Sorting Obsessions and Human Nature



Like every good Harry Potter nerd, I love talking about Hogwarts houses. However, as a good general nerd, I also realize that like every personality test, the Sorting system is inherently and ridiculously flawed.

One reason? No one is simple enough that you can just shove them into a house. Like, how are hat stalls rare, anyway?

Well, I found out when I asked my family members what their houses are. Several of my family members would have been sorted about as soon as the hat touched their heads. I didn’t expect them to quickly know their houses, which I guess just goes to show that talking about Sorting can in fact teach you about human nature. Yes, I’m kind of serious. Just let me pretend I’m doing something productive, okay?

The Quest for Eternal Glory

I think everyone’s a mix of various houses, but in some cases, the sorting hat does indeed have a simple job. Some people make up their minds very quickly and intuitively. For example, consider my conversation with my dad:

Me: “Do you know your Hogwarts house on Pottermore?”

Dad: “I don’t know, but I’m a Gryffindor.”

Me: “Why?”

Dad: “Gryffindor has a sword.”

I accept that response as an accurate sorting because only a Gryffindor would say that. My middle little brother had a similar thought process.

Me: “What’s your Hogwarts house?”

Middle Little Brother: “I’m in Gryffindor on Pottermore.”

Me: “Because you value bravery?”

Middle Little Brother: “Maybe? Gryffindors do cool stuff, so I answered the questions to make sure that I got Gryffindor.”

Also a rather Gryffindor response. An immature Gryffindor, but one nonetheless.

The Family Tradition

My older brother usually refuses to take personality tests when I ask him to. He thinks they’re stupid and simplistic, and he’s not wrong. But I still want to know people’s results, and more importantly, what people think of their results. My conversation with him and my sister-in-law about Hogwarts houses, however, was enlightening. It went something like this.

Me: “Do you know your Hogwarts house?”

Older brother: “No.”

Me: “You should figure it out for me.”

Older brother: Not Gryffindor or Slytherin. You’ll have to remind me what Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff are about, but probably one of them.”

Me: “Why not Gryffindor or Slytherin?”

Older brother: “Gryffindors are stupid, and Slytherins are evil.”

Me: “Not all of them. Gryffindors value bravery, and Slytherins value ambition, resourcefulness, and determination.”

Older brother: “Meh, still. What are the others?”

Me: “Hufflepuffs value friendship, loyalty, fairness, and hard work, and Ravenclaws value intelligence, learning, and wit.”

Older brother: “I’m in Ravenclaw.”

Me: “Why?”

Older brother: “Obviously you want to be where the smart people are.”

Me: “Sister-in-law? What house would you be in?”

Older brother: “She’s in Ravenclaw.”

Sister-in-law: “What are the houses, again?”

Older brother: “Gryffindor has the stupid, reckless people; Slytherin has the evil people; Hufflepuff has the nice people, and Ravenclaw has the smart people.”

Sister-in-law: “I’m in Ravenclaw.”

Me: “Gryffindors value bravery, Slytherin values ambition, Hufflepuff values justice and kindness, and Ravenclaw values intelligence and learning.”

Sister-in-law: “I’m in Ravenclaw.”

Me: What about Niece? I guess it’s too early to tell where she—”

Sister-in-law and older brother: “She’s in Ravenclaw too.”

Me: “Well, she’s like one, so her personality is still—”

Sister-in-law and older brother: “She’s in Ravenclaw.”

Well, okay, then. I saw how families were committed to certain houses in the books, but here’s a real-life example.

What about you? Do you just know your Hogwarts house, or do you agonize over the issue like I do?


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