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Inspired by rand al'thor's question asking us to narrow down the location of Gryffindor's birthplace, I thought I'd ask about the other three.

Where were Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw and Salazar Slytherin born? (The more precision the better.)

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up vote 33 down vote accepted

The Sorting Hat gives us some clues, along with some portraits at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (which has questionable canon status – I’m not sure if JK Rowling was directly consulted on the details).

What we have is also rather vague – nothing as specific as Godric’s Hollow has survived to the present day. And unlike Gryffindor, we only know that these three grew up in a vaguely defined region – we don’t know exactly where, and we don’t know whether they were born somewhere else entirely.

  • Helga Hufflepuff came from Wales.

    In Harry’s fourth year, the Sorting Hat refers to her as:

    Sweet Hufflepuff, from valley broad,

    Within the UK, "the valleys" is commonly associated with Wales.

    Further, according to her HP Wikia article:

    At The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Helga Hufflepuff speaks in a Welsh accent in her portrait on the Forbidden Journey Ride.

  • Rowena Ravenclaw came from Scotland.

    Likewise, the Sorting Hat’s song:

    Fair Ravenclaw, from glen,

    The word “glen” is usually associated with the Scottish valleys. This is further backed up (again from the HP Wikia) by this claim:

    In The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Ravenclaw's portrait speaks with a strong Scottish accent.

  • Salazar Slytherin came from somewhere in east England.

    The Sorting Hat’s song:

    Shrewd Slytherin, from fen

    This could be referring to the Fens, an area of marshland that cover a large stretch of eastern England. But fens are also a natural habitat for certain types of snake – this may be telling us nothing more than his affinity with serpentine creatures.

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Drat, I missed the Wales part! Not sure how strong the evidence there is though - there are plenty of valleys all over Britain (the Yorkshire Dales spring to mind too). – Rand al'Thor Feb 2 at 18:22
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JKR has apparently been very focused on the details of the theme park area, and I think she would give her opinion on this sort of thing, like how she vetoed certain film points. – ThruGog Feb 2 at 21:36
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@randal'thor The Dales may have valleys in the physical geography sense, but most British people I know associate "the valleys" as South Wales. There are also plenty of fens outside of The Fens. – HorusKol Feb 3 at 6:08
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I'm from Yorkshire, and no one would refer to the Yorkshire Dales as "the valleys". They'd simply say "the Dales". "The valleys" is absolutely a colloquialism for Wales. – monkjack Feb 3 at 12:12
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it might also be worth saying in the Film The Deathly Hallows - Part 2 Helena Ravenclaw speaks with a Scottish accent too being played by the lovely Kelly MacDonald. If the daughter is Scottish the mum might well be too especially with the clue from the poem – Cearon O'Flynn Feb 3 at 12:53

Taking a quote from ibid's answer:

A thousand years or more ago,
When I was newly sewn,
There lived four wizards of renown,
Whose names are still well known:
Bold Gryffindor, from wild moor,
Fair Ravenclaw, from glen,
Sweet Hufflepuff, from valley broad,
Shrewd Slytherin, from fen.

-- HP and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 12

So we can deduce a few things:

  • Rowena Ravenclaw came from "glen", presumably a reference to the glens of Scotland. (This is backed up by the fact that in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Ravenclaw's portrait speaks with a Scottish accent.)

  • Salazar Slytherin came from "fen", which could well refer to the Fens, a region of eastern England.

  • Helga Hufflepuff came from a "valley", which is far too generic a description: unknown.

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