Now that every Harry Potter fan has been sorted at Ilvermorny, we’re all wondering just how closely comparable our results are to the Hogwarts houses we know and love.
First, a little recap of yesterday’s events: J.K. Rowling released an amazing, lengthy backstory for Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the ‘American Hogwarts’ that ties into the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie (which is set in 1920s’ New York). On the same occasion, Pottermore unveiled a new sorting quiz to determine your Ilvermorny house.
Aside from learning about the school and its founder, we also learned more about what defines the four new houses, and how students are sorted in North America.
When first-years arrive in the entrance hall at Ilvermorny, they’re made to stand in front of the Gordian Knot symbol on the floor, after which one of the four House statues will ‘claim’ the student by reacting in a certain way (the Horned Serpent’s forehead crystal lights up, the Wampus roars, the Thunderbird beats its its wings, and the Pukwudgie raises its arrow).
Related: J.K. Rowling’s Ilvermorny house is…
Unlike at Hogwarts, where the Sorting Hat looks inside the mind of each student and identifies their strongest quality (crudely put these might be defined as intelligence, bravery, loyalty or cunning) — and, significantly, allows the student to choose which quality they want to define them — the Ilvermorny sorting appears to be far more intuitive and objective; as opposed to a third party choosing a house while keeping the student’s own preference in mind at Hogwarts, at Ilvermorny the student is chosen by the house itself. Rather than one specific quality, the Ilvermorny sorting seems based on which part of yourself you most identify with (the mind, the body, the soul, or the heart).
Further, J.K. Rowling said on Twitter that there’s “no equivalence” between Hogwarts and Ilvermorny houses — except there kind of is.
While the houses are by no means identical, there is no doubt that there are certain similarities between the four Hogwarts houses and the four Ilvermorny houses that might help us make sense of our new sortings. While Hogwarts and Ilvermorny’s four houses are different, they ultimately represent comparable qualities: the mind/wisdom, the body/strengh, the heart/compassion and the soul/inner self. There’s a significant difference between a set of traits (Hogwarts) and an overall way of being (Ilvermorny), but that doesn’t mean we can’t try to work out what houses best correspond to one another.
The correlation is made even stronger by the fact that Isolt, the Irish girl who founded Ilvermorny, never went to Hogwarts herself. Rather, she heard stories about the school, and passed those stories along to her adopted children — and, as also evident in the design of the school itself (like the fact that it’s a castle), she clearly created Ilvermorny in Hogwarts’ image. The boys insisted there be four houses, and it makes sense to conclude that she’d be inspired by the qualities of those houses, too, when deciding how to differentiate Ilvermorny’s.
But let’s actually get into defining the four houses of Ilvermorny, and determine just how closely relatable they are to Hogwarts houses (and whether we can use our Ilvermorny results to inform our original house identities).
For the sake of this breakdown we’ve correlated each Ilvermorny house to a Hogwarts house. This isn’t to say they’re the same, as much as to suggest there’s a strong correlation between the core values of the two.
Horned Serpent / Ravenclaw
The Horned Serpent was of great fascination to Isolt, described as a, “great horned river serpent with a jewel set into its forehead.” Being a descendant of Salazar Slytherin, Isolt found she had a strange kinship to it. For this reason, she chose to name one of the Ilvermorny houses after it.
The Horned Serpent represents “the mind,” and it is said that the house “favors scholars.”
The comparison to Ravenclaw is obvious. But it goes deeper than just ‘intelligence.’ In the Harry Potter books, Ravenclaw is described as a place for those who desire learning:
“Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
If you’ve a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind.”
Favoring the activities of the mind (learning, dreaming, creating, thinking, analyzing) above all else — whether that means being studious like Penelope Clearwater, aloof like Luna Lovegood and Sybill Trelawney, crafty like Gilderoy Lockhart, or neurotic like Moaning Myrtle — is arguably a fundamental quality that firmly unites Ravenclaws.
(Whether one is concrete or abstract in one’s scholarly aspirations, and whether or not a member of this house has selfish or altruistic reasons for seeking knowledge, doesn’t seem to be a determining factor.)
We obviously don’t have a spectrum of Horned Serpent students to measure against the vastly different Ravenclaws, but based on Isolt alone we see that her desire to obtain and spread knowledge, as well as her curiosity and ability to figure things out, would definitely have made her a prime candidate for that house if she’d gone to Hogwarts.
Wampus / Gryffindor
The Wampus is “a magical panther-like creature,” which is “fast, strong and almost impossible to kill.” Isolt’s son, the “argumentative but fiercely loyal” Webster (who would go on to become an ‘Auror-for-hire’), named a house after the Wampus because it was his favorite magical creature.
Wampus represents “the body,” and Wampus students are described as “warriors.”
The funny thing about Wampus and Thunderbird is that, just like Gryffindor and Slytherin, some of their qualities overlap. Being confrontational and ‘fiercely loyal’ are certainly traits that could describe both Gryffindor and Slytherin — the main difference seems to be how physical they are in their actions. Whereas Gryffindors might be outwardly confrontational or conflict-prone, Slytherins may feel all the same feelings but with a stronger ability for detachment, and more critical thinking before they choose to act.
The Wampus individual seems, like the Gryffindor, to act instinctively. To seek conflict rather than run from it, and to pick fights (literally, as a ‘warrior’) rather than play it safe/smart. Less kind Slytherins might call Gryffindors “brutes,” which we certainly don’t approve of here at Hypable, but the tendency to think with one’s lizard brain (guided by the ‘body’ rather than the ‘mind’ or ‘soul’) certainly seems to drive both Gryffindors and Wampuses to action.
In fact, the only significant difference between a Wampus and a Gryffindor might be in the degree of their loyalty. Based solely on the description of Webster, a Wampus might be more likely to back down for the sense of a ‘greater good,’ where a Gryffindor would be a bit more hot-headed and prone to continue a conflict for the sake of it (being brave past the point of reason).
Either way, both Wampuses and Gryffindors are fierce and strong; at Ilvermorny, a new Wampus student is welcomed to their house with a roar, which seems very appropriate for both houses.
Pukwudgie / Hufflepuff
The Pukwudgie was one of the first magical creatures Isolt encountered in America. It is “a short, grey-faced, large-eared creature distantly related to the European goblin. Fiercely independent, tricky and not over-fond of humankind (whether magical or mundane), it possesses its own powerful magic.”
‘William’ became Isolt’s reluctant and grumpy friend, but she ordered him to leave her after she found the orphan boys she’d later adopt. The house was named ‘Pukwudgie’ by Isolt’s No-Maj husband James, “because the stories his wife told of curmudgeonly William always made him laugh.”
Much like James, the Pukwudgie house represents “the heart,” and the house favors “healers.”
Is there any question that this is Hufflepuff in a nutshell? Beyond the superficial ‘loyalty’ trait (which Harry Potter fans know isn’t a trait exclusive to Hufflepuffs; a main difference between Gryffindors and Slytherins is why, and to what extent, they choose to be loyal to a cause or an individual), Hufflepuffs are also described as “just,” “patient,” “unafraid of toil,” as well as generally cheerful and friendly.
As an extension of this, the description of Pukwudgie indicates that someone sorted into this house is guided by their heart — meaning their compassion, and capability for empathy — and them being ‘healers’ further emphasizes this compassionate trait that so defined Helga Hufflepuff herself (who’d let anyone into her house).
An individual sorted into Pukwudgie could definitely consider it the Hufflepuff stamp of approval; even William, grumpy as he was, was loyal and true to a fault to Isolt, even coming to her aid in the end.
What seems to give Pukwudgies an edge here is that they don’t have to deal with the prejudice towards Hufflepuff so prevalent at Hogwarts; in general, Ilvermorny is described as a lot more democratic and open-minded than Hogwarts, and this probably means that Pukwudgies aren’t universally (and falsely) considered weak and stupid.
Thunderbird / Slytherin
The Thunderbird, which can create storms as it flies, was named by Isolt’s son Chadwick, “an intelligent but often temperamental boy.”
The Thunderbird represents the “soul,” and is said to favor “adventurers.”
As also mentioned in the Wampus section, there is as much of an overlap between Wampus and Thunderbird as there is between Gryffindor and Slytherin. A Gryffindor, too, could be an adventurer, but it all depends on what traits we associate with an adventurer.
Is it someone who bravely (or foolhardily) heads into unknown terrains, ready for anything? Or is an adventurer someone who plots new ground, seeking glory and betterment for themselves and their chosen cause? If the latter, that is most certainly a Slytherin.
When equating Thunderbird to Slytherin, it’s also important to mention that, much like Hufflepuff, the Slytherin house is often wrongly defined by its bad reputation. If you believe Slytherins are inherently ‘bad’ or ‘evil,’ we don’t blame you (it’s easy to believe what Harry believes), but it doesn’t take much reading between the lines to firmly put a rest to that nasty stereotype.
In reality a Slytherin can, in a lot of ways, be described as a more emotionally invested Ravenclaw, a more rational Gryffindor, or a less benevolent Hufflepuff. They’re cunning, resourceful, shrewd, ambitious, and have a strong sense of self-preservation. There’s nothing inherently bad or evil about Slytherins; in another world (or at Ilvermorny), the equivalent of Slytherin house might even be considered the best of the lot.
A Thunderbird is ambitious and introspective, soulful in the sense that she looks inside herself when faced with a decision or moral dilemma. A Thunderbird is independent, defined by her underlying desire to explore all options and seek advancement for herself or the cause she believes in. A Thunderbird is a Slytherin, without the attached prejudice from the wizarding world at large, and resulting segregation from the rest of the students.
Are the houses identical? No. But just like each Hogwarts house has two colors, so we believe there are two sides to every coin — your Hogwarts house represents one side of your coin, while your Ilvermorny house represents another.
If your Ilvermorny and Hogwarts houses correlate based on the descriptions above, you might consider that a sure sign that your Hogwarts house is ‘accurate’ (as much as a person can be defined by any one house).
If you got a different Ilvermorny house — say you’re a Gryffindor and a Pukwudgie, or a Slytherin and a Horned Serpent — this might speak to your overall spectrum of house qualities, with Ilvermorny allowing a different side of yourself to shine.
Incidentally, Hypable actually did something similar when we devised a quiz to determine your Hybrid Hogwarts house, and we fully believe you can identify with more than one house.
What’s important, and what’s so fascinating about these personality quizzes in general, is that it can help you define who you want to be, and what traits you want to display most prominently (much like the Sorting Hat would encourage you to do). If you weren’t quite happy with your Hogwarts sorting, here’s a chance to define yourself anew — or to discover new aspects of your Hogwarts house that might be represented more clearly by your Ilvermorny sorting.