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.

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: 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?

Sorting It All Out

“The four houses are called Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. Each house has its own noble history, and each has produced outstanding witches and wizards.”
– Professor Minerva McGonnagall

Well, I’m back. It may take me a post or two to get into my groove. But YAY! We’re finally at Hogwarts!

The Side Chamber

Sooooooo. The castle doors have swung open, and Professor McGonnagall has taken the first years in hand – leading them into a small chamber off the Great Hall, where they sweat out what sort of “test” will sort them into their Houses. Ron thinks it will hurt. Harry worries about his lack of knowledge. Hermione (so nervous that showing off is her only recourse) whispers wildly all the spells she learned since she got her letter. And then the ghosts float through the walls!

What’s wonderful about this vignette is that even the holding area develops the characters while painting a portrait of the school. Professor McGonnagall – tall, black-haired, and dressed in the same emerald green she wore when camped outside the Dursleys 10 years before – seems eternally stern and no-nonsense. Our future Gryff Trio seem all different kinds of train wreck.

But the ghosts… oh the ghosts! Oblivious at first to the living, the ghosts come through the walls arguing about “Peeves” – and frighten the already-terrified ickle firsties. Currently offstage (though not for long!), the poltergeist will become a recurring antagonist – and occasional ally – throughout the series.

The Great Hall

As we move into the Great Hall, we first see the Enchanted Ceiling, and hear the Hogwarts Sorting Hat sing about:

Gryffindors – full of daring, nerve, and chivalry, brave at heart.
Hufflepuffs – hard workers, just, loyal, and true.
Ravenclaws – ready minded, full of wit and learning.
Slytherin – full of cunning, using any means to achieve their ends.

Everything we’ve heard up until now tells us that Slytherin is bad. Hagrid first told Harry that every Wizard gone bad had hailed from Slytherin, and Harry’s first encounters with Draco and his crew convince him that it’s the last place at Hogwarts that he wants to be. The Sorting Hat, though, is not so sure.

Harry’s perception of Slytherin will have a huge impact on the story. When the Hat announces Hogwarts’ first new Slytherin, Harry notes that “they looked like an unpleasant sort” (the side comment, however, indicates that his imagination could be filtering that perception through everything he’s already heard about the House).

Regardless, when Harry (The Harry Potter?”) finally steps up to the Sorting Hat, he begs “Not Slytherin.” And though it lingers in its decision, the Hat finally announces him the newest “GRYFFINDOR!” Harry, Ron, and that annoying Granger girl – Team Gryff – all get sorted out… into (where else?) the same House.

So where do we go from here? To what I’ve just been dying to write about! The Great Feast, where we will finally see Professor Dumbledore in his element, and get our first sighting of the Head of Slytherin House – Professor Severus Snape.

Till next time!