“You know, sometimes I think we Sort too soon…”
– Albus Dumbledore, Deathly Hallows p. 545
We usually talk about Harry Potter fans as a unified group of people, but as any serious Potter-fan will know what Hogwarts House they belong to, already we will be divided into four sub-groups. The five of us, the bloggers behind this site, that is, are living examples of this already, as each House is represented within our group (Hufflepuff twice – figures). This phenomenon, as one might call it, has a lot to do with Henry Jenkins’s concepts Immersion and Extractability, which deals with how fans are able to either enter their preferred franchise (immersion) or trace parts of the fictional world into their daily lives (extractability).
So this post is essentially how we come to perceive the traits that have been linked to our Houses, and how we automatically connect with the given personalities.
So what exactly do you do with this information?
Extractability and immersion, according to Jenkins, has to with how we insert ourselves into the fiction and still use parts of this fiction even when we are not necessarily reading the books from cover to cover. So the division into Houses supports our being inside the story and how we connect with the “me-inside-the-story”. Our aliases (The Hufflepuff(s), The Ravenclaw, The Slytherin and the Gryffindor) are somewhat representations of this, in the way we use the extractability to the story as a means for communicating this blog. Meanwhile, the personality traits rub off on other’s perception of us and even to some extent our view of each other. Generally, we also make assumptions on which Hogwarts House people we meet belong to, based on the personality traits we think reflect on them. The extractability expands even to other franchises, other fictional worlds where we try to attach Hogwarts connections to other relatable fictional characters.
When it comes to the psychology aspect of this matter, the article “Harry Potter and the measures of personality” explores the extent of personality discovery, self-identification and relating to social worlds within the grasp of a Harry Potter sorting – taken from the Sorting Hat Quiz on Pottermore.com, the site edited by Rowling herself. This is of course the quiz that also confirmed our (all of the bloggers’) Houses. The Sorting additionally guides us through which characters to sympathize and relate with and the article explores this following various psychological frames of study, such as The Big Five and The Dark Triads (p. 175).
[…] Rowling’s organization of students into school communities or “houses” with particular traits may have influenced the self-views of millions of readers and provided them with fictional communities with which they identify. It seems feasible that readers would identify more with those characters who share the traits they actually possess.(Crysel et. al. 2015 p. 175)
This article works with how the traits linked to four Houses’ correlates with those people, who, like us, have been Sorted through the Pottermore sorting quiz. But to return to Dumbledore-quote in the beginning, I’d like to conclude this with noting how the Sorting actually might not necessarily reflect the true person that each individual turns out to be (just look at Severus Snape, otherwise known as Mr. Always, opposite for example Peter Pettigrew, or even Percy Weasley). Finally, even the Sorting Hat itself warns us of the danger of unnecessary separation and the importance to stand united, though parted into (in this case: four) groups.
But this year I’ll go further
Listen closely to my song:
Though condemned I am to split you
Still I worry that it’s wrong,
Though I must fulfil my duty
And must quarter every year
Still I wonder whether Sorting
May not bring the end I fear.
For our Hogwarts is in danger
From external, deadly foes
And we must unite inside her
Or we’ll crumble from within
I have told you, I have warned you …
Let the Sorting now begin.
– Sorting Hat, Order of the Phoenix, pp. 186-87
~ The Gryffindor
Crysel, Laura C., Corey L. Cook, Tatiana Orozco Schember, Gregory D. Webster “Harry Potter and the measures of personality: Extraverted Gryffindors, agreeable Hufflepuffs, clever Ravenclaws, and manipulative Slytherins” Personality and Individual Differences 83 (2015) 174–179.
Jenkins, Henry. “Revenge of the Origami Unicorn: The Remaining Four Principles of Transmedia Storytelling.” http://henryjenkins.org/2009/12/revenge_of_the_origami_unicorn.html