself, so if you question the Hat you’re questioning Slytherin’s own judgement.
4. Slytherins do not hate all muggleborns. Even the most vindictive and petty Slytherins have grown past this in modern years; Pansy Parkinson’s best friend Tracey Davis was a half-blooded witch. Even though some of the pureblood students might occasionally let the insult “mudblood” slip in regards to muggleborns and halfbloods from other houses, it’s a very present-company-excluded kind of thing. In fact, since the two criteria for entry to Slytherin house are “pureblooded” and “destined for great things”, half-bloods and muggleborns sorted into Slytherin are considered to be perhaps destined for greater things than the rest.
5. In fact, not many Slytherin students actually supported Voldemort during the second war. Most of them did not even support the changes that Snape made during the ‘97-‘98 schoolyear at Hogwarts (especially after the Carrows began to single out the half-blood Slytherins for punishment, which was the worst possible betrayal in the eyes of the pureblooded students). However, their loyalty to their parents and house both meant that many of them stood quietly by while the war happened. Many of them believed that they would be on the winning side if not the right one, and that speaking out against Voldemort would only get themselves and their loved ones hurt or killed.
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FIVE RAVENCLAW HEADCANONS
1. Their common room is always clean and quiet, a perfect study environment. All the Hogwarts commons and dorms are set up more or less the same way; big common room in a central location with a smaller “quiet study” room off to the side. In Ravenclaw, the smaller room is their “noisy/social” room and the bigger room is their “study room”, except on Friday and Saturday nights when they switch. Both rooms are always impeccably tidy thanks to the handy chore chart they adhere to strictly.
2. They are the only house whose student body elects their prefects. This tradition was started in the time of Ravenclaw herself, who strongly favored a democratic style of decision-making for her students since they tended to be independent thinkers who wanted their own say in everything. The Head of House and Headmaster both have the right to interfere with the student decisions for prefects, but they have not done so in over a century. Unlike the other houses, being elected your fifth year does not mean you are guaranteed the job for your sixth and seventh years; you have to be re-elected.
3. They are also the only house to hold open strategy meetings for their Quidditch team. Anyone, whether they are on the team or not, is allowed to attend and make suggestions. The Ravenclaw captains have found that outside perspectives on the games to be particularly insightful. Ravenclaw takes Quidditch very seriously - their track record with cup wins is almost as good as Slytherin’s. Ravenclaw students also are notorious for hosting underground betting competitions on both the Hogwarts Cup and the National and Worldwide leagues.
4. If you averaged out their grades, the average wouldn’t be higher than the averages of other houses. Even though it’s true that Ravenclaw has more “straight-A” students than the other houses, they also have more than their fair share of “brilliant but lazy” students who tend to not get stellar grades despite their natural talents. They also have plenty of students who are average academics but are extraordinarily clever and open-minded in their own ways, like Luna Lovegood.
5. The only reason that Ravenclaw doesn’t win the House Cup more often is that its prefects deduct more points from their own house than any other prefects do. Deducting points from their own houses is the only authoritative power prefects have on the points system; understandably, most don’t invoke it often. Ravenclaws, however, are big on upholding rules and standards, and their prefects tend to deduct points for even minor infractions, which often leaves them lagging behind a hundred points or more in the House Cup.
HUFFLEPUFF HEAD CANONS
1. The Hufflepuff common room is by far the noisiest of the four houses. Even if they seem quiet or shy around the rest of their classmates, Hufflepuffs are at home with their friends and family, and in their common room they can abandon their social inhibitions. The doorways to the dormitories are even charmed to be soundproof because it’s not uncommon for groups of Hufflepuffs to stay up, having loud conversations and laughing, until the very early hours of the morning.
2. Hufflepuffs are big on sharing. They share everything. There’s a table in their common room that is full of communal snacks that the older students purchase from Hogsmeade or smuggle in from meals or the kitchens. Snacks will always be given in Hufflepuff House to those who ask.
3. They’re crafty. Not Slytherin Imma-trick-you’s crafty. They just like to make things. Like they share snacks, they also have a communal cache of crafting supplies. During those long hours they stay up talking and joking around with each other, they’ll be making anything from knitted scarfs to paper chains to banners and pennants for Quidditch games. They even make them for the other houses and hand them out before games. It’s a tradition to decorate the doors to dorm rooms every year.
4. Speaking of traditions, the Hufflepuff community thrives on them. The prefects give more or less the same speech every year; Nymphadora Tonks heard the same one that Hannah and Ernie did, she went to the same Every-Monday-Night-Craft-Nights that they did, she decorated her dorm door like they did, and she even knows several inside jokes that they do despite the fact that she graduated the year before they arrived. Age doesn’t matter to Hufflepuffs; they’re all family, always.
5. Specific to the events of the series, they had some ridiculous Cedric Diggory pride rallies during the Triwizard Tournament. They sometimes got really out of hand to the point where it made Cedric uncomfortable - like the “Potter Stinks” badges they produced once. Cedric asked them to stop many times, but the Hufflepuffs were so intensely proud of their champion that they couldn’t contain themselves. To say his death hit them hard would be the worst understatement; every single member of the house was personally devastated at the loss of their friend. Nearly every Hufflepuff who stayed to fight at the battle of Hogwarts will say that they laid down their lives because that’s what Cedric did for them. The evening of his death, every member of Hufflepuff house crowded into the common room to light a candle in memory of Cedric - a candle which remains magically lit to this day.
I’ll do the other houses in a bit!
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FIVE GRYFFINDOR HEAD CANONS
1. Their common room has not been redecorated in decades. Centuries, maybe. The Slytherins definitely win the award for redecorating the most frequently at once every two years, but even Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw redecorate every decade or so. The armchairs and four poster beds that Harry and company used are the same ones that the Marauders, McGonagall, and even Dumbledore were familiar with during their school years. Most wooden surfaces in the Gryffindor common room are covered with carvings of previous students’ initials. Harry spent a fair deal of his free time looking for his parents’ initials but never found them.
2. They are the only house with a protective spell to keep boys out of the girl’s dorms. Godric Gryffindor was a tiny bit sexist, but in a very chivalrous way. He was all about defending a woman’s honor (which probably got him in trouble with his badass lady contemporaries on occasion). Even though the spell is a little archaic, nobody has ever thought to remove it - most Gryffindors don’t even realize that such charms don’t exist in other common rooms.
3. Gryffindor students are the ones who are most frequently caught out of bed after-hours. It wasn’t just Harry and his friends that liked sneaking around (although they were certainly the best at it and got caught the least frequently). Gryffindor students are caught out of bed roughly ten times a month, as opposed to four Hufflepuffs (most usually found to be sneaking out to the kitchens), two Slytherins, and one Ravenclaw. The number of Gryffindor infractions took a significant dive twice; after the Marauders graduated and after Fred and George bailed on their seventh year.
4. Gryffindor has produced the most head boys and girls. Their natural leadership qualities mean that Gryffindors make excellent head boys and girls. Besides winning the count for the most head boys and girls overall, Gryffindor has also boasted the most students who were made head boy or girl despite not having been first made a prefect - a relatively rare occurance, and over half the instances recorded are Gryffindors.
5. Gryffindors have the most varied NEWT scores of any house. The other houses have subjects that they are stereotypically skilled at; Hufflepuffs tend to excel at herbology and history of magic, Ravenclaws at charms and transfiguration, and Slytherins at potions and DADA. This is not true of Gryffindors. Every graduating class of Gryffindors has a fair deal of “O” scores in every single subject.
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