Transcript – Episode 208



[Show music begins]

Michael Harle: This is Episode 208 of Alohomora! for December 10, 2016.

[Show music continues]

Michael: Welcome, listeners, to another episode of Alohomora!, MuggleNet.com’s global… topic-based discussion of the Harry Potter series.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: I’m going to find a tagline. We need a new tagline now that we’re not a reread. [laughs] I’m Michael Harle.

Alison Siggard: I’m Alison Siggard.

Kat Miller: And I’m Kat Miller. And our guest today is one of MuggleNet’s own. She is one of our Content [Team] managers, and her name is Beth. Hello, Beth.

Beth Warsaw: Hi, guys.

Kat: Hi. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Beth: Yeah, thanks for having me.

Kat: Absolutely. Tell our listeners a bit about yourself.

Beth: Sure. So I am a Hufflepuff – a very, very proud Hufflepuff.

[Alison gasps]

Beth: I’m not one of those “Maybe this other House, maybe Hufflepuff. Not really sure.” 110% Hufflepuff.

Michael: Woo!

Beth: [laughs] [It] makes me really happy that we now have a movie starring a Hufflepuff.

[Michael laughs]

Beth: I’m a huge fan of that.

Alison: The most Hufflepuff of Hufflepuffs.

Beth: Yeah. I love it.

[Alison and Beth laugh]

Beth: So I’ve been working for MuggleNet for a couple of years now, and I absolutely love it. I love that the fandom has so much stuff to talk about right now, and I’m just living for it. And my little cousin – who is seven – is reading the books for the first time, and I cannot handle the cuteness.

Alison and Kat: Aww.

Michael: Oh, that’s exciting.

Beth: I’m just living in a pool of Harry Potter wonderful. [laughs]

Kat: Oh, I love when little family members of people I know are reading the books for the first time – or even adult family members.

Beth: Oh, I know.

Kat: Or when anybody experiences something of Harry Potter for the first time, I’m like, “Oh, precious! Aww…”

[Alison laughs]

Beth: I know. Ugh, I love it so much. My cousins, who are seven and three, dressed up as Harry and Ron for Halloween.

Alison: Aww.

Beth: And my cousin who’s seven wants to have a Harry Potter birthday party this year. They’re just all into it. [laughs]

Kat: That is… ugh.

Beth: I know.

Kat: Please be a part of that and plan that entire party and make it awesome.

[Alison laughs]

Beth: Oh, I’m already planning. [laughs]

Kat: Awesome. Do you want to tell the story about your boyfriend? Or no?

Beth: Yeah, sure. So since we’re talking about Sorting today, I actually have a fun Sorting story. My boyfriend – who likes Harry Potter but is not quite as much of a fan as I am – had never Sorted himself, and I always thought about what House he might be in, but I was interested in the confirmation. So I finally convinced him to do the Pottermore Sorting Ceremony yesterday, and he got exactly what I thought he was going to be.

Kat: Aha!

[Alison laughs]

Beth: I was on the fence like, “I think he’s either a Slytherin or a Ravenclaw. I think he might tend a little bit more toward Ravenclaw, but he’s 50/50. Maybe 51/49.” So he got Ravenclaw in the Pottermore one. And then he was interested in all the questions – I told him that you don’t get all of them when you do the Pottermore one – so he went and found one of those tests that do all of them. And he got Ravenclaw [as] number one for that one as well, and Slytherin just eked [out] behind it.

[Alison, Beth, and Michael laugh]

Beth: And I was like, “See? I told you. I both know you so well and I know Harry Potter so well that I can guess very accurately.”

[Alison, Beth, and Michael laugh]

Kat: Vindicated.

Beth: So that was fun. Yeah, I like that a lot.

Kat: Fantastic. Well, we are very happy to have you here – as you mentioned – for this awesome episode about Sorting, which we’re really, really jazzed about. But we did want to take just a quick minute here and address our website. If any of you have tried to visit it in the last week or so, you will notice that it is down.

Michael: Whomp whomp.

Kat: That is a server issue that we’re going through. Whomp whomp. It’s very, very sad. We are working incredibly hard to get it back up and running. Hopefully by the time this episode releases, at least something will be up? However, if you head over to alohomora.mugglenet.com and you don’t see anything there, please check our social media sites – specifically Twitter – because we will be putting updates there as to the status of the website. We will do our best to keep you informed and to get something – even temporarily – up. That way, you guys can comment on our episodes. The recap that you probably just listened to was hopefully not too affected by that – we only had about a dozen comments this week as opposed to the normal several hundred – but we hope that you enjoyed it nonetheless. And I guess we’ll get on with the episode for today now, which – as I mentioned – is Sortings. I feel like there’s going to be some fighting, but I’m excited. I’m excited.

[Alison, Beth, and Kat laugh]

Alison: But before we get into that, we just want to remind you all that this episode is sponsored by Willow Midulla? Remember, you can sponsor us on Patreon for as little as $1 a month. Just go to patreon.com/alohomora. That is still working. Yay!

[Alison, Kat, and Michael laugh]

Kat: Yes, it is. Yes. Not hosted on our server.

Alison: Yes. [laughs] And we do continue to release exclusive little tidbits for our sponsors. We have a new perk that Michael is kind of in charge of, if you want to talk a bit about that.

Michael: Oh yeah, that.

Kat: Not “kind of,” definitely. [laughs]

Alison: Oh, he is in charge of. Yes.

Michael: Yeah, I’ll read to you for a little bit if you help us out. So yeah.

Kat: This is a perfect example of the perfect time to go over to Patreon and sponsor us because all of the money that has been sponsored, I suppose, from our sponsors is going toward this server. We’re trying to get to a new one, and we’re trying to fix it and get back up and running, and we – quite literally – wouldn’t be able to do that without all of you. So thank you and a giant thanks to Willow.

[Alison claps]

Kat: Thank you, Willow, for sponsoring this episode.

Michael: Thank you, Willow.

Alison: Thank you.

Kat: Claps and snaps all around. [snaps fingers] I’d buy you a butterbeer, but I’m not anywhere with butterbeer. So…

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: That would be a perk if I [were] actually in the same place as all these people. I could make them butterbeer. Because that would be nice.

Kat: Well, maybe soon. If everybody heads over to mugglenetlive.com, maybe they’ll see something very soon up on that site. And maybe you can make butterbeer then.

Michael: Oho!

Alison: Then we can all get a butterbeer together.

Beth: Oh my God.

Kat: That’s true, yeah.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: No details. No details.

Beth: Nope.

Alison: I’m not saying anything.

Kat: Just head over to the website and do your little email, and maybe an owl will deliver something to you very soon. That’s all. That’s all I’m going to say. That’s it.

Alison: [laughs] Well, from there we’re all just going to pretend [that] we’ve gotten our own owls to go to Hogwarts, and we’re headed there because today we are talking about Sorting. I’m really excited for this. I think we’ve got a lot of really good stuff to talk about. So as we do on these topic episodes, we each have picked a bit of a focus…

Michael: Except Alison, who picked everything.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Yes. It’s too much, okay? There’s too much.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: So we’ve each picked a focus. And yes, like Michael said, I picked everything [laughs] because I think it’s all so fascinating. But mostly I’m going to be talking – I think – about the [Sorting] Hat itself and how the Hat makes its decisions. But there’s a lot that goes into that, so…

Kat: I’ve gotten into a heated discussion with quite a few listeners about this, but I am going to discuss Lockhart. I’m going to defend why he is one thousand bijillion percent Ravenclaw.

Michael: I’m going to be upfront with you, listeners, and [say that] I actually wasn’t supposed to be on this episode, so I’m that kid who did his homework way late.

[Alison, Beth, and Kat laugh]

Michael: But I was thinking about it, and – when we get to this section – I would like to talk about Hermione a little bit because I found her fascinating as far as her Sorting throughout my original read of the series. And when she finally is confronted with the question about it in Order of the Pheonix, she doesn’t really give an answer. So I’ve always found that fascinating. And I also saw it was further down in the topics too, but I’m also really looking forward to the discussion where we talk about the Ilvermorny Sortings and how they may or may not relate to the Hogwarts House Sortings because there was a lot of discussion about that when the Ilvermorny piece came out.

Beth: I also am super excited to talk about Ilvermorny Sorting because we’ve spent so many years talking about Hogwarts Sorting…

Michael: Over it.

[Alison laughs]

Beth: … and the Sorting of the book characters and Sorting of our friends and ourselves, and we have had so little time to talk about Ilvermorny in that same way – and especially talking about it juxtaposed with Hogwarts is going to be super fun, I think. I am also interested in talking about Lockhart, but I – spoiler alert – disagree with Kat…

[Everyone laughs]

Beth: … so that’s going to be interesting. And I also have some thoughts about Lupin…

[Michael coughs]

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Beth: … which I’m nervous to bring up in the same episode as Michael, but we’ll see how that goes. [laughs]

Michael: No, I’m excited. I am all about that kind of discussion, actually. I’m being silly, but for serials, though, I really like discussing opposing viewpoints or new ways to look at characters. I never want to quash that, so I’m really excited about that, Beth.

Beth: And I do love Lupin…

Michael: I know you do.

Beth: … so there’s not going to be any Lupin hate happening here.

[Alison and Beth laugh]

Michael: Yes, there’s plenty of Lupin love for sure.

Kat: Wow, Beth is bringing all the controversy on the debate today.

[Beth laughs]

Kat: I like it.

Michael: See? That’s why we love our guests so much.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Because you get these fixed viewpoints from our group all the time. Then we bring the guests on and they always shake things up. That’s what we love.

Alison: Yes. Well, let’s get into it, then; let’s start debating. The first thing I brought up – because I was thinking big picture – is why do they still have Sorting? I mean, obviously, from a narrative point of view, it’s fun – blah, blah, blah – going back to literary tradition, but why centuries after the founders died and there almost was no reason for them still to have the school separated into four such distinct groups, why do they still do this?

Kat: Well, they’re too lazy to come up with another method?

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: I don’t know. That’s a really tough question. Why do we still put little stamps of self-adhesive paper on envelopes to mail things? Why doesn’t everybody do it electronically or another way? I don’t know. Maybe it’s just because “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But maybe it is broken. I don’t know. Maybe it is broken.

Michael: There’s definitely a lot of pomp and circumstance in the wizarding world when it comes to things like this and very much a carrying on of old tradition. I think that second question of why not just put the whole school together, Alison, is really good because the interesting thing about the seven books is that there’s a question – that question is raised in the later books – of “Do we Sort too early? Should we even bother doing this? Everybody has qualities from every House, so what are we even doing?” And I was always surprised that at the end of Deathly Hallows there wasn’t more of a breakdown of those walls between the Houses, especially by the [way] Rowling suggested post-Potter that the Houses aren’t quite as divided as they once were, but everybody just sniffed at that and didn’t really take it for anything because they still Sort. So yeah, one of the big things, I would suppose, is that it does technically… I mean, the Hat belonged to Gryffindor and it has the brains of all four of the founders in it, so that’s not really something I would imagine the school would want to dispense of because of that alone.

Kat: Plus, if you don’t Sort people, how do you have Quidditch teams?

Beth: Yeah, I think there are a lot of logistics concerned…

Michael: Just for Quidditch.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Beth: … with not Sorting people because they use it to keep class sizes down, they use it for Quidditch, they use it for House points to motivate students to do well, and they also do it just logistically to not have everybody sleep and live in the same spaces. And so if they were not going to Sort, I think they would still have to divide the school in some way. I don’t know if they would do it… I don’t think it would be a good idea to divide the school by year because then you are segmented off from younger and older students, and that probably has drawbacks as well. So I think it might be a logistic concern more than anything else.

Alison: That’s a good point.

Kat: Plus, then there’d only be 250 students you’d ever talk to. Right, Jo?

[Everyone laughs]

Beth: I remember when I was in high school a friend of mine and I were writing a fan fic back and forth together, and our two characters were in different Houses, but we wanted them to be able to interact all the time. So we decided that post-Second Wizarding War, Hogwarts had added a main common room where you could hang out with students from other Houses, but you could also still go to your own House common room if you wanted and you’d still sleep in your own House and stuff like that. And I thought that was an interesting concept because – I think you’re right – post-war, a lot of things changed about how the Houses interacted with each other.

Kat: I hope so, anyway.

Michael: What’s interesting to me is there’s been such a… And I know we’re going to talk about this a little […] further down, but when you bring the Sortings into reality, there was – from what I observed, even – a notable shift in the popularity of the Houses and how the general public viewed the Houses. Because I don’t know about you, ladies, but for me, when you were a kid, you just automatically wanted to be a Gryffindor. Most kids wanted it. And especially because the other Houses, especially Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff, got nothing narratively, and then Slytherin started creeping up [with] people who were like, “Ooh, the bad side’s fun.” And then all of a sudden there was this huge shift. I think Ravenclaw used to be pretty popular too – I knew a lot of people who wanted to be in Ravenclaw – but then there was a shift, and everybody was demanding […] Rowling to give more on Slytherin – good things about Slytherin, anything about Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw…

[Beth laughs]

Michael: And then now when you go… I don’t know, but when I go to Barnes & Noble and I see that all they have is Gryffindor and Slytherin merchandise, I’m like, “Come on, you guys!”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Ever since the Sortings on Pottermore came out, there’s been a cultural shift in how we view those Houses – and I think even how kids view the Houses when they read Harry Potter now [is different] versus when we first read it.

Kat: I can unequivocally say that I never want[ed] to be a Gryffindor because I read the books when I was in my 20s.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: Just saying.

Michael: I wanted to be a Gryffindor so bad that [at] my very first Harry Potter party, they had a Sorting Hat at this local bookstore that you could just reach in and pull out a colored piece of paper because it was going to Sort what games you would play first. And my mom and I reached in, and I pulled one out, and I think it was Slytherin. And so we put it back until we got a Gryffindor one.

[Alison, Beth, and Michael laugh]

Michael: Naughty! But I’m pretty sure everybody was doing that! There were way more Gryffindors [unintelligible].

Kat: That’s so Hufflepuff of you. Just kidding.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: That’s not Hufflepuff of you at all.

Beth: I remember not putting as much thought into it until much later in the series. For a while, it was just “Oh, I’m a pretty good student; I guess I’m a Ravenclaw.”

Michael: [laughs] That’s enough.

Beth: That’s the extent to which I considered it. [laughs] And I think it was around the time that the Sorting test came out, but I think before that, too, I was starting to realize that maybe there’s more to the Houses than just what we see on the top layer. That was probably around the time when J.K. Rowling started releasing more information outside of the books, and then Pottermore came along, and that got even bigger. We all just started thinking more about stuff that wasn’t presented in the books.

Alison: So speaking of stuff that is not presented in the books…

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: We’re going to get to the in-real-life stuff later, but first I want to bring up the actual method of Sorting: the Sorting Hat itself. On Pottermore, it says,

“The Sorting Hat is notorious for refusing to admit it has made a mistake in its sorting of a student. On those occasions when Slytherins behave altruistically or selflessly, when Ravenclaws flunk all their exams, when Hufflepuffs prove lazy yet academically gifted and when Gryffindors exhibit cowardice, the Hat steadfastly backs its original decision. On balance, however, the Hat has made remarkably few errors of judgement over the many centuries it has been at work.”

So first things first. All right, can we just scratch the “yet academically gifted” from the Hufflepuff thing? Because that makes it sound like we’re not smart.

[Beth and Michael laugh]

Alison: Forget that.

Beth: Hey now…

[Alison laughs]

Kat: Okay, so I just want to say, “It has been said that Hufflepuffs are very well rounded.” So I do think that a particularly incredibly smart Hufflepuff could potentially be out of character for that House, not to say that they aren’t smart. “Academically gifted,” I think, means somebody who is Mensa level, personally.

Michael: I think that’s just going more about… Because the way the Hat summarizes the Houses is the reason why everybody had such one-dimensional ideas about the Houses, because that’s all we got. The Hat gets a limited time to say what it thinks the Houses represent. It has to boil the Houses down to stereotypes, and yet the funny thing is that… It’s so weird that the Hufflepuffs got lumped in as “probably not as smart.” That’s mostly actually from Hagrid in Sorcerer’s Stone; the Hat doesn’t ever say that. It might also be that we’re usually wedged in the song next to Ravenclaw, and it’s just like, [at the Sorting Hat] “Oh, Ravenclaws are great! They are just so smart and so talented! And then Hufflepuff, she took the rest.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Thanks, Hat, that was great. So I think what Rowling is saying here is not necessarily… Like you said, Kat, it’s not that Hufflepuffs aren’t smart; it’s just that that’s the stereotypical impression.

Alison: All right, I guess I can forgive it, then.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: But here’s a question. And I may have just been remembering it incorrectly, but has this changed from when we originally got this information? Because I feel like I remember it saying the Hat has never made a mistake ever. Hands down, that’s the final word; the Hat has never made a mistake. But now it’s saying the Hat has made “remarkably few errors of judgement.” Am I remembering something wrong?

Kat: I don’t know, but I think the Wayback Machine is going to tell us. Which I’m going to look up [right now].

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Oh, good. I guess I could have looked it up.

Michael: My memory is very faulty on this, but my memory feels like Rowling might have said, in a tweet or on her old website, that the Hat is never wrong. But she might have also been trying to make a point, because the thing was, she was getting a lot of questions from people before all the books were done about certain characters’ Houses. And if people questioned her, she would just shoot back with “the Hat’s never wrong” because she didn’t want to give anything away.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: But she wanted to make everybody think, so…

Kat: Well, I’m sad to report that the Wayback Machine on Pottermore has nothing. It looks like they have crawling turned off. Therefore, it is not archived, and so I can’t look up that information.

Alison: Well, I guess we don’t know, then.

Kat: Although I would tend to agree with Michael. I do believe that she has said, “The Sorting Hat has never made a mistake.”

Beth: Well, it’s interesting because when the Sorting Hat talks to Harry about “I was right, you would have been great in Slytherin,” and Harry is like, “Shut up, leave me alone. You already made your decision,” that’s interesting to me that the Hat seems confident that it has never made a mistake, and yet it wants to rub it in to Harry that the things [it] said were still true. I don’t know; that seems strange.

Alison: Maybe the Hat just knows that. I mean, obviously, the Hat knows; it sees everybody’s brains. [But] it sees that people could fit in multiple Houses. So it would say, “Okay, you’re fine in Gryffindor, but you also would have been fine in Slytherin” to Harry. And so it just knows and it’s like, “Whatever you want, kid.” It’s almost like A Very Potter Musical, [where] everyone else can just go wherever they want.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Yeah. Well, and of course, this is one of those issues that is balanced between Rowling’s hints versus the actual canonical moment. But the thing that’s debated with that is that the Hat might have been detecting something of Voldemort in him, which is hard. We probably should have a whole episode just on Harry’s duality and where Harry stops and Voldemort begins because I’ve always had difficulty with that and the Hat. Because it’s a hint that there’s something more there, if you look at it that way, but it’s almost in the same way as Trelawney’s predictions just happening to come true, in that it’s not canon that she meant that to happen; it’s just poetic license on Rowling’s part. So yeah, that’s hard to say when it comes to Harry. I wonder if there are other students who have gone into the Headmaster’s office and complained to the Hat, and it’s just like, “Nope!”

[Alison laughs]

Beth: I forget where we get this information, if it’s from the books or if it’s from something that was released on Pottermore. I don’t remember where, but I seem to recall something about the Hat being confident about Peter Pettigrew even after he betrayed James and Lily.

Michael: That sounds like something from Pottermore.

Beth: Yeah, because I don’t remember reading that in the books. So I don’t know how that information would have come to light, if someone would have asked the Hat or… But even after Pettigrew’s death and everything, the Hat seemed to be really certain that it made the right decision about him. So I don’t know if that’s the Hat knowing something that we don’t or if that’s the Hat just refusing to admit that it may have made a mistake.

Michael: Yeah, the Hat is not a living thing, but it does have the combined brainpower of four people in it. And at least to some degree, all four of them were somewhat prideful.

Beth: So it has the combined ego of all four people too?

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Yes, and it’s not a fully developed being – it’s a hat – so it also has limitations with it. Like Rowling develops with everything in Harry Potter, all the magic has limitations and it’s all fallible, and the Hat itself is brought into question multiple times throughout the series. So yeah, just because the Hat says it’s right doesn’t always mean that’s the case. It’s a hat; what does it know?

[Alison, Kat, and Michael laugh]

Kat: I did finally find Pottermore that works on the Wayback Machine. September 22, 2015. But I can’t find anything on this website.

Michael: Yeah, I’m sure it’s very glitchy.

Kat: No, it’s not even glitchy. It’s that I can’t find anything on this website. When I click on “Writing by J.K. Rowling,” there'[re] seven links. She’s definitely written more than that.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: When I go through the story, all I see is a bunch of main character stories. I can’t find any information. So I think we’re SOL as far as knowing if that’s different or not. Sorry, Alison. I tried very hard.

Alison: Dang. No, it’s all good. Thank you for trying.

Kat: But I am not a Hufflepuff [and] therefore, not a good finder.

[Alison, Beth, and Michael laugh]

Kat: [I am] very stereotypical there. Maybe one of our Hufflepuff listeners will find that for us.

Alison: Yes. Another thing we get on this Pottermore information [is,] JKR writes that one of the earliest methods for Sorting that she played with was not the Hat but statues of the founders who would select students from a crowd, which of course is what happens at Ilvermorny, basically. They have the statues that…

Michael: Yeah, she imported that.

Alison: It’s The Voice. Is that what someone said? It’s basically The Voice.

Michael: No, no, no. I said she just imported that over to Ilvermorny, which makes sense because Ilvermorny basically is the leftovers of Hogwarts, literally in its creation. The way that Isolt creates it is that it’s just a warped Hogwarts in a lot of ways.

Alison: But we will get to Ilvermorny a little bit later. Another big thing that came out on Pottermore was this idea of Hatstalls, which is…

Michael: Oh. My. God. There’s no soapbox. There’s a three-legged stool because Sorting Hat. I’m going to stand on this three-legged, Sorting Hat [stool] and say no. You are all not Hatstalls. Everybody was like, “I’m a Hatstall. I’m a Hatstall.” That is not what a Hatstall is.

Beth: No, they’re so rare.

Michael: [laughs] You have to read the Pottermore thing before you say you’re a Hatstall. Literally everybody claimed they were a Hatstall after the Sorting Hat came out. Everybody was so excited that they were a Hatstall.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: I wasn’t a Hatstall.

Alison: I wasn’t either.

Beth: We know from Pottermore that there are several people who were near Hatstalls, and maybe that’s what people are confusing. They think that “Oh, [I was] close with first and second.”

Michael: Well, the term does suggest that it’s a conflict between the Hat not being able to decide between Houses, but that’s not it. It’s the length of your Sorting. Because a bunch of people got to choose between their Houses at the end of the Pottermore Sorting. But that’s not what that is.

Alison: But the reason it’s so long is [that] the Hat is trying to choose between Houses. So yeah, the Pottermore quiz messes that up a little bit because…

Michael: Well, if any of your Sortings were over five minutes long on Pottermore, then, yes, you are a Hatstall.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: Yeah. The problem with Pottermore is that if you did come up equally in two Houses, it did come up and show you two cards, and it said “Hatstall.” So Pottermore – which they do from time to time – screwed up their own canon. They screw up the actual meaning of things, and this – unfortunately – was the case of that.

Michael: Oh, it’s funny, actually. Beth, the thing you wanted to know about Peter Pettigrew is here in the Hatstall piece.

Kat: There you go.

Beth: Oh, so I didn’t make it up. That’s good.

Michael: And he was a Hatstall. McGonagall and Peter were the only Hatstalls [whom] Harry actually knew.

Alison: But there were two almost Hatstalls…

Michael: Almost Hatstalls, yes.

Alison: … with Neville and Hermione. They came the closest to actually being Hatstalls.

Beth: Flitwick was almost a Hatstall too, right?

Alison: Yes. Or was he a Hatstall?

Kat: I believe Flitwick was a Hatstall. [He] and McGonagall, yes.

Alison: And so was McGonagall. Because then they joked about [how] it could have flipped the other way. Yeah.

Kat: And they’re close friends, as we learn in the McGonagall piece.

Michael: Yeah, “The former caused the hat to agonise for five and a half minutes as to whether Minerva ought to go to Ravenclaw or Gryffindor; the latter was placed in Gryffindor after a long deliberation between that house and Slytherin. The Sorting Hat, which is infamously stubborn, still refuses to accept that its decision in the case of the latter may have been erroneous, citing the manner in which Pettigrew died as (dubious) evidence.”

Alison: All right, Hat, whatever.

Beth: Wow.

Michael: He’ll cling on to anything.

Alison: Whatever, Hat. But speaking of Hatstalls, this brings us to a big question that Dumbledore poses: Do they Sort too soon?

Kat: Okay, it depends. We cannot count ourselves. Does it matter at all [which] House you’re [in] after Hogwarts? The answer to that? No. So do you Sort too soon? No. Because your House is only relevant when you’re in school. You can’t fill out a résumé and be like, “Oh, I was in Ravenclaw.” “Great, we’re going to hire you because we didn’t want a Hufflepuff working here.” It doesn’t matter. So I think no. The answer to that is no. They don’t Sort too soon. Because if you Sorted in the seventh year, then it doesn’t matter at all.

Beth: I disagree. I don’t disagree that maybe it’s fine to Sort in first year, but I disagree that it doesn’t affect you at all after Hogwarts because I don’t think it affects you in any tangible way, but I do think if you – for example – don’t get put into Ravenclaw and you are already inclined to doubt yourself as a student, that maybe you might feel like you aren’t a good student. And that might affect how you proceed in your life.

Kat: But that’s during school.

Beth: But I think that could affect you way after school. I think if you get put into Slytherin, you might start wondering why you got put into Slytherin and you might tend toward certain character traits that you think associate with Slytherin, and maybe that changes the way you might have behaved as an adult. I don’t know. But I don’t think it has zero effect on you as you grow up.

Kat: I see what you’re saying, but I feel like that is affecting your personality and not necessarily the advantage of having a House outside of school, which was my point if I didn’t articulate that. There’s no reason to be walking around and be like, “Oh guys, hey, I’m a Slytherin” or “Oh, I’m a Gryffindor.” It doesn’t affect your outside life. It can affect your personality, but those are self-inflicted emotions, which only you can deal with. And that’s why I think it doesn’t matter that they Sort at the beginning.

Alison: But I think it could at least socially affect you after you leave school.

Kat: Are you going to be walking around and being like, “Hey, my name is Ernie Macmillan. I’m a Hufflepuff” when you’re 40?

Alison: No, but they’ve got superstitions about wand woods. So I wonder if there’s some of that, like, “Oh, a Slytherin and a Gryffindor will never work out together” or something like that, where there'[re] social constructs that have come around the fact that it’s such a relatively small community. I don’t know. Minister elections or something, like, “This was a Ravenclaw. Would you rather have a Ravenclaw or a Gryffindor as your Minister?” Something like that. I feel like there could be. It’s almost like what college you go to. To some extent after you leave college, it doesn’t matter, but people will fight about their alma maters all the time because they still think theirs is better than another one.

Beth: I totally agree. And we also see the effect of Houses per family. There’s pressure about what House you should be Sorted into because the rest of your family [was]. There’s lots of preconceived pressure about entering Hogwarts and the Houses. You never get to experience it firsthand, so you just have to go based on what other people tell you, which may be an argument to Sort maybe in second year or something like that.

Kat: I still think those are self-inflicted, personally.

Beth: They are, but they’re still valid.

Alison: And when it’s become enough of a cultural/social thing, it can still come from outside forces. People will judge you based [on] that first impression if they know what House you were in.

Michael: Yeah, I think there is validity to that in the series in that Harry actually frames a lot of his opinions on people based on [which] House he finds out they were from. That’s a big thing about when he meets Slughorn. He is immediately put off when he finds out he was in Slytherin. And Slughorn is like, “No, no, no, no, no. I’m one of the nice ones.” Harry is like, “Great, I’ve never met one of those.”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: But I think that there is, and like Beth said, especially when it comes to the older pure-blood families, there seems to be a lot of pride in carrying on those traditions. It’s hard to say because the Hat, as far as Sorting at 11, sometimes seems to be Sorting based on immediate traits that are going to be apparent right away or are already apparent that fit that House. And sometimes the Hat Sorts based on traits that are going to come far later for that individual.

Beth: [coughs] Neville. [coughs] Sorry about that.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Yeah, and even in some cases, the Hat seems to Sort based on what it sees potential in, but that potential may never be realized. So it’s hard to say because I’m not sure Sorting too soon is really the right way to put it because you can Sort at any point in your life – I think – and be in a different place.

Kat: Ooh. Ooh. So what if they re-Sorted and shuffled every year?

Michael: My God, that would be a logistical nightmare.

Alison: [laughs] Definitely would.

Beth: Oh, that would be the best, though.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Especially with a thousand students.

[Michael laughs]

Beth: Imagine having to reorient yourself. To be like, “Okay, what does this mean about me now?”

Kat: Yeah, but college students who go back every year live in a different dorm every year. And you change as a person every year. We know that. Everybody changes all the time, and so why not do it every year?

Alison: It’d be interesting.

Michael: Yeah, it would.

Alison: I think it could work with more school unity. It’d pull together if you weren’t necessarily…

Kat: You’d make new friends. Quidditch teams would be changed up every year. [laughs]

Michael: You’d just have to wake everybody up…

Alison: Gryffindor wouldn’t always win the House Cup because Harry was there. [laughs]

Michael: They’d just have to get to school a lot sooner on the first day because if they’re going to re-Sort all those students every year at the beginning, it’s going to take a while.

Beth: If we consider the characters that we know from the books, is there anybody that we can think of that – if they had Sorted every year – we would have been like, “Yeah, that person definitely would have switched Houses?”

Kat: Ron.

Alison: Neville.

Kat: Ginny.

Alison: Hermione.

Kat: Lavender.

Alison: Everybody.

[Everyone laughs]

Beth: Wow.

Kat: A lot of them.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Snape, obviously. Snape, obviously. Although that’s child to adult Snape so maybe not. James. Lily.

Alison: Probably.

Kat: Remus. Petitgrew. A lot of them – I think – probably would have changed.

Michael: But yeah, the question of Sorting too soon isn’t… I think that is Dumbledore being… It’s a question that’s really been grasped onto by the fandom because it comes at a significant moment in the narration, but that’s not what Dumbledore is asking when he says it. He’s doing his mysterious Dumbledore thing. So I don’t know if he’s really meaning to ask that. If he [were] to ask that, I think he would be asking in a different way or in a more complicated way than that because that’s not quite the right question.

Kat: So what is the right question?

Michael: I don’t know. That’s Rowling’s job to figure out.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: Fine.

Michael: I can’t do everything for her. [laughs]

Alison: Oh. Well, speaking of – Beth, you brought up – families, we’re going to shift into some of those more controversial Sortings that have created discussion for so, so long and it’s become a huge thing. So starting with those families, obviously, the first one that comes to mind is the Weasleys, who have all been Sorted into Gryffindor. So do we think they all should be there? Or should some of them be somewhere else?

Kat: Okay, we’re putting aside – I assume – all of the reasons why they are in the House.

Alison: Yes. Yes.

Kat: Although literary plot reasons, that’s why they are in particular Houses. Okay.

Beth: I think a lot of them have secondary Houses that I can see. I don’t know that I would have put any of them definitively in a different House, but there are some of them I wouldn’t have been upset [about] if they were in a different House.

Alison: Such as?

Beth: Such as – I think – Charlie could probably be a Hufflepuff. I think Percy could probably have been a Slytherin. I think Fred and George could probably have been Slytherins. Yeah, I think a few of them could have had a different House.

Kat: I think Ron would have rocked that Hufflepuff common room.

Alison: Yeah, I agree with that.

Kat: I think he would have turned out a totally different person if he had been in Hufflepuff. Totally different person.

Beth: I disagree.

Alison: I feel like he would have been so chill. Just, like, the chillest person.

Kat: Yeah. Although I can’t actually ever see him being Sorted into Hufflepuff. I think, if any other House, he may have been Sorted [into]… I know this is going to sound like an odd one. He’s an incredibly judgmental guy, incredibly judgmental, and he has a lot of prejudice, which are very Ravenclaw tendencies. And speaking as a Ravenclaw, I’m incredibly judgy, so…

[Michael laughs]

Beth: I think on Ron being a Hufflepuff… And I’m very defensive of Ron because Ron is my favorite character, but I think that it would not have changed who he turned out to be. I think he might have gotten there more quickly and efficiently had he been a Hufflepuff. I think he spent a lot of time figuring himself out through the books, and I think that maybe Hufflepuff would have brought those traits out in him sooner.

Kat: I agree. Definitely.

Michael: I actually think that Hufflepuff could have been really… It can literally go both ways because I think the thing you have to account for is not just the House but the individuals that these people make friends with that influence them. So that’s a big part of it. When you guys said Ron in Hufflepuff, I was thinking that there could have been the potential that he could have become very, very lazy and almost had a free ride through Hogwarts and not done anything. He’s the one who’s like, [as Ron] “Oh my God, that was exhausting. Why are we doing this, Harry?”

[Alison laughs]

Michael: And he’s definitely always up for the adventure, but he does – always – opine that it [has] been exhausting and [that] they never get any relaxing time. And he’s always seeking out being lazy and relaxing when he can find it. And I don’t think the Hufflepuff common room would be very particularly stimulating for somebody like Ron because he would have access to food the whole time, and he would be downstairs in the comfiest common room, and that could be dangerous – potentially – for him. And he already had Hermione who was doing her best not to enable his horrible studying habits. But if Ron didn’t make the same kinds of friends like that in Hufflepuff, he could easily just have let his grades slip or just not cared as much. Or maybe he would have had to care more if he didn’t have somebody like Hermione around.

Kat: I mean, we do know that there are some very studious Hufflepuffs, so maybe Ron would have gained some better habits.

Michael: Yeah. He could have.

Kat: And maybe Sprout is a bit of a [makes whip-cracking noise] for all we know. We don’t know how tough she is, really, because we don’t really see her much as a professor. So maybe she would have whipped that boy into shape. She seems like that type of woman who’s very sweet and nice and then will kick your butt to high heavens if you aren’t getting your stuff done.

Beth: I totally see Hufflepuffs coming up to Ron and being like, “Hey, so I see you didn’t do as well on that last test. I can help you if you want!” [laughs]

Kat: Yeah, tutoring help. For sure, you’re right. Tutoring help.

Michael: [as Ron] “Nah, that’s all right. I’m going to go to the kitchen.”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: And he would have thrown the best parties. I mean, Michael, you’re right. He could potentially be very lazy, but he would turn into that guy everybody looks to, to have a good time. Uh-oh. That could be bad for Ron.

Michael: If I [were] in that Hufflepuff common room when Ron was throwing crazy parties, I’d be like, “Oh my God, Ron. Shut up. I have to go to bed.”

[Alison, Beth, and Michael laugh]

Michael: Those parties would be all-nighters.

Alison: I think it’s interesting that he says the twins could be in Slytherin. Because I feel like I would almost put them in Ravenclaw more.

Beth: They so did not care about school at all.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: But Ravenclaw isn’t just about school. I mean, the welcome letter talks about the more eccentric people, the people who just want to sit in the corner focused on one thing. And that’s what I feel like the twins are all about. They’re all about experimentation and running their joke shop and coming up with the newest, biggest product, so I can definitely see them being one of those ones in the corner. I mean, they would have had test subjects coming out their ears because people would be like, “Oh, you need a scientific method test? Yes, we’ll sign up to be your test subject.” [laughs]

Beth: But I feel like the difference is, if they had been in Ravenclaw, they probably would have valued learning all the stuff they learned [from] developing their products just for the sake of knowing it and knowing more things and “learning is so cool and we should just all learn more.”

[Michael laughs]

Beth: Which is totally a great trait, but I don’t see that in them. I see them doing those things specifically to further their product and further their brand, and that seems like a very Slytherin trait to me.

Kat: That’s exactly what I was going to say. Exactly.

Beth: Sorry to take it out of your mouth, Kat.

Kat: They weren’t doing it for knowledge; they were doing it for ambition. And I totally, 1,000% agree. Fred and George for snakes every day of the week.

Michael: Yeah, Fred and George are an example of the idea of “edutainment,” where you’re learning something but you don’t realize you’re doing it.

Kat: Yeah. “Edutainment.” That’s a wonderful word.

Michael: It is. It’s a great term. It’s not my favorite way to put it, but it’s that idea that you’re learning something but you don’t realize it. Fred and George, actually, would be… If they were my students, or patrons who came to my library, I would be super proud of them because they are an example of what I like to see with kiddos, is that they take what they’re learning and they apply it in ways that are interesting to them.

Beth: Well, I think if you would have asked Fred and George, “Do you consider yourselves to be very talented at magic?” They’d have been like, “What are you talking about?” But I think that they’re probably [some] of the most skilled wizards in the books. And I think that that sort of steers them away from the Ravenclaw category.

Kat: And I think they’re a bit too judgmental to be in Ravenclaw, quite honestly, because they just don’t care about that stuff. They’re happy and they’re friendly and they’re cheerful toward pretty much everybody, and they make jokes about everything all the time. Ravenclaw is a bit too serious for them, I think.

Alison: All right, good points.

Beth: Ravenclaws might be annoyed that they’re setting off fireworks in the common room while they’re trying to study.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: And the Slytherins would be like, “Where can we put those next?”

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: It’s interesting that Percy has come up, because I know everybody… [laughs] There'[re] so many people in the fandom who still wanted him to be in Slytherin, or wanted him to die, which…

Alison: No!

Beth: That’s harsh.

Michael: No. But I actually think that Percy would have been very much at home in Ravenclaw. Because the thing about poor Percy is that he was a bit of an oddity among his siblings because his siblings – as we were talking with Fred and George – didn’t value the same things about education as he did. And we don’t know much about Bill and Charlie and their time in the Weasley household. It’s still reflected, at least when we see them at home, that they’re still not that into Percy’s approach. They seem to be a little more friendly with the more easygoing Weasleys. But Percy doesn’t really have – other than his father, who[m] we find out he very much admires – a peer in the home. And if he had been in Ravenclaw, I think he… especially, too, because he just gets relentlessly teased by Fred and George. And I think if he’d had peers in Ravenclaw who[m] he could have spent more time with, I think it’s possible that either his ambition would’ve also just skyrocketed or he might’ve been able to find ways to temper it and approach things a little more thoughtfully.

Beth: It’s so interesting that you bring up Fred and George teasing him, because if I try [to] come up with the most ambitious Weasleys, Percy and the twins are what I come up with, but they go about it so differently.

Michael: Different ways. Which would be a great way to also argue why the twins would go to Slytherin and Percy would go to Ravenclaw.

Beth: Yeah, Percy is very much like, “Got to do things the prescribed way, got to go up the ladder the way you’re supposed to.” And the twins are like, “Yeah, no thanks. We’re going to do it our own way.”

Michael: [laughs] Yeah. But then the main question, though, too, as Alison presented us at the beginning with the Weasleys is, should they all be in the same House? I guess Deathly Hallows answers that question by showing that, at the end, bravery is truly the thing that all the Weasleys value when you get down to their core. Because they all make the right decision and they all make this unanimous decision at the end in how they will participate in the battle. So I guess Hallows seeks to answer that by saying, “Yes, they do all belong there.”

Alison: I wonder about Molly.

Kat: I mean, that’s not to say that they wouldn’t choose that if they were in other Houses. I think Fred and George would have been there to tarry nonetheless, no matter [which] House they were in.

Michael: Oh yeah. I think that gets back around to mixing up literary needs versus character versus story, all of these things that get tangled up.

Alison: Well, speaking of other families, the other big family we know that is pretty much all in the same House, or at least that we think are all in the same House, is the Black family, of course except for Sirius, who’s in Gryffindor. But what about the extended Black family? We’ve all hypothesized; I feel like it’s become commonly accepted that even the extended family was in Slytherin. They were 100% Slytherin. But do we think they actually were? I’m thinking specifically of, do we think Andromeda was a Slytherin? Or could she have been something else?

Kat: Don’t we know what House she was in?

Alison: Do we?

Beth: I think if Andromeda hadn’t been a Slytherin, she would have been burned off the family tree far before she married Ted.

Alison: But would they? Because they didn’t burn Sirius off until he ran away from home, and that was when he was 16.

Kat: Andromeda was definitely in Slytherin, according to the Lexicon.

Michael: According to the wiki… which is not quite as trustworthy, but what they’re going by is Slughorn’s statement in Prince that “the whole Black family had been in my House, but Sirius ended up in Gryffindor!” and the likelihood that, of course, Slughorn was teaching when Andromeda went to school. And they’re adding in Sirius’s statement as well.

Kat: So Andromeda was born in ’53, so that would put her how much older than Sirius?

Alison: Seven years? Yeah, because they’re ’60, right?

Kat: I do not know what year Sirius was born.

Alison: I think he was, because James and Lily are ’60. ’60/’61, yeah?

Kat: So that makes sense. So when did Slughorn teach?

Beth: We know Slughorn was teaching in the ’30s and ’40s because that’s when Tom Riddle was in school.

Kat: Right. When did he retire?

Beth: Sounds like he was there for a long time.

Alison: I feel like he was the one right before Snape, so I guess he would’ve been there.

Michael: Well, and then that plus Sirius says in Order of the Phoenix, “My whole family was in Slytherin,” and he’s implying – definitely – his closer relatives. So I think it’s probably a safe bet because they were in school, if not at the same time, at least around the same time. And yeah, I would agree with Beth too. If Andromeda hadn’t been, she would’ve been taken off the family tree much sooner. I think for the sake of argument, and because we don’t have any more information, we have to go with the assumption that, yes, the Blacks have consistently been in Slytherin until Sirius.

Alison: I bring this up because I have seen a very interesting and very convincing argument that Bellatrix should actually be a Hufflepuff.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: Wait, what?

Beth: What?

Michael: Okay…

Beth: No, what? No!

[Alison laughs]

Kat: Okay, explain, explain.

Alison: Okay, so I think I’ve brought this up before, but it’s a Tumblr blog called The Sorting Hat Chats. They’re wonderful. Look them up. They’re awesome. They have a really interesting Sorting system.

Michael: Oh yeah, I’ve heard about this Tumblr.

Alison: So their system goes with everybody has a primary House, which explains why they do things, and a secondary House, which explains how they do things. So Hufflepuffs are very loyal to their group. That’s their thing that sets them apart, is their loyalty, unerring, always with their group, their group is always right, their group is always most important. And that’s what Bellatrix is. She’s so loyal to the Black family, she’s so loyal to the Death Eater cause that she sees people [who] aren’t in her group as non-people. So she hates Andromeda for leaving. Andromeda and her family are no longer people to Bellatrix because they’re no longer part of her group. Muggles aren’t people because they’re not wizards. They’re not part of this group, and the group believes that wizards are the only people who are worth knowing and being. So that’s where it comes from. It’s a dark side of Hufflepuff, the negative aspects of those traits of Hufflepuff, but she’s very much into “my group, my group is right. Anyone outside my group is not.”

Michael: Yeah, we talked about that being the dark side of Hufflepuff, I think, a few times on the show. That came up around Chamber of Secrets and Goblet of Fire because the Hufflepuffs.. and the sad thing with that is that the Hufflepuffs tend to close up against the rest of the school when they’re threatened, specifically because they are always the brunt of everything, and that causes them to be unfriendly on occasion, but somewhat with justification. So I guess I can see the argument, but she just doesn’t fit so many of the other traits of Hufflepuff, and it really would just be… Because the other thing is that [in] the very first Sorting Hat song that we hear, the Sorting Hat also notes that Hufflepuffs are just, and she is not just at all.

Beth: Yeah, I just disagree.

Alison: But what if she’s just to her definition of “justice”?

Michael: Oh, we’re doing that thing where we twist… That’s the same thing that Rowling did with Umbridge and the Patronus stuff too.

Beth: I just disagree with the premise that Hufflepuffs are so loyal to their group that they fight back against anyone who disagrees because I feel like they are protective of their own people to the outside, but inwardly, I feel like Hufflepuffs aren’t afraid to say to their friends, “Hey, what’s up with this thing about you?” And so I don’t know that they’re so loyal to their group to such a fault that Bellatrix could fall under that.

Michael: I think, like I said, the closest we saw that was when they turned against Harry in both Chamber and Goblet. Yeah, those were their less flattering sides, made more so through Harry’s eyes, but I don’t really know if that’s equivalent to Bellatrix, because she’s killing people.

Beth: But I think that’s more of a defensive mechanism than an offensive mechanism, and I think Bellatrix takes it to the offensive.

Michael: Yeah, there’s definitely something to that. She just doesn’t fit otherwise in so many other aspects that I can’t… I don’t know.

Kat: Not “in so many others,” in none of the others at all. And I haven’t done any reading on this Tumblr. I’m going to because I’m incredibly intrigued by it because I do really see myself very much as a 51%/49% of Ravenclaw and Slytherin, and I wanted to thank you, very much, for bringing up that Tumblr because I’m very excited to delve into it. But no. No. No, she’s a Slytherin. No. Yeah.

Michael: What would be her secondary House, then, if her secondary House wasn’t Hufflepuff?

Alison: They say her secondary is Gryffindor because she just charges, attacks, dives in, so… which is interesting because that’s my combination. [laughs] And so…

Michael: Oh, Hufflepuff/Gryffindor?

Alison: Yeah. So it’s interesting for me to think about that, to think about… Oh dear. [laughs]

Michael: Well, yeah. It does get hard when we’re thinking about characters who torture and kill people because the automatic thing is to Sort them into Slytherin, which even Rowling has shown us that that’s not the right thing to do.

Beth: I think it’s super interesting if you view this topic of conversation from the standpoint of, we talk a lot about how Hufflepuffs and Slytherins can get along very well. And I think part of that is, Hufflepuffs might be able to see that stuff about Bellatrix like, “Yeah, you’re doing all these terrible things for all the wrong reasons, but you’re doing it because you feel loyalty to your group, and you’re doing it because you feel threatened by other ways of thinking” and being able to understand her and find a handful of positives in the overwhelming negatives about her personality… I think, actually, if she would give them a two-second chance, [she] might actually find some interesting friends in Hufflepuffs.

Kat: I would agree with that. I could see that.

Michael: That is probably one of the most fascinating combinations when you come upon it: a Hufflepuff/Slytherin. When you think about it, when you reflect on it long enough, it makes sense because… Side note, if I [were] at Hogwarts, I would be in [the] common room, being like, “Have you guys ever dated a Slytherin? Because that sounds like so much fun.” Because honestly…

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: … I think dating a Slytherin would be really interesting in that aspect, as a Hufflepuff. Because actually, the Hufflepuff’s hard-working nature and the Slytherin’s ambition would actually make for a great pairing, and they could actually help each other, lift each other up with a lot of things. I’ve always thought that that would be a really interesting combo, so what I’m basically saying is [whispers] Slytherin boys, call me.

[Alison, Beth, and Kat laugh]

Michael: I’m cool with that. I’m down with that. But also, yeah, in a way, that almost makes more sense to look at that pairing versus the traditional one that we get, which is that the Hufflepuffs pair off with the Ravenclaws. But they tend to do that just because those are the two marginalized Houses that don’t get any attention.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: Yeah, the plot device.

Michael: Yeah. Rowling mentions in the narration, pretty much [from] Sorcerer’s Stone onward, that the Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws have come to an understanding that they just cheer for Gryffindor because they’re never going to win, and they don’t want Slytherin to win.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: So they’ll always just support Gryffindor in winning.

Alison: Yeah, I don’t know. I think some of them probably align more with Slytherins.

Michael: Yeah, I don’t think we met any that specifically do that.

[Alison laughs]

Beth: Well, [that’s] because the only Slytherins we know are ones [who] bend toward the negative character traits of Slytherin, and we never get to meet any Slytherins, except for maybe Slughorn, [who] bend toward the more positive character traits of Slytherin. And that’s just a failing of the point of view that the books were written in.

Alison: Yeah. So speaking of Slytherins – sorry – let’s talk about a Slytherin and this idea of all evil characters go to Slytherin.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: [With] A Very Potter Musical again, everyone who looks like a good guy goes to Gryffindor. Everybody who looks like a bad guy goes to Slytherin, right? [In] the case of Umbridge, do we think she should really be a Slytherin?

Kat: First off, I want to say thank you for saying that all “evil” characters go in Slytherin. I’m just going to use that argument in about ten minutes, so I’m going to thank you for saying that right now.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: You’re welcome.

Beth: I see where you’re going with that, Kat.

[Beth and Michael laugh]

Kat: You had a feeling, didn’t you?

[Beth laughs]

Kat: You knew, you knew. Sorry. Umbridge, yes. Umbridge, for sure.

Alison: Should she be a Slytherin?

Kat: Mhm.

Alison: Why?

Kat: Okay, so let’s use the Sorting Hat’s Tumblr thing here. She is doing everything that she does for ambition because she wants status, and she wants to move up in the world, and she wants people to think she’s better than she is. And to me, that is showboating, so to say, [which] is a Slytherin trait. It’s also a Gryffindor trait.

Beth: I was going to say that’s a very Gryffindor trait, actually.

Kat: Yeah. I do see a lot of Gryffindor in her, but I think that her motivations are purely Slytherin.

Alison: Okay. Because I would say the fact [is] that she believes so much in what she’s doing; she is so assured that the way she thinks is right, which I don’t know if that’s necessarily a Slytherin trait.

Kat: It’s a Gryffindor trait.

Alison: I think that one… Yeah, it’s a Gryffindor trait.

Michael: Or an unshakeable belief in your convictions.

Alison: So should she have been a Gryffindor [who] went bad instead?

Kat: No.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Kat: I think if anything she’s a Ravenclaw with some Gryffindor tendencies.

Beth: I do not think she’s a Ravenclaw.

Kat: Oh, sorry. I meant a Slytherin, not a Ravenclaw.

Beth: Okay, I was going to say…

[Alison laughs]

Kat: Slytherin with Gryffindor tendencies. Sorry, slip of the tongue.

Beth: I was going to say, “Because Ravenclaw does everything by the book for the most part, and I think that Umbridge does not do that.” [laughs]

Kat: No, total opposite. She thinks she is, but she’s not.

Beth: No, I don’t even think she is because she specifically knows that she is disobeying what the Minister asked her to do and does it anyway.

Kat: Well, in that case, yes.

Michael: The other thing to remember about the Gryffindors is that their hotheadedness is tempered by their chivalry, and Umbridge doesn’t have chivalry.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: She has zero of that, so I think that’s what majorly disqualifies her. But interestingly, then, there’s another character that’s not on this list that doesn’t fit that, who provides a counter for that. Cormac McLaggen is not chivalrous. He’s got the hotheadedness of a Gryffindor, the wanting to showboat and show himself off and jump right in, but he is not at all chivalrous in his behavior.

Alison: I think he thinks he’s chivalrous, but mostly, he’s patronizing.

Michael: See, so that goes back to what you were bringing up earlier, Alison, as far as the person’s personal beliefs versus this issue of Sorting. Does the Hat understand that as such? Does the Hat justify your personal thinking? Because often, the Hat argues with people’s personal thinking about where they fit. So it’s funny to me to say that the Hat is hearing Cormac being like, “Yeah, I’m chivalrous. Of course I am,” and the Hat is like, “Okay, well, you get to go to Gryffindor.” But to me, the Hat would be like, “No, you’re not,” and put him somewhere else.

Kat: I think in Cormac’s defense here – and this is the one [time] I’ll probably ever say this about him…

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: … I think he’s an incredibly insecure person, and I think that he may outwardly express that, but I’m not sure that he 100%, fully, actually believes that. I think he puts on a really strong and a very boastful front because he wants to be that person. He wants to be that person [whom] everybody looks to and is like, “Wow, I want to be just like him when I grow up,” but I’m not sure that he totally, actually, 100% believes that. I don’t think that he’s a Gryffindor. I actually think he’s probably more of a Ravenclaw. He’s incredibly judgmental, and he is really smart even if he is a dick. So that’s where I would put him, personally. I don’t know. Maybe he fooled the Sorting Hat. Maybe he fooled the Sorting Hat. I don’t know.

Beth: Kat, what you were saying totally plays into the discussion of “Is your House what you are? Is it what you value? Is it what you want to be?” And that’s not totally made clear by canon. And I think that what you were saying about Cormac circles around that entire conversation.

Michael: Well, yeah, because of course, the famous ending is that Harry – discounting Cursed Child – kneels down to his son and says that you have a choice. And I think that gets back to that. So the Hat can suss all these things out of you, but there is also an element of choice in this too, which would suggest that your personal belief in where you belong has value. Even if the Hat doesn’t necessarily put you there, it takes that into account.

Alison: I definitely think it’s a mix of all three: it’s what you are, what you value, what you want to be. And I think, for some people, that’s more straightforward. They value, they are, and they’re going to become one thing down the line, but I think other people… It just gets complicated. It’s all a personality thing, and so I’ve always thought that the Hat does a mix of all three and decides which is going to be best then. But…

Kat: And too, like Michael said before, you are a product of your environment as well. Somebody like Cormac who may be… We don’t know anything about his childhood. Does he have 12 sisters who beat up on him all the time, so he had to be this macho guy? Or maybe they were being beaten up all the time, so he had to be this… Maybe just everyone in Cormac’s family was getting beaten up all the time and he had to be the guy to save everybody. So he came in and thought he was just this awesome, big guy, and then the Sorting Hat was like, “Oh, I’m going to put you in – I don’t know – Hufflepuff. Or Ravenclaw,” and he was like, “No way! I’m going to be this big, macho guy, and you’re going to put me in Gryffindor,” and maybe the Sorting Hat was like, “Okay. Well, give it a go.” [laughs] I don’t know.

Michael: You’ve given such good basis for some great, cinnamon roll Cormac McLaggen fan fiction, Kat.

[Alison, Beth, and Michael laugh]

Kat: I like Cormac. I do think he’s a dick, like I said, but I think that he has heart and not necessarily a kind heart, but he has heart. He cares about the things that he’s doing.

Michael: [laughs] But it’s a great thing to say to a person, “You have heart. I don’t think you have a kind heart, but you have a heart.”

[Everyone laughs]

Beth: You have a heart.

Kat: Being a jerk and being somebody who does things for the right reason can be… Not mutually exclusive. Someone can embody both traits.

Beth: Anyone [who] throws up on Snape gets points in my book, so…

[Alison laughs]

Kat: Oh boy. Let’s not talk about him.

[Alison, Beth, and Michael laugh]

Kat: Because that’d make me feel a lot worse.

Alison: Let’s instead shift the conversation to another very controversial Gryffindor: Peter Pettigrew, Wormtail himself. Why is he a Gryffindor? I have thoughts, but I want to hear yours.

Kat: Well, according to Jo, it’s because of how he died.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: See, and that’s the interesting thing because of course, on top of its powers of Legilimency, the Hat does not have divination powers as far as we’re aware.

Kat: Yeah. Prophetic powers. Yeah.

Michael: Yeah. If you really pushed the Hat for more information, like, “Well, why did you choose him for Gryffindor in that moment?” I imagine the Hat would be reluctant to say anything.

Kat: Wait a minute. Does the Hat have any Demiguise fur in it? I’m just kidding.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: It’s actually its eyes. They’re actually Demiguise eyes. [laughs]

Kat: Oh my gosh. Creepy.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Yeah, okay. So that goes to the environment thing too, I guess. If you ask the Hat too, he’d be like, [as the Sorting Hat] “I didn’t tell him to pick those people to be his friends. That’s his fault.”

[Alison laughs]

Michael: I don’t know. I don’t know if that was one of those ones where the Hat did fail in that it didn’t really… Peter didn’t live up to what the Hat saw he could do.

Alison: I wonder, too, because this going to sound terrible, but it took a heck of a lot of guts, I’m sure, for Peter to turn. And of course, he’s not doing things for the right reasons, but I wonder if the Hat took his total self-preservation [and] gutsiness and mistook it for courage.

Kat: Listen, nobody’s going to say that Peter Pettigrew is not an incredibly courageous guy.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: He has done some things that took a lot of balls, a lot of balls, and that is a bravery on a whole other level. It’s above and beyond most of the bravery we see in the films, but I think that his motivations and the reason for doing that are not Gryffindor reasons. So maybe he’s a Gryffindor, but his motivations are not.

Michael: That’s just it. Yeah. His motivations are so Slytherin-esque in that he’s very ambitious and [self-preserving] and always being next… The way that even McGonagall talks about him in Prisoner is that he was always sidling up to people who had influence or power and not because he wanted to necessarily… In many ways, like Umbridge, he never had the capacity to properly do that, but he always wanted to be near the people who could. And that seems very Slytherin in that way.

Kat: He’s basically a New York socialite, okay? He’s somebody who wants to be at the party, but he doesn’t want to be the person the party is thrown for. Although maybe New York socialites do. I don’t know.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: No offense to anybody who might be a New York socialite.

Michael: And we’ve lost all our New York socialite listeners.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Yeah, that’s a hard one. And it’s tough, too, because of course, this was a common problem that you would see with Marauders-era fan fic, which, my God, did I ever read a lot of.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Order of the Phoenix came out, and the Marauders-era fan fic exploded, and Peter was always the worst, the most poorly written in any fan fic you would ever find. And if anybody gave him an iota of personality in their fic, all their comments would be like, “Oh my God, thank you so much for writing a great version of Peter,” and it’s like, “No, you didn’t. You just gave him a line.”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: But that was really it. Nobody required much of Peter, past him saying something that wasn’t stereotypically him forshadowing being evil, I guess. And [with] the one example we see from the past at length, he’s not doing anything out of character, so it’s so hard to say what he might have been like or been doing at school that would have made him Gryffindor-like before his adult years.

Beth: If we buy into the theory that the Hat takes into account what you are, what you value, and what you want to be, maybe Peter values those Gryffindor traits so much that that overpowered the other things about him, and that was all the Hat could see about him.

Michael: That’s a thought. I suppose if Peter wanted it that badly – because then that goes back to the idea of choice – and if he saw or I’m sure he knew the… That’s the other thing too, is we don’t have any history on the Pettigrew family, so we don’t really know anything about where Peter is coming from and his impressions of the Houses. So you’d have to go off of the assumption that he wanted to be in Gryffindor.

Kat: For why nots, I searched the Sorting Hat Chats Tumblr, and they have Peter Pettigrew as a Hufflepuff secondary. Basically, the reason is [that] he doesn’t have to be a community builder. They thrive in or feed off communities that are already built. I dig that. That’s fine, but they also say that he’s not a Slytherin primary, and he’s not a Hufflepuff primary, but he’s a Gryffindor/Hufflepuff, which I still disagree with. [laughs]

Michael: Yeah. The idea of a Hufflepuff… That’s a perfect way to put it, the established community, because of course, the issue, too, is that in his group of friends, there were two very strong personalities who used him as a little bit of a punching bag, and that wasn’t really… Regardless of what he was like before that, it certainly didn’t do him any favors. So if he had perhaps been with a more supportive group of friends… Not to say he couldn’t have found those in Gryffindor, because he could’ve.

Beth: But we know that he specifically chose those kinds of friends because that was what he wanted to be around. And so I think that he would have sought that out anywhere.

Michael: Which is so Slytherin-y.

[Alison, Beth, and Michael laugh]

Kat: It is. It is. Very much indeed.

Alison: All right. Well, let’s move, then, to a couple [of] people in a House that seems to get people like this all the time.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: And before we get to the big one, this… Okay, the House is Ravenclaw, right? And I feel like anyone who’s a professor or is… I don’t know. I feel like on Pottermore we just got these people, and it was like, “I don’t know where to put them. They’re not quite evil or ambitious enough to be a Slytherin, so I’ll put them in Ravenclaw.”

Kat: You trying to call me unambitious? I’m just kidding.

Alison: [laughs] And the first one is Trelawney.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Do we think she’s a Ravenclaw?

Kat: I can honestly say I’ve never even given a thought to Trelawney’s Sorting. Whoops. Is that bad?

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Even her Pottermore backstory didn’t really give her much that wasn’t already assumed by the fandom before about her. I think she fits the oddball aspect that the Ravenclaw welcome letter implies, that they are people who are on the fringes of social groups because they have more intense, focused interests and interests that are maybe outside the realm of [the] everyday. Because even in a magical world, people still find something like divination to be ridiculous.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: It’s funny when you think about the standard for what wizards will find absurd. They’re like, “Oh, yeah, no, flying brooms. That’s fine. Seeing the future? Crazy.”

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: So yeah. For all of her faults with the gift, she at least seemed to be very active in pursuing knowledge and information on it. She knows a lot about divination. She just can’t do it.

Kat: Well, she can’t do it a lot.

Michael: A lot. On purpose. [laughs]

Kat: Right. 98% of the time. 99.5% of the time.

Beth: I know we’re not talking about Lockhart quite yet, but I see a lot of similarities between Trelawney and Lockhart because they both do a lot of hand-wavey, performance…

Kat: You mean how they’re both in Ravenclaw? Right.

Beth: … of how they’re living their lives. What?

Kat: I said, you mean that they’re both in Ravenclaw?

[Beth and Michael laugh]

Beth: I see what you did there.

Kat: [laughs] Sorry, sorry. Finish. Finish, please.

Beth: But I also think that that can be a Slytherin trait, right? Because if that gets you to where you want to be in life, even if it’s not the most honest thing, then that’s what you do because it gets you there.

Michael: Yeah. Well, and isn’t…? I suppose [I] could look it up here, because there really just isn’t that much about her.

Kat: But is Trelawney really doing things to advance herself in any way?

Beth: Why else would she do it?

Michael: [reads]

“Half-believing in her own fibs about her talent (for she is at least ninety per cent fraud)…”

There you go. You got that percentage, Kat.

[Alison and Kat laugh]

Michael: [continues]

“… Sybill has cultivated a dramatic manner and enjoys impressing her more gullible students with predictions of doom and disaster. She is gifted in the fortune teller’s tricks […]. On other occasions, gullible students do her work for her. […] All of Hermione’s logic and good sense […] are lost […]. By the law of averages, Professor Trelawney’s rapid[-]fire predictions sometimes hit the mark, but most of the time she is full of hot air and self-importance.

“Nevertheless, Sybill does experience very rare flashes of genuine clairvoyance.”

And it said she was a bit of a nomad before she got to Hogwarts. She didn’t really have a place within the wizarding world. So I think the most we can gather or [infer] is that, yes, she did devote herself to this. Especially because she’s the great-great-granddaughter of Cassandra Trelawney, who was a genuine Seer. So she probably did devote herself to this pretty strongly.

Kat: And I think anybody who puts that much time into learning a craft, whether they are actually good at it or not… Because Ravenclaws don’t have to be good at something; they just have to be willing to pursue something and learn a lot about it and become an “expert,” so to say. Can you tell I’m setting up an argument here?

[Alison, Beth, and Michael laugh]

Beth: I can tell.

Kat: Trelawney, in that case, is very much a Ravenclaw in the truest sense. Plus, she’s [as] eccentric as they come, and she believes all of those “out-there” things very much, like our beloved Luna. So she is that eccentric, odd duck Ravenclaw that the welcome letter speaks about a little bit as well.

Michael: Like Umbridge, she’s almost tricked herself into thinking she’s doing it right. She believes she is because she’s been doing it wrong for so long, and it’s become her reality. So I think, yeah, a part of it is that she believed it. And in a way, she could have been a great Seer. Or she might have discovered that she wasn’t, and she should have moved on to something else and could have been successful at it. But she took the Slytherin ambition and the Gryffindor showboating and carried it into a different, perhaps less honorable, way of using her talents, or lack thereof.

Beth: I somehow doubt that she was a Ravenclaw, because the way she reacts to Hermione makes it seem like she doesn’t get that kind of treatment very often. And Hermione is very much like, “There is no logic behind what you’re doing. Science cannot prove that what you’re doing makes any sense at all.” And I can see a lot of Ravenclaws having that line of thinking about divination. “Hey, let’s try to science this and understand from a scientific perspective how this works and if there’s any amount of truth behind it.” If Trelawney had been a Ravenclaw, I can see that she might have had a lot of hardship in her House, but the way she reacts to Hermione makes it seem like she isn’t pitted up against that very often.

Alison: Well, I wonder, though, because Ravenclaws, I feel like, are all very split like that. We see that same treatment with Luna, where she just becomes an outcast in her own House. And I feel like that’s almost a thing in all of the Houses. There'[re] at least two very different perspectives on the different traits, and so they end up clashing. And I think in Gryffindor, Slytherin, and Hufflepuff, one has become more dominant over the other. But I get the feeling that Ravenclaw is still very head-to-head of the logic/studiousness versus the eccentric/thinking-off-the-beaten-path thinking. Those things are headbutting so much more than…

Kat: That’s a little black and white, speaking as a Ravenclaw. That’s a little black and white because I don’t fall into either of those categories at all, actually. Maybe I’m 10% of either one of those. But yeah, I do think it is probably the most split. But I think unfortunately that is because of the plot, because we don’t really meet any other Ravenclaws besides Luna.

Alison: Cho.

Michael: That’s what is… Yeah, well…

Kat: Yeah, well, Cho sucks, so…

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: She doesn’t suck, but she’s a difficult example as far as pinning down Ravenclaw because she’s purely in the story through Harry’s perspective. She’s just a pretty girl.

Kat: Right. Plot device.

Michael: He doesn’t really get much information on… Yeah.

Alison: That’s true.

Michael: We don’t get information – a lot of information – on Cho. I think the Ravenclaw welcome letter was what made it so difficult to pin it down because basically, the Ravenclaw welcome letter was like, “Oh, we love oddballs,” and then we find out that Luna is not really very beloved within her House. She’s still considered an odd duck even in Ravenclaw terms, which you would think must have been quite a shock and disappointment for her, thinking that maybe this would be a House that would be a good fit for her. I think for a long time before Luna was introduced the assumption was “Oh yeah, the Ravenclaws are the ones who are the studious ones, the ones who are really good at school, the teacher’s pets types,” and then suddenly, Luna came along and the Ravenclaw common room welcome came along, and suddenly, that got thrown for a loop and Ravenclaws became a little harder to pin down.

Beth: Well, and if you want to talk about characters who are split, Luna has a lot of Hufflepuff in her.

Kat: Oh, Slytherin. Slytherin.

[Beth laughs]

Alison: Uhh, I’d actually say Gryffindor.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Beth: I mean, that’s not mutually exclusive.

[Kat and Michael laugh]

Michael: So before we get into the next big character, because I know there’s a big debate that’s being set up here, I’ll slip in Hermione in the middle here because she’s already been name-dropped a few times. A lot of people in the fandom with the early books questioned why Hermione didn’t end up in Ravenclaw. It was interesting because a lot of things that were questions about Hermione, Rowling heard, and she addressed, most famously the pronunciation of her name.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: But a lot of people wondered why she didn’t end up in Ravenclaw because she does really seem to value learning and logic and smarts. And of course, I believe it’s Terry Boot who asks her, I think, in Order of the Phoenix when she’s showing them the Galleons that she’s put the charm on for Dumbledore’s Army, and he’s…

Kat: You’re right. I do think it is Terry Boot. “Why aren’t you in Ravenclaw?”

Alison: Yeah, it’s one of those three that we get.

Michael: It says, “Why aren’t you in Ravenclaw?” And she’s like, [as Hermione] “Well, the Hat considered it and put me in Gryffindor, and I wanted that.” It’s interesting because she implies that she helped the Hat make the choice, that that was another one of those. Of course as we know from Pottermore, she was an almost Hatstall, and the Hat was debating between Ravenclaw and Gryffindor for her, and she pushed the Hat to put her in Gryffindor. And I think she does mention on the train that she has knowledge of the Houses to some degree.

Alison: Yeah, she says she wants to be in Gryffindor because that was what Dumbledore was in.

Michael: Hmm. And see, that’s interesting, too, of course, because Dumbledore is renown as an academic. And we – of course – would easily agree about his Gryffindor-like traits. He is very active and very brave in a lot of the actions he takes. And of course [with] Dumbledore, you guys already got quite a bit of discussion in about him. But [with] Hermione, I guess the obvious thing to cite is Sorcerer’s Stone, when she recognizes to Harry that there are more important things [than books and cleverness].

Alison: I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that she wants to apply what she learns. Not that Ravenclaws don’t do that, but I think Hermione’s whole purpose in learning is so that she can apply. She can fit into situations. She can help make things better. She says in Deathly Hallows [that] she’s hoping to do some good in the world. Ravenclaws usually, traditionally, a lot of times want just knowledge for the sake of knowledge. They just want to know all these things, but Hermione wants to apply them. She wants to put them into action. She wants to know about everything so she knows how it works and then she can change it or make sure it’s working the way it should work, things like that. So that’s why I think she still fits more into Gryffindor. She wants to take action.

Beth: That is so interesting.

Kat: That sounds like a Ravenclaw to me.

Beth: [laughs] Just because this seems like a Hermione thing to think, I wonder if at the ripe young age of 11, she was already thinking about “I already know that I like to read, and I already know that I’m smart and good at school, and I don’t want that to be the only thing that defines me, and so I also want to prioritize another core value so that I don’t just become the girl with the books.”

Michael: Bingo.

Beth: And the fact that she might…

Michael: Hermione is doing, like, college-level planning for high school.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: She probably is, though.

Michael: She would.

Beth: The thing is, she would probably analyze herself. She totally would at 11.

Michael: Yeah, she would.

Alison: I wonder if some of it, too, has to do with [how] she wanted that camaraderie that really comes with Gryffindor. I wonder if she had heard about that and maybe Ravenclaws she encountered on the train earlier were a little bit more standoffish or by themselves. And I always get the feeling she was very lonely as a kid and so maybe she thought, “Okay, well, maybe I don’t want to be in their House because they all are by themselves, and they seem okay with that, and I want more friends. I want more people…”

Kat: Wouldn’t she consider Slytherin, then? Because Slytherin is said to be the House where you make friends for life.

Alison: I don’t know. I wonder if she would have heard that on the train, though. Because like you said Michael, I feel like she had made up her mind on the train already, and so I guess it would depend on who she met with and talked to on the platform, on the train, in Diagon Alley, who came to talk to her and her parents.

Michael: Well, and remember, too – actually not that far off from Harry – she seems to also already have the stereotypical idea of what each House represents in her head. And if she knew about Slytherin, which she probably did from all her reading, she was probably very put off by that. So I imagine that’s why she would never choose it.

Beth: If she was looking for friendship in Gryffindor, that just makes the beginning of Sorcerer’s Stone to be even more heartbreaking.

Alison: Aww, yeah.

Beth: She’s like, “I thought I was going to be in this House to make friends and everybody hates me.”

Alison and Kat: Aww.

Michael: Well, I think that’s what’s so great about Hermione’s journey as a character is that she does have to discover… And if she made that choice consciously for that reason, that – I think – makes her even more amazing than she already is. It’s one thing to think in theory that you can do this and then to realize in practice that it’s harder than it looks. That is a very typical trait of Hermione. She always thinks she can learn everything from a book. And this is one of those things she can’t. And that’s always something I’ve wondered about. She takes an intense interest in Harry and Ron from the get-go on the train, and it’s not implied that she takes that interest in them because Harry is famous, because she doesn’t value that. Because she keeps pestering them, and they even say, “Why do you keep coming back here?” And she’s like, “I don’t know. Everybody’s being so childish outside.” But there must have been something about Ron and Harry that she found intriguing. But she’s not…

Kat: I mean, I believe that’s right. I think it’s partially because they seem like they’re such good friends. And they’re sitting there eating chocolate together, and they’re laughing and all that. So you’re right, that probably seemed to her like a place she could… this is going to sound bad but wedge herself in there, make a space for herself.

Alison: Yeah. She might have even seen that they were just forming a friendship, and she was like, “Oh, I can jump in on this. Instead of two, maybe there can be three.”

[Michael laughs]

Beth: The three musketeers.

Alison: And it doesn’t quite work out at the beginning. [laughs]

Michael: Well, the other interesting thing with that, though – and I think I’ve checked this before because I found that interesting, but I couldn’t use this in my theorizing – she’s never directly around Harry and Ron in those moments when they’re talking about [which] House they want to be in. She has her little rant to them about where she wants to be, but she’s not with them when they say [which] House they want to be in. And of course, out of the three of them, she’s the first one to be Sorted. So it’s not like she could have purely been basing her choice on picking them as friends because that doesn’t line up with any of that. So it’s hard to say that that’s what she takes into account, but I guess if she valued that camaraderie so much but saw it as a challenge, I suppose you would pick Gryffindor because they have the boldest personalities.

Beth: I see a lot of parallels here between Hermione looking for camaraderie and Lupin. Because…

[Michael laughs]

Beth: Here comes my Lupin.

Michael: Yay!

Beth: [laughs] I feel very similarly about Lupin’s character as I do about Hermione. Reading through the books, I never doubt that the House they are in is where they belong, but we see some very pointed aspects of other Houses in them. We see [Lupin] in a few points of very clear cowardice throughout the books. And we also see him really valuing his friends over doing the right thing all the time. And as a prefect, he never really disciplined his friends because he valued their friendship more. And so I don’t think he’s not a Gryffindor, but I think that there are some interesting non-Gryffindor things about him.

Alison: See, I don’t know if I would call what he does cowardice. I feel like it’s more of nobility that goes off in a crazy direction, which is a very Gryffindor thing to do. I mean, he tries to avoid people. He tries to avoid Tonks. He leaves Hogwarts. He’s like, “I am a danger, and so in order to make sure no one else is in danger, I will leave. I will take myself out of the situation. I will nobly give up my own happiness so that everyone else can be okay.”

Michael: Yeah, I think that’s what makes Lupin’s choices and his behavior so layered and complicated. Because piggybacking off of what you just said, Alison, the factor that comes in with Lupin’s behavior is that he has so much more to lose than the average individual by taking “the right path” or doing the right thing. And like you’re saying, Alison, he sees things in absolutes, which is not necessarily healthy because his view with James and Sirius is “Oh, if I ever try to put them in line or talk back to them, I lose their friendship, and then I lose all friendship.”

Beth: That’s so heartbreaking.

Michael: Yeah. It’s really awful because the thing is [that] Lupin does these actions, but he does have so much to lose, so it’s hard. Cowardice is such a tough one to say with him, and it always risks getting into shaky territory with him. Because I had a conversation once at LeakyCon with a fan who told me that Remus Lupin was her least favorite character. She hated him and the choices that he made, and she didn’t think he was a Gryffindor at all. I was like, “Wow, that’s an interesting idea.” And it really was all based on what he does to Tonks and things like that. So that’s a tough one for me. Lupin has an extra personal affliction that makes his choices a little more difficult to judge for me, personally. Yeah, Lupin already got a full episode, and who knows, he might get another one again. I’m all about the Lupin love.

Kat: All about the Lupin love.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: You know what I’m all about? Lockhart is a Ravenclaw.

[Alison and Beth laugh]

Kat: It’s time, right? Can we finally talk about that?

Alison: Do it. Do it.

Beth: Yep, go ahead. Say your thing, and I’ll definitely refute it.

Kat: What is this? Opening statements? So I get two minutes or something?

Beth: Yeah.

[Alison laughs]

Kat: Okay. I don’t need that long because I’ve already been setting this up for a really long time. Basically what it comes down to with Lockhart for me is that he spent a lot of time – years and years and years and years and years and years and years – studying up and becoming an expert at the thing that he does. And that is what Ravenclaws do. They study, and they learn for the sake of knowledge. And to dispute what Alison said before about Hermione [being] in Gryffindor because she wants to put things into action, I truly believe that Ravenclaws do that as well. Speaking as a Ravenclaw, I learned to put things in action, and Gryffindor is the last House I think I would ever fit myself into. Oh, maybe if we have a few minutes, we can Sort each other. Anyway…

[Alison and Beth laugh]

Kat: But I think that is part of the reason why Lockhart is wholeheartedly a Ravenclaw for me. And if we’re looking at the Slytherin House under the guise of what we know about it in the Harry Potter series… because we don’t know a whole lot of Lockhart. Well, we know a little bit about Lockhart outside of the series, but mostly what we see of him is the life that Harry knows: the fact that he was traveling and he did a bunch of Memory Charms on people and stole their stuff. Okay. That ambition and all of that is absolutely a Ravenclaw trait – again, speaking as a Ravenclaw. But he is not doing anything for a harmful reason, and I think that that’s where the big difference comes in for me. Slytherins – and the welcome letter says this if you read it – aren’t afraid to step over other people to get where they need to be. And sure, Lockhart does do that, but he’s not harming anybody necessarily in the process. He’s not killing anybody or maiming anybody.

Beth: Yes, he is.

[Beth and Michael laugh]

Kat: Yes, but he’s taking their memories…

Beth: I tried to let you finish, but I couldn’t do it.

[Beth and Michael laugh]

Kat: He’s taking their memories, but he’s not necessarily harming them in any way. They are going to walk away from that experience, and they are going to be probably pretty close to the same person. And it doesn’t also necessarily say… and I’m trying to remember exactly. Lockhart modifies them or does he Obliviate them?

Alison: He Obliviates them. I’m pretty sure he wipes the whole thing from their memory.

Kat: Right, okay. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t know. It’s not exactly an ethical thing to do, but I don’t think that that makes him a Slytherin in any way because a Slytherin would have different motivations for doing what he’s doing.

Beth: Okay, so [I] 100% disagree with everything you just said.

[Beth and Michael laugh]

Beth: You said that he is seeking knowledge just to have knowledge, and I don’t think that that’s the case at all. I don’t think he cares one bit about any of the things he writes about. I don’t think he cares at all about having the knowledge about any of the things he writes about. And I don’t think he cares at all about the actual knowledge of knowing how to Obliviate people well. I think that’s just a tool to get him what he wants, which is fame and popularity. And he does every single thing he does just to obtain more fame and popularity, which is basically the dictionary definition of a Slytherin: to do things for ambition and to be willing to do things that are unethical in order to get where you want to be in life. And for sure, stealing other people’s work and then – and I’ll get to this in a second – harming them in the process is, for sure, unethical and then does get him where he wants to be until someone discovers what he’s done. And I do think that what he does to the people he Obliviates is harming them because they put so much of themselves into their work. And [with] people who are like that, it’s so hard to separate who they are from what they’re researching or what they’re pursuing or whatever that is. And Lockhart completely takes that away from them, which I think completely takes a chunk of who they are away from them. And never mind just removing all of that effort that they spent and making it not worth anything, but he also changes who they are in doing that, and especially doing that without their consent is just so gross and wrong and unethical and everything about that speaks Slytherin.

Kat: Okay, so a quick follow-up.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: So you’re saying… And then we will let Alison and Michael actually…

[Beth and Kat laugh]

Michael: We need those bells that they have in those wrestling rings.

Kat: Yeah, we really do. But so you were saying how people who research things and put all of themselves into that and it’s a part of them, isn’t that exactly what Lockhart is doing? If those people are researching things and diving deep into something and that’s a huge part of who they are and you would assume that those people are people who are searching for knowledge for knowledge’s [sake], so probably, isn’t that exactly what Lockhart is doing but with something that is a little bit icky? Not a little icky but icky…

Beth: No! They…

Kat: … and very Ravenclaw. And I want to say, first off, too, that I don’t think Lockhart is a good person, so I don’t want anyone out there sending me hate mail being like, “Oh my God! I can’t believe you support Lockhart. Blah, blah, blah.” I don’t. I think he’s a terrible, icky person, but he’s definitely Ravenclaw.

[Michael laughs]

Beth: I think that, for sure, probably the people [whom] he is stealing from are likely to be Ravenclaws or have Ravenclaw traits. But Lockhart doesn’t want their knowledge to know it. He doesn’t care about that. He just cares about being able to publish a book about that knowledge so that he can be famous and people can know who he is and think that he’s super smart. He doesn’t care about the actual knowledge. He just wants people to think that he is smart and think that he has the knowledge.

Kat: But isn’t he super smart?

Beth: There’s not a lot of proof for that.

Kat: I don’t know.

Alison: I think he might be book smart, but he doesn’t know how to apply it. And that’s why – I’ll just jump in here – I think he was a Ravenclaw as a kid. I feel like he could have been even a Ravenclaw-Slytherin split or pretty close. And maybe as a kid, he thought, “Yes, I can study. I can figure this out, and I’ll make something of myself that way.” But he got lazy. So he basically has no Hufflepuff. And when things weren’t working out and he couldn’t get what he wanted, that fame, that attention, through his own work or his own intelligence, he decided to say, “Okay, I’m going to focus all my energy, then, into the one thing that will get me what I want.”

Michael: Well, okay. So Pottermore answers a few of these questions, as far as Lockhart’s behavior at school and his studiousness. The basic summary is that Lockhart, because of the way he was raised… He was the only magical child in his family and he had two sisters. His mother favorited him because he was magical, and he went to Hogwarts thinking he was basically going to be Harry, which would explain a lot about how he behaves around Harry in Chamber. But he expected to basically be special at Hogwarts, and then, of course, he got there, and he was like, “Oh, shoot. Everybody else is a witch and wizard. So I’m actually not unique in that way.” But it says here, “This is not to say that Lockhart had no talent. Indeed, his teachers felt that he was of above-average intelligence and ability, and that, with hard work, he might make something of himself, even if he fell short of the ambitions he shared freely with classmates. […] Sorted into Ravenclaw house, Lockhart was soon achieving good marks in his schoolwork, but there was always a kink in his nature that made him increasingly unsatisfied. If he was not first and best, he would rather not participate at all. Increasingly, he directed his talents towards shortcuts and dodges. He valued learning not for its own sake, but for the attention it brought him. He craved prizes and awards. He lobbied the Headmaster to start a school newsletter, because he liked nothing more than to see his name and photograph in print.”

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: I win.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Michael: Like Alison said, he had the potential to be a true, proper Ravenclaw, a Ravenclaw with good ideals and morals, but he lost that along the way.

Kat: Sorry, I still think that he’s a…

[Michael laughs]

Kat: I still think that…

[Alison laughs]

Kat: No, he’s a Ravenclaw through and through because you need to have everything that he does. You need to have the smarts and all of the other things that Lockhart possesses. Aside from, like I said, the ickiness of what he’s actually doing, if you put anything else in there… Oh gosh, I can’t even think. This makes me sound like I’m losing my argument because I can’t think of an example.

[Michael laughs]

Kat: If you substituted any other type of magic in there, you would say, “Oh my God, he is a genius. He’s so good at what he’s doing. He’s an expert in his field.”

Alison: Well, I don’t think…

Kat: I mean, that is saying…

Alison: I don’t think we’re saying that he’s not a Ravenclaw. He’s just not a good…

Kat: Oh, I think about the same. He’s not a Ravenclaw. [laughs]

Alison: Well, I’m saying he’s mostly a Ravenclaw. He’s just a Ravenclaw who lost his way and decided to make bad decisions.

Kat: Oh, I’m not arguing with that one whatsoever, but I don’t think he was mis-Sorted in any way.

Beth: I can get behind that maybe at one point in time he valued learning for the sake of bettering himself even if the reason why he wanted to better himself was so that other people would know that he was better. The fact that he was so willing to let that go and not care about any of that and only hone in on one particular skill that [is] such a narrow skill – there’s very little depth – yeah, you can get better at Obliviating people but really, how much better can you get? And I can’t imagine someone who is that willing to drop the wanting to learn for the sake of having knowledge, that that could be anyone other than a Slytherin. He just wants to do what is necessary to be well-known and liked.

Kat: I get that, and I hear what you’re saying, but…

Michael: [laughs] Beth needs to come back when we do a Lockhart episode.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: I guess so, yeah. [sighs] And I am a lot of things that Lockhart is. I am a lot of things that he is. I am incredibly ambitious, and I like learning for the sake of learning. I like learning for the sake of implementing things, and – I’m not going to lie – I like getting attention from time to time, and I feel like that’s something that Ravenclaws are okay with as well, and it says in the welcome letter, “We are the best House.” And granted, maybe a few of the others say that, but we are the smartest, we are the best, we are the top of the line, we are basically the Mercedes-Benz at Hogwarts, is what that House is saying. And I don’t think that being boastful and being ambitious and being somebody who is prideful is only a Slytherin trait, and I think the fact that Lockhart is not a terrible character – he’s very unethical and he is a giant jerk, but he is only hurting himself in the end – for me, I guess, places him in Ravenclaw because they’re all going to hate me, but Slytherins, the Slytherins we know in the series, don’t do things for nice reasons. And we don’t have any examples of Slytherins doing things for nice reasons.

Beth: I think him not hurting anybody but himself is the fundamental place where we disagree, because I think he is harming all of the people [whom] he is stealing from, and I also think that stealing knowledge is the most un-Ravenclaw you could be. So I think that’s where I’m coming from.

Kat: But what if those are really bad…? So let’s pretend that one of these people [whom] he went and visited was in a psych ward and this experience that they had with the yeti was the worst thing that they’ve ever experienced in their life, and they’ve been in a psych ward for three years; they’ve been at St. Mungo’s. Lockhart comes and removes that memory. Is that hurting them? That’s helping them.

Beth: That’s a really big “what if.”

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: It is a big “what if,” but we don’t know that isn’t what happened.

Alison: That’s a really complicated situation, though, I think, too because…

Kat: Of course it is. And again, I’m not saying that’s what he did, and I’m not saying that that’s okay if he did that – obviously, it is not – but there are definitely times [when] Lockhart doing that to somebody doesn’t mean that he’s making their life worse.

Michael: Yeah, but I think we got confirmation that he did do that, and in a way, that made their life worse, because Dumbledore actually went and talked to all of these people…

Kat: I’m sure that there are several people who really ended up in the worst place possible in their life because of Lockhart, and again, not saying he’s a good person in any way, shape, or form, but all the bad people don’t have to end up in Slytherin. Ravenclaw can have bad people too.

Beth: I will give you the fact that he was able to perpetuate this lie for so long and have so many people believe him, or even people who were skeptical decide to not care that he might be a sleazy person. To his credit, that is quite smart to be able to pull that off, so…

Kat: Well, I guess we’ll have to see what our listeners think on this. I have a feeling that if they’re actually able to comment, there’s going to be quite a lot of comments surrounding Lockhart. He’s been a big center of the Sorting debates for many, many, many, many years, and I don’t think that will ever change, so…

Beth: I don’t think I realized quite how passionately I felt about this…

[Everyone laughs]

Beth: … until we started talking about it!

Kat: And what’s funny, too, though, is that Jo has said that Lockhart is the only person who is based off somebody in her life, and it was somebody who was so unpleasant and [whom you] basically didn’t want to deal with and whatever, I’m surprised because of what we know about the Slytherins in the series that he didn’t end up in Slytherin just because of Jo’s reasoning, which is something I’ve thought about as well. She tends to put people she doesn’t like in Slytherin because she doesn’t like them.

[Beth laughs]

Kat: Obviously, there are exceptions. Don’t start screaming at me, Snape people. There are exceptions. I’m just saying.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Well, speaking of which House people should go in, we’re just going to do a quick rapid-fire of a few characters that I went through. I went through all the characters on the Lexicon and decided who was probably important to the story that we have no clue [which] House they’re in. But I cut it down a little bit. So the first one is… and we can do this a little bit more rapid-fire but Aberforth. [Which] House do we think he was in and why?

Kat: Ravenclaw.

Alison: Why?

Kat: Because as far as I know, he’s very gifted, and I equate him as a less whimsical-type of his brother, a more serious and uptake guy and therefore, a Ravenclaw for me.

Michael: Hufflepuff because he has natural caretaking tendencies.

Kat: Aww, that’s cute.

Beth: I was also going to say Hufflepuff. Yeah.

Alison: I was going to say that too because he says he wasn’t very good at school, but all he really cared about was taking care of his sister [and] taking care of his family.

Kat: You can be not good at school and be in Ravenclaw.

Michael: Yeah, but you could easily argue that too because the thing is he was very talented at taking care of Ariana, which was unusual for… It takes a very special kind of talent to work with individuals with disabilities, so in that way, he might be a Ravenclaw who doesn’t recognize his Ravenclaw-ness and is also, in many ways… He’s a Gryffindor in that way because it was very brave of him to do what he did.

Beth: Yeah. I think his fierce protectiveness points to Hufflepuff.

Kat: I guess we’ll probably find out more about Aberforth in hopefully, maybe, Fantastic Beasts.

Beth: Oh, yes, please!

Alison: Yeah!

Kat: That would be cool.

Beth: So great.

Alison: Bring him in. That would be awesome. The other one Potter-wise that I thought of was Rita Skeeter. And I think there’s pretty much a split, and I couldn’t find anything where it was confirmed: Is she a Ravenclaw or a Slytherin?

Beth: I feel the same way about her as I do about Lockhart, so we might steer this one too. [laughs]

Kat: Slytherin.

Beth: Really?

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Beth: Now I’m so perplexed.

Kat: [laughs] Yeah, Slytherin.

Michael: Why?

Kat: For a lot of the same reasons that I believe Beth thinks that Lockhart is in Slytherin. But also, Rita is out there with it. She is bold and she is honest and she is upfront with her deception. And I think that putting that out there and admitting that to yourself and allowing yourself to be that person 100% personal and private life is a Slytherin trait. You’re being true to yourself and real.

Alison: Yeah, I’ll take that, because I think her… She’s got cunning. She’s got the cunning side of Slytherin where she’ll do whatever it takes to get what she wants.

Beth: Yeah, I agree.

Kat: And for goodness’ sake, her Animagus is a beetle so she can listen in on conversations.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: That is the ultimate Slytherin thing right there. Just saying.

Michael: Yes, I hate to do it almost because it’s too easy and stereotypical, but I think the reasoning behind it is correct, is that she is very upfront in her ambition, and she has no qualms about hiding it, and in fact, by being by being straightforward about it, she gets away with it more. She says exactly what she’s going to do, and then she does it. So…

Beth: The scene from Chamber of Secrets, the movie, where Malfoy picks up the little box and is like, “Is this yours?” and then pockets it, for some reason, I can totally picture Rita Skeeter doing the exact same thing.

Kat: For sure. 1,000%.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: Yep. Yep. Okay, so it seems like we’ve got a consensus on that. Just for fun, to wrap it up because I’ve been thinking about it a lot: the Goldstein sisters, Tina and Queenie. What do you guys think? Hogwarts and Ilvermorny. I’m curious.

Kat: Well, I do not know or care enough about the Ilvermorny Houses to make a guess. But I am going to put Queenie in Ravenclaw and Tina… I think I’m going to say – I am sad to say – she’s probably a Gryffindor. Maybe a Ravenclaw, but I don’t think she fits in Slytherin. I do not think she fits in [Huffle]puff. If anything, if you had to go with the family connection, I would stick them both in Ravenclaw.

Beth: I can see Gryffindor for Tina.

Kat: Yeah. I don’t want her to be in Gryffindor…

[Beth laughs]

Kat: … because it is super stereotypical. But I think that is where she fits best for me [from] the little bit that we know about her and also if you contrast her to Newt and the things that they would find attractive in each other. I think Hufflepuffs and Gryffindors are complementary in that way, in a loving relationship.

Beth: Are we staying spolier free?

Kat: Spoiler alert. They are married. But everybody knows that already.

Alison: [laughs] Is that even a spoiler now? I feel like…

Kat: I don’t know. For Pottermore, apparently, it is. But…

Beth: Are we staying spoiler free here?

Kat: No. We’re fine.

Beth: Okay. I mean, I think the stuff with Tina and Credence just is so Gryffindor.

Alison: Yeah. I’d put Tina in Gryffindor, but I think I’d put Queenie in Hufflepuff because – spoiler alert – that conversation she has with Newt about “you need a giver, not a taker” seems like something that…

Beth: Ahh. So Hufflepuff.

Kat: She’s talking about her sister. She’s not giving any actual, personal advice. I think she’s just reading what happened between Newt and “blank” and feeding off of that. I don’t think she’s actually giving that opinion.

Alison: I think she is.

Michael: I think that skews toward what Alison’s argument is because Queenie seems to actively utilize her Legilimency in a caretaking mode. She doesn’t really use it for personal advantage. There is an implication that she maybe did in the past because Tina warns her…

Kat: Abernathy. When she is leaving MACUSA, she uses that to her advantage.

Alison: But that’s not necessarily for her benefit. She’s trying to get the rest of them out because they’re in the case.

Michael: Yeah. She’s in a life-or-death situation.

Kat: But she’s still using it in a very different way, not necessarily at first in that manner. She’s using it in a deceptive way, which is the difference between caretaking and using it [for her] advantage.

Alison: Well, then that would almost make her a Slytherin.

Michael: Hmm. Yeah. I don’t think so personally because [of] the way that the movie characterizes her. And unfortunately, I don’t think the movie does enough with her. I would’ve loved more scenes with Queenie and Tina, but [with] what we do see, Queenie – especially between the two of them – is very soft-edged and almost naïve to a certain point. But at the same time, she jumps into action really on point. She’ll take a risk if she has to, but she’s doing it all for good reasons. That goes across a lot of Houses. In that way, she fits into Ravenclaw, she fits into Hufflepuff, and she fits into Gryffindor.

Beth: Well, I think that’s a good segue into talking about her Ilvermorny House because we know that Ilvermorny doesn’t match up quite right with Hogwarts. But I think Queenie is hands-down Pukwudgie, which is the heart House.

Alison: Oh, 100%. No doubt.

Kat: I think we asked the girls at our UK roundtable during press week for Fantastic Beasts, and they don’t actually know which Houses the Goldstein sisters are in, so that seems like information that J.K. Rowling has not given them, which I thought [was] very interesting.

Alison: Yeah. I think Queenie is 100% a Pukwudgie, but what about Tina?

Beth: I have no idea.

Alison: I’m split.

Michael: Well, okay. Because, again, I almost think we don’t know enough about her to fully say. Because we don’t really know much about her history prior to the movie. [sighs] I do not think she’s a Pukwudgie. She has a caretaking aspect, but I don’t think that is her prominent one. I think that’s something she discovers.

Kat: Which is which? Can you remind me? I’m a terrible Ravenclaw.

Alison: Pukwudgie is heart, Horned Serpent is mind, Wampus is body, and Thunderbird is soul.

Beth: Thunderbird.

Alison: Yeah, that’s what I tend to think.

Michael: Yeah. I’d say somewhere between Thunderbird and a Wampus.

Kat: Yeah. That’s where I’m headed too, not that I care at all.

[Beth laughs]

Alison: I do lean more toward Thunderbird because of the last scene between her and Newt. [It’s] spoily, but the way she reacts to him not coming back suggests to me she’s so happy about it because he’s promised to come back later and that they’ll have more adventures, and she seems very, very excited about that promise and that prospect, which is a very Thunderbird thing, that adventurous soul.

Kat: She does not seem like the kind of person who gives herself away very easily is [how] that comes across to me. That’s why I think probably one of those two things: Thunderbird or Wampus.

Michael: Isn’t that so great if she is a Thunderbird? Because that’s one of Newt’s most precious animals. It’s a big focus of the first movie. Wouldn’t that just be perfect?

Alison: Aww. They ride off on Frank at the end.

[Alison, Beth, and Michael laugh]

Michael: Well, I agree with you, Alison. There is a little bit of a thirst for adventure in her, especially because the movie implies that she is seeking out anything she can to get [herself] back in an Auror position and to get [herself] on the good side of [Seraphina] Picquery. So…

Kat: Listen. She is Harry with significantly better judgment.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: I could see that.

Alison: Yeah. Actually, yeah.

Kat: She does a lot of things for the same reasons that Harry would do them. For his friends/her friends and the people [whom] they are with.

Michael: Yeah. Based on what we know, I would maybe lean more toward Thunderbird because I feel like, as warriors, Wampuses might go out looking for a little conflict more. And I don’t think she goes looking for conflict, but I think the movie does imply that she was seeking more out of her life than where she was at by the time Newt came to New York. So…

Kat: Well, she’s going to get four movies to do it.

[Michael laughs]

Alison: Yay. [laughs]

Michael: She got what she wanted. Good job, Tina.

Kat: And then she gets to settle down and live a happy life.

Beth: Guys, I can’t wait.

[Alison, Beth, and Michael laugh]

Kat: You’ve only got just under two years, so buckle up.

[Beth laughs]

Michael: And yay, Newt is a Hufflepuff. We have a whole franchise for Hufflepuffs.

Alison: The most huffley-puffle Hufflepuff in the whole world! He’s wonderful.

Michael: That ever huffed and puffed. That’s nice.

[Alison laughs]

Michael: Which is funny, and I guess we’re looking to wrap up soon, but I’m sure this is something they are discussing or will be discussing on SpeakBeasty, but the funny thing about Newt is that he’s very introverted and on the fringes and in a way, would fit really well in Ravenclaw by the definition that we’ve talked about.

Kat: Except he’s not a particularly accomplished wizard. I have an entire article coming out about that on MuggleNet, so stay tuned.

Beth: Ooh, [I’m] looking forward to that.

Michael: So many things and so many more movies to learn about him. But it’s interesting because it seems that Rowling has chosen his character arc to actually be about learning to have interpersonal skills. He hasn’t completely finished learning that. I think he’s at a good spot, but he’s still got a lot to learn. So that’ll be interesting to see a Hufflepuff who learns to be more friendly. But as I think we’ve established through this episode, Sorting is so much more complicated.

[Everyone laughs]

Alison: It is complicated.

Michael: You really can’t pin it down. I would argue that’s what [Rowling] wanted us to leave Harry Potter with, was not thinking that it was so easy.

Beth: People aren’t just one thing, and I think that’s the point.

Kat: It’s hard to look at anybody’s personality and not bring in your own bias and your own thoughts and opinions on their actions and the things that they believe and they say and they do. That’s why we have a Sorting Hat, because [it’s] impartial and unbiased.

Alison: Well, also, there’s the idea [that] people can seem like one thing, but in different situations, they can end up doing something else. It’s that idea of choice. And with that, I guess that wraps up our discussion on Sortings. We’re going to probably have to have another one to talk about Sorting in real life and fandom and all of those good things.

Michael: We’re going to have to have a Part 2. Because we know, listeners, too, that ever since the Ilvermorny stuff, you’ve really wanted to talk more about Ilvermorny and how it matches up to Hogwarts. And I know we had planned to get to that, but hopefully, we’ll find room elsewhere. We might have to do a more Ilvermorny-centric episode for that, I think.

Kat: I think so. Maybe we should go back to weekly. Just kidding.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: That was so much work. Our editors would murder us.

Michael: Ain’t nobody got time for that. But we do want to thank our guest, Beth, for having the time for that this week.

Beth: Thank you so much for having me. This was a blast.

Alison: Thanks for coming.

Kat: Thank you for being a worthy opponent, my friend.

[Beth and Michael laugh]

Beth: Thank you very much. That’s a high honor.

Kat: I love discussions like this – and the ones that we have very often here on Alohomora! – where you can have a respectful conversation with somebody about something that you totally disagree with and then still love each other possibly even more than you did before. So thank you.

Beth: So wonderful.

Michael: See, this is why, if we were all at Hogwarts, we would all have to be in all of the extracurricular, after-class stuff.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: So that we could all talk to each other outside of our Houses.

Kat: We would be running the clubs. We would be running the clubs.

[Alison, Beth, and Michael laugh]

Michael: Most definitely.

Kat: Story time with Michael in the Hufflepuff common room.

[Michael laughs]

Beth: Oh my God, I’m so there.

[Everyone laughs]

Kat: I would be there in a heartbeat. Speaking of things with heartbeats, we wanted to let you guys know that our next topic is a really fun one.

Alison: [laughs] That was a good segue.

Kat: And it is going to be Horcruxes. [evil laughter]

[Alison and Michael make sounds of disgust]

Kat: So be sure to stay tuned, and hopefully, you will have a website up very soon where you can go […] do all those lovely comments for that episode. And don’t forget, you can always, always, always send us an audioBoom. So if you have a thought about Horcruxes and you’re like, “Oh my God, I’m dying for them to talk about this,” audioBoom it over to us. We’ll play it on the show and talk about it, so that’ll be fun. So be sure to join us, please, for Episode 209.

Alison: If you have something to say about Horcruxes or you want to join us in our discussions, you want to come be a guest, go ahead and shoot us an email, since our topic submit page is down, at alohomorapodcast@gmail.com. If you want to come be a guest host with us, that’s awesome. We need your input too. All you need is a basic set of headphones with a microphone and you’re all set. And don’t forget to submit those topics as well. We are starting to put together what topics we’re going to start talking about in the new year, and we want to know what you want to hear us talk about and what you want to come join us in talking about.

Michael: And don’t forget, when you submit those topics, let us know if you want to be on that episode. We get a lot of topic submissions [that] you want us to talk about, but we don’t know if you want to be on. And if we have people who let us know preferences, we might be able to get you on for that topic.

Kat: Exactly. Or if you don’t want to be on it, that’s okay too. Just let us know and we just will never, ever email you ever again, which is fine.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Well, that’s good because we have other ways to get in touch with them, right?

Kat: We do, absolutely. You can find us on Twitter at @AlohomoraMN, [on Facebook at] facebook.com/openthedumbledore, [on] our website, which is currently down but hopefully will be back up very soon, alohomorapodcast.com, and as we mentioned, audioBoom. You can head over to audioboom.com/channel/alohomora. You can go there and leave us an audioBoom about anything. It can be a topic submission. It can be a recap comment. Perhaps you want to leave something about Dumbledore or if you agree with me that Lockhart is totally a Ravenclaw.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Kat: Or I guess if he’s a Slytherin, I guess you can send that in too, then. Or if you have a question about a future episode [like] Horcruxes or you want to be on the show, send us an audioBoom about quite literally anything. If it’s a question or comment and we want to play it on the show, please keep it under 60 seconds so we can do so.

Beth: And even though the site is down, you can still log in to your Disqus account and talk to each other about it.

Kat: Right, for sure. If you click on the “Discussions” tab at the top, that will be for past episodes, not for future ones, until we can get those back up on the website. So keep that in mind. Thank you, Beth.

Beth: You’re welcome.

Michael: If you really want to throw a wrench in things, you should send in an audioBoom about why Gilderoy Lockhart is a Hufflepuff.

[Everyone laughs]

Michael: Just to screw with us.

[Alison, Beth, and Michael laugh]

Michael: But we also want to make sure [to] remind you one more time about our Patreon. We want to make sure [to] thank, once again, Willow Midulla for sponsoring this very wonderful Sorting episode that you, the listeners, have been hoping for. You can sponsor us at patreon.com/alohomora for as low as $1 a month. And it’s because of you guys that we can do these topic episodes, that we can provide extra content such as… As we mentioned at the top of the show, for certain donations, I am able to read aloud to you guys. We haven’t forgotten the video gaming. It’s in [progess], we swear. I just need a new graphics card. It’ll happen. [laughs] All kinds of neat perks. And you guys are what is going to help ensure that the Alohomora! website comes back on our new server. That’s what Patreon helps with. A lot of different things you guys are helping us out with. So again, patreon.com/alohomora. But for now, we’ve been Sorted, so I guess it’s time to head up to the dormitory. So I’m Michael Harle.

Alison: I’m Alison Siggard.

Kat: And I’m Kat Miller.

[Show music begins]

Kat: Thank you for listening to Episode 208 of Alohomora!

Michael: [as the Sorting Hat] Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Slytherin, Gryffindor. Discover them all when you open the Dumbledore!

[Show music continues]

Kat: Awesome! I’m sure everything you said was just super cool, but we couldn’t hear it.

[Alison and Michael laugh]

Alison: We didn’t hear a thing you said.

Michael: Did all I say was [indistinct blabbering]?