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Author Topic: Sorting Hat  (Read 730 times)

Heather

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Sorting Hat
« on: August 01, 2004, 10:20:42 PM »

Back to the basics - I am re-reading Book 1, and I was struck by the Sorting Hat's choice of words when sorting hat - he mentions "it is all there in your head" when telling Harry Slytherin could help him along to greatness.  What does that mean - "it is all there in your head?"
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Marold

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Re: Sorting Hat
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2004, 11:28:21 PM »

I think it means that if he really wanted to go far and become a powerful wizard the best house to be in would be Slytherin House.  I mean who could really blame him?  Course I'm a little biased on that topic right?
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Re: Sorting Hat
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2004, 10:13:47 PM »

I thought it meant that all the potential that Harry had was in his head, and that the hat thought that he would best be able to use that potential to its fullest in Slytherin.

Why though? Why would Slytherin have been better for Harry? What is really so different about the houses that made the hat say that? In other words, why didn't the hat think he would do just as well in another house?
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Xan

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Re: Sorting Hat
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2004, 03:45:58 AM »

I thought it was because of the Voldemort connection. You know, how when LV gave Harry that scar he also transferred some of his power over - Parseltongue, for example. So, because Tom Riddle was Slytherin and Harry had some of his traits, the Hat thought Harry would do well in Slytherin. Harry does have some Slytherin traits ... Dumbledore discussed it with him a bit at the end of CoS, IIRC.

After all, his mission in life is to destroy the most powerful Dark Wizard of the century, which is rather ambitious. :p
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Ping

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Re: Sorting Hat
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2004, 08:26:24 AM »

I think that the Hat meant that, had he ended up in Slytherin, he could have been "great" in the way Ollivander meant it when talking about LV. One of the main differences I see between Gryffindor and Slytherin (in the books, anyway) is that Slytherins will do whatever it takes to fulfill their ambitions, while Gryffindors will stop if it's going to hurt someone, or at least someone they care about.

Imagine if Harry had taken Draco's hand on the train. Imagine if he had said, "Yeah, sure, whatever house is fine." I have a feeling Snape would have considered it a triumph of sorts, and treated him a lot better. Draco would probably have built up his ego. Eventually, he'd have become one of the most powerful kids in school, because everyone would be scared of him. I think they already were to an extent, because no one knew how he had defeated LV, and that's scary. Imagine him capitalizing on that. He'd be a leaner, meaner version of Dudley, terrorizing Hogwarts.

Terrible, but great.
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Deedra Malfoy

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Re: Sorting Hat
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2004, 01:56:41 PM »

Yes, but if Harry was Sorted into Slytherin, but still was found to be a parselmouth then, would that change things, or would he still be just any ol' Slytherin? Would everyone still be afraid of him, or would they be terrified?
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Ping

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Re: Sorting Hat
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2004, 11:39:36 AM »

Um...I don't think it would change things much--he'd still be terrified. And I can imagine him getting all corrupted into thinking it a good thing that LV comes back, or even that he's going to one-up LV. *shudder*
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Deedra Malfoy

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Re: Sorting Hat
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2004, 01:15:02 PM »

i don't think he'd be pleased to help LV. He still killed his parents, no matter what house he was sorted into.
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Ping

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Re: Sorting Hat
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2004, 01:43:40 PM »

Well, then, can you imagine Harry on a revenge kick? Anyone who helped LV helped to kills his parents, pure-blood or not. So he's going to take care of them. *waves wand menacingly*

It's not a happy thought!
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Deedra Malfoy

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Re: Sorting Hat
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2004, 05:25:50 PM »

*Imagines the revenge kick*

I thnk it's mildly humerous.
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Marold

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Re: Sorting Hat
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2004, 09:10:14 AM »

but most of Slytherin graduates were supporters of LV so I don't really see Harry befriending them.  Course he could have done it at the start, then found out later. Hmmm....that leads to a very very interesting turn of events into the books.  Harry would have turned out completely different and the books would be different as well.
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Xan

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Re: Sorting Hat
« Reply #11 on: August 09, 2004, 10:52:44 AM »

I read an incredibly badly-written fanfic about Harry being sorted into Slytherin once. *shudder* Involved some rather disturbing stuff about Draco becoming a vampire, Ginny shagging Voldemort, and so on ...
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Deedra Malfoy

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Re: Sorting Hat
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2004, 12:37:29 PM »

Eww!

I think he might just fade into the background. I mean, in the books, you know there are other Slytherins, but they are quietly ambitious, not boisterous about it like Draco and his cronies. So, in my opinion, he would be kind of like Snape was when he was at Hogwarts: doing his own thing, but getting it done. Does this make sense?
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Madeleine

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Re: Sorting Hat
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2004, 04:44:59 PM »

Yes.  I think that when the sorting hat said it was all in his head he meant Harry's natural ability and his "thirst to prove himself."  I rather think the Sorting Hat was testing Harry in a way, seeing where his heart lay.  Here's part of Harry's conversation with Dumbldore at the end of CoS:

Quote
"So I should be in Slytherin," Harry said, looking desperately into Dumbledore's face.  "The Sorting Hat could see Slytherin's power in me, and it--"

"Put you in Gryffindor," said Dumbledore calmly.  "Listen to me, Harry.  You happen to have many qualities Salazar Slytherin prized in his hand-picked students.  His own very rare gift, Parseltoungue - resourcefulness - determination - a certain disregard for rules," he added, his mustache quivering again.  "Yet the Sorting Hat placed you in Gryffindor.  You know why that was.  Think."

"It only put me in Gryffindor," said Harry in a defeated voice, "because I asked not to go in Slytherin...."

"Exactly," said Dumbledore, beaming once more.  "Which makes you very different from Tom Riddle.  It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."

Also significant is exactly what the Sorting Hat said to Harry:

Quote
"Hmm," said a small voice in his ear.  "Difficult.  Very difficult.  Plenty of courage, I see.  Not a bad mind either.  There's talent, oh my goodness, yes -- and a nice thirst to prove yourself, now that's interesting. . . .  So where shall I put you?"

Harry gripped the edges of the stool and thought, Not Slytherin, not Slytherin.

"Not Slytherin eh?" said the small voice.  "Are you sure?  You could be great, you know, it's all here in your head, and Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, no doubt about that -- no?  Well, if you're sure -- better be GRYFFINDOR!"

To me this says that Harry had qualities that, had the Founders been alive, they would have, well, wrangled over him, each wanting him in his or her house, so it was up to Harry to choose.  He would have fit in any house.  As for what's in Harry's head, I think it means his talent, his thirst to prove himself, his courage, his intelligence, all the possibilities that Harry had within him when he first got to Hogwarts.  I think he's shaped a lot of them by his choices, and been shaped by his unique circumstances.  I think he's already well on the road to greatness, but a different kind of greatness that he would have if he had been sorted into Slytherin.  I think that moment, that "not Slytherin" moment, was where those two paths diverged.

*steps of philosophical soapbox, blushing*  My two cents, anyway.[/color]
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Cho Chung

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Re: Sorting Hat
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2004, 06:55:28 PM »

I completely agree with you on that one, Mad.  I think part of the reason we're having a hard time imagining what Harry would be like had he been in Slytherin is because, in the end, it wouldn't be Harry.  As Marold said above
Quote
Harry would have turned out completely different and the books would be different as well.

Precisely because one of JKR's points is that it is our choices that show who we are, Harry already chose to be not-Slytherin and defines who he is -- at least in part, anyway.  If he had chosen Slytherin, then he wouldn't be Harry, not the Harry we have now.  Marold's right.  It would be a completely different person and a whole different story.
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Heather

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Re: Sorting Hat
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2004, 10:08:58 AM »

This was a great discussion!

10 points to Cho, Marold, Mad, Shelly, Xan, Ping and Deedra
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Susan Bones

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Re: Sorting Hat
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2004, 06:31:26 PM »

What I find interesting is that if it hadn't been for certain persons telling him how bad Slytherin was, he never would have said "Not Slytherin".

Ah, impressionable youth......Lucky no one ever did that to me. >:D
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Re: Sorting Hat
« Reply #17 on: August 13, 2004, 07:55:46 AM »

Well, I don't know that it was just telling him how bad Slytherin was. LV had been in Slytherin, and LV was the reason he had to live with his aunt and uncle. He'd seen Draco's behavior in Madam Malkin's and his sneering treatment of Ron, who'd been very nice to Harry. I think, based on these things, he had enough experience to choose what he did. It wasn't just because people told him Slytherin was bad. It was because those represtentatives of it he had seen were bad, or at least rude and arrogant, and he got enough of that at home.
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Deedra Malfoy

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Re: Sorting Hat
« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2004, 11:19:14 AM »

That's just what I was thinking reading Susan's post, Ping. Ya took the words out of my mouth!
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Cho Chung

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Re: Sorting Hat
« Reply #19 on: August 13, 2004, 01:41:36 PM »

I think what Susan means, though, is that had he never heard anything at all about Slytherin from Ron -- not even that LV belonged to it -- he would have had no particular reason to want to choose one over the other.  The only reason he really knew anything about Slytherin is because Ron told him about it.  The only info he would have had is the sorting hat's song his first year, which is descriptive but hardly comprehensive.

Actually, I suppose he could also have noticed that the hat placed Draco there right away, and he could have just decided that he didn't want to be anywhere where Draco was so clearly placed without as much as a moment for the hat to ponder.
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Heather

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Re: Sorting Hat
« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2004, 08:49:02 PM »

10 more points to Susan and Cho
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Re: Sorting Hat
« Reply #21 on: August 17, 2004, 11:42:15 AM »

But on the other hand - if he'd never met Ron, Harry probably would've shaken Draco's hand on the train. Because Draco would have had no reason to be mean to them, or made Weasely cracks; he'd have been a lot nicer. And Harry, knowing nobody and being all alone, would have accepted him as a friend. He might even have spent the train journey with him, listening to Draco fill his head with pro-Slytherin thoughts.

So I think if not for Hagrid telling him about Slytherin being bad and about LV being a Slyth, if not for meeting Ron on the train, heck if he hadn't met Draco at Madam Malkin's and felt bad about not knowing about Quidditch ... it's likely that Harry would have been Sorted into Slytherin.

Choices make us who we are, but so do circumstances. Everything that happened to Harry from the time he read his letter up to his Sorting pointed out Slytherin as a bad place to go - naturally, he thought Not Slytherin. Does that make him any less a Gryffindor? I don't think so. Those are a lot of 'might have beens'. If he'd hung out with Justin Filch-Flenchly on the train, he might've become a Hufflepuff.

*shrugs*
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Cho Chung

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Re: Sorting Hat
« Reply #22 on: August 17, 2004, 11:45:31 AM »

Precisely.  Well put, Xan!  You're right.  If he had had none of the contacts/context that he did going into the sorting, then we would be in a different story, and that's all there is to it.

Interesting, too, that for the hat, it was simply a choice between Gryffindor and Slytherin.  Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw never really seemed to have made it to the hat's radar screen.
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Re: Sorting Hat
« Reply #23 on: August 17, 2004, 04:50:37 PM »

I'm not so sure.  The hat just said "difficult."  It didn't mention a house until Harry did, and it only spoke about Slytherin until actually declaring him a Gryffindor.  Some of the traits -- well at least one, intelligence -- he spoke of are specifically, in this case, a Ravenclaw trait.  I think it could have put him anywhere, but it's not the sort of hat to just blab all over and... think aloud, shall we say?
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Re: Sorting Hat
« Reply #24 on: August 18, 2004, 01:24:03 AM »

Well, I would've thought that Harry's traits would pretty much rule out the other two houses ... I mean, he's not brilliant academically, which is straight Ravenclaw; he's loyal but gets too much attention to be a Hufflepuff.

In any case, Harry was really set on not becoming a Slytherin ... he'd already heard in passing that Hufflepuff wasn't exactly glorious (from Draco in Madam Malkin's; even if Harry didn't really believe him, when it's the only thing you've heard about a house, it would stick if only on a subconscious level) ... he's not exactly academically inclined to be a Ravenclaw ... so perhaps it was the logical choice for the Hat.

Or maybe the Hat figured that since he hated Slytherin so much, its rival house was the way to go. :P
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YamNeo

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Re: Sorting Hat
« Reply #25 on: November 08, 2004, 09:12:24 PM »

This just goes to show you what first impressions can do to an opinion!

Personally, I go with what Dumbledore said, when he listed off the talents that Salazar Slytherin (who rocks) appreciated and prized in his students.  Although, one little thing keeps popping up...

If Harry's mother was half-blood, do we think that Salazar would have welcomed Harry, had he been there?  After all, we all remember that Salazar believed in the purity of wizarding blood.
Regardless of Harry's powers and skills, I don't think he would have been very welcome.  However, there is the You-Know-Who heritage issue....

I just wish our house had a better main character than Draco.
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Re: Sorting Hat
« Reply #26 on: November 10, 2004, 03:10:45 AM »

Harry's mom was Muggle-born, actually... JKR has a fairly lengthy explanation on her site (FAQ section, IIRC) of why Harry is still considered half-blood even though both his parents were magical.

YamNeo, so do I, but it kind of makes sense for JKR to vilify Draco and Slytherin, so that probably won't happen. There's always fanfic for that. ;)
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Re: Sorting Hat
« Reply #27 on: November 10, 2004, 03:55:35 AM »

Please remember, though, that most of us are quite a bit older than the target age group for this series.  While I'm sure that not all Slytherins are necessarily "evil," they will do what it takes to acheive their ends.  And, as Ping said, Gryffindors would too, though they might draw the line at getting someone they care about hurt.  A lot of it is just belief and image.  People assume that Slytherins are evil, and the children sorted into that house feel they have to live up to it's reputation.  So, even if they are good - yet ambitious - people, they will tote the house line.  Ambition has it's place in any person.  I think Gryffindors and Slytherins are more alike than anyone cares to think about, and that it's what they share that makes them enemies as much as what they hate. 
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Re: Sorting Hat
« Reply #28 on: November 10, 2004, 10:33:35 PM »

::shudders:: You know, Eliza, you're right...it just scares me to think that we'd have common ground with Gryffies.....

You know, what if Harry had gotten sorted into our house?  How would he and Draco have gotten along?  ::wonders::
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Re: Sorting Hat
« Reply #29 on: November 12, 2004, 10:10:34 PM »

To go back to the Salazar accepting Harry or not, don't forget that Tom Riddle's father was a muggle. He's not a pure blood, either. But that's not what mattered most in this case. It was his legacy as the last heir. He was the only one with the blood right and the only one with the ambition and heartless cruelty to seeize the tools left behind to wreck fear and death.

Er, not that I think he was BAD or anything...
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