Indeed, old Sorting Hat — I do have a bee in my bonnet.
In these past two weeks, J.K. Rowling has released an entirely new Sorting test on her Harry Potter world-supplemental site, Pottermore. The site originally went live four years ago in April 14, 2012. Two years later however, it was announced that Pottermore would be ending its relationship with Sony (its original partner), and would later undergo creative and commercial changes as a result.
September 22, 2015 saw the beginning of Pottermore’s new, fresh-faced chapter, and on January 28, 2016, the updated Wand Selection and Sorting Test went live.
Back during the original site launch, I signed up during the beta registration period and placed myself on every existing email notification list. In April 2012, I excitedly made my way through Diagon Alley to purchase my wand (an 11-inch, Alder Wood wand with a phoenix feather core and slightly springy flexibility) and anticipated my Sorting.
If I’m completely honest though, even my excitement couldn’t mask the fact that the Sorting quiz was pointing in predictable directions. It was fairly simple to direct yourself into a particular house since most of the questions and answers could be linked back to the well-known stereotypes of each of the four Houses. All the same, I answered it honestly.
If you’ve read my About Me page, you already know where this is going:
After the site relaunched, it offered you the chance to resort yourself or simply keep your original House and wand. Me (in a moment of surprisingly lucid foresight) provided them with a different email than the one linked to my original account and asked them to re-Sort me.
This time around, the quiz was genuinely well-crafted. Knowing Rowling, each question and combination of answers would undoubtedly lead back to a certain House, but the correlation was far less obvious. It was impossible to not answer truthfully this time. But since I’m writing about this, you probably know what’s coming next.
You can only imagine my surprise when that old Hat yelled:
No, I swear I haven’t got any allegiance to Voldemort (you can check my left forearm).
Even before Pottermore was released, I had always felt a particular allegiance to Ravenclaw. Every kid between 11 and 17 wants to be in Gryffindor with Harry and his family and friends, but once you pass 17 and you realize that that letter with green ink is never going to make it to you, owl post or not, you start picking your own House. And I had always, always been in Ravenclaw.
There was a part of me that wanted to abhor being in Slytherin, given its associations with the Dark Arts and all the villains of the series. But because I am a mature, 22-year-old adult who is twice the age of any proper Hogwarts student who’s meant to be Sorted, I’ve come to terms with this re-Sorting.
There’s nothing wrong with being considered “ambitious,” “resourceful,” and “determined.” They aren’t bad traits to have, and in fact, I think most people would argue that they’re good traits. But regardless of their quality, these are all traits within each and every one of us. When faced with the right obstacles, we are all incredibly ambitious, resourceful, and determined because we so dearly want to succeed.
As for being “cunning” and “shrewd?” My good ole’ friend, the Oxford English Dictionary, tells me that to denotatively be “cunning” actually means to possess knowledge and expertise. It’s a bit harder to Weasel myself out of “shrewd,” but even then — it will now be a trait that I aim to keep in check at all times.
At the end of the day though, really, I’m not about to espouse complaints about my House. It’s already a privilege enough to be a part of this eternally engaging, continuously growing, undeniably wonderful world (Many, many thanks, J.K. Rowling) through literature and online mediums. My 22-year-old self (and all my other past and future selves) will always be grateful to have this world to which I can always return Home.