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I’ve got beef with the Hogwarts sorting system.

It’s…to put it bluntly, idiotic. Now, I don’t honestly care, but I’m bored and feel like ranting, so here goes.

There are two major flaws with it: One in universe; the other in the real world. Yes, that’s right. I’m blaming you. Shall I describe why?

Let’s begin with my in universe problem. To put it bluntly…it’s segregation, and unnecessary segregation at that. There are four groups: The reckless, courageous, leaders, the smart, witty, and no doubt outcast intellectuals, the cunning, ruthless, hardworking, and diligent…whatever you call someone who has ambition, and the poor buggers who are kind and honest but still never catch a break. All groups have major flaws, and all have their good sides as well. Gryfindoor, Ravenclaw, Slytherin, and Hufflepuff. To dissect it further…well, just look at Hufflepuff’s name. There’s no chance in hell that any main character would come from there. It has puff in it.

No, instead our four groups are: Gryffindoor, the protagonists. Ravenclaw, the quasi allies of the protagonist. Slytherin, the morally corrupt antagonists. And Hufflepuff, the group Rowling threw in there because she liked the number four better than three. Hell, in book one, she didn’t even specify what it was for, and the impression I got was that it was a neutral house.

Now, that isn’t to say that Hufflepuff is without its major characters. It spawns one minor, bland, uninteresting, totally useless love interest—who affects the plot even less than Hedwig does—and a guy who gets slaughtered in the one book he actually has any character development in. Cedric Diggory is pretty much better than Harry in every way possible, making most of us glad he died-he was, to put it bluntly, a Sue, and not a well written Sue at that. Still, others mourned his death, giving us arguably one important character from the least important house. Yay. Even if he was an ensemble darkhorse. This makes Hufflepuff, to everyone’s immense surprise, tied with Ravenclaw in the amount of characters that have some significance, although Luna Lovegood is more loved by the fans than he is and Ravenclaw plays an important role in the end, so Ravenclaw still wins overall.

Back on the subject (Wow, long tangent.) What the whole process is is segregation. You put the smart kids in one group, the ambitious kids in another, the honest but not too ambitious or bright kids in the third, and in the last you put the risk takers and leaders. This is quite clearly unfair-it’s obvious that Ravenclaw will have the best grades, Slytherin the second best, Hufflepuff the third and, lastly Gryffindoor. This isn’t to say that some students with the potential for Ravenclaw or Slytherin won’t trickle down into Hufflepuff or Gryffindoor—Hermione and Neville are prime examples of possible Ravenclaw candidates, and it’s obvious that Harry would make an incredible Slytherin—but the odds are unlikely, and the only reason Harry wasn’t put in Slytherin was because he was so damn gullible—ironically nullifying him from a Ravenclaw position, funnily enough. In short, each house will get different grades. To boot, the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw houses have a much better chance of winning the house cup-one group is comprised entirely of good students; the other is full of complete rule followers and generally nice people. Despite this, neither house has won for at least a decade. Why? Personal biases. Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff’s are expected to act the way they act, and are thus not rewarded for their good deeds. Gryffindoor and Slytherin, however, are expected to break the rules and be general assholes. Instead, they’ve both won nonstop for the past decade.

But that’s not important. What’s important is the fact that this impacts their futures heavily. The people in universe seem to share our biases towards the schools-meaning that, if they had to choose between a Gryffindoor or a Hufflepuff when hiring a new person for a job…well, let’s just say that the Hufflepuff might possibly manage to get a low wage job somewhere, somewhere that would require tedious but not particularly important work. In all likelihood, a clerk somewhere, maybe a semi respected herbology researcher. The same applies for Slytherin’s-no former Gryffindoor in their right mind would hire a Slytherin. A Ravenclaw maybe, but a Slytherin? Purgatory no. The same would apply if it where the other way around. See, the houses don’t separate their students based on what number they draw, in which case the things at school would be a friendly rivalry. Instead, it’s based on personality type-leading to violence and sabotage, as well as hatred. Ron mentions wanting to kick out all the Slytherin’s because they produce the most Dark Wizards-keep in mind that Harry was one step away from becoming a Slytherin.

In addition: It’s bad for the students. Children, especially teenagers, need diverse environments in which to grow—environments with the leader and risk taker type, the intelligent and witty type, the cunning and ambitious type, and the kind and honest type. They shouldn’t be stuck with just a single group of people all their school careers, they need to branch out, make new friends, come to know the many other personalities at their school. It’s unhealthy, the way Hogwarts does it. Imagine if you only interacted with other nerds your entire life. It’d be great for the first year or so, but after a while you’d come to realize how awful it is when we’re all alike. I can’t speak for the rest of you, but that’s true for me. Humans need diversity. Not just from other cultures, religions, and political beliefs: They need diverse types of humans themselves. I am not smart. I am kind, generous, and honest—in short, a Hufflepuff, hence my obvious support for them. But I interact with, “Ravenclaw’s,” on a daily basis: true nerds. Hence why I’m here. Many of my friends are Slytherin’s—the kind of people who have big dreams, and are willing to work hard to get there. Admittedly, I don’t like leader’s and outgoing people all that much, so I’m a bit of a hypocrite, but my direct family is comprised of, “Gryffindoors,” so that’s good enough for me.

But enough talk. Have at you!

Here’s where I call you guy’s out.

Most of you claim to be Ravenclaw’s. Like, all of you, excepting a few. Fair enough. If you’d like to think that your most defining feature is your intelligence, so be it. Sure, it means that you value your intelligence over you’re ambition and your kindness, but I’m not here to judge. That’s fine by me. However, most Harry Potter fans also have a serious stigma against Hufflepuffs. That is…not fine by me. Well, technically it is, since I don’t give a damn, but it irks me somewhat.

Hufflepuff has been stated to, “Suck.” It’s been called, “The worst house.” I’ve heard people say that it’s their least favorite house, and that it’s a total joke.

Guy’s, seriously.

Is being a decent person really all that bad?

I mean, come on. Harry’s a relatively good person. As are Luna, and Hermione, and Ron. Most of the protagonists are decent people, to some degree. So why is being a really decent person so bad? Do you prefer people who break every rule and taboo they can? Do you prefer a balance? What? Yes, we all like the Robin Hood daredevils who break the rules when they feel like it and still remain heroes, but what about the normal heroes? The guys who donate their time and money at the soup kitchen? The people who earn honest, decent livings and raise happy families? The people who are just generally good Samaritans who want to help other people? Yes, yes, it’s not as flashy as being a daredevil leader, or an ambitious and cunning person-who-I-can’t-think-up-a-name-for, or a brilliant and clever thinker, but just because it’s not exciting doesn’t make it, well, bad.

I’m just saying.

Your thoughts?


Rowlings portrays them…well, to put it bluntly, awfully. Stephanie Meyers could have done it better.

Ok, maybe that was a bit cruel, but still. You get my point.

To wit: Gryffindoor is treated like infallible gods off morality (With the sole exception of Wormtail. Needless to say, he’s one of my favorite characters) wheras Slytherin is basically portrayed as the exact opposite. Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw barely exist as far as Rowling is concerned. This would be brilliant, awesome story telling—that is, if it were from Harry’s point of view. It’s not. It’s third person semi omniscient. So while we do get a good whopping of Harry’s thought—and, of course, his biases—we don’t get anything from a neutral perspective, which we should given that the narrator is speaking in third person. Simply put, my problem is that all the houses are to morally narrow, when they shouldn’t be. I’ve met total assholes who have been brave, and good people who were ambitious.

Also: I checked the Harry Potter wiki. Apparently, Tonks was a Hufflepuff. Who knew? She was another semi-main character Hufflepuff, and she also died. Noticing a pattern here?


I'm just doing this because I found it funny. Please don't think I actually care, as this was just a way to entertain myself in class.

Views: 6

Comment by Contradiction on December 3, 2010 at 1:22pm
If you’d like to think that your most defining feature is your intelligence, so be it. Sure, it means that you value your intelligence over you’re ambition and your kindness

*cough* I actually do. Calling myself outgoing, kind, friendly, or brave would be a blatant lie. I've always put myself in Ravenclaw or Slytherin for that reason.
Comment by Fake on December 3, 2010 at 1:24pm

I'm fine with that.

It's just the people who also think they're Saints who annoy me. >_>
Comment by EndOfTheEarth on December 6, 2010 at 11:20am
Well, you've caught my attention, so I'm going to make this interesting and throw in arguments.

First, let me start by countering your house-cup argument. You admitted yourself that Slytherin was the most ambitious, therefore it should come as no surprise that they would find ways to win, even if the teachers didn't know if these ways were moral.

Next, let me counter your segregation comment by pointing out that it's a variation of the Least Restrictive Environment system, which is to say that everyone is in a location both best suited to their personalities and (because there is magic involved, otherwise this goes kaput in real life) their predestined future paths. Indeed, the sorting is based off of main personality traits. Consider a comparison between the attitudes of Nevile and Luna, true, both are quite brilliant in their respective areas, but Nevile has shown himself to be able to retaliate actively, regardless of how it will affect his well being. Luna, on the other hand, is more passive, hence why she acts mostly as a follower.

And recall that none of the students are forcibly required to remain with their house. As you said, romances between houses do happen, as do friendships and alliances. In brief, any sort of segregation is self-imposed, and the way that the system is set up, one is prone to working towards making living conditions with those around them good. After all, points are given out for social duties and class participation. I don't think that test scores are involved. From that angle, it would be easy for students from any combination of houses to work together.

As for Hufflepuff...this is the product of an inaccurate representation of the 50% population, in short the normal, nice everyday people. Like in the news, not everyone is a politician, movie star, or college science professor...but we judge the rest of the planet as being dumb because we don't hear about it. So while the popular interpretation is wrong, it is only so due to the presence of bias--no one wants to associate themself with the boring commoner.
That said, a really decent person doesn't always have the guts to do something incredibly stupid to get things done, this is where the aggressiveness of the Gryffindors and Slytherins come in.
Imagine a 2-d graph for a moment. One goes from aggressive to passive, and one goes from social to apathetic. From there you get the four quadrants:
G=Aggressive, social.
S=Aggressive, apathetic
H=Passive, social
R=Passive, apathetic
So there's nothing wrong with being Hufflepuff. It is, in fact, the best thing to be. However, it is also a dull life. People don't like the idea of a dull see where I'm going by now, I hope. This also explains why the books are filled with G vs S, and H and R are mostly on the sidelines.
Comment by EndOfTheEarth on December 6, 2010 at 11:24am
Here's the chart, to help you visualize it better.

Comment by Fake on December 6, 2010 at 11:40am
1. Fair enough. Also, Gryffindoor has the whole, "You guys win for saving the world," schtick going on.

2. Segregating people via personality type is not healthy. Which is what they're doing.

3. Of course none of them are forced to stay in the same house for friendship and girlfriends. However, ultimately, most people do. Harry is friendly with far more people in his house than all the other houses combined (Slash fiction aside, of course.)

4. I understand that they're supposed to be the, "Normal," people. It just irks me how much hate they get. Let's face it, they gave us TONKS. It wouldn't hurt to have another badass who befriends Harry. Neville, for example, would have made an excellent hufflepuff-and would have single handedly saved the house from it's Scrappyism.

Also, are you saying that Cedric was a boring commoner?
Comment by EndOfTheEarth on December 6, 2010 at 12:00pm
2) Just because it's a grouping, doesn't mean that it's segregation. Now, if their being in those houses actively affected their personal well-being, then yes, it's segregation. However, as I pointed out, everyone has equal privileges with regards to utilization of school resources, and no cases are developed in which they are prone to want to beat each other over a real-world goal. The house cup and quiddich cups have no real application other than temporary presige--at the end of the year, who cares? Compare to countries and the Olympics.

3) This due to something in psychology called the Mere Exposure Effect, which is to say that the more often you see something in one location, the more you get used to it, and, in fact, prefer it. These people live together, of course they are more likely to form relationships. Like any pattern, it has outliers, and like you inferred, a few people do go into other houses.

4) True though your points are, they would be divergent from the system. Perhaps Tonks, like Cedric, was closer to the chart origin, hence the fact that they have some degree of aggressiveness in relation to their grouped peers.
However, for all points and purposes, Cedric is a boring commoner who gained some recognition for his role in a school quiddich team, and who was apparently randomly picked for the TWT. If you read his wiki profile, especially with regards to the game against Harry in book 3, you will see that the chart remains accurate. Besides, if anything, he proves that the random good person can have his limelight moment too.
Comment by Omega on December 12, 2010 at 9:18am

I have a problem with the house system too.

Rowling brought up two class systems (blood and houses), and used them as central themes in her novels. The two do intersect, but tend to intersect more in relation to Slytherins. Slytherins are supposed to be cunning and ambitious. They're also usually portrayed as being pureblooded, with the occasional half-blood being acceptable like Riddle, or Harry if he'd sorted that way.

A lot of people seemed to think that this was a moral -

Death Eaters spout blood purity -> Death Eaters are evil -> Therefore blood purity is evil kind of thing -> we shouldn't treat people based on some class system. And that's fine and brilliant, and a nice way of teaching kiddies that racism is bad.


Except, Rowling actually seems to think that the words Slytherin and Death Eater are interchangeable - (And they're not).She actually seems to believe that while blood purity is unacceptable, that her house class system is, and that Gryffs really are better than anyone else!

That Hufflepuffs /are/ a lot of useless duffers, and that Ravenclaws (Or the Hermione's of the world, except she's kind of okay because she's not really a Ravenclaw, she's a Gryffindor) are only good for researching stuff while the Gryff's run off and be 'the hero'.

Compare Malfoy's 'Mudbloods suck', with Ron's 'Slytherins are evil' - both sound annoyingly similar and illreasoned. But Rowling has spun it so that what Malfoy says is wrong, however, what Ron's saying must be right because he's the sidekick.


Why would you want to separate children at age eleven, into groups where everyone has a few defining personality traits, and then let these traits be reinforced over the next seven years? Not exactly a way of turning out well balanced individuals who -


Can come up with a plan (ambition)

Research it (intelligence)

Go ahead and do it (courage)

And persevere until it's done. (hardworking-ness)


But then, Wizarding society as it is portrayed by Rowling is so fucking screwed up



What actual self-respecting cunning, ambitious person would allow themselves to be sorted into a house where they will be labelled as and treated if they are 'dark/evil/blood purists/death eater spawn', thus inhibiting their chances of profitable working relationships with ~3/4 of the wizarding population?


For that reason, I'd never allow myself to be sorted Slytherin. Ravenclaw seems like the best alternative, because - 'wit beyond measure..' Wit =/= cunning, but similar enough to convince an enchanted headpiece.


Comment by Nighthawk on December 28, 2010 at 7:16am

Hufflepuffs FTW! 


I've always been proud to be a Hufflepuff. And yeah, I'm a little pissed about the fact that everyone thinks we're "A lot of duffers" and that the two minor characters from our house both died. I like being the friendly person that can get along with everyone, who helps people out all the time. My grades aren't terrible, and I have a dark side sometimes, too. 

Most of my family and some of my friends are in Griffindor, but the majority of my friends are in Ravenclaw. My sister, boyfriend, and one of my friends are in Slytherin. I'm the only Hufflepuff I know. 

Comment by Devil's Sunrise on January 1, 2011 at 3:15pm
I'm definitely Slytherin. Like, without a doubt. I'm nice, but I'm also coldhearted and mean when it suits me.


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