Rowena Ravenclaw


“Wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure.”
—Rowena Ravenclaw
Professor 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 described her as “fair Ravenclaw, from glen,” suggesting she was from Scotland. She had a daughter, Helena, who stole her mother’s diadem and fled to Albania. Desiring to see her daughter again, Rowena sent the Baron to search for her, although neither he nor Helena returned alive. Rowena Ravenclaw died a short time later. Her portrait remains at Hogwarts.

Early life
“Fair Ravenclaw, from glen…”
—The Sorting Hat on Ravenclaw’s birthplace.[src]
Ravenclaw with her wand.
Added by Jack “BtR” SaxonRowena Ravenclaw was born in the tenth century. She came from a glen most likely in Scotland, she was either born or married into the Ravenclaw family, though that may have been her birth family. She was a good friend of Helga Hufflepuff, from the Welsh valleys.

At an unknown time and by unknown means, Ravenclaw acquired a wand. It is possible that she made it herself.

Founding of Hogwarts
Along with her friends Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff and Salazar Slytherin, Ravenclaw founded Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She devised the ever-changing, moving staircases in the Hogwarts Castle. She was particularly close to Helga Hufflepuff ; their friendship is used as a foil to the failed friendship between Godric Gryffindor and Salazar Slytherin. As with the other founders, she is the namesake of one of Hogwarts’ four houses.

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.

Door Knocker: “Which came first, the phoenix or the flame?”
Luna Lovegood: “…I think the answer is that a circle has no beginning.”
Door Knocker: “Well reasoned.”
— a riddle at the Ravenclaw common room entrance[src]

Later lifeRowena’s daughter Helena as a ghost
Added by Patr0nusRavenclaw 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, Helena Ravenclaw, who after her death became Ravenclaw house’s patron ghost known as the Grey Lady.
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.

Tom Marvolo Riddle was able to charm the location of the diadem out of the Grey Lady centuries later. He 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.

Physical appearance

From the descriptions of Xenophilius 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. Ravenclaw’s beauty could also be a trait for her house, as some of the characters who are in Ravenclaw are described as attractive (Cho Chang, Roger Davies, Luna Lovegood, and Padma Patil).

Personality and traitsEditLittle 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 favour of seeing her daughter one last time before she died.

Magical abilities and skillsEditRavenclaw was described as the most brilliant witch of her time.

■Magical architect: Ravenclaw created the moving staircases of Hogwarts.
■Magical device inventor: She created a diadem which enhanced the wearer’s wisdom.

Rowena Ravenclaw

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