This is is, kiddos, we’re at our final Hogwarts House styling post, with my OG house, Ravenclaw. While there’s endless stories I could tell about the way Potter has intersected with my life and vastly improved it, in an ode to Ravenclaw house I wanted to focus in this post upon the books more purely, and my favourite aspects and characters from them.
Dress: Navy Peebles Pinafore dress by Hell Bunny (AMYMAY20!% for 20% off)
Blouse: Ivory Estelle blouse by Heart of Haute
Bag: Sold out Downton clutch bag by Vendula London
Cardigan: Dusty Orange cropped cardigan by MAK
Shoes: Khaki flats by New Look
This pinafore dress felt like a good place to start for this outfit, as the navy background fits perfectly for Ravenclaw, of course, while the pinafore style gave me a great opportunity to get creative with layering. Under it I added this Heart of Haute Estelle blouse–the pussybow neckline feels very Ravenclaw to me, studious and proper but still stylish and classic. While the Ravenclaw colours are navy blue and bronze, I didn’t want to make this entire outfit solid navy with just bronze touches in the jewellery, so I decided to add this dusty orange MAK cropped cardigan as my top layer as an interpretation of the bronze. The book clutch bag is, of course, a clear ode to the bookish nature Ravenclaws are known for, but I also wanted to add the feminine touch of the delicate golden floral bracelet as a rebuke to the idea that bookworms aren’t interested in style or supposedly ‘superficial’ things. Finally, I opted for a more muted lip colour than my usual red so it didn’t clash with the colours in my outfit, and added a braid to the crown of my head in honour of Rowena Ravenclaw’s Diadem.
Ravenclaws In My Life
Myself, my friend Chee, and practically half of my online pinup friends, but weirdly none of my Potter-fan-identifying friends IRL are Ravies.
My Favourites – Book, Movie, and Characters
And now, finally, it’s time to get really nerdy about the series. Unlike many staunch Potter fans I don’t hate the movies, I actually really enjoyed going to showings with family to see the latest instalments, but I’ll admit that I’ve only watched any of the movies again in recent years when showing them to my young nieces and nephews. Like I eventually do with all movies, I grew tired and overly familiar with them, dulling my enjoyment of a rewatch, especially since they’re all over 2 hours long. My favourite movie though, I can say with ease, is Deathly Hallows Part 1.
Considering that, it’s probably no surprise for you to learn that my favourite book of the series is Deathly Hallows. While many people complain the camping lasts forever (it’s actually only a relatively short portion of the book, surprisingly) and/or are upset that it feels so different to previous books because it’s set outside of Hogwarts, I love those aspects of the story. I have all 7 audiobooks on my iPod and my phone, and I’m able to listen to podcasts or audiobooks everyday at work, so over the years I’ve probably read and listened to Deathly Hallows about 20 times in total. When I don’t feel like starting a book that has new characters and a new world to acquaint myself with, or when I feel a bit nostalgic and miss my Potter favourites, it’s always Deathly Hallows I load up. Even if I only plan to listen to a few chapters just to get through the last stretch of the workday when I’m feeling restless, the pacing of the book and my intense familiarity with it–down to being able to recite certain lines in time with narrator Stephen Fry–mean I often end up listening to the whole book over the following days.
It’s the chapters set at The Burrow prior to the wedding and the time spent camping that are my favourites, and then the final Battle of Hogwarts at the end. Gringotts, the escape at Godric’s Hollow, Malfoy Manor–the exciting parts that happen out of nowhere are actually my least favourite parts to revisit, because I suppose it was always the quiet times we got to spend with our favourite characters that I always most enjoyed throughout all the books, and not the dangerous adventures they ended up embarking on.
When it comes to picking a favourite among all the characters, choosing just one feels nearly impossible. Once upon a time I would have said Dumbledore, but after finishing the seventh book I was, originally, devastated to learn about the darkness in his past and his fallibility. It felt like a betrayal after so many years of being lead to believe he was perfect. At that time in my life I didn’t want or need a dose of reality–I needed a perfect, all magical father figure who loved Harry and did no wrong.
Over time, while other people began to bash Dumbledore for being manipulative, I forgave my former hero and came to understand the deep well of pain that had caused him to wander astray for that short time, and held him captive as an emotional loner throughout his adult life. The heavy responsibility that fell on his shoulders as the only one able to or cognizant of the way Voldemort must be beaten must have been a hard burden to bear alone, especially when one considers that he did, indeed, love Harry. I think it’s easy to say that he raised Harry to be killed and used Snape for all he could, but the reality was war was inevitable, innocent people would be killed, and I do really believe that sometimes it is worth the sacrifice of a few good people to save the many. There really is, in real life, a greater good to be considered, and I think Dumbledore did his best to craft a world in which as many people survived as possible. I won’t berate him for that, and my affection for him remains.
So, with Dumbledore stubbornly on my favourites list, that brings me to my next, possibly true superlative, favourite, a similarly berated character–Ronald Weasley. It drives me nuts to hear people in the fandom constantly refer to Ron as stupid, or cowardly. The movies did great harm in giving most of Ron’s best ideas to Hermione and relying heavily on Rupert Grint’s wonderful comedic skills, the result being that people forget the moments in the books when Ron’s true character shines through. He’s not the most gifted wizard, nor very confident in his abilities, but still during the Battle when Voldemort wants Harry to meet him in the forest, Ron insists that Harry and Hermione should stay safe in the castle and that he would go alone to find Nagini. The bravery in that gesture, likely knowing such a quest would see him killed, is heroic and very telling.
I grew up the fourth child of five, in a family that had to support 8 mouths on the pitiable income that farmers make (you know, because why pay a living wage to the people who PROVIDE YOU WITH THE FOOD YOU NEED TO LIVE–don’t get me started.) We were never as poor as the Weasleys, but until I was old enough to earn my own money at 11 and decide what to do with it, I got new clothes only as Christmas or Birthday presents, the rest hand-me-downs or second hand buys from the village jumble sales. I never resented my old clothes, or the fact that many of my toys were mostly old (and often somewhat broken) toys passed down from my older siblings, but I do remember going to my friends houses and being jealous of the small luxuries their middle class families provided them with. The idea that they could spend £5 on a small pot of lip balm from The Body Shop blew my mind, and the fact that my friends might have 3 of those pots stacked in their window sill in different flavours did make me feel envious and sometimes a bit lesser.
Ron came from a home that struggled much more than mine did, but similarly was abundant with love. I don’t blame him as a self-conscious teenager for feeling embarrassed and frustrated by the fact that his family was poor–I remember feeling self-conscious of the fact that none of my clothes had a brand name on, in a time when FCUK and Nike were the only things worth wearing. Thankfully, my siblings and I were all different, both in our personalities and in our abilities, so I felt little to no pressure to live up to those that had gone before me. Poor Ron, though, felt unremarkable and destined for mediocrity as the sixth child following five seemingly magnificent brothers before him, all prefects or magically gifted pranksters. I can understand how hard it is to be one of the youngest in a big family, the way you are teased even by siblings that love you, and how harder still it must have been to feel he wasn’t as good as them.
People who dismiss Ron as petty or jealous aren’t fully exploring the emotional difficulties that can come from feeling poorly positioned in both the world and your own family, and they’re forgetting that in making immediate friends with Harry, a kind action in and of itself, Ron was further destined to be surrounded by yet another person he felt inferior to. Harry was wildly rich and, as it turned out, had impressive magical talent in the only area he had any interest in, and while Ron had many things Harry could only dream of–a comfortable, loving home, a large and caring family–it’s very easy when you’re young to focus on the things you don’t have and the ways you feel terrible rather than the things that prove you lucky. Ron has plenty of flaws, as do we all, but I will go down in flames defending the brave boy who loved quickly and just wanted to feel as clever and gifted as the people he admired in his own life.
One such person from his life whom I love whole-heartedly is Mrs Weasley. Her beautiful heart is plain to see right from the first, but it still doesn’t prevent me from struggling not to cry every time she demonstrates the motherly love she has for Harry. Self-consciously giving him her murdered brother’s watch for his 17th birthday, fighting with Sirius in an Order meeting about how much Harry should know about Voldemort’s plans, sending Easter Eggs and making him a Golden Snitch birthday cake–Mrs Weasley loved Harry like he was one of her own, and I genuinely cannot think about that without crying. No, seriously, I’m crying right now as I type this. The fact she also revealed herself to be a badass and full of dope AF magical skill is kind of just icing on the perfect-angel cake that she is. I really want to hug her and it just makes me a little bit sad that I can’t.
Which brings me to another of my favourites, another maternal figure, who kind of pretends she’s not–BAMF Minerva McGonagall. Like Molly, there’s several small moments during the series when her depth of heart and her love for Harry is shown with absolute clarity that make my heart hurt. Her note of pride when she tells the Carrows that Harry is in her house, the way she stands up to Umbridge and swears to assist in Harry becoming an Auror, her devastated scream when Hagrid displays a seemingly-dead Harry Potter to the bloodied crowd at the Battle of Hogwarts. McGonagall is a witch of prodigious skill, elevated intelligence, and moral fortitude, but she was also a quietly doting mother to her Gryffindor students, whether they realised how deeply she cared or not. I love Minnie McGonagall, and there’s nothing you can say that would make me abandon my headcanon that she and Dumbledore totally had drinking sessions in his office late at night sometimes complaining about the people and things that annoyed them, and trying to out sass and out wit one another until one of them caved into a fit of giggles.
Finally, my last favourite; Hermione. There’s almost no point in explaining why I love her, because I’m sure it’s obvious; painfully intelligent, whip-crack quick, dedicated and confident, but also patient and kind, Hermione is who I would want to be if I could be about 10 times better than I actually am. Yes, she was sometimes rigid and there’s an underlying tendency to judge those who believe things she deems ludicrous, but honestly, isn’t that something we’re all guilty of to some extent? God knows as a former bookworm good-girl at school myself I suffered the same faults and try my best now to be more fluid in understanding other people, but I’m sure Hermione would have reached the same evolution had we seen her beyond 17 years old, and what we did see was downright impressive. If I had to go to battle, I would definitely want Hermione Granger on my team.
My Favourite Ravenclaws
Much like Hufflepuff, Ravenclaws are given short shrift in the book, because we just don’t see many of them in depth. Luna, Flitwick, Cho Chang, Padma Patil, and Gilderoy Lockhart are the most notable Ravenclaws we are introduced to in the books, and I think we can all agree that Luna is the clear winner there.
Luna’s sweetness is probably the thing I love most about her, although her excitement just to have friends at all pinches my heart every single time. That she’d love to go to Slughorn’s party with Harry just as friends, that she painted a mural of the Fab Five on her bedroom ceiling at home, that she made dear friends with Ollivander in that dungeon all display her pure heart and the depth of love she has to give. I love that she marches to the beat of her own drum apologetically and, furthermore, that it doesn’t even seem to occur to her that she might ever be embarrassed by her radish earrings and the fact that she seems to carry cat litter around with her at school. She gives zero fucks and I am always down with a woman who has that attitude.
Why I Love Ravenclaws
If anything is ever overwhelming, ask your closest Ravenclaw and they will help mentally walk you through all the steps needed to make you feel prepared, whether that be writing a to list (or three,) a pro/con comparison chart, drawing up a trip itinerary, or agreeing to help you research something needed for a big life change. If you make plans with a Ravenclaw they will follow through on them, even if it means they have to do some complex schedule-rearranging at the last minute in order to keep the commitments to everyone in their life after an unexpected change in plans. They always have great book and podcast recommendations, and sometimes you can get lucky when you wonder something random aloud, like ‘what happens to bees in winter?’ that they will have the answer, because they will also have wondered this previously but will have then looked it up. They like to collect stuff, whether it’s books, pennies, or makeup, so if you mention you need to buy X item because you threw yours away in a spring clean ages ago thinking you wouldn’t need it, they probably have one you can borrow because they maybe hoard a little bit, just a little. They are excellent route planners. They can quote the best lines from all your joint favourite shows and movies. They write great messages inside birthday cards.
And that’s it! Speak now, or forever hold your peace; who’s your favourite character from the series? What’s your favourite book, how do you feel about the movies? Basically, is there anything, anything at all, that you want to nerd out about right now? Leave a comment and let’s get geeky together!