So I’ve been taking a class called ‘Interpersonal Communication,’ which is basically where you learn about different relationships and how to communicate effectively in them. Recently we’ve been talking about the self, and how personal identity works.
And it got me thinking.
I wanted so bad to speak up about Hogwarts houses and how they have become such an interesting way to identify ourselves. But seeing as I don’t think many of my classmates are really into Harry Potter, and that I don’t know if my professor would take me seriously, I thought I would talk to you all about it.
So I suppose I’ll talk about my own experience with Hogwarts houses. My entire life, I identified as a Ravenclaw; it was what everyone I knew told me I was, and I thought it was pretty cool, so I though okay. I’m a Ravenclaw. And when the new Pottermore went up, I expected that. Ravenclaw. But nope. I took the quiz two or three more times, because I didn’t believe the site, but every time it came up with Slytherin.
I had a bit of a mini identity crisis. And I wondered why. Why am I so concerned with this fictional quiz that some person wrote about a fictional world? And I don’t know the answer. But I really love thinking about it.
I mean, once I thought about it, I had to admit, what was so bad about being a Slytherin? (Well, I mean, yeah, the darkest wizard of all time was in Slytherin, but that’s besides the point). Slytherins value cunning, passion and ambition, and those are great things to aspire to be. We’re competitive, and we know what we want and go for it without worrying about what other people will think. And yes, admittedly, there are downfalls. There’s a reason a lot of evil wizards come out of Slytherin; if left unchecked, ambition can become power-hungry. But I like to think that a lot of creative people are Slytherins, because it’s our passion that fuels our ambition to express our minds and ideas with the world.
(I found that gif, and I thought it was absolutely amazing. I sometimes think about what it might have been like had Harry been in Slytherin)
That brings me to the topic of why we are (or at least I am) so attached to this kind of identity, so much so that I think of it as a real part of who I am that I’m proud of. And yes, I do ask all my friends what house they’re in. I’ve had so many conversations with them about how they feel connected to their house, or if there are things that they don’t think apply to them personally that’s on the Pottermore outline for their house. I know many a Hufflepuff that aren’t necessarily the softest people on the outside, and I’ve met Gryffindors that prefer living life behind the scenes rather than in the spotlight. So what makes us cling to these identities?
I think part of it is the connection to the books/movies, obviously. We wish to be a part of these worlds, so we’ve taken on the shoes of our favorite characters, imagining ourselves in their place.
But I think part of it is also the sense of community we feel when Potter fans talk about…well, Potter. When I connect with someone over Harry Potter, I feel as though I’ve made an instant friend, found a kindred spirit in the world. And the great thing about Harry Potter is that it is so widely read and watched that I don’t even have to ask someone, “Wait, you do know what Harry Potter is?” And the identifying with Hogwarts houses adds another layer to it; I can feel that connection with a person, and then when they tell me their house I can instantly know a bit about them. If they’re a Gryffindor I know that they could be really loyal friends, or if they’re a Ravenclaw I might guess that they like learning. (Or if they’re in my house, they’re likely misunderstood, cough cough.)
There’s something magical in and of itself associated with Hogwarts houses. When I say that I’m a proud Slytherin, it means more than that’s the house I might be sorted into if I had gotten my letter back when I was eleven (I’m still mad at your poor international postal services Hogwarts, by the way). When I say that I’m a Slytherin, it means that I’m passionate, I’m not afraid to express who I am, and even if I may be part of a misunderstood and quite morally mixed group, I still stand up for what I believe and I’m proud of my house, despite it’s flaws.
Oh geez, I did not expect to go that into this topic. And I still have more thoughts! Like house prejudice (the whole Slytherin vs. Gryffindor thing) and what are the positives and negatives of each house, and how relationships can differ with the differences in houses. Ah! Maybe I’ll make more posts about it, because it’s truly fascinating stuff that I don’t feel like I can talk about in an actual class, for the above reason that I don’t think anyone thinks of Hogwarts houses as seriously as I do. That’s why I wrote this post. You guys on the internet probably know what I’m feeling, or at least hopefully don’t think me as crazy as my professor might.
But I don’t want to just dump my thoughts here. What do you guys think? What Hogwarts houses are you, and do you identify with it? What does being a part of your house mean to you? Have you met other potter fans who have surprised you with their own Hogwarts identity? (And are any of you Slytherin?)
And as always, have a lovely day, and I will see you again soon! 🙂