Hogwarts - The Origin of the Houses

Hermione shocked the class into silence... well except for those who were sleeping. Ron's snores in particular seemed to shake the foundations of the castle as he drooled all over his copy of Bathilda Bagshot's A History of Magic. Hermione had raised her hand in their History of Magic class.

Professor Binns, the ghost professor who was rather set in his ways, had continued lecturing for over ten minutes before he noticed that someone actually had a question. "Yes, Miss Granger? Is there something you aren't understanding about the battle of Nosebiter's Bag?"

"No, sir, I already read the textbook twice," Hermione replied, "I think I know enough about the Goblin Rebellion of eighteen-sixty-two to pass the test right now, though more time to study wouldn't hurt. The Battle of Stonerunner's Taunting is especially confusing. Honestly, by the way the textbook tells it, you would think that all Stonerunner and Gerald the Insufferable did was stand on opposite sides of the street and shout insults at each other. Most people would call them politicians, not warriors."

"Actually, that is exactly what happened. Neither of them were exactly the pinnacle of their societies," Binns replied in embarassment.

"I was actually wondering about something I read in Hogwarts A History," Hermione said.

"I am sure there is someone else more qualified to answer your questions. I am sure that Madam Pomfrey would be happy to speak to you about any questions you have about that book," Binns suggested evasively.

"You're the history professor, and this is a question about history," Hermione replied, "I am sure you wouldn't have the job if you weren't the most qualified."

"Actually, I have tenure, and since I'm dead, I don't need any wages. I was the most cost efficient option."

"I'm sure there's more too it than that," Hermione admonished, "You are a perfectly adequate, if slightly unstimulating, teacher. I'm sure you can answer such a fundamental question as where the last names of the founders came from. I read that in those days that people merely called themselves son of or daughter of their father's name unless they particularly distinguished themselves."

"Well... Um... Err... Are you sure you wouldn't rather Madam Pomfrey answer your question?" Binns once again tried to evade Hermione's query.

"No, go ahead professor. I'm all ready to take notes," Hermione eagerly encouraged.

"Well, you see, it happens that Godric was quite an accomplished gryphon breeder in his day. However, in the winter, he found it too cold to go out wearing steel and mail, so he constructed the astronomy tower as an entrance to allow his creatures passage in and out of the castle. It was known at the time as the Gryphon Door," Binns explained.

"Salazar, not to be outdone, built a network of pipes that allowed his snakes to enter the warmth of the castle. This entrance was known as the Slither In," The ghost continued.

"Now, before we used owls for the post, ravens were the common method of communication. Instead of the roosts the owls use in the Owlery, there were tree-like structures that were known as Raven Claws."

"Wait, so you're saying that the four houses are named after the founder's pets!" Hermione exclaimed, interrupting Binns' monologue.

"Of course not, Miss Granger, that would be silly. That is just some background information you need to understand the rest. Now, back in those days, it wasn't uncommon for people to be a little more free with themselves. Helga in particular was quite a free spirit. She would bed anyone or anything that wanted a go, especially the other three founders. She was particularly good at using her mouth. She had this one move they called the Huffle Puff that Godric and Salazar really couldn't get enough of. It was from this that she received her name.

"Godric, he was a bit of a deviant. He preferred to enter through the back way. He used to call this his Gryphon Door as a bit of a joke and the name stuck.

"Salazar was known to be rather cunning. It was said he could talk any man or woman into his bed, or Slither In to theirs.

"Rowena was a bit of a prude compared to the others, but once in bed she was quite a hellcat. It was said that her nails would tear a man's back to ribbons as if she had a Raven's Claws.

"And, that is how the names Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, Slytherin, and Ravenclaw were earned," Binns finished.

The entire class, short one Ronald Weasley who was still snoring, was riveted by the lecture. Hermione's mouth gaped in mortification at the lesson she had insisted upon.

"Is something wrong?" Binns asked, "If you're confused, you can use the centerfold charm which is listed in the back of the book. The chapters on the houses have several dozen demonstrations. Or, you can ask Madam Pomfrey if you are still confused."

After that, Hogwarts A History became so difficult to find, one would think the heir of Slytherin had returned.