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The Four Elements (or five?) and Harry Potter



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  #21  
Old November 2nd, 2007, 4:45 am
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Re: The Four Elements (or five?) and Harry Potter

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Originally Posted by LOVEWEASLEYS04 View Post
Yet, since Snape's actions were done out of love for Lily it seems brought the Slytherin's into the mix and created a sort of balance of the elements. So, I would say that the fifth element in the series would be a more general love and not specifically Harry's.
Actually, the idea of love as the fifth element, and Slytherins sharing it, and beign motivated by it to help fight Voldemort, is a repeated theme in DH. Regulus Black, another Slytherin, acted, apparently, out of love for his family's House Elf Kreacher. The Malfoys' love for one another, as a family, in my opinion, is why Rowling chose to let them all live (and Draco to marry and have a normal life). Certainly, it is why none of them participated in the final battle on Voldemort's side. Love for her son motivated Narcissa to lie to Voldemort at a crucial moment.


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  #22  
Old November 2nd, 2007, 1:38 pm
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Re: The Four Elements (or five?) and Harry Potter

I always thought of the four elements to be from Nature - like so many posts here

Fire, Water, Air and Earth and the fifth is the soul that is placed according to its primary characteristic to a particular House by the Sorting Hat.

And I always thought they were placed for both positive and negative characteristics rather than simply one feature that is dominant of a particular House.


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  #23  
Old November 3rd, 2007, 5:49 pm
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Re: The Four Elements (or five?) and Harry Potter

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Originally Posted by zgirnius View Post
Actually, the idea of love as the fifth element, and Slytherins sharing it, and beign motivated by it to help fight Voldemort, is a repeated theme in DH. Regulus Black, another Slytherin, acted, apparently, out of love for his family's House Elf Kreacher. The Malfoys' love for one another, as a family, in my opinion, is why Rowling chose to let them all live (and Draco to marry and have a normal life). Certainly, it is why none of them participated in the final battle on Voldemort's side. Love for her son motivated Narcissa to lie to Voldemort at a crucial moment.
Ooo thanks for more of those examples. I still would have liked to see some actual Slytherin students stay to help fight, but I do appreciate the Slytherin characters that we do see motivated out of love and helping to bring the four house and elements together. So now post DH, I would definitely say that there is a fifth element of love present in the books, but it is a more general form and not just seen one person. So Harry Potter himself is not the fifth element so to speak, but the fifth element is seen in all the characters (minus Voldy).


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  #24  
Old November 7th, 2007, 2:26 am
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Re: The Four Elements (or five?) and Harry Potter

Huh, I had never read that! But after the description of the Ravenclaw common room in DH, then when she described the Hufflepuff in that interview, I began to get my own picture:

Gryffindor Common Room: JKR gave Gryffindor fire as their element. Besides the obvious fact that they have scarlet in their banner, look at the other small clues:
-Jo always makes a point to mention the fireplace when talking about their room. If I look at the movies' portrayal of this, all the chairs are red. Hmm....
-Red ruby in the sword of Godric Gryffindor.
-Fawkes, the phoenix of Dumbledore, who was in Gryffindor, "bursts into FLAME when it is time for him to die, and is reborn from the ashes." Not to mention he is red.

Ravenclaw Common Room: Specifically described as being "wide and AIRY." It is easily the most wide open of all four rooms, also giving a spectacular view to outside, where it is very AIRY. Not a coincidence their mascot's an eagle, huh?

Hufflepuff Common Room: This is the common room we know very little about, as we never see it in a book. It was described by Jo (I don't have the exact quote) as being a small, cozy room, with little tunnels leading into the dormitories. Tunnels in the ground, coincidently. Mascot: Badger. They like to dig holes.

Slytherin Common Room: Under the lake. If we just know that one piece of information about the Slytherin Common Room, we can immediately deduce their element, with the help of the snake mascot. Now, look at their house colors: green and silver. CoS said that there was a green light outside the window, the lake. Where does the silver fit in? With the mascot, of course. I looked very closely at a Hogwarts' crest the other day, and noticed some telling features of Salazar's snakey: It's very thin, bright green, looks as if it could move without making a sound. Perhaps in the water? I looked up a little bit about common water snakes of Britain, and found out a nice little tidbit: They generally are streaked with SILVER on their smooth, green bodies. Coicidence? No. Is Jo a genius? Absolutely.

Where does this fit in with the people of the house, though? What does it mean? Well, I believe the four houses really are the elements.

Gryffindor, Fire- Fire generally stands for courage, danger, and all those things. Take your average Gryffindor. How about.... Harry Potter? Take those characteristics, apply them to him, and you've got a Gryffindor, exactly as the Sorting Hat said. In fact, apply them to anyone in Gryffindor (okay, maybe not Wormtail), and you'll find a match. Jo reallly planned this all out.

Ravenclaw, Air- This is the one I thought applied the most. Air, in my belief, gives you a broad mind, the ability to think outside the box, and find the answer. This is exactly why Jo gave Ravenclaw a riddle game, not just a password. Luna, the biggest Ravenclaw, certainly thinks outside the box. Perhaps a bit too much. Air = intelligence.

Hufflepuff, Earth- Unfortunately, we know very little about Hufflepuff, as none of them were really major characters. Judging from Ernie, who was probably not naturally smart, but studied a lot to become that way, and Cedirc, who was smart enought to be in the Triwizard Tourney, we can probably assume Hufflepuffs are not complete duffers, and they just have a good sense of mind, those who, like Ernie, worked incredibly hard at everything they did. Kind of like a badger digging a hole in the ground or something.

Slytherin, Water- This one has a lot of evidence to back it up, if we just take our average Slytherin student: Mr. Draco Malfoy. The snake is a swift, deadly, creature that can cause a great deal of harm but still escpe unnoticed, with no evidence against them. Sounds a bit like Malfoy in the RoR, huh? Harry knows he's up to something, he knows he has to catch him, but it seems like no one believes him. Of course, behind the scenes, Dumbledore already has his own plan. But in the end, the others' not beleiving in him caused that terrible night, the snake on the highest tower. I think in DH, there was a line that read something like this: "Then Snape, the sleeping snake had struck on the highest tower," when Harry was describing Albus's death. Jo clearly plants these little clues to give us evidence for our theories, however discreetly.

The Fifth Element

I'm not sure what exactly this fifth element is in the real world, or what represents it, but it seems like it's some sort of spirit binding the others together. With my theme of Hogwarts here, I would have to say that the fifth element is, well, Hogwarts. This fifth element sounds almost like something used that is the essence of everything else, the glue supporting the other four. Hogwarts is the foundation of its houses, the thing that makes them stick, and without it, there wouldn't be any others. I saw that some of the other posters here thought that it could be Harry, and I see where you're coming from with that, but Harry doesn't really hold all of the four houses within him. I think the fifth element is more of a thing on a larger scale.



Last edited by DeathlyH; November 7th, 2007 at 8:22 pm.
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  #25  
Old November 9th, 2007, 9:08 am
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Re: The Four Elements (or five?) and Harry Potter

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Originally Posted by deathly721
saw that some of the other posters here thought that it could be Harry, and I see where you're coming from with that, but Harry doesn't really hold all of the four houses within him. I think the fifth element is more of a thing on a larger scale.
I disagree. At one point or another Harry has shown elements of all four houses. For examples, he was intelligent enough to figure out by HIMSELF that he was the true master of the elder wand, Harry worked very hard like the Hufflepuff's at trying to figure out what Dumbledore meant by all his clues and worked hard at trying to destroy Voldemort, he was sneaky like the Slytherins in the sense that he never told anyone of what he was planning to do when he went to the forest to confront Voldemort, in fact he never even told anyone he was going to give himself up. And well his bravery etc shows he is a Gryffindor. He may not possess as much of the other elements as his fiery natur of being Gryffindor, but he DOES, I think so anyways, have the other elements in him also.


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  #26  
Old June 16th, 2008, 1:38 am
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Re: The Four Elements (or five?) and Harry Potter

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Originally Posted by AngelicaSkye View Post
I disagree. At one point or another Harry has shown elements of all four houses. For examples, he was intelligent enough to figure out by HIMSELF that he was the true master of the elder wand, Harry worked very hard like the Hufflepuff's at trying to figure out what Dumbledore meant by all his clues and worked hard at trying to destroy Voldemort, he was sneaky like the Slytherins in the sense that he never told anyone of what he was planning to do when he went to the forest to confront Voldemort, in fact he never even told anyone he was going to give himself up. And well his bravery etc shows he is a Gryffindor. He may not possess as much of the other elements as his fiery natur of being Gryffindor, but he DOES, I think so anyways, have the other elements in him also.
I think that Harry slightly embodies qualities from Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, while he fully embodies everything from Gryffindor. As for Slytherin, I don't think Harry himself has any Slytherin qualities. Let me explain.

I think by now everyone agress on the fact that the Sorting Hat only considered putting Harry in Slytherin because it recognized the piece of soul in his body which belongs to Voldemort, and confused it as his own. Because throughout the series, IMO, Harry has no traits which embody Slytherin at all. The example you provided, sneaking out to the forest without telling anyone, was not sneaky IMO, just sensible. If he does go out there but tells everyone what he's doing then of course they'll all try to stop him because they don't understand why he has to sacrifice himself. Going out without telling anybody (except Neville, I'll get to him in a second) was just the smart thing to do because it allowed him to get out without notice. He didn't really do it sneakily; it's hard not to be sneaky when you have an Invisibility Cloak. The Cloak and thus his sneakiness is not part of his personailty, so it's not really him that's being sneaky. All IMO, of course.

Showing himself to Neville was necesary, because Neville was someone he knew he would be able to trust without question. Harry easily lies to him, convincing him that Harry's not really sacrificing himself. And he needs to tell Neville, because somebody has to get to Nagini if Ron and Hermione fail, and Neville is there to do the job. If Harry starts simply telling everyone else that he's off to do "something else," people will get way too curious. They may even wonder if he's running away to save himself, like Voldemort said he had. I think it was much simpler not showing himself to lots of people, but I don't think he was necessarily being "sneaky," and this doesn't embody the only Slytherin trait which you provided.

All IMO.


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  #27  
Old June 16th, 2008, 5:02 am
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Re: The Four Elements (or five?) and Harry Potter

I thought it was interesting when I first read the interview where JKR says that the four houses were loosely based off the four elements. I never understood one thing, though - how is Slytherin like the water element? Water is characterized by intuition and emotion. They're the most emotional and nurturing compared to the other elements. I'm not saying that all Slytherins are emotionless or aren't nurturing, but I don't see how that fits with the Slytherin qualities.


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  #28  
Old June 16th, 2008, 6:09 am
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Re: The Four Elements (or five?) and Harry Potter

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Originally Posted by Beatifically View Post
I thought it was interesting when I first read the interview where JKR says that the four houses were loosely based off the four elements. I never understood one thing, though - how is Slytherin like the water element? Water is characterized by intuition and emotion. They're the most emotional and nurturing compared to the other elements. I'm not saying that all Slytherins are emotionless or aren't nurturing, but I don't see how that fits with the Slytherin qualities.
Neither do I. Perhaps it was just convenience, all of the other Houses/Elements fit and Jo thought that was good enough?

In Astrology the Water Signs (Scorpio, Cancer and Pisces) are meant to be emotional, kind, nurturing, sympathetic, empathetic and intuitive.
In Wicca water represents emotions, wisdom, the soul, and femininity.

It doesn't exactly bring Slytherin to mind.

All that I can think of is water...movement...slippery...snake....That and the fact thet their Common Room is under the lake.


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  #29  
Old June 28th, 2008, 3:22 pm
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Re: The Four Elements (or five?) and Harry Potter

I agree the elements that go with the Houses are appropriate representations of the characteristics displayed by members of that House. Gryffindors are fiery, bold and daring, which certainly goes with the element of fire. I'd say Gryffindors have somewhat volatile emotions often times. And as was pointed out, the House colors of scarlet and gold are the colors of fire. Likewise, Ravenclaws operate on a higher plane of learning. Luna especially illustrates the idea of having one's head in the clouds. The eagle certainly represents the element of Air, as does the House color blue. Just the opposite of the Ravenclaws are the Hufflepuffs, who are very down to earth and willing to work hard for fairness and justice. The badger is a very good representation of the Earth element as a creature who tunnels through the ground. Slytherins are connected with the Water element through their mascot, the snake. DeathlyH's reference to common water snakes of Britain illustrates the connection further. Like water snakes, Slytherins are slippery and cunning, being able to move silently and strike without being noticed until the last minute.

Overall I think each of the four elements represent an overarching theme for each House:
  • Fire is passion
  • Air is wisdom
  • Earth is hard work/practicality
  • Water is cunning/strategy
And the Fifth Element - I'd say that's love and/or spirit, and would be represented by a union of the other four elements.


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  #30  
Old July 1st, 2008, 6:05 pm
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Re: The Four Elements (or five?) and Harry Potter

This whole talk about the 4 (or 5) elements sound a lot like Avatar stuff..(for those of you who have watched the show you know what I'm talking about for those who don't I guess I will give a synopsis of the story
There is this 12 year old boy named Aang who is the Avatar who has to master all of the 4 elements (water, earth, fire, and air)...in order to defeat the Fire Lord (the bad guy) who wants to take over the world. As always each of the elements represent a specific culture and the characteristics of each of the elements are reflected in the person...one of the characters tell of the characteristics of each of the people and their corresponding elements.....
Iroh: Fire is the element of power. The people of the Fire Nation have desire and will, and the energy and drive to achieve what they want. this sounds a lot like the Griffindors...they have the desire to do what they want in life and the drive to achieve it no matter the personal cost.
Earth is the element of substance. The people of the Earth Kingdom are diverse and strong. They are persistent and enduring. Hufflepuffs are a combination of all of the blood types and personalities, unlike Slytherins..They are hard working..they have to be strong to do hard work.
Air is the element of freedom. The Air Nomads detached themselves from worldly concerns and found peace and freedom. Also, they apparently had pretty good senses of humor! The Ravenclaws are really sort of detached from the goings on at Hogwarts, they are really probably more concerned with studying....you really don't hear that much about them..but when you do they are always nice. and as for the sense of humor....Luna always makes me laugh!!!! (the last line of the quote was a joke that the character made!! I just kept it in there because it reminded me of Luna!!)
Water is the element of change. The people of the Water Tribe are capable of adapting to many things. They have a deep sense of community and love that holds them together through anything. The Slytherins are capable of changing....sides!! lol but really throughout the series you see them...and their parents...adapt to the new challenges that they face..like not getting caught as DEs while still doing their duty to Voldemort. They do have a deep sense of community..though it only pertains to the pure blood community and they love being DEs and thats a sort of community...they don't really love anyone but themselves but I guess it counts!!! And also like zgirnius said about the Slytherins having love...great examples by the way!!

I know that these are two different series but I thought that it was interesting that two different interpretations of the characteristics of the 4 elements are roughly the same.

As for the 5th element....I agree with both that its Hogwarts and love combined. As DeathlyH said they all came together in Hogwarts and without it they all wouldn't be there. I agree with the love part because most of the characters Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville found the people they end up marrying at Hogwarts..so love has something to do with Hogwarts and the power that it has.

DeathlyH..Harry does have Slytherin qualaties..Dumbledore himself says so when he and Harry are talkin about people thinking that Harry was Slytherin's Heir and whether or not the Sorting Hat placed him in the right House..I found the quote
"You happen to have many qualities Salazar Slytherine prized in his hand-picked students. his own very rare gift Parseltongue----resourcefulness----determinatin--a certain disreguard for the rules" Dumbledore. Chamber of Secrets US edition pg 333


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  #31  
Old January 24th, 2009, 4:04 am
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Re: The Four Elements (or five?) and Harry Potter

If the houses do correspond to elements then I'd say it'd have to be this way:

Gryffindor- Fire
Ravenclaw- Air
Slytherin- Water
Hufflepuff- Earth

Common Room/House Dormitories/Significant House Attributes:

Slytherin- under water, you can see the WATER in the black lake

Hufflepuff- they are giving and 'plentiful', just like the EARTH

Ravenclaw- tower is in the AIR (well, not suspended but you catch my drift). and strike me as being lofty people

Gryffindor- there is always a roaring FIRE in the common room. FIRE is very powerful and to wield it one must be very brave.



And frankly, I'm not so sure there is a fifth element. Does there have to be one [no].


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  #32  
Old February 8th, 2009, 3:00 pm
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Re: The Four Elements (or five?) and Harry Potter

I remember reading somewhere, although I can’t recall where, that the titles of the books themselves represent the four elements.

Book 1:The Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone. This represents earth, as a stone is of the earth.
Book 2:The Chamber of Secret’s. This represents air, as a chamber contains air.
Book 3:The Prisoner of Azkaban. This represents water, as Azkaban is on an island surrounded by water.
Book 4:The Goblet of Fire. This represents fire, as fire is in the title.
Book 5:The Order of the Phoenix. This represents the fifth element, or quintessence. The phoenix being the symbol for the quintessence
(In HBP, Harry is found reading a charms text book called, “Quintessence: A Quest”.)

If I remember correctly the final two books represent the soul and the spirit.


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Originally Posted by Inkwolf View Post

What elemental forces have we already seen? (For example, as an inhabitant of the castle plumbing, can Moaning Myrtle be assumed to be a Slytherin? Has everyone we've seen in the Floo flames been a Gryffindor?)
Something sprang to mind reading this. In DH when the MoM is under Voldemort's control, the method of getting into the MoM, is by water.

DH, Chapter12, Magic is Might.

'We have to flush ourselves in? he whispered.
'Looks like it,' Harry whispered back; his voice came out deep and gravelly.
They both stood up. Feeling exceptionally folish. Harry clambered into the toilet.
He knew at once that he had done the right thing; though he appeared to be standing in water, his shoes, feet and robes ermained quite dry. He reached up, pulled the chain, and next moment had zoomed down a short chute, emerging out of a fireplace into the Ministry of magic.



Last edited by TreacleTartlet; February 8th, 2009 at 3:09 pm.
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  #33  
Old June 15th, 2009, 8:57 pm
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Re: The Four Elements (or five?) and Harry Potter

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I've actually thought a lot about this as well. And it always gets me thinking about the houses uniting. I don't know if they ever will, but the houses uniting is sort of like captain planet - but then you're missing the love element. So i'm thinking Harry repersents the fifth element.

And I just don't see what the connection is. But I've always liked the idea that Harry would become Headmaster of Hogwarts after his battle with Voldemort of course. (If he even survives.
I sort of got the feeling that Dumbledore was kind of like the love element, but then he died. The reason I thought this was because he was always teaching everyone that love was the strongest type of magic. This sort of gets me thinking.

Although Dumbledore died... in the 7th book the love element sort of lived on, but not just through one person... I sort of think it emenated from everyone. They all mourned and celebrated and loved together. I even felt like the Malfoys were becoming a little more kindhearted in the end.

This makes me think that message in the book is that no matter what, we'll always have love or something of that sort. Sorry I went on for so long... I sort of went off topic too... sorry.


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  #34  
Old July 16th, 2009, 2:20 am
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Re: The Four Elements (or five?) and Harry Potter

I agree that the houses represent the 4 elements. I think the fifth element is Hogwarts united in one purpose. This does happen in the last battle at Hogwarts where some Slytherins, led by Slughorn, come back to the school with reinforcements and join in the battle against Voldemort and the Death Eaters.


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