‘Blimey,’ said the other twin. ‘Are you –?’
‘He is,’ said the first twin. ‘Aren’t you?’ he added to Harry.
‘What?’ said Harry.
‘Harry Potter,’ chorused the twins.
‘Oh, him,’ said Harry. ‘I mean, yes, I am.’
— Chapter 6: The Journey from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters —
After being left with no instructions on how to actually get to the magic train that will bring him to Hogwarts, Harry frantically wanders King’s Cross until he conveniently overhears a family talking about muggles. Thankfully it’s the Weasley family and not somebody more sinister and so Harry not only meets his surrogate family, he also gets to the train safe and sound. We find out that the twins are clearly hilarious, Percy is a self-important prefect and Ickle Ronniekins does not care that his nose is dirty. Demon Child 2.0 introduces himself as Draco Malfoy, and Harry buys just about everything that’s on the food trolley (sucks to be the other students on the train). And then, after a very long train ride and a trip across the lake, Harry and his new friend see Hogwarts for the first time in all its towering glory.
This hat was patched and frayed and extremely dirty. Aunt Petunia wouldn’t have let it in the house.
— Chapter 7: The Sorting Hat —
After being let into the castle they new firsties are greeted by Professor McGonagall and a bunch of ghosts before being introduced to the rest of the school and a raggedy hat that talks in songs. A bunch of good kids are sorted into Hufflepuff and Ravenclaws and a bunch of clearly evil eleven-year-olds are all sorted into Slytherin, our hero and his new best friend are sorted into Gryffindor — the house of heroes and other brave people. Though not without a lot of hullaballoo from the student body because Young Harry is of course a magic miracle and must be stared at like an animal in the zoo. Of course this also goes for the teachers who seem to have no more tact than the rest of the world.
At the start-of-term banquet, Harry had got the idea that Professor Snape disliked him. By the end of the first Potions lesson, he knew he’d been wrong. Snape didn’t dislike Harry – he hated him.
— Chapter 8: The Potions Master —
Speaking of the teachers, the Vanquisher of All That Is Evil enjoys his first lessons quite a bit except for the one with the clearly-misplaced-in-a-school-full-of-children guy. Professor Snape does not only dislike Harry, no, he hates him. Despises him. Loathes him. Detests him so thoroughly that every single mouse in the Forbidden Forest must know about it. Nobody knows why Snape is such a bastard to an eleven-year-old child (or any of the other children) and how the heck anyone thought it would be a good idea to let that guy teach children, but I’m sure there was a lot of alcohol and memory-extraction involved in that decision. I mean, really. Really. Really. Do the other children’s parents not care that they are taught by an utter bastard?
‘Well, a second’s there to take over if you die,’ said
Ron casually, getting started at last on his cold pie.
— Chapter 9: The Midnight Duel —
Aside from the unfun things like History of Magic and Potions class there are fun things too, though. Eventually the firsties have flying lessons and while Neville manages to break his arm, Harry manages to catch a shiny object. Demon Child 2.0 taunts Harry with Neville’s Remembrall which results in a forbidden chase on their brooms, an irate Professor McGonagall and a spot on the Gryffindor Quidditch team for Harry. Not too shabby. Malfoy, however, challenges his nemesis to a duel and because Hermione is still a bit of an annoying know-it-all she has to get involved with rule-citing and reminders to not get into trouble (she has a point). Malfoy is a lying liar who lies and rats them out to Filch who is on the prowl for them. Due to a stroke of bad luck Neville ends up with the three of them and thus Harry, Ron, Hermione and Neville find themselves stood before a giant three-headed dog that is guarding a trapdoor. In a school. Cause that’s totally safe and not at all terrifying.
And saying the magic words properly is very important, too – never forget Wizard Baruffio, who said ‘s’ instead of ‘f’ and found himself on the floor with a buffalo on his chest.’
— Chapter 10: Hallowe’en —
After getting a shiny broom from his Head of House Harry can finally train with the quidditch team and become a pro at the sport. Of course Hermione has to get involved with opinions nobody needs or wants (sorry, girl, I love you, but you’ve got your head up your arse), but because boys are dreadful they hurt her with a stupid remark and she hides in the girls’ lav for the rest of the day. Until a troll happens upon the school. What a coincidence. Due to some inherent Gryffindor courage Harry and Ron see the light and try to rescue Hermione from the troll. They succeed. By sticking a wand up its nose and dropping a club on its head. Whatever works, I guess.?
Lee Jordan was finding it difficult not to take sides.
‘So – after that obvious and disgusting bit of cheating – ’
‘Jordan!’ growled Professor McGonagall.
‘I mean, after that open and revolting foul – ’
‘Jordan, I’m warning you – ’
‘All right, all right. Flint nearly kills the Gryffindor Seeker, which could happen to anyone, I’m sure, so a penalty to Gryffindor, taken by Spinnet, who puts it away, no trouble, and we continue play, Gryffindor still in possession.’
— Chapter 11: Quidditch —
Now that Harry and Ron and Hermione are friends, life is good and quidditch happens. Quidditch is very exciting and dangerous. The Slytherins keeps trying to kill Harry, as does one of the teachers, because Harry’s broom is not behaving the way it should. Hermione assumes that it’s Snape, cause he’s kind of a bastard to Harry and appears to be chanting something. I mean, that’s some pretty good reasoning and I’m all for blaming Snape for things. In the end all is well, though. Lee Jordan does a fantastic commentary and Harry catches the Snitch. I mean. Swallows the Snitch. And then finally finds out a bit about the mystery behind the three-headed dog (his name is Fluffy, dear god) and a dude called Nicholas Flamel. (At this point I would like to note that The Alchemyst, a book supposedly about Nicholas Flamel, is thoroughly disappointing and nowhere near as interesting as the bits we get from Harry Potter.)
So. Sorting. Let’s talk about Sorting.
Now I mentioned before that Ren and I met because of Harry Potter. Specifically we met in a sorting community where we are both Ravenclaws and we embrace our inner Claw very much. There have been tons of talks about houses and sorting and personalities and frankly, the house system has always baffled me. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to ~destroy the childhood magic~, I just have a lot of feelings on the topic of Harry Potter. It doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the beautiful world that JKR has given us. But sometimes, just sometimes, I can’t help but think this is all bullshit. I mean, really, putting eleven-year-olds in a particular peer group because of their shared values or personality traits? They’re children! That’s not how it works. And besides, everyone exhibits traits from all the houses! Which is cool. Sometimes I just wish there were more focus on inter-house friendships, as opposed to the keep-away-from-the-other-houses mentality that these children appear to be taught. Like, the plot would’ve barely changed if JKR had included more inter-house stuff. It makes me weep to think about all these children that only interact during class. So many lost opportunities and so much focus on singular traits that are played up to the nth degree when there is so much more to all these children. I mean, look at Percy! He’s so ambitious, I’m in awe. Or look at the Slytherins! They’re not inherently evil just because of their house (though fwiw since these things are from Harry’s POV, I’m not surprised that things are so black and white).
Ahhh, sometimes I just wish everyone was happy and friends with each other and had magic adventures together! Random houses would be so much cooler, like imagine the possibilities of a Slytherin Harry and a Ravenclaw Hermione and Ron in Gryffindor but they’d still be friends! That’d be so cool. Ten times more midnight sneaking to meet up and discover secrets.
So, what are your thoughts on the sorting? Which house are you in? And why? What’s your interpretation on it? Tell me in the comments!