Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone question

Is the sorting hat necessary? why not use dorms?
Genevieve Newton Genevieve May 28, 2020 11:23AM
Last night I was laying in bed and wondering, what is the point of the sorting hat? Throughout the books we discover that the houses mean pretty much nothing, you can be stupid if you are a Ravenclaw, or you could be self-absorbed as a Hufflepuff. It's strange to group kids from a young age based on their current personality, and they stay with that group of people for 7 years. If you think back, 7 years ago you were probably a whole different person, and this is especially strange to group kids into stereotypes considering they haven't even hit puberty yet. Why not just do it like freshman year of college, where you fill out a sheet of your interests, and they put you with people who share those interests? Kids will automatically sort themselves into stereotypes, so why is Hogwarts making things worse? Why not after their first year, just let the kids be with their friends in a dorm? Surely that would solve a lot of issues.

I think the main purpose of the sorting hat is to put kids into groups of other kids that they are compatible with. The brave, outgoing kids belong in Gryffindor, the kind, selfless kids go to Hufflepuff, etc. It brings kids to things that match their personality, and even if they don't stay that way for all seven years, at least they will find some sense of familiarity with their House, which basically becomes their family.

However, I can see your point, especially with the quote from Albus Dumbledore, "You know, sometimes I think we Sort too soon. . ." in regards to Severus Snape. There is always going to be a few kids, or more, that don't match the stereotype of their House, but the function of the House is to bring kids to people that are similar to them, give them a family at Hogwarts, and give them a sense of home away from home. And there is nothing stopping them from becoming friends with people from other Houses, it's just that sometimes they are not compatible with them!

Also, the House Cup and the Quiddich Cup are a battle of the Houses, which can lead to pride in their house and gives it a bit of fun at school.

There are a few characters who stick out by not matching the traits of their house. However, most do.

What you were describing as a dorm or house for all students is technically Hufflepuff. According to the books Helga Hufflepuff was open to welcome everyone in her house, making it the most inclusive. There are traits which describe the house but no particular aptitude. Students in Hufflepuff are known to value everyone and treat them as equals.

Of course, one's personality changes throughout the years. However, it is a magic hat and as a reader, we have no idea how it operates. It must have done something right, considering that it sorted students for over 1000 years and we know only about 4ish people it got wrong.

In my experience, it is easier to make friends (as if I have) with people who have similar traits and interests. Also, I doubt someone from Gryffindor will make friends with Slytherins under other circumstances. Beyond students are not limited by their house, they meet in the great hall, at quidditch games and classes etc.

Certainly, stereotypes exist, but few people fit them. There is a variety of traits associated with each house. Therefore it is difficult to objectify them.

A lot of people have pride in their house. Most students, fictional students, don't see it exclusively as a personality test.

I think the alternative would quickly develop in a distinction in money or even blood status.

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