Rowena Ravenclaw

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Rowena Ravenclaw was a witch of Medieval Times and one of the four founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She was noted for her cleverness and creativity, and was described as "beautiful." The Sorting Hat introduced her as “fair Ravenclaw, from glen,”[1] suggesting she was from Scotland. She had a daughter, Helena. Helena stole her mother's Diadem and went to Albania, making Rowena send someone to search for her. Rowena Ravenclaw died shortly after that. Ravenclaw House was named after her.


[edit] Appearances

[edit] Final Book

When Harry Potter is looking for Rowena Ravenclaw's Diadem, he questions the Ravenclaw House ghost, the Grey Lady. She eventually admits to being Helena, Rowena's daughter, and tells him her story. Helena stole her mother's diadem, which had the phrase wit beyond measure is man's greatest treasure engraved upon it and was said to enhance the wisdom of the wearer. Helena was jealous of her mother's famous intellect, and took the diadem in hopes of surpassing her. Despite this betrayal, Rowena opted to keep the loss of her daughter and diadem a secret from others, and denied it even from her fellow founders.

When Rowena became fatally ill, she asked the Bloody Baron, who was in love with Helena, to go find her daughter, merely wishing to see her one more time, disregarding her treason. He eventually tracked her to Albania, but when she refused to return with him, the Baron flew into a rage and killed her. Immediately overcome with guilt, he then took his own life, and would become the Slytherin patron ghost. Thus, Rowena did not get the chance to reconcile with her daughter before their deaths. Ravenclaw died at a relatively young age, though legend had it that a "broken heart" contributed to her early demise. This may have been her estrangement with her daughter.

Tom Marvolo Riddle was able to charm the location of the diadem out of the Grey Lady centuries later. Harry realised that he had turned it into a Horcrux and hid it in Hogwarts' Room of Requirement. The diadem was destroyed by cursed fire unleashed by Vincent Crabbe during the Battle of Hogwarts in 1998.[2]

[edit] Characterisation

[edit] Outward appearance

From the descriptions of Xenophillius Lovegood and her statue in the Ravenclaw Common Room, Rowena Ravenclaw was a beautiful yet slightly intimidating woman with long black hair and striking dark eyes.

[edit] Personality and traits

Little is actually known about Rowena's personality aside from her intelligence, and the fact that she valued the same in her students. However, it's clear she loved her daughter, Helena, and was forgiving enough to disregard the fact that Helena stole her famous Diadem and ran away to Albania, in favor of seeing her daughter one last time before she died. She is said to have died of a broken heart, perhaps because of her daughter.

[edit] Ravenclaw House

Ravenclaw is described by the Sorting Hat as having selected students according to intelligence and wisdom. Ravenclaw house therefore values a sharp mind, wisdom, creativity, and cleverness in its members. Thus, rather than asking for a password from members, a bronze eagle door knocker asks them a riddle which, if answered incorrectly, would force the student to wait until another could answer the question correctly, allowing the failed student to learn.

[edit] Magical abilities and skills

Ravenclaw was described as the most brilliant witch of her time. She created a diadem which enhanced the wearer's wisdom.

[edit] Possessions

A Diadem that reputedly enhanced the reputation of the wearer.

[edit] Etymology

  • Rowena is a Latinised form of an old Germanic name: "Fame," (cf. the Anglo-Saxon hrōd, or hrōð), and "Joy," (cf. the Anglo-Saxon wyn(n)), or "Friend," (cf. the Anglo-Saxon wine). Rowena, Queen of Britain, is a figure in Britain's traditional history; she was supposedly the daughter of Hengest and the wife of Vortigern.
  • In Welsh poetry, Rowena is named "mother of the nation," which could link in to her being a founder of Hogwarts. She also is another character whose name surfaces in the great epic Ivanhoe.
  • Ravenclaw is simply raven + claw. A raven is a large black bird that belongs to the crow family; however, Ravenclaw's symbol is an eagle. In legend, ravens are known to be smart birds; Ravenclaws are known to be wise and quick learners

[edit] Additional Canon

[edit] Video Game

Rowena's Portrait remains at Hogwarts.

In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Rowena Ravenclaw's Famous Witches and Wizards card says that she designed the moving staircases in hogwarts:

"It's thought that she came up with the ever-changing floor plan. She's best remembered for her intelligence and creativity."

[edit] J. K. Rowling's Official Website

  • Ravenclaw was featured as Rowling's "Wizard of the Month" for August 2007. "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."

[edit] Wizarding World of Harry Potter


[edit] Speculation and Other

  • It is possible that Ravenclaw is not Rowena's birth name, but her married name. This theory is supported by the fact that Ravenclaw is also her daughter's surname. This has never been confirmed by Rowling.
  • Despite being a house that values intelligence, the house has its quota of female beauties (Rowena and Helena Ravenclaw, Cho Chang, Padma Patil, Luna Lovegood), and even Fleur Delacour, who decided to sit at the Ravenclaw table while staying in Hogwarts. Male Ravenclaws such as Roger Davies have also been described as good looking. Even Filius Flitwick, Ravenclaw's head of house in the 1990s, was described as good-looking in his younger days.
  • Even though the word "Raven" is in Ravenclaws name, the symbol of her house is an eagle.
  • The Portuguese translation in Brazil for Ravenclaw was Corvinal, taken from the word Corvo (Raven in Portuguese), the suffix "inal" does not add any true meaning and the "claw" part of the name was completely lost in translation. However, the founder's name, Rowena Ravenclaw, wasn't translated in Brazil, except in the film adaptations.
  • Rowena Ravenclaw was first translated in italian as Priscilla Pecoranera (literally meaning Black Sheep) but then changed in Cosetta Corvonero (Corvonero literally meaning Black Raven) to make it more faithful to the original.
  • In Romanian Ravenclaw is Ochi-de-Șoim, which means Hawk Eye.

[edit] References

  1. J. K. Rowling, GoF 12
  2. J. K. Rowling, DH 31