Hogwarts Houses - Is diversity the real strength ?

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Hogwarts Houses - Is diversity the real strength ?

Post  Elanor on Sat May 28, 2011 12:13 pm

Hogwarts Houses - Is diversity the real strength ?

This topic serves as an archive of a thread from the Harry Potter Lexicon Forum as hosted on World Crossing which ceased operation on April 15, 2011. Elanor

Detail Seeker - Jan 26, 2007 2:42 pm
Edited by Kip Carter Feb 7, 2007 4:29 am
Instead of an opening post:

Lina started a good question on the "Will Harry return to Hogwarts ?" thread, that I found worth of an own one. So, see the following post as the real opening of this thread and discuss away

Lina's post read as follows:
Is there any class that one house is attending alone? I don't think so. The children need to interact with other houses all the time. When they first come to Hogwarts, I think that McGonnagall tells them something like "Your house is like a family for you." I find it that it would be too much if the whole school would be like one happy family. The children are sorted in the houses according to their abilities and preferences and I see the houses as a way for them to fully develop their own characters. At the same time, meeting children from other houses and attending classes with them and attending competitions against them help them develop respect towards people who are different and have different preferences. I love the houses, I just think that they need to discover that all their characteristics are needed to defeat evil.

I'm really not sure if this discussion belongs to this thread, but I don't have the time to search for the more appropriate thread. if the hosts think it belongs somewhere else, feel free to move it. Thanks.
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Hogwarts Houses - Is diversity the real strength ? (Post 1 to 30)

Post  Elanor on Sat May 28, 2011 12:15 pm

Lina - Jan 26, 2007 7:49 am (#1 of 30)
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Is there any class that one house is attending alone? I don't think so. The children need to interact with other houses all the time. When they first come to Hogwarts, I think that McGonnagall tells them something like "Your house is like a family for you." I find it that it would be too much if the whole school would be like one happy family. The children are sorted in the houses according to their abilities and preferences and I see the houses as a way for them to fully develop their own characters. At the same time, meeting children from other houses and attending classes with them and attending competitions against them help them develop respect towards people who are different and have different preferences. I love the houses, I just think that they need to discover that all their characteristics are needed to defeat evil.

I'm really not sure if this discussion belongs to this thread, but I don't have the time to search for the more appropriate thread. if the hosts think it belongs somewhere else, feel free to move it. Thanks.

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HungarianHorntail11 - Jan 27, 2007 9:50 am (#2 of 30)

The heart sees deeper than the eye.
Great thoughts, Lina. From what I can remember, the houses are usually combined in a way so they do take classes with the other houses. For instance, I don't think it is arbitrary that Slytherin and Gryffindor take Potions together.

When McGonagall made the family comment, I took it to mean that the house they are put in is their foundation. From there, they will go, interact and learn, thereby building upon that foundation. Though they do seem to have their rivalries, I noticed how they were suddenly "Hogwarts" when the foreign visitors arrived. This shows me they do have the propensity to unify when they must. That means they each willingly bring their experiences and expertise and offer it up for the good of the whole. (That is a good sign, eh?)

I do wonder, though, whether the reputation of Slytherin was imposed by the founders or whether it was developed over the years.

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Nathan Zimmermann - Jan 27, 2007 11:29 am (#3 of 30)

First, Wiil the actions of Severus Snape at the conclusion of HBP have a negative impact on the perceptions that wizarding population in general has toward Slytherin House and by extension its members?

Second, is it possible that the actions of Severus Snape on the Astronomy Tower will lead to a backlash against current and former members of Slytherin House, even people with no known connection to association with Death Eaters?

Third, can Slytherin House overcome the stigma of its former head of house, Severus Snape killing Albus Dumbledore and remain a credinle force within Hogwrts?

Fourth, will Snape's action adversely affect the ability of Slytherin to unite and work in conjunction with the other Houses of Hogwarts?

Fifth, will the the Board of Governors of Hogwarts allow the continued existence of Slytherin House or will it be threatened with dissolution threatening both the diversity that exists within Hogwarts and the ability of Hogwarst to achieve a degree of unity?

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Chemyst - Jan 27, 2007 10:41 pm (#4 of 30)

"Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up." A.A. Milne
That's a good breakdown, Nathan. And I think the first four will happen in a degree sufficient that the board will have to discuss the issue and formulate a policy, but...

Fifth, will the Board of Governors of Hogwarts allow the continued existence of Slytherin House or will it be threatened with dissolution threatening both the diversity that exists within Hogwarts and the ability of Hogwarts to achieve a degree of unity?
To a degree, that will depend upon how Slytherin House is represented on the board. We know Lucius, a Slytherin, was on the board during Harry's early years at the school. What we don't know is how replacements are handled. Is each house guaranteed representation? Or are they elected at large? Or do the Ministry politicos appoint board members?

The more Slytherin alumni there are on the board, the less likely that the house would be dissolved.

With all the kidnappings, disappearances, and assassinations occurring in the wizarding world now, it is likely that that there has been an opening on the board since LV's re-embodiment.

Although it is still more hearsay than hard evidence, we presume that the statements by Order members about LV having spies at the Ministry are accurate. Extension of that would lead us to the conclusion that LV would want some board members in his pocket too. Although– if LV had board members loyal to him, he probably waited to see the outcome of Draco's cabinet project before using them to gain access into the school. (Using the cabinet was a lot less muggle-like, hence more appealing to LV.) Just as it 'appears' that Snape was the back-up plan if Draco failed to kill DD, a loyal board member might have been a back-up plan if the cabinet wasn't fixable.

We don't know if Dolores was ever appointed to the board, but I could see her try to finagle a position if one were to open up. Even if she is not a LV supporter, her history with the IS indicates she'd be sympathetic to Slytherin.

I'll be very surprised if Hogwarts becomes a 3-house school because I don't think the Board of Governors would be unified enough to agree on that.

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Madam Pince - Jan 28, 2007 2:14 pm (#5 of 30)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
Frankly, I've never understood why Slytherin House withstood its very first controversy -- when Salazar Slytherin himself left Hogwarts. I would've expected the school to have dissolved that house and continued on with three houses. Yet they didn't. And they even kept the name the same.

Then further on, we have another pretty big former Slytherin "baddie" in Lord Voldemort. Yet nobody revolted against Slytherin House so much during Voldy War One to shut down the House. Granted, everyone makes little comments out of the side of their mouths ("Everyone bad comes out of Slytherin") but still, Slytherin House continues to operate.

Now in Snape we have yet another "bad" Slytherin, or at least most people in the Wizarding World will probably think he's bad (yeah, murdering a headmaster is pretty bad...) But if the first two issues failed to dissolve Slytherin House, I'm betting this third one will fail to do so as well. Snape might be thought of as "bad," but, Head of House or not, surely he won't be considered any worse than Voldemort himself?

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Lina - Jan 28, 2007 3:27 pm (#6 of 30)

Kate's new T-shirt and henna tattoo
Thank you, Immo, for appreciating the idea enough to start a new thread. And I think I couldn't think of a better title for it neither.

Beside my own appreciation for the diversities in the world and seeing nothing bad in forming of the different groups, as long as they are able to respect each other, one of the reasons for making that first post was this part of the interview with Melissa and Emerson:

ES: Why is Slytherin house still –

JKR: Still allowed!

[All laugh]

ES: Yes! I mean, it's such a stigma.

JKR: But they're not all bad. They literally are not all bad. [Pause.] Well, the deeper answer, the non-flippant answer, would be that you have to embrace all of a person, you have to take them with their flaws, and everyone's got them. It’s the same way with the student body. If only they could achieve perfect unity, you would have an absolute unstoppable force, and I suppose it's that craving for unity and wholeness that means that they keep that quarter of the school that maybe does not encapsulate the most generous and noble qualities, in the hope, in the very Dumbledore-esque hope that they will achieve union, and they will achieve harmony. Harmony is the word.

I don't know any more where from, but we all know that the four houses represent the four elements. Now, I'd not talk about superstition or alchemy, but the fact is that the idea of the four elements came from observing the world. Removing one of the elements would destroy the balance in the world. Mixing all the elements together would remove spice from the life or maybe even destroy it. The fact is that the people are not all the same, and I don't see anything bad about it. There is nothing bad about competing either. Some people are better in some things, other are better in something else. But all of them, only with their differences, can work together in making a better world. And I think that is JKR's idea about the houses.

Maybe we should concentrate on this part of her answer: They literally are not all bad. [Pause.] Well, the deeper answer, the non-flippant answer, would be that you have to embrace all of a person, you have to take them with their flaws, and everyone's got them. and look for the good Slytherins that will help reaching the harmony.

And, yes, Maria, I agree that Hogwarts students felt "Hogwarts" when the foreigners came. I suspect that they will feel even united with the foreigners while fighting the evil.

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Die Zimtzicke - Jan 28, 2007 7:45 pm (#7 of 30)

Going to class together doesn't unify you as I see it. Spending time together getting to know each other does, and that school is very segregated due to sports and seperate common rooms. I wish they would unify more. That's why I'm so excited to see Luna crack Harry's inner circle. I think diversity IS going to make them strong and they need to diversify.

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wynnleaf - Jan 28, 2007 8:44 pm (#8 of 30)

Lina,

I was just reading the JKR quote above only tonight, but there's a follow-up remark she made just afterward that's also important:

JKR: But they're not all — don't think I don't take your point, but — we, the reader, and I as the writer, because I'm leading you all there — you are seeing Slytherin house always from the perspective of Death Eaters' children. They are a small fraction of the total Slytherin population. I'm not saying all the other Slytherins are adorable, but they're certainly not Draco, they're certainly not, you know, Crabbe and Goyle. They're not all like that, that would be too brutal for words, wouldn’t it?

What she is saying is that she, the writer, is leading us to see Slytherin House only from the perspective of the Death Eater kids. Harry primarily interacts with Slytherin DE children, Draco, Crabbe and Goyle. Harry, and therefore the reader, thinks of Slytherin House as -- well, basically just like Draco and Co. As JKR says, she's "leading us." And she says this as explanation for why Melissa and Emerson would feel like it's so questionable that there are any good guys in Slytherin House. In other words, it's not surprising to JKR that Emerson and Melissa had those questions, because JKR is "leading" us to think Slytherin is all nasty awful people.

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journeymom - Jan 29, 2007 12:50 pm (#9 of 30)

Still, I feel a bit sorry for the Slytherins!

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Luna Logic - Jan 29, 2007 1:36 pm (#10 of 30)

from the other side (of the Channel)
Die Zimtzicke - I just hope you are right...

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TomProffitt - Jan 29, 2007 4:41 pm (#11 of 30)

Bullheaded empiricist
In the eyes of the Wizarding World as a whole the worst mass murderer (aside from Tom Riddle himself) out of Voldemort War One was a Gryffindor, Sirius Black. And even though Sirius was innocent, the guy that really did it, Peter Pettigrew, was also a Gryffindor.

I'm fairly confident that the biggest anti-Voldemort man in the ministry, Barty Crouch, was a Slytherin himself. He was, after all, a man who authorized any means necessary to achieve his ends.

But, when it comes down to the title question of the thread, Diversity is a two-edged sword. Unanimity leads to stagnation while diversity invariably leads to conflict.

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Soul Search - Jan 29, 2007 6:33 pm (#12 of 30)

TomProffitt,

"Unanimity leads to stagnation while diversity invariably leads to conflict."

WOW. What a bit of philosophy! Unfortunately, I think you are right.

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Thom Matheson - Jan 29, 2007 6:42 pm (#13 of 30)

But, conflict then leads to change. I'm not suggesting dropping Slytherin, just a comment. Conflict is needed at times to move and grow.

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HungarianHorntail11 - Jan 30, 2007 2:50 pm (#14 of 30)

The heart sees deeper than the eye.
I suspect that they will feel even united with the foreigners while fighting the evil. Lina

See now, Lina - you took away the line I was going to use to build upon from my first post.
I agree that when there is a common focus - whether or not it is very clear, (as with someone like Umbridge), the schools will harmonize. That is a great word because it involves each to bring his/her own voice or area of specialty to the table to achieve the desired result (in this case, ridding the world of Big V) rather than everyone trying to fall under a certain criteria to help, which is what unite might allude to. Even if Slytherin/Durmstrang are bad, they might not be bad to the extent that Big V is and their methods may very well prove helpful. What better person to tell you how to secure your home than a thief?

Just a quick note - it didn't seem as though the school fell apart during the "reign" of Grindevald. Not sure if HW was his target, per se, but the parents still sent their children to school as far as I can tell.

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Mrs. Sirius - Jan 31, 2007 11:23 am (#15 of 30)

Mom of 4 in serious lurker mode.
But, when it comes down to the title question of the thread, Diversity is a two-edged sword. Unanimity leads to stagnation while diversity invariably leads to conflict. TomProffitt

Wow, Tom that is so true. In the annuals of human history so much progress can be attributed to war and conflict and change. While all is well and stable you may well have prosperity but too much stability inevitably leads to stagnation. It seems cultures must be made to change by adding members and new points of view.

Just a quick note - it didn't seem as though the school fell apart during the "reign" of Grindevald. Not sure if HW was his target, per se, but the parents still sent their children to school as far as I can tell. HH

HH that just goes to show the strength of the human spirit. Despite great adversity we all strive to carry on. Mad-ruling despot after despot, humanity struggles to continue on and to do it in an orderly manner as possible. In times of adversity and mayhem we seek refuse in the everyday.

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Lina - Jan 31, 2007 4:52 pm (#16 of 30)

Kate's new T-shirt and henna tattoo
Diversity is a two-edged sword. Unanimity leads to stagnation while diversity invariably leads to conflict. -- TomProffitt

That is a nice thought, but I don't see abolishing the houses as unanimity, I see it as denying the differences. In my experience, denying the differences leads to much bigger conflicts than acknowledging them. My very own opinion is that the purpose of the houses is to show that different people can be equally valuable and that the real value is in all the characteristics together. Everybody have their assignment in the community and all of those characteristics are needed. The competing among the houses makes students work harder, feel responsible for the community and show that there are not always the same abilities that win.

As Tom mentioned, conflicts can lead to solving the problem, while suppressing the conflicts that exist anyway, leads into making the problem even bigger.

What I want to say, is that I think that abolishing the houses would be a bad thing to do.

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Steve Newton - Feb 1, 2007 9:26 am (#17 of 30)

Librarian
In SS/PS Dumbledore says that music is a magic more powerful than that which they teach at Hogwarts (from memory not a quotation). Also when the school song is sung everyone sings to their own tune. I think that harmony is one of the themes of the books. There must be 4 houses in balance. I don't know if this is exactly diversity. In the last book I think that the 4 houses will again sing the song, in harmony.

(I think I have a good thought in there somewhere but not sure that I actually communicated it. Nothing new.)

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Madam Pince - Feb 3, 2007 4:48 pm (#18 of 30)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
I just saw an online article about how many copies of DH have been pre-ordered so far, and the photo accompanying the article was of JKR at an interview when she was in New York this past August. At that point she was "well into" the writing of the book, as she put it.

What I just noticed about that photograph is that she was wearing a necklace that just looks like a cameo, but on closer inspection it is clearly a cameo of a coiled serpent. When she did that reading with John Irving and Stephen King at Radio City Music Hall on that same visit to New York, they made sort of a joking "big deal" about the fact that she was wearing fancy high-heeled shoes that had straps designed as serpents coiling up her ankles. She herself called attention to them during the reading. She wanted us to notice them.

I didn't even think twice about the shoes thing when I watched the reading; I just thought "Oh, ha-ha, that's cute, she has Slytherin shoes." But now that I see her wearing a "Slytherin" necklace for another public appearance at about the same time, when she's midway through writing the book, I wonder if she was giving us a sly little hint? She was emphasizing the Slytherin symbol. What other reason could there be, other than that Slytherin will figure prominently in the book? And given the Sorting Hat's last song, I think this really adds some more credence to Lina's theory about the diversity of the houses adding to the strength of the total package of Hogwarts.

JKR doesn't want us to either forget about Slytherin house, or to toss it aside in a negative way. She was wearing their symbol...

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Thom Matheson - Feb 3, 2007 5:34 pm (#19 of 30)

I took it to mean Horcrux locket type deal.

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HungarianHorntail11 - Feb 3, 2007 6:15 pm (#20 of 30)

The heart sees deeper than the eye.
The shoes, too, Thom? It certainly seems like something she would do, Madam P. Why Slytherin - why not a lion?

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wynnleaf - Feb 3, 2007 6:29 pm (#21 of 30)

I believe it was for Melissa and Emerson that JKR pointed out that the 4 houses represent the 4 elements of earth, water, air, and fire. In the 4 elements, all are equally necessary. JKR knows this. I don't think she'd plan her story so that one "element" was far less necessary than the rest.

But the thing that hit me most in the Melissa/Emerson interview was where JKR pointed out to Melissa and Emerson that she was leading the readers by having us (with Harry) focus on the kids of DE's in Slytherin. Her point was that we think Slytherin is all bad because she's leading us as the author so that we only get to see the worst side of Slytherin. That's a pretty clear admission (in my opinion) that she's intentionally misdirecting us. The point, of course, isn't so much to trick us, as it is for us to follow Harry as he eventually discovers the good side of all the houses, including Slytherin.

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Madam Pince - Feb 4, 2007 12:49 pm (#22 of 30)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
Exactly, wynnleaf. That's why when I thought more about the two subtle Slytherin-ish hints in the shoes and the necklace, I think she's sort of giving us a gentle push in the other direction from where her printed words have been leading us so far...

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Chemyst - Feb 4, 2007 6:41 pm (#23 of 30)

"Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up." A.A. Milne
In the last book I think that the 4 houses will again sing the song, in harmony. - Steve Newton

That is a lovely sentiment, but this is Hogwarts, not Sesame Street.

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wynnleaf - Feb 4, 2007 6:51 pm (#24 of 30)

In the last book I think that the 4 houses will again sing the song, in harmony. - Steve Newton

That is a lovely sentiment, but this is Hogwarts, not Sesame Street. (Chemyst)

I believe this idea comes out of theories related to the Alchemy symbolism, which we know JKR is using to at least some extent. The general idea is that the disunity and disharmony of the 4 elements (4 houses) is symbolically evidenced when they sing the song in complete disharmony. If you recall, JKR said that if Dumbledore ever asks to hear the school song again, it will be because everything is in top form once more. That does seem to indicate that we might hear the song again. Considering that she is making at least some points about the need for unity among the houses, it wouldn't be surprising if she had the houses sing the song in either unity or harmony, but at least I sincerely doubt she'll have them sing it again in dis- harmony.

Not so like Sesame Street after all.

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Steve Newton - Feb 4, 2007 8:55 pm (#25 of 30)

Librarian
Thanks wynnleaf for giving my thought a clearer description than I did.

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Lunar Tides - Feb 6, 2007 9:02 pm (#26 of 30)

I've heard of the four classical elements uniting to form something called aether (I'm not sure about the spelling). I could see this as a powerful anti-evil force. Maybe there will be representatives of the four houses: Ron for Gryfinndor, Hermoine for Ravenclaw, Neville for Hufflepuff, and Draco for Slytherin. Crossing their wands or joining forces, they may be able to give Harry the force necessary to stop Voldy.

-LT

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T Vrana - Feb 7, 2007 10:40 am (#27 of 30)

lunar tides-

You bring up an interesting point here. Hermione does seem more the Ravenclaw type, she even says that the Sorting Hat thought about putting her there, I think. Neville does seem more the Hufflepuff type. All the Weasley's have been Gryffindor, though it is not always the case that it runs in families, I will say that Ron truly belonged as a Gryffindor. Harry was almost Slytherin, though he chose Gryffindor. Was the Sorting Hat tweaking the House placement a bit to give Harry the unity, harmony, he'll need?

Problem is, he is a true Gryffindor, so he does need Slytherin, yet, as you point out. Draco? Hmmmmmm.....

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Madam Pince - Feb 7, 2007 12:19 pm (#28 of 30)

The eyes are the windows to the soul...
I have long thought that Draco will do an about-face and end up helping Harry defeat Voldemort, so I'll go along with that theory.

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T Vrana - Feb 7, 2007 1:48 pm (#29 of 30)

It would fit that the Sorting Hat wanted to put Neville in Hufflepuff, but that his parents were in Gryffindor, so he asked, ala Harry to be put in Gryffindor rather than disappoint his grandmother.

Why did Hermione end up Gryffindor?

Does Harry have enough Slytherin in him to be the Slytherin quarter?

Draco was wavering up there on that tower.....

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HungarianHorntail11 - Feb 8, 2007 4:56 pm (#30 of 30)

The heart sees deeper than the eye.
Was the Sorting Hat tweaking the House placement a bit to give Harry the unity, harmony, he'll need? I like that idea, T Vrana. I can't add to it, but I like it.
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