Hogwarts Book Recommendations: Gryffindor
In honour of the 2020 Magical Readathon, I’m doing something many a book-blogger have done before me: recommending books based on your Hogwarts house. I know it’s not the most original idea, but I’ve always liked these kind of ideas, and I love hearing peoples rationalisations for placing a certain book in a certain place. This year, I’ll be doing my own version, in which I recommend 10 books that I feel fit a certain house well, including my reasons for that, ánd the 2020 O.W.L. prompts they will fulfil. Each list will be as varied as possible: including different genre’s and age demographics, and I will try to match as many O.W.L. prompts as I can for those of you looking for last-minute recommendations. Sidenote: as the prompts for Astronomy (read the majority of this book at night) and Divinations (pick a book using a random generator) can work for any of these, I won’t be mentioning them. For a Harry Potter themed Readathon: what better house to start with than Gryffindor. Gryffindor values are courage, chivalry and nerve, and as far as book-recommendations go: this might be the easiest house to recommend for. Gryffindor-characters make perfect protagonists as their traits drive the plot forwards and are often inspirational and exciting to readers. For that reason, for the longest time, it was hard to find a protagonist in Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopian or even contemporary novels that wasn’t a Gryffindor. I still did my best to create a varied list of books spanning multiple genre’s that will speak to your lionheart.
What it’s about: The first in an African inspired YA fantasy novel about a headstrong heroine on a quest to restore magic to her kingdom after the decadelong suppression of her fellow-maji.
Matching O.W.L. prompts: History of Magic
Why Gryffindor? As with many YA-fantasy novels, this one is all about bravery, battling injustice and fighting for what’s right. Our protagonist has all the trades of a Gryffindor, and her daring magical journey will be sure to satisfy your adventure-craving heart.
What it’s about: Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black. Making a living off smuggling objects from one London to the other, Kell finds himself in trouble when he unknowingly transports the wrong object and his usual plan goes awry…
Matching O.W.L. prompts: charms, history of magic.
Why Gryffindor? Many have hailed the Shades of Magic series as an ”adult Harry Potter”, and although I don’t quite agree, I still think this has a huge appeal to many Gryffindor readers. The characters, the story ,the magic, and most importantly the adventure…
What it’s about: Kamzin has always dreamed of becoming one of the emperor’s royal explorers, the elite climbers tasked with mapping the wintry, mountainous Empire and spying on its enemies. Her chance comes in unexpected form when her sister Lusha finds herself in a treacherous situation a top the highest mountain in the empire. Kamzin embarks on a rescue mission to the top of Mount Ruksha, risking life and limb to save her sister.
Matching O.W.L. prompts: transfigurations (yes, there are shapeshifters in this book!)
Why Gryffindor? Gryffindors are adventurous people by heart, and what could be more adventurous than a high-stake expedition to the uncharted territory of a remote mountain peak…?
What it’s about: A creepy middlegrade tale of a girl who finds a passage that leads to another house identical to her own, complete with “another mother” and “another father”. She soon finds out that the other house may not be exactly identical, nor are the motives of the other parents…
Matching O.W.L. prompts: Astronomy (this truly is the perfect book to read at night), Potions (depending on the edition)
Why Gryffindor? You might not have expected Coraline to be on this list, yet if you’ve read it, you know this story has a message that’s all about learning to be brave, that will speak to many a Gryffindor.
What it’s about: The coming of age story of 16-year old black girl Star, who learns to find her voice after witnessing the death of her best friend due to racially biased police brutality.
Matching O.W.L. prompts: charms, muggle studies.
Why Gryffindor? Because Stars brave battle for what’s right is sure to inspire many a Gryffindor.
a. What it’s about: In this sci-fi underdog story we follow Spensa, who desperately wants to become a pilot, the most honourable profession in her society that is under constant attack from alien starfighters. Here dream is held back by the shadow of her father, a former pilot who was stripped of his honour after being deemed a coward. When Spensa enters into flight school, she is determined to give it her all and show the world that she is nothing like him.
b. Matching O.W.L. prompts: arithmancy (how many people are intimidated by sci-fi?)
c. Why Gryffindor? In this society, bravery and daring are the highest valued commodities among citizens, making this a perfect home for fellow Gryffindors. On top of that, our main character has these traits galore, at times to a fault…
What it’s about: Alternating between the perspective of a missing 16-year old girl and true crime podcast host who’s covering her case, we follow the story of Sadie, on a quest for justice for her little sister and revenge on the man who killed her.
Matching O.W.L. prompts: charms, muggle studies
Why Gryffindor? Whilst Sadie covers a number of different and often dark topics, it’s at its core a story about justice and doing whatever it takes to get it. Sadie’s journey is one fuelled by bravery, loyalty towards her sister and the ultimate determination to sacrifice whatever it takes to set things right.
What it’s about: 13-year old Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there's a visitor at his window. It's ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth…
Matching O.W.L. prompts: Herbology, Muggle Studies
Why Gryffindor? Because Conor may not be battling literal dragons, but he’s facing the most horrifying monster of all, grief, head on. In my humble opinion, there are few characters out there that show more bravery than this wonderful boy.
What it’s about: This non-fiction work by Joseph Campbell discusses his theory of the mythological structure of the journey of the archetypal hero found in world myths.
Matching O.W.L. prompts: Arithmancy (I don’t know too many people whom favourite genre is non-fiction), Charms.
Why Gryffindor? Gryffindors make for the perfect Fantasy hero’s, mostly because their traits make them perfect for driving forth the plot of a classic Hero’s Journey. If you’re curious as to why: you have to read this book. Warning: might change the way you view fantasy stories forever…
I hope these books gave you some inspiration on what to read next, whether that be for the O.W.L.s readathon, or just any-day reading during the current quarantine. I will be back tomorrow with the second part of this series: my recommendations for House Slytherin.