Sunday, September 18, 2011

Can you change your sorting hat fate?

When I entered the magical land of Pottermore earlier this month, the one event I looked forward to the most was getting sorted by the famed Sorting Hat.

Since I was a young girl, and first began my Harry Potter journey, I've always been sorted into Gryffindor and identified by myself as such. Some fans who are familiar with the fans will only say they're in Gryffindor because it's the leading characters house (meanwhile they can hold the wrong assumptions about Slytherin). I never felt like Gryffindor was a superior house because it housed the golden trio, but simply because it was where I felt I belong.

Waiting anxiously to be received by the official JK Rowling interactive site Pottermore, I went through a million emotions about which house I was going to end up with. Upon its opening, and finally reaching the moment of the sorting hat, I felt like I was floating through the process. And, when my fate was finally revealed, I jumped in delight that I was officially sorted Gryffindor.

Experiencing the sorting process throughout my life through online quizzes on and off of Pottermore, I started wondering: does the sorting hat really take our choice into account?

In the first sorting ceremony we experience in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, we discover two different ways that students can be sorted other than being "automatically" placed in one of the four houses.

The first is the hatstall, which is when the sorting hat takes a irregular amount of time to decide where a student belongs. The Sorting Hat had a difficult time placing Hermione Granger in Gryffindor or Ravenclaw because she exuded the same amount of qualities for both. In the end, she wanted more important things that books and cleverness like friendship and bravery. So she became a Gryffindor.

The second way is for a student to convince the Sorting Hat to place them in a different house. For Harry Potter, he wanted any other house besides Slytherin. Leaning on the judgment that Ron had made before the ceremony, that nobody who has been sorted into Slytherin has been a 'good person', he pleaded with the Sorting Hat to keep him out of Slytherin. He ended up being sorted into Gryffindor.

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Harry tells his young son Albus that the Sorting Hat takes students' choices into account. It's difficult to tell if this is true. Sure, Harry was put into Gryffindor because he asked not to be Slytherin. But he didn't outright asked to be put into Gryffindor either. Even in Chamber of Secrets, the Sorting Hat still believes he could've been a good match in Slytherin.

Similarly, in the Severus Snape's case, when Lily was sorted into Gryffindor, is there any chance that Severus would've asked the Sorting Hat to be put in Gryffindor to stay with Lily? Whether he did or didn't we'll never truly know, but the Sorting Hat sorted him into Slytherin anyways. By the end of the series, a case can be made that Severus is a brave character even with alternative motives.

Within the Harry Potter community, fans also express being sorted into different houses. The idea of is called a hybrid house - a mix of two houses together. Instead of the main four houses, fans will declare themselves members of two houses such as Ravenpuff, Gryfferin, or Huffledor, seeing themselves sharing multiple traits between the four main houses. Though this wasn't officially confirmed as a way to be sorted in the books or movies, J.K. Rowling reached out to a fan to acknowledge their hybrid sorting and noted that it was extremely rare.

When it comes to the Sorting Hat and our identities with what we choose, it seems to be an equal standard of choosing what we believe to be our true calling and knowing ourselves as well as the Sorting Hat figuring out what's best for us.

Do you consider Severus to be harshly missorted?
Or do you consider it fate that he went to Slytherin and Lily to Gryffindor?

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for explaining the sorting hat more to me. I hadn't known that Snape considered Slytherin so deeply that it would affect getting sorted into Gryffindor and be separated from Lily, and how other characters got sorted. This makes me more excited to read the series more! :D

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