Books, Essay, Life


The other day, I asked my friend, “Did you even read Harry Potter?” We’re best friends, so I know a decent amount about her, but this was something I don’t remember us ever talking about.

Watch, she’s gonna text me after reading this and go, “Actually we did talk about it on xyz.”

I’m a huge Harry Potter fan – I think the world divides pretty cleanly into fans and non-fans, and usually it comes down to your level of physical fitness in middle school. Despite doing essentially every sport imaginable as some sort last-ditch effort to butch me up, I was not a ~jock~. My parents also severely limited my screen time (a wise decision, because I think my eyeballs would’ve been fried out of my head by now).

So I spent my time in one of a few ways: creating dresses for Polly Pockets (this is a real thing, I really did this), practicing piano, and reading. Reading like “reading under my desk after tests” reading and “bringing three books on vacation” reading. It’s the reason why I am so good at writing (I think) and also the reason why I say things like “I AM THE PROTAGONIST” (see above).

Harry Potter was one of my ultimate favorite series. I’ve probably read the entire thing more than twenty times, and own two sets (one weather-beaten and held together by tape and a prayer; one that came in a “trunk” set for Christmas).

Obviously the follow-up question was, “What house are you?” She’s Gryffindor (because she’s basically Hermione Granger), but that’s not actually important because she’s not the protagonist in this story – I am.

I told her that when Pottermore originally came out (after I did…copycat) I took the Sorting Hat quiz and was placed in Ravenclaw. This fits – I’m smart, clever and more than a little socially insensitive. Also I look amazing in blue. I was happy to be in Ravenclaw, even though everyone secretly wants to be in Gryffindor because Harry Potter was in Gryffindor.

Then a few years ago when some new feature came out on Pottermore, I wanted to check it out but I had forgotten my password and log-in information (it’s also possible I purposefully blocked it from my memory because I had a habit of creating horrific log-ins like “slapstickcomedyguy” – that was a real AIM username I pilot-tested for a while). So I created a new one and, out of habit, just took the Sorting Hat quiz. And, to my surprise (quelle surprise), I was NOT sorted into Ravenclaw.

I was a Gryffindor. Quelle énorme surprise!

Obviously, I took it as a sign of growth and maturity, as well as my own versatility. And, as proof of that maturity and growth, I bragged about it to my friend. She suggested a second theory, that you’re just not supposed to take a second stab at the quiz. She, however, does not have my bad memory so she was never put in this position.

Then, to make matters more difficult, she tried to make me choose which I would be: Ravenclaw or Gryffindor. “Which house do you connect with more?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” I answered. “I thought Ravenclaw, but maybe I am more Gryffindor. But that might just be the placebo of it all.” And so, I was lost, wandering and unmoored until she made me make a split-second decision. And in my heart-of-hearts, I believe that I am, at this point in time, a Gryffindor.

But that got us thinking: Are the Houses meant to be reflective of you, or your values? Because if it’s simply a reflection of you, I believe, then Neville Longbottom could probably be Hufflepuff and Hermione Granger could probably be Ravenclaw. But if the Houses are representative of your values or your aspirations, as she believes, then it makes more sense.

Either way, your House could always be changing. When I was assigned Ravenclaw, I was a shy, unconfident teenager who longed to be a little braver and bolder. And now that I’ve evolved into someone more confident and bold, I place a higher emphasis on intelligence and wit. So really, the Houses mean nothing except that they mean everything.

This was actually something so dumb and little, but it really forced me to think about my own evolution. It made me think realistically (from a fantastical jumping-off point) about who I am and the values that I want to uphold.

When I took this test the first time around, I would have loved to be a Gryffindor but I knew that I was a Ravenclaw. But now that I’ve matured into a Gryffindor, I see the value of being a Ravenclaw. This is partly because I’m studying for the GRE and am flailing in a sea of mathematics that I haven’t thought about in years (all this while, pursuing journalism has forced me to be a more confident, self-assured person) and am wishing I was a little smarter naturally at math. It’s interesting to see how our values and priorities change the older we get, and how we change as people.

So I guess the moral of the story is thank god I look good in red and blue. If I had evolved into a Hufflepuff, I would not be as chill as I am right now, and you can take that to the bank.


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