rhoda_rants: (leia)
[personal profile] rhoda_rants
One of the many rights of passage for a Harry Potter superfan is Sorting. In the early 2000s when the movies started filming, I came across a few Sorting Hat quizzes online, and almost always wound up in Ravenclaw. So, over time, despite not having joined the official site, I just got used to thinking of myself as a Ravenclaw. All my friends, both online and in meat space, expressed very little surprise when I told them this. "Yeah, that suits you," or "Well of course you are," were oft-repeated phrases. And once, from a beta reader, "Either that or Slytherin, obviously," which . . . I'll come back to.


GIF of Harry under the Sorting Hat muttering “Not Slytherin”


So imagine my surprise when the official, J. K. Rowling-approved Pottermore site put me in Gryffindor. "B-but I'm a Ravenclaw!" I sputtered at the screen in disbelief. Why did this bother me so much, and what does it have to do with The Chamber of Secrets?

Well. . .


Chamber of Secrets was a book that I didn't fully appreciate until I finished the series, then read it again in the context of the greater whole. So much of Harry's development and identity hinges on this episode, as well as the details of how Voldemort will ultimately be defeated. Everything you need to know about the big finale is here. You just can't see it yet. And to that end, it's one of the most brilliantly executed slow burn noir mysteries I've ever encountered. I keep rereading the books over and over because every time, I notice another detail that I had no idea was important until after the fact.

So now, with the bulk of the world-building out of the way, we can really start the series. This is where Rowling starts to focus on what this huge war was about, what's at stake, who the villains are, and what it cost everyone who was involved. One of the loose ends that Voldemort left dangling was a diary in which he preserved a piece of his soul--aka a Horcrux, which I'll probably talk more about later. Here is also where we find out about the "blood purity" prejudice that exists in this universe and where that puts our characters. Coming from an already established magical family, as opposed to being gifted with magical abilities in a muggle family, doesn't necessarily give you any special talents or abilities. But it does change your perspective and the expectations others are liable to put on you. As does being Sorted into one of the four Hogwarts Houses.

One of the common criticisms of the HP verse is the competition this inspires in the students that, it’s been argued, might not be as vicious if it weren’t for the House rivalries. A recurring example is Harry’s mutual animosity with Draco Malfoy. One thing that the movie changed that I think works better in the adaptation is the Dueling Club scene:



This is such a pivotal moment, and so fun to watch onscreen. It’s a simple sparring match between Harry and Draco until it becomes something else, and putting the focus fully on the two of them was a great idea. But the biggest difference between book and movie is the point of view. In the book, everything is from Harry’s point of view, so he doesn’t understand why everyone’s staring at him with this alarm and disquiet. Here, though? You hear what the students heard, see what they saw, and it is so much creepier. Which, in my book, is always a good thing. If you haven’t read the books before watching this, you wouldn’t know until Harry tells Ron and Hermione later that he was trying to help. It puts a disturbing spin on his actions before this, and makes even Harry uneasy about his lineage and identity.

That’s the major theme of Chamber of Secrets: identity. Where did you come from? Where do you belong? How do you know you're in the right place? Are you sure you deserve to be there? Those are the questions Harry asks himself throughout this book and movie, and it’s brought to a head in the Dueling Club scene. This is when Harry starts to wonder if he’s in the right House.

As did I. Because I do not belong in Gryffindor. I know this in my bones, just as surely and insistently as Harry knows he doesn’t belong in Slytherin. Because I'm me, I wasn't content to let things go. I took about ten different fan-made versions of the Sorting Hat quiz, all of which put me in Slytherin, Gryffindor, or some combination of the two. Finally, I found this. The  official Pottermore quiz only gives you about seven questions out of all the possible 31, and they're weighted differently because they don't all have an even four responses. This fan-made compilation of all possible questions gets you a more detailed, weighted, and explanatory answer.

Here are my results:


Screenshot of Pottermore quiz results showing
Slytherin = 74%
Gryffindor = 64%
Ravenclaw = 54%
Hufflepuff = 50%


So I guess I'm a Slytherin who squeaked into Gryffindor on a technicality. But definitely not a Ravenclaw. Clearly my betas know me better than I know myself. (Cheers, Gothie!)

Here's the thing: your House doesn't define your entire future. But it does reveal something about your values and strengths. It's easy to oversimplify what all this is supposed to mean. To reduce each House to one specific attribute and not bother digging further. Gryffindor = Brave. Ravenclaw = Smart. Hufflepuff = Nice. Slytherin = Evil. Except when they don't. There are things about Harry that would make him a good fit for Slytherin, but it's not where he wants to be. You could take the stance that Slytherin is just where the evil kids hang out, and Rowling does that to a certain extent, but not completely. It also changes somewhat as Harry grows up and his point of view evolves and matures. He ultimately develops a respect and admiration for a few of his Slytherin peers . . . but he’s not there yet.

This is probably never going to be my favorite entry in the Harry Potter saga, but it gets more interesting every time I return to it.

Date: 2017-04-06 06:13 pm (UTC)
synkkaenkeli: (Default)
From: [personal profile] synkkaenkeli
I think the last one I took somewhere said I'm a Ravenclaw.

Date: 2017-04-06 08:25 pm (UTC)
synkkaenkeli: (Default)
From: [personal profile] synkkaenkeli
I think I'm ok being a Ravenclaw LOL :-D I know some people that wanna be Gryffendor or Slytherin and don't really care about the other two but I don't think either of those houses really fits me.

Date: 2017-04-06 06:42 pm (UTC)
author_by_night: (Default)
From: [personal profile] author_by_night
The first time I took it, I got Hufflepuff; the second time was Ravenclaw.

I think the Houses are more complicated than Harry's narrow POV allows the reader to immediately realize. If you look at certain characters, you see how they show different aspects of those Houses. Hermione is smart, so you'd think Ravenclaw, but what really drives her is her motivation. She believes in championing her causes no matter what. It's just that when she's twelve, her cause is school and being a bit of a goody-two shoes. (Even in PoA, there's a line that goes "Ron said something that made Hermione go, 'Ron!'" I think OoTP!Hermione would've called Snape whatever Ron called him first. She was a lot more rebellious then, because she wanted to put saving the world first, not saving House Points first.) Luna isn't the logical brand of intelligent, but instead a more individualistic thinker.

As far as Slytherin being evil goes... I think it's a bit of a vicious cycle. I don't think they're all bad, but at the same time, if the same families keep being in the same Houses, that alone makes it more likely that you'll have bad seeds. And I do think that while ambition isn't easy per se, it's easy to go too far because you do end up using whatever devices you can find. But the same is true of chivalry - who, or what, are you being chivalrous to? Percy thought he was absolutely doing the right thing in choosing the Ministry over his family. When they went evil, he turned, but he also wasn't an evil person - he just saw cause over effect. Same with Dumbledore - "for the greater good" is very, very Gryffindor. Yet he was going to do pretty shitty things in the name of his cause. Because the books are about the fight versus good and evil, we mostly see Gryffindors fighting for the good causes.

Date: 2017-04-06 08:06 pm (UTC)
xerinmichellex: (film: Jane Eyre)
From: [personal profile] xerinmichellex
I too thought I was a Ravenclaw before I took the test. Having just taken it though, I got sorted into Hufflepuff (68%), which honestly I can also see. I try to be fair and accepting, and I do value fairness and acceptance and loyalty and my friends and family. The rest of my breakdown was like this: Ravenclaw - 60%, Gryffindor - 58%, and Slytherin - 52%.

It would've been nice if Rowling would've had one Slytherin go on a character journey of shaking off the "blood purity" ideology and maybe join Harry and the gang at the end to fight Voldemort. (I know that she did have thoughts of Harry being friends with Slytherin early in the drafting.) I wish she would've found a way to have a major Slytherin be a hero - and not in a creepy way like Snape. Or, at least, not broad-paint Slytherins as "blood purest". IDK I think you can be ambitions and determined, and not be a shit-heel at the same time.

Date: 2017-04-06 09:02 pm (UTC)
xerinmichellex: (stock: books)
From: [personal profile] xerinmichellex
I think part of is "Well I like books, so that's a Ravenclaw thing, right?"

LOL Yeah, that's part of it. For me it's mostly I like history and learning about past things; I have a very analytical mind rooted in facts and science; I cannot improvise to save my life and have to plan out things in advance; I have a low tolerance for ignorance and people not using their brains. But again, if the Houses are based on what we value, I totally see why I'd be in Hufflepuff.

I think it's also important to consider that what you value can change as you grow and age and engage with the outside world, and what you need in your life at the moment.

I'd consider Regulus a proper hero.

I do, too, and he was who I was thinking of in my "but why make all the Slytherin's shit heads until the last book, Rowling???" rant. It seems like Rowling put more thought into characters who broke the House norms in minor/peripheral characters. I wish there could've been a Regulus in Harry's immediate orbit.

It's too bad she didn't let Draco have a redemption arc . . . or at least make it more explicit that it was possible.

On the one hand, I agree. . . But Draco is such a shithead in the earlier books and he's like the epitome of the type of guys that I hate "rich white guys who has daddy issues" that I'm glad she didn't redeem because I'm not sure I'd buy it (or be open to it). But yeah, if she was going to redeem one, major Slytherin, Draco would obviously be it.

Maybe it would've been better if Rowling had a Slytherin who came from a family that outright hated Voldemort and was, like, shunned by the other elite Slytherins? Or, just one Slytherin who's like, "Yeah I'm ambitious and I like money and power and put myself before others; but I didn't sign up for this Wizard-Nazi Shit. Fuck Voldemort."

Date: 2017-04-06 11:39 pm (UTC)
star_healer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] star_healer
I always get Slytherin, with Ravenclaw a close second. I got- Slytherin -81%, RAVENCLAW -74%, GRYFFINDOR- 34%, HUFFLEPUFF - 21%. :) The Ravenclaw is close enough that I tend to mentally lay some claim to it too. :) I remember reading an article before where JK agreed with the concept of hybrid houses (or people having more than one house that suits them well). So I think it's officially ok to pick two, if you prefer? :) TBH I've always thought of the Slytherin house traits like being ambitious, cunning, etc, as really good things. And certainly not evil, unless you actively decide to use your abilities for evil. Also I do tend to favor utilitarian ethics, as you know, what I genuinely think would be the most rational and ethical thing to do, in many scenarios. It's pretty awkward to see those traits so heavily associated with evil in the Potter series/fandom. I mean, honestly, how does one get from "ambitious" to freaking Nazis? WTF. >.< Those connections are not there for me. But they do kinda bother me. Like I know I am a Slytherin/Slytherclaw/whatever. But these associations being made do perturb me enough that sometimes I think maybe I would rather pretend to be another house. :/ Ultimately, I think the author was just biased towards her own personality type, and probably hadn't much experience with Slytherin heroes, who instead of barging the door down, might come up with some elaborate trickery to save people without even fighting. Which IMHO is awesome, and not a bad way to be at all. :P



Edited Date: 2017-04-06 11:39 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-04-07 04:13 am (UTC)
gothrockrulz: (Default)
From: [personal profile] gothrockrulz
Hadn't thought of Chamber of Secrets as being about identity, but going over the points you listed, you're completely right. (Even Voldy has a confirmation of identity when he spells out "I am Lord Voldemort.")

Hear, hear on the notion that being in Slytherin doesn't automatically make you a heartless villain.

Makes sense that you and your peers would think you're Ravenclaw. I always wanted to be Slytherin, but I don't think I'd ever taken a test to try it. Scared to see if I get a different result, but I'll try the one you linked.

And . . . I'm Ravenclaw. Aw, shucks. It fits better than Hufflepuff or Gryffindor, definitely, but I do so like Slytherin. Quick, let's trade! LOL.

Pottermore Sorting Quiz (all possible questions)
Your Result: RAVENCLAW
 
Congratulations! You have been sorted into Ravenclaw, the house of intelligence, curiosity, individualism, and wit. You are amongst other Ravenclaws, such as: Cho Chang, and Luna Lovegood.
 
SLYTHERIN!
 
GRYFFINDOR!
 
HUFFLEPUFF!

Date: 2017-04-07 04:48 pm (UTC)
gothrockrulz: (Default)
From: [personal profile] gothrockrulz
Writing is hard, I hear you! Especially when you're working in an overarching theme and trying to figure out what to highlight.

I preferred to be Slytherin because most of my faves are in Slytherin (Snape and the Malfoys and Bellatrix). I love the icongraphy of their colors, the fact they're represented by a snake, and that they are cunning and devious in general. Perhaps it's more a representation of traits I want to build upon? Hmmmm.

Date: 2017-04-07 05:08 pm (UTC)
gothrockrulz: (Default)
From: [personal profile] gothrockrulz
Yes, yes, and yes. :) Ah, well.

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