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Thread: Your View on the House System at Hogwarts

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  1. #1
    Seventh Year Hufflepuff
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    Your View on the House System at Hogwarts

    So a weird little hypothetical sprang to mind just now, and I kind of want to know peoples' opinions on it.

    Say it's around the time that the next generation of wizards would be hitting Hogwarts, and the school governors (or whoever talks about issues at the school) had a radical new proposal. Some parents may remember the Sorting Hat's warning against letting house rivalries divide the students. Some may remember all the animosity between houses, and the stubborn prejudices that get attached to you depending on your house (Gryffindors are the good guys, Slytherins the bad guys, Ravenclaws are smart, and Hufflepuffs are spares - or, alternately, Ravenclaw AND Hufflepuff are the spare houses). Maybe they also remember the camaraderie you had with fellow members of your house. Maybe they remember how much the points system and House Cup regulated behavior, certain would-be troublemakers backing down in the face of probable hatred from their peers. Keeping all this - and whatever other concerns you can think of - in mind, as a concerned parent, would you be for or against abolishing the house system?

  2. #2
    Sparrow
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    Hmmm... that's a good question. I think ultimately I would be against abolishing it because it does have its advantages but I think it's long overdue a rethink. Certainly splitting students up based on attributes at the age of eleven doesn't account for the way people change with age and must massively encourage stereotypes. Not to mention that it basically discourages them from mixing with other people. As far as I can recall the only real inter-house friendship we hear of is between Ginny and Luna, even the Patil sisters are rarely mentioned together after they are put into different houses. From personal experience I know that being a house can encourage a level of team spirit and competitiveness but it can also encourage rivalry and sometimes near bullying of people who were felt to have failed their house. I think perhaps Hogwarts needs to place less emphasis upon houses and perhaps consider a resort (maybe at the start of O.W.Ls and N.E.W.Ts).

    And now I'm treating this far too much like a real issue and I'm going to back off.

  3. #3
    MissMeg
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    I think that the house system is good, because it gives you a group of people who have similar personalities. So, it would make it easier to make friends. In my opinion, one of the reasons that peoples closest friends are in the same house is students spend most of their time with their housemates. (They have classes together, they share the same common room, they live in the same dormitory, they sit at the same table... etc.) The reason that we almost never see the Patil sisters together is that they grew apart because they spent so little time together. I didn't really get the impression that Ginny and Luna were particularly close, but that could be just me.

    I agree though that that the system causes quite a bit of competitiveness. But, I don't think the reason that there are so few inter-house friendships is that the students of Hogwarts spend most of their time with people from their house, so they simply get to know the people from their house better than people from other houses.

    There is also the problem that people change over time. In the Deathly Hallows, Dumbledore makes the comment to Snape that maybe they sort too early. I agree with him. If you look at how Snape behaves as a spy for the order, you could make a pretty good argument for him being in Gryffindor.

    Maybe, they could resort every year. In addition to encouraging inter-house unity, it would also allow people to become closer friends with people from other houses and accommodate changes in personality.

    -Meg

  4. #4
    Ebil Gato Loco Ravenclaw
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    Maybe, they could resort every year. In addition to encouraging inter-house unity, it would also allow people to become closer friends with people from other houses and accommodate changes in personality.
    That's an interesting thought. How would they resort EVERYONE? O.0 That would take forever, no? Perhaps all the first-years can live together and they can get sorted during their second or third year. It would encourage students to maintain the friendships they created during the first two years, even if their best friend is in a different house.

    I don't think resorting every year is feasible because you reach a certain point where your personality is rather cut and dry. It's the first two or three years where you're the most impressionable.

    Also, how do you counter the fact that Harry persuaded the Hat to put him in a house other than Slytherin?


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  5. #5
    Fifth Year Slytherin
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    As a parent, I wouldn't want the house system to be removed as (previously stated) it helps with team work and competitiveness. It also helps the students to make new friends, and to (hopefully) feel like they belong to a group. The sorting of houses based on their personalities helps with this. Maybe if Hogwarts had a massive surge of new admissions (I'm talking like ten times the people), then they could sort students without using their personalities, as in a random sorting. Then a student from a house would be bound to find someone they liked in their house, someone they had things in common with. But I suppose this would take away from the magic of the sorting, make it more boring and Muggle. I also agree with whoever said that less focus should be placed upon houses. Still have common rooms, the quidditch matches and dorms and point system and whatnot, but maybe just by randomising the classes and dinner tables, they would have a lot more house union (I'm sure there is another word for this, but I can't think of it right now).

    EDIT: And oh yes, I don't think they could resort EVERYONE! That would be a massive task, and I don't think the school wants to sit there and watch 300 people be resorted. And I suppose resorting everyone every year (if this wasn't a tedious task in the first place), would take away from the magic of the sorting. You are sorted once, and it is a really special thing (IMHO) for the person and for their family. I like the idea proposed above about keeping all of the first years together, and then the second years, and then sorting everyone in their third year when their personalities are more concrete. It would also help inter-house-unity (aha! that's what it is!) as you wouldn't really want to leave your best friends just because you're in a different houses.

    Just my two knuts.

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  6. #6
    MissMeg
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    Okay, resorting everyone would be incredibly time consuming and tedious. But, it is possible. I got the impression that the sorting took approximately half and hour to an hour. So they could have all the first years be sorted at the feast, then have the older students sorted the next day or something.

    I'm going to disagree with the statement:
    Quote Originally Posted by mugglemathdork
    you reach a certain point where your personality is rather cut and dry.
    I think that peoples personalities are constantly changing. Once someone reaches adulthood, they can still change as a person. The events of a persons life shape their personality. So, as people experience new events and gain new perspectives their personality will change slowly. Most people have traits from multiple houses, and as they experience new things different traits may become more apparent and certain traits may become less apparent. This happened to Snape in the books. From what is shown of his school experience, it can be assumed that he was a pretty stereotypical Slytherin. But once Lily is threatened, he becomes a spy for the order, and that's a pretty brave thing to do. I would say that by the end of The Deathly Hallows, you could make the argument that if he was being sorted during the Deathly Hallows he would have made Gryffindor.

    Quote Originally Posted by mugglemathdork
    Harry persuaded the Hat to put him in a house other than Slytherin
    In my opinion, Harry was able to persuade the Hat to put him in Gryffindor because he clearly exhibited Gryffindor traits. As I said earlier, almost every student has traits which belong to multiple houses. The Hat obviously saw Slytherin traits, but it obviously also saw Gryffindor traits or it wouldn't have put him in Gryffindor. The Sorting Hat's job is to decide what aspect of a person's personality is most distinctive. If Harry had asked to be in a house which he did not belong in what-so-ever, I don't think that the Sorting Hat would have put him there. The defining trait of Gryffindor house is bravery, and it would be very difficult to argue that Harry is not extremely brave.

    I agree that with Annalise28's statement, about keeping quidditch and the house point system the way it is, but randomizing seating and classes. Another benefit of that is that the classes could be leveled. That would allow more advanced pupils, like Hermione, to be able to work at their level. It would also allow students like Neville (in potions for example) to get extra help in the subject that they're struggling in. The system in use in the books puts everyone in the same class, regardless of level. It doesn't truly challenge students like Hermione and it causes students who really don't get the subject to fail.

  7. #7
    Ebil Gato Loco Ravenclaw
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    Once someone reaches adulthood, they can still change as a person. The events of a persons life shape their personality. So, as people experience new events and gain new perspectives their personality will change slowly.
    Yes, I agree, but we're talking about teenagers here not adults.

    I would say that by the end of The Deathly Hallows, you could make the argument that if he was being sorted during the Deathly Hallows he would have made Gryffindor.
    I can't agree with this. Severus Snape was a vile character. He was a bully to his students, constantly picking on them, verbally abusive, and petty. In addition, he had already made up his mind about Harry before even meeting him only because he was James Potter's son. He was snarky and bitter and only became a spy for the Order for his own selfish reasons and that was Lily Evans. The bottom line is that Snape loyalties were always with himself not with Dumbledore nor Riddle. Everything that Snape did could be looked at from a Slytherin point of view.

    That said, sorting at a later year makes much more sense than resorting every year. When you're sorted, it's supposed to be a magical once in a lifetime experience as Annalise stated.

    I wasn't the same person at eleven that I was at fourteen. By the time I hit that age, I was much more grounded in the person who I would become some day. If I had been sorted as an eleven year old I would have ended up in Hufflepuff, but if I had been sorted as a fourteen year old I would have ended up in Ravenclaw or Slytherin.

    That would allow more advanced pupils, like Hermione, to be able to work at their level. It would also allow students like Neville (in potions for example) to get extra help in the subject that they're struggling in. The system in use in the books puts everyone in the same class, regardless of level. It doesn't truly challenge students like Hermione and it causes students who really don't get the subject to fail.
    Wasn't there Remedial Potions and Advanced Runes for this? I don't recall reading that anyone actually failed any classes during their time in Hogwarts or expelled for that matter. Other than the Weasley twins who dropped out it seems everyone finished their magical education. If anything, I think Muggle-borns or Muggle raised students should have taken classes on wizarding culture during their first year or two instead of having to learn it as they go like Harry often had to during the books.


    I've left moddom/fandom...though don't be surprised if I get caught lurking once in a blue moon.
    All questions pertinent to Ravenclaw need to be sent to ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor
    If you wish to keep in touch, feel free to friend me on LJ - I don't friend anyone under the age of 18. Sorry!

    Otherwise, so long, and thanks for all the fish!



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