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The Sorting Hat

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The Sorting Hat Empty The Sorting Hat

Post  Potteraholic on Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:24 pm

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. It was copied/saved by Lady Arabella and reformatted/reposted by Potteraholic. ~Potteraholic

The Wandless Wizard - Aug 6, 2004 10:23 pm
Edited by Kip Carter Sep 26, 2007 3:56 am

A quote about the Sorting Hat came up the other day in the "'Chambers' Clues & Book Six" thread. It got me thinking lots of different thoughts about the Sorting Hat. I probably could have fit them tangentially in other threads, but I thought it might be worthwhile to create a Sorting Hat thread. If the mods feel the topics are better elsewhere, I will repost it. If it stays, post all your Sorting Hat related thoughts here. I'll start things off with a few thoughts of my own. I have numbered them to make it easier for discussion.

# 1. Here is the quote SE Jones originally posted in the Chamber thread that got my brain churning:

JKR: "There is more to the Sorting Hat than what you have read about in the first three books. Readers will find out what the Sorting Hat becomes as they get into future books." (The Boston Globe, October 1999)

So what does this mean? I surmised that it merely referred to the Sorting Hat's warnings in OotP. The Sorting Hat could be a valuable tool for advice over the last two books. There could be an even greater role for the hat. I still don't feel that adequately covers it. What do you think this quote means? What does the future hold for the Sorting Hat?

# 2. Mr. Weasley tells Ginny at the end of CoS:

"Ginny," said Mr. Weasley flabbergasted. "Haven't I taught you anything? What have I always told you? Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain?" (Emphasis is not mine, it was JKR's)

It sounds like good advice, but good advice that has been routinely ignored throughout the course of the books. The Sorting Hat clearly thinks for itself and clearly has no place to store brains (unless they are stuffed in the very top point of the hat). Why is the Sorting Hat above reproach? It reads people's minds. That could be very dangerous. Shouldn't it technically be an enchanted Muggle artifact and therefore illegal? Even if it is not illegal, why don't parents and students have more qualms about it similar to Mr. Weasley’s warning?

# 3. On what basis does the Sorting Hat choose into which house difficult-to-place students go? On some base level we know it is their abilities and choices. There are several students however who exhibit abilities of different houses. Hermione could have been in Ravenclaw. Neville could have been in Hufflepuff. Parvati's twin was in Ravenclaw so it can be assumed she could be too. We know it was Harry's choice that determined where he went. What was the deciding factor for the others? Does the Sorting Hat try to balance the houses? Gryffindor would be light on students in Harry's year if Neville, Hermione, Parvati and Harry all ended up in different houses. Does the student always have to make a choice? This could be a subconscious choice as the Sorting Hat reads their minds. Maybe the Sorting Hat has its own agenda or is helping DD with his agenda. What if the Sorting Hat deliberately put people with different abilities into Gryffindor to help Harry unite the houses or defeat Voldemort? We know Harry would be lost if Hermione was in Ravenclaw. What if the Sorting Hat only considered putting Harry in Slytherin as a test to see what kind of choice he would make and how he would react?

# 4. Does DD ever put the Sorting Hat on to learn more about the students? He seems to know a lot. He had long suspected Harry had inherited some of Riddle's powers. Why? Maybe DD put the Sorting hat on and asked it. The Sorting Hat could have told DD all about Parcel-tongue as well as other similarities between Harry and Riddle . The Sorting Hat also got a look inside Riddle's head. I think this could be an invaluable tool for a head master. But is it one DD would actually use?
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The Sorting Hat Empty The Sorting Hat (posts #1 to #50)

Post  Potteraholic on Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:27 pm

schoff - Aug 6, 2004 10:50 pm (#1 of 237)
Edited Aug 6, 2004 11:52 pm

As to #2 Wandless Wizard, I think the Sorting Hat has history backing it up. It has been doing its job--and evidently doing it well--for nearly 1000 years. Whether I could see its brains or not, I'd put my trust in something that had that kind of record. The reputation of the Sorting Hat seems to be above reproach, and it is well known throughout the Wizarding World--at least for the multitude of Wizards who went to Hogwarts throughout its history.

I am curious as to what the Hat does during the rest of the school year. I thought Sir Nick's comment that the Hat must pick things up by virtue of being in DD's office quite interesting. The Hat definitely pays attention, and can pick up patterns that it sees being repeated--hence the warning in OoP. I wonder if anyone would ask the Hat why he thinks the school should unite, and what past event he's comparing the current situation to in order to make that judgment. It's not like the Hat wanders around watching the students in each House get farther and farther apart. What does it hear in DD's office?

Madame Librarian - Aug 7, 2004 5:06 am (#2 of 237)

It's kind of a scary thought, isn't it, that the Sorting Hat has sat on every single head that attended Hogwarts for ages and ages. If the mindreading speculation is correct (I think it is, at least in some focused, limited way if not fully), imagine how much that hat knows. How does it use that information? It seems mostly a passive player so far, except for that incredible delivery job in CoS. It does not seem sentient there, just a tote bag for the sword. Other than that--which admittedly saved Hogwarts from being shut down since it allowed Harry to kill the Basilisk--the hat makes pronouncements and has a private conversation with Harry, but doesn't appear on the scene of any crisis or advise Harry with a (pardon the pun) tÈte a tÈte. The rest of the student body only sees it once a year, and hears it only when it intones the welcoming poem. I wonder if DD ever wears it.

Here's another question. What do you think would happen if a kid absolutely refused to go to the house the Hat assigned? What if Harry had been put in Slytherin, and found the nerve to ask for a switch? Would the Hat even react at all? Would it be consulted again?

Maybe its original task, as designed by the Founders, was to assure that the houses had a relatively equitable mix of students, both in terms of numbers and type of kid. Key word here is "relatively." Most Draco-types for sure get Slytherin, but maybe there's a fail safe in the Hat to prevent it from putting all Draco-types in one house. That's why a Neville-type is not always put in Hufflepuff, or a brainy kid like Hermione is not always in Ravenclaw. If those guides were rigidly followed, imagine how divided things would be today--much worse than they are, I suspect.

OK, enough babbling. I didn't really speak to any of the good points that TWW raised. (Sigh)

Ciao. Barb

TomoÈ - Aug 7, 2004 11:46 am (#3 of 237)
Edited Aug 7, 2004 12:48 pm

While still alive they did divide
Their favorites from the throng,
Yet how you pick the worthy ones
When they were dead and gone?
'Twas Gryffindor who found the way,
He whipped me off his head
The founders put some brains in me
So I could choose instead! (GoF)

My guess is the four founders put their personalities and experiences in the hat, like Tom did with his diary or the Marauders did with the map.

If I'm right, the hat should be the "portrait" of the founders that talk in their names when the Headmaster ask around for advice. But the difference with the other portrait is the four founders speak by only one voice.

I think we'll going to learn, the founders didn't wanted to be divided, the wanted to be united and the Hat will be the voice of the founders when the kids will be ready to be united.

The Wandless Wizard - Aug 7, 2004 2:14 pm (#4 of 237)
Edited by Aug 7, 2004 3:16 pm

Madame Librarian wrote: OK, enough babbling. I didn't really speak to any of the good points that TWW raised. (Sigh)

Thank you But I think you spoke to a few of my points. You raised some good questions. And I do think it is a bit scary how much information the Sorting Hat could have about all the students ever at Hogwarts. Probably has nice little tidbits about all the DEs, not just Voldemort.

schoff, for the most part I agree with your assessment of point #2. I just find it odd that no student has ever objected to putting a talking hat that could read minds on his/her head. Even a Muggle out of sheer fright. I guess the kids trust the school, and if they are like Harry are afraid of being sent away.

Tomoe- Can the founders all actually speak as one? We know the real ones got broken up because they were not able to agree. Wouldn't their differences tear the Sorting Hat apart as well? After 100 years of Slytherin and Gryffindor arguing in its head, shouldn't the Sorting Hat be a little bit crazy?

TwinklingBlueEyes - Aug 7, 2004 4:21 pm (#5 of 237)

"The founders put some brains in me", didn't say whose brains...or even that was parts, if you will, of the founders.

Alianora - Aug 7, 2004 4:52 pm (#6 of 237)

I do think that quote of Mr. Weasley's will come into play in the future, even though I don't think the Sorting Hat is evil. I think it would be very interesting if the Hat continues to warn the students, and the houses do grow closer, even some of the Slytherins may choose to unite with the other houses.

zelmia - Aug 7, 2004 6:06 pm (#7 of 237)
Edited Aug 7, 2004 7:07 pm

It's too bad the original "Sorting Hat" thread got munched. In the previous one, I had posted my thoughts on the difference between The Sorting Hat, The Marauders' Map, and the Diary.

To summarize, the difference between the Sorting Hat and the other two objects was this:

Both The Sorting Hat and The Map communicate directly with the individual 'using' them. But they have distinctly opposite purposes. The Sorting Hat differs primarily in that it was created to discern information about the wearer, whereas the Map was created to disseminate information to the user. The Diary is different altogether because it was created to USE the user him- or herself. It needs the user to survive.

The Hat obviously has some cognitive powers, as it is able to offer information taken directly from its surroundings and use it to "make a decision". True, there is much more to the Hat than this, as we are only just beginning to learn. The Map, on the other hand, can only offer the information directly from its surroundings. It cannot really "make a decision" or give advice, per se. Of course, knowledge of certain individuals - existing at the time of its creation (i.e. Snape, Filch) - make it appear that it is more cognitive or "intelligent" than it is. But the Hat is truly so.

The Diary, again, is infused - literally - with the ... I guess I would say "essence" of its creator. Therefore it needs to feed off of the essence of others to maintain its ... well, life force, I guess. This is not the case with the Hat or the Map.

The Wandless Wizard - Aug 7, 2004 7:17 pm (#8 of 237)

Zelmia, very good points. But how do you know the difference between them without using them? If you are presented with three magical objects that think for themselves (and you cannot see its brain), how do you know which one will feed off your essence (malevolent), which one will merely provide information (neutral), or which will offer advice (benevolent)?

Madame Librarian - Aug 7, 2004 8:50 pm (#9 of 237)

Interesting distinctions. I think the analysis is very good, but whether we can use it to figure anything out is doubtful. The most telling thing about the hat--the aspect that for me sets it apart from the other magical items, and also makes it potentially more dangerous--is that in order for it to do the sorting, it's sits right on your head. There's that element of physical contact that creeps me out. Plus, it's a big hat, and most of the time it slips down over the face of the kid wearing it. More creepy. There's definitely an element of giving up your control, letting your head (mind) be enveloped by this slouchy, old, mysterious thing. It can communicate without being on your head, but I wonder what would happen if Harry wore it again, rather than just talking to it.

Ciao. Barb

weasley by nature - Aug 7, 2004 10:16 pm (#10 of 237)

I just find it odd that no student has ever objected to putting a talking hat that could read mind on his/her head.-The Wandless Wizard

I think the reason is that most of them don't know that it is going to read their mind. They just see a hat and know that yells out a house. They do not know how it decides what house to put you in. Although I guess I shouldn't say "reading minds" because Snape says that's for stupid Muggles who don't understand fine distinctions, but then again Snape is a slimy git.

As for the ones that do know (for instance, I doubt Malfoy was never informed of how he would be placed since his parents would want him to get into Slytherin) I think that they are the type that would not object. None of them would be Muggle-born since they would have no place to find this out, except perhaps on the train ride, where I expect they have much more pressing matters on their mind having just found out that they are a wizard and not having someone like Hagrid around for a few days explaining everything. And I can't imagine someone from a wizarding family being overly suspicious of an object that a school approves of, and that every student has used without any complications by the way.

zelmia - Aug 7, 2004 10:17 pm (#11 of 237)
Edited Aug 7, 2004 11:20 pm

Wandless, that's just the thing: you can't know until you use something whether its intentions are malevolent, benevolent or neither. Hence Arthur Weasley's warning.

Barb, Harry did put the hat on again in CS. In the movie he simply talks to it while it is on the shelf, but in the book he puts it on a second time while waiting for Dumbledore in his office. When he did so, the Hat confirmed to Harry that he would have done well in Slytherin.

But perhaps you meant what if he puts it on again now? I agree. I think it would a very different type of conversation. And I also agree about the symbolism of having the Hat envelop one's head; succumbing to it in a way, if only for a moment. And it is frightening to know that this... being... can "see" what's in your very thoughts... Interesting observation.

centauriffic - Aug 7, 2004 11:20 pm (#12 of 237)

Because the Sorting Hat's words are so important, it has always bothered me that Harry (and therefore we readers) missed the sorting his second and third years. I wonder if in the future Hermione will suddenly remember something important it said while Harry and Ron were running out of gas in the Anglia. Or Ron could remember something from when Hermione and Harry were in McGonagall’s office.

Madame Librarian - Aug 8, 2004 4:51 am (#13 of 237)

Excellent tidbit there, centauriffic! The reader also does not hear the Sorting Hat's song those years. It would be so like Hermione to start referring to some little thing the Hat told the students, and suddenly say, "Oh for heaven's sake! Don't you two remember what the Hat said our second year?" And Harry to reply, "But, Hermione, Ron and I didn't get here in time for the sorting. We were a little preoccupied with the Whomping Willow just about then."

Ciao. Barb

Good Evans - Aug 8, 2004 7:20 am (#14 of 237)

Thanks for starting this thread. I posted this to another thread but no one picked up on it. I think it belongs here

In PS/SS JKR had to do a lot of editing of the Sorting Hat chapter and only kept in the important stuff (as per her website). I found it odd that both Seamus and Neville are described as the hat taking some time to determine the houses (almost a minute for Seamus and a long time for Neville). If this is important why? - what other house was being considered - I assume Hufflepuff (as they both have to try really hard) but maybe not. I have learned not to make assumptions of JKR.

Nathan Zimmermann - Aug 8, 2004 11:07 am (#15 of 237)

I think the reason for the length of time it takes for the Sorting Hat to make a decision regarding Neville and Seamus relates back to choices.

The Sorting Hat realizes it is not perfect in its knowledge and that the determinations it makes will influence the future of the student involved. It needs to weigh carefully all the attributes of Neville and Seamus to make the most appropriate determination. When a student like Harry specifically asks not to be put in Slytherin it weighs the choice with all the other attributes and the hat is careful to question the student about the request in order to be certain that the request is made with a pure heart.

Luke E.A. Lockhart - Aug 8, 2004 11:12 am (#16 of 237)

I think we can trust the Sorting Hat. I just can't imagine a scene where everyone says, "Whoa. The hat is evil!"

I think Mr. Weasley's comment was just a kind of conventional wisdom which can't be taken completely seriously.

Hollywand - Aug 8, 2004 1:16 pm (#17 of 237)

Wandless, I think there's a very different context to Arthur's comment to Ginny regarding the Very Secret Diary vs. The Sorting Hat. The students are first introduced to the Sorting Hat by their mentors. It's an orientation tool. The Very Secret Diary just shows up mysteriously to Ginny and begins a personal relationship. Parents (let's hope) encourage students to place trust in the judgment of their teachers, and not to talk the strangers. Same sort of advice.

Come to think of it, though, there are all sorts of things with highly visible brains that are not to be trusted....

The Wandless Wizard - Aug 8, 2004 2:22 pm (#18 of 237)

I agree the hat is not evil. I agree it is a different situation than the diary. I just find it odd that everyone trusts it. These are kids after all. To me, Mr. Weasley’s advice is the magical equivalent of "don't take candy from strangers". It is something that every child has ingrained in their heads. So what is the first thing the teachers do when the students are on their own away from their parent's for the first time, they confront them with the exact type of object they have always been warned about (they also give them candy at the end of the feast).

It just strikes me as odd that some kid never took his parent's advice too seriously. Maybe it has happened and we just never saw it. I would like to see a kid refuse in book 6 or 7. I wonder how he would be sorted. Maybe DD would put him in Gryffindor because it takes a unique kind of courage to stand out against the crowd.

Oh and Hollywand, Snape is a teacher and I wouldn't trust him or his judgment as far as I could throw him...Actually, I could probably get some distance throwing Snape. Plus it would be fun to throw the slimy git, especially with a cliff near-by. Hmmm, How about...I wouldn't trust Snape or his Judgment as far as I could throw Grawp.

Hollywand - Aug 8, 2004 2:41 pm (#19 of 237)

Godric just depersonalized the decision making process by putting the sorting into an object instead of contributing to future divisiveness between leading professors. A chap with a great deal of foresight, if you asked me, a real, um, Prince, you might say.

I think Ginny is forever altered by her experience with the Very Secret Diary.

As to Severus, his cauldron is bubbling away if you want to cast your spells over in his direction. I trust him because Albus and Minerva do. Sever the Snake, Severus Snape! Go Severus! ;-) Bwaahaaahaaa.

TomProffitt - Aug 8, 2004 3:33 pm (#20 of 237)

"I think Ginny is forever altered by her experience with the Very Secret Diary." --- Hollywand

I agree. There is quite a bit of dark foreshadowing around Ginny. I haven't put it all together and arrived at any conclusions.

I am concerned for her future.

Ann - Aug 8, 2004 3:42 pm (#21 of 237)

Actually, didn't Dumbledore say "There is no lasting harm done"? And don't we always believe everything Dumbledore says? He was speaking of the petrified students (& ghost & cat), but while the experience may have given Ginny something (in addition to the understanding she showed in OotP of what it feels like to be possessed), I don't think it hurt her in the long run. She is certainly shaping up to be quite a powerful witch, anyway.

Actually, could that be at all due to her brief period of being possessed? (Bat-bogie hex, anyone?)

Hollywand - Aug 8, 2004 3:56 pm (#22 of 237)

Hi Ann and Tom!!! Some might say harm, others a benefit. Ginny's possession could end up uniting the houses of Slytherin and Gryffindor. I feel her newfound aggressiveness owes a bit to her crossover to the other side. We see a marked change in her behaviour. She might do some questionable actions in a bid for power. But, this is for the Ginny thread.

Ann - Aug 8, 2004 4:47 pm (#23 of 237)
Edited Aug 8, 2004 5:49 pm

I just posted this afternoon a long, brilliant (if I do say so myself) interpretation on the Dreams thread, which is in part relevant to the Sorting Hat thread, too, since it is about the dream Harry had, sort of about the Hat, right after his sorting. Having noticed the lack of response there (no cheering!?!) and not being one to hide my light under a bushel, I'll put the link here. (I don't want to repost the whole thing, since it is mostly about dreams.)

Anyway, the point is about the squeezing the Hat does to produce the sword in CoS, which is foreshadowed (?) in the dream in PS/SS (although in the dream it is Quirrell's turban).

This is the link.

Penny Lane. - Aug 11, 2004 9:06 am (#24 of 237)

I was thinking about how the hat has changed its song over the years. First it described the qualities in each house and what each founder cherished. (Hufflepuff = Loyalty, Gryffindor = Bravery, Slytherin = Quest for power, Ravenclaw = wit and intelligence) But in OoP it seems to be more focused on two things: a) giving the message to get over it and be friends with the other house and b.) How Slytherin left the fold because of its emphasis on pure blood over all things.

Now, what I think this could mean a variety of things, the first being that the hat (and the founders thoughts inside) is growing and changing with Hogwarts. Like any school, it is what the students and staff make of it. The students at Hogwarts now have different thoughts and ideals then students 150 years ago. It has grown and changed. Likewise, the houses have changed in their abilities and strengths according to which students are in the house. Hufflepuff today is different from the Hufflepuff three years ago.

I think that the Sorting Hat understands this, and tries to place students where the will be able to excel best. If a student is incredibly brave, but he craves intellectual stimulation and is better able to work on school work in an atmosphere where he is surrounded by other intellects, then he should be in Ravenclaw.

I think that the Hat can see this, and while it tries to keep the kids in the original categories that the founders wanted, it knows that it shouldn't.

I also believe that the Hat may have been putting half bloods and such into Slytherin before certain influential students came along and changed Slytherin back to a "Pure Blood's Only" club. In my opinion, the Hat is able to understand the attitudes of the various houses and it plays off of that, keeping in mind the Founders ideals.

Paulus Maximus - Aug 15, 2004 2:34 pm (#25 of 237)
Edited Aug 15, 2004 3:37 pm

I have very little doubt that over the course of 1,000+ years there have been Muggle-borns who, above all else, desired power, and that the Sorting Hat would have put them in Slytherin even though they were Muggle-born.

Salazar wouldn't approve of that, but times change.

In fact, it makes me wonder: What happens nowadays to Muggle-borns who desire power above all else? Does the Sorting Hat still put them in Slytherin?

Solitaire - Aug 15, 2004 5:40 pm (#26 of 237)
Edited Aug 15, 2004 6:42 pm

Ann, when Dumbledore says, "There has been no lasting harm done, Ginny," I got the idea that he meant there had been no lasting harm done to the Basilisk's other victims--not necessarily to Ginny herself.

I tend to agree with those who feel Ginny has been forever altered by her experience with the Diary. Is it, perhaps, this experience that drew her to the veil in the Ministry?

With regard to the Sorting Hat's comment in OotP that "Hogwarts is in danger from external, deadly foes," could that refer to Umbridge herself? She was forced upon the school by the Ministry, an "external" institution, and she was dangerous to the students and Professor McGonagall.

"We must unite insider her or we'll crumble from within"--we see a group of students (DA) begin to unite within the school to resist the pressures from outside, and due in part to their unity, some major treason is exposed.

I loved Zamia’s post about the three magical items--the Sorting Hat, the Map, and the Diary. She really nailed the differences between them and how they use, or are used by, the user. The Diary is certainly the most parasitic of the three items, as it "feeds" on what the user puts into it--in Ginny's case, she poured her soul into it, which is what many people tend to do with diaries. The Map is pretty neutral, since it just provides information--tempting information (for Harry and the twins), but information nonetheless.

The Hat, to me, seems almost like a Legilimens in the way that it looks into each wearer's mind and heart. By the way, I much preferred the way the Hat carried on a conversation with Harry via thought in the book. I didn't especially like the way it was handled in the movie, with all of the comments out in the open, for all to hear.

When Harry dons the Hat again, in DD's office--Harry does seem to be fond of picking up things that are not his and trying them out, doesn't he?--it reads his mind and answers him. In the Chamber, it doesn't talk, but it does give him the sword in response to his request--"Help me--help me--Please help me--" It does indeed help him.

Something else: I can't find the exact post, but back a bit, someone wondered if the brains or whatever in the hat wouldn't rip it apart, since they are so different. Harry comments more than once, I believe, how the hat looks as though it has been torn and patched. Is this because it was Gryffindor's beloved hat and had been worn to death? Or could there have been "friction" between the brains inside the hat, and could that account for all of the rips and tears that have had to be patched over the years?


Archangel - Aug 15, 2004 6:42 pm (#27 of 237)

"In fact, it makes me wonder: What happens nowadays to Muggle-borns who desire power above all else? Does the Sorting Hat still put them in Slytherin?" -- Paulus

IMHO, I think that the Hat still places them in Slytherin and these kids wouldn't be careless enough to tell the other Slytherins that they were Muggle-borns. The existing Slytherins would naturally assume of course that these new recruits also come from a wizard family of some repute. Could be a case of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

I'd be very keen on reading what the Hat will sing in HBP. Its message in OoP could have alluded to Umbridge for the same reason that Solitaire pointed out but I'm thinking that it could be about the impending war itself and the possible siege that might happen to Hogwarts.

Ann - Aug 15, 2004 8:44 pm (#28 of 237)

Solitaire, I didn't mean that Ginny hadn't been changed forever by the experience. Being possessed by Voldemort and forced to unleash a basilisk on one's fellow students would indeed be a chastening experience, and one that will have lasting effects. I am just not sure, given Dumbledore's statement, that she has been irretrievably hurt by the contact with Voldemort, in some sort of magical (i.e., not simply psychological) way. I don't think, for example, that her magical talents come from him (look at her family, and even Fred & George). But I may be missing something.

Solitaire - Aug 15, 2004 10:40 pm (#29 of 237)

True, Ann. I suppose we will have to wait until the bitter end to find out what, if any, lingering effects that experience had on her.

Regarding the Sorting Hat, I wish we'd been able to hear the songs it sang in years 2 & 3. I am hoping for a "recap" of those in book 6--via flashbacks from Hermione (CoS) and Ron (PoA)--since we didn't get to "hear" them at the time they were delivered. I also can't wait for the coming song. If Ron thought the last one "branched out a bit," I'm betting this one will be a hum-dinger.

Archangel, I think you are absolutely right. I do believe Umbridge was but a hint of horrors to come. I said in a post on another thread earlier today (I can't remember where) ... I am betting that Hogwarts itself will be the scene of a major battle before the war is done, and I look for large casualties among the students and teachers. What's more, I think the pipes and tunnels used in CoS will come into play in an "invasion" or assault from without.


Paulus Maximus - Aug 16, 2004 12:14 am (#30 of 237)

It almost makes me feel sorry for those Muggle-borns who desire power, but don't know better than to reveal their lack of wizarding heritage...

If such still exist in Hogwarts, I bet they'd join the DA...

Nathan Zimmermann - Aug 30, 2004 7:34 pm (#31 of 237)

Is it possible that the Sorting Hat could be some form of Pythian Oracle akin to the Oracle at Delphi?

Solitaire - Sep 1, 2004 12:50 am (#32 of 237)

Nathan, I posted something about that a few days ago. I think you could be correct.

Nathan Zimmermann - Sep 16, 2004 2:37 pm (#33 of 237)
Edited Sep 16, 2004 3:37 pm

Solitaire, your commentary on the Sorting Hat makes me wonder if it was also a security measure designed to perceive threats from within and was created with a secondary defensive purpose.

Solitaire - Sep 16, 2004 8:21 pm (#34 of 237)

Interesting idea, Nathan ... As Nick said, it would pick up a lot of "chatter" in Dumbledore's office, to be sure. A lot goes on in there! Remember Harry saying it sounded like DD was entertaining a bunch of people while he waited outside? Come to find out, it was the portraits. I bet they all have some mighty interesting discussions. This could account for why Dumbledore is so knowledgeable about past, present and future goings on.

BTW, wouldn't you just LOVE to know what the Hat said as it sat on Riddle's head? I sure would! I wouldn't mind knowing what went on as it sat on Snape's head, too.


Nathan Zimmermann - Sep 17, 2004 2:43 pm (#35 of 237)
Edited Sep 17, 2004 3:44 pm


I can imagine it

Yes, a great mind capable of great good or great evil. The choices are yours to make and Slytherin will fit you well and help you to fulfill your destiny. I can imagine Tom Riddle thinking please not Gryffindor or Hufflepuff.

Solitaire - Sep 18, 2004 3:23 am (#36 of 237)

Nathan: I can imagine Tom Riddle thinking please not Gryffindor or Hufflepuff.

LOL Nathan! It is closing in on 4:30 a.m. here, and that remark made me laugh out loud!

Ann - Sep 19, 2004 8:46 am (#37 of 237)
Edited Sep 19, 2004 9:47 am

Solitaire & Nathan, it seems likely to me that the Hat said to Riddle,

"You could be great, you know, it's all here in your head, and Slytherin will help you on your way to greatness, no doubt about that!"

And, unlike Harry, Tom Riddle went for it.

On another topic, I posted a few days ago on another thread (but it is really more apt here) the idea that the Sorting Hat does not pay any attention to whether a person is a pure blood or not in assigning their houses. After all, on her website JKR says that Mafalda, the daughter of a squib relation of the Weasleys and a Muggle, was sorted into Slytherin. I wonder if the reason for this "color blindness" on the part of the Hat might be that, at the time of the school's founding, when the Hat was furnished with brains, only pure bloods were admitted to Hogwarts, so it wasn't a question.

But I suspect we'll find this out in Book 6.

Solitaire - Sep 19, 2004 9:06 am (#38 of 237)
Edited Sep 19, 2004 10:07 am

Interesting idea about only pure-bloods in the beginning, Ann. But it makes me wonder ... how long after the founding of Hogwarts was the Sorting Hat endowed with the brains? And when did the "blood thing" become an issue?

There were obviously non-pure-bloods attending Hogwarts while all four founders were still alive and present at Hogwarts, based upon the Hat's song in OotP:

Said Slytherin, "We'll teach just those
Whose ancestry is purest." ... and
"For instance, Slytherin
Took only pure-blood wizards
Of great cunning, just like him ..."

And we know that Slytherin and Gryffindor struggled over this issue, eventually resulting in Slytherin building the Chamber of Secrets, putting the basilisk in it, and leaving Hogwarts altogether.


Paulus Maximus - Sep 19, 2004 10:06 am (#39 of 237)
Edited Sep 19, 2004 11:09 am

And the Sorting Hat used to belong to Gryffindor.

Maybe it was Gryffindor's idea to tweak Slytherin's criteria...

TwinklingBlueEyes - Sep 19, 2004 10:25 am (#40 of 237)

Or tweak Slytherin's nose? :-)

Yeah, yeah, I know, I'm toddling off now...

Paulus Maximus - Sep 19, 2004 12:03 pm (#41 of 237)
Edited Sep 19, 2004 1:04 pm

That, too, Blue Eyes... ;-)

TomoÈ - Sep 22, 2004 6:44 pm (#42 of 237)
Edited Sep 22, 2004 7:44 pm

How many students in Hogwarts can trace the all their ancestors to Slytherin's day without a single Muggle in the three? Even a family like the Malfoy could have been only just half-blood in those years.

Maybe the sorting have a certain floor percentage of wizarding blood that a student should have to be set in Slytherin or maybe he make sure the average percentage is high enough.

Paulus Maximus - Sep 23, 2004 6:44 am (#43 of 237)
Edited Sep 23, 2004 7:45 am

What the Sorting Hat said in 1991 and 1994 was that Slytherins used any means to achieve their ends, and Salazar loved those of great ambition.

Ambition and hunger for power are irrelevant to ancestry; Muggle-borns are as capable of ambition as purebloods.

TomoÈ - Sep 23, 2004 7:59 am (#44 of 237)

Hopefully, or there wouldn't be anyone in Slytherin.

Paulus Maximus - Sep 23, 2004 10:27 am (#45 of 237)
Edited Sep 23, 2004 11:28 am

Is everyone in Slytherin- the house that despises Muggle-borns- a Muggle-born?

Draco is quite proud to say that he is not a Muggle-born.

In fact, we haven't heard anything about Muggle-borns in Slytherin. Not that we should, since any Muggle-borns in Slytherin would keep a low profile...

TomoÈ - Sep 23, 2004 12:58 pm (#46 of 237)
Edited Sep 23, 2004 2:01 pm

On Jo's note book, Tracey Davis was a Muggle-born but then was changed into a half-blood. There's no evidence for any Muggle-born to be a Slytherin, that wouldn't fit with Salazar's values anyway. And I'm sure the Sorting Hat respect the four founders will.

Paulus Maximus - Sep 23, 2004 2:35 pm (#47 of 237)
Edited Sep 23, 2004 3:39 pm

What about Muggle-borns who would use any means to achieve their ends, and are not particularly brave, cunning, or hard-working?

Note that the Sorting Hat made no comment about Harry's heritage when he was sorted; I don't think that the Hat even considers a candidate's heritage. If he's ambitious enough...

TomoÈ - Sep 23, 2004 3:02 pm (#48 of 237)
Edited Sep 23, 2004 4:04 pm

If he's ambitious enough. But how enough is enough for a Muggle-born? I really don't thing Slytherin would have allow a Muggle-born when he was alive, so I don't think the Sorting Hat will allow them in his house.

All the four founders had specific requirements for their students, but only Slytherin asked the students he didn't want (Muggle-borns) to be banned from the school, that shows how highly he thought of them. He didn't trust them and I think the Hat follow Salazar's wish not matter how wrong he was. The Hat's still sorting the students even if he think it’s wrong, I see no reason why he wouldn't split students according to the founders values.

Solitaire - Sep 23, 2004 9:37 pm (#49 of 237)

For all of Salazar Slytherin's prejudice against non-pure-bloods, his heir was a half-blood, so at least one of his descendants (Tom's mother) did not buy into the pure-blood thing.

Paulus Maximus - Sep 26, 2004 1:09 pm (#50 of 237)
Edited Sep 26, 2004 2:09 pm

"so I don't think the Sorting Hat will allow them in his house."

So where then would he be sorted? Given that he's neither brave nor cunning, he wouldn't fit in at all in Gryffindor or Ravenclaw.

I guess that leaves Hufflepuff...
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The Sorting Hat Empty The Sorting Hat (posts #51 to #100)

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I Am Used Vlad - Oct 2, 2004 5:10 pm (#51 of 237)
Edited Oct 2, 2004 6:18 pm

And I'm sure the Sorting Hat respect the four founders will. -TomoÈ

Actually, it doesn't. The hat sings in OotP:

For instance, Slytherin
Took only pure-blood wizards
Of great cunning, just like him,

Slytherin, if the hat is to be believed (and we know it is sincere), only taught pure-bloods, and the Sorting Hat is willing to put non pure-bloods in Slytherin House.

Solitaire - Oct 2, 2004 8:59 pm (#52 of 237)

Brightwater, this is a response to your post #115 on the Founders of Hogwarts thread. I moved it here because I felt it was more appropriate.

The question is whether the Hat even DID consider putting Harry in Slytherin. Are you sure it wasn't just responding to his thoughts: "Not Slytherin, not Slytherin."

Until then, no house had been mentioned. That's when the Hat said, "Not Slytherin, eh? Are you sure? You could be great, you know, it's all here in your head, and Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, no doubt about that--no? Well, if you're sure--better be GRYFFINDOR!"

The fact is that there is no proof that the Sorting Hat would have put Harry in Slytherin. Even when he put it on in Dumbledore's office in CoS, the Hat didn't say he SHOULD have been in Slytherin. It said, "I stand by what I said before--you would have done well in Slytherin."

But I wonder ... would he have done well in a house whose founder despised wizards like himself ... with a Head of House who hated him and housemates like Malfoy & Co., who were already hostile to him before he had even arrived at Hogwarts? He might never have achieved any of the things he has achieved in Gryffindor, because he would not have had the support of true friends like Ron and Hermione. Just my 2 knuts ...


schoff - Oct 2, 2004 10:38 pm (#53 of 237)
Edited Oct 2, 2004 11:48 pm

The fact is that there is no proof that the Sorting Hat would have put Harry in Slytherin.

Just because the Hat did not mention a House by name does not mean it was not considering putting Harry in a House other than Gryffindor. As others have said, the Hat was listing qualities of the other Houses--including Slytherin--before Harry ever brought up the subject.

But I wonder ... would he have done well in a house whose founder despised wizards like himself ... with a Head of House who hated him and housemates like Malfoy & Co., who were already hostile to him before he had even arrived at Hogwarts?

If the Hat thinks Harry would have done well in Slytherin, then he most likely would have done well. I doubt Snape and Malfoy would have nearly as much of a problem with Harry if he were a Slytherin. In fact, they'd probably want to buddy up to him (at least in Malfoy's case) so that some of his fame would rub off on them. Draco would have changed his tune really quick if he realized Harry was the Slytherin he'd need to suck up to, and it would give Snape bragging rights that he had "The Famous Harry Potter."

Harry is the type of person who would succeed no matter where he was put. He would still do "great things" (per Ollivander, who made the comment before Harry's Sorting), but he would just probably have to do them alone or with different friends.

Paulus Maximus - Oct 3, 2004 10:42 am (#54 of 237)
Edited Oct 3, 2004 11:43 am

"I doubt Snape and Malfoy would have nearly as much of a problem with Harry if he were a Slytherin."

That's funny, because I distinctly remember Snape saying "Unfortunately, you are not in my house and the decision to expel you is not mine. I shall go and fetch those who DO have that happy power," or something to that effect.

I have no doubt at all that if it were in Snape's power to expel Harry from Hogwarts, he would do so in an instant, even if Harry were in Slytherin.

That's how much he hated James...

Prefect Marcus - Oct 3, 2004 11:53 am (#55 of 237)

"Unfortunately, you are not in my house and the decision to expel you is not mine. I shall go and fetch those who DO have that happy power,"

Paulus, have you never learned that saying is not the same as doing.

Paulus Maximus - Oct 3, 2004 1:16 pm (#56 of 237)
Edited Oct 3, 2004 2:18 pm

What evidence do you have that Snape would not...?

Oh, right... he figured out that Harry had thrown the rocket, after threatening to expel whoever threw the rocket...

So, what prevented him from pressing charges?

schoff - Oct 3, 2004 1:27 pm (#57 of 237)
Edited Oct 3, 2004 2:57 pm

Prefect Marcus is right. It was an empty threat on Snape's part. The decision ultimately rested with Dumbledore and there's no way DD would allow anyone to expel Harry. Snape would have known that. Expelling Harry would put him in serious danger and almost certainly lead to his death (no blood/Hogwarts protection if the Dursleys kicked him out or sent him to a Muggle school, Voldie still around, etc).

Besides--that statement still happened *after* Harry was Sorted into Gryffindor. Snape would probably have thought it was a good way to bend the rules if Harry had been a Slytherin. Snape would have thought it would be a punishment most befitting to James if the son of his Gryffindor enemy became a Slytherin.

I think it would have been a far more interesting scene if Harry had been a Slytherin and he still took the car with his best friend Ron, a Gryffindor. Then I could see Snape being upset with Harry's actions.

NOTE: Snape's "Unfortunately, you are not in my house and the decision to expel you is not mine. I shall go and fetch those who DO have that happy power," comment was after the whole Flying-Ford-Anglia-being-in-all-the-papers in CoS (Ch5 US79). The firework was a different incident (Ch11 US188), and although Snape suspected Harry, he had no proof and could therefore do nothing. Far different from the first time, when he did have proof of Harry's misdeeds.

Paulus Maximus - Oct 3, 2004 2:35 pm (#58 of 237)
Edited Oct 3, 2004 3:44 pm

"I think it would have been a far more interesting scene if Harry had been a Slytherin and he still took the car with his best friend Ron, a Gryffindor. Then I could see Snape being upset with Harry's actions."

I agree.

We'll never know what Snape would have done if Harry were in Slytherin, because he is not. But for all we know, he might have followed through with his threat.

To change the subject abruptly, if Harry had chosen Slytherin, would the Sorting Hat have said "you would have done well in Gryffindor"?

The Sorting Hat said that Harry had qualities that all four Hogwarts valued. I think that no matter which house it had put Harry in, it still would have said that Harry could have done "well" in one of the other three.

Nevertheless, the Sorting Hat said "You are wondering if I put you in the right house. Yes."

Interpret that "yes" however you will...

ruthlesspenguin - Oct 3, 2004 3:10 pm (#59 of 237)

If Harry were in Slytherin, it would not just be a case of the Harry we know being in a different house. In order to get there, he would have had to make a whole series of choices differently, making him into a completely different Slytherin-Harry. These differences would also have been apparent prior to the sorting. For example, Draco Malfoy, and not Ron, would take the place of Harry's new best friend.

Therefore Harry would not be flying the car into the Whomping Willow with Ron, as Ron would not be his best friend. As to whether Snape would like him, we don't know. However, however he would treat Slytherin-Harry, it can't be so bad as to stop him doing well, as the Sorting Hat has never yet been wrong.

In making his comment, I think he was referring to Gryffindor-Harry suddenly waking up one day in Slytherin, without realizing that a Slytherin-Harry would be a different person. Which is perfectly understandable, as it wasn't a planned comment and Snape doesn't know his words get analysed to pieces.

Paulus, I think the hat referred to Slytherin because Harry was thinking 'Not Slytherin'. If he had instead been thinking 'Not Hufflepuff', it might have made a comment about Hufflepuff.


Paulus Maximus - Oct 3, 2004 6:10 pm (#60 of 237)
Edited Oct 3, 2004 7:11 pm

There was more than a year's time between Harry saying "not Slytherin" and the hat saying "you would have done well in Slytherin".

Awfully important thing to remember for more than a year, I'd think.

Of course, "well" does not necessarily mean "better"...

schoff - Oct 3, 2004 6:58 pm (#61 of 237)

These differences would also have been apparent prior to the sorting. For example, Draco Malfoy, and not Ron, would take the place of Harry's new best friend.

Not quite true. Harry could still make the same choices, it would just be a harder path to follow. Ron could very well still be his best friend.

T Brightwater - Oct 3, 2004 7:57 pm (#62 of 237)

In my post on the Founders of Hogwarts thread to which Solitaire replied above, I was wondering if the Hat had considered putting Harry in Slytherin to try to provide a good influence in that House.

I agree that Harry would have been absolutely miserable in Slytherin, and that Snape would probably not have liked him any better, whether he would have actually expelled him or not.

It's also possible that the Hat was testing Harry - to see if the suggestion "You could be great, you know..." could overcome Harry's instinctive aversion to being in Voldemort's old house.

Solitaire - Oct 3, 2004 10:56 pm (#63 of 237)
Edited Oct 3, 2004 11:58 pm

Ruthless: If Harry were in Slytherin, it would not just be a case of the Harry we know being in a different house. In order to get there, he would have had to make a whole series of choices differently, making him into a completely different Slytherin-Harry.

I agree, Ruthless. Choosing differently at each junction would have meant a different Harry. Would it really have been possible for Harry to have established and maintained the same kind of friendships with Ron and Hermione from Slytherin? If he had done so, he would still have been hated by Draco & Co. The only difference is that they would have had constant access to him to torment him.

I think there are other issues that had to be considered, as well. I believe it might have been more dangerous for Harry to have been in Slytherin. Suppose he had (God forbid) become a good enough friend of Draco's to visit his home. Harry Potter in a DE house ... particularly Malfoy's? Hm ... Lucius could easily have delivered him right into Voldemort's clutches.

The truth is that we will never know how Harry would have done in Slytherin, because he was not put into Slytherin. It is all just speculation. I can't help thinking, however, that he would not be the same Harry we know and love.


Eponine - Oct 4, 2004 5:55 am (#64 of 237)

Do you think the Sorting Hat knew that Harry was THE Harry Potter? Did the Sorting Hat even know about everything that happened between Harry and Voldie so many years ago? Or was Harry just another student to him?

Phoenix song - Oct 4, 2004 9:04 am (#65 of 237)

We know that the Sorting Hat says that there is nothing that you can hide in your mind from him. (It must be a majorly powerful Occlumens, LOL.)

"There's nothing hidden in your head
The Sorting Hat can't see,
So try me on and I will tell you
Where you ought to be." (SS, Ch. 7, pg. 117.)

I would think that he would know exactly what Harry's history contained if this were true. Maybe this is how the Sorting Hat gets its information! All of the students come through, and basically submit to a "brain scan". For example, that would mean that there would have been nothing that Draco had ever seen or known by his first year that the Sorting Hat wouldn't have been aware of. It would be a real source of information to know everything that the first years had ever known, heard or seen every year. (Am I making any sense?)

I would think that he would know all about Harry, but that he wouldn't have been "impressed". What I mean to say is that I don't believe that the Sorting Hat would have altered its decision based on Harry's fame.


Solitaire - Oct 4, 2004 11:23 am (#66 of 237)

I believe the Sorting Hat is a Legilimens. I think I may have said that about it in a past post. (I did say it, in a post on the HP thread, and here is the post. I also said it again, back in post #26 on this thread.) It's interesting that you bring up Draco. Remember how fast the Hat made its decision for him? I don't have my book, but I think it says that the Hat had barely touched his head when it called out Slytherin. Yet it sat on Seamus' head for about a minute.

We know it held quite a conversation with Harry. It would be interesting to know what it said to all of those other kids, wouldn't it? One can only wonder what it thought when it landed on Tom Riddle's head! I wonder if it tells Dumbledore what it finds out?


Phoenix song - Oct 4, 2004 7:09 pm (#67 of 237)
Edited Oct 4, 2004 8:10 pm

Solitaire: I think that you're right about the Sorting Hat being a Legilimens. I didn't know that you had already posted on this subject. There are just so many thoughts going on that it's hard to keep up with all of them.

I am curious about what the Sorting Hat knows about the Malfoy family. Perhaps his mental make-up doesn't require much investigation because it's all so self-serving and hateful? I've looked up the passage in the book:

"Malfoy swaggered forward when his name was called and got his wish at once: the hat had barely touched his head when it screamed, 'Slytherin!' " (SS, Ch. 7, pg. 120)

I do wonder if this is how the Sorting Hat and Dumbledore get much of their information. After all, every election year there are many informal "elections" at local schools. They find that often the victories at the local schools echo the returns for the national elections. Why? Well, it seems that the parents are passing along their thoughts, beliefs, and opinions to their children often without conscious knowledge. The children are aware of how their parents will vote, and they will usually vote the same way.

It would seem to me as if the Sorting Hat could get a general feel for the attitudes of the wizarding community by "reading" the minds of the students each year. Maybe this is way off base, but it is just a thought that I had that I find to be interesting.


Solitaire - Oct 4, 2004 7:54 pm (#68 of 237)

You make some interesting observations, Barbie, about kids and voting. I am a teacher, and believe me, I hear it all! You are quite correct about the kids reflecting what they hear at home.

About the Hat as Legilimens: I had not read it before, but I am sure the idea didn't originate with me. One day I was looking at the Legilimency/Occlumency thread. As it happened, I noticed the Sorting Hat thread at the same time, and voila! I connected the two in my little pea-brain. I'm glad to see others come to this idea on their own, because it reinforces what I think about the Hat.

I love your comment about why the Hat is so quick to place Draco: "Perhaps his mental make-up doesn't require much investigation because it's all so self-serving and hateful?"

When Draco was talking to Harry about the houses--in Madam Makin’s robe shop, before he knew who Harry was--he said, "Well, no one really knows until they get there, do they, but I'll be in Slytherin, all our family have been--imagine being in Hufflepuff, I think I'd leave, wouldn't you?"

The Sorting Hat has sat on the heads of Draco and Lucius--and probably several generations of Malfoys before them. It can probably "sense" a Malfoy the minute one walks into the Great Hall. It would be interesting to know whether any Malfoys have ever been in another house. I wonder if his mother, Narcissa, was a Slytherin? We know her sister Bella was. What about Andromeda? I hope we get to find out some of these things, don't you?


Magical Llama - Oct 7, 2004 1:02 am (#69 of 237)
Edited Oct 7, 2004 2:22 am

The Sorting Hat is much more then a Legilimens, Solitaire. The hat has the uncanny ability to look into someone's heart. I will use blundering Neville as an example to further my point. When Neville approached the stage for his sorting he was feeling anxious(fearful) and insecure. The hat was able to see past his current emotion and look into his heart.

I would also like to point out that I believe the most important question about the hat has not been adequately discussed here. As the Wandless Wizard kindly pointed out in her initial post; J.K.R has indicated in a 1999 quote that there is more to the Sorting Hat's power then we currently know.

JKR: "There is more to the Sorting Hat than what you have read about in the first three books. Readers will find out what the Sorting Hat becomes as they get into future books."

I have not seen a significant change in the hat from book three to five and I can say with certainly that I have not seen the hat "become" anything spectacular, or different in a way that would warrant J.K.R making a specific quote about it.

Note: I think your idea to include H.P as an elective at your school is a great idea, Solitaire! I apologize for not responding to your comment earlier, but time got the better of me.

Solitaire - Oct 7, 2004 1:20 am (#70 of 237)

I agree that it is much more, Llama. I was just pointing out that I have believed for some time that it IS a Legilimens. Who knows what else it could be? A Seer, perhaps? A Parselmouth? Someone who has been transformed?

I wonder if it possesses some of the "gifts" of the original founders. I have wondered, too--ever since Ron's encounter with the brains in the DoM--whether there might not be more to the "brains" in the Hat than we know. Whose brains are in it?

Just idle musings ...


Magical Llama - Oct 7, 2004 4:50 am (#71 of 237)
Edited Oct 7, 2004 6:07 am

Does anyone else find it strikingly odd that we have not seen or heard anything pertaining to the founder's portraits in five novels? Are the founder's portraits located in an undiscovered part of the school, or do they not exist?

I theorize that the founders chose not to imprint themselves in portrait, but instead imprinted themselves in the Sorting Hat. By imprinting themselves in the Sorting Hat the founders were able to interact with Hogwarts in a tangible way that would not be possible from a portrait. As an example I will use the Basilisk battle in CoS to illustrate my point. When Harry places the Sorting Hat on his head Godric's sword magically appears in his hands. Now, the question is this: Did the hat hold Godric's sword for 1,000 years and then give it to Harry, or did Godric send his sword to Harry the same day as the battle by way of the hat?

Keep in mind how essential the hat was to Harry when he used it to defeat Tom Riddle in CoS. Because Fawkes brought the hat to Harry; one could argue that Dumbledore and Gryffindor came to Harry's rescue via personified objects (Fawkes, Godric's Hat and Sword).

hells456 - Oct 7, 2004 4:20 pm (#72 of 237)

All these threads just give me more questions.

Could there be something important in the fact that it was Gryffindor’s hat, and Gryffindor’s idea to use the hat in the first place?

Was there something notable in the way the hat squeezed the sword out? Could the hat be a transfigured object/person that was holding the sword as magical llama suggests?

Was the hat or the brains in it changed in any way after Slytherin left the school?

Is there a reason why the hat 'screamed' Slytherin for Malfoy? For everyone else it shouted not screamed. Screaming makes me think of pain, so does it hurt the hat when such a pure Slytherin puts it on (or barely touches it)?

On a separate point, if Harry was a Slytherin he could be far more dangerous to Voldemort, all that ambition could rub off on him and he may want to defeat LV not for the sake of the light side, but to better him...

TwinklingBlueEyes - Oct 7, 2004 5:12 pm (#73 of 237)

Sometimes I wonder. Like, what would happen if the Sorting Hat, (as seen already as reluctant to sort students), would just up and refuse to sort one year? Esp. after issuing it's warning about uniting? The Hat does have a brain, ( I wasn't ignoring you Soli, I was pondering), and we don't know where it keeps it, but I do think it is truthful. Back to another universal truth, a "house divided against itself cannot stand".

Book six is going to prove real interesting...

Solitaire - Oct 7, 2004 8:31 pm (#74 of 237)
Edited Oct 7, 2004 9:34 pm

Hi, Twinkles. Interesting points. Doesn't the Hat say at one point that it hesitates to "quarter you"? I'll have to go and get my books. (You'd think I would have the darn things memorized by now!) Okay ...

And now the Sorting Hat is here
And you all know the score:
I sort you into Houses
Because that is what I'm for.
But this year I'll go further,
Listen closely to my song:
Though condemned I am to split you
Still I worry that it's wrong,
Though I must fulfill my duty
And must quarter every year
Still I wonder whether sorting
May not bring the end I fear.

Twinkles ... it could happen! I've used the "house divided against itself" idea before, too ... I think it is very apropos, and it is definitely referenced in the song.


hells456 - Oct 8, 2004 1:36 am (#75 of 237)

The stool the Sorting Hat sits on was four legged to start with and became three legged in the last sorting. Does anyone know if this was a mistake or symbolic of the houses dividing?

TwinklingBlueEyes - Oct 8, 2004 5:21 am (#76 of 237)
Edited Oct 8, 2004 6:23 am

Llama brings up two very interesting points about the Sorting Hat that really bug me. :-)

JKR's reference to "what the Sorting Hat becomes", and "strikingly odd that we have not seen or heard anything pertaining to the founder's portraits in five novels?"

The only solid thing I keep coming back to as far as "what the Sorting Hat becomes" is a uniter.

The absence of the founder's portraits may well belong on the Portraits thread, but I do think it is relevant to the Sorting Hat also because it is the only reference to a living legacy if you will, of the founders. The portraits of the heads appearing to have a kind of life and the founders not being presented somehow as a living identity seems inconsistent, unless they live through the Sorting Hat.

Did that make any sense? Thoughts, theories, ideas, stoat sandwich anyone?

Edit: I am also thinking along the lines of the castle itself as a living identity. Not sure if that helps or helps confuse more. :-)

Paulus Maximus - Oct 8, 2004 7:04 am (#77 of 237)

"Is there a reason why the hat 'screamed' Slytherin for Malfoy? For everyone else it shouted not screamed. Screaming makes me think of pain, so does it hurt the hat when such a pure Slytherin puts it on (or barely touches it)?"

That reminds me of the movie, actually. The Hat did have a look of pain on its face when Malfoy was about to put it on. Movie contamination, I know, but I think it's interesting...

Prefect Marcus - Oct 8, 2004 12:34 pm (#78 of 237)

hells456 - The stool the Sorting Hat sits on was four legged to start with and became three legged in the last sorting. Does anyone know if this was a mistake or symbolic of the houses dividing?

I suspect that they just grabbed a handy stool. One year it is four legged. The next it is three.

Ann - Oct 8, 2004 2:14 pm (#79 of 237)

The Sorting Hat's song says (as I remember, I'm being lazy) that the founders put "some brains in me," not "their brains," though I suppose it could contain some of each of their brains. But in the most recent song, the Hat says that Slytherin's departure "left us all downhearted." "Us," then, is presumably separate from Slytherin, and by symmetry, that means that the Hat is separate from the other founders as well. This could be either because the brains were from somewhere else, or because the Hat had become a distinct individual.

I didn't notice the wincing of the Hat when it sorted Draco in the film. That could be an interpretation of "screamed" by the director; but it's also possible that JKR gave them a hint.

TomoÈ - Oct 8, 2004 9:05 pm (#80 of 237)

Maybe the hat screamed out of surprise, not out of pain, maybe he just never touched a mind so close to Slytherin's ...

Solitaire - Oct 9, 2004 7:33 am (#81 of 237)

hells456: The stool the Sorting Hat sits on was four legged to start with and became three legged in the last sorting. Does anyone know if this was a mistake or symbolic of the houses dividing?

While I see four legs definitely mentioned in Books 1 & 4, I can't find any reference to the number of legs on the stool in Book 5. Before the Sorting Song, I read ... "... Professor McGonagall, who was carrying a stool ..." and "... Professor McGonagall placed the stool carefully ..." I do not see the stool mentioned again until after the Sorting has finished, at which time "... Professor McGonagall picked up the hat and stool and marched them away ..."

I'm curious ... where do you see the stool described as having three legs? I'm reading the US edition; the first two references are on page 204, and the third on page 208. Are you reading a different edition of the book?

Having said that, I suppose any deliberate change could be very meaningful. I realize JKR makes errors sometimes, but the Sorting ceremony--with all its attendant ritual--seems like a pretty important place to get careless. If the same stool has always been used year after year--until now--we have to wonder ... Did it break (and what would that symbolize)? Did it refuse to come to the sorting? Did it transform from a 4-legged stool to a 3-legged one over the summer? I guess we will have to wait and see if it was just a blip or a clue.


ex-FAHgeek - Oct 9, 2004 12:39 pm (#82 of 237)

---quote--- But I wonder ... would he have done well in a house whose founder despised wizards like himself ... with a Head of House who hated him and housemates like Malfoy & Co., who were already hostile to him before he had even arrived at Hogwarts? ---end quote---

Well, Malfoy wasn't hostile to him when they first met - he even tried to "make friends," or at least get on Harry's good side. Malfoy is well aware that the prestige associated with "famous Harry Potter" can be useful - had Harry been in Slytherin, Malfoy probably would have taken a very active role in insuring that Harry adapted well in the Wizarding World (under Malfoy's guidance, of course.)

schoff - Oct 9, 2004 2:42 pm (#83 of 237)
Edited Oct 9, 2004 3:47 pm

Book 1 (Ch 7) the Sorting Hat was on a four-leg stool. Book 4 (Ch 12) had it sitting on a four-leg stool. Book 3 (Ch 5) is where it is listed as three.

It's also listed at the Lexicon.

Solitaire - Oct 9, 2004 5:23 pm (#84 of 237)

Gosh, Schoff! I didn't even think to look in Books 2 & 3, because we missed the Sorting. Maybe it doesn't mean anything--just an inconsistency--if it is back on a 4-legged stool in Book 4. Oh, well ...

Nathan Zimmermann - Oct 10, 2004 12:42 pm (#85 of 237)

Schoff, with your permission I would like to copy your last post to the Arithmancy and Alchemy threads because, they could contribute to the discussions there.

Best regards, Nathan

schoff - Oct 10, 2004 12:51 pm (#86 of 237)

They're just links, Nathan. I'll do it for you.

Nathan Zimmermann - Oct 10, 2004 1:53 pm (#87 of 237)

Schoff, many thanks I really do appreciate it.

Magical Llama - Oct 18, 2004 12:48 am (#88 of 237)
Edited Oct 18, 2004 1:58 am

If the sorting-hat is the "living legacy" of the founders, I assume that it would give advice to the Headmaster in a way that is similar to the portraits in Dumbledore's office. I remember reading a passage that stated that the portraits were bound to serve the current Headmaster, and I wonder if this is one reason why the hat stays in Dumbledore's office.

Solitaire - Oct 19, 2004 9:14 pm (#89 of 237)

Would you want the Sorting Hat just lying around Hogwarts, any old place? I wouldn't. It knows too much! Dumbledore's office is a nice, safe place.


veraco - Oct 20, 2004 5:37 am (#90 of 237)
Edited Oct 20, 2004 6:47 am

I have always have the funny feeling the Sorting Hat doesn't put you where he wants but where you choose to be.

Remember Hermione and the remark she does in OoP? she said the hat considered to put her in Ravenclaw but she preferred Gryffindor. Harry also preferred Gryffindor instead of Slytherin.

It seems to me that the Sorting Hat, since he really don't like to do it, tries not to divided to much and since he has to do it at least he prefers to give the students a choice in what they what to become, since each of the houses represent something and help you grow with some very remarkable values of its own.

So the Sorting Hat "checks" you, gives you the possibilities and let you choose in the end. Maybe that's why Dumbledore was so interested in Harry's sorting in the first place?

Another thought, can you imagine Percy being asked if he prefer Slytherin or Gryffindor? I can just imaging him choosing Gryffindor just to please his parents. Sometimes, he seems to be too much of a Slytherin to me, with all that tryst for power and recognition, and so little trust in his friends and family when the times are most critical and when he is most needed by them, in those moments it's always his head the tries to save first.

Prefect Marcus - Oct 20, 2004 6:57 am (#91 of 237)

I rather suspect that the Hat places you where you will do the best. Your preconceived ideas as to where you want to go will play a big role in that. For instance, if you are convinced you will do terrible in Hufflepuff -- guess what? You won't. It is called a self-fulfilling prophecy.


Madame Librarian - Oct 20, 2004 5:16 pm (#92 of 237)
Edited Oct 20, 2004 6:19 pm

Prefect Marcus, did you mean "you will"?

Question: is it possible that a completely different device would be in use now if Slytherin hadn't left the school? We are all pretty much agreed that a lot of DD's possessions in his office were left or given to him by GG. Perhaps each of the founders left something behind--we've even made some reasonably good guesses as to who left what. The most obvious from Slytherin is the Chamber and basilisk, but I'm thinking more of a bequest to all future headmasters/headmistresses as an aid to running the school.

If the Hat is the tool GG created to divvy up the kids into various houses, it may be a fair man's way of assuring a so-called good mix of students for each house, especially since we see so many examples of kids who seemed to be assigned to the wrong house. This operating system for the Hat combined with a little bit of the student's own desire (if sensed as a sincere desire by the Hat, may be a reflection of the man himself. If Slytherin had left other kinds of things for future heads to use, we might have seen a different method completely of house assignment, one very rigid and strict, based on family line, subject to rigorous tests of bloodline or something like that.

Ciao. Barb

EDIT--Just had a bizarre thought. What if each year after the sorting, DD slips on the Hat to let it "share" with him all the input it got from the new students? This would be a way to explain how DD seems to be so perceptive and knowledgeable about his students (even though he feigns a sweet obliviousness sometimes).

Solitaire - Oct 20, 2004 9:11 pm (#93 of 237)

Barb: What if each year after the sorting, DD slips on the Hat to let it "share" with him all the input it got from the new students?

Nice one, Barb! It sure would explain a lot, wouldn't it?

Ann - Oct 20, 2004 9:13 pm (#94 of 237)

The song says that although the Hat was Gryffindor's "the founders put some brains in me," I think, so it does seem to have been a communal creation.

I've wondered previously on this thread (I think--they all do seem to run together) whether it wasn't the case that pure-bloodedness was not an issue in Hogwarts' early days. I suspect that the usual assumption, that is, that Hogwarts was open initially to everyone, and then Slytherin tried to narrow the admissions policy, has it backwards. Perhaps, in those dark days, it was initially decided that only pure bloods would attend the school, and the break came only in the next (or even the third) generation, when Gryffindor (and perhaps the two ladies) tried to expand the school. My reason for suspecting this is that there don't seem to be any provisions that prevent a half-blood (or in the case of the edited-out Weasley cousin Mafalda, a half-Muggle, half-squib) from being sorted into Slytherin. If it had been a controversy originally, I think it would have been included.

TomoÈ - Oct 21, 2004 7:01 am (#95 of 237)

Madame Librarian -> We are all pretty much agreed that a lot of DD's possessions in his office were left or given to him by GG.

I should have been away when we did the vote because I respectfully don't. ^_^

Gryffindor was a great man and all, he did own the hat that became the Sorting Hat and thought to transform it so, but nowhere in canon it says he was the one who found out the exact spells to use, nor it says he was the one who performed them, let alone that he own the castle, was the first Headmaster, tamed Fawkes, bewitched the mirror of Erised, vanquished Slytherin or any other Codswallop that run around this forum. The man is overrated I tell you, if not there is no mystery why Slytherin left, Gryffindor was so much into his ego-trip there wasn't much place for any of the three other founders. ^_^

So I don't think the Hat is a reflection of Gryffindor alone, I think the four of them participated to the bewitching of the hat and leave an imprint of the four personalities in it. If not, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff would have accepted the hat as an impartial arbitrator, they would have suspected it to be biased.

Solitaire - Oct 23, 2004 7:58 pm (#96 of 237)
Edited Oct 23, 2004 9:00 pm

TomoÈ, I didn't understand Ann to mean that Gryffindor owned everything alone. She explicitly stated that the Sorting Hat seemed to be a communal creation. There are also other places on the Forum--probably the Founders thread--which speculate on the different contributions which might have been made by the other three.

Barb does not say all but rather many of the things in Dumbledore's office were probably left there by Gryffindor--not necessarily because he was the Headmaster, but maybe because it was his apartment in the castle. Perhaps it was chosen as the Headmaster's office because it was nicer than the others' apartments (all speculation, I realize). Some things in it were probably left by other Heads, too. There have certainly been many down through the years.

I've often wondered if there was a Head when all four founders were alive. There was probably no need for a Head as long as the original founders were alive; it seems logical that they made all decisions jointly. Perhaps last surviving founder became the first Headmaster or Headmistress.

Regarding the contributions of others, some Forum members feel that the Room of Requirement, with all of its unique features, was Helga Hufflepuff's contribution; others attribute it to Rowena Ravenclaw. We all know that Slytherin created the Chamber--and perhaps it once had a very different and more wonderful function than housing the Basilisk.

There is speculation by many that Fawkes once belonged to Gryffindor--I personally believe this--based on the Gryffindor colors. They are the colors of the Phoenix, so I do not believe this is just a wild assumption.

As for ego-trips, I think Slytherin's pure-blood mania and desire to rid the school of all who were NOT pure-blood was a very large ego-trip. If the other three chose not to buy into it but rather to resist it (speculation here), there would little mystery in his departure. It could be seen as major "sour grapes."


Edit: I realize this is probably more appropriate for the Founders thread, but it is a response to TomoÈ's post.

Paulus Maximus - Oct 24, 2004 11:50 am (#97 of 237)

Isn't there a relief of a griffin on the door to the headmaster's office?

Given that a griffin is a cross between an eagle (Ravenclaw) and a lion (Gryffindor), maybe the office once belonged jointly to Rowena and Godric...

Prefect Marcus - Oct 24, 2004 5:09 pm (#98 of 237)

The doorknocker is a griffin, actually. Nice catch.

Of course, if the next headmaster is from Slytherin house, it might be a snake.

Paulus Maximus - Oct 24, 2004 5:31 pm (#99 of 237)
Edited Oct 24, 2004 6:34 pm

So, Dumbledore was in both Ravenclaw and Gryffindor?

I can't see how the knocker could be a griffin otherwise, if it reflects the house that the headmaster was in.

Solitaire - Oct 24, 2004 8:07 pm (#100 of 237)

Perhaps it has been there since the castle was built, regardless of the Headmaster's house.

Weird idea: Has anyone ever speculated on whether GG and RR might have been married, perhaps, and that was their apartment in the castle? It could certainly account for the Griffin doorknocker. If they had married at some point subsequent to the founding of Hogwarts, it might certainly have caused some dissent, because the others might suspect some sort of shift in the "control" of things.

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The Sorting Hat Empty The Sorting Hat (posts #101 to #150)

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Paulus Maximus - Oct 25, 2004 9:40 am (#101 of 237)
Edited Oct 25, 2004 10:41 am

I don't see how Godric and Rowena would have shared the quarters and office if they weren't married. So yes, I have speculated on it.

On the other hand, I doubt that marriage caused the split, unless Salazar also wanted Rowena. And even then, Helga might have suspected foul play on Godric's and Rowena's part, but she didn't leave Hogwarts as Slytherin did.

shepherdess - Nov 18, 2004 9:58 pm (#102 of 237)

Is it just coincidence that the Sorting Hat sings a new song each year (providing progressively more important information), and Dumbledore loves (chamber) music? Is it possible that Dumbledore writes the songs for the hat?

Muggle Doctor - Dec 2, 2004 6:05 pm (#103 of 237)

The hat is almost a member of staff.

It is an intelligent agent, able to give and receive information; in addition, it remembers people it has met before (Harry).

It can read the minds of people, at least to the extent of being able to decide on their capabilities, personality, motivations and morals (whether it can actually extract and store memories is another matter).

It has a certain amount of free choice (the only thing it is constrained in is the necessity to sort the students in the first place).

Vis a vis the pureblood/mixed blood business, I'm sure that in the beginning when there were larger numbers of pureblood wizards, it was quite happy to sort only purebloods into Slytherin. Now the numbers are down, purebloods are harder to come by, and not all of them will be suitable for Slytherin (some will be completely unsuitable). So it realises it has to take the best it can get, and cut corners. The pureblood requirement will be the first to be ditched, IMO.

Question for JK Rowling: In CoS, did Fawkes pick up the Sorting Hat, or did the Sorting Hat say "Come on, let's go; Potter needs help!!" ??

Steve Newton - Dec 2, 2004 6:18 pm (#104 of 237)

What makes a hat different from a painting? The Hat seems to have real intelligence while, according to JKR, paintings just sort of repeat catch phrases. To me they are just inanimate objects. In the WW there seems to be a difference. (I'm not counting the portraits of the Headmasters as they seem to be thinking beings, at least Phineas Nigellus.)

Aurora Gubbins - Dec 3, 2004 3:27 pm (#105 of 237)

I have for a long time put much more weight on the The Hat than at first it would seem to deserve. In the most recent (OOTP) song it tells us that it will only put pure blood wizards and witches into Slytherin, yet as far as we know Tom Riddle's father was Muggle - so why put him there? This is one of the questions on my mind as I re-read COS. I feel maybe his parentage may have been called into question by The Hat, who clearly has the ability to know much more than we all, as yet, realise!

Aurora xx

Paulus Maximus - Dec 3, 2004 5:03 pm (#106 of 237)

The Hat said that Slytherin only took Pure-blood wizards. The Hat itself sorts the most ambitious and Machiavellian wizards into Slytherin, regardless of their ancestry.

Unless, as has been speculated, the Hat is capable of error. (I seem to think so, since Percy shows more ambition than courage and therefore would have done better in Slytherin than in Gryffindor.)

Solitaire - Dec 3, 2004 10:08 pm (#107 of 237)

I agree, Paulus, about Percy--and possibly Peter. Neither seems particularly brave. Both appear to like being allied with the top dogs in their respective worlds. They seem to like being important, don't they?

Whether the Hat is capable of error ... ? Is it possible (or plausible) that Peter and Percy requested not to be put into Slytherin, as Harry did? Or could this be the Hat's attempt at mixing the various characters a bit? We know it is reluctant to separate students in the way it has done in the past--because it said so. Not stating a theory, just musing ...


Ann - Dec 4, 2004 7:44 am (#108 of 237)

Paulus and Solitaire, I think the Sorting Hat must be capable of error. Otherwise, why does it think so long and hard? Obviously, from Harry's and Hermione's cases, many students have capabilities that would allow them to succeed in two (or even more) houses.

Someone pointed out early on that the Sorting Hat's first statement to Harry, before Harry raises the issue of Slytherin, may show that he's a potential member of all four houses:

Difficult. Very difficult. Plenty of courage, I see. [Gryffindor] Not a bad mind either. [Ravenclaw] There's talent, oh my goodness, yes [Hufflepuff?] -- and a nice thirst to prove yourself, now that's interesting [Slytherin]....So where shall I put you?

I don't quite see the talent = Hufflepuff equation (although the Hufflepuffs we know aren't untalented); still I think the hat does its best and sometimes does mess up a bit, probably influenced by the students themselves. JKR, when asked if the Hat was infallible replied, I think, that it was sincere, which sounded to me like it isn't.

Ydnam96 - Dec 4, 2004 9:59 am (#109 of 237)

I wonder if you might have it backwards? What if the thirst to prove yourself is not Slytherin but Hufflepuff?

Just go with me for a minute...

Slytherins know they are good. They don't need to prove themselves. It's part of their attitude.

Hufflepuffs however are thought of as the "nobody specials" and must feel like they have to prove themselves a lot...

but then again that assumes that Slytherins have talent. What do we do with Crabbe and Goyle. Hmmm...maybe they have hidden talent.

Paulus Maximus - Dec 4, 2004 11:56 am (#110 of 237)

Slytherins are best known for their ambition, and to me, thirst to prove oneself is a mark of ambition. (On the other hand, "Thirst" to do anything seems like a mark of ambition to me...)

On the other hand, Hufflepuffs are known for their hard work and their loyalty. Thirst to prove oneself might also stem from a desire to prove loyalty or willingness to work hard.

So, where does the Talent fall? Is it more characteristic of an ambitious pure-blood, or a hard-working, loyal person?

Given how pure-bloods are not necessarily talented (Neville, Crabbe, and Goyle) and vice-versa (Voldemort and Hermione), I'd say that Talent does not refer to Slytherin qualities, so it probably refers to Hufflepuff qualities instead.

By the way, I have found that those who do not have innate talents can usually acquire them by working hard (Case in point: Neville in book 5) so I rest my case.

Solitaire - Dec 4, 2004 6:25 pm (#111 of 237)

I must say, Mandy, that the mind reels when considering what "talents" Crabbe and Goyle might possess.

Ann - Dec 4, 2004 7:30 pm (#112 of 237)

I may have mis-remembered the older discussion. It does seem possible that I reversed Slytherin and Hufflepuff in assigning houses to characteristics. I suppose my thoughts on the matter were similar to Paulus'.

It is interesting, actually, that the one (positive, valued) characteristic Harry does not seem to have is the desire or inclination to work hard--the Hufflepuff hallmark. He does it when he has to, but he does tend to expect that things will come easily to him. I almost sympathized with Snape in OotP, where Harry can't even read the potion recipe properly. Then when he does try, in the next session, he does quite well. Then, the third session, he is trying so hard to eavesdrop that he messes up again. (Snape vanishes his potion the first and third time, and one can sort of see why: his potion may not be the worst in the class, but, as the second session illustrates, he can do it when he bothers, and he's not bothering. I'm not so sure it's unfair.)

Harry is also not much of a team player; there is an essay on RedHen arguing that this is the most important characteristic of Hufflepuff house. Even at Quidditch, where he actually is on a team, he is a loner. So perhaps Harry is meant to be a combination of the three houses (Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, and Slytherin) but not of Hufflepuff. (Perhaps this is a clue for the 'shippers.)

Ydnam96 - Dec 4, 2004 8:19 pm (#113 of 237)

Yes, it seems that my thoughts weren't entirely thought through...

It is just so easy to assume though that the thirst to prove yourself is "bad" I guess it goes along with the assumption that Slytherin House is "bad"

I was simply thinking that maybe we were looking at it in the wrong way. But yes, all of your points make more sense than mine.

Ann, I've noticed that about Harry too. But, I think that makes him more "normal" and more like the rest of us. I mean, when it comes down to it I'm fairly lazy. And although I tend to be sorted into Hufflepuff when I've taken the quizzes I can be the queen of laziness.

Solitaire, it is frightening what kinds of talents Crabbe and Goyle might have. My mind goes straight to all kinds of different ways to torture people. However, I wonder, if they had been outside of the influence of Malfoy if they would have turned out as bad as we see them? I guess the Sorting Hat did sort them into Slytherin for a reason.

I find it sad that these Slytherin students seem predisposed to be bad, just because their parents and their upbringing have led them down that path. Could you imagine Crabbe, Goyle, and Malfoy were not brought up by DEs? I wonder if they would have been sorted differently or if it is something more innate that the Sorting Hat notices?

Solitaire - Dec 4, 2004 8:37 pm (#114 of 237)

Ann, I'm not sure that Harry doesn't have the inclination to work hard. I also don't think messing up the potion was a case of not being able to read it properly. I think in the last book, Harry was completely consumed with all of the chaos and negative attention constantly swirling around him, and he was simply unable to concentrate on things as he should have done.

Let's face it. Harry's life has been anything but settled and routine since he entered the Wizarding World. When we first meet him and Hagrid makes the comment about him not knowing anything--he, of course, was talking about Harry's parents and his background--Harry was a little insulted, because he got pretty good marks in school. I would guess that he is probably a fairly bright kid, if he ever had a chance to just relax and live a more normal life.

In addition to not having been raised in a Wizarding family where all of this stuff is second nature, Harry is the target of Voldemort and that has got to be terribly unsettling. His emotions and loyalties are getting yanked every which way during a time when all kids are terribly vulnerable and hormone-riddled. The fact that he is even functional is, in my humble opinion, a testament to his relative mental health.

I have taught adolescents of varying ages for 19 years, and even those who live rather settled, predictable lives sometimes do dopey, irresponsible things. I have to agree with the Hat. I think Harry probably has a pretty decent mind ... it is just a bit too busy at the moment for such mundane things as school! LOL


dizzy lizzy - Dec 4, 2004 8:56 pm (#115 of 237)

...it is just a bit too busy at the moment for such mundane things as school!

That's a rather good point solitaire. I always thought that despite the fact Harry feels relatively safe at school; his mind isn't always there (probably on Pluto half the time!). And Ann is right also; when Harry does concentrate, look at what he actually achieves!!!

So I'm expecting some interesting times ahead.


Solitaire - Dec 5, 2004 4:01 am (#116 of 237)

Dizzy, I suppose I am relying a lot on personal experience. I just know that even the brightest kids can appear to be major screw-ups when they are handling traumatic issues elsewhere (the lingering illness of a grandparent, divorce in the family, child custody battling, a parent moving away from the area, a sibling becoming involved in drugs or some other legal trouble ... and on it goes) in other areas of their lives.

Harry has had to handle more than the average kid at Hogwarts since he arrived. In his first year, he was just getting acclimated to finding out who he was. In his second year, he was continually hearing voices (the Basilisk) and seeing people around him become petrified. He believed for most of his third year that Sirius Black was after him and wanted to kill him, as he was believed to have killed James and Lily. In his fourth year, he was consumed with trying to survive the Triwizard Tournament.

Now, in his fifth year, he is dealing with the evil Umbridge (and her bloodthirsty Quill) and also the knowledge that Voldemort is back--and that the world at large not only does not believe him about this but thinks he is an attention-seeking nutcase. For all he knows, Voldemort could show up at about any time. He is also worried about Sirius, and he is prevented at every turn by the evil Umbridge from having easy access to communicate with him. This has a very negative effect on him.

So basically, every year, Harry has had to get on with things, all the while knowing that Voldemort is "out there somewhere," just waiting for him. I'm a bit of a Hermione when it comes to schoolwork, but I will admit that knowledge would certainly distract me from my studies.


Ann - Dec 6, 2004 9:02 pm (#117 of 237)

Solitaire, that was sort of my point--I think that Harry is extremely bright (and Ron, too, by the way), but neither of them is terribly motivated. Ron has picked up a lot of Fred & George's attitudes (look how embarrassed he was about being made prefect, though he was really proud inside), and Harry has learned them from Ron. Perhaps with the two of them gone, they'll realize that this stuff they're learning at Hogwarts is going to come in really handy in VW II.

My earlier post is not on this page any more, and I forgot to check whether I'd already said this before I started writing, but I think it's quite interesting at the beginning of the school year in OotP that Snape's technique actually works: Harry screws up the first lesson and Snape gets angry and vanishes his whole potion. The second week, Harry triple checks everything, and does quite well, just proving Snape's point. The third week, of course, he's trying to eavesdrop on Umbridge's inspection (his eternal quest to figure out what is going on), and screws up horribly again.

Solitaire - Dec 8, 2004 1:45 am (#118 of 237)

Ann: It is interesting, actually, that the one (positive, valued) characteristic Harry does not seem to have is the desire or inclination to work hard--the Hufflepuff hallmark. He does it when he has to, but he does tend to expect that things will come easily to him

Ann, I suppose I saw it to be less a lack of desire or inclination and far more a case of frustration, a bit of fear, and complete preoccupation with the myriad other things swirling around him at the time.

I continue to be one of those who feel that, while Snape's mean, sarcastic method with Harry may occasionally get results, he might get better results if he treated Harry a bit more humanely. Then again, if he did that, he probably wouldn't be Snape, would he?


Archangel - Dec 11, 2004 12:55 am (#119 of 237)

Do you think the Hat feels guilty because in some way, it is an agent of division?

Prejudices in the WW seem to be deeply rooted to their childhood/school days. If they have been conditioned to believe that Slytherin is a "bad" house for so long, one Slytherin sacrificing his life for greater good wouldn't alter that perception; just as one Hufflepuff turning in another 30 overtime hours wouldn't surprise or impress a Ravenclaw boss who'd feel that perhaps a Ravenclaw employee would have been more productive, etc.

ruthlesspenguin - Dec 11, 2004 5:50 am (#120 of 237)

I would have to agree with Solitaire that Harry is reasonably hard working, although it may sometimes appear otherwise. Constant comparisons with Hermione make Harry look bad, but just because he does not work as hard as she does, does not make him a slacker. Also, as the books will naturally focus on important, and therefore usually disrupted times, Harry appears to spend less time working than he probably would normally. The weeks when 'Harry worked solidly on his charms homework' tend to go unnoticed.

We also see evidence of Harry working on his school work in the holidays - he read through all (or most?) of his textbooks prior to the start of term in PS/SS and he began his homework at the beginning, or at least the middle, (in any case a lot earlier than the weekend before when I would have started it) of the holidays in PoA.


Solitaire - Dec 11, 2004 9:46 am (#121 of 237)

Ruthless, I suppose that many very hardworking students (including a few Ravenclaws) might appear less than diligent or intelligent if they were continually compared with Hermione. IMO, she is the Hogwarts version of a G.A.T.E. or Honors student, and not just an ordinary one who is satisfied with excellent grades. She is that rare commodity among students who has assumed responsibility for her own education at a very early age and seeks to truly understand a much wider scope of things than is given to the Hogwarts population at large. Well, that is my "teacher's opinion" of her.


Jo„o Paulo Costa - Dec 20, 2004 4:45 am (#122 of 237)

Hello. this is a part of a longer message, about the students and the Sorting Hat, that I had to edit, for some of it had already been stated in this thread. It regarded the choosing of Hermione, Harry, Neville and Peter Pettigrew.

I'll just post the part about Peter. The rest has been already posted here:

Peter Pettigrew: The choosing of this character also gives some interesting ideas about the Hat: We know that he was in Gryffindor. I am now imagining what the Hat would think when it was put in the had of Peter Pettigrew:

"Here is someone that is not very intelligent, so he cannot go to Ravenclaw [we know that from PoA: the talking of the teachers overheard by HRH; OoP: the exam of OWL, in which he is stump; GoF: the testimony of Lord Voldemort in the beginning].

"He also dos not seem a very loyal or honest person, so I cannot put him on Hufflepuff [this part comes from the betrayal of James and Lilly Potter to Voldemort, and the testimony from Sirius and Lupin in PoA, in the Shrieking Shack about his cowardness. However this is a very slippery point].

"Shall I put him on Gryffindor, even if he is not very courageous? Or in Slytherin?" [note: This is speculation, since we no nothing about the potential ambition of Peter Pettigrew, or the correct courage of him].

I strongly suspect that, at some time during the sorting, while the Hat is pondering these questions, Pettigrew might think: "put me on Gryffindor, where I can be with James Potter and Sirius Black" - He could perfectly have met them during the train, just like Ron and Harry met, and decided that he wanted to be in their House. The Hat, not knowing where to put Pettigrew, decides to accept that. Note that Black, by the Name order, would have already been called and supposedly accepted to Gryffindor, but not James Potter.

So the point of this post is that it seems that the Hat gives same space to the students to consider and chose the house they want to go to.

Solitaire - Dec 20, 2004 7:41 pm (#123 of 237)

I would love to know what the Hat whispered in Sirius's ear, wouldn't you? Given what we know of his family, I would bet they all had been Slytherins. Bella and Narcissa--his cousins--seem to have been in Slytherin. When the Hat landed on his head, it was probably a bit surprised--and maybe even pleased--to discover a Black that didn't "fit the mold."


Edit: Actually, Joao, if sorting were still alphabetical back when the Marauders were at Hogwarts, James Potter wouldn't have been sorted until after Peter Pettigrew. Oops, sorry ... I didn't see that you'd said that.

Helen Potterfan - Jan 6, 2005 8:35 pm (#124 of 237)

After re-watching the CoS film this week, I began to think about the Sorting Hat, so I logged onto the forum and skimmed the entire Sorting Hat thread to see what others have speculated. Forgive me if I missed these points in earlier 123 threads. A few points: First, as to the speculation that the Sorting Hat can make (maybe has made) mistakes: I am not discounting that mistakes are possible, but I point to Neville as an example to argue that the Sorting Hat is generally right. Neville began his Hogwarts career as a timid student with little skill, yet he was placed in Gryffindor. At first, Neville appears to have been misplaced, but in the later books we find that Neville is constantly growing and developing, and by the end of 5 he is unarguably courageous. I speculate that the Sorting Hat saw in Neville his potential for courage, if not some sort of prescience that he would develop courage. As to Percy, I'm still hoping that he will be redeemed in 6 or 7. Jo did wish him a happy birthday!

Second, I think the Sorting Hat's conjuring of Gryffindor's sword is a critical clue to the hat's capabilities. I don't think the hat was just a passive agent to transport assistance. But, according to Dumbledore it took a "true" Gryffindor to pull the sword out of the hat, so is the hat's magic somehow dependant on house affiliation? In other words, does that mean that the Sorting Hat can choose to help someone, but that help is limited to the person's house?

Paulus Maximus - Jan 9, 2005 8:56 am (#125 of 237)

"But, according to Dumbledore it took a "true" Gryffindor to pull the sword out of the hat, so is the hat's magic somehow dependant on house affiliation? In other words, does that mean that the Sorting Hat can choose to help someone, but that help is limited to the person's house?"

Maybe the hat can only do that for a Gryffindor. After all, the hat once belonged to Godric...

Helen Potterfan - Jan 10, 2005 3:25 pm (#126 of 237)

But he didn't say only a true Gryffindor can use the hat. He said it took a true Gryffindor to pull Godric's sword out of the hat, so I don't think so.

Paulus Maximus - Jan 10, 2005 4:43 pm (#127 of 237)

For all we know, nothing but the sword can be pulled out of the hat.

timrew - Jan 10, 2005 5:04 pm (#128 of 237)

Unless........a rabbit.......

Dean Thomas - Jan 12, 2005 5:25 pm (#129 of 237)

The true identity of the Sorting Hat:

Through out the 2nd book the Sorting Hat is seen almost as a living thing. I've just been wondering that’s all...Whether it is a real being, or what it is.

TomoÈ - Jan 12, 2005 6:52 pm (#130 of 237)

I believe the Hat's personality is the amalgam of the four founders' personalities. He have his own agenda, he wants to unite the houses like the founders wanted all alone but weren't able to eat humble pie and apologize to the three others.

Dean Thomas - Jan 13, 2005 2:58 pm (#131 of 237)

That’s kind of what I thought.

Solitaire - Feb 19, 2005 10:54 pm (#132 of 237)

amalgam of the four founders' personalities

Perhaps the Sorting Hat has the only truly balanced perspective when it comes to the four houses and founders. If all of the houses were once again operating in sync--united against anyone or anything who would drive them apart--then Hogwarts would be truly balanced.

Dumbledore seems to be the only other one in the WW whose perspective is completely balanced, IMO. He sees the need for not only the four "factions" of Hogwarts to come together, but for the greater WW and the Muggle world to work together. He appears to see the ideal world in a sort of "holistic" way, if that makes sense.


dizzy lizzy - Feb 19, 2005 11:20 pm (#133 of 237)

In which case the Sorting Hat must be desperate for Slytherin to come back into the fold. That is if it's still Slytherin that's missing from the four houses. Without Slytherin and the inherent personality to make up a whole hat, and hence a "whole Hogwarts", how much hope has Hogwarts got against Voldemort if he comes calling??


Solitaire - Feb 19, 2005 11:26 pm (#134 of 237)

I think that is the point of the Hat's recent songs, Lizzy. JM2K, of course ...


dizzy lizzy - Feb 19, 2005 11:32 pm (#135 of 237)

Good, I'm glad someone else thought the same idea as me. Btw was it you who bought up the idea of the Three legged stool the Sorting Hat sits on; is also symptomatic of this lack of Slytherin?


Solitaire - Feb 20, 2005 12:42 am (#136 of 237)

I think someone else brought it up, although I believe it has come up before ... but perhaps it was on an older thread. Since Slytherin has been gone so many centuries, it seems odd for the stool legs to change now ... unless the time of war is influencing things.


dizzy lizzy - Feb 20, 2005 10:42 pm (#137 of 237)

Yes it was bought up recently on another thread, I keep losing the reference to the quote (hang on I'll use the search function).

Thank you for your reference Phoenix Song (2nd Alchemy thread, post #10) to the matter of the stool the Sorting Hat sits on and the number of legs it has or should have.


spinowner - Feb 27, 2005 5:58 pm (#138 of 237)

I've read this thread very superficially and I don't think this has been mentioned--I believe the hat says at one point that it puts students "where you belong". This is a little bit vague, and it leaves open the possibility that students are placed for more reasons than just their abilities or what have you. I've been thinking lately that it would be an excellent plot twist to have Harry placed in Slytherin in book 7. My thinking is that for Harry to vanquish Voldemort he'll need to draw on all resources available to him. When Voldemort "marked him as his equal" that included transferring to Harry all the traits that put Tom Riddle in Slytherin. For Harry to defeat a Slytherin he may need to know more intimately what a Slytherin truly is. "Where he belongs" in this case would be where he belongs if he is to defeat Voldemort. This would also put a new dynamic on the Harry/Snape relationship with Snape now having more reasons to see that Harry succeeds in whatever he does. I envision the hat calling Harry to the front of the great hall after the first years are sorted and telling him to put it on, similar to the fashion in which the GoF spit out Harry's name unexpectedly. I have no hints or anything in any of the first five books that led me to this idea, so I don't really have any concrete reason to think this will happen, but I think it would be a way that the four houses could truly be united, and I can't think of a more likely way for Slytherin to support Harry against Voldemort than to have him as one of their own.

Solitaire - Feb 27, 2005 11:25 pm (#139 of 237)

Round Pink Spider, I believe, has suggested that Harry will change to Slytherin House. I sure hope not ... can you imagine him living in the same room with Draco & the gargoyles?


Edit: Still, it could be the only way he can find out who is truly a supporter of Voldemort and who is not. Grrrr ... Poor Harry if this happens. I really can't imagine Snape being any nicer to him there.

Eric Bailey - Feb 28, 2005 10:58 am (#140 of 237)

I don't think characters will be switched to other Houses. There's no reason to. Harry could have been sorted into Slytherin or Ravenclaw (People forget the Ravenclaw possibility, because Harry was so adamant about not going to Slytherin. "Not a bad mind, either. There's talent, oh my goodness, yes"), but Gryffindor really is right for him. We just need to see the emergence of a Slytherin leader that isn't Draco. But then, we don't know what Draco's fellow Slytherins really think of him. He has his core supporters, but the rest of the House may really resent him. I'd guess Snape would know who can and cannot be trusted among the Slytherins.

The Hat seems to know what it's doing, even to the point of wondering if dividing the students in this way is still a good idea.

Paulus Maximus - Mar 6, 2005 11:27 am (#141 of 237)

Since the Sorting Hat had recognized in Harry all of the qualities admired in each House, I wonder why it decided to put Harry in Gryffindor so soon after he decided not to go to Slytherin...

Had Harry's request not to go to Slytherin been a demonstration of exceptional courage, or had the Sorting Hat already decided to put Harry in either Slytherin or Gryffindor?

TomoÈ - Mar 8, 2005 8:22 pm (#142 of 237)

Because he had the courage and daring, not only to say not Slytherin once, but he dared to repeat his request after the Hat told him he could do well in Slytherin and they will help him on the way to greatness.

Maybe I should get some sleep.

Dumbledore - Mar 10, 2005 2:16 pm (#143 of 237)

On the contrary, TomoÈ, you seem wide awake to me, because I very much agree with your thought! :-D

Steve Newton - Mar 10, 2005 7:10 pm (#144 of 237)

If the Sorting Hat is so smart and perceptive why not use it instead of Veritaserum? In fact it should be better since you don't even have to ask questions.

Paulus Maximus - Mar 10, 2005 8:34 pm (#145 of 237)

Only the Sorting Hat and the one wearing it have any sort of interchange, and I don't think that any third parties can figure out what that interchange is.

Hmm... What would happen if you put a Legilimens spell on someone who was wearing the hat?

Solitaire - Mar 11, 2005 2:50 am (#146 of 237)

I believe Paulus is right. I think we are easily "movie contaminated" into thinking everyone hears what the Hat is saying ... but they do not. The conversations are between the Hat and the wearer--and the wearer does not really say anything, if Harry is an indicator. He or she just thinks his or her comments. And the Hat apparently takes its time. Didn't Harry say it sat on Seamus' head for a whole minute--and Neville's for a long time--before announcing Gryffindor?

Oddly, when I think about the Sorting Hat's first song--where it says of Slytherin "those cunning folk use any means to achieve their end ..."--I wonder what the Hat must have been thinking when it put Crabbe and Goyle into Slytherin. I hate to say it, but cunning is never a word that comes to mind when I think of Crabbe and Goyle. Does it know something about them that we do not?


ex-FAHgeek - Mar 11, 2005 2:01 pm (#147 of 237)

---quote--- I wonder what the Hat must have been thinking when it put Crabbe and Goyle into Slytherin. I hate to say it, but cunning is never a word that comes to mind when I think of Crabbe and Goyle. Does it know something about them that we do not? ---end quote---

Each house's traits are more than linear. In later songs, the Sorting Hat makes a much greater point about the Pure-blood status as being the number one priority in Slytherin. We do, however, have half-bloods like Tom Riddle in the house, and Mafalda (Prewett?) was supposed to be in the house even though she would have been the daughter of a Muggle and a Squib. She would have gotten in on the merit of her cunning. The Hat takes these things into account, and different people may get into a house on different bits of merit. Crabbe and Goyle probably got in on the Pure-blood ticket. There may be a minimum standard (for example, Slytherin house might not except complete Muggle-borns like Hermione, the Creeveys, Justin, or Penelope), but there's a lot of leeway and more than one way to get into the house.

Eric Bailey - Mar 16, 2005 2:25 am (#148 of 237)

Besides, Crabbe and Goyle aren't smart enough for Ravenclaw, brave enough for Gryffindor, or hard working enough for Hufflepuff, but they are purebloods, so they wind up in Slytherin. The same applies to Draco, really, as he's not the sharpest of mind, brave, or hard working.

Muggle Doctor - Mar 20, 2005 5:21 pm (#149 of 237)

Thinking about the Sorting Hat as an intelligent agent capable of making decisions as to someone's worth got me thinking about the Goblet of Fire.

With the exception of Harry, whose name was more or less coaxed from it by Barty Crouch Jr, what sort of decision-making process did the Goblet go through to pick the champions? Did it pick one from each school at random, or was it somehow able to divine the qualities of the potential contestants?

If the latter, it is to a certain extent an intelligent agent like the Hat, although its 'output' is limited to the expulsion of the pieces of paper with the contestants' names on them.

In this case, I have the ultimate 'ship: Sorting Hat/Goblet.

(Crossposted on the 'shipping thread, for a lark).

LaLaLisa - Apr 6, 2005 10:04 am (#150 of 237)
Edited by Kip Carter Apr 6, 2005 11:12 am

Hogwarts Houses of James, Sirius, Lily, etc.

The thread Hogwarts Houses of James, Sirius, Lily, etc. started 22 March 2005 with specific questions which were answered quickly; however lately the thread has delved into discussions that seem to be a part of the 'The Sorting Hat' thread. Therefore I have consolidated the two. - Kip 6 April 2005

Hi, I'm new to the forum, so I don't know if this has been discussed before or not. I was wondering if anyone had any theories as to which houses James, Sirius, Lupin, Pettigrew, and Lily were in when they attended Hogwarts. It seems to me that James, Sirius, Lupin, and Pettigrew would all be in the same house since they were all best friends at Hogwarts. I believe it said in Sorcerer's Stone (Philosopher's Stone in the UK) that all of the wizards who had ever gone bad and all of the wizards who had joined Voldemort had been in Slytherin, in later books it simply says that Slytherin produced more dark wizards and witches than any other house. (I am not sure if it said "all" in SS, but it seemed like it did.) By that line of reasoning, James, Sirius, Lupin, and Pettigrew would have all been in Slytherin, or it would have at least made sense that Sirius and Pettigrew would have been (Sirius having been convicted for James and Lily's murders and Pettigrew having been the one who was really involved). It also seems that most families end up in the same houses (the Weasleys, the Creeveys, etc) it would seem likely that Sirius having come from and been raised by a family of dark wizards that values pure blood he would be put in Slytherin. Of course, we know that this isn't necessarily true because of the Patil twins. Just something I was wondering about in all of my re-reading and wondered if anyone had any thoughts. I know I rambled for a while, but I just wanted to get that stuff in there.

Thanks! Lisa
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The Sorting Hat Empty The Sorting Hat (posts #151 to #200)

Post  Potteraholic on Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:39 pm

haymoni - Mar 22, 2005 3:18 am (#151 of 237)
Edited Mar 22, 2005 4:19 am

Lisa - JKR answered that in one of her chats.

James, Sirius, Lupin and Peter were in Gryffindor.

I don't know where the canon evidence is for Lily, but she was in Gryffindor also.

Catherine - Mar 22, 2005 4:33 am (#152 of 237)

Question: Which house was Lily Potter in, and what is her maiden name?

J.K. Rowling responds: Her maiden name was Evans, and she was in Gryffindor (naturally).

This was asked and answered on October 16, 2000.

LaLaLisa - Mar 22, 2005 11:17 am (#153 of 237)

Interesting. Thanks for the answer!

On the same note, I have always taken it for granted that Voldemort was in Slytherin. However the Sorting Hat said in OotP that only the pure bloods go into Slytherin. Any thoughts?

Ponine - Mar 22, 2005 11:37 am (#154 of 237)
Edited Mar 22, 2005 12:47 pm

Lisa - Salazar Slytherin did indeed favor pure bloods, but Tom Riddle is an excellent example of the fact that you don't have to be a pure blood to get sorted into Slytherin. Remember that the Sorting Hat also considered placing Harry into the Slytherin House, based on some of his traits and characteristics. I have argued elsewhere that S. Slytherin cannot have been entirely bad, as the other three founders did choose to found Hogwarts with him, as well as to keep the House of Slytherin after he left the school.

EDIT: Thank you, Filibuster!!

Dr Filibuster - Mar 22, 2005 11:45 am (#155 of 237)
Edited Mar 22, 2005 12:50 pm

Excellent point Ponine.

LaLaLisa, remember that in Philosopher's Stone Chapter 5 Diagon Alley Hagrid tells Harry;

"There's not a single witch or wizard who went bad who wasn't in Slytherin. You-Know-Who was one".

Choices - Mar 22, 2005 5:03 pm (#156 of 237)

Is it not true that the Sorting Hat once belonged to Godric Gryffindor? Perhaps that is why occasionally a half-blood gets placed in Slytherin. If the hat had been Slytherin's, it might be more strict about who is allowed in. Just a thought....

Amilia Smith - Mar 22, 2005 7:22 pm (#157 of 237)
Edited Mar 22, 2005 8:23 pm

Well the Sorting Hat says that "each of the four founders had a House in which they might take only those they wanted, so, for instance, Slytherin took only pure-blood wizards of great cunning, just like him, . . ."

My 2 Knuts on the dilemma (sp?): while Slytherin may have only accepted pure blooded wizards, once he was dead and gone, the Sorting Hat was free to put whoever it wanted into Slytherin. I am of the opinion that the Hat places you where you want to be placed. So, if you are a half-blood who wants to be in Slytherin, the Hat will not deny you this wish. However, you may want to be prepared to either take some ridicule or hide your heritage, as the majority of your Slytherin housemates seem to be somewhat prejudiced. Not to mention, the password to the Slytherin common room in CoS was "Pure-blood."

I think Riddle would have gone the "hide your heritage" route as it does not seem to be well known that Voldemort is a half-blood.


popkin - Mar 23, 2005 12:24 am (#158 of 237)

Sirius Riddle: What houses were Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, James Potter and Remus Lupin[sic] in? Everyone tells me they were all Gryffindor, but I won't believe it unless I hear it from Ms. Rowling herself! JK Rowling says: This is JK herself saying that they were indeed in Gryffindor!

World Book Day Chat, March 4, 2004

It is unfortunate that Sirius Riddle had a typo in his question and repeated "Remus Lupin" and left out Peter Pettigrew. We can be certain that Remus, Sirius, and James were in Gryffindor, but Peter could still have been placed elsewhere.

pottermom34 - Mar 23, 2005 5:30 am (#159 of 237)

You seem to have left out (unless I missed it )the big reason why riddle was put in Slytherin, He was the Heir of Slytherin

Choices - Mar 23, 2005 8:39 am (#160 of 237)

Amilia - "I am of the opinion that the Hat places you where you want to be placed"

I have to disagree - What about those students who come to Hogwarts with no knowledge of the different houses. How would they know which house they want to be in? I think the Hat makes that decision, but would take into consideration a student's wish to be, or not to be, placed in a certain house.

Paulus Maximus - Mar 24, 2005 7:43 pm (#161 of 237)

"There's not a single witch or wizard who went bad who wasn't in Slytherin. You-Know-Who was one"

Of course, the first sentence must be taken with a bit of salt, since both Sirius and Peter were in Gryffindor, and Hagrid knew as much as anyone else knew about Sirius.

Amilia Smith - Mar 24, 2005 10:55 pm (#162 of 237)

Choices: I think it would be almost impossible to get as far as sitting under the Sorting Hat without having made some sort of decision as to which House you would like to be in. Even if you are Muggle-born, there is still the kid getting fitted for robes next to you at Madam Malkin's who thinks Slytherin is the end-all-be-all, the kid on the train who has been reading up on the subject and thinks Gryffindor sounds like the best, the Fat Friar in the waiting room saying he hopes you make Hufflepuff, or the Sorting Hat praising Ravenclaws as clever and intelligent.

I also think that the Hat looks deeper than just the surface thoughts of the sortee in question. Although the only thing Harry specifically thinks as he is sitting under the Hat is "not Slytherin," the Hat is able to tell that he does not want Hufflepuff either, and that he does want to be with Ron, who wants to be in Gryffindor.

But as I said in my last post, this is just my opinion. Feel free to continue to disagree. :-) And you may well be right, that the Hat just takes the sortee's wishes into consideration along with several other factors. I really would be curious to know what Jo's intent on this subject was.


Choices - Mar 25, 2005 9:15 am (#163 of 237)
Edited Mar 25, 2005 10:20 am

Amilia - "And you may well be right, that the Hat just takes the sortee's wishes into consideration along with several other factors."

No, that is not what I think at all. I think the Hat is able to ascertain the abilities and the personality traits of the student sitting on the stool wearing the hat - it then decides, based on the criteria it has gleaned from the student's mind, which house is the best choice for that student. If there are two close matches, then the Hat may take into consideration the choice of the student. I don't think Harry had any preconceived notions about other houses, he just knew he didn't want in Slytherin, and the Hat eliminated Slytherin based on that.

Amilia Smith - Mar 25, 2005 9:43 am (#164 of 237)

Sorry, I misunderstood your previous post. Thank you for clarifying.


Choices - Mar 25, 2005 6:18 pm (#165 of 237)

Mills - Sorry if I am being less than clear. I have had the flu and my mind is still somewhat foggy from the fever. I hope I got my thinking straight in that last post.

spinowner - Apr 6, 2005 8:37 am (#166 of 237)

Keep in mind that Hagrid's quote about Dark Seders coming only from Slytherin predated his knowledge of Wormtail. (Or Sirius, before his true nature was revealed.) I have said in another thread that I think Regulus Black was in Gryffindor because of the origin of his name. (Regulus is the brightest star in the constellation Leo (the lion).) Also, lest we get too far off topic we should keep in mind that there is a Sorting Hat thread elsewhere on this forum.

Paulus Maximus - Apr 6, 2005 10:14 am (#167 of 237)

"Keep in mind that Hagrid's quote about Dark Siders coming only from Slytherin predated his knowledge of Wormtail. (Or Sirius, before his true nature was revealed.)"

Hmm... I never thought about that... It might not have been until book 3 that he learned about Sirius betraying the Potters.

On the other hand, everyone knew that Sirius went to Azkaban for killing 12 Muggles and Peter, and Hagrid must have known too...

Miriam Huber - Apr 6, 2005 11:04 am (#168 of 237)
Edited Apr 6, 2005 12:05 pm

I think we have some evidence that the Hat indeed does take the wishes of the students into account. In CoS, Harry tells Dumbledore that Riddle has found similarities between himself and Harry (and Harry is upset about it). And he confesses that the Hat considered sorting him into Slytherin. Asked by Dumbledore why he, Harry, ended in Gryffindor, he says something like: Only because I did not want to be a Slytherin. And then Dumbledore says that famous word about choices that are more important to what we become than family etc.

So I think the Hat saw abilities of Harry which would match Slytherin or Gryffindor (but not Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff), but the decision was also built on Harry’s desperate wish.

Paulus Maximus - Apr 6, 2005 11:38 am (#169 of 237)

"So I think the Hat saw abilities of Harry which would match Slytherin or Gryffindor (but not Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff)"

I believe that the Hat saw the qualities of all four Houses in Harry. "Plenty of courage, not a bad mind, talent, and a thirst to prove yourself": I think that each corresponds to a different house.

Harry made the brave decision not to go to Slytherin, which I think was what tilted the balance in favor of Gryffindor.

Solitaire - May 21, 2005 12:26 pm (#170 of 237)

I posted on Recurring Boy Who Lived Theory thread and then realized the post probably belonged on the Sorting Hat thread. Here is a link.


Ponine - May 21, 2005 5:07 pm (#171 of 237)

I think it should be pointed out that the Sorting Hat never suggested Slytherin on its own initiative. Harry thought very hard 'Not Slytherin', to which the Hat answered 'Not Slytherin.... etc...' I do not exclude the possibility that if Harry had thought 'not Ravenclaw/Hufflepuff', the Hat would have commented on Harry's thoughts in the same manner. I am more inclined to believe that it served as a back-drop for the choices theme rather that the Sorting Hat actually believing Harry to be a good candidate for Slytherin

Solitaire - May 21, 2005 8:59 pm (#172 of 237)

I wholeheartedly agree, Ponine, and have always said as much. Had Harry not been concentrating so intently and thinking, "Not Slytherin, not Slytherin," the issue might not have even come up!


Lina - May 25, 2005 9:36 am (#173 of 237)
Edited May 25, 2005 10:38 am

Solitaire, I like your idea about SS leaving the Chamber of Secrets and the Basilisk to keep the school in what he thought was line and about other founders leaving something behind too. I'm just not sure that the Sorting Hat is what the other three left. There have been speculations about other rooms that they might have left and whether we have met them already in the books or not. But I still like your thought that the four individual "brains" with their own separate views seem to have "morphed" into a fifth and completely distinct "personality". It made me even think about all the headmasters putting some of their brains into the Sorting Hat. As an argument to this idea, I would say that the Sorting Hat in the OotP song says that it has to sort the students even though it thinks it is wrong. If the founders invented sorting, then it might be someone else's idea, like DD's for example.

Now, it was too much for me to copy all the song (stupid woman, I didn't think of going to the Lexicon and copy it) and I took out the parts that I found most interesting:

In times of old when I was new
And Hogwarts barely started


So how could it have gone so wrong?
How could such friendships fail?
Why, I was there and so can tell
The whole sad, sorry tale.
Said Slytherin, "We'll teach just those
Whose ancestry is purest."


These differences caused little strife
When first they came to light,
For each of the four founders had
A house in which they might
Take only those they wanted, so,
For instance, Slytherin
Took only pure-blood wizards


I sort you into houses
Because that is what I'm for,
But this year I'll go further,
Listen closely to my song:
Though condemned I am to split you
Still I worry that it's wrong,
Though I must fulfill my duty
And must quarter every year
Still I wonder whether Sorting
May not bring the end I fear.


OotP, Bloomsbury edition

While I was rereading the song, I found enough arguments to fight my own idea, I could just say that it neither backups my theory neither contradicts it, but it brought up some other ideas in my mind. I did read this thread, but it was a while ago, so if those ideas have already been brought up, please, forgive me. I don't remember.

Out of these verses I understand that the Sorting Hat has been made before the sorting into the houses has been invented. (The Hat was made soon after Hogwarts was founded, and it was there when the founders started to sort the students into the houses, it knows the reasons of why they started the sorting and it says "I was there", not "I've been told.") It seems to me that sorting was not his primary purpose, at least it was not the reason why he was made. Probably it had to be put on the student's head to find out some student's characteristics that were not visible on the first sight. For example, if he were put on Neville's head, he would say: "Oh, I see some great bravery in this young man!" Just later, when the sorting begun, they found out that he was made to see the essence of the student, he had the brains of the founders, he knew what they thought and felt, he was impartial, therefore, he was the best "person" to perform the sorting.

TomoÈ - May 27, 2005 7:58 am (#174 of 237)
Edited May 27, 2005 9:08 am

Wizards have ways of making sure their voices are heard after their death - think of Bertha Jorkins rising out of the Pensieve in 'Goblet of Fire', the Sorting Hat continuing to spout the wisdom of the Founders hundreds of years after their deaths (jkrowling.com)

It sounds like the personalities of the founders in the hat are still close to what there were a millennium ago (thanks for your last post Lina). So why does the Hat sort half-bloods into Slytherin? Don't forget that, as Sirius revealed in 'Order of the Phoenix', none of these families is really 'pure' ñ in other words, they merely cross Muggles and Squibs off the family tree and pretend that they didn't exist. So maybe the half-blood Slytherins do not comes from less pure-blood families but more honest ones ... ^_~

Edit: and the hat have seen throughout the mind of a millennium worth of students, it likely have the who's who throughout the ages, if it doesn't have a special feature to know exactly how pure is your blood.

Lina - May 27, 2005 9:04 am (#175 of 237)

I agree with you, Tomoe, that the half-bloods might be just more honest and not less pure than the pure-bloods but there is something else that is bothering me in this song. It seems that the Sorting Hat was created before Slytherin started to insist on teaching only the pure-bloods, even before they started to sort students into houses. So it is possible that Slytherin did not put that part of his brain into the Hat. The Hat was not created when the Founders started to argue, or fight, it was created while they lived in harmony.

Choices - May 27, 2005 9:36 am (#176 of 237)

I think the hat simply looks more at characteristics and traits than it does at blood, and sorts the students accordingly.

Solitaire - May 28, 2005 12:10 pm (#177 of 237)

I agree, Choices, that the Hat is probably more objective and assesses both current and potential strengths and weaknesses within the individual.

Surely Neville was not put into Gryffindor because he was so brave. And we know that Harry didn't feel very brave the night he was sorted. Maybe the Hat put them where it did in order to develop those qualities.

Maybe the Hat puts everyone where he or she wants to be. It would be interesting to know where each kid really wanted to be ... Have we ever heard a kid say, "Darn! I really wanted to be in Ravenclaw instead of Gryffindor"?


Steve Newton - May 28, 2005 6:51 pm (#178 of 237)

Wait a minute. I can't think of any character in the books who has consistently shown as much bravery as Neville.

Solitaire - May 28, 2005 8:17 pm (#179 of 237)

Steve, I am talking about the night they arrived at Hogwarts. None of our fearless Gryffindors seemed very brave that first night--even Harry. Yet the Sorting Hat saw something in Harry--as well as Ron, Hermione, and Neville--that seemed to belong in Gryffindor. I think that being Gryffindors has helped all of our kids to cultivate the quality of bravery.


Steve Newton - May 29, 2005 7:24 am (#180 of 237)

Ah, the first night. I can't remember anything about Neville then so you are probably right.

Paulus Maximus - Jun 2, 2005 3:22 pm (#181 of 237)

That first night, Harry was most certainly brave enough to say "Not Slytherin"...

Or think it, or whatever...

Miriam Huber - Jun 6, 2005 11:11 am (#182 of 237)

I just listened to the end of CoS today (again, again...). The Sorting Hat is a gift from Dumbledore to Harry, when he is loyal to him, just like Fawkes. As far as I know, we have discussed the importance of Fawkes for a future plot much more than the possibility of the Sorting Hat being important again in a way like that in the Chamber.

We know, at least, that it was Gryffindor’s hat and even while it had brain out of all four founders, it looks like it is not "impartial" - it helped Harry against Slytherins heir.

We know that there is a meaning behind the Potters' hiding place having been Godric’s hollow, JKR herself said so.

And IF the half-blood Prince is in any way connected to Godric Gryffindor - wouldn’t the Sorting Hat quite fit into some scenario? What do you think?

Solitaire - Jun 12, 2005 9:57 pm (#183 of 237)

I do not think helping Harry is a matter of partiality on the part of the Hat. The Sorting Hat wants to see Hogwarts survive and thrive. I believe this desire stands out strongly in the Hat's songs in GoF and OotP. By helping Harry in CoS, I believe the Sorting Hat was trying to save Hogwarts.


Mrs Brisbee - Jun 15, 2005 12:29 pm (#184 of 237)

Has anyone compiled a list of all the attributes the Sorting Hat claims for each house? I tried doing a search but couldn't find anything.

TomoÈ - Jun 15, 2005 3:51 pm (#185 of 237)
Edited Jun 15, 2005 5:57 pm

Here it goes:

You might belong in Gryffindor, Where dwell the brave at hearth, Their daring, nerve and chivalry Set Gryffindors apart;(PS)

Bold Gryffindor, from the wild moor [...] By Gryffindor, the bravest were prized far beyond the rest;(GoF)

Said Gryffindor, 'We'll teach all those with brave deeds to their name,' [...] While the bravest and the boldest Went to daring Gryffindor(OoP)

You might belong in Hufflepuff, Where they are just and loyal, Those patient Hufflepuffs are true And unafraid of toil;(PS)

Sweet Hufflepuff, from the valley broad [...] For Hufflepuff, hard workers were most worthy of admission(GoF)

Said Hufflepuff, 'I'll teach the lot, and threat them just the same,' [...] Good Hufflepuff, she took the rest, And taught them all she knew (OoP)

Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw, If you've a ready mind, Where those of wit and learning, Will always find their kind;(PS)

Fair Ravenclaw, from glen [...] For Ravenclaw, the cleverest Would always be the best;(GoF)

Said Ravenclaw, 'We'll teach those whose Intelligence is surest.' [...] And only those of sharpest mind Were taught by Ravenclaw(OoP)

Or perhaps in Slytherin You'll make your real friends, Those cunning folk use any means To Achieve their ends.(PS)

Shrewd Slytherin, from fen [...] And power-hungry Slytherin Loved those of great ambition.(GoF)

Said Slytherin, 'We'll teach just those Whose ancestory is purest.' [...] For instance, Slytherin Took only pureblood wizards Of great cunning, just like him (OoP)

Edit: So according to the Sorting Hat:

Gryffindors = the bravest and boldest people, they are brave at hearth with daring, nerve and chivalry, they have brave deeds to their name

Hufflepuffs = people that are just, loyal, patient, hard workers, true and unafraid of toil, plus those left by all four houses.

Ravenclaws = the ready minds of wit and learning, the sharpest mind as the cleverest, their intelligence is surest

Slytherins = they are cunning folk who use any means to achieve their ends, power-hungry of great ambition, their ancestry is purest. They are pure-blood wizards of great cunning

Mrs Brisbee - Jun 15, 2005 4:44 pm (#186 of 237)
Edited Jun 15, 2005 5:44 pm

Thank you very much, Tomoe! That's an impressive compilation. Now I'm feeling a bit ashamed of myself for not pulling out my books and doing it myself.

I've been wondering what exactly the Sorting Hat has had to say about the different houses, especially with the number of threads wondering about the attributes of Slytherins, and questions about why Peter Pettigrew could be in Gryffindor.

TomoÈ - Jun 15, 2005 5:02 pm (#187 of 237)

No need to be ashamed for not making your own list, I have compiled this list long ago, it was time to find some use for it. ^_~

Mrs Brisbee - Jun 20, 2005 10:30 am (#188 of 237)

I was reading over the Sorting Hat songs, and noticed that the Hat didn't mention anything about the Slytherin preference for pure-bloods in its first two songs (year 1 and year 4). It's not until Voldemort is back in year 5 that the Hat stresses Slytherin's desire for pure-bloods in his house. I wonder if the Hat only mentions pure-bloodism because it has become an issue for the Wizarding World at large again.

Ruthie - Jun 22, 2005 3:42 am (#189 of 237)
Edited Jun 22, 2005 4:43 am

You make a good point Mrs Brisbee, didn't someone (DD?) say that the Hat gives the school advice in its songs too? I would have thought it would emphasize Slytherins' pure-bloodness after CoS (perhaps to suggest that the Slytherins were not to be trusted?) but then I suppose it could have seeing as we never heard song 3.

Also as a side note, wouldn't you be a bit offended if you were a half-blood in Slytherin and your common room password was pure-blood? I can see why LV turned out to be against Muggle-borns if he was holed up with a bunch of Slytherins for 7 years :p

Mrs Brisbee - Jul 2, 2005 10:42 am (#190 of 237)
Edited Jul 2, 2005 11:49 am

I was looking over the songs yet again, and the Hat seems consistent in all three songs for what is required to be Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, but both Slytherin and Hufflepuff get a new thing emphasized in song 3. For Hufflepuff it is the acceptance of all potential students who weren't picked by the other houses. Sorting Hat: Said Hufflepuff, "I'll teach the lot, and treat them just the same, ... Good Hufflepuff, she took the rest, And taught them all she knew" (OoP) ".

Judging by this I'd say Helga believed all potential witches and wizards should by given a magical education. Because the Hat decided to emphasize this and Slytherin's pure-bloodism in the same song, I'm wondering if it was Helga's lack of discrimination that touched off the fight with Slytherin?

Solitaire - Jul 2, 2005 11:52 am (#191 of 237)

In OotP, just following the Sorting Hat's song:

The Sorting Hat usually confined itself to describing the different qualities looked for by each of the four Hogwarts houses and its own role in Sorting them. Harry could not remember it ever trying to give the school advice before.

'I wonder if it's ever given warnings before?' said Hermione, sounding slightly anxious.

'Yes, indeed,' said Nearly Headless Nick knowledgeably, leaning across Neville towards her (Neville winced; it was very uncomfortable to have a ghost lean through you). The Hat feels itself honour-bound to give the school due warning whenever it feels--

But Professor McGonagall, who was waiting to read out the list of first-years' names, was giving the whispering students the sort of look that scorches. Nearly Headless Nick placed a see-through finger to his lips and sat primly upright again as the muttering came to an abrupt end. With a last frowning look that swept the four house tables, Professor McGonagall lowered her eyes to her long piece of parchment and called out the first name.

So Nearly Headless Nick begins to give some info but is cut off by McGonagall.


Robert Dierken - Jul 5, 2005 11:00 am (#192 of 237)

"So Nearly Headless Nick begins to give some info but is cut off by McGonagall"

Having been cut off, what he was about to tell is probably vastly important!

Finn BV - Jul 5, 2005 2:15 pm (#193 of 237)

He must have been about to tell us about his head. Obviously, he would have wanted it cut off! (Sorry, couldn't resist!)

Solitaire - Jul 5, 2005 2:39 pm (#194 of 237)

LOL@fbv! Yes, he was cut off ... and his thought was left dangling!

MickeyCee3948 - Jul 5, 2005 4:32 pm (#195 of 237)

Solitaire do I detect a little "pun" in that last post. Thought left dangling just like his head. Corny!!!!


Kerfuffle - Aug 2, 2005 3:17 pm (#196 of 237)

I have been re-reading this thread because of a line in COS that has stuck with me (I don't have my books, so I can't reference the line). When Harry is in DD's office and tries the Sorting Hat on again, the Sorting Hat says, "Bee in your bonnet, Potter?" That seems to me to suggest that perhaps Dumbledore could use the Sorting Hat to communicate with Harry if necessary. (Dumbledore means Bumblebee)

This combined with Tomoe's post #174 where JKRowling.com says that wizards have ways to make their voices heard after death.

At first I thought it was just an expression "Bee in your Bonnet?" but after book 4 when Voldemort tells Wormtail he will provide a service that others would give their right hand for, it makes me suspicious of "expressions".

This may be a bit of a muddled post, but I would like to put this idea out there.

Saralinda Again - Aug 6, 2005 7:56 am (#197 of 237)

So, what's the chance that the Sorting Hat is a horcrux now?

From the Lex:

There is more to the Sorting Hat than one might think. In an interview (http://www.infoplease.com/spot/harrypotter1.html) JKR said:

"The character you might be most surprised to see evolve is none other than the Sorting Hat. 'There is more to the Sorting Hat than what you have read about in the first three books,' Rowling says. 'Readers will find out what the Sorting Hat becomes as they get into future books.'"

I know, that's probably Stupid Idea of the Month for August, but ... "what the Sorting Hat becomes.."???

Madam Pince - Aug 6, 2005 9:53 am (#198 of 237)

Excellent catch, Saralinda. From the minute Dumbledore spoke of the sword as being the only remaining relic of Gryffindor, I thought "Hey, wait a minute... wasn't the Sorting Hat Gryffindor's too?" I am holding out for the Sorting Hat to be a Horcrux, and that interview quote really adds to my suspicions.

Paulus Maximus - Aug 6, 2005 11:17 am (#199 of 237)

However, in order to become a Horcrux, Voldemort would need to get his hands on it. Most of the time, it is in the Headmaster's office, except for the Sorting Ceremony when everyone, staff and student alike, has his eye on it...

If the Sorting Hat is indeed a Horcrux, how did Voldemort so much as get into Hogwarts, let alone nick the Hat long enough to make it a Horcrux?

Madam Pince - Aug 6, 2005 11:23 am (#200 of 237)

We don't really know the process for making an object into a horcrux yet. Maybe you don't actually have to "get your hands on it." Perhaps he could've done it while a student at Hogwarts (if we're counting Myrtle as a "murder" victim), while sitting in his seat at the Slytherin table in the Great Hall while the Hat was being used in the Sorting Ceremony. Also, we know of him being in Hogwarts at least two other times after his graduation -- once to ask Headmaster Dippet for a job, and once to ask Dumbledore for a job. Although I would think it difficult, it's possible he sneaked back into the Headmaster's office to perform the spell.
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The Sorting Hat Empty The Sorting Hat (posts #201 to #237)

Post  Potteraholic on Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:42 pm

I Am Used Vlad - Aug 6, 2005 12:35 pm (#201 of 237)

After all the time Dumbledore devoted to researching Horcruxes and Voldemort's life, I'd be surprised to find out that there was one to be found right under his nose(or on his head, if that is more appropriate). It's the same reason I don't think Harry's scar is a Horcrux; Dumbledore, even the fallible one we've seen in the last two books, probably would have noticed.

Still, that quote makes you wonder. Perhaps the Sorting Hat will help Harry identify the unknown artifacts that Voldemort used.

Madam Pince - Aug 6, 2005 1:37 pm (#202 of 237)

What about the Horcrux do you think would be noticeable? As far as we could tell, there was nothing out-of-the-ordinary about the locket in 12 Grimmauld Place. The diary, aside from "thinking without a brain," seemed to be an ordinary notebook (meaning it didn't have any special marks on it, or give off any "vibes," or whatever.) The diary was in Hogwarts for almost a whole school year, and Dumbledore didn't sniff it out. True, he didn't see it every day like he does the Sorting Hat, but still...

Oh who knows? It's very frustrating how little information she's given us about Horcruxes and how they work, given that the next two years most of her fans will be devoting all their spare brainpower to trying to figure out what the remaining Horcruxes are!

The Sword and the Lion - Aug 6, 2005 3:29 pm (#203 of 237)
Edited Aug 6, 2005 4:36 pm

Voldemort could have turned the Sorting-Hat into a Horcrux when he visited Dumbledore and applied for a teaching job. Dumbledore had his back to Voldemort when he was filling their drinks. After Dumbledore informed Tom that there was no way he would permit Voldemort to teach at Hogwarts, Harry thought he saw Voldemort reach for his wand for a split-second. Voldie could have used a silent incantation but I remain skeptical about the Sorting-hat being a Horcrux at present. Perhaps the Hat will be able to teach Harry some ancient magic. As I recall from an interview, each of Hogwarts' houses are associated with a different element. Gryffindor is fire, Slytherin is water ... I can't recall the others (wind and earth I think). It would also be interesting to see Harry riding Buckbeak with a wand in one hand, Gryffindor’s sword in the other and the sorting-hat perched on his head as he rides into battle for the final encounter with L.V.

Perhaps the reason the founders created the Sorting-Hat to begin with was to teach and advise the current head-master (just as the portraits do), while it functioned as a tool to sort students into the Hogwarts' houses.

I Am Used Vlad - Aug 6, 2005 5:06 pm (#204 of 237)

What about the Horcrux do you think would be noticeable? Madam Pince

I can't answer this question. As you said, we really don't know that much about the workings of Horcruxes. I do think that Dumbledore may have been able to answer it, though.

Another problem I have with the Sorting Hat being one of Voldemort's Horcruxes is that it can speak and seems to be more or less sentient. It's kind of risky encasing part of your soul in an object that might be able to tell others that you have done so.

I've just had a horrible thought. Perhaps the Hat is a Horcrux of the founders.

haymoni - Aug 6, 2005 5:16 pm (#205 of 237)
Edited Aug 6, 2005 6:17 pm

I thought the evolution of the Sorting Hat was described by Sir Nicholas in Book 5 - Chapter 11.

"Branched out a bit this year, hasn't it?" said Ron, his eyebrows raised.

"Too right it has," said Harry.

The Sorting Hat usually confined itself to describing the different qualities looked for by each of the four Hogwarts Houses and its own role in sorting them; Harry could not remember it ever trying to give the school advice before.

"I wonder if it's ever given warnings before?" said Hermione, sounding slightly anxious.

"Yes, indeed," said Nearly Headless Nick knowledgeably, leaning across Neville toward her..."The hat feels itself honor-bound to give the school due warning whenever it feels---"

I think that was what JKR meant - the Hat doesn't just sort - not that it would become a horcrux.

Saralinda Again - Aug 6, 2005 5:28 pm (#206 of 237)

Still -- nothing is cast in stone until JKR writes it. And even then, we'll scrap about it.

Finn BV - Aug 6, 2005 5:54 pm (#207 of 237)

What about the Horcrux do you think would be noticeable? --Madam Pince

What I got from what you said, Vlad, was that Dumbledore would have been disappointed if he had found out that ñ no matter how noticeable or unnoticeable the Hat as Horcrux could be ñ a Horcrux was in very close approximation to him at all times, he would have been upset that he couldn't have picked it out on his own.

I agree, I don't think the Hat is a Horcrux, but, from Saralinda's quote, it will play some significant, final role in Book 7.

Paulus Maximus - Aug 6, 2005 8:48 pm (#208 of 237)

One thing, though... the Houses uniting against Voldemort is exactly what Voldemort DOESN'T want...

If the Hat was one of Voldemort's Horcruxes, wouldn't it have given advice more conducive to his goals?

Saralinda Again - Aug 7, 2005 6:56 am (#209 of 237)

Although DD did say that it could be foolish to put a piece of one's soul into something that had a mind of its own.

I guess I embraced this idea because I love the idea of a semi-sentient object like the Hat being possessed by a shard of LV -- and while it can't shake off the shard, it can still have the capacity to help do damage to another shard of that same spirit (as when the Hat brought Harry the sword).

Paulus Maximus - Aug 7, 2005 11:26 am (#210 of 237)

Semi-sentient objects aren't necessarily Horcruxes. The Diary was, the Marauder's Map isn't, and the Sorting Hat might or might not be...

Sparrowhawk - Aug 7, 2005 2:58 pm (#211 of 237)
Edited Aug 7, 2005 4:08 pm

There is pretty little evidence that the Sorting Hat was turned into a horcrux at any point, until the end of book 6... and there is even less evidence that Voldemort would ever consider it suitable for such a purpose: in CoS, chapter 17, when Fawkes and the Sorting Hat come to Harry's rescue, Tom's contempt is unquestionable: "And that -' said Riddle, (...) 'that's the old school Sorting Hat.' (...) Riddle began to laugh again. He laughed so hard that the dark chamber rang with it, as though ten Riddles were laughing at once. 'This is what Dumbledore sends his defender! A songbird and an old hat! Do you feel brave, Harry Potter? Do you feel safe now?"

It doesn't sound like Voldemort puts any value in the hat, does it? This may also be one of the reasons why DD refers to Gryffindor's sword and not to his hat, in HBP (plus the fact that JKR probably intends the hat to play some specific part in book 7); he knows that Voldemort is not likely to find it more attractive than the sword.

IMO, in book 7, while Harry will be very busy trying to discover and destroy the remaining Horcruxes, Voldemort's own intention will be to replace the horcrux that he knows was destroyed: the diary. And to mark his ultimate triumph and the restoration of his full powers (with a soul split in 7 parts), he'll want to turn Gryffindor's sword into his new horcrux, and use Harry's murder to make it...

As to the Sorting Hat, my guess is that we'll find it once again on Harry's (and Hogwarts') side. Voldemort ignores its true power, because ultimately the hat is connected with unity and freedom, something that he understands hardly better than love...

Saralinda Again - Aug 7, 2005 9:41 pm (#212 of 237)

Paulus Maximus, perhaps I expressed myself poorly. I didn't mean that something semi-sentient must necessarily have a Horcrux in it. I meant that I thought it would be interesting to see how a semi-sentient would behave if it did have a horcrux in it.

Madam Pince - Aug 8, 2005 3:35 pm (#213 of 237)

It's true that the 16-year-old version of Voldemort (the "memory"/soul from CoS) doesn't put much value in the Sorting Hat. But it's possible that the fully-matured Voldemort who came to visit Dumbledore at Hogwarts to ask for a job might be less naive and might have seen the Hat differently.

I'm just saying it's possible for the Hat to be a Horcrux. I don't know how likely, just possible.

JILL HUBER - Sep 7, 2005 1:38 pm (#214 of 237)

You all should read the thread on horcruxes. I have fought for the idea and they have fought me tooth and nail on it. Just look for postings by me and my defense of why it could be, particularly how Tom Riddle was a charming student. Like I have said in that thread, Dumbledore and other teachers have their favorites, the former headmaster during Riddle's time at the school liked him a lot. It is quite possible that, just like Dumbledore left Harry alone in his office, the headmaster may have let Riddle in the office alone. I think it will be, if simply for the reason that it hasn't proven its significance as Rowling indicated it would as of yet.

Choices - Sep 7, 2005 5:23 pm (#215 of 237)

Like Dumbledore said.....Magic leaves traces. If Tom had made the Sorting Hat a horcrux, I think Dumbledore (if not one of the others) would have noticed the magic traces. It has certainly been in Dumbledore's office for many a year.

Lina - Sep 12, 2005 2:15 pm (#216 of 237)

You make sense, Choices.

Choices - Jul 29, 2007 10:53 am (#217 of 237)
Edited by Kip Carter Jul 29, 2007 12:40 pm

Over on the Snape thread it is being mentioned over and over that a new Hogwarts student has a "choice" as to which house they are sorted into. One time we have seen a student influence the Sorting Hat's choice of a house.....Harry Potter says, "Not Slytherin, not Slytherin" and the hat selects Gryffindor, although Harry really had qualities of all the houses. No other student seems to have had this choice. What is the point of having a Sorting Hat if a student is allowed to select a house for themselves? The Sorting Hat is well qualified to make the decision, as it states it has never made a mistake. It put Neville Longbottom into Gryffindor well before Neville showed the signs of bravery he displays in later books. Neville might have gone into the wrong house if the decision had been left up to him. I know the reason that some are thinking that a choice of house is possible, but I won't go into it here as it is a spoiler. All I will say is that I thought is was more of a "pacifying" thing. Just because Harry did it, doesn't mean that now all kids have the right to choose their house. I would love to hear other opinions on this subject.

If I have said too much - please "bleep" me.

Choices was very careful in the way she presented her message here. I have added (Spoilers) to the title and have opened this thread up for Book Seven discussions. - Kip

Paul Potter - Jul 29, 2007 11:52 am (#218 of 237)

It is very true that we do not see any one else ask to be in a certain house other than Harry but we have examples of people saying before they are sorted which house they would like to be in. The best example of this is Draco he made his choice of which house he wanted, knowing the reputation of Slytherin. So maybe this is why so many of them turn out to be bad

Soul Search - Jul 29, 2007 2:00 pm (#219 of 237)
Edited Jul 29, 2007 3:01 pm

First, the Sorting Hat did not want to put Harry in Slytherin. Harry tried to tell it "not Slytherin," and the Sorting Hat, trying to be a little flip I think, told him he would "do well in Slytherin." Even in CoS when Harry tried on the Hat again, it only told him he would "do well in Slytherin," not that he should have been in Slytherin over Gryffindor. Harry would have done well in any house, although Ravenclaw might have been more of a struggle.

Harry notices (SS) that sometimes the Hat makes a quick decision, like Draco, and other times it takes more than a minute. We saw Harry "talking" with the Hat. Hermione also mentions (somewhere, I think OotP about the coins) that the Hat thought to put her in Ravenclaw but decided on Gryffindor "in the end." Sounds like a little dialog is, for some students, needed for the Hat to decide. I would not be surprised if the Hat considered student preferences among its sorting criteria, especially a student that very strongly didn't want to be in a particular house. Say, for example, Slytherin.

Didn't JKR mention in an interview that someone has/will change houses. Maybe she was just referring to Dumbledore's "maybe we sort too early" comment.

Paul Potter - Jul 29, 2007 2:11 pm (#220 of 237)

Soul Search that is exactly my way of thinking that you can choose not to be in a certain house and on the other side of that you can choose to be in a certain house.

legolas returns - Jul 30, 2007 1:22 pm (#221 of 237)

When Harry was being sorted I thought the hat said that he was difficult to place (because he had attributes of all houses). For example-not a bad mind (Ravenclaw), plenty of courage (Gryffindor), thirst to prove yourself (Slytherin) Talent (Hufflepuff). If he had all of these attributes I would have thought that the Sorting Hat would have chosen the strongest attribute. I think the hat was trying to tempt him when it suggested that he would do well in Slytherin. Harry told the hat he valued courage more by resisting Slytherin-he had already been told that Slytherin was where bad witches and wizards came from and he wanted to be a "white" wizard.

Michael Franz - Aug 28, 2007 1:04 pm (#222 of 237)

I think the Sorting Hat did make a mistake when it put Wormtail into Gryffindor. He was never brave, not even at the beginning; he was a follower born who did whatever the other Marauders told him to.

Also, I wonder what would happen if someone attempted to use Occlumency against the Sorting Hat. If the four Houses represent the four elements, then I say the kids need to buck tradition and embrace the fifth element -- Void. Smile

Morlicar - Aug 29, 2007 11:18 am (#223 of 237)
Edited Aug 29, 2007 12:19 pm

I think the Sorting Hat might put you in the house that embodies the virtue you most admire rather than the house that embodies the virtue you most embody. Especially when there is no strong asset in your personality. Peter wasn't known to be clever, nor ambitious, nor brave, nor loyal. Really, he fits in no house on his own merits.

Xenophilius - Aug 29, 2007 11:25 am (#224 of 237)

Morlicar - Peter wasn't known to be clever, nor ambitious, nor brave, nor loyal.

I think you hit on it. If you add to his lack of any outstanding trait, a wish to be in Gryffindor, the Sorting Hat would have put Wormtail into that house.

legolas returns - Aug 29, 2007 1:03 pm (#225 of 237)

Wormtail may have been in the same carriage of the Hogwarts express as James and Sirius and asked to be put in Gryffindor with them.

tandaradei - Aug 29, 2007 2:06 pm (#226 of 237)
Edited Aug 29, 2007 3:08 pm

At a guess I'd think Wormtail might have shown the same on-the-surface attributes as Neville, at that age; and thus, their "wishes" indeed might have been their defining characteristics.

Interestingly, in the opposite direction to what I've just said, the Sorting Hat has the authority to deliver the Gryffindor sword to its House Hero: this is an authority demonstrated especially when it apparently removed it from Griphook's possession and delivered it to Neville at a supremely critical moment. What I'm trying to say is, apparently the Hat actually CAN see beneath the surface to all-the-way: maybe this ability and power is only activated under critical moments and at the wearer's request?


...[cut]...'Twas Gryffindor who found the way,
He whipped me off his head
The founders put some brains in me
So I could choose instead! ...[cut]...
(PS7/bolds & italics added)

This implies that many of the Sorting Hat's decisions are committee decisions: perhaps the Sorting Hat calls the House for its wearer, which the 4 sets of "brains" have agreed upon, along with the wearer's wishes? Committee decisions sometimes go awry.

As to the Legiliimency question: I'd doubt neophyte magicians would have the ability to practice Occlumency against the Wishing Hat's abilities. Perhaps 6th/7th years?

legolas returns - Aug 29, 2007 2:20 pm (#227 of 237)
Edited Aug 29, 2007 3:33 pm

Hee hee I can see the committee decisions on Wormtail

"I don’t want him-no brains"-Ravenclaw.

"I don’t want him he's loyal to who ever can protect him and no bravery"-Gryffindor.

"I don’t want him he goes to the biggest bully in the playground-no loyalty"-Hufflepuff

"I don’t see why that piece of Mudblood scum should foul up the school"-Slytherin (We never hear what Wormtail’s blood status is so I have made it up. I have also made up the Slytherins answer)

"Ok I will take him!"-Gryffindor (Going against Slytherins prejudices. They apparently fell out over being more selective)

Xenophilius - Aug 29, 2007 2:57 pm (#228 of 237)

legolas returns good one! LOL

TomProffitt - Aug 30, 2007 4:47 am (#229 of 237)

legolas, the only fault with that line of reasoning is that it is clearly stated that Hufflepuff is the House that takes those that no one else would want. I don't recall which book that was, it was from the "Houses Unite Speech" from the Hat prior to Sorting. I think it was GoF.

NFla Barbara - Aug 30, 2007 6:12 am (#230 of 237)

From OoP:

Said Slytherin, "We'll teach just those/Whose ancestry is purest." Said Ravenclaw, "We'll teach those whose/Intelligence is surest." Said Gryffindor, "We'll teach all those/With brave deeds to their name." Said Hufflepuff, "I'll teach the lot, and treat them just the same."


Later in the song the hat says that Slytherin took only pure-bloods, "those of sharpest mind" went to Ravenclaw, "the bravest and boldest" to Gryffindor, and "Good Hufflepuff, she took the rest, and taught them all she knew."

I'm not sure that's saying that Hufflepuff took the ones no one else would want...it's more that she took the ones who hadn't yet shown the distinct qualities that would sort them into one of the other houses. Cedric was a Hufflepuff, after all.

In GoF, the hat says that Hufflepuff prized hard workers:

For Hufflepuff, hard workers were most worthy of admission

So I think Hufflepuff did not care whether someone had shown great bravery, cleverness or ambition, as long as they wanted to learn.

tandaradei - Aug 30, 2007 2:32 pm (#231 of 237)

Perhaps the Sorting Hat doesn't work in terms of judging matured qualities ... as much as isolating aspirations.

Perhaps there is no "judging."

What I mean is, perhaps the Sorting Hat looks into each personality with optimism, realizing that there is potential, not necessarily fact, within its decisions.

Bravery or Cleverness or Intelligence or Loyalty can be seen as aspirations within the raw materials of these future students ... and perhaps the Sorting Hat's main work is to try to help the students find best where their aspirations might "get the gold."

haymoni - Aug 31, 2007 4:43 pm (#232 of 237)

I thought "I'll teach the lot" meant that she would teach them all and treat them all the same.

So in essence, she would have ended up with anyone that the others didn't want.

NFla Barbara - Aug 31, 2007 6:18 pm (#233 of 237)

That's true, but that doesn't mean those are the only ones who would have ended up there. The Sorting Hat says elsewhere that Hufflepuff prized hard work, so it is not inconceivable that a student might have been sorted directly into Hufflepuff because she or he was extremely hard-working, rather than being put there because there were no other outstanding qualities.

I like the idea about looking at each personality "with optimism" -- unfortunately the Hat was overly optimistic when it came to Peter! (I have been re-reading the series -- I just finished PoA -- to see if I missed anything about Peter the first time around, but I still don't see anything that would suggest that he ever had good qualities, except that for some reason the other Marauders liked him).

Soul Search - Aug 31, 2007 6:24 pm (#234 of 237)
Edited Aug 31, 2007 7:25 pm

After PoA, Pettigrew took on a daring adventure to find Voldemort in Albania. Couldn't have been easy. Would have required some bravery, etc.

It's just, he did it for less than noble reasons. Does everyone who fits the Sorting Hat's definition of Gryffindor have to be "good."

Xenophilius - Aug 31, 2007 6:40 pm (#235 of 237)
Edited Aug 31, 2007 7:41 pm

Pettigrew is an enigma to me. He claimed in PoA that he betrayed the Potters out of fear of what Voldy and the Death Eaters (sounds like a rock band) would do to him. Yet, when cornered by Sirius he was resourceful enough to cut off a finger and blow up everyone around him so he could make an almost permanent escape. In the graveyard, he carries out all of Voldy's instructions which included cutting off a hand. He seems more like a Slytherin than a Gryffindor. We do know the Sorting Hat will take the student's wishes into account.

Solitaire - Sep 1, 2007 7:18 pm (#236 of 237)
Edited Sep 1, 2007 8:18 pm

Sirius's comment about Peter seeking out the biggest bully to protect him was made in angry hindsight. Perhaps Peter did seem to be a loyal friend when he sat under the Sorting Hat, just 11 years old. A lot happened during his Hogwarts years and Voldy's rise. If he was a Muggle-born, as some have suggested, perhaps he didn't follow Hermione's practice of staying with his Wizard friends during summers and holidays. He may have gone home to his Muggle family. Living in such unprotected vulnerability, he may have grown fearful as he became more aware of what was happening around him. This could have led to his "character change." Just a thought ...


TomProffitt - Sep 3, 2007 3:27 am (#237 of 237)

I believe a lot of posters miss the fact that the last clear memory we have of the Marauders is at age 15, and we don't see the survivors again for nearly 20 years. A lot can happen to a person from age 11 to age 20 (when Wormtail turned on his friends).
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