Pottermore: Questions from the Sorting Hat…

So… now that Pottermore is open to all, I can show off my Sorting Quiz without Spoiler Tags!

This is the Quiz that put me into Slytherin:

1) Given a choice between The Wise, the Bold, the Good, the Great, I chose The Wise.

2) Given a choice between several different scenes in an enchanted garden, I was most attracted to a luminous pool.

3) If a troll broke loose in the Headmaster’s Study, I would rescue the following items in this order:

  • 1st – the ancient book of runes thought to belong to Merlin (and yes, I would have given that same answer even if Merlin were a Hufflepuff!).
  • 2nd – the Headmaster’s nearly-perfected Dragon Pox cure.
  • 3rd – one-thousand years’ worth of Hogwarts student records.

4) Given a choice of different supernatural creatures, the one I was most likely to want to study was merpeople.

5) Given a choice of roads, I would have chosen the narrow, dark alley lit by lanterns.

6) Given a choice of dusk or dawn, I would choose dusk.

7) Given a choice of left or right, I would choose left.

Now, here is the Quiz that put my husband into Ravenclaw:

1) Same question, same answer

2) Same question, same answer

3) Same question, same exact order of items

4) Same question. My husband chose centaurs.

5) Given a choice of nightmares, my husband chose heights.

6) Given a choice of Forest or River, my husband chose river.

7) Given a choice of Heads or Tails, my husband chose tails.

Here are some explanations of our answers:

Question 1: “The Wise” is the answer I would have given 100% of the time. I suspect the same is true of my husband.

Question 2: I don’t know the rationale behind my husband’s choice in the Enchanted Garden, but I picked the luminous pool primarily based on aesthetics. I love the interplay of light and water.

Question 3: My husband and I both love Merlin and old books, so I suspect this is behind both our responses on what to save first with a troll on the loose. I personally figured that the Headmaster could concoct his Dragon Pox cure again based on what he remembered from the previous concoction, but something as priceless as Merlin’s book could never be replaced. However, even though the geek in me would have found it fascinating to go through the thousand years of student records and see what sorts of patterns and trends emerged – and how many detentions famous Wizards and Witches received – I would have felt guilty about placing the student records ahead of the Dragon Pox potion. So I thought it would be best to save the Dragon Pox potion before the student records… even though the student records would be more interesting to sort through. Dragon Pox “for the greater good.” LOL. Anyway, that’s the rationale behind my answer.

Question 4: Magical creatures was the toughest question for me, but it doesn’t seem to have caused my husband any hesitation. He chose centaurs because he considers himself a Sagittarius. Me, I tried to answer the question rigorously from within the Potterverse. :) Consequently, I quickly eliminated ghosts and centaurs. Ghosts aren’t scary in the Potterverse. They’re just kind of comical. And while I love the centaurs of myth, I don’t much like the centaurs of the Forbidden Forest. As for vampires and werewolves… I eliminated them because they have fairly strong House associations, and I already know so much about them. Merpeople, on the other hand, are fascinating within the Potterverse. They’re fierce – yet intelligent, mysterious, and musical. I could definitely see myself conducting a deeper study of merpeople.

Question 5: After answering question 4 differently, my husband and I were put on different tracks for the remaining questions. However, I suspect that he would also have chosen the dark, lamplit alley that I did if he had been given a choice of four roads. We both love classic, atmospheric horror movies. And that’s what prompted my response. I also would have loved the forest path I could have chosen, but the woods are three doors down from my house, so I can walk in the forest pretty much any time weather permits. (ETA: He says he may have chosen the forest path).

As for nightmares… I probably would have chosen the eye looking through the keyhole in the door. But I could easily have gone with heights… and probably would have debated the two possibilities in my head rather extensively.

Question 6: No question. I would choose dusk every time. I suspect my husband would too. And I would have chosen River, as he did. Forest is great, but you can often get Forest when you choose to follow a River. :)

Question 7: No question. I would choose left every time. I suspect my husband would too, given that he is left handed. As for Heads/Tails… I would have chosen Heads.

So… does anybody have any thoughts on which elements of these Quizzes gave my husband Ravenclaw and me Slytherin? We obviously have a lot of similarities.

I have a lot of thoughts on what put us into our respective Houses (and “random selection” is not among them!), but this post has gone on long enough, so it’s probably time just to conduct the analysis in the Comments thread. Have fun!

Oh, and feel free to post your own quiz questions and responses – and results.

Waiting for Pottermore: checking the spam

Well, here’s a little trip down memory lane… a blog draft that I never actually published.

It has, perhaps, some historical value in that it offers a sense of what the wait for Pottermore was like for the Beta testers who had not yet received their welcome emails. All we could think about was… WHEN AM I GONNA GET THAT STUPID EMAIL?!?!? It was really a lot like watching paint dry.

Here’s a little example of how I killed time while waiting (written August 20, 2011)…

Hey, you know the wait for your Pottermore Welcome email is starting to get to you when you start seeing poetry in the gibberish dumped in your spam filter.

After representation whatsoever of your blogposts I moldiness say i pioneer this particularised one to generally be top nick. I mortal a weblog also and necessary to repost a few shear of your articles on my own diary tract. Should it be alright if I use this as daylong I private reference your web diary or create a incoming linkage to your article I procured the snipping from? If not I make and could not do it without having your tolerance. I [deleted] collection starred this article to cheep and [social network mentioned] calculate motivated for publication. Anyway revalue it either way!

At first, I wondered if it was an honest attempt at communication in a second language. Then I checked the URL the spammer left. Porn site.

So yup, it’s spam alright. But the English is sooooooooo incomprehensible that there’s something  wonderfully surreal about it. I mean, “I moldiness say i pioneer this particularised one to generally be top nick”? Could Monty Python be much funnier than that?

Perhaps I really do belong in Ravenclaw!


Because as the House History tells us… the key quality for being sorted into Ravenclaw House is not merely intelligence but eccentricity. The House prides itself in its independence, intelligence, and eccentricity. After all, it’s the House of Uric the Oddball… and what could be odder than running through the spam filter with comedic intent?

Geez, that Hat had better not sort me into hyper-normal Hufflepuff.

Six days later, the Hat sorted me into Slytherin. And I’ve never looked back!

Pottermore Opens! Are You Magical?

It’s true. After six extra months of Beta testing, Pottermore opened this morning!!! And the response time on the site is great – even in dueling. So it seems the wait was well worth it.


Welcome to Pottermore, Newbies!
(I’ve been waiting to say that for a looooooong time!)

A few brief tips to get you started:

First, take a look at the info from the Pottermore Insider so that you know what to expect once you register. And now, on to exploring the site…

Pottermore consists of a series of “moments” from the various chapters in the first book (PS/SS) – including additional information about characters and contexts.

Within the moments, you can collect items for your trunk and a few items that you’ll need in order to move on. But unless you do need to collect something in order to move on (such as your shopping list for Diagon Alley), it’s best to wait to collect items until after you’ve been sorted. (You get sorted, naturally, in the Sorting Hat chapter).

The reason to wait is that you get personal points and can contribute to House points only after you’ve been sorted, and you can always go back into previous scenes and collect items.

Items that can be collected or clicked on will have a little purple outline around them (just move your cursor around the screen to find them). You also have three levels of zoom that you can achieve by using the forward and back arrows on your keyboard. Items will usually be found at only one level of zoom. So you want to explore each scene from all three levels of zoom.

Another thing you’ll want to do is look in your left “Read About” sidebar to see if any content is highlighted by a feather… and then read all of the content that is. This is the new, exclusive JKR content! I’ll be back later with a list of some of my favorite exclusive content.

Most of the non-exclusive content can be skipped after you have read it over for the first time – particularly the content for minor characters. Most of this content repeats over and over again and doesn’t tell you anything you don’t already know if you have read the books. (How many times do you really need to click on Vincent Crabbe or Gregory Goyle?).

Here’s the post for my first look. At the time, Pottermore was silent. Thanks to many, many Beta comments, Pottermore does now have sound. :)

Well, that’s probably enough to get you started. Have fun exploring Pottermore!

And now… Let us know your Wand and your House!

Use the Comments thread below to let us know your House, your Wand, and (if you wish) your username and registration date. This way, Beta testers can meet newbies and newbies can meet Beta testers.

I’ll have more tips later and some analysis of exclusive Pottermore content. But for now, let’s just get those Comments started. I’ll go first. :)

Pottermore: Is the Sorting Hat Rigged?

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.

Waiting for Pottermore: Stupefied

Here’s an amusing follow-up to the last post on DH2. Enjoy!

And speaking of stupefied…

Luna is now a Gryffindor. Yep, Luna actress (and big HP fan) Evanna Lynch sorted into Gryffindor on Pottermore.
(Many thanks to janinavalencia for finding and sharing that information).

Here’s what Evanna tweeted out about the experience:

Ahhhh umm errrrrr…. Just got sorted. Slight identity crisis. Need to sit down and process this… #pottermore

I’m in Gryffindor. #Pottermore #confusion #shock #pride #happiness #LUNADONTLEAVEME!!!

I don’t know what to do. I feel like Jo just told me I’m a man. I’m SO utterly confused.

Gryffindor! Woahhh what an honour! I’m so happy! But confused! But happy! BUT CONFUSED. #Pottermore #farewellravenclaw

Dammit, now I have to change my whole bleedin’ wardrobe!!! #pottermore #butredandgoldarenotmycolours

Sorry for the tweet explosion… I’m just…having a moment. #farewellravenclaw #pottermore #JowhathaveyouDONE?!

Sounds a bit stupefied herself, doesn’t she?

I guess we can now use this pic with feeling!

Luna in her Gryffindor Lion hat

Waiting for Pottermore: A Top 10 List

For Harry Potter fans, waiting has always been a part of the game.

We wait months and years for book releases, months and years for movie releases. And now we have worked ourselves up into a massive fandom frenzy, waiting anxiously for the early access opening of a website that most of us never knew existed more than three months ago.

As we await our Welcome emails, we may just need a few distractions…

So, here’s the Expecto Patronum! Top 10 list of things to do while waiting for Pottermore:

10. Refresh your email every 5 seconds, hoping it will make the elusive Pottermore Welcome message arrive in your Inbox that much sooner.

9. Set your Web browser to report any small changes to the Pottermore homepage, and then tweet the rumor “OMG! The Chair moved half-an-inch! They must be getting ready to open the site!”

8. Find combinations of words to add to the beginning of pottermore.com, just to watch the inevitable redirect:

    • minervasskateboard.pottermore.com
    • nitwitblubberoddmenttweak.pottermore.com
    • snapesmumsblouse.pottermore.com


7. Have a conversation, using only HP quotes, just to keep in practice:

You have to admit Minister, you might not agree with Dumbledore, but he has style.
“Are you mental?”


6. Find your Harry Potter character AND your Myers-Briggs type all in the same (outdated) Harry Potter character quiz!

Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz

Is he really INTP? Nope! But I am. :)


5. Practice up for your Sorting here
or here
or here
or here
or even here.

4. Join the SnapeGPS Project and find canon phrases to help confused drivers find their way:

Turn onto route… three hundred and ninety four.

Out for a little drive… in the moonlight?

Recalculating… Does anything penetrate that thick skull of yours?


3. Divert yourself by scouring Tumblr for amusing HP GIFs:


2. Go to see Deathly Hallows 2. Just one more… OR two more… OR three more… times. Or perhaps re-read random chapters from the books!

1. Remember, if all else fails, there’s always Potter Puppet Pals…

How Expecto Patronum! will spend its time waiting for Pottermore…

Yes, I know that #2 is the tame spot on the list, but I put it there to make a point. This is the next stop for Expecto Patronum!

As soon as I finish writing the end-of-term paper I’m working on, I will be re-visiting the DH2 film… and finally writing my long-awaited review. The first three times I saw the movie, I was just too emotionally overwhelmed to say anything coherent about it. Maybe fourth time will be the charm!

And once that mischief has been managed, I’ll start reading random chapters in the Harry Potter series – at reader request – while we wait for the main doors of Pottermore to open in October.

Of course, once the doors open for early access, I will report whatever I can. But the next big thrust in the re-read will take place once Pottermore is open to everybody and the entire Web can re-read the Harry Potter series from within the Pottermore experience.

So what do you plan to do while we are waiting for Pottermore – short of trading in your HP fandom for something involving Hobbits, or Time Lords, or Cylons, that is?

Pottermore: Clue #7 Is Up!

UPDATE 5: Registration has closed…

Now the waiting for our Welcome Letters begins. :)

UPDATE 4: Clue 7 is still up! There is still time!

UPDATE 3: Screenshot of the Magic Quill

Remember, the Quill will not glow if you do not hover over it. Here’s what the screen should look like:

The banner ad is at the top (above Parseltongue Translator).

The Quill that will glow is the light brown/white striped Quill.

UPDATE 2: Help with the Magic Quill

The Magic Quill will not appear before the Warner Bros. promo finishes playing. When it does finish playing, you will see a banner ad.

The Magic Quill will not glow automatically. You will need to hover your mouse over the Quills to make the Magic Quill glow. Click on the Quill that turns into a sort of blue glowing Quill.

UPDATE: What to do with the Magic Quill

You will be redirected to the Warner Bros. website, where you will watch a promo for the Deathly Hallows 2 movie. Once the promo has finished playing, you will see a small banner ad at the top of your screen. It asks you to find the Magic Quill.

You will need to hover your mouse over the Quills. One of them will change to a blow glowing Quill when you hover over it. Click on that Quill, and it will redirect you to the Congratulations notice, from where you can get to Registration.

If you do not see the promo or the small banner ad, try turning off ad blockers.

Day 7 clue:

Can you find The Magical Quill?

How many Deathly Hallows are there?
Multiply this number by 7.

Here’s what you need to do once you’ve figured out the clue and multiplied by 7:

Put http://quill.pottermore.com/

in your address bar, put the number you’ve derived from multiplying the clue times 7 after the slash, and hit enter.

NOTE: This is NOT the Pottermore address. This is the Quill address. Copy and paste the Quill address given above into your browser address bar but DO NOT HIT ENTER BEFORE adding the solution after the slash at the end. Otherwise, you will end up on the Pottermore website.

DO NOT add www. to the beginning of the Quill address. Otherwise, you will (sadly) land nowhere.

DO HIT ENTER after you have put the solution at the end of the correct Quill address (after the slash).

Once you hit enter, with the correct solution at the end of the Quill address, you will be taken to the Magic Quill.

The Magic Quill will be on a 3rd party website. Do not panic when you see that you have been redirected.

I will go try the challenge myself right now (but not register), so that I can give you more information on what to do with the Magic Quill.

If you run into technical difficulties, TRY AGAIN!

Don’t have a book handy?

Here’s a good breakdown of Deathly Hallows.

If you are still unsure of the answer, you might try the last page of Chamber of Secrets forum’s Pottermore thread. Or, as the Last Muggle suggests, you can use hp_batsignal on Twitter.

Oh, and of course, there’s always the Comments thread below. Some people may just be kind enough to post the answer for you there. :)

Feel free to use the Comments thread to let us know how it is going so that we can help you troubleshoot if you run into difficulties. Comments by people new to the blog may be delayed a little bit, but I’ll work hard to release comments quickly from limbo. :)