Finding out your Hogwarts House is the ultimate Harry Potter fan rite of passage. Growing up, I (obv . . . iously) considered myself a Gryffindor because that was (duh) the best house to be in and I was (of course) as cool as Harry and Hermione and Ron. Also I was brave or whatever.
But academics have always been of the utmost importance to me; I'm addicted to reading, love learning, and really, truly enjoy being right. And hell yes I have wit beyond measure! I'd even go as far as to say it's my greatest treasure. So in my old age, aka my early 20s, I began to embrace the fact that, perhaps, after all, I was not the lion I believed myself to be, but instead a true Ravenclaw at heart. Well, that changed things! My loyalties shifted and I started to ask myself important questions such as "Should I replace my Gryffindor scarf with a Ravenclaw one?" and "Does this mean I am not brave but instead just wise?"
Then, years ago when Pottermore was first introduced, I was sorted into Gryffindor. Case closed, right? Wrong. Something still felt off. Another stab at Pottermore recently (Slytherin this time) and hundreds (I don't think that's an exaggeration) of quizzes with various results later, I began to face my growing trepidation and most deep-seated fear of all: maybe I actually felt a pull toward Slytherin? Home of snakes. Stomping ground of Death Eaters, and a house that was largely disparaged throughout the books. Yet, something has always rung true with me in the Sorting Hat's words; maybe I'd actually be honored to be counted among folks who "use any means to achieve their ends," and who are known for their cunning and ambition. Maybe.
It all felt like a lie. A big, secret lie I've been keeping from the true Ravenclaws, Slytherins, Gryffindors, and Hufflepuffs who are pure of Harry Potter heart while I flirt with the idea of belonging to not one, not two, but three Hogwarts Houses. Am I . . . divergent? Needless to say, as a Houseless Potter fan, I've faced some trying times. There are, after all, some very real struggles that only other fans who face such a dilemma would understand. For instance:
1. Shopping for Harry Potter paraphernalia is never easy.
After going back and forth between a Ravenclaw notebook (blue because, yay, my favorite color!) or a Slytherin one (green does go with my eyes), I just end up saying f*ck it and grabbing the Hogwarts crest one. That, or go broke buying something from all the Houses. Cool. Good job.
2. You cling tightly to hybrid quizzes that let you be more than one house.
Bless the souls who have created hybrid house quizzes that sort you into combined houses that for SOME OF US more accurately represent where we should be. I get Slytherclaw nine times out of 10.
3. You've had multiple phases of your life where you were 100 percent sure about your House affiliation.
Then you reread the books or watch the movies, and it all goes to hell and you fall into the depths of an existential crisis. Would you be better off as a Squib? Maybe Muggle life is all you deserve . . .?
4. You get offended when someone insults ANY of the Hogwarts Houses.
Since you identify with several Houses, it feels like a personal insult when Gryffindors are labeled as brash buffoons, or when Slytherins are so villainized. It's like, nobody puts wizards in a corner, OK?
5. You have a minor panic attack when people ask you what House you're in.
The conversation usually goes a little something like this: Them (in a light cheery voice): "I'm definitely a Hufflepuff, what about you?!" You (sweating profusely): "Do you have a few minutes, because actually here's the thing . . . " *20 very awkward minutes of frantic explanations go by* Them (backing away slowly): "K, LOL, G2G."
Some of us don't have the certainty of our Harry Potter identities to keep us warm at night but we're all really happy that you do.
6. You (eventually . . .) have an epiphany and realize that not belonging to a single House is actually the best ever.
Who saved the Wizarding World from the darkest wizard of all time? Harry Potter, a Gryffindor. And who sacrificed his life to protect said savior of the Wizarding World from Voldemort? Snape, a Slytherin. Luna Lovegood, one of my favorite characters of all time, is a Ravenclaw, and J.K. Rowling herself has declared it to be the age of Hufflepuff.
It dawns on you: we unaligned Potterheads get to have our Cauldron Cake and eat it too. We get the best deal of all, because we are able to see ourselves in so many unique wizards of diverse talents, and the bond between reader/viewer and character is made even deeper because it's with an individual person, rather than with a whole House. We get to be anything and everything — brave, wise, cunning, kind. Which basically means we get to be straight up awesome, all the damn time.