The Sorting Hat might be in need of an upgrade, because some of these Harry Potter characters just don’t belong.
At Hogwarts, the Sorting Hat places students into one of four houses: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin. Each house has different values, and students are meant to be sorted into the house that best reflects their own values. However, sometimes the Sorting Hat gets it wrong.
Many of these ‘incorrect’ sortings could be attributed to choice. As evidenced by Harry Potter, the Hat wanted to place him in Slytherin, but ultimately put him in Gryffindor because that was his choice. Dumbledore certainly thought that choice is a great indicator of a person’s personality, “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” But if choice is that important, why did the Hat only selectively take this into consideration?
When Neville Longbottom was being sorted, he begged to be put into Hufflepuff, but the Sorting Hat refused his wishes and placed him in Gryffindor. Of course, it turned out the Hat was right. Neville certainly grew into a brave Gryffindor, but he was far from brave at the time of sorting. Why, then, did the Sorting Hat look at the potential of what could be for some (like Neville), but only looked at what they currently are for others?
The most likely reason the Sorting Hat was so inconsistent with how it sorted students is because of plot purposes. There was not a lot of inter-house mingling in the Harry Potter series. If certain important characters were placed in houses other than Gryffindor, Harry would have limited access to them, thus creating complications in the story.
There’s also the idea of JK Rowling’s own bias shining through by making most of the heroes Gryffindors and most of the villains Slytherins, but that’s a discussion for another day.
Had choice or plot device not been a factor in the sorting of students, these characters would have been placed in a different house, based on the values and traits they demonstrated throughout the Harry Potter series.
Fred and George Weasley: Slytherin
If you didn’t know Fred and George were Weasleys, your first instinct would probably be to put them in Ravenclaw. During their time at Hogwarts, the Weasley twins showed their incredible intelligence, creativity, and originality. It’s easy to pigeonhole them as troublemaking delinquents because of their pranks and general disregard for rules, but Fred and George were actually highly skilled wizards. They were clever enough to create spells, magical objects, and potions, and certainly creative enough to think of the original items for their joke shop.
Why then, should the Weasley twins belong in Slytherin if they possess so many Ravenclaw traits? To start, Fred and George weren’t just ingenious, they were crafty. Their ability to plot and scheme was unmatched by anyone in the Harry Potter series.
But most importantly, Fred and George also demonstrated a great deal of ambition at a young age. Though not academically motivated, the twins had an entrepreneurial spirit that exceeded mere school education. Ambition, not at the expense of others, is what sets Slytherins apart from the other houses. As early as teenagers, Fred and George had a longterm goal for their future, and through hard work (and monetary help from Harry), they became hugely successful.
Fred and George’s values align with Slytherin house almost perfectly, even at a young age. It’s incredible the Sorting Hat placed them in Gryffindor instead.
Remus Lupin: Hufflepuff
When you think of Remus Lupin, most of us remember how amazing he was as a Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. Considering this, it’s easy to think that Lupin should therefore be a Ravenclaw. After all, if you’re a good teacher, you must be smart and love academics, right? Perhaps, but in Lupin’s case, it’s not his intellect that makes him such a good teacher, it’s his patience and intuition.
Among other things, Hufflepuffs value kindness, tolerance, and loyalty. It wasn’t Lupin’s intelligence that benefited Neville’s learning in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, it was his patience and encouragement. This patience even extended to those he didn’t get along with, demonstrated by his levelheadedness and composure when talking to Snape while at Hogwarts. He was also the only Marauder who didn’t bully Snape during their years as students.
Lupin may be brave and intelligent, but it’s the fact that he’s driven by empathy and patience that should have placed him in Hufflepuff.
Hermione Granger: Slytherin
Hermione’s Muggle-born status doesn’t align with Salazar Slytherins beliefs, but presumably Hogwarts and the Sorting Hat were more forward thinking by the 1990s. Blood status aside, Hermione embodies most, if not all, Slytherin values.
Ambition was a key value of Hermione’s, so much so that her Boggart was failure. This drive is what led her to being the cleverest witch of her year, but that doesn’t mean she belonged in Ravenclaw. Her intellect was limited by her inability to think outside the box, a trait more associated with Ravenclaw. Even her bravery, a value of Gryffindor, is laced with Slytherin tendencies. Hermione would never jump into action without thought, but wasn’t afraid to break the rules, which Dumbledore believed to be a trait of Slytherin.
Doing anything for those she cared about was also important to Hermione, a kind of loyalty that could be associated with Hufflepuff or Gryffindor. Unlike either of those houses though, Hermione had the tendency to making morally grey choices for the sake of her friends. For example, she held Rita Skeeter hostage and blackmailed her on Harry’s behalf.
Maybe Hermione wanted to be in Gryffindor, but her values and characteristics indicate she could have thrived in Slytherin.
Seamus Finnigan: Ravenclaw
The Sorting Hat took an unusual amount of time to sort Seamus (nearly a full minute), why was that? Obviously his placement in Gryffindor isn’t so clear-cut, so where else could Seamus have gone? We’ve never seen evidence of Seamus having ambition, so he wouldn’t be a good fit for Slytherin. He also doesn’t seem particularly patient or fair, given how quickly he turned on Harry in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. That only leaves one house: Ravenclaw.
There’s a common misconception that only ‘intelligent’ people are sorted into Ravenclaw. Ravenclaw House doesn’t only value those who are smart, it values those who seek to learn. Seamus was certainly not the cleverest wizard of his year, but he was inquisitive. It wasn’t uncommon for him to ask questions, relevant or irrelevant. He even asked Snape, the most intimidating teacher at Hogwarts, a question about Inferi. Clearly his fear of Snape didn’t outweigh his curiosity.
Harry and Seamus’ falling out in Order of the Phoenix is also an indication of his Ravenclaw status. It isn’t likely that a true Gryffindor, who value loyalty to a fault, would question a fellow Gryffindor’s claim that Voldemort was back. It’s much more likely that a Ravenclaw would be skeptical, and wouldn’t accept Harry’s story without proof.
Let’s also not forget that Seamus’ Patronus was a fox, an animal commonly associated with cleverness.
Percy Weasley: Slytherin
There was no character more ambitious in the Harry Potter series than Percy Weasley. Although Percy’s lack of fraternity went against Slytherin values, his desire for power and pride of attaining leadership positions easily should have placed him in the house of green and silver.
Percy’s goal was to work in the Ministry of Magic, in some position of power (to be Minister for Magic, if Fred and George are to be believed). This attitude was prevalent even at Hogwarts, judging by how seriously he took his Prefect and Head Boy responsibilities.
Forsaking his family for a position at the Ministry is far from what any real Gryffindor would do. Percy was so dedicated to his goal, he never saw the error of his ways until the Ministry had fallen. Turning to the Dark Arts is not the only way to be a ‘bad Slytherin.’ As Percy proved, there are ways of exhibiting the negative traits of a house without being outright evil. Unfortunately for Slytherin, Percy’s inclusion in their house wouldn’t help the poor reputation they have, but it would at least add a greyer area.
Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle: Gryffindor
Crabbe and Goyle being sorted in Slytherin was non-sensical. They weren’t smart enough to be cunning, they were more followers than leaders, and they were too impulsive to have any kind of self-preservation. Much of their personalities and values more closely aligned with Gryffindor.
For a start, Crabbe and Goyle were loyal without question, to a fault. It appeared they had no thought of their own, and just did whatever Draco told them to. In one instance of helping Draco, they took Polyjuice Potion to disguise themselves as girls, even though they didn’t want to.
They were also impulsive, a common Gryffindor trait, inclined to act first think later. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Crabbe conjured Fiendfyre without knowing how to stop it. All he could think about was his immediate desire to kill the trio, without any consideration of what consequences this action would create. Unfortunately for Crabbe, he paid the ultimate price.
Dean Thomas: Hufflepuff
There’s no particular reason to indicate Dean didn’t belong in Gryffindor, but a strong case can be made that he could have been sorted into Hufflepuff.
As far as kind-hearted, accepting characters go, Dean Thomas would be at the top of the list. When Umbridge called Lupin a “dangerous half-breed,” Dean immediately jumped to Lupin’s defense. Later, when Harry started dating Dean’s ex, Dean was obviously distraught about it, but never brought it up to Harry. Dean was also accepting of Luna Lovegood and her quirks, despite many others ostracizing her for those differences.
Of course Dean had moments of bravery, but his more laid-back demeanor and tolerance of others was much more prominent, and probably should have earned him a place in Hufflepuff.