The Heir of Gryffindor
Since the announcement of the title of the sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, there has been a lot of talk in the fan community about bloodlines and other familial relations in the wizarding world. It has long been theorized that Harry is the heir to Salazar Slytherin and/or Godric Gryffindor. JKR herself has effectively squashed the Heir of Slytherin rumor saying Harry is not a descendant of Salazar Slytherin. (Jo’s website 18/2/2004, Rumors Section). The rumors of him being Gryffindor’s Heir, however, have been left tantalizingly unanswered.
While I think the concept of having a highly significant Heir to Gryffindor would go against the theme of the series (that it is not what we are born, but the choices we make that matter), I would not doubt that, if for no other reason than to satisfy her more rabid fans, JKR will pop in at least a brief mention of the identity of a so-called Heir to Gryffindor. That being said, I very much doubt it will be Harry; but, for the sake of argument, I will first examine the more common evidence presented for Harry’s case.
- Harry is a Leo: With other evidence since anyone who is born between July 23 and August 21 shares the same trait. Harry is not even alone in this trait within the cannon.
- Harry is in Gryffindor: Again, This is not evidence unique to Harry. About 70-250 other students currently at Hogwarts share this with him. Not to mention about one thousand times that if one includes past graduates.
- Harry’s wand gives off red and gold sparks: There are a number of other explanations for the color choice of the sparks. Those colors are often associated with the phoenix and as such could have merely been an extension of Harrys wand core. Perhaps they are just the colors Harry’s subconscious associates with sparks. Without having ever seen another wand assignment, it is difficult to tell if the color of the sparks is in any way significant.
- Harry’s parents were hiding in Godric’s Hollow: A tantalizing clue, but not for Harrys lineage. Consider that the only other mention of this village is in Quidditch Through the Ages. One Mr. Bowman Wright, skilled metal charmer and inventor of the Golden Snitch, resided in Godric’s Hollow. Therefore, I propose that this is more a clue to the Potter Quidditch lineage and red herring to Gryffindor’s lineage.
- Harry pulled Gryffindor’s sword out of the Sorting Hat: This is possibly the most compelling evidence in favor of a Harry/Godric connection. But again, without a comparative situation of another object being pulled from the hat, it is difficult to say whether being a True Gryffindor refers to affiliation, personality, or family.
Now, I would like to submit to the Council of Fans, the possibility that one Ginevra Molly Weasley is, in fact, the Heir to Godric Gryffindor. I know what youre thinking, Ginny? Gryffindor’s Heir? Are you daft, woman? And I will fully admit that the answer is yes to all three; but, hear me out anyway.
In the world of J.K. Rowling, physical descriptions are often an insight to the story behind a character. Many who seek out the Heir try to assign griffin-like qualities, when in reality, the symbol of Gryffindor is the lion. The lion symbolizes courage, fairness, and protection, whereas griffins symbolize wisdom, vengeance, and salvation; clearly the lion embodies more Gryffindor traits. Ginny is often assigned feline traits, such as her mane of red hair, curling up on a chair like a cat, etc. Additionally, she is curious, powerful, and seems to have a certain natural grace (both physically and expressively), all traits that any cat owner will recognize in their pet. She also has a certain affinity with Crookshanks, being able to coax him out to play, and, as Ron said in CoS, she is a great lover of cats in general. Since JKR has said that they take the form of a creature that the witch or wizard identifies with, I believe that her patronus or animagus form would be a lion. However, she was noticeably absent the night the DA was practicing patronuses in OotP, so this information has been denied us.
This could also explain the elements of the HBP storyline that were removed from CoS. If it were known that Ginny is the Heir to Gryffindor, it makes it that much more symbolic that Riddle, Heir of Slytherin, took her into the Chamber. The whole situation mimics the centuries long fight between Godric and Salazar and their respective houses. Now you may be wondering, at this point, about Harry and the sword. It is my theory that anything pulled out of the Sorting Hat would have belonged to Godric, simply because it was his hat. What Dumbledore later tells Harry about being a True Gryffindor is simply reassuring him that the Hat would have supplied the tool best suited to the one who requested it. Thus the sword, an offensive weapon, was clearly suited for a brave individual, a True Gryffindor. Additionally, it could be said that one of the presumably few remaining possessions of Gryffindor came to the aid of his Heir’s protector.
The immediate reaction from people I’ve told this theory has been ”What about the rest of the Weasleys?” For that, I’d like to contrast the difference between an heir and a descendant.
Descendant: n. A person whose descent can be traced to a particular individual
Heir: n. One who receives or is expected to receive a heritage, as of ideas, from a predecessor
An example of this is the British monarchy. Charles, William, and Harry are all descendants of Elizabeth II, but, only Charles is her heir and only William is his heir. Even though Harry is descended from the royal line, he is not an heir to the throne. Note, also, that the entire Weasley family has been in Gryffindor House, but unlike all of the Malfoy family and Slytherin, they did not all exhibit Gryffindor traits. Percy’s self-serving ambition is an obvious Slytherin trait and he has not shown any potential for bravery or chivalry. This leads me to believe that there is at the very least a familial relationship between Gryffindor and the Weasleys.
Besides being the only Weasley attributed feline features, Ginny is unique among her family by being the only female born into the line for several generations. By OotP, even her brothers have noticed that she is exceptional: “Size is no guarantee of power, look at Ginny,” or ”Youv’e never been on the receiving end of one of her bat-boogey hexes.” She is also the only one in her immediate family who is a Leo (DoB: August 11, 1981).
In conclusion, though far from conclusive, I hope that the facts I have brought to life will inspire my fellow fans to examine Ginny and other characters from a different perspective and also to not let Harry get caught in the Main Character Mania that requires him to be the master key for everything. As for my opinion on the concept of having an Heir to Gryffindor, if one comes to light in the future, I hope that the role they play in Voldemort’s defeat has more to do with the main theme of the Harry Potter series, that our choices decide our fate, not our status at birth, rather than focusing on blood lineage.