"Only a true Gryffindor could have pulled that out of the hat."

  • Dumbledore, in Chamber of Secrets

Snape carried the sword of Gryffindor to the Forest of Dean, and placed it in the frozen lake in the forest. Simple question, If Snape is a Slytherin, then how come he could carry it from Dumbledore's portrait to the Forest of Dean? Since the sword can only be carried or touched by a Gryffindor.

The houses who carry/touch this sword are:

  • Ragnuk the First - Goblin (None)

  • Godric Gryffindor - Obviously Gryffindor

  • Harry Potter- Gryffindor

  • Albus Dumbledore -Gryffindor

  • Severus Snape - Slytherin

  • Ronald Weasley - Gryffindor

  • Griphook - Same as Ragnuk ( None)

  • Neville Longbottom - Gryffindor

The majority of those who carry the sword are Gryffindors, and Snape is the only one who is different from them.

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    There's nothing saying a non-Gryffindor couldn't carry the sword, but only a Gryffindor could pull it out of the sorting hat (an not always). Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 18:41
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    The quote doesn't say no one else can handle the sword, just that only a true Gryffindor can magically pull it out of a hat in the moment of greatest need. Snape clearly just knew where it was stored and picked it up. Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 18:42
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    Oh I get it. Since the sword is not in the Sorting hat, everyone could touch it. Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 18:43
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    Also, the phrase "true Gryffindor" doesn't necessarily imply someone who was actually sorted into Gryffindor; someone who could or perhaps should have been sorted into Gryffindor might also qualify. Dumbledore thought that Snape was worthy of Gryffindor, the quote was along the lines of "sometimes I think we sort too soon". Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 3:12

2 Answers 2


Anyone could touch the Sword of Gryffindor, regardless of their House.

Snape would certainly be able to hold the Sword of Gryffindor, being a Gryffindor isn't a requirement for holding or even using it. Two goblins both touched the Sword of Gryffindor, and neither of them were in Gryffindor since they wouldn't have gone to Hogwarts.

In addition, while she didn't have the real one in her vault, Bellatrix thought she had the Sword of Gryffindor, and despite being a Slytherin didn't question her ability to touch it. In fact, she did get ahold of the true sword, and was able to hold it, although Griphook lied to her and said that it was a fake.

“Out of the corners of his eyes, Harry saw Bellatrix bearing down upon the werewolf, the sword of Gryffindor gripped tightly in her hand, her face waxen.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 23 (Malfoy Manor)

She waves it in Greyback's face, like she was going to use it, and although it's the real Sword she was able to wield it.

“Where did you find this sword?’ she repeated, brandishing it in his face. ‘Snape sent it to my vault in Gringotts!”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 23 (Malfoy Manor)

She examined the Sword as well, and though this is indeed the real one, she is able to hold it and examine it.

“She stood, panting slightly, looking down at the sword, examining its hilt. Then she turned to look at the silent prisoners. ‘If it is indeed Potter, he must not be harmed,’ she muttered, more to herself than to the others. ‘The Dark Lord wishes to dispose of Potter himself … but if he finds out … I must … I must know …”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 23 (Malfoy Manor)

What only a true Gryffindor can do is pull the Sword of Gryffindor out of the Sorting Hat.

While anyone can touch, hold or wield the Sword of Gryffindor, only a true Gryffindor can pull it out of the Sorting Hat. Dumbledore explains this to Harry after he retrieved the Sword from the Sorting Hat.

“Dully, Harry turned it over, the rubies blazing in the firelight. And then he saw the name engraved just below the hilt. Godric Gryffindor. ‘Only a true Gryffindor could have pulled that out of the Hat, Harry,’ said Dumbledore simply.”
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 18 (Dobby's Reward)

Scrimgeour also refers to the Sword of Gryffindor presenting itself to any worthy Gryffindor, but this is agains through the Sorting Hat and doesn't imply that only a Gryffindor can use the Sword.

“It belongs to Harry!’ said Hermione hotly. ‘It chose him, he was the one who found it, it came to him out of the Sorting Hat –’ ‘According to reliable historical sources, the sword may present itself to any worthy Gryffindor,’ said Scrimgeour.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 7 (The Will of Albus Dumbledore)

This answer by the Dark Lord on another question also explains the difference between giving the Sword to another wizard, and pulling it out of the Sorting Hat.

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    Also Greyback or the other snatchers that brought them to the Malfoy's had to handle it Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 19:40
  • @WraithLeader Yes, both a Snatcher and Greyback held the Sword at some point. :) That Bellatrix had the Sword was just what I remembered first.
    – Obsidia
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 20:27
  • To be clear (because the asker seems to be misunderstanding this as well), it's not the actual act of pulling the sword out of the Sorting Hat, either. Anyone could go to Dumbledore’s office, put the sword into the hat, and then pull it back out; it's not the Sword in the Stone. What matters is that the sword presents itself somehow or other. Here it happens to be in the Sorting Hat, but what Dumbledore means is that only a true Gryffindor could have caused the sword to magically appear at all. Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 10:12
  • And this is no surprise too, since goblins have made the sword of Gryffindor, and they don't care about Gryffindor's house values, whereas Godric Gryffindor has created the Sorting Hat, and the purpose of the hat is to recognize the values of each house.
    – b_jonas
    Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 15:35

A true Gryffindor doesn't necessarily mean someone sorted in Gryffindor, but rather someone with the traits of a Gryffindor (bravery for example, of which Snape had in spades). It can also refer to the fact that perhaps only someone who is a true Gryffindor at heart can somehow summon the sword (i.e. from the Sorting Hat, as opposed to being given the sword).

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    If he was a true Gryffindor, he'd be sorted into Gryffindor. I see what you're getting at, but there's no support in canon to say that anyone but sorted Gryffindors could extract the sword from the hat. Commented Aug 13, 2017 at 8:03
  • Would he really? Hermione could have been Ravenclaw, but was ultimately sorted in Gryffindor... However, I think you might be right about pulling it from the hat.
    – Liv Nilsen
    Commented Aug 13, 2017 at 8:38

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