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Monday, July 24, 2017

In Which I Find Out What Hogwarts House I'm In


I've never taken a sorting hat quiz. I read all the books, watched all the movies, but never truly knew which house I'd be sorted into. Maybe because I was afraid the answer wouldn't be what I thought.

I always believed I'd be in Hufflepuff, the house for the nobodies, the extras. I'm not ambitious, I'm not clever, I'm not brave. It's where you go if you don't have a significant role in life. Hufflepuff is for the soldiers, the guys in the trenches working hard and not switching sides. Those who are patient, fair, humble, and tolerant. It's for the people for, not so much what they are, but what they are not.



I'm not sure if the sorting hat uses the absence of traits rather than the presence. I think I do demonstrate loyalty (to those who earn it) and hard work (through writing).

There's a fan theory that the sorting hat isn't looking for personality traits that you HAVE, but those you find desirable or admirable. It explains why cowards like Peter Pettigrew and Neville Longbottom get into Gryffindor, and dullards like Crabbe and Goyle get to Slytherin despite not having enough personality to even get into the Hogwarts custodial closet.

Addendum to that theory is that the house cultivates those valued traits. One could argue that Pettigrew had to be brave and daring to betray his friends. And that Neville developed into someone brave and confident.

And there's a lot of scholars who don't like the sorting hat. It's bad enough having cliques in school. Or getting labeled as an archetype, like jock or nerd or prep. Teenagers isolate you from others enough without having a structure in place for it. But there's a school mandated categorization that separates you by personality.

I think it would be great if you were sorted into houses but not know why you were sorted into that house. You know there's a reason you were lumped together, but you spend all that time figuring out why, what you have in common. Bonus points if you discover it's all just random and there is no logic to it.

Anyway, I figured with hype around the new Time Magazine quiz, it was time to give it a try. To see if I would really be sorted into Hufflepuff as I always believed. Here are the results, weighted by veritability (i.e. how much I trust their results).

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I've never heard of PlayBuzz so I don't put much creedence here.


Bonus points for the very domain name being specific, but still, doesn't look sanctioned by any Powers That Be.

Now we're getting into some that I have more faith in.
Well, this makes some sense. Everything's pretty split down the middle. I'm just a little more "wit and wisdom" than "loyal and hard-working.

A British newspaper, and a good source of journalism.

Another Ravenclaw. Well, I guess it fits being set up with girls who are crazy or emotionally unstable.

Hm, well, that's two for Ravenclaw and two for Slytherin. No one says Hufflepuff yet. But really how much faith can you put in these tests. They're asking questions like "is your favorite animal a A) griffin B) badger C) raven D) snake".

But now let's get into the really legit tests.

Written by researchers using scientific personality tests. There's a lot of controversy on personality tests in the social science community. Especially how no personality is set -- they can change day to day, mood to mood. So they're no clear test of, well, anything. I mean, what is a personality anyway? A set of commonly seen traits in a person's decision making? That can be temperamental as what you had for breakfast that morning. Nevertheless, this is just for fun.


 Hmm, still disconcerting, but better Ravenclaw than another house.

What better test is there than from the progenitor itself? So far it appears that I'm not exactly what I thought I was, but if there was any test I take as gospel it would be this one. If no other tests existed, I'd still consider this the final word. This should be the ultimate decider of what house I'm in, no Susan bones about it. Let's see what the results are.



I'm a Slytherin?

...


I mean, I know I have some dark parts in me, but I thought I was keeping those in check. I'm not a bad person. I don't desire power. I'm not racist (am I?). I'm not clever or cunning. I can't figure out those MindTrap riddles to save my life. I don't have any ambition -- I don't want to be a politician.

I mean, yeah sometimes I see things going on and think I could do a better job than those clowns. I'm not corruptible. I don't have any skeletons in my closet. I'd be a perfect politician, except for the lack of money and charisma. And I'm a terrible leader. I'm too selfish and can't think on my feet. I don't like the idea of fraternity. Why should I be protected because I'm "one of them". What if I'm an asshole?


I'm trying to be brave and chivalrous, not narcissism. I mean, yeah, one of the big reasons I'm trying to be a writers is to be well-liked, to get the admiration and accolades. But that's not authoritarian. That's not ego-riffic.

The only trait I see that seems close is self-preservation, which means hesitating before action. Weighing all outcomes. That's why I'm an outliner. And I never disregard the rules. Maybe I'm resourceful, but not very.

Well, I mean, come on. On a different day, it might sort me into a different house, right? Slytherin is scary. That's where the villains all live. This is the place for Skeletor or Darkheart. The living quarters are literally IN the dungeons. Maybe it's soothing to hear water lapping against the lake, but I don't want to sleep among the skulls.



This is like being offered a chance to join the Hitler Youth and their arguments for joining make sense (just not their cause). It doesn't produce any of the kind of people I like. There's no intellectuals. No one who likes to talk about geek stuff. They're like Young Republicans.

And geez, what would others think of me? "Oh, he's a Slytherin, don't talk to him. He's the bad guy." Like I need more to ostracize myself from others. No wonder they need a sense of fraternity. It's them against the world. Am I just there to be the bad guy so the good guys have something to fight?


Slytherin's for people who play the long game. Like Byronic Snape. But he was still a total douche to Harry. Slughorn was a coward who hid from conflict and then played favorites based on non-character criteria. Regulus Black was brave enough to betray Voldemort, but it cost him his life. That's about it for "good guys" who came from Slytherin.

Well, there is Merlin. The prefect letter mentions that. It says it's a "cool and edgy" house (great, I'm in with all the punks and goths)

This is the first image that comes up for "cool and edgy". Really something I want to be a part of.
It also says it's a house that cares about honor and traditions (sounds like a frat house). They play to win. And graduates go onto great things, like Merlin. Not nursing cute little ferrets like Newt Scamander. People get sorted into Slytherin because the hat recognizes the "seeds of greatness".

Maybe it's that Slytherins have a long row to hoe. That seems to fit Draco Malfoy and Snape and Regulus Black, those that redeemed themselves. They had a deep pit to come back from. That sort of describes me, wallowing in my own sociopathy and trying not to succumb to those dark desires a la Jekyll and Hyde. Not everyone with that darkness inside them escape it. Some take the easy way out.


Slytherin shows that people are complex, like John Green says (where he says books allow you to "imagine humans complexly" which allows empathy/sympathy and to become a better person, not someone who assigns people simple labels). I guess that's true. No one in Slytherin really fits a certain archetype. No one especially good at sports or knowledge. But couldn't there be better ways to teach this lesson than with a house of bullies?

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