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It has been previously established that Slytherin won the House Cup for six years in a row before Philosopher's Stone. We also know that there are two sources of House Points: those awarded (or deducted) by teachers, very often for good work in class,and some sort of Quidditch based calculation. (We also know that prefects can only take away points from their own house, per the wiki, but as we never see prefects add points, I'm not focusing on this)

Given that most points are established based off achievements in class, why isn't Ravenclaw, the house of scholastically minded students, not the automatic winner every year? No one team seems to have Quidditch dominance, and I am assuming that Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff houses are much less likely to misbehave than Gryffindor or Slytherin.

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    Fairly sure Snape has something to do with this… – alexwlchan Aug 10 '14 at 6:32
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    For those six years, the Slytherin prefects were named Dewey, Cheatum, and How. – Major Stackings Aug 10 '14 at 8:10
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    May be wrong, but you said "no one team seems to have Quidditch dominance", but I seem to recall McGonnagal making a comment in the way of "I'm sick of Severus having that cup in his office", suggesting multiple years of Slytherin dominance, perhaps in the 5th book when Harry was banned the first time from Quidditch. Could be wrong though. – Mac Cooper Aug 10 '14 at 10:17
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    We also see houses beeing awarded for great deedIi don't know what this could have been before Harry,but Slytherin is a house full of show offs with the permanent will to prove themself.So this has to be added to the formula,too. – teair Aug 10 '14 at 10:55
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    Oh, I always assumed they cheated. I mean, Snape shows blatant favoritism to his Slytherin students. Most of the other teachers, I imagine, wouldn't be caught dead doing the same. – lea Aug 10 '14 at 12:36
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Slytherin was definitely the best at Quidditch, because they won the Cup 6 times in a row, and their students were not the brightest, therefore their lead had to come from Quidditch. And as you don't get totally high points for being a know-it-all, and Hufflepuff is the so-so house (they were not brave or chivalrous, neither cunning or resourceful, or quick-witted) it always had to be either Gryffindor or Slytherin.

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    I would also add to this excellent answer, that while being clever is very much needed in a competition like a house cup, it is still just that, a competition. And there, the wittiest win. – Dragonturtle Oct 27 '17 at 14:05
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Well for one, there's the fact that Slytherin house was remarkably dominant in Quidditch up to the year of Harry Potter's arrival. It's strongly implied, as Mac Cooper pointed out in the comments, that they win every year. That alone would earn them considerable points. Especially if you're going by a standard stereotype that says Ravenclaws, being so studious, wouldn't care about Quidditch at all.

There's also the fact that you're going by a stereotype. Ravenclaws value knowledge over all, but this does not mean they are the best students. There are many different types of knowledge one can value, and while they may value the accumulation of knowledge, they may not necessarily excel in the practice of said knowledge, something that overachieving Slytherines would do their best to excel at.

And that is another thing you should consider - Slytherins thrive on finding ways to excel and be rewarded for their excellence. So it seems natural that students who gather into a single house devoted to such a drive would win the House Cup every year.

Meanwhile, the Ravenclaws have their noses buried in ancient books of lore in the library, books that don't even have anything to do with their classes, and which certainly don't have anything to do with Quidditch.

  • "Especially if you're going by a standard steriotype that says Ravenclaws, being so studious, wouldn't care about Quidditch at all." Obviously not the case in the books, though it doesn't mean they were particularly good. – Anthony Grist Aug 11 '14 at 15:56
  • @AnthonyGrist My point exactly. The assumption that Ravenclaw, valuing knowledge the most, would be the house to earn the most academic points is somewhat flawed. – Zibbobz Aug 11 '14 at 16:24
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    Well, we do know from Pottermore that Ravenclaws are aggressively all trying to get good grades, and care deeply about classes. Plus, we do see that Ravenclaw isn't such a bad Quidditch team; in Philosopher's Stone, they beat Gryffindor by an enormous margin for example – user30472 Aug 11 '14 at 16:34
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Consider this: Most classes are taken with members of your own house. Teachers seem to have full discretion as to when they assign points. Perhaps teachers have higher standards of Ravenclaw students and thus award points only for particularly distinctive right answers, where they might toss out a freebie or two for low-hanging fruit if, say, the Hufflepuff class was really struggling to get motivated on a subject? For example, Snape gave points to Malfoy for neatly cutting his roots, which is a rather low-hanging fruit indeed. His motivations were probably not honorable there, but good teachers know to tailor their reward-giving process to the needs of the students; if Malfoy had been struggling with rushing through potion-making all semester, rewarding him for taking his time would help motivate him to do so in the future.

Similarly, where was it said that they ONLY assign points for answering correctly or doing work well? They are probably assigning points for being particularly cunning, brave, or loyal, in which case, the other houses have a good chance of getting the same amount of points. You can see an example of this in book 1, when Harry and Ron get house points for bravely attacking a troll to save Hermione.

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    This is a really interesting answer; if you could back it up with some evidence directly from canon that would be awesome. – user30472 Aug 11 '14 at 17:45
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I'm not sure I agree with the premise that Ravenclaw is the smartest of the houses. For example, smart people like Snape and Hermione were not in Ravenclaw. I think Ravenclaws are more likely to pursue knowledge just for the sake of knowing (they have a riddle at their door), whereas the other houses pursue knowledge for more practical reasons.

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    @ZenLogic, I'm almost positive that's not quite right. At least, she doesn't say she chose Gryffindor, merely that the hat seriously considered putting her in Ravenclaw, the implication being it decided upon Gryffindor on it's own. She says this I believe in Order of the Phoenix, in the chapter The Hog's Head, to Zacharias Smith (Selective memory ftw). – Mac Cooper Aug 10 '14 at 13:49
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    I'm sure somewhere deep down Hermione wanted to be in Gryffindore as well, which is probably what the hat detected. I think she mentions she hoped to be put in Gryffindore on the train to Hogwarts – user13267 Aug 10 '14 at 14:28
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    The hat puts you in the house of which the attributes are most prominent, Diggory should be in Ravenclaw (or even Gryffindor), but his good nature was more prominent, and he was placed in Hufflepuff, the same with Harry's Slytherin traits (though admittedly this was Voldemort's soul fraction in him). – ZenLogic Aug 10 '14 at 14:39
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    If so, a genius like Dumbledore should have been sorted straight away into Ravenclaw. – Tom Lynd Aug 10 '14 at 22:02
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    My point isn't that there are no book smart students in other house, but rather that the average Ravenclaw student is probably more book smart than students in other houses – user30472 Aug 11 '14 at 16:33
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I cannot really tell, it is just my opinion, but I think it has to do something with the typical Slytherin traits that the students possess, namely "ambition" and the will to do "anything to achieve their ends". If you get in Slytherin, it is a sign that your ambition must have been far more higher than in those people selected for other houses. Also, there is the "determination" trait, and most importantly, "fraternity". Slytherins work as brotherhood, unlike Gryffindors who seek individual glory. If you team up with people who share the same character qualities and who work as a team because it is in their nature, then of course you must win.

  • Can you provide any examples of Severus favouring his students? I think a quote or something would add a lot of weight to your answer. – Moogle Apr 20 '15 at 10:22
  • I edited my original answer (and deleted the part you were asking for), hence I don´t need to answer your nagging question, and everybody will be happy. – Calucifer13 Apr 22 '15 at 17:59
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I don't have a quote with me at work, but I know the Quidditch wins are a very heavy weight in your house's total points, I believe it's close to 50 (we actually don't know how many points, we just have a scene with Harry geting docked 50 points thinking that it will lose all the points he just won the house from winning a Quidditch match) points a win, with a bigger win for the cup at the end of the year. Since the Slytherins had been winning Quidditch a lot before Harry, combined with Snape's favoritism to his house, this is most likely why they won ever year.

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They always cheat. They never play clean. They are cunning, ambitious, and they don't hesitate to disrespect. This leads them to do whatever necessary to win the match even if it's foul. Lots of small fouls (like punching in the middle of game or zapping opposite team bright players) go unnoticed.

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