Harry Potter : Characters who seem mis-sorted

Characters who seem mis-sorted

So I've watched all the HP films and currently reading the books (on Book 4). there seem a few characters that don't fit all that well in the houses the sorting hat chose for them. Such as:

- Hermione: She's undoubtedly brave but she can also be perhaps overly cautious and she often favours academic achievement over heroics (remember her "or even worse... expelled!" line?). And of course she's widely regarded as the brightest student in her year (except by Professor Trelawney of course!). Surely then Ravenclaw would be a better fit?

- Crabbe and Goyle: Slytherins are meant to be ambitious yet these two seem to have no more ambition than being goons for Draco and stuffing their faces. That said they don't seem brave, hardworking or smart so perhaps it's a case of Slytherin being the least wrong for them.

- Peter Pettigrew: Probably the most obvious - a cowardly backstabber who only looks out for himself was a Gryffindor?! Any of the other three houses would seem more apt.

- Percy Weasley: Seems to spend his life brown-nosing and playing by the rules even if this allows bad things to happen. Hufflepuff or perhaps even Slytherin would seem better fits.

Re: Characters who seem mis-sorted

They address this issue in Book 2. The sorting hat will allow a person to choose the house they want. It tried to steer Harry into Slytherin, but he had already decided that he wanted to be in Gryffindor.

It's mentioned again in book 5, during one of the DA meetings (when Hermione gives out coins that have been enchanted with the Protean Charm).

So, the Sorting Hat will offer you its opinion, but ultimately the witch or wizard chooses their house, even if it's a poor fit. For instance, we know that Pettigrew likes to ally himself with the most powerful person he can find, and as Gryffindors are supposed to be brave, he probably had some idealized version of himself in mind when he put the Sorting Hat on, and despite whatever the hat told him, he was probably insistent on being in Gryffindor, so it allowed him to join.

Re: Characters who seem mis-sorted

Ah I had thought the sorting hat only lets you choose if he's torn but that might be my misunderstanding. And I guess Percy would want to be in Gryffindor like his parents and brothers. And Crabbe and Goyle would see Slytherin as the house for winners. But I wonder why Hermione would favour Gryffindor over Ravenclaw or even Hufflepuff.

Re: Characters who seem mis-sorted

Well, I think she is more Gryffindor than Ravenclaw. I mean she was the one who suggested the notion of Dumbledore's Army and she broke school rules quite regularly. In any case, in the fifth book, Hermione does say that the sorting hat was torn between putting her in Ravenclaw or Gryffindor but chose to put her in Gryffindor. I would say she probably has more Gryffindor in her than Ravenclaw.

Re: Characters who seem mis-sorted

Most of that seems to come later on though, ie a good while after she was sorted. Particularly in the first book, Hermione seems to be there to get good grades and stay out of trouble. It only seems to be after she's saved from the troll that she becomes more open to bending the rules and even then she worries about getting caught.

In Book 3, she has the time turner but uses it solely to do more classes (very Ravenclaw). She doesn't even tell Harry about it, let alone suggest using it to help their cause, until Dumbledore gives her the nod to do so.

I suppose the Sorting Hat knew she had it in her to be a good Gryffindor, but I think it odd that if it was so torn, Hermione's own preference would have been Gryffindor over Ravenclaw. Surely someone whose main ambition was to be thought of as smart would love to be in the house of smarty pants?

Re: Characters who seem mis-sorted

Hermione seems to feel that bravery is more important than intelligence though (she tells Harry so in the first book, before he's off to meet Quirrel on his own), which is very much a typical Gryffindor trait. But there's no doubt that she could have been a good Ravenclaw too...

Intelligence and purity.

Re: Characters who seem mis-sorted


Hermione seems to feel that bravery is more important than intelligence though (she tells Harry so in the first book, before he's off to meet Quirrel on his own)

Good point, I'd forgotten about that.

Re: Characters who seem mis-sorted

Well if I remember correctly, in the first book while on the train, Hermione mentions something about Gryffindor sounding the best out the houses and that Dumbledore had been in Gryffindor. But by her comment in OOTP, it did sound that the sorting hat made the decision by itself instead of Hermione's comment. Besides, I think the sorting hat sees traits in people beyond the present. It didn't take Hermione all that long to get into rule breaking.

Re: Characters who seem mis-sorted

Fair points. I guess all four examples fall apart then!

Re: Characters who seem mis-sorted

Even if Hermione might seem mis sorted but obviously she was sorted into the same house as Harry and Ron so the they way they could become closer friends, and even the eventually relationship between Ron and Hermione. Outside of Gryffindor when did you really see Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger socialize with their classmates in their other houses, other then Luna Lovegood of course? And of course Harry Potter did have his rivalry with Draco Malfoy. Most the the time they spent time together. Did Professor Trelawney not think she was the brightest of her class, one professional of course didn't was Professional Severus Snape. And he didn't like her at all and one point cause her something of a know-it-all or asks if she likes being it. I am surprised you don't think the Harry Potter is mis-sorted as well.

Re: Characters who seem mis-sorted


Even if Hermione might seem mis sorted but obviously she was sorted into the same house as Harry and Ron so the they way they could become closer friends, and even the eventually relationship between Ron and Hermione. Outside of Gryffindor when did you really see Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger socialize with their classmates in their other houses, other then Luna Lovegood of course?

Sure but that's essentially plot convenience, isn't it? Rowling wanted a smart character that Harry would interact with loads so she needed a smart Gryffindor even though most smart students would end up in Ravenclaw instead. Still, it needs to make sense with Rowling's stated words on how sorting works. And it does just about make sense I guess.


Did Professor Trelawney not think she was the brightest of her class

Not at all, Trelawney considered her completely untalented at Divination. Which she was and which is why she eventually dropped it.


one professional of course didn't was Professional Severus Snape

Snape didn't like her but I think if he stopped being a biased bully he'd have conceded she was a good student. In fact he never seems to criticise her for not being bright but for being an obnoxious know-it-all which is kind of a grudging admittal that she is indeed bright.


I am surprised you don't think the Harry Potter is mis-sorted as well.

Oddly considering it is a bit of a plot point, Harry to me seems one character who is definitely not mis-sorted. He's definitely not a Ravenclaw, as Quidditch is the only subject he shows particular talent at. He's loyal and fair-minded but not particularly hard working (he falls asleep in History of Magic, makes up his Divination homework and keeps putting off solving the Triwizard Tournament clue to the last minute) so he's not really a Hufflepuff either. He has some ambition as he is keen to do well in Quidditch and for Gryffindor to win the house cup, but there are several times where he prefers to be in the shadows and he never steps on people to forward his goals and even sometimes sabotages himself by helping others (like when he saved Fleur's sister). So I really don't think he is a Slytherin either. However he is determined and brave and unafraid to break the rules or be seen as unpopular if it's for the greater good which is essentially what Gryffindors are meant to be all about.

Re: Characters who seem mis-sorted

Harry has immense talent in Defense Against the Dark Arts; something that Hermione points out to him (even though he doesn't believe it). I also think JK Rowling said somewhere that Harry was more skilled and had more talent than Hermione did in that particular subject. Of course, I don't think he is mis-sorted, but he's not only talented at Quidditch.

Re: Characters who seem mis-sorted

Fair enough. He is the best at the class at resisting curses come to think of it.

Re: Characters who seem mis-sorted


...for the greater good which is essentially what Gryffindors are meant to be all about.


Are you sure you haven't read the books?

Re: Characters who seem mis-sorted

I've seen all the films and read the first four books.

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It's just that the phrase "For the Greater Good" is somewhat important in Deathly Hallows. They may have mentioned it in the movie, but from what I remember of the movies, part 1 was faithful to the source material and part 2 went off the rails.

Re: Characters who seem mis-sorted

Ah well I was just using the phrase because it seemed apt, no reference to Deathly Hallows intended!

Re: Characters who seem mis-sorted

Sure but that's essentially plot convenience, isn't it? Rowling wanted a smart character that Harry would interact with loads so she needed a smart Gryffindor even though most smart students would end up in Ravenclaw instead. Still, it needs to make sense with Rowling's stated words on how sorting works. And it does just about make sense I guess.

I guess too

Not at all, Trelawney considered her completely untalented at Divination. Which she was and which is why she eventually dropped it.

I still find it hard to believe that Hermione wasn't good as something, but that part was never got through in the movies,, and the first year they took it, Hermione was using the time turner to go to different classes at the same time.

Snape didn't like her but I think if he stopped being a biased bully he'd have conceded she was a good student. In fact he never seems to criticise her for not being bright but for being an obnoxious know-it-all which is kind of a grudging admittal that she is indeed bright.

It wasn't an ominous know-it-all it was that a he called her, but not that but he might have thought she was


Oddly considering it is a bit of a plot point, Harry to me seems one character who is definitely not mis-sorted. He's definitely not a Ravenclaw, as Quidditch is the only subject he shows particular talent at. He's loyal and fair-minded but not particularly hard working (he falls asleep in History of Magic, makes up his Divination homework and keeps putting off solving the Triwizard Tournament clue to the last minute) so he's not really a Hufflepuff either. He has some ambition as he is keen to do well in Quidditch and for Gryffindor to win the house cup, but there are several times where he prefers to be in the shadows and he never steps on people to forward his goals and even sometimes sabotages himself by helping others (like when he saved Fleur's sister). So I really don't think he is a Slytherin either. However he is determined and brave and unafraid to break the rules or be seen as unpopular if it's for the greater good which is essentially what Gryffindors are meant to be all about.

As Dumbledore points out in the end of Chamber of Secrets that Harry Potter has some of the qualities that Slytherin students has which includes a disregards for the rules.

Re: Characters who seem mis-sorted


I still find it hard to believe that Hermione wasn't good as something

I think Divination is meant to be more about feelings and instinct rather than knowledge or intellect which seemed counter-intuitive to Hermione. While as the less intellectual characters like Lavender Brown seem to be very good at it.


As Dumbledore points out in the end of Chamber of Secrets that Harry Potter has some of the qualities that Slytherin students has which includes a disregards for the rules.

True. I feel he's definitely closer to Gryffindor than Slytherin as a whole though.

Re: Characters who seem mis-sorted

Hermione did seem to be a bit narrow minded about things she couldn't understand. For example, she never understood how Harry could beat her at Potions even though she was following the rule book. She was so dedicated to facts and what she read in books that she refused to believe or follow things that existed outside of it sometimes. She also had that absolutely stubborn refusal to believe in the existence of the Hallows, and in particular the death stone, because she refused to believe that people could be brought back to life.

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You'd think after seven years of magical shenanigans, she'd have become a bit more open to unfamiliar ideas.

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True, but we also all have our prejudices. And as for the Resurrection stone, it was even implied that Hermione was afraid of the very idea of such an object existing. Which is why she didn't want to believe in it.

Intelligence and purity.

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While there was the implication, I felt it was more that she was scared of where Harry's mind was going when talking about bringing the dead to life. She was just as disbelieving about the Elder Wand until Olivander confirmed its existence.

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Luna Lovegood could've been in Gryffindor.

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I have never understood how Luna Lovegood was in Ravenclaw.

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I've always seen a love for rules to be one of the Gryffindor traits. We see it in Hermionie, Percy and McGonnagal. Dumbledore mentions in the second book that a disregard for rules is a Slytherin trait. So it's more Harry and Ron who break the norm in that regard. And what we've seen of Ravenclaw it appears they are more into wisdom than just straight up going by the book knowledge.

I agree about Petigrew though. It would have been interesting to get a little bit more about him actually. Maybe there could be an explanation why he so completely seemed to have failed in his supposed potential.


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