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Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was founded by four powerful magic-users: Salazar Slytherin, Helga Hufflepuff, Godric Gryffindor and Rowena Ravenclaw.

The founders of Hogwarts

Is there any specific confirmation of their deaths?

  • 1
    Think I recall Ravenclaw being really quite ill and sending the Baron off to fetch her daughter to see her one last time or something (which worked out just fantastically and her daughter's been a ghost since Hogwarts was not long founded). The others - don't think they really got a mention like in the whole "I need to find the diadem" part... – Jon Clements Dec 8 '17 at 21:17
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    Godric Gryffindor was last seen in 2003, where he played the role of Gimli in Lord of the Rings III: The Return of the King. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 9 '17 at 10:01
  • @JanusBahsJacquet - I'm wondering if Salazar was deliberately trying emulate "Ming the Merciless". – Valorum Dec 9 '17 at 10:18
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They’re probably all dead.

The Founders’ deaths, except for Rowena, are never mentioned. However, there are only two known ways in the Harry Potter universe to achieve the length of a lifespan that the Founders would need to be still alive - the Philosopher’s Stone and Horcruxes.

“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.”

- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 12 (The Triwizard Tournament)

Later in the song, the Sorting Hat also mentions he was created so the Founders would have a way to Sort students after they were dead, implying that they weren’t planning to live forever.

While still alive they did divide
Their favourites from the throng,
Yet how to pick the worthy ones
When they were dead and gone?”
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 12 (The Triwizard Tournament)*

They probably don’t have a Philosopher’s Stone.

It’s unlikely that the Founders had a Philosopher’s Stone, since Nicolas Flamel is said to have had the only one.

“Nicolas Flamel,’ she whispered dramatically, ‘is the only known maker of the Philosopher’s Stone!’ This didn’t have quite the effect she’d expected.”
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 13 (Nicolas Flamel)

There were reports of others, but the only known Stone in existence at the time of the series was owned by Flamel, meaning it’s unlikely the Founders had one then.

“The ancient study of alchemy is concerned with making the Philosopher’s Stone, a legendary substance with astonishing powers. The Stone will transform any metal into pure gold. It also produces the Elixir of Life, which will make the drinker immortal.

There have been many reports of the Philosopher’s Stone over the centuries, but the only Stone currently in existence belongs to Mr Nicolas Flamel, the noted alchemist and opera-lover. Mr Flamel, who celebrated his six hundred and sixty-fifth birthday last year, enjoys a quiet life in Devon with his wife, Perenelle (six hundred and fifty-eight).”
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 13 (Nicolas Flamel)

They also probably don’t have Horcruxes.

Creating a Horcrux is considered extremely Dark magic. It’s highly unlikely that Rowena, Godric, or Helga would be willing to do such a thing. It’s such a “forbidden” type of magic that only one book on the Dark Arts actually gave instructions on making one.

“Not a single one! I’ve been right through the restricted section and even in the most horrible books, where they tell you how to brew the most gruesome potions – nothing! All I could find was this, in the introduction to Magick Moste Evile – listen – “of the Horcrux, wickedest of magical inventions, we shall not speak nor give direction” … I mean, why mention it, then?”
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 18 (Birthday Surprises)

The only one who might is Salazar, and even he wasn’t known to do anything comparably Dark. It’s certainly more possible that he would than any of the others, but we can’t presume he would have, either.

Rowena Ravenclaw is almost certainly dead.

Rowena’s daughter says her mother was fatally ill. While it’s not confirmation that she’s for sure dead, it makes it just about confirmed.

“Then my mother fell ill – fatally ill. In spite of my perfidy, she was desperate to see me one more time. She sent a man who had long loved me, though I spurned his advances, to find me. She knew that he would not rest until he had done so.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 31 (The Battle of Hogwarts)

If she did indeed die of her illness, she most likely stayed dead. The Philosopher’s Stone can’t bring someone back from the dead - only a Horcrux could do that, and she didn’t seem anywhere near Dark enough to be willing to make one.

Supporting this, on JKR’s old website, there was a “Wizard of the Month” feature. The feature was an image, with a short excerpt about the featured wizard or witch. Rowena Ravenclaw was one of the featured wizards, and her death was mentioned.

Rowena Ravenclaw
Medieval (precise dates unknown).
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.
Rowena Ravenclaw (Wizard of the Month)

Salazar is clearly stated to be dead in a Pottermore writing by JKR.

In the Pottermore writing by JKR on the Chamber of Secrets, Salazar Slytherin is clearly referred to as dead.

There is clear evidence that the Chamber was opened more than once between the death of Slytherin and the entrance of Tom Riddle in the twentieth century.

Chamber of Secrets - Pottermore

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    there are only two known ways in the Harry Potter universe to achieve the length of a lifespan that the Founders would need to be still alive - the Philosopher’s Stone and Horcruxes - and what about harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Unicorn_blood ? – vaxquis Dec 9 '17 at 0:26
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    CoS also repeatedly refers to an "heir" of Slytherin, which would make no sense if he were still alive. – Kevin Dec 9 '17 at 0:41
  • Well, technically, if he's still alive, then the Chamber was opened before his death. @Kevin living people can have heirs. – Acccumulation Dec 9 '17 at 1:40
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    @vaxquis: There is yet one other. If you can sustain a transfiguration of your own body mass indefinitely you can transfigure you into a younger body and sustain. Kinda dangerous but ... – Joshua Dec 9 '17 at 2:44
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    @Joshua - Have we ever seen this mentioned? – Adamant Dec 9 '17 at 5:47
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Hogwarts was founded in the 10th century. The oldest ever recorded wizard lived to be 755 years old. Therefore, the Hogwarts founders were all dead by the 18th century at the latest.

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    Except that we know of at least three means by which a wizard can achieve effective immortality in the Harry Potter world; unicorn blood, horcruxes and the Philosopher's Stone. – Valorum Dec 8 '17 at 21:21
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    I don't think this could be considered canonical, even for the movie. There's no explanation for how he lived so long (none of the above three reasons seems likely), the wizarding population of the world is estimated at somewhere between 300k-1 million, and to have met so many people he would have had to spend time with ~109 a day for his entire life (assuming all of those were still alive). Out of universe we should regard this as baseless filler text, and in universe as tabloid material at worst and a joke at best. – Mwr247 Dec 8 '17 at 21:42
  • @Valorum: If anyone has done so to live beyond 755 years, it was off the record. (assuming the Prophet is accurate) – Hurkyl Dec 9 '17 at 4:20

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