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On Sorting and the Hogwarts Houses

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In the following quiz, the traits chosen are deliberately not related to any mentioned as house traits in the books.  This is meant to get people thinking about themselves rather than the books so don't spend too long trying to guess which trait goes with which house so you can manipulate the outcome – just chose the answer that works for you


Which of these sayings do you most agree with?

1. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

2. The difference between try and triumph is a little umph.

3. Knowledge is power.

4. Discretion is the better part of valour.



Which of the following statements of praise would make you feel best about yourself?

1.  “You're so brave!”

2.  “It looks like all your hard work is really paying off!”

3.  “I think I'd be proud to know just half of all the things you know!”

4.  “You have such drive, such passion, that I'm certain you'll achieve your dreams!”



Four Hogwarts students are asked why people are the way they are.  Here are their answers.  Select the one closest to your answer.

1. “Uh, you are what you eat?  No, just kidding.  I guess I've never really thought about it before.”

2. “I think most people just want to be happy – I know you look at someone like Snape and think that can't explain it, but we're all coming at it from different places... you know, different cultures, different families, different personalities, some of us have more baggage from our past than others, but that's what makes the world interesting, right?”

3. “Ooh, I could write a whole treatise on this!  Of course, I'd have to include the nature vs. nurture argument, biological imperative, relationality, tabula rasa … you know, if you're interested in this subject, there are some great books I should show you.”

4. “You play the hand you're dealt.  Everyone just reacts to what is going on around them and tries to come out the better for it.”



What makes a person great?

1. A person is the sum of their deeds.  If their deeds are great, then so are they.

2. They look out for, help, and care about others and they inspire others to do so too.

3. They know a lot – enough to solve all kinds of problems or to be able to talk about anything intelligently.  A great person has a great mind and puts it to good use.

4. The mark of a truly great person is that whether they make good decisions or bad ones, in the end, they're remembered with respect.



Which of these proverbs do you believe to be most correct?

1. Actions speak louder than words.

2. Better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

3. There's an exception to every rule.

4. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.



Which of the following insults would it most hurt you to be called?

1. You coward!

2. You traitor!

3. You’re so naïve!

4. You’ll never amount to anything!



Which of the following strategies would you employ?

1. The best defence is a good offense.

2. If at first you don't succeed, try and try again.

3. Forewarned is forearmed.

4. The ends justify the means.



Which of the following pieces of advice are you most likely to give?

1. If the right thing was easy, everyone would do it.

2. Many hands make light work.

3. Doubt is the beginning not the end of wisdom.

4. Every man has his price.



If members of each house were polled to ask how to fix their government following the defeat of Voldemort, they might make the following statements about good governance.  Which of them most closely matches yours?

1. “The new government should be made up of good people who do the right thing and they should protect the good and punish the bad.”

2. “The ideal government should be filled with people who believe in a sense of fair play and the value of service. It’s important that those who are in power want to do what is best for everyone rather than what is best only for themselves and their friends.”

3. “The ideal ruler is an enlightened one.  All other positions should be filled by those people best suited to each job because they will naturally do a good job at it and that is good for everyone.”

4. “Our new government must be better at keeping people safe, maintaining public order and nurturing growth through stability.”



Which of the following virtues do you admire (not necessarily possess) the most?

1. Steadfastness (having morals and sticking to them, even when it's tough)

2. Empathy (the ability to see things from other people's perspective, to walk a mile in their shoes)

3. Order (the well-organized mind, body, and life)

4. Prudence (being able to judge the right course of action, not in the sense of over-arching morals, but in a given situation)



Of the following attributes, which would you fight the hardest to preserve?

1. Honour

2. Duty

3. Reputation.

4. Pride



Which of the following attributes do you admire (not necessarily possess) the most?

1. Self-sacrifice

2. Flexibility (the ability to cope well with changes)

3. Independence

4. Tactfulness




Which of the following virtues do you admire (not necessarily possess) the most?

1. Sentimentality (emotional idealism)

2. Charity

3. Self-discipline

4. Self-reliance




If your friend was wronged, which of the following would you seek?

1. To pay back the person who did the wrong.

2. The person who did the wrong should be taught that what they did was bad so they don't do it again.

3. To see the person who did the wrong punished according to impartial standards.

4. To make the person who did the wrong feel shame.



You witness each of the following everyday scenes.  Which one leaves you thinking most highly of the person involved?

1.  You read about a local soldier who pulled an injured man out of a minefield at great risk to his own life.

2.  It is raining and there's a light chill in the air as you walk through the park when you see a man and his dog.  The man has a small umbrella but rather than protect his own head from the rain, he's holding it over the dog.

3.  You notice a craftsperson at work and watch as they deftly manipulate their body, their tools, and/or their materials in such a way that demonstrates their great mastery of their craft.

4.  A leader stands up and delivers a stunning motivational speech which at once persuades and motivates a group of people to support their cause.



At your funeral, what would you most hope that people would say about your personality?

1.  When faced with seemingly insurmountable odds, you reacted with great valour, proving to everyone just how brave you were.

2.  You did the hard things, not because you had to but because you thought it was the right thing to do.

3.  You were a life-long learner, always curious and always interested.

4.  You weren't afraid to dream.  Ever since you were a child, you knew you wanted to make something of yourself.






Thank you for taking this Sorting Hat quiz.  It is self-scoring.  Go back through your answers and count up which number you answered most often, and then consult the chart below.


If you answered 1 most often, you may be a Gryffindor!

If you answered 2 most often, you may be a Hufflepuff!

If you answered 3 most often, you may be a Ravenclaw!

If you answered 4 most often, you may be a Slytherin!


Now that you have your answer, you may be wondering how some of those answers could possibly suit the house I've indicated for them – you may even think there are some typos.  Well I've checked over this quiz several times and all the answer options are numbered as I want them.  I realize that many of these answers seem to have no basis at all in the books so I should explain.  I got frustrated with the existing Sorting Hat quizzes that had questions about favourite colours, classes, and characters.  To me, those utterly miss the point of the Sorting and worse, it's so obvious which answers match up with which house that it's almost impossible to resist the urge to manipulate the answers to get your favourite house as a result. 


So I wrote an essay to help describe character traits of the houses.  Those traits were all based on evidence presented in the books, but I still wasn't happy with them because it is my understanding based on canon that the Sorting isn't about what traits you possess nearly so much as it is about what traits you admire.  One reason I say this is because we know of so many characters that don't seem suited to their houses – Snape is very brave while Pettigrew is a coward, Crabbe and Goyle don't appear to have any great ambition beyond being Malfoy's bodyguards and yet Percy has such drive to achieve.  Of course, Dumbledore does say he thinks they may Sort too early, suggesting that these characters suited their houses more on that first night than they grew to over the course of the story.  And while I of course realize that children change a lot all the time, I don't think that really fully explains it because there's still always been this problem for me of how houses can run so strongly in some families. 


As much as many parents want to raise their children in their own image, it seldom happens and the more generations you get, and the bigger the family, the less likely it is that most or all of them will be more brave than any other trait, or more ambitious, etc.  Even with how ambitious Percy is, he seemed to have no doubt that a Weasley, or Ron in particular, would end up anywhere other than Gryffindor so it seems unlikely that he had to talk the Hat into placing him there instead of Slytherin.  So I think there has to be another answer - it seems much more likely, at least in my estimation, that families would pass on a particular system of values with only the occasional straggler.  Even if you are like Percy and incredibly ambitious, Weasley family values that glorify bravery and other Gryffindor traits are going to get taken on board.  You may not be the bravest person, you may not ever have had the opportunity to test your bravery, but you can still think the greatest praise in the world would be to be thought of as brave.