Harry Potter Question from Year 1 (Speculation Spoilers Likely)

As I read Year 6 again to get me in rhythm for Year 7 I recalled how the Sorting Hat in the first book originally wanted to put Harry into Slytherin house. I can’t recall if that has every been shown to have any significance to this point. Does anyone think it will in the upcoming book?

I thought this was fairly well dealt with when Dumbledore and Harry have a talk about HP’s placement. I forget which book it’s in–it’s a nice scene in the second movie. Harry asked to be in Griffyndor, and AD amplifies that by saying that is our choices that make us who are. It’s very effective. AD goes on to say that Voldy transferred some of his powers to Harry inadvertently when he gave Harry that scar. Those powers will be of primary importance in book 7, IMO.

Thanks, elenaorrigby, but I still think there is more to it than what AD said about the scar, though.

Harry recalls it, too, and asks Dumbledore about the sorting in… Chamber of Secrets, I think. When Harry starts discovering that he speaks Parseltongue, and that he has much in common with Voldemort, he worries that he is too much like his adversary. The answer comes in Half-Blood Prince where Dumbledore points out that Harry worrying about it proves that he is still a good person at heart. I think the Sorting Hat’s decision has been emptied of any dramatic tension it may have contained at this point.

At the risk of opening a train wreck hijacking along a similar question, why isn’t Hermione in Ravenclaw? Rowling has tried to make her seem bold and brave, but essentially she’s queen of the textbooks - a classic Ravenclaw. What gives?

Jurph - I guess because as smart as she is, her courage is greater than her intelligence.

Dumbledore also points out in Chamber of Secrets that Harry had pulled the sword of Godric Griffindor out of the Sorting Hat when he needed a weapon against the basilisk. Only a true Griffindor could have done so.

The Sorting Hat was just messing with Harry when it wavered over possibly putting him in Slytherin.

Actually, what Dumbledore says is much more meaningful and profound than that; he says; “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” Half-Blood Prince was actually supposed to be part of Chamber Of Secrets, they are like bookends, so it’s relevant that in HBP it is driven home to us how many similarities Riddle and Harry share.

About Hermione, one could argue that her practicality and commitment to USING what she learns makes her a Gryffindor: a Ravenclaw would be content to sit and collect knowledge (this quality is shown in Hepzibah’s collection of beautiful things that are to be hoarded, and not necessarily used or enjoyed), but Hermione is a “do-er”, she takes action. The creation of S.P.E.W. is an example of this quality in her.

About the scar, The concept of power exchange has come up three (magic number!) times: Harry’s parselmouth ability, the “gleam of triumph” in D’s eyes when Harry reveals that V touched him without pain in GoF, and the open channel of legilimency that Harry and V share in OoP (which was an interesting clue to HBP, if you think about it). I suppose you could count the Fawkes-made wands, too, but then that screws my numerology all around. :stuck_out_tongue:

Sorry, Hepzibah is Hufflepuff. I meant to find another example, but my edit window ran out. When come back bring better evidence.

I would submit that it was doing more than messing with his mind. The Hat saw qualities in Harry that could, potentially, have made him suitable for either House. (It also hinted that he could have fit in the other two Houses as well, but apparently decided that neither was close enough to pursue.) It reached a point in its deliberations at which it needed more information that it had been able to glean from Harry’s passive mind–it needed to see him make a choice, so it backed him into a corner.

The Hat was testing him, seeing how he weighed the Slytherin temptations it described against what he already knew of the House.

Yes, Harry would have been great in Slytherin, because he does possess many of the traits that categorize that house. But Harry lacks the ambition and the political will to be a Slytherin.

Hermione’s placement was also directly addressed. Ron asks her in one of the books why she’s not in Raveclaw (if not Ron, then someone). She says that she wondered that too, but she’s glad to be in G.

Of all the houses, Raveclaw’s is the one we know least about. I find that unfortunate, and used to hope that Rowling would expand a bit on them. I think it’s too late now to expect any major plot points to concern the current house or its members.

I am concerned about how Harry stinks at occulmency or legilemens–I think he’s an open book to Voldemort, which is problematic to say the least!

Occlumency, sure, but i’m not so certain he stinks at legilimens-er-ing, or whatever the verb is of that. He’s managed to get into Voldemort’s mind (granted, Voldemort’s unprotected from that approach mind) and into Snape’s mind, once, and i’m sure Snape had very high shields up at the time.

The way I see it in the Sorting Hat debate is that Harry could have equally been in Slytherin or Gryffindor. He does have ambition - he wants to kill Voldemort and now Snape, be an Auror, and overall generally be good at magic. He certainly has cunning. The important point is as others have said that he chose Gryffindor - and as Dumbledore said, it doesn’t matter what you are, it matters what you try and become.

The only main character we have from Ravenclaw is Luna. So it may not be straight book-smarts that get you in there - or even logical thinking, assuming she’s actually wrong about the things she believes in. Perhaps there’s a particular approach to learning and knowledge that Hermione (smart as she is) doesn’t have but Luna does.

Have we actually had a “bad” Gryffindor character yet? We’ve got bad (most of them) and good (Slughorn, ish) Slytherins, bad (Lockhart, Hepzibah-ish) and good (Neville, Cedric) Hufflepuffs, and good Ravenclaws (Luna). I don’t think we’ve seen any bad Ravenclaw or Gryffindor characters as of yet.

Neville’s a Gryffindor, not a Hufflepuff. And isn’t Cho a Ravenclaw? I’m not sure if she’s “bad” or just misguided, but she sure got the DA in a heap of trouble.

I think Rowling had a lot of trouble with Ravenclaw. While it seems to vaguely support Slytherin more than griffindor, it was usually whent hey thought Gryffindor was being obnoxious (nto unusual, IMHO). Ravenclaws seemed to be quieter and less prone to drama than the Big S or the Big G.

Of course, she sort of messed up the courage angle by noting how many Ravenclaws wound up helping Harry fight off Death Eaters. Maybe it really sorts people by their interests and preferences? People who prefer direct confrontation become Griffindor, people who like manipulation Slytherin, just getting along Hufflepuff, and people who plan their way out of things Ravenclaw.

What Hermione says (when people are impressed with her “DA” coins that warn you of the next meeting) is that the sorting hat hesitated for a long time between Ravenclaw and Gryffindor as a choice for her house.

We are used to thinking of Slytherin people as having only bad qualities, but there are some good things to be found in that house also, like intelligence, an innate ability, the desire to work hard and prove yourself, the absence of fear of black magic.

But, like kung fu lola and Revenant Threshold said, the main significance of the sorting hat’s conversation with Harry during his sorting in Book 1 is that Harry had a choice to be a Slytherin, and wanted to be a Gryffindor instead.

Are you forgetting… Peter Pettigrew??? (boo hiss)

Do we know what house Peter was in? I don’t remember it being mentioned.

JK Rowling has said (probably on her website) that all 4 of the Marauders were in Gryffindor. I personally think it would have been more interesting and made more sense if they were in four different houses: Potter - Gryffindor, Lupin - Ravenclaw, Pettigrew - Hufflepuff, Black - Slytherin

P.S. found a quote at the accio quote website:


JK Rowling’s World Book Day Chat, March 4, 2004

When did he get into Snape’s mind? There’s the bit where he sees his father tormenting Snape as a student, but I thought Harry saw that by taking a snort from Snape’s Pensieve stash when the teacher was out of the room.

We don’t have a House for Lockhart (unless JKR specified it on her website and I didn’t notice), and Neville is a Gryffindor, not a Hufflepuff.

In addition to Peter Pettigrew, Cormac McClaggen and Percy Weasley are arguably bad-guy Gryffindors, and Marietta Edgecombe is a not-so-good Ravenclaw.

There’s a brief flurry of memories that he manages to break into at one point. I remember that one of them includes Snape being yelled at by his father.