Episode 208: Sorting – Whatever, Hat

Good news! Our website is back (hooray!) and so, let’s celebrate with a feast of Hogwarts Welcome Feast proportions! And speaking of the Hogwarts Welcome Feast, it’s time to have a sit on that three legged stool and give ourselves to the safe hands (though it has none) of the Sorting Hat! Join hosts Kat, Michael, and Alison along with guest host MuggleNet staffer Beth Warsaw, as they riddle their way through the tricky business that is the Hogwarts Sorting system.

On Episode 208 we discuss…

→ Why is Hogwarts still Sorting?
→ The Hat is always right…or it thinks it is
→ Hat Stall: I do not think that means what you think it means
→ Should families really end up in the same House?
→ Controversial Sortings
→ Lockhart: is he really blue and bronze?
→ Let’s speculate on some Houses!

To listen to the show, simply click the player below or direct download the episode. You can also subscribe to us on iTunes. For more information about the podcast and to find out how to be on the show, check out our Be On The Show! page.

Skype users can send us a message to username AlohomoraMN. And as always, be sure to continue the discussion below!

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On this recap we discuss…

→ Dumbledore did what was right, not easy
→ How could Dumbledore’s sexuality have been included in the books?
→ A balancing of House traits

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  • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

    Hurrah, the site is back! Way to go Alohomora team! 50 points to all your houses!

    Before we get back to the business of serious discussion.. we know our hosts’ houses, but how about we commenters? What’s everybody’s house? Proud Ravenclaw here.

    • ousley

      Also Ravenclaw!

      I was sure of it long before the Sorting Quizzes online were a thing. I remember sometime in the era between GOF and OOTP there was a “Hogwarts House Cup” game on a Star Wars message board I posted on (can it get more nerdy than that around age 13? haha) and I always made sure I got my bid in for Ravenclaw right away before each edition of the game.

      Every single sorting quiz on the internet since that time has confirmed it. I was so nervous with the Pottermore one just because it’s the most “official” and doesn’t have obviously guided questions but it worked out fine.

      I’m also a Pukwudgie on Pottermore. So is my wife – who is a Hufflepuff on Pottermore. I think Pukwudgie definitely has some overlap between those two. I’m looking into going back to school for a master’s in psychology for mental health and rehabilitative counseling within the next year or so, which I suppose qualifies under the “heart and healer” description with a Ravenclaw twist.

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        Oh my gosh, we are like sorting twins! I’m also in Pukwudgie (though I’m not as sure why, still trying to figure that one out) and I definitely identified with Ravenclaw since book one. Never been sorted into anything else either. I did once retake the Pottermore quiz, giving all the answers that were close second choices to my original ones and ended up in Hufflepuff, so you may be onto something with a connection between those 3 houses. Plus, the sorting hat did say that Rowena and Helga were especially good friends 🙂

        • ousley

          I did some google searching about overlapping houses and came across this – https://65.media.tumblr.com/baeb3b17cf68ff2b4d4937e44f9d3941/tumblr_o9l9rlH75X1qgpm1mo1_500.jpg

          I can go back and forth between which “type” of Ravenclaw I am, and that one website that has every possible Pottermore question put Hufflepuff as my #2, so it makes sense at least from personal experience.

          (Ravenclaw 74% match; Hufflepuff 34% match; Gryffindor 30% match; Slytherin 27% match).

          • Lisa

            According to that image, my Ilvermorny house makes very little sense. I’m a Pukwudgie but a Slytherin on Pottermore and basically any other sorting test I’ve ever taken. I love my Slytherin house and identify with it a lot (life is nothing without ambition, IMO). All characters I love are Slytherins so yeah, it suits perfectly. However, I call bs on Pukwudgie. I really don’t think I’m any kind of soulful healer with a bleeding heart. Just no. But anyway, I don’t really like anything from the Fantastic Beasts universe so I’m happy ignoring Ilvermorny and everything to do with it 😛

          • ousley

            I’ve rationalized being Pukwudgie instead of Horned Serpent (and leaning more Hufflepuff than Slytherin) as the ways in which I use my intellect.

            Because on the surface, “mind scholars” seems more accurate on that overlap than “heart healers” because my initial reaction was also “I’m not a bleeding heart liberal!” I also have ambitions, but maybe not in the way that they’re defined by Slytherin.

            I have a tendency to be a “fixer” which I guess is kind of like a healer, but with logic and wisdom and “real talk” instead of baking cookies and crying with you. I want to find the roots of problems and a logical solution to them. I go to a book or tutorial for the answer to whatever is going on.

            But at the end of the day, I do it because deep down I care deeply, even if I’m terrible at expressing actual human emotions (lol).

            On Myers-Briggs I’m an INTJ – I’d be curious to see if there’s a Houses vs MB Types chart somewhere. *runs off to google

          • ousley

            Ah, here we go – https://infogr.am/Myers-Briggs-vs-Hogwarts-House – based on actual survey results!

            INTJ: 57% respondents Ravenclaw; 23.02% Slytherin; 13.49% Gryffindor; 6.35% Hufflepuff;

            It also shows that 27.8% of all Ravenclaws are INTJ which seems pretty statistically significant with 16 choices.

            Which is also interesting because by those methods I’m much closer to Ravenclaw-Slytherin.

          • Lisa

            There seems to be quite a lot of introverts in most houses (probably because many HP fans are introverts). I see Gryffindor as a quite extroverted house and possibly also Hufflepuff. It makes sense that many Ravenclaws would be INTJ.

            Hmmm maybe there is some interesting psychology behind these sorting tests. The questions on Pottermore are not as leading as in other less official sorting tests, like “Do you like power?” for example which clearly gives a Slytherin point to any positive answer. I would be interested in reading about how she created the questions.

          • ousley

            Yeah I would definitely guess results are at least somewhat skewed because the people most likely to be online looking at Myers-Briggs vs. Hogwarts house connections are proooooobably introverts haha.

            I would definitely label Gryffindor as the most extroverted and Ravenclaw as the most introverted. The other two could probably be about half-and-half on that scale.

            And yeah lol at the buzzfeed style quizzes that are like “Which would you rather do in your free time a) be a Quidditch star b) read a book c) open the chamber of secrets d) have tea and donuts”

    • I’m a Slytherin and a Pukwudgie. I think it’s a excellent combination quite honestly. With the ambition from Slytherin and the healing heart from Pukwudgie, it makes me want to fight harder for the things I believe in but do so empathetically.

    • the head girl

      Slytherin/Thunderbird. I self-identified as a Ravenclaw for a really long time and nearly had an identity crisis when Pottermore put me in Slytherin. It has turned out to be a way better fit for me – I want the best, and education and knowledge (while very important to me) are tools on the way up.

      I was immediately delighted with Thunderbird because my (Gryffindor/Pukwudgie) husband and I are big travellers. While my idea of ‘adventure’ is staying in a hotel with slow Wi-Fi, I still want to get out there and see everything.

      • RegulusBlackout

        Slytherin/Thunderbird? That’s such a cool house combo!! For some reason I’m imagining a pirate navigator at the helm over a stormy, dark green sea…

        • the head girl

          I can definitely guarantee that that is 100% my life. 😉

      • SlytheriNZ

        Yay, I’m also a Slytherin/Thunderbird combo who thought she was a Ravenclaw! However, I cackled when I got my Slytherin Sorting! I am ambitious, with high academic standards (I got straight A’s this year), but I’m also a bit of a rebel (I don’t do things just because that’s what has always been done), and very loyal to my friends.
        Yes, I like the Adventurer part of Thunderbird – I spent three years working and travelling in China, after all!

        • SlytheriNZ

          Oh yes, and my Patronus is an Aardvark, which amuses me immensely!

        • the head girl


          How cool that you spent so much time in China! I’m so jealous. (Must be the Thunderbird talking, haha!) Also, aardvarks are great! The one at our zoo spends all of its time snoozing in a barrel. Not a bad time!

    • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

      Ravenclaw & Thunderbird, which translates to “I like my adventures indoorsy”
      Do any of you know the joke about the shortcut sorting question about the locked door? It works surprisingly often.

    • RegulusBlackout

      Gryffindor/Thunderbird here! I was kind of surprised, considering the bold and extroverted stereotype of the Gryffindors, because that certainly does not apply to me.

      I’m INFP, which fits well with the Gryffindor tendency to be stubbornly defensive of a strict set of ideals and values, but pretty laid back with the day-to-day business of life.

  • Victor

    I think that when it comes to the subject of houses, there is a little bit of all the houses in most of us. The only question is how much? I don’t think that the houses as reflections of one’s personality traits and the values that one holds are categorical in nature, but rather occur on a continuum. I don’t think the house that you are sorted in is all or nothing. For example, someone might be 5% Gryffindor, 15% Hufflepuff, 30% Slytherin, and 50% Ravenclaw. As Ravenclaw constitutes the highest proportion, the sorting hat would place that person into Ravenclaw; however, they still have elements of the other houses in them (how ever much or little).

    Hatstalls occur when a person does not have a clear majority because two or more houses have been aligned with similar degrees of proportion. For example, if someone is 10% Slytherin, 10% Hufflepuff, 40% Ravenclaw, and 40% Gryffindor, I’d imagine that the sorting hat would be faced with a conundrum. Where should such a person be sorted? Ravenclaw or Gryffindor?

    As to the subject of why people from the same family tend to be sorted into the same house, my supposition is that there are several factors which determine the probability that you will be sorted into any house. These factors, contain one’s genetic makeup, environmental factors, and other random factors unaccounted for.

    When it comes to the pure-blood families, it is implied (I say implied because the contrary is never stated), that most children are homeschooled. This would probably minimise any environmental influences. Also, if both parents were in the same house then the proportion of variability in the probabilities of an individual being placed in any one of the four Hogwarts houses, I think increases.

    Anomalies do occur though, such as Sirius. I don’t know what caused him to stray from the family line, but I think that the favouritism that was shown to Regulus played a part. As for muggle-born families, they unlike pure-bloods come to Hogwarts (mostly) unbiased, or perhaps less biased and predisposed to have an affinity for any of the houses than, for example, the Malfoys. Of course, biasing can occur in muggle-borns. We saw it with the Creevey brothers. Colin’s enthusiasm and excitement rubbed off on Dennis, who was already biased towards Gryffindor before he even set foot in Hogwarts.

    If genetic makeup is an important factor in considering the house that someone is likely to be in then why are the Patil twins sorted into different houses? The most likely reason I think that they were hatstalls and it is by chance that the sorting hat chose to resolve their hatstalling in different ways. Another reason I can think of is that the Patil twins are either muggle-born, or half-blood, so may have gone to a muggle school and interacted with muggles, perhaps making different friends (here, the environmental influence kicks in). Ot might also be the case that the twins wanted to be seen as individuals, so that once Padma was sorted into Ravenclaw, Parvati wanted to distinguish herself from her twin sister and be seen as her own person, which led to her being sorted into Gryffindor.

    For my part, I’m a Hufflepuff and proud to be it!

  • ousley

    #TeamBeth on basically every point of contention throughout the episode.

    Anyway –

    We’re somewhat spoiled as readers of the universe as getting to know the “heroes” and “villains” of historical significance in the story.

    For the average 11 year old entering Hogwarts just to get an education at a time of peace, it’s probably his or her first significant categorization in life. Kids at that age are heavily influenced by labels. For those who go in having no preconception of what house they should be in, they’re likely to embrace the label they’re given and ultimately go through self-fulfilling prophecy – “well, I”m a Gryffindor, so I must be supposed to do ___ in this situation.” It also jump starts their finding of friend groups – they say you’re the average of your five closest friends.

    Aside from our slanted view of Slytherin during the time the books are based on, the upside is that these can all be positive reinforcement for the kids. There’s nothing wrong with telling a kid, “well, you’re most likely to be loyal and a hard worker” or “you’re most likely to be very studious” or “you’re likely to be an ambitious leader” and so on.

    Unfortunately what happens more often in the real world is that kids are called stupid and fat and etc and they start embracing those labels and just end up in a downward spiral. “Well, I’m stupid so I”m not gonna pass this anyway,” “well I’m just a fatty so I might as well eat more cake.”

    But house selection will definitely will have lasting effects on kids who are shaped during those years.

    And while no, they probably won’t introduce themselves as “First Name Last Name – House” when they’re 40, there could still be distinct advantages later in life. Companies with leaders who went to a certain school or were in a certain fraternity/sorority are much more likely to pull a resume of someone with the same credentials – they’re automatically more easy to relate to and find common ground with and it gives more insight into their history. I could see the same in the wizarding world – you have 4 applicants, one from each house, to a position working for a Gryffindor, he’s probably more likely to pick the Gryffindor, even if it’s not blatantly stated or used as official qualifications.

    • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

      you’re right about the tendency of people to hire persons who are similiar to them. They may not even do it consciously.

      Another example how your house influences your career after school: depending on your house you will get to know different people and families, with ties to different jobs and fields. And while there are standards and requirements for professions like aurors and healers, part of the process of finding your place is knowing your options. Especially muggleborn students who spend their holidays in the muggle world get more opportunities to see more of the magical community if they spend time with their friends from all-magical families.

      • Lisa

        “you’re right about the tendency of people to hire persons who are similiar to them. They may not even do it consciously.”

        Yup, it’s mostly subconsciously but it’s a huge problem when it comes to hiring because more often than not it leads to discrimination of those who are “not similar” enough to the boss. Of course with matters such as sorting, you can probably just hide your house or refuse to answer when asked about it (Gryffindors probably don’t hire many Slytherins, and vice versa). It’s harder to hide your gender or skin color though, if we’re talking real life examples.

  • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

    While I agree that Lockhart is a Ravenclaw, I disagree with the statement that he didn’t harm the students.
    He harmed them all, because they were deprived of real DADA lessons for a year. Add that to the year’s worth of lessons that Umbridge stole most of the students, and those two missing years may have caused deaths. Some of the students might have survived the Battle of Hogwarts with two more years of learning and practice.

    • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

      and, replying to myself because it’s about Lockhart, too:
      I don’t like the new info that Lockhart thought he was special because his mom treated him that way. He was perfectly fine being a douche all on his own without a woman in his backstory to put the blame on. It parallels the backstory of many charactetrs whose behaviour and intentions are explained by their mothers’ “failings” and I have read enough of that trope already.

      • ousley

        I feel like he exemplifies “participation trophy” mindset and then couldn’t handle not getting an award when he got older and so he started stealing them from everyone else…

    • I completely agree that Lockhart harmed people. I’m currently rereading CoS, and I’m at the part where Harry and Ron go to him when Ginny is taken down into the Chamber and he’s trying to flee. That is definitely harmful to others. For me, I feel like that is how he was with all his other stories. He caused harm in one way or another. Casting memory charms definitely does and can do harm.

  • DisKid

    I get what you’re saying on hatstalls via Pottermore. That, technically speaking, a hatstall is when your sorting takes longer than 5 minutes so you shouldn’t be unless it took that long for you to do the quiz. I don’t think it’s that simple, or even a good idea, to distinguish hatstalls like that when it comes to Pottermore. Pottermore is a user interactive website, not a talking hat that does it on it’s own. So I think it’s understandable that a time rule is out of the question for the website lol everybody could make themselves hatstalls by taking a while to answer the questions or by having a slow computer. I think Pottermore was given it’s own way of doing hatstalls via programming because it’s too difficult to do it by time when it’s a website. Somebody could just get up and go to the bathroom and be a hatstall before even selecting their first answer. I always interpreted a hatstall on Pottermore to mean, if you were really being sorted by the sorting hat, you would have been there for more than 5 minutes. This just isn’t really the sorting hat (sorry to kill the magic guys!) so a website can’t base hatstalls by the same standard. It’s by programming, not time.

    But I totally see your point that the website has seemed to have made hatstalls more common. I think the answer to that is sorting is much more difficult than JK Rowling thought about until her world progressed and people in real life began to get “sortings”. Not to say she thought they were simple, we see that with many characters including the main one, but I don’t think she gave thought about how many people in real life would be very complicated for the sorting hat to sort. Too many people have a mix of values and characteristics. I back this up with, you guys are correct, JK Rowling has been a little inconsistent in regards to the sorting hat. In an interview in 2005 she was asked if the sorting hat had ever been wrong (by Emerson Spartz of Mugglenet btw) she said “no” without hesitation and asked him for theories. He said he had several, but she confirmed once again that “no it’s never been wrong”. It wasn’t until Pottermore when this seemed to be a bit more muddled.

    I think that’s what happened with Pottermore. That they realized, while doing this programming for the hat, that hatstalls aren’t going to be as rare as they are supposed to be. Selecting the house at the end (not everybody gets their choice, I don’t know if this was common knowledge among the hosts so I thought I’d point that out) is the indicator that you are a hatstall when it comes to Pottermore, but that is probably because website is sorting real people. Not characters written by JK Rowling. This makes hatstalls more common as that’s how complicated sorting would be if it was real. Goodness; that’s why we’re having this discussion in the first place!

    I’m still going to always feel like Pottermore was right on me being a 4-way hatstall cause I’m a complicated person with too many mixed up values and qualities with each of the houses so I agree with pottermore that I was a “what in the world are we going to do with you??” person so it all came down to what choice would I make in the end, kind of like Dumbledore said. I also do happen to fit the time rule ironically. It took me about 8 minutes to finish as I had trouble deciding on answers for the questions. Maybe that’s the point of a hatstall, that a true hatstall would have trouble checking a box for an answer.

    • ousley

      The millions of people who have taken the Pottermore quiz version is also a much, much larger sample size than what would be going on at Hogwarts – and assumedly much more diverse as “well my whole family has been Slytherin for generations” isn’t an option here.

      Even with JKR’s “math” of 1000 students that’s about 143 new students per year. If we go through the ~75 years that cover the time frame in which there’s been 2 hat stalls “that were known personally to Harry” (implying there certainly could have been more; not like he knew that many people) – that’s 2 out of 10,725 new students or .019%.

      But if 20 million people have taken the Pottermore version that’s still going to be 3,800 hat stalls in the past few years. That doesn’t seem unreasonable.

      • DisKid

        Very true! The number of hatstalls may very well be right where it’s supposed to be on pottermore with the 20 million users at least on there. Don’t have the exact numbers of course, but you are right that with so many people being sorted that would make for more hatstalls even with JK Rowling’s ratio.

  • the head girl

    Regarding Peter, I wonder if the Hat put him in Gryffindor in an attempt to save him from himself. Maybe while it was on his head, it saw his cowardice, his need to be around stronger people, etc., but it may have also seen the ittiest bittiest spark of courage. Maybe it thought that it could put him in another House that would seem to suit him better and he would be fine, but it would be best for him to put him somewhere that would encourage and develop that bravery. That way at least he’d have a fighting chance to be something more.

    • Victor

      On the subject of Peter’s ‘cowardice’, I think that we are inclined to associate Gryffindor and ‘bravery’ with that which is ‘good’ because of the way that the books are narrated to us. Regardless of whether it was morally justified or not, Peter displayed a certain degree of bravery when he defected to Voldemort’s side, and turned spy against the Order. Becoming an animagus and exploring the school and surrounding grounds in the company of a werewolf could be considered brave as well.

      • RegulusBlackout

        Very true: Courage isn’t always in service of a good ideal. This is a man who amputated himself on two separate occasions in order to survive. That takes guts!

      • the head girl

        I definitely agree. Peter is hands-down one of the bravest characters in the entire series. As Dumbledore says in Sorcerer’s Stone, “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

  • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

    A polar bear patronus! I love that! It makes me think of the giant polar bear Iorek Byrnison from His Dark Materials. So cool.

  • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

    Now that I finally have some time for a more thoughtful post-
    As a quick refresher I read through each the Sorting Hat’s three songs and looking at them together that way, a couple things jumped out at me.

    In SS/PS and GOF, the Hat characterizes Hufflepuffs as just, patient, loyal, and hardworking but by OotP they are simply “the lot” and “the rest”. As much as we take exception with this, and even poke fun at it, I think it is meant to have a far more positive significance than we give it credit for, particularly when we look at it contextually.
    [ Said Slytherin, “We’all take just those
    Whose ancestry’s purest.”
    Said Ravenclaw, “We’ll teach those whose
    Intelligence is surest.”
    Said Gryffindor, “We’ll teach all those
    With brave deeds to their name.”
    Said Hufflepuff, “I’ll teach the lot
    And treat them just the same.”]
    This verse reveals that rather than creating the “leftovers” house, Helga Hufflepuff was the only Founder who actually cared about making sure ALL magical children got a fair shot at an education. Of the four founders, hers is easily the most noble of motivations. The hat describes how they all wanted to build the “world’s best magic school”, and while the others all focused on their own ideas of greatness, Helga understood that everyone could have potential for greatness in their own ways, if given the chance and encouragement they need. So credit given where credit is due here.

    It also occurred to me that Salazar’s interest in pure-bloods is never mentioned in the hat’s songs until the third one. In fact, it gets mentioned twice, while only one other Slytherin trait- cunning- gets a mention at all. Plot-wise, this history becomes more relevant by OotP, and the Hat’s intention is to warn the school, but I wonder if leaving the ancestry bit of Slytherin traits out previously, is meant to have been a conscious decision by the Hat in order to discourage those associations and discriminatory beliefs within Slytherin house. So how much agency does the Hat have then in its interpretation of house traits? Can the Hat choose to ignore that aspect of Salazar’s values, given its “programming”, so to speak? We see the Hat question whether it is even right to sort, yet answers that it must anyway. So the Hat is sentient enough to form its own options of right and wrong, but how much can it actually act on those opinions? Could it declare that bloodlines mean nothing but then still have to consider it when sorting Slytherin? Also, if the Hat did neglect to include it in the song for years, could it potentially affect change within the house’s own values, eventually leading to that particular line of thinking no longer being associated with Slytherin house?

    • Lisa

      Great point about Hufflepuff and Helga! Totally puts a more positive spin on an underestimated house.

      The Hat is a bureaucrat. It might have opinions but in the end it still has to implement policies “from above”. I don’t think it can completely ignore Slytherin’s pureblood rule. I mean, there must be students in Slytherin who aren’t purebloods simply because there aren’t enough purebloods left. Snape was a Slytherin and he was a Halfblood, not to mention Tom Riddle himself. But other than that, it probably has to consider both ambition and how much sympathy the kid (or their family) has towards pureblood values (rather than how pureblooded the child itself is).

      • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

        “The hat is a bureaucrat” – ha, this is perfect.

  • SlytheriNZ

    Kat said that Slytherins “aren’t afraid to step over other people to get where they need to be”, and as a Slytherin, I would like to disagree – I think she misread that section of the welcome message.
    The Hogwarts welcome message says that, quoting directly: ‘For instance, we Slytherins look after our own – which is more than you can say for Ravenclaw. Apart from being the biggest bunch of swots you
    ever met, Ravenclaws are famous for clambering over each other to get good marks, whereas we Slytherins are brothers.’
    I am loyal to my friends, and look after them as I am able. I am ambitious, but not at the cost to other people, and certainly not as Lockhart did, by taking the credit for someone else’s work! Lockhart fits the Ravenclaw description (as described by a Slytherin, of course) much more. We might have a reputation as inclined towards being mean…but reputation isn’t the same as fact (or Harry would actually be the Heir of Slytherin).

    • ThatTimeRemusWaddiwasiedVoldy

      I’m not sure I would agree with Kat that this is a trait of Slytherins as a whole, or that it is soley a Slytherin trait. However, I do think the idea of stepping over others to achieve success is in line with some individuals who are highly ambitious. So while I wouldn’t say ALL Slytherins do this, I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect some to, and be more likely to than the other houses. We do still see this in the other houses with Lockhart and McLaggen though, so again, it isn’t just a Slytherin thing.

      Also, I think the welcome letters are intended to be taken with a grain of salt. They are all rather boastful in claiming theirs to be the best house and they all get their jabs in at the other houses. There’s a great deal of bias written into those letters, so I wouldn’t take what one house says about another too seriously.

  • Yo Rufus On Fire

    Great discussion guys!

    I really liked the idea of sorting multiple times during a students time at school. It would switch things up, but every year sounds a like excessive. What if students were sorted on year 1, 3 and 5? That would give everyone a few years in that house to meet new people and establish new friendships. I think it would give students more appreciation for their houses and might unite the school as a whole. but I do have one concern about it. If they sorted every few years then i think there would be something called a sorting purist. It would be for someone that has been sorted into the same house each time. I find that Malfoy would fall into this category. He would pride on being sorted into the same house every time and would say that switching houses would be “dirty”. This would end up dividing the school. So while sorting multiples might be good for the school and students, it will also bring about other problems.

    • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

      no matter how students are divided into groups, they tend to associate with their own group and other the groups they are not in. to an extent that is expectable and not totally avoidable. The problems start when one group is constantly put down and hated on by the others. In Hogwarts there is the additional problem, that your house is so deeply connected to who you are and what you value, you have to deal with the attributions all the time.
      Re-sorting the students might help to unite the school. But I believe that a different way to organize the school and divide the years into smaller groups would be preferable to an enchanted item of clothing putting a label on everyone in their first hour in the castle. For example, starting with muggle studies as a compulsory subject in year one would make it possible to divide the students into groups: those with experience in the muggle world and those without. Everyone from nonmagical families gets the magical world crashcourse in their first year, the students from all-magical families have more lessons in muggle studies. Then you can re-sort in year two or three depending on the chosen elective subjects. Probably the students in the Ancient Runes group would still be mocked, but at least they chose to be in that group instead of being appointed by the hat.

      • Yo Rufus On Fire

        Yes, I agree that no matter what the students while automatically divide themselves up. People as a whole will categorize themselves. It’s just a thing that we do even if we aren’t even thinking about it. It is interesting to think if there is anyway to try to break that. But, it’s going to happen regardless.

        I really like the idea of the classes and then resorting by the subjects they like. It’s would be slightly like college? or maybe a tech school? Which subjects you choose puts you on your own path and sorts you in a house with like mind individuals that are going for the something. But! will that create more competition? Like maybe a previous Hufflepuff will rise to the occasion and become best in their studies? Or will the previous Ravenclaw just outshine everyone else in their studies because they were in Ravenclaw? And what would it look like to have a house with a previous Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Slytherin and Gryffindor? Would one try to tyrant over the others? Would fights break out? or would they live in peace and harmony?

        • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

          to an extent, the house rivalry and occasional collective contempt is a result of the adults not knowing how or not caring to keep it at a minimum. With a head of house like Snape the Slytherins won’t bother to be nice to the other houses. In my opinion, school counsellors would make all the difference, because they could not only help individual students, but make an effort to build the overarching school community – outside of dangerous tournaments.

  • Pickett_in_my_Pocket


    I have been thinking that maybe the house sorting doesn’t always relate to our personalities or actions, but more the qualities that we value and WHAT WE WANT TO BE KNOWN FOR.

    I am a hufflepuff. Even though on pottermore I was able to choose between that and slytherin, probably because i am very ambitious and bookish, I would like to be known best for my kindness and loyalty. Therefore, I am a hufflepuff.

    In regards to Lockhart, the fame he tried to seek was by being well known for his (fake) knowledge and prestige. Wormtail (and Neville really) may not have shown the qualities of gryffindor but valued and praised them and because of that, they were put in their house. So again, it may not be what we DO but more what we, ourselves, PRAISE.

    Let me know what you guys think!
    Love the show! listener since day one 🙂

    • HowAmIGoingToTranslateThis

      this is an interesting approach! one of the Sorting questions addresses this, somthing like “how do you want to be remembered?” and this question makes you think about your values.
      I’m not sure if it works as an identifier alone, but in my case it does: I want to be known as someone who accumulates knowledge in order to pass it on to those who need/want it -> Ravenclaw.

    • RegulusBlackout

      Great take, and true from my personal experience with sorting as well. It makes sense that the sorting hat assigns houses based on the values of each student, rather than their abilities or actions. I think this is evident from almost every sorting we read about, actually, from Hermione, Harry, every single Weasley,

      This also sheds an interesting light on why so many families all end up in the same house. People from the same household can have vastly different personalities, but are usually raised under similar traditions, morals, and values. So even though the Weasleys differ vastly in terms of behavior and actions, they all end up in Gryffindor. While Neville does not seem to show any Gryffindor traits at first, he is still placed in the house because he grew up with his grandmother constantly reminding him of his parents’ heroism, and so is constantly told to aspire to bravery and sacrifice.

      And even though Tom Riddle and Snape were half-bloods, the Salazar part of the Hat still accepted them into Slytherin because these boys valued and aspired to Slytherin qualities. Even in terms of blood status, it seems that the belief in blood supremacy is almost as if not more important to Slytherin than actually being a pureblood.

  • #4HouseHatstallProblems

    In regard to the houses equivalents in the muggle world, historically black fraternities and sororities are absolutely the muggle equivalent. In the black frat/sorority world there are nine main organizations that have a proud history, may run in families and have both positive and negative stereotypes that attract specific types of personalities.
    Parents usually urge their children toward the same group. There are many families, like the Weasley’s, where all men/women are in the same organization. Members have deep pride in the organization to which they belong and it can be quite cliche, if a son/daughter chooses a different organization than they parent. These organizations all have lifetime memberships where no one member is allowed to change and/or join another frat/sorority. In this culture, similarly to what happens at Hogwarts and Ilvermony, the presentation of new members is secret/unknown to the public until a public presentation ceremony. At schools it is normal for members of all organizations attend these public shows to greet the new members and welcome them into “greekdom.” In these presentations, each individual is covered up, reveals themselves to great applause and dances with fellow members of the group. Once it is known publicly that one is in one of these frat/sororities, that member is prejudged based on the stereotypes, both good and bad, of the organization. The person represents that organization for life and in theory has friends in that organization for life just like the wizarding world houses. Members choose to hangout with those other member of the same organization as they work so much with them on extracurricular activities.

    After school in the real world, there is a very strong connection between members in these groups. I would even go as far to say that there is a connect and sense of comfort with members of different groups, eg meeting someone who went to Hogwarts but was in a different house.