Dumbledore awarding the house cup to Gryffindor in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was justified due to a Snape retcon. Audiences have started to second guess several moments in the Harry Potter series as time goes on. One moment that audiences now see from a different perspective is at the end of Sorcerer’s Stone when Dumbledore awards enough house points to Gryffindor, and they beat Slytherin for the House Cup. While originally a triumphant moment for the heroes that made the audience cheer, now Dumbledore’s ulterior motives and sense of favoritism are being called into question.
With Dumbledore’s manipulative and calculating ways being explored deeper in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, audiences have come to see this moment as Dumbledore purposely taking the House Cup away from Slytherin, who had rightfully earned it, and instead giving it to his favorite student Harry Potter. However, a Severus Snape retcon from the books explains this supposed bias of Dumbledore’s. In the books, Snape is notorious for showing his own house Slytherin special treatment while unfairly docking points from other houses, particularly Gryffindor, for no reason at all. For years, this would skew the points in Slytherin’s direction, which was unfair to the other houses. With this in mind, Gryffindor would have earned a lot more points at the end of the year if they were treated the same as the Slytherins by Snape.
Even with Snape’s behavior changed for the films, Dumbledore ultimately made the right decision. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Neville may have been awarded their points last minute, but they still rightfully earned them. Ron and Hermione earned 50 points each for bravely helping Harry get past the obstacles guarding the Sorcerer’s Stone and remaining loyal to their friend till the end. Harry earned 60 points for facing Professor Quirrell and Voldemort head-on and protecting the stone, while Neville earned 10 points for standing up to the main trio and attempting to stop them from getting into trouble. All four students showed courage and intellect way beyond their years and as the events happened right at the end of the school year, it makes sense for their points to be awarded last minute.
There are other instances of Gryffindor winning the House Cup in the other Harry Potter books. Gryffindor managed to win the cup in the second, third and fourth books with feats ranging from winning the Triwizard Tournament to saving the school to winning Quidditch. In the films, however, the House Cup competition is not given any attention at all after the first film. For the rest of the film series, there are less than a handful of occasions where a student, generally Hermione, is awarded points and there is not one mention of which house wins the House Cup.
Looking at films differently or questioning a character’s choices is natural with a giant series like the Harry Potter films, and Dumbledore is a character whose decisions should be severely questioned when looked back on. However, his choice to award Gryffindor enough points to win the House Cup in The Sorcerer’s Stone was quite minor compared to other choices he has made. Ultimately, Dumbledore awarded students who deserved it and in the grand scale of the Harry Potter series, who wins the House Cup is a matter that became less and less important as time went on.