One of the four wizarding houses at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is the noble House of Godric Gryffindor.  To belong to the House of Gryffindor, a witch or wizard must possess the traits described in the lyrics of the following song sung by the sorting hat during the Sorting Ceremony held for the first years at Hogwarts:

You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart,
Their daring, nerve and chivalry
Set Gryffindors apart

–The Sorting Hat

According to this song, those students whom are sorted into the Gryffindor House should possess courage, bravery, and chivalry as their dominant traits, as Godric Gryffindor did himself, and would then be considered worthy of the Gryffindor name.

Though the Sorting Hat’s description of what makes a student a good candidate for the Gryffindor house seems fairly straight forward, the description is not entirely accurate.  At the start of the series, Neville Longbottom appears far from possessing the necessary personality traits, indicated by the Sorting Hat, to be in the Gryffindor House; rather, Neville is portrayed as a shy and clumsy pushover who is constantly being harassed by students and teachers about his inability to do even simple magic.   Neville appears to have no self confidence and would never be considered a brave individual.  It isn’t until later in the series that Neville develops into a stereotypical Gryffindor who stands up to both his enemies and friends when the occasion calls for action.   Therefore, to be considered a true Gryffindor, you do not actually have to be brave or have daring, nerve and chivalry from the start; instead, you become a Gryffindor if you have the potential to build these qualities.  If this is the case, nearly anyone could actually fall into the Gryffindor House.

Additionally, the actions of Gryffindors’ are frequently misunderstood.  Members of the Gryffindor House are often viewed as reckless, but usually are acting on the need to protect those people closest to them.  They believe it to be their responsibility.  For example, in Order of the Phoenix, Harry unknowingly led his friends into battle at the Department of Mysteries while attempting to save his god father, Sirius Black.  Harry believed that Sirius was in “serious” trouble and that running to his aid would be the fasted way to get to him.  While Harry acted recklessly by running straight to the ministry, he was only doing so to protect his god father, the last member of his family.  While members of the other houses also possess loyalty toward their friends and family, Gryffindors will go above and beyond to protect others, making them appear reckless.  Other misunderstood traits possessed by the Gryffindors include: determination and passion.  Again, Gryffindors are often criticized for acting “over the top,” but many of these actions are driven by their determination and passion.  For example, in Goblet of Fire, Hermione Granger worked vigorously to obtain better working conditions and rights for the House Elves at Hogwarts: Forming a club, distributing information, and eventually making clothing.  While many students, including some in her own house, thought Hermione was going a little too far in her attempts to liberate the house elves, it was Hermione’s passion for and determination to obtain justice for the injustices faced by the house elves that empowered her to act out when others would not.  It is for these reasons that the Gryffindor house is probably one of the most complex and misunderstood houses, aside from Slytherin, at Hogwarts.