|See also:||Hogwarts, Sorting AU, Hogwarts Founders|
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In the Harry Potter novels, students attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry are "sorted" into one of four houses in their first year: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin. Students in the same house sleep, eat, and attend classes together. Each house has its own colors and, more significantly, its own associated character traits. Students are sorted according to temperament and, arguably, political affiliation.
It is common for fans even outside Harry Potter fandom to identify themselves by the house which they feel represents their personality. The house system has been the inspiration for much fanac, including:
- many, many personality tests
- AU fanfiction that imagines what would happen if canon characters had been sorted into a different House (e.g. Slytherin!Harry)
- crossover fanworks that sort characters from other fandoms into a House
- Fancrafts, such as knitting of scarves and other paraphernalia in the different House colors
- meta related to canon's world building
Many fans have argued that the House system as represented in the novels is problematic, a view that has been echoed in-universe as well. The Sorting Hat itself says in Order of the Phoenix, "Though condemned am I to split you / Still I worry that it's wrong", and wonders whether Sorting will cause Hogwarts to "crumble from within", and Dumbledore tells Snape in Deathly Hallows that he "sometimes think[s] we Sort too soon".
Most of the villains in the series were sorted into this House, including Harry's nemesis, Lord Voldemort. Although Slytherin House is coded as the "evil" house in canon, many fans are sympathetic toward or identify as Slytherins. This may be in part due to the popularity of characters like Severus Snape (Head of Slytherin) and Draco Malfoy. However, many fans identify with Slytherins' character traits in general (ambition, cunning).
J.K. Rowling has stated that fans' preference for Slytherin characters derives from the attractiveness of the actors or from an unhealthy desire for "bad boys". Much meta has been written by frustrated Slytherin fans on the author's perceived failure to understand their interest. "If you identify with House Slytherin, the later books are essentially a series of slaps in the face"
Hufflepuff has a reputation among fans and in-universe as the "also-ran" of the four houses, for people who do not have the necessary talents or dispositions for any of the other houses. This is supported somewhat in canon, as the Sorting Hat sings that after the other three Hogwarts Founders had selected their favorite students, Hufflepuff "took the rest". Hagrid reports that "everyone says Hufflepuff are a lot o' duffers" (but implies that he disagrees).
There are fans, however, that identify strongly with Hufflepuff. Hufflepuffs are known for being "just and loyal" and hard-working.
There are fan forums for Hufflepuff Pride though, such as Hufflepuff Pride communities on LJ, as well as a flourishing fan market for Hufflepuff Pride merchandise, such as cafepress shops and Hufflepuff needlecrafts. Those who do identify as Hufflepuff often assert that loyalty and hard work are underrated, and that while Gryffindors may get the glory and Ravenclaws the respect for their knowledge, it is the Hufflepuffs who will buckle down and stick it out to the very end. As of 2015, Tumblr fans are still defending the honor of Hufflepuffs.
It is sometimes said of the Ilvermorny houses that they represent the whole witch or wizard: the mind is represented by Horned Serpent; the body, Wampus; the heart, Pukwudgie and the soul, Thunderbird. Others say that Horned Serpent favours scholars, Wampus, warriors, Pukwudgie, healers and Thunderbird, adventurers.- JK Rowling in "Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry"
Similar to Hogwarts, there are four houses at Ilvermorny: Horned Serpent, Wampus, Pukwudgie, and Thunderbird. Canonically, the Ilvermorny houses are said to be named for magical creatures, although all four creatures appear in various folkloric traditions of the indigenous peoples of North America.
Ilvermorny received criticism, with some points specifically aimed at the houses.
[...] Why WOULD an American magic school even have a House system? Private boarding schools here don't really, not even Exeter or Phillips. Also, why do we only have ONE? Who pays for it? Is it federally funded? If it's in Massachusetts, does Massachusetts get a tax break? WE HAVE STATES, JKR. YOU DON'T SEEM TO UNDERSTAND HOW THEY WORK.
I could go on and on and on about this. Ugh. I hate it. I hate everything about it.- sjaejones in a comment on the thread "Pottermore, Ilvermorny, and Colonialism"
Sparklypoo is a fanon house first created in the Sparklypoo comic, a fan comic by GMonkey parodying the frequent self-insertion of Mary Sues into Harry Potter fanfiction. It is the house Mary Sues are sorted into, created because Hogwarts has "had so many new students that [they] had to start a new House to accommodate them all."
pottersues's "Mary-Sue Sorting Hat Song", written in August 2003, describes four invented houses for different types of Mary Sues, including Sparklypoo (see above). The other three are "Bitchiwitch", "Tootsitramp", and "Qanonreip".
The following is a list of Harry Potter fanworks that focus on the Houses.
- "Sorted This Way" — A Lady Gaga parody by Not Literally Productions (Hufflepuff)
- "We R Slytherins" — A Ke$ha parody by Not Literally Productions]
- "Gryffindors" — A Katy Perry parody by Not Literally Productions]
Crossover and Fusion Fanworks
- See Hogwarts AU
- Rehumanizing the Slytherins by sagedarkwoods (2009)
- theory: the trio are representations of the other houses, Archived version by inkhat (2014)
- "but also??? people’s values??? change??? as they get older???" by funkyfaerie (2020)
- The word "house" is usually lower-case in the novels, though it is occasionally (but not always) capitalised in phrases such as "Gryffindor House". The verb "sort (into houses)" is also inconsistently capitalized. (See also Potterwords.)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 11: "The Sorting Hat's New Song"
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 33: "The Prince's Tale"
- sistermagpie. Those crazy fans. Posted to LiveJournal 2005-05-29. (Accessed May 9, 2009)
- Draco Malfoy fans, JK Rowling feels 'unnerved' by your crush on the Harry Potter bad boy, 22 December 2014
- puritybrown, Fannish meta: No, I don't want elephant for starters, thanks!, posted to Livejournal 2007-10-11. (Accessed April 27, 2009)
- furiosity, Christ on a cracker, posted to Livejournal 2005-12-03. (Accessed April 27, 2009)
- http://community.livejournal.com/the_puff_house/profile (accessed 9 May 2009)
- http://www.cafepress.com/hufflepuffpride (accessed 9 May 2009)
- knottyknitter. Themed List: Harry Potter Patterns (accessed 9 May 2009)
- The Awesomeness of Hufflepuff by maestro-meier, posted to tumblr July 26, 2015. 19,108 notes as of September 7, 2015.
- "Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry," JK Rowling, Pottermore. Retrieved on March 21, 2018.
- "The Native American folklore behind Ilvermorny, J.K. Rowling's new wizarding school, explained," Aja Romano. Posted on June 29, 2016. Accessed on April 2, 2018.
- "Oh hoooooooooo, I have SO much to say about this.," sjaejones in a comment on the thread "Pottermore, Ilvermorny, and Colonialism." Accessed on March 18, 2018.
- piratemonkeysinc.com, archived by the Wayback Machine 25 September 2013.