On Pottermore, a lot of people are getting surprised by the Sorting Hat. People who have identified throughout their entire Harry Potter lives with one House or another are getting put into “the wrong House”!!!
So what’s happening?
The Numbers Game
Some people think that the sorting is all really a numbers game. After all, they say, look at the House numbers!
Currently, with 392,561 students inside the Great Hall, the House breakdown looks like this:
Hufflepuff: 98,573 members (25.1%)
Ravenclaw: 98,453 members (25.1%)
Gryffindor: 98,192 members (25.0%)
Slytherin: 97,343 members (24.8%)
That’s a fairly even distribution – too even for some people to accept that it could possibly result from an honest sorting mechanism. Could it possibly be a numbers game – and the sorting itself be completely random?
Well, some math geeks predicted precisely this result – i.e., that as increasing numbers of people entered Pottermore, the Houses would distribute more and more evenly. In the beginning, from what I understand, the results were decidedly skewed towards Ravenclaw. As more people have joined, the distribution has become more even.
At any rate, it does not make sense to me – strictly from a business perspective – that JKR would involve herself in Pottermore, brand it as “more Potter” from J.K. Rowling, claim pride in the accuracy of her sorting mechanism… and then just leave the sorting to random chance. She knows the Houses. She wrote the questions. She claims that the people in her life who have taken the Pottermore sorting quiz have ended up in exactly the Houses she predicted they would end up in.
No, as crazy as those numbers might look, the notion that JKR would intentionally mislead the fandom about the sorting on a site that has involved multiple years of planning (and a tremendous amount of J.K. Rowling branding) simply makes no sense at all.
But I’m a Ravenclaw! How Did I End Up in ______________ ?!?!?!?!?
Ravenclaw is the new Gryffindor. Everybody wants to live in Ravenclaw Tower these days… and hardly anyone wants to end up in Hufflepuff. We see this fandom trend even in the Expecto Patronum! poll:
Ravenclaw (197 votes):
Gryffindor (160 votes):
I don’t have a preference. I’ll let the Pottermore Sorting Hat decide (135 votes):
Slytherin (112 votes):
Hufflepuff (36 votes):
The reason for the strong Ravenclaw preference is that the fandom stereotype of Ravenclaw is that these are the smart, bookish, nerds. But are they really?
In the Ravenclaw House History, I learned that Luna Lovegood is not an outlier. She is the norm. Ravenclaws may possess “wit beyond measure,” but according to the History, Ravenclaw’s strongest claim to fame is the eccentricity of the House – filled with famous Ravenclaws wearing jellyfish hats, communicating only through smoke, or asserting the Wizarding World’s “inalienable right to party.”
Slytherin can be equally intelligent as Ravenclaw, but the House is focused less on eccentricity than on achieving greatness… i.e., on doing something extraordinary and learning as much about magic as possible. Unfortunately, such a goal can easily be abused (see Tom Riddle), but it doesn’t have to be abused (see Merlin, the greatest Slytherin of all time).
A lot of people think that the Sorting Hat is mis-sorting people because fandom stereotypes of the Houses are often not being confirmed in the sortings. Self-identified Slytherins are ending up in Ravenclaw. Self-identified Ravenclaws are ending up in Slytherin… and Hufflepuff… and, occasionally, Gryffindor!
But is the fandom right about the Houses… and JKR wrong? She wrote the questions, and she stands by the sorting. Is the fandom perhaps misinformed about the true nature of the Houses and needs to start re-evaluating the Houses based on the new information provided?
I know my answer. What is yours?
My friend arithmancer has provided a theory in the Comments indicating how it would be possible to base the sorting quiz results entirely on the respondent’s answers and simultaneously quarter the students. Check it out.