CHAPTER 7 – The Sorting Hat
Professor McGonagall greeted the first year’s.
She was dressed in an emerald green robe. She advised them that they would be taken into the main hall for the start of term banquet, but before they could eat, they would all be sorted into one of the four houses. She stressed the importance of the house system, for the house would be their family, and they would eat, sleep and attend classes together.
At the end of the year, a cup is awarded to the best house and points are
earned for your house according to the pupil’s behavior and performance.
The first year’s also encountered spirits that haunted the school and they
learned that each house had its own ghosts.
They were taken into the main hall which was lit by thousands of candles
floating in the air. There were four long tables, one for each house, and a top table where the teachers sat.
The first year’s were lined up and Professor McGonagall came towards them
with a rather battered hat. The hat spoke, much to the amazement of some of the first year’s.
Professor McGonagall called the first year’s in turn and they sat on a small stool and the hat was placed on them and the hat then shouted out the house they have been assigned to. Sometimes this was done immediately, other times the hat appeared to think before decided which house to allocated the pupil to. The hat assigned pupils according to their attributes. Gryffindor was where the brave at heart were assigned. Hufflepuff was for the just and loyal. Ravenclaw was for the learned. Slytherin was for the cunning folk. Nearly all the first year’s had been allocated houses and Harry was one of the last pupils remaining. When his name was called the room was filled with whispers. Everyone strained to get a good view, and wondered what the hat would decide. The hat was placed over Harry’s head and he heard a small voice say, “Difficult. Very difficult. Plenty of courage, I see. Not a bad mind, either. There’s talent, oh my goodness, yes – and a nice thirst to prove yourself. Now that’s interesting. So where shall I put you? Not Slytherin. Better be Gryffindor.” The last word was shouted and the Gryffindor table erupted. Harry was quite pleased because he would be in the same house as Ron.
The Headmaster stood up and welcomed all the pupils to a new year.
The boys sat down and suddenly the empty dishes in front of them were now piled with food.
Close by was a ghost who looked sad because he could not participate in the
He introduced himself as Sir Nicholas, but his nickname was ‘Nearly Headless’. He was upset that his house had not won the cup in six years. This had gone to the Slytherin house, and he was having a terrible time with the Slytherin ghost who was called ‘The Bloody Baron’.
Neville was also a member of the same house, so Harry would have at least
two good friends. He later learnt that all the Weasleys were in the same house.
Harry then noticed that one of the teachers was scrutinizing him, and
suddenly he got a sharp hot pain right across the scar on his forehead. It didn’t last long, but Harry had the feeling that this teacher, Professor Snape, hated him.
The Headmaster stood up again and told the pupils that he hoped they would
enjoy their year, and reminded them that the forest in the grounds is forbidden, and also the third floor corridor on the right-hand side.
He also said that magic should not be used between classes in the corridors, as this upsets the caretaker, Mr. Filch. He then invited all pupils to sing the school song in any tune they liked. The pupils duly complied and the Weasleys were the last to finish as they were singing the song to a very slow funeral match.
Percy Weasley the prefect escorted the first year’s to the dormitory.
As they passed the long corridors, they noticed that the people in the portraits were moving and whispering to one another. The school was full of secret passageways, moving staircases and ghosts passing
They also had an encounter with a poltergeist called ‘Peeves’. At last they came to a portrait of a “very fat woman in a pink silk dress. Password? She said”. Once this had been supplied, the portrait swung forward to reveal a circular hole in the wall. They were taken through the Gryffindor Common Room, up a spiral staircase to their bedroom containing four-poster beds. Harry was soon asleep, but he had a disturbing dream where a voice told him he must transfer to Slytherin house.
The boys are sorted into the houses according to their characteristics, but
the hat clearly had problems with Harry. However, he ended up with his friends and not with the bullies, who as you might guess, are in the Slytherin house.
The other important factor in this Chapter is Professor Snape, who would
appear to be a potential adversary for Harry.
The poem recited by the hat is interesting as it uses a play on words
relating to different types of headgear.
There is clearly a dark side to this tale, but at present this is more than
subdued by the comical elements in the storyline. This dark side will probably have something to do with the areas deemed as out of bounds.