Hi, Muggles!

Welcome to Muggles and Mocha! If you’re new here, welcome to our nerdy book club, where we’re breaking down the Harry Potter books chapter by chapter.

Today, we’re talking about chapter seven, “The Sorting Hat.” We’ll discuss the idea of sorting in general (such a cool idea on J.K.’s part) as well as break down all four Hogwarts houses. This article is going to be full of fun information about each house and my thoughts on them. Let’s dive in.

In this week’s video, I rant and rant about these houses, and we have an awesome visitor—my husband Bishop, who defends Slytherin, his house. It’s a fun video full of laughs, so be sure to check that out.

As Harry walks into the Great Hall for the first time, he’s terrified about how he will be sorted into a house, afraid he’s about to encounter some sort of test. Approaching the front of the hall with the other nervous first years, he sets eyes on the last object he would have expected—a grubby hat sitting on a stool. Little does he know, he’s looking at one of the most intelligent objects in the wizarding world: the famous Sorting Hat.

We learn quite a bit about this hat throughout the series and within outside material J.K. Rowling has written about it. The following is what I’ve learned from an article Rowling wrote on the subject. In a nutshell, the hat was imbued with the intelligence of the four founders and sorts students into the various houses based on the founders’ preferences. It’s a skilled legilimens and is able to divine the inner workings of a person’s mind and soul. If you were to try it on, it would probably know more about you than you do!

Along with knowing everything about you, the Sorting Hat also seems to keep up with the times. I personally love the different songs he sings, and it seems they change depending on what’s going on in the wizarding world, or at least when it’s in danger. For instance, in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the Sorting Hat sings a different sort of song where he warns the school that they must stick together. Smart cookie.

The hat is able to decide relatively quickly which house a student belongs in, but as we see, some students can sometimes fit into other houses. We also learn the students’ preferences and choices are taken into account. Nowhere is this clearer for us than with Harry. The Sorting Hat briefly considers putting Harry in Slytherin which, I believe, was based on Harry’s “nice thirst to prove himself.” However, he leans with Harry, and instead of Slytherin, Harry is placed in Gryffindor.

We won’t linger on this very long (we definitely will in the second book!), but this follows Harry throughout his journey at Hogwarts, especially in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. He worries about whether or not he truly belongs in Slytherin and struggles with the similarities between himself and Voldemort. In the end, we see Harry does belong right where he is (our choices show who we truly are, right?). But it is interesting to consider that we all most likely have different personality traits that can place us in multiple houses.

Sometimes, this decision is so difficult for the Sorting Hat that he takes more than five minutes, which is called a “hatstall.” The only hatstalls we know of are actually Professor McGonagall, who was considered for both Gryffindor and Ravenclaw (no surprises there), and Peter Pettigrew, who was almost put in Slytherin. I guess the hat saw he was a bit more conniving than the rest of us did.

I think this method of placing students in different houses is very fun, unique, and interesting, and I’m so happy with Rowling’s choice! From what we see of the other wizarding schools, each one has a different way of doing this, and Ilvermorny is particularly neat as well. We’ll dive into each of those schools in the future!

If you haven’t yet, take the sorting test on Wizarding World! Post your results in the comments below and keep reading to learn more about your house.  

As we know, the Sorting Hat places people in the four Hogwarts houses named after the school’s founders, who just happened to have extremely catchy names: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. We’ll be covering a lot of information about each of these, and if you have any questions or additional thoughts about them, please post them in the comments!

We’ll dissect each of them in the order I mentioned (no biases, I promise! I know Gryffindor usually goes first…). The following content is a mixture of information from the books, Wizarding World, and the Harry Potter Fandom website. I’ll be including links to those sites as we go as needed. Additionally, I’ll be writing my own opinions about the houses and how they’re portrayed. I’d love to hear your thoughts on them, too, so don’t hesitate to comment or reach out.

With that, let’s get started!

GRYFFINDOR

  • Mascot: Lion
  • Colors: Scarlet and gold
  • Famous people we know:
    • Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, James and Lily Potter, Sirius Black, Albus Dumbledore, Minerva McGonagall, Rubeus Hagrid, all the Weasleys… also J.K. Rowling. So, like everyone?
  • Traits (based on the Sorting Hat’s song in Chapter 7):
    • Courage
    • Chivalry
    • Daring
    • Nerve
  • Other cool info:
    • Its corresponding element is fire, which is reflected in the students’ personalities as well as their common room. This is true for all the houses!
    • This house has an intense rivalry. Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff don’t really have rivalries like this, but Gryffindor and Slytherin are constantly at odds. This started at the very beginning with the founders themselves; Salazar Slytherin eventually left the school after a fight with Godric Gryffindor.
    • They seem to win everything and are always seen as the “noble” house throughout the books.
  • Main source

My thoughts:

Honestly… I like Gryffindor! I know a lot of people sometimes believe they’re overrated simply because of how much J.K. Rowling emphasizes them. But think about it—Harry is in Gryffindor. Our protagonist. So of course his house would be the focus the majority of the time, and most of the people we meet (as a result of Harry’s surroundings) will be in Gryffindor as well, especially in the early books. That’s who he’s meeting and spending his time with. Plus, J.K. Rowling is in Gryffindor as well, so she’d be partial.

Even though this is the house that’s written about the most, sometimes neglecting the others, I don’t have any ill-will toward them. I think their bravery (even to the point of recklessness) makes the majority of them very likable.

I also enjoy how even though they’re supposed to be the brave and chivalrous people, this is reflected in various ways depending on the person. You have different kinds of bravery shown from the characters, from Harry, to Fred and George, to Neville, to Hermione… They’re all pleasantly different. And they’re not each particularly boastful individually, which one might expect. I always give Gryffindor a thumbs up!

HUFFLEPUFF

  • Mascot: Badger
  • Colors: Yellow and black
  • Famous people we know:
    • Newt and Theseus Scamander, Professor Sprout, Tonks, Cedric Diggory, Teddy Lupin.
  • Traits (based on the Sorting Hat’s song in Chapter 7):
    • Just
    • Loyal
    • Patient
    • True
    • Diligent (“unafraid of toil”)
  • Other cool info:
    • Their element is earth, and many are talented at Herbology.
    • They are the most inclusive of the four houses, which may be why people look down on them.
    • Hufflepuff has produced the fewest dark wizards throughout the years.
  • Main source

My thoughts:

Okay… so let’s be honest here. Hufflepuff was definitely underrated in the books, and I’m happy it’s finally getting some recognition through Newt Scamander in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movies. I didn’t know or couldn’t remember half the people I saw when I looked through a list of Hufflepuffs in my research… which isn’t very good. I also don’t think J.K. Rowling really does them any favors in the books when she writes that Hufflepuff “takes all the rest” and that people think Hufflpuffs are a lot of “duffers.” All right, the Hufflepuffs are nice. Just because they don’t have aggressive personality traits doesn’t mean they aren’t as capable!

Oh goodness, I’m getting close to a rant. I feel strongly about this, okay? They seem like they’re great friends, nice people, and hard workers. Go Hufflepuffs!

I think this quote from the Harry Potter Fandom website sums up this issue well. Also, it talks a bit about their mascot, which I’ve always been a little confused about… What’s so great about a badger, anyway? Well, here’s the answer!

“Like the house it represents, the badger is often underestimated and deemed non-threatening because it is not generally aggressive unless provoked, at which point it can and will viciously fight off threats even larger than itself. This symbolism was perhaps showcased best in the Battle of Hogwarts, where many Hufflepuffs stayed to fight and defend their school, with only Gryffindor outnumbering them.”

Harry Potter Fandom

So, there you have it. Hufflepuff deserves some respect!

RAVENCLAW

  • Mascot: Eagle (Nope, not a raven! Weird, I know.)
  • Colors: Blue and bronze
  • Famous people we know:
    • Garrick Ollivander, Sybill Trelawney, Professor Flitwick, Cho Chang, Luna Lovegood, Gilderoy Lockhart.
  • Traits (based on the Sorting Hat’s song in Chapter 7):
    • Wise
    • Intelligent
    • Witty
    • Studious
    • Curious
  • Other cool info:
    • Their element is air.
    • Quote: “Students in Ravenclaw are noted for their individuality and acceptance of people and things that others would consider weird, as well as their outstanding intelligence. They can also be quirky and possess unusual intellectual interests. While others may be inclined to shun and ridicule such people, Ravenclaws generally accept and celebrate these eccentrics. Though they are often called stuck up, that is not the case.”
    • Quote: “The Grey Lady, also known as Helena Ravenclaw, is the Ravenclaw ghost. She rarely speaks to anyone outside Ravenclaw, but is a great resource for Ravenclaws who are lost or have lost something.”
      • I found this very interesting, especially because of what we know about her mother’s diadem… This idea really relates to what we discover about her in the books!
  • Main source

My thoughts:

I mean… I obviously like Ravenclaw, being one of them. I think when we discover a person’s house, we try to pigeonhole them. For instance, with Ravenclaw, it’s all about having your head buried in a book and being a know-it-all. But look at people like Luna Lovegood! Her father was a Ravenclaw as well. I imagine there are a lot of quirky people in this house with each person being fully devoted to their different interests, whatever those may be.

I do think Ravenclaw gets a little bit of a bad rap. They’re seen as stuck up at times, but I prefer to look at it as a sort of… determined perfectionism. Yeah, that sounds about right!

I do have a bone to pick. Why is the mascot an eagle? I mean, I get the similarities between the students’ personalities and this animal, but maybe they could be in Eagleclaw? I guess that doesn’t roll off the tongue as well.

Fun fact: Hermione was super close to being a hatstall, with the two houses being Gryffindor and Ravenclaw. The Sorting Hat deliberated over this for four minutes.

SLYTHERIN

  • Mascot: Serpent
  • Colors: Green and silver
  • Famous (or infamous) people we know:
    • Voldemort, Severus Snape, Merlin, Bellatrix Lestrange, Horace Slughorn, Dolores Umbridge, the Malfoy family, Regulus Black.
    • Okay… don’t let this list get you down! Not all Slytherins are bad… right? We also have Scorpius Malfoy and Albus Potter on this list!
  • Traits (based on the Sorting Hat’s song in Chapter 7):
    • Cunning
    • Ambitious
    • Self-preservation
    • Resourceful
  • More cool info:
    • Their element is water.
    • This house has produced many dark wizards.
    • Quote: “Slytherins will never leave their own behind.”
    • Muggle-borns are rare in this house.
    • Many people in Slytherin have been observed to have the trait of “unrequited love,” which I find intensely interesting. We have, of course, Snape’s love for Lily Potter, Bellatrix’s strange obsession with Voldemort, Merope’s love for Tom Riddle, Sr. (even though she was never technically sorted into Slytherin), etc. And if you count this one, you also have Voldemort’s lust for power and life… I feel like this one counts. 
    • It is the first and last house mentioned in the series (first, by Draco Malfoy; last, by Albus Potter).
  • Main source

My thoughts:

Okay, so Slytherin. I want to like the house, I really do! My husband is a Slytherin! And truly, I do think there are good people in there. It’s just the majority of them aren’t.

It’s true!

But I do think many of them are misunderstood and that they collectively bring out the worst in each other. This quote from the old Pottermore website sums it up nicely: “But we’re not bad people. We’re like our emblem, the snake: sleek, powerful, and frequently misunderstood.”

As I said, I think Slytherins might bring out the worst in each other. They’re extremely cunning, which can be good! But they frequently become malicious. It makes my skin crawl that Umbridge is one… I forgot that fact until I was researching. But really, their traits aren’t bad. I believe they’re like some Ravenclaws to the next level! They have that unwavering confidence that Ravenclaws lack.

Okay… after this, it may seem like I’m biased against Slytherin. I admit I am pretty intimidated by them! But really, I don’t think all Slytherin people are bad. I just think they have higher chances of turning dark because of the people they’re constantly surrounded by. Think about it! You’re going to be friends with the people in your house, and well… if most of them are bad or mean, then you’ll have a lot of bad influences. Cunning, ambition, and self-preservation are good, but when taken to unhealthy levels, they can be dangerous. That’s all I’m saying, okay?

Please don’t hate me, Slytherins. I’m scared of you.

Photo by Rhii Photography on Unsplash

Those are our houses! I hope you learned a lot, and again, I’d love to know your houses. Please post in the comments of this article or the YouTube video for this week.

I’ll go ahead and wrap this up. Thanks for tuning in today, and we’ll see you next week for chapter eight, “The Potions Master.” I don’t want to give myself away too much, but… ugh. Am I a Snape fan? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

This mischief is managed! See you later!

Disclaimer: I do not own any part of the Harry Potter series.

3 Comments

  1. Great article as usual! I’m not sure where I heard this from but wasn’t the reason the sorting hat, had such a hard time placing Harry was because he was picking up some of the genetic material of Voldemort?
    Also, I love that I got placed in Ravenclaw. I do love researching certain subjects which gives a bit of wisdom in certain areas of interest.

    Like

    1. Thank you! In regard to Harry’s similarities with Voldemort, I think that could be part of it. But I also think he might have had some Slytherin tendencies outside of that as well. The parseltongue was definitely from him, though! And yay, fellow Ravenclaw! Congratulations! 🙂

      Like

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