However, since audiences seem to be craving epic battles to the death, let's see what would happen if there was a hunger games of sorts at Hogwarts. But instead of starting another fight among human children, let's try pitting animals--the animals representing each Hogwarts house--against each other.
Lion: Gryffindor House
The King of Beasts needs little introduction. Lions usually hunt in groups, chasing down large animals like zebras, wildebeest, and buffalo. Female lions do most of the hunting since they are more aggressive by nature.
Eagle: Ravenclaw House
Surprisingly, the Ravenclaw house animal is not, in fact, a raven but an eagle. This bodes well for Ravenclaw in this fight since ravens are a lot smaller and less fierce than some species of eagles.
To make it a fair fight, let's say the Ravenclaw eagle is a martial eagle, the largest eagle in Africa. The martial eagle can have a wingspan greater than seven feet, and it has a diverse diet that includes birds, reptiles, and mammals.
Snake: Slytherin House
Without much indication in the books, there are a lot of possible snake species that could represent Slytherin. Again, to even the odds, let's make the Slytherin champion a black mamba. This snake is one of the fastest and most venomous in the world. Also, like many Slytherin students, the black mamba is very defensive and aggressive.
Badger: Hufflepuff House
The European badgers that are native to England are pretty wimpy. In a fight, their first reaction is to run or to hide their head in their paws. So let's consider a more tenacious species--the honey badger. Though it's small, this badger is extremely feisty. In fact, it was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the "World's Most Fearless Animal".
In order to determine which animal has the best chance winning, let's see what would happen if the champions were to duel to the death in pairs.
Lion vs. Eagle
The martial eagle can prey on animals a lot larger than itself. It feeds on many mammals including baboons, antelope, and, yes, the occasional lion cub.
However, it would be a bit of stretch to think that an eagle could kill a full-grown lion. More likely, the lion would use its superior size and strength to its advantage. The martial eagle would probably suffer a similar fate to a golden eagle that was killed by lions (in front of horrified patrons) at the Vancouver Zoo.
Lion vs. Badger
Though lions are clearly the larger animal, don't underestimate the honey badger. Honey badgers often take on larger animals. In fact, several accounts tell of honey badgers scaring lions and leopards away from their kills.
This stealing may be achieved with a rather unusual technique--the little rascals have been known to go for the scrotum of larger male animals during conformation. But despite their ingenuity and moxie, honey badgers are often killed by lions.
Lion vs. Snake
A black mamba's venom is very toxic. Untreated bites have a 100% mortality rate in humans, and death can occur in as little as twenty minutes.
Mambas get very aggressive when they are cornered or when something comes between them and their prey. In these situations, they have been known to attack and kill full-grown lions.
Basically, a lion would be crazy to mess with a defensive mamba, and if it did, the outcome would not be good. Take a look at what happened when a lion family camped too close to a territorial cobra, which are less venomous and aggressive than mambas (skip to 2:00).
Eagle vs. Snake
Though black mambas slither very fast--reaching speeds up to 12.5 miles per hour--they are no match for a flying animal. Martial eagles regularly kill and gobble up mambas. In fact, mambas and other reptiles make up a whole 38% of the bird's diet.
Eagle vs. Badger
Honey badgers may have a good relationship with one species of bird--the greater honeyguide. Supposedly the honeyguide leads the badger to a bee hive, and the badger tears into the hive with its claws. Then they both feast on the honey and larvae inside. However, there is little empirical evidence of this relationship, making many scientists skeptical.
Regardless, interactions between a honey badger and a martial eagle wouldn't be nearly as friendly. As stated above, the eagles often kill mammals even larger than honey badgers. However, given that the honey badger is an especially fierce mammal, the match would be pretty even.
Snake vs. Badger
Seeing as lions are likely to be bested by black mambas, you may be surprised to learn that honey badgers would not only hold their own against the mambas but most likely win. The difference is that honey badgers regularity hunt and eat mambas as part of their diet.
In fact, honey badgers are built for hunting snakes. In addition to their sharp claws and teeth, they have very thick skin, which protects them from bites. Also, some research has also shown that the badgers may actually have immunity to some snake venom.
Check out this mind-blowing video of a honey badger eating a puff adder (skip to 2:15 for the cool part).
Let's see how the champions fared. For simplicity's sake, each animal gets one point for a win, zero points for a loss, and a half a point if the match is a toss-up.
Of course, actual battle conditions and multiple animals fighting at once would change the outcome of this fight considerably. But it seems that good old Gryffindor would most likely emerge victorious. However, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw may have good shot too.
But when it gets down to it, who really cares which house comes out on top--as long as it's not Slytherin?