This week Pottermore is celebrating House Pride, a topic that at one point caused me to practically hyperventilate. Growing up as part of the Harry Potter generation meant that sorting ourselves was serious business. All my friends immediately knew to which houses they would belong and happily began collecting the corresponding house gear.
You see, I always fancied myself being in Slytherin. Sure, it was the house with the bad reputation, but it’s also a house full of movers and shakers. Even though the books largely focused on the negative sides of ambition and determination, surely there were good Slytherins. My reasoning proved true later: Severus Snape, Regulus Black, and Horace Slughorn weren’t perfect, but they all did the right thing in the end. Then there’s Andromeda Tonks, born into the most pureblood-crazed family of all, who still followed her heart and married a muggleborn. I would be one of those good Slytherins that were rarely seen in the books.
However, all my friends used to insist that I was a Ravenclaw. It’s true–I like school, and I like learning. I enjoy creative pursuits and was a member of the Academic Decathlon team at my high school. I do identify with several of the Ravenclaw traits and could see myself easily fitting in that house as well. I used to be jokingly called Hermione by my friends. But if Hermione could be sorted Gryffindor, then why couldn’t I be bookish and be a Slytherin?
Sorting hat quizzes did little to alleviate my distress. I would get Slytherin and Ravenclaw almost equally. In fact, much to my dismay, I got Ravenclaw a bit more often. Surely this could not be right when I so strongly identified with Slytherin. I was resolved that I was a Slytherin and would always be a Slytherin. I had the hat and tie, after all! I remained steadfast in my Slytherin loyalty; once a snake, always a snake.
Then Pottermore happened. At first, I was ecstatic. Finally! A sorting hat that would reveal the truth! This time it would be right; I would know exactly where I belonged, and my house identity crisis would be over.
Oh, how mistaken I was. You see, when I finally got my beta account and got to take the J.K. Rowling-approved sorting hat quiz, something happened…. I was sorted into Ravenclaw. At this point, I resented the very institution of sorting. Why on earth would a large group of people with similar personalities living together in one dormitory be a good idea? Quite frankly, it sounded like a rubbish one to me. Clearly the whole process was utter nonsense if I, clearly a Slytherin, kept getting put into Ravenclaw.
After a while, I realized that maybe I was a Ravenclaw, even if I felt like a Slytherin. I remedied this division by bringing the two together. A Slytherclaw! Yes, I would be a Slytherclaw and all would be right with the world. I declared my Slytherclaw identity loud and proud…
… Only to be met with snide comments from the online Potter fandom. I was told that I couldn’t be a Slytherclaw and be welcome amongst other Slytherins. While it was a small minority that hassled me, it was still frustrating. Slytherins are supposed to stick together, even if one of their housemates is part Claw! Again, I felt defeated.
Luckily, I had my friends to fall back on. Not only did I have other Slytherclaws, I had self-identified Hufflepuffs who were sorted into Gryffindor, Gryffindors who were sorted into Ravenclaw, and even a few hatstall friends. Together we got through the shock that was the Pottermore sorting process and go on to embrace our dual identities, knowing that they represented us as we are.
For those who are not big into the Harry Potter fandom, it may seem silly to let something like house sorting cause a full-on identity crisis. For those of you who are Potterheads, you know how important it can seem. We grew up with Harry Potter. We waited for our Hogwarts letters together and wondered where we would be sorted and what it would be like. We can quote the book by heart, we can sing a long to A Very Potter Musical. Harry Potter brought us together and is forever a part of our identities.
So maybe what house we’re in doesn’t matter that much after all.
P.S. Critique Geek is happy to report that she retook the Pottermore sorting hat quiz after it was recently rebalanced. She was a hatstall between Slytherin and Ravenclaw.