Monday, July 13, 2009

Hogwart's Houses [Modest Spoiler]

One of the recently popular quizzes on Facebook sorts people into the four Houses in Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardy--Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff. There are four problems with the quiz:

  1. There is no sorting hat. If the hat does not fit, you must acquit?

  2. These quizzes are always based on someone else's judgments about how particular questions lead to a specific outcome, but the coding rules are never clear, except when it becomes obvious that only question really matters. For example, if you hate wizards of non-magical parents, that probably gets you straight into Slytherin.

  3. The books do not spend as much time on the Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs, so it is not always clear how distinct they are from each other and from Gryffindor. Perhaps it is because these two Houses were founded by women that they get short shift. Of course, then I am accusing JK Rowling of sexism, and that would be wrong. Obviously, they get less attention because the protagonists are in Gryffindor and the truly bad guys are in Slytherin and there is less time for the other two houses, except for potential romantic partners (Cho) and secondary members of Dumbledore's Army.

  4. As JK points out throughout the series, it is our choices that make us, and Dumbledore says in the flashbacks in the last book that we might "sort too soon."

Since each of us should choose our own house, as Harry does, which house should I be in? Well, aspirations are one thing, and characteristics are another. If I could choose a House that focused on characteristics I wish I had, I would choose Gryffindor. But I am not "brave at heart" or particularly "daring" although I have been accused of having a lot of nerve, but that is not what JK meant, I think.

Hufflepuffs are known for being hardworking, dependable and loyal. As I have mentioned in my blog, hard-working is not a suitable adjective for me, so let's move on.

As the Slytherin are "cunning folk [who] use any means to achieve their ends" and combine that with racisim [hating those who are supposedly different due to who their parents are], nope.

Which leaves Ravenclaw, as I don't consider myself very wise, but would like to think this house's key values "of wit and learning" match best with myself, particularly if wit refers to "mode of expression intended to arouse amusement" as opposed to astute.

Of course, these Houses, like any sorting mechanism (birth signs, birth years [of the horse or pig), are imperfect. Hermione was obviously obsessed with learning, so how she got into Gryffindor rather than Ravenclaw is perhaps a mystery. Harry is loyal to his friends above all else, making him suitable for Hufflepuff, quite cunning when he needs to be and breaks the rules when they are inconvenient (all the time!) so Slytherin is also appropriate.

So, one's House is not so important, but perhaps the distance between what one chooses to be and what one aspires to be--to be all the difference?

PS Too bad impatience is not listed as a clear criteria, as that would determine where I end up. I am going to see the new HP movie while my daughter is away at summer camp. I should wait, but that would not be me.


Anonymous said...

Can't wait for HP 7 on november 19th :)

Tam said...

"You Are Your Choices"
Very interesting post. You are almost correct about -how do we determine being suitable for a "House"-, but Harry doesn't fit in the other Houses.

Gryffindor is the only house that has room for a little bit of everything. Harry is not ruthless/racist enough for S and he would lose his mind in R and H. Hermione is Obsessed with learning but not quite girlie enough for either and of course where else would Ron fit.

Yes it's very important to put "distance between what one chooses to be and what one aspires to be" but it is very important that one chooses the House that best represents him.