The Hogwarts Houses: Why I Belong in All Four26/11/2019 1 By GlennThomas
I was nine or ten when I started reading a book with a red background and the protagonist’s name in yellow capital letters. The front of a red train raced from the page. The painted destination read Hogwarts Express. A bewildered cartoon figure with thin circular glasses and a lightning scar posed like the rest of us, unaware of how much our lives were about to change. Harry Potter. A common name, but the story showed us we’re all someone.
I hadn’t finished The Philosophers Stone before the school term ended, but my mum persuaded my teacher to let me take the book home for the holidays, and he agreed. Before long, I’d read the first four instalments, dreaming of joining a Hogwarts house, and like Harry himself, I’d plead with the sorting hat to place me in Gryffindor.
In adulthood, I revisited my love for Hogwarts and Harry. However, I realised I wasn’t suited to Gryffindor. Sure, I have traits that Godric Gryffindor himself would admire, but as much as I hate to admit it, Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff may suit me more. I guess, it all depends on the day in question, when the ten-year-old me goes back in time, hops on the Hogwarts Express and The Sorting Hat places me into whatever house he deems most relevant. So, here’s my reasons based on the Hogwarts House values.
Hogwarts House Beginnings
The Hogwarts Houses date back to the founding of the school in 990AD by four friends, and four of the most powerful and respected witches and wizards of their time. Godric Gryffindor, a revered dualist, Salazar Slytherin, a parcel mouth meaning he could talk to snakes, Helga Hufflepuff, a gifted magical chef, and Rowena Ravenclaw, a young intelligent and creative witch.
Ravenclaw is credited with the school’s location after she dreamt of a pig leading her to a lake. She’s also thought responsible for the ever-moving staircases as a security measure. Witches and The muggled world persecuted Wizards at the time. However, all four Hogwarts founders cast protective charms to protect themselves and students from the hostile outside world. All muggle witch-hunters saw was ancient ruins and warning signs.
The four founders introduced a housing system with each house named after one of the four. The desires of the four foundations laid the foundations for the house selection criteria. Gryffindor wanted students whose traits included bravery, courage, nerve and chivalry. Hufflepuff chose loyalty, patience and honesty, but she also took students the other houses refused for lacking the traits required of them. Ravenclaw desired cleverness, wit and high intelligence, while Slytherin required pure-blood wizards who were ambitious, cunning and resourceful.
The Sorting Hat
As mentioned earlier, the Sorting Hat chooses which house students belong to during heir stay at Hogwarts. The founders had chosen their students for many years, but they began to worry about how they’d select their students once their time at the school ends. The houses were their legacies, and Salazar Slytherin detested the idea of letting students with non-magical parents into the school, let alone the house bearing his name.
To settle this problem, Gryffindor tossed his tall black hat to the floor, and the four founders enchanted it. This enabled them to continue to choose the right students after their death. They named it, the Sorting Hat. It’s the same hat Harry first pleaded with, and the same hat Neville Longbottom pulled the Sword of Gryffindor from in the series final scene.
The Hogwarts House Teachers
In the book series, each house has a leader whose personality aides the depiction of what each house represents in modern times. The typical witchlike figure of Minerva McGonagall heads Harry Potter’s house, Gryffindor. Snape represents Slytherin who up until the final book is portrayed as a villain and a dedicated supporter of the primary villain, Lord Voldemort. A short, bespectacled wizard who teaches charms represents Ravenclaw, while Hufflepuff’s house leader teaches herbology.
As students, the Sorting Hat placed both McGonagall and Snape into the same houses they’d later go on to lead as teachers. At first glance, the teachers appear as perfect heads, especially Snape and his former support of Voldemort and his destructive pure blood views. However, towards the end of the series, the main characters show traits that may belong in each house. Harry Potter doubts his place in Gryffindor throughout the series, and the main antagonist at Hogwarts, Draco Malfoy, exhibits extreme amounts of bravery towards the end of the series.
In the first book, Albus Dumbledore recites a speech where he states that real courage isn’t in having the strength to stand up to our enemies but to our friends. It’s with this speech in mind that the final decisions of Draco Malfoy must be examined. A hereditary view of his superiority over half-blood witches and Wizards formed the basis of his choices, but after vowing an oath to the dark lord, spurred on by his parents, Draco Malfoy, refuses to kill Harry Potter, and exhibits real courage.
That set me thinking again. What house do I belong in if our personalities are shaped and moulded by our experiences? Growing up, I wanted to belong to Gryffindor. But a closer look at what the houses stand for made me realise the Sorting Hat might have placed me in any of them, setting me up for a different wizarding life, than the teenage me would have thought of living.
Everyone claimed to be a true Gryffindor. It’s the house of heroes. Sirius Black, Albus Dumbledore and the other cool kids belonged to Gryffindor. The most powerful witches and wizards in the world graduated from Hogwarts having spent their time in Godric’s house. If you’ve ever dreamt of becoming a superhero and saving the world, you probably considered yourself at home here.
However, how do we test bravery? I wouldn’t consider myself a coward in the face of physical danger. I spent most of my late teens fighting in self-defence, but does that mean I’m brave? Or stupid. My mum always said it takes more courage to walk away, but my friends said the opposite and labelled those who refused to defend themselves a coward.
I think I hold my nerve quite well, even when my hearts racing and the only thing that gives me away is the trickle of sweat dripping from my forehead. It’s a symptom of a gambler. When the stakes are raised, the bravado displayed to hide the fact that your insides are alight with fire as you await the turn on the card to discover if you’ve doubled or lost a week’s wages.
As for Chivalry, I’m not a medieval knight, so I wouldn’t know. You’d have to ask an ex-girlfriend what they think in terms of the modern definition.
Now I’m older, I want to belong to Ravenclaw, but it may be a little out of reach. At school, the teachers placed me into the top classes with kids who made me look stupid. Not that I was an idiot, but a troublemaker who had to grow into someone who loved learning. But even then, I still didn’t like the format of schooling and remained an absent student all through university.
I’m smart, and probably the cleverest in most of my separate friendship groups. If I’m around people who know more than I do, I latch onto them and strive to learn as much as I can. When problems present themselves, I stop and stare at them until I find an answer. The blank stares have given people the impression I’m an idiot at times, but I have come up with more straightforward solutions. Plus, I don’t bother correcting them because intelligence can’t be measured. If I’m better at school subjects than someone who knows more about real-world issues, which one of us is cleverer? It’s subjective. Only idiots argue over that. Intelligent minds are too busy trying to learn what they don’t know yet and understand that we’ll never know. The truth is, we’re all likely to be wrong tomorrow.
I’m funny at times, too, but I wouldn’t describe my personality as witty. It’s quite bland, covered and shy. I’m introverted and don’t show off my brightest qualities until I’m around people who make me feel comfortable. Without natural wit, would my intelligence be enough to see me sorted into Ravenclaw? Even Hermione Granger, the smartest witch in the series, was deemed more suitable for Gryffindor.
I used to laugh at Hufflepuff. Now it feels most relevant. The name itself conjures up an image of flowers and bees and everything cute with spring. It didn’t seem cool to my adolescent self. I mean what immature teenage boy thinking himself older than his years, would consider Hufflepuff the house of cool. None of the boys I grew up around and still spend time with, that’s for sure.
I’m not patient at all so that may go against me during the sorting process. I’m quick to erupt and respond with aggression to most things that unsettle me. I hate waiting and fill my time with destructive behaviours. Half of the reason, I haven’t given up nicotine entirely, having switched from cigarettes to vaping, is the fidgety feeling I get waiting for a bus. I need things to happen my way, and I need them to happen now.
I do, however, pride myself on my loyalty. It’s a difficult word to define within the context of what makes a person loyal, but most of my friends would agree. I can only say most because I haven’t had a conversation with all of them about it. The dictionary definition lists honesty as a key component of loyalty. I consider myself honest, but I have secrets I protect, but they’re my secrets. I haven’t killed anyone. I’m entitled to secrets, right?
My passion for food might clinch it for me. Hufflepuff herself was fond of food magic and given my current job as a chef which involves a lot of work, I’d be predisposed to wave a wand and make all sorts of weird and wonderful foods appear. The problem is using magic to make hard work disappear may count against me.
I hate everything about Slytherin, including the fact I belong here. Slytherin is an excellent example of conservativeness. Salazar himself aims at preserving tradition rather than pushing for progression. What I hate about Slytherin is the deep-rooted hatred of half-bloods and witches and wizards born to muggle blood. For me, this represents racism in our society that sets one group as superior to another. It’s this hatred that gives rise to an evil known as the Death Eaters led by frightening Lord Voldemort.
However, I have ambitions, huge ambitions, and I find it challenging to think about achieving a limited amount of success. Everything I do must lead to something extreme, or I’ll believe I’ve failed. I find it difficult to measure success by expectation because I won’t accept anything less than a win. It’s not enough to come close; I want it all.
I don’t have much, but I try and make what I have work for me. When I started rapping, I brought a studio microphone and a four-track mixer. It’s all I needed to build my home studio. I added a microphone stand, but I didn’t have a pop shield. To overcome this and prevent the pops and slurs from P’s and S’s, I built a homemade pop shield by bending a coat hanger and stretched a pair of nylon tights around it.
I don’t know how I feel about the listed trait of cunningness. As I said previously, I consider myself an honest person, but I have exhibited some deceitful tactics in the past. I may have done things that others view as sneaky or underhanded, but they’re not actions I’d openly admit to, or accept as the deceitful tactic suggested by a rival. It’s likely, the Sorting Hat would consider me for Slytherin, but if so, I’ll feel like Harry sitting beneath the hat with my eyes shut, muttering to myself repeatedly, ‘not Slytherin.’
I hope you enjoyed reading. I’m a huge fan of the Harry Potter series and would love to hear from you, especially what house you’d like to be sorted into. If you’ve enjoyed your time on my site, don’t forget to Subscribe Now!
About The Author
I often ask myself, who am I? I'm a brother, I'm a friend, I’m somebodies’ child but I’m an adult. I've been high and I've been low, I’ve seen a lot but nowhere near enough. I’m the victim and the victor, the beauty in the beast and the uglier side of me. I mastered words but still don’t know how to use the power for good. I’ve looked everywhere to find out just who I am and I’m still searching for the man in the mirror. The search will never end but once I find myself, I lose all reason to be who I am, a writer.