She's clearly the smartest person in her year, and the defining trait of Ravenclaw is intelligence. Why would she be in Gryffindor rather than Ravenclaw?

  • 17
    According to OOTP - the sorting hat did consider putting Hermione in Ravenclaw - but I guess Hermione's courage outweighed her intelligence.
    – mustard
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 5:27
  • 53
    Out of canon, all the heroes are in Gryffindor. How else would you know they're the heroes? (Warning: TVTropes). Even Neville is in Gryffindor. It's my major peeve with the Harry Potter universe: good guys in Gryffindor, bad guys in Slytherin, extras in Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff.
    – SQB
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 6:04
  • 24
    I regard Luna as a Hero wasn't she in Ravenclaw? Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 8:00
  • 52
    She's not very intelligent IMO. Have you seen her silly idea of liberating house elves? Kids these days...
    – Saturn
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 8:17
  • 14
    Not an answer, but it's possible she, Harry and Ron were all placed into Gryffindor to discover the flaws in their most notable traits - Harry discovers that proving himself worthy isn't the most important thing in life, Ron discovers that loyalty has its limits, and Hermione discovers that an obsession with knowledge isn't always the right way to go about things. Yes I think Harry belonged in Slytherine, Ron in Hufflepuff, and Hermione in Ravenclaw, and I'm not going back on it.
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 13:43

5 Answers 5


The Sorting Hat actually spent a long time deliberating over Hermione. She mentions it when somebody asks her about a particularly complicated piece of magic in Order of the Phoenix:

“How come you’re not in Ravenclaw?” he [Terry Boot] demanded, staring at Hermione with something close to wonder. “With brains like yours?”

“Well, the Sorting Hat did seriously consider putting me in Ravenclaw during my Sorting,” said Hermione brightly, “but it decided on Gryffindor in the end.”

This is a rare event, but not unheard of. Pottermore has some more information on other borderline candidates:

Hatstall. An archaic Hogwarts term for any new student whose Sorting takes longer than five minutes. This is an exceptionally long time for the Sorting Hat to deliberate, and occurs rarely, perhaps once every fifty years.

Of Harry Potter’s contemporaries, Hermione Granger and Neville Longbottom came closest to being Hatstalls. The Sorting Hat spent nearly four minutes trying to decide whether it should place Hermione in Ravenclaw or Gryffindor.

As for why Hermione is sorted into Gryffindor over Ravenclaw, I think she answers this herself in Philosopher’s Stone. On the Hogwarts Express, she shows a clear preference for Gryffindor over Ravenclaw:

”I’ve been asking around and I hope I’m in Gryffindor, it sounds by far the best, I hear Dumbledore himself was one, but I suppose Ravenclaw wouldn’t be too bad…”

We know the Sorting Hat takes your choice into account, so if it was struggling to place her, then it might use her preference as the deciding factor.

Later, in the dungeons as they’re trying to get to the Philosopher’s Stone, we have this particularly telling line:

“I’m not as good as you,” said Harry, very embarrassed, as she let go of him.

“Me!” said Hermione. “Books! And cleverness! There are more important things – friendship and bravery and – oh Harry – be careful!”

Hermione holds the values of Gryffindor – courage and bravery – higher than those of Ravenclaw – raw intelligence and knowledge.

She doesn’t just value these traits; she exhibits them throughout the books. She encourages Harry to start Dumbledore’s Army; she fights with him in the Ministry of Magic; she works alongside him in the hunt for Horcruxes. But she starts off as a stereotypical know-it-all, and we don’t really see much courage or bravery.

The Sorting Hat placed her in Gryffindor because she has the traits of a Gryffindor within her, and placing her in that house can bring them out. She’s already very studious and intelligent, more so than a lot of Ravenclaws, so I think she has more to gain from Gryffindor than Ravenclaw.

  • 45
    And let's not forget her rebellion against authority in founding SPEW amidst a complete lack of support from even her best friends.
    – JLRishe
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 8:15
  • 12
    Great answer, especially the last sentence!
    – o0'.
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 9:33
  • 30
    I think a really key point is that even if we argue that Hermione is "more" intelligent and studious than she is brave and courageous, she values bravery more. To be studious is a natural proclivity of hers, but bravery is something she has actively chosen to try to be (and she is).
    – KRyan
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 13:16
  • 19
    Hermione sticks up for herself, she sticks up for her friends, and she sticks up for the weak. That's why I like her. You can also compare her kind of courage to Harry's. Harry's bravery is foolhardy--in the heat of emotion, he'll take extraordinary risks. Whereas Hermione, she's never reckless, but she is committed to do what she believes is right, and sometimes that needs her to be brave. Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 20:27
  • 12
    Dumbledore was exceptionally 'brainy' as well, probably the most brilliant and most cunning Wizard; yet he was in Gryffindor. Voldemort, another exceptionally brainy and inquisitive young Wizard; yet he was sorted into Slytherin. Just goes to show that being intelligent isn't the only thing the Sorting Hat considers.
    – Möoz
    Commented Apr 29, 2014 at 1:54
  1. Hermione is smart, intelligent, but also, she is the "take matters into your hands" type person, which is not a very Ravenclaw-y trait. She wasn't very hesitant to create polyjuice potions despite knowing that they are highly illegal. She also went ahead and trapped Rita Skeeter in a bottle! She just goes for the right thing if it fits her conviction. If you think about it, She is actually the perfect combination of Ravenclaw AND Gryffindor traits.
  2. She is also strong and courageous when it comes to the tough decisions. Erasing yourself from your own parents memories is something that would take more than all the courage in the world.

    I feel we see a lot of her stronger aspects throughout the series. She has all the identifying marks of Gryffindor on top of her intelligence, smartness. This makes her a Gryffindor.

I read an interesting theory on Tumblr, titled The Golden Trio House:

The Harry Potter trio are actually representations of the other houses. Hermione is Ravenclaw, Ron is Hufflepuff, and Harry is Slytherin. They’re all in Gryffindor because they asked. In fact, everyone in that house could have been in another houses if they hadn’t asked to be in Gryffindor. You have be ask to be in Gryffindor because their most defining feature is bravery, and anyone can choose to be brave.

  • It'd be a better answer if you indicated where you read this. An interesting theory, however, and not without merit! Commented Jul 13, 2014 at 23:25
  • Well, I read it on a post somewhere on Tumblr, so unfortunately not very citable. But it provided interesting food for thought. Commented Jul 14, 2014 at 16:05
  • 1
    I can see this for Harry and Hermione...but the books never gave me the impression that Ron was a Hufflepuff-like hard worker. How many times did he copy his homework off Hermione?
    – Kyralessa
    Commented May 23, 2021 at 15:35

The author wanted to avoid a house hopping. She wanted to have characters that interact. It would have been more difficult to let them interact when Harry, Hermione and Ron would have been in different houses. With the setup taken she could show them getting friends without too much interaction between Ravenclaw and Gryffindor.

  • 17
    This explains why Rowling chose this setup. But I feel the question is more about an in-universe explanation.
    – Einer
    Commented Apr 25, 2014 at 6:35
  • @Einer - that would be correct Commented Apr 25, 2014 at 6:47
  • @Einer: Hmm, can't find a reason for that feeling.
    – harper
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 11:09

If you will allow for Keirsian Temperament types , http://www.keirsey.com/sorthat.aspx, Gryffindor was Idealist and Ravenclaw was Rational.

Hermione is an INFJ. Idealists often act like Rationals while they are growing up, especially until they learn to fit in. Hermione, whose parents were not magical, worked very hard to fit in, acting much like a Rational to the untrained eye.

So, at first glance, she would fit into Ravenclaw, but on further analysis she was truly Gryffindor material.

  • 1
    None of the Houses fit in exactly with a Keirsey Temperament type. Gryffindor seems SP to me--mostly--but Percy is an SJ, Hermione a J, Dumbledore an NP.... If Ravenclaws normally don't mind pursuing irrelevant knowledge, as their welcome letter suggests, then not all Rationals would do well there. NTPs would fit in, but ENTJs and INTJs would end up somewhere else. Also remember that of Ravenclaws, Luna is probably INFP, Lockhart is an NF of some kind, and Quirrell is likely NF as well.
    – E. J.
    Commented Jun 24, 2015 at 17:22

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