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Did the Sorting Hat Mis-Sort Key Characters?



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  #1  
Old December 20th, 2007, 3:28 am
yasas  Male.gif yasas is offline
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Did the Sorting Hat Mis-Sort Key Characters?

I feel that this whole ‘houses’ thing is absurd.


* Who was the bravest person at the age of 15? Tom Riddle by a mile! He faced a man (who looked pretty mad and drunk) armed with a wand plus a knife with absolutely no fear. Even Harry (who hates him with a passion) admired Tom’s complete lack of fear. Tom was not a Gryffindor.

* Who was the bravest person in the whole story? – Snape. Was he a Gryffindor?

* The biggest coward (Peter) was in Gryffindor.

* Who was the most imaginative/creative/clever student ever to walk the Hogwarts grounds? According to the evidence, it’s Snape. He was the only student who invented spells by his own. He made alternative instruction in his book about the highly complex subject of potion making – he was even superior to his teacher and the people who wrote the textbook. He possessed the ‘subtlety’ and understood ‘fine distinctions’ he was telling Harry about. Also, he was very logical (A lot of the greatest wizards haven’t got an ounce of logic – Hermione, solving his riddle). Can the hat explain what this genius was doing in Slytherin?

*
Quote:
‘Examined him(DD-Student) personally in Transfiguration and Charms when he did NEWTs… did things with a wand I’d never seen before’- Prof. Marchbanks.
Why wasn’t DD in Ravenclaw?

*
Quote:
‘I knew that Voldemort’s knowledge of magic is perhaps more extensive than any wizard alive’- DD.
Why wasn’t Riddle in Ravenclaw?

* Who were the greatest wizards in the story? DD, Voldy and Snape judging from extensive knowledge, remarkable achievements, creativeness etc. in fact, some can argue that both Voldy and Snape are superior to DD (a textbook says that there’s no device/method/magic to make a human fly without a broom- evidence for the claim that they were the greatest ever!). Also note that the other characters in the story were not even close to these three. None of them were Ravenclaws.

* The hat says that being ‘just’ is a Hufflepuff trait. Hermione and DD were the only people who talked about giving house elves proper rights.

Quote:
“The mind is not a book, to be opened at will and examined at leisure. Thoughts are not etched on the inside of skulls, to be perused by any invader. The mind is a complex and many-layered thing.” - Severus Snape, The Greatest Occlumens the world has ever seen.
How can some hat understand the human mind?


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  #2  
Old December 20th, 2007, 3:36 am
witchygurl  Female.gif witchygurl is offline
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Re: The house system of Hogwarts was ridiculous.

i don't think that the house system says that brave people can't be in slytherin, cunning people can't be in gryffindor, obnoxious people can't be in hufflepuff, etc.
what it is saying is this characteristic in you is most prevalent at this time, and it is your most defining characteristic. can you honestly imagine snape in gryffindor? he wouldn't have belonged there at all, just like harry wouldn't have belonged in slytherin. as for hermione, she had the brains, but she had even more courage and heart. i don't think it is those four words: brains, courage, cunning, and loyalty. i think the different houses are different personality types.
also, they are sorted at age eleven, which isn't a very good indication of what they are going to become. people change very very easily. i am sure i am different now than how i was in sixth grade.
i think the house system was made so that different personality types could be sorted together, and they could bond and live together more easily than if different sorts of people were grouped together.


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  #3  
Old December 20th, 2007, 4:39 am
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Re: The house system of Hogwarts was ridiculous.

You've hit it on the mark, yasas. The house system was absolutely ridiculous as you say and I think that is overall what Rowling intended. Harry even says himself in the last scene of the entire series that Snape, a Slytheren was the bravest man he ever knew. I think she was trying to make a point or message with this system that it is nearly impossible to categorize human beings since we are such complex and complicated creatures. I think it's a slight against the British boarding school set-up in the muggle world if I'm not mistaken.


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Old December 20th, 2007, 4:46 am
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Re: The house system of Hogwarts was ridiculous.

I believe the hat looked far beneath the surface; beyond ability, and even characteristics, to the inner being and thus placed each person accordingly. The hat placed people based on the desires of the original founders of each House and in reality, we have no comprehensive desription or explanation for what they stood for; we merely have a brief overview.

But the hat cannot base its decision on simply character traits. For example, everyone is brave and everyone is a coward - just depends on the circumstances. Imo, every reader will come away feeling a different character is the most brave, from Dumbledore to Voldemort and yet at times, they both were shown to be unable or unwilling to face truths about themselves or events about them. (And no, everyone doesn't agree with Harry's estimation in this regard)

Thus, imo, the hat digs deeper, seeks for Slytherin House, those who would truly befit what Salazar Slytherin held as the embodiment of his House. That could mean a variety of personalities intermixing to form his goal. Notably, his pureblood stance did allow for halfbood influence as Riddle, Snape and possibly other half-bloods were sorted into the House. But Imo there was more to it than mere cunning, pureblood, ambition or folk who use any means to justify their ends that the house placed there. Certainly those characteristics prevailed, but the synergy it was going for moved beyond those traits to fulfill a greater purpose in unity. Not just inner house unity, but unity with the other houses as well - which the hat constantly spoke of as time when on.

I feel it was the same for all of the other Houses as well. Peter and Dumbledore were two people who might be seen as ill-sorted, but during their time at Hogwarts, I would bet Gryffindor House needed people like them to complete the overall character of the House.

Thus, I don't think it is as simple as it seems on the surface. I don't believe Jo carelessly tossed people into houses and I totally get the feeling that she considered the 'big picture' when placing characters. I don't think her point was that the system was useless or flawed - but rather that humanity is flawed and that is accounted for in the balancing of the Houses within an efficient Wizard World. Unfortunately, the Wizard World only began moving in that direction after the series ended. Jo commented that the House system was becoming more balanced by the time Harry's kids attended.


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  #5  
Old December 20th, 2007, 5:03 am
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Re: The house system of Hogwarts was ridiculous.

Thus, I don't think it is as simple as it seems on the surface. I don't believe Jo carelessly tossed people into houses and I totally get the feeling that she considered the 'big picture' when placing characters. I don't think her point was that the system was useless or flawed - but rather that humanity is flawed and that is accounted for in the balancing of the Houses within an efficient Wizard World. Unfortunately, the Wizard World only began moving in that direction after the series ended. Jo commented that the House system was becoming more balanced by the time Harry's kids attended.

Well since the house system was created by humans, how could you say it wasn't flawed but the people were? You can't claim humanity which is a natural entity is flawed because it does not fit perfectly into a man-made system. If anything the system is flawed, not the people. I think Jo is a real humanist and she is making a statement on the diversity and complexity of the human mind and you can't always put titles on people. The world is not that simple.


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Old December 20th, 2007, 5:49 am
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Re: Did the Sorting Hat Mis-sort Key Characters?

I agree with wickedwickedboy (as usual lol).

Dumbledore definitely was highly (understatement of the century) intelligent, but does that make him an automatic Ravenclaw? No, because he prized other things more so than intellect. I feel Dumbledore would have, if he could have, traded half his intelligence just to have a more normal life, to be able to have equals and friends, instead of people who looked up to him (as Jo put it, he was quite alone, being the smartest person around all the time). Dumbledore put so much more value on courage than on intellect that it made sense for him to be a Gryffindor. I think it's a similar reason for why Peter was placed in Gryffindor - that's probably what he valued the most (which showed in his choice of friends), but it just so happened that, come time to prove his bravery, he failed. But I don't think Jo put him in Gryffindor for nothing, I think there was a reason, and I feel it's because he truly did value bravery (at least as an eleven year old). And I mean, he wasn't altogether a complete coward - he did have enough guts to sneak around, become an illegal animagus, and become a Death Eater while still hanging around the Order and a bunch of aurors (not that it's a good thing, but it doesn't make him an absolute coward - no one is). People tend to forget he was a good enough friend for over seven years for James, Sirius, Remus, and Lily to trust him with their lives - if he'd been a complete coward, one would assume Sirius wouldn't have been so adamant about the switch.

For Snape, sure he did very brave things (though not everyone will agree he was the bravest, that's still a matter of opinion), but when have we seen him put much value on that trait? His task in PS required little bravery, and instead required logic and cunning. That sounds much more like a Slytherin trait that a Gryffindor one. To me, that says he thought the most challenging thing, the thing that would prove someone worthy of moving a head, was their cunning and logic, not their bravery or their heart. And, most importantly, he wanted to be a Slytherin. We've never seen, in any of the books, any sign of his wanting to be in Gryffindor, or Ravenclaw, or Hufflepuff, but only Slytherin.

Jo said on Pottercast, yesterday, that Hermione's heart was bigger than her brains, and that's saying something for her - but it's true. She might have been ridiculously smart, but she truly did value other things much more, and those things placed her in Gryffindor, not in Ravenclaw.

To quote Dumbledore (for the millionth time): it is our choices, far more than our abilities, that define who we are. Snape had the capacity to be brave, Dumbledore and Hermione had the capacity to be intelligent, but all placed higher value on other things, and chose their paths in life and in getting sorted (I'm sure the hat can tell, even if its subconscious, which house you really want to be in). McGonagall was incredibly intelligent, and Flitwick was very brave, but McGonagall was a Gryffindor and Flitwick was a Ravenclaw - because of what they valued, not because of what they were good at.

Anyways, that's my take on it.


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  #7  
Old December 20th, 2007, 6:13 am
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Re: The house system of Hogwarts was ridiculous.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterOfDeath View Post
Well since the house system was created by humans, how could you say it wasn't flawed but the people were? You can't claim humanity which is a natural entity is flawed because it does not fit perfectly into a man-made system. If anything the system is flawed, not the people. I think Jo is a real humanist and she is making a statement on the diversity and complexity of the human mind and you can't always put titles on people. The world is not that simple.
I respect your view, but actually, unlike the British System, this particular house system was created by Wizards, four formidable wizards in fact. Also unlike the British system, sorting is done by a magical hat that can read the minds and souls (for lack of a better word) of the students. Thus the two sytems are highly incomparable with respect to creation and sorting.

Thus some of the flaws inherent to the British System could be eliminated by and through the use of magic. The individuals I was referring to as 'flawed' were those who were sorted at 11 years old. But they are flawed only in terms of living up to their abilities and highest, most admirable qualities. The hat can take those things into account, but what individuals decide to do once sorted, is out of the hats hands.

In fact, I am not labeling anyone at all, quite the contrary. Imo, the hat sorts as if it were completing a puzzle, grasping at admirable qualities from all students sorted into a house to complete the picture. What that means is that despite a person being 'brave, intelligent, willing to toil or cunning', they can be sorted into any House in any given year. In a perfect Wizard World, the sorting would be perfectly balanced; the hat itself, in knowing the overall purpose: "unity" would automatically adjust for changes for the better in society. For example, society coming to grips with the notion that blood superiority should not be a factor - the hat too would eliminate this consideration, thus mimicking the growth of the wisdom of the Wizard World (as I pointed out, it had already begun doing this sort of thing). But it would only cause problems for the hat to sort 'as if the Wizard World were perfect' in certain aspects when it had not yet reached that juncture.

Until that point, the hat does its best, based on the requirements set out by the founders - but keep in mind that their overall purpose too, was unity. Salazar's leaving Hogwarts (and the whole Chamber fiasco) marked a solidifying of that unity. But note that although he left, his House remained and that is because apart from his stance on blood purity, his aims were likely seen as noble enough to eventually foster the unification sought.

Finally, Jo has not said that the House system would be eliminated in the future, rather she said that it was reaching a balance - that is what I was speaking about. If she felt it was hogwash, I believe she would have indicated that the system was eventually eradicated.


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  #8  
Old December 20th, 2007, 6:39 am
yasas  Male.gif yasas is offline
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Re: Did the Sorting Hat Mis-sort Key Characters?

I have another idea about the shorting system.

Perhaps the whole idea of the shorting system was based on the original intentions of the 3 great wizards and 1 witch who made those houses. Maybe the hat thinks more about their intentions than what the students are capable of. So the hat asks itself, would Slytherin like this student in his house? etc. every time a student puts it on.

I have another question. Do you think the hat can be partial to one house (I’m thinking about Gryffindor)?


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Old December 20th, 2007, 6:46 am
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Re: Did the Sorting Hat Mis-sort Key Characters?

Quote:
Originally Posted by yasas View Post
I have another idea about the shorting system.

Perhaps the whole idea of the shorting system was based on the original intentions of the 3 great wizards and 1 witch who made those houses. Maybe the hat thinks more about their intentions than what the students are capable of. So the hat asks itself, would Slytherin like this student in his house? etc. every time a student puts it on.

I have another question. Do you think the hat can be partial to one house (I’m thinking about Gryffindor)?
It was two wizards and two witches who built Hogwarts. I guess the hat could be partial to Griffindor since Rowling has revealed the it was Godric's hat and his idea to use a sorting hat to sort people in their houses when they die.


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  #10  
Old December 20th, 2007, 6:51 am
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Re: Did the Sorting Hat Mis-sort Key Characters?

I don't think anyone was really "mis-sorted".

I believe the Sorting Hat chooses because of a variety of things. Not just ability, but preference, the prevalence of certain traits, the possible future of the student ("Slytherin can help you on the way to greatness"), all sorts of things.

Not only that, but people are a mixture of all sorts of traits. Harry for instance: He's brave, but he's also loyal, has a quick mind (when he decides to use it), and is not only determined to accomplish his ends, but develops a good sense of cunning by DH.


The trouble is, students are sorted when they are 11, and no one is the same person as an adult that they were as a child. People change.

Pettigrew may have valued courage, and that may have persuaded the hat to make him a Gryffindor. But since he merely hid adoringly in the shadow of people who were brave, he never developed courage of his own. Time changed Pettigrew.

Snape seemed to have a simplistic view of the houses themselves, an implied bias in favor of Slytherin (Eileen's intervention?), and an already-establish bad relationship with two potential Gryffindors. He obviously chose Slytherin, and the hat, sensing Slytherin traits, put him there. After some time, however, his other traits found room to flourish.

Riddle...I honestly don't think Tom Riddle belonged anywhere but Slytherin-- not because he's "evil", there are plenty of good Slytherins-- but because his thirst for power and dominance over others overshadowed the other traits he had, even at an early age.


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  #11  
Old December 20th, 2007, 7:15 am
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Re: Did the Sorting Hat Mis-sort Key Characters?

Quote:
It was two wizards and two witches who built Hogwarts.
Sorry, my bad.

I didn’t bring Hermione into this discussion because there’s a whole thread for her. But we can’t forget Draco either. If we rank the most resourceful/clever students of Harry’s year, Draco should get at least the third or fourth place. His magic was pretty advanced for a second year (duel with Harry). That cabinet idea was just remarkable. He mastered Occlumency during a school holiday (while Harry struggled with it for months). He mastered it to such an extent that he directly looked into Snape’s eyes and told him ‘It won’t work, I can stop you’. Draco had material for Ravenclaw.


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Old December 20th, 2007, 7:55 am
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Re: Did the Sorting Hat Mis-sort Key Characters?

Quote:
Originally Posted by yasas View Post
Sorry, my bad.

I didn’t bring Hermione into this discussion because there’s a whole thread for her. But we can’t forget Draco either. If we rank the most resourceful/clever students of Harry’s year, Draco should get at least the third or fourth place. His magic was pretty advanced for a second year (duel with Harry). That cabinet idea was just remarkable. He mastered Occlumency during a school holiday (while Harry struggled with it for months). He mastered it to such an extent that he directly looked into Snape’s eyes and told him ‘It won’t work, I can stop you’. Draco had material for Ravenclaw.
This I can agree with, but only to a point.

It is the more deep-seated traits that will determine your house, even if you don't know that you possess said qualities.

If we are to go along with this, then yes, Draco could have the makings of a Ravenclaw. But the resourcefulness, cunning, and pureblood mania mark him more deeply as a Slytherin. And besides, Slytherins aren't all stupid.

And furthering that train of thought, we might as well say that Hermione should have been in Ravenclaw, or that Harry had the makings of a Ravenclaw student. Hermione was very intelligent, but something made her get sorted into Gryffindor.

Onto Harry. The Sorting Hat made it VERY clear that Harry really could have made it into any of the houses. "There's plenty of courage, I see, not a bad mind either. Oh yes, there's talent, and a thirst to prove yourself. But where to put you?" But what did it notice first? The courage.

Keep in mind, too, that Dumbledore said that the reason Harry was in Gryffindor was because he chose to be in Gryffindor. The same could hold true for other characters, and we just didn't see it. After all, the story is told from Harry's perspective, so his Sorting was drawn out, but not everyone else's.


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  #13  
Old December 20th, 2007, 8:27 am
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Re: Did the Sorting Hat Mis-sort Key Characters?

As mentioned earlier, I also feel that 11 is too young to be sorted, particularly as many of the students didn't know, before the sorting, which house they would like to be in, and so had no freedom of choice.

My primary problem with the sorting is lumping all the family members into the same house. You can't tell me that all 7 Weasley kids, plus Mom and Dad all had the same personality. Percy, at least, with his ambition, would have made a better Slytherin, than a Gryffindor. I know there were exceptions, like Sirius, and the Patil twins, who were split up, but most family members all landed in the same house.

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Old December 20th, 2007, 5:31 pm
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Re: The house system of Hogwarts was ridiculous.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterOfDeath View Post
Well since the house system was created by humans, how could you say it wasn't flawed but the people were? You can't claim humanity which is a natural entity is flawed because it does not fit perfectly into a man-made system. If anything the system is flawed, not the people. I think Jo is a real humanist and she is making a statement on the diversity and complexity of the human mind and you can't always put titles on people. The world is not that simple.
i would say that systems are flawed because people are. if it was otherwise, after several thousand generations that presumably included adequate numbers of smart, well-meaning members, we would have arrived at, and applied, a near-perfect system. but the proof is in the pudding, history shows people are not bridges or cars. you can't "design" them or "make" them, or the systems they think up and apply, to be better. the moral/psychological difference between the savages of 100000 years ago and today's savages is that the latter are thought to be better educated. not that knowledge ever detracted from antisocial behavior, on the contrary. you can coerce people to pretend to be good by so-called social engineering. you can numb (not eradicate) their antisocial tendencies by proper education which is another form of social engineering. you can appeal to their self-interest (always works). or in our age maybe use more subtle methods such as genetic engineering. if you think the latter can't happen...it's gonna be "for the greater good". well-meaning, smart people will fall for it.

but as for the topic at hand: as has been discussed previously, and per the series, the houses came about as a way to keep the founders from bickering over admission and instruction policies at hogwarts - their introduction probably saved the school, but not the harmony between the founders and their respective houses. the arguments about the sorting itself, as presented in the books, remind me of the arguments of destiny vs freewill. they can go on forever. there are cases that went very much against type, and others that fit their sorting to a t.


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Old December 20th, 2007, 9:12 pm
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Re: Did the Sorting Hat Mis-sort Key Characters?

Personally, I don't question the hat. It even admits that there are some tough calls to be
made. I'm quite glad that JK informed us early that it would take into account an
overarching desire either for or against a choice.

Absurd or not, imagine the books without the houses. The Quiddich and House Cup
races provide much.


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Old December 20th, 2007, 9:18 pm
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Re: Did the Sorting Hat Mis-sort Key Characters?

The house does not just look at the surface. it looks way deep, at what you truely are, and where you would be best in, where you will be able to live up to your full potential, and besides...

How do you know Voldemort wasn't fearful, maybe he was just hiding his fear. well, that is the quality of a Gryffindor, but he's the heir of slytherin. Look at all the ambition he had, and what he accomplished as a muggle hater? Not to mention how sly and cunning he is. he manipulated everyone around him, making them follow him and like him and fear him. I've always seen slytherin and ravenclaw as being similar. cunning, sly, clever, logical, etc. So I never really cared when someone who could be a ravenclaw was in slytherin.

Pettigrew used to puzzle me, how in the world did he get put into gryffindor? most likely choices. He found his friends on the Hogwarts Express and wanted to be with them, like how Harry got put into Gryffindor.

I really never got Dumbledore. He was never too brave, he was much more of a ravenclaw, possibly even a slytherin. He used to want to get rid of Muggles with grindelwald, remember? but he was not a slytherin, I think that the hat looked beneath him and saw how he would be good in the end, and Gryffindor would help him the most.

The hat is more clever than some of you take it for. Even in the case of Snape. Putting him in slytherin made him a useful spy. The war already started then, the hat would probably try to stop it.


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  #17  
Old December 20th, 2007, 9:22 pm
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Re: Did the Sorting Hat Mis-sort Key Characters?

I think the hat finds that what is hidden in the character´s mind,that even the character cannot plainly see or is aware...
for instance the hat put Neville in gryffindor,it was not mistaken...
Snape,he wasbrave all right,but I think his bravery was in another kind ,it was because he felt remorse and felt commitment,unlike a gryffyndor who is brave without needing to feel remorse,they are brave and bold,thats it...because of their great hearts I suppose...
Ron,eventhough terribly afraid of spiders,he was brave when it was neede the most,nad brave enough to stick to harry who after all was a marked man..
Hermione,she couldnt have been in ravenclae,because eventhough she had a brilliant brain,she also had a huge heart,full of courage to do what is right...I think Ravenclaws think too much,like our Hermione before getting hooked up with harry and Ron...


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  #18  
Old December 21st, 2007, 1:01 am
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Re: Did the Sorting Hat Mis-sort Key Characters?

The house system was a fascinating way to introduce certain ideas but I think the hat even if it placed most characters in right houses, many decisions could have been better, so in the end I started seeing all this from a literary point of view. JKR needed different type of people to be in the same house so she put them in it regardless of what dominate there personality or mind.

1. Wormtail, I waited till the very end of the series for any bravery to emerge, but he was in Gryffindore.

2. Twins were more of a slytherine or ravenclaw than gryffindore and even if they do not want to be in the later they could be in the former.

2. Even Ginny's cunning side is emphasized in books. She could be a slytherine easily. and how exactly did the hat missed Ron's ambitious side and I don't agree that being mean is a feature of a slytherine so, yes they could have been in it too, though they didn't wanted too.

3. And I'm not sure which house was Hagrid in but if he was in Gyffindore I will say he was too loyal, modest and hardworking to be in Hufflepuff perfectly.

4.. Dumbledore could have made an very resonable Slytherine. He was manipulative or cunning enough, though admittedly for the greater good, he also was ambitious in his own way.. But above all he was a Ravenclaw. Every plan and string of his emerged from his "exceptional brain". His bravery wasn't something exceptional or unique, Harry and Co., Snape everyone was very brave, his brain is what was ""genius"" and dominating of all things, yet he was a Gryffindore. Same is the case with Hermione, she's a brainy.

6. Similarly Tonks was an auror and what we've seen of her, she was not any less brave than her husband but she was in Hufflepuff nor Lupin was any less loyal than her but was a gryffindore.

I can go on and on....and on...people are so complicated, its not right to sort them into mere four categories (I'm aware btw of the four personality types people are sort into physiologically.)


So I agreed that Its just that Slytherine was suppose to kind of be the antagonist house, so Voldemort was in it. Gryffindore was suppose to be the protagonist house so Dd, Harry, Hermione or any one was in it regardless of how much they fit in the others as well. Harry needed Hermione and Ron to be with him, hence they have to be in the same house. Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff also got a few main characters.

Frankly gryffindore and slytherine house have enough parallels with each other that I think its a very good chance that quite a few students could replace each other and Harry of all people is example of it.

So the point I'm not so successfully trying to make is, that house system is rather perfect and easy way from literary pov to establish differences in good vs evil battle. And flawed in the real way. It is unfair for the real world. and Yes it did mis-sort some characters.

If we began to discuss in detail with each character and reason, it can go a long long long ...way, and I'm pretty sure everything has already been discussed here before too.

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Last edited by Aisha; December 21st, 2007 at 1:06 am.
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  #19  
Old December 21st, 2007, 1:16 am
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Re: Did the Sorting Hat Mis-sort Key Characters?

Petigrew,that one I think was mistaken,he never was brave,he was ambitius,and lack the bravery typicl of gryffindors,what he did was cowardly betray his friends.

Was he brave when he hanged around with lupin,I dont think so.
*** only thing i think he did bravely was to cut up his own hand,but i think he did it more out of fear than bravery.

The twins were brave,they were very brave...they were rule breakers like James and Sirius ,but they were not ambitius an d power seeking like the slytherins...or minded much about the rules like ibelieve Raven claws do.

Ginny could have never been a slytherin,she was brave,very brave .Not at all ambitious...and you are forgeting the pureblood thing,typical of slytherins...ginny couldnt care less about blood status.


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Last edited by Montse; December 21st, 2007 at 1:24 am.
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  #20  
Old December 21st, 2007, 4:01 am
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Re: Did the Sorting Hat Mis-sort Key Characters?

The hat never mis-sorts anybody. The hat itself never does any sorting at all. Students sort themselves. This is the underlying theme of the series: choice.

The hat's voice is within the student's own head. Imagined. I believe JKR confirmed that the hat's voice is different for each wearer. This is because the hat never speaks, and the dialogue is internal, within the student's own mind.

Several students appear "mis-sorted" because they made their choices either to keep in line with family tradition, or to stick with friends. Snape was a Slytherin because he would be appalled to be associated with the Gryffindor boys. Peter chose Gryffindor (most likely) to stick with James and Sirius. Ron chose Gryffindor because his family did. Malfoy chose Slytherin because his family did. Hermione initially considered Ravenclaw, but eventually decided on Gryffindor (though we don't know why). Harry chose "not Slytherin" because he had heard bad things about Slytherin; though he privately wonders if he would have been better suited in Slytherin for the first two books.

The sorting hat does nothing but allow the characters to make the choices that they most likely could not have made without assistance for fear of arrogance or vanity. The house system itself is only flawed in that family prejudices majorly skew the system.


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