Which Hogwarts House Do You Belong In?

Neville Longbottom Funko


Do you remember when Bustle offered “The ONE Question That Will Determine Which Hogwarts House You Belong In”? This one:

If you could take on huge risk right now, and undo it if it didn’t end up with the result you wanted, what would it be?

It was a horrible question, completely non-canon. Artists kept getting sorted as Slytherin, because our answer involved taking risks for the sake of art, A.K.A. “our career.”

Should we really trust a sorting hat method created by a Slytherpuff anyway? (I’m totally kidding. I’m married to one.)

The Sorting Hat Is All You Need


If Hermione were in charge of sorting students, she’d go to the primary source: The Sorting Hat. Not even Pottermore, which is what caused existential crises in all of us when THAT first came out.

Example: I’m a Gryffindor. If you’d have asked in 2012 which Hogwarts I would be in, I would’ve said Ravenclaw. They’re brilliant, and they live in a tower. (Those conditions were the only aspects I considered. Clearly I’m not as brilliant as I think.)

Then Pottermore sorted me into Gryffindor, triggering an existential crisis.

Now I totally get it. I’m like a hybrid Minerva/Molly/Hermione.

You can view everything the Sorting Hat says sings on the subject of houses here, but read on for the defining characteristics of each.

Images belong to Pottermore. Become a member to take their sorting quiz.


Ravenclaws are CLEVER. They might be wise, or they might be “smart” (as in, “Don’t be smart with me!”). They are more concerned with self-betterment than measurable success; they are motivated by improvement, not competition with others. They need to be informed … and to inform others.

The Ravenclaws who kept hiding Luna’s things can show the dark side of Ravenclaw: removing whatever makes oneself look less than best.


Gryffindors have NERVE. Bravery—maybe. Willingness to talk back to teachers, sure. Standing up to bullies / defending others? Definitely. They aren’t afraid to break the rules for the greater good.

Taking risks isn’t necessarily a defining factor of Gryffindor! You can be a scaredy wormtail and still end up in Gryffindor. You might avoid risks if the stakes are personal (like failure or rejection) but be braver if someone else is at risk. Neville showed a ton of courage in The Deathly Hallows, but do you think he tried out for the Quidditch team? I’m thinking No.


Slytherins have AMBITION. They are the most valuable allies and the most formidable foes because they will fight/sacrifice to achieve their goals. Slytherins get things done.

You don’t have to be a liar or a cheat to be in Slytherin, but if you are, then at least all the other sorting tests based on superficial stereotypes will confirm that you’re in the right house. *shrug*


Hufflepuffs are TRUE to self & others. Loyal, kind, and hardworking if they believe in the work. Hufflepuffs are the most altruistic, possibly the most practical, definitely the most fair.


Why isn’t Harry Potter a Slytherin? He totally could’ve been, except that he was prejudiced against them by the Weasleys, who considered evil, racist Death Eaters as being representative of the Slytherin house. #NotAllSlytherin

Why weren’t Hermione Granger or Minerva McGonagall Ravenclaws? Because they both have a lot of nerve—they’re willing to break rules.

But Hermione wasn’t willing to break the rules when she was first sorted! I think the Sorting Hat is either into divination—it saw how Harry and Ron would rub off on her—or it felt the need to inject some wisdom into Gryffindor to balance out the Weasley brothers.

Why isn’t Neville Longbottom a Hufflepuff? Neville is very loyal, but more than that, he’s willing to lose house points (and their good sides) to stand up to Harry & co. He’s a Gryffindor.

Why wasn’t Snape a Gryffindor? He was brave and sacrificial, but ultimately his actions were motivated by obtaining his goals: becoming Dark Arts professor or (spoiler: [acting out his love for Lily]).

Why wasn’t Luna a Gryffindor or a Hufflepuff? Simply put, she’s the cleverest of all Harry’s friends. You might say she’s a rule-breaker, but she can’t really break rules if she marches to the beat of her own drum.

Do you have any more examples you’d like to add? Based on the defining characteristics above, which house would you be sorted into?

QUIZ: How should you start your novel?

First, a Pop Quiz

I’m going to give you four openings of books, and you tell me how they hook the reader. Why does the reader keep reading?

1. In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. “Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”

2. First Lieutenant Jimmy Cross carried letters from a girl named Martha, a junior at Mount Sebastian College in New Jersey. They were not love letters, but Lieutenant Cross was hoping, so he kept them folded in plastic at the bottom of his rucksack.

3.  When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. My fingers stretch out, seeking Prim’s warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattress. She must have had bad dreams and climbed in with our mother. Of course, she did. This is the day of the reaping.

4. When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special significance, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.

Here are the sources for the openings:

  1. F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
  2. Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried
  3. Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games
  4. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Here are my answers of what might be going through a reader’s mind as s/he reads the openings:

  1. That’s an intriguing idea. I wonder what more the author has to say or show about it. (Answers)
  2. I want to know more about this guy; he seems interesting. (Character)
  3. Immediate: What’s the Reaping? By the end of the chapter: What happens next? (Answers, Time)
  4. Who’s Bilbo? Where’s Bag End? Eleventy-first birthday? A Party? Hobbiton? (World)

Earlier this week I posted about WATCH, a method of figuring out which of four elements your novel focuses on. Each novel has all four, but novels generally stress one over the others. When you know which element is your focus, you have a good idea of how to start and end your novel, giving it continuity. The four elements are World, Answers (or theme), Time (or events), and Character. Read about them on the previous post.

Tricky Beginnings and Endings

Beginning and ending your book with your focus element is a helpful tip. It isn’t a rule. To Kill A Mockingbird begins with a statement about Jem, Scout’s brother, then talks about events leading up to his injury, and then the book ends on theme.

Tuck Everlasting begins with a mystery and ends with a theme, but the epilogue ends with more events. All together, the story is a Time story—readers want to know what happens next.

The Outsiders starts by talking about the narrator and ends with him wanting to tell the world about his friends. The book’s themes and plot and world are important, but the story begins and ends with character.

A Study in Scarlet is a mystery, but the first chapter is about Dr. Watson introducing himself and then being told about Sherlock Holmes. But even the character of Holmes is its own mystery, which is why the reader doesn’t want to know how the characters grow so much as answer the question of who they are.

Isaac Asimov’s Foundation begins with an “excerpt” from the Encyclopedia Galactica. It’s not difficult to guess that World is definitely a focus in his books.

A Note Regarding Prologues

Agents want to read and represent a book that hooks them from the first paragraph. That’s why plenty of agents despise prologues. But wait, you say, plenty of fantasy and sci-fi books start with prologues. If World is your focus, you’re more likely to get away with a prologue. If the focus is Character or Answers, then you likely should not have a prologue—backstory and answers should be revealed throughout the book. Don’t give your milk away for free if you’re trying to sell a cow.

If you are debating about including a prologue, first consider the following:

  • Is there any other way you can effectively incorporate this information without putting it at the beginning?
  • Is it really that necessary?
  • Do you care that many readers will skip over it?
  • Do you care that it might annoy potential agents or publishers?

If you absolutely must include a prologue, I suggest titling it Chapter One rather than Prologue. Include a date or time stamp there and on Chapter 2 to show a shift in time or place.

YOUR Beginning: Another Quiz!

When writing or revising your beginning, ask yourself what is important to you as a writer and as a reader.

Answer each question yes/no. Then rank your “Yes” answers in order of what matters most to you.

  1. Do you want to be thought of as poignant or thought-provoking?
  2. Do you want to be known as exciting?
  3. Do you want to be known for your imagination?
  4. Do you want to be known as an intimate person?
  5. Do you read books to escape?
  6. Do you put down a book if it’s boring?
  7. Do you enjoy books that make you think?
  8. Do you tend to forget about the plot in books you’ve read, but always remember the people?
  9. Do you want people to fall in love with your characters?
  10. Do you want people to enjoy your fictional universe as much as (or more than) you do?
  11. Do you want your book to be memorable for its themes?
  12. Do you want your book to be a page-turner?

What matters most from questions 1–4: ___ (1-A, 2-B, 3-D, 4-C)

What matters most from questions 5–8: ___ (5-D, 6-B, 7-C, 4-A)

What matters most from questions 9–12: ___ (9-C, 10-D, 11-A, 12-B)

If you answered mostly A’s (Answers)—Start your book with a theme and end it with the final statement on the theme. For the rest of the novel, be sure to illustrate (show) rather than explain (tell) so you don’t get preachy. These are the books that, when thematic and done right, change people’s lives and become their most beloved books. When structured as mysteries or capers, these are the most open to becoming series.

If you answered mostly B’s (Time)—Start your book immediately with the inciting incident, and end each chapter with a change of events. Finish the book with a final change of events (which might be a cliff-hanger if this is part of a series). These books are the ones that people can’t put down and recommend to their friends because it’s such a thrilling read.

If you answered mostly C’s (Characters)—Start and end your book with interesting details about the character. Voice is everything. So is making the character sympathetic by using rooting interests. These are the books that people fall in love with, that generate the most fan fiction.

If you answered mostly D’s (World)—Fascinate them with the world you create. Start with a regular day, if it’s really amazing. Otherwise begin with the most interesting places or event in your world, and end once the world finds a new normal. These are the books that people immerse themselves in—the ones that generate the most cosplays and fan art. They have a very high potential for spin-offs. (They are also the ones that have the highest costuming and CGI budgets when transferred to film!)

Choosing the best kind of beginning for your book

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