Sorting Woes: A Step-by-Step Guide to Embracing Your Ilvermorny House

(Image Credit: Pottermore)
(Image Credit: Pottermore)

Like the rest of the Harry Potter generation, I spent my 11th birthday hoping for a Hogwarts letter that never came. I contented myself with the fact that Hogwarts is in the United Kingdom and I’m not, so maybe I was just too far away for them. But now, J.K. Rowling has ruined my life by releasing Pottermore information on a North American school.

Regardless of how upset I am (hint: very) that I didn’t get to go to a wizarding school for middle and high school, I am determined to embrace Ilvermorny just like eight-year-old me first embraced Hogwarts. But so far, it’s been hard to do that.

The major reason for my reluctance toward accepting Ilvermorny is down to sorting. See, I’m a Ravenclaw through and through, so I figured obviously I should be in Horned Serpent because it represents the mind. But I took the test three times, and since I keep getting Pukwudgie, I guess I’m pretty strongly in that house.

I know that I’m not alone in my conflicting feelings toward Ilvermorny. How can I abandon my Hogwarts house for a school we barely know anything about? Well, it took some time, but I finally decided that I just needed to embrace both. I can be a Ravenclaw and a Pukwudgie. And you can be both your Hogwarts house and your Ilvermorny house too with this step-by-step guide.

Forget What You Know

Okay, so the key to embracing both of your houses is to realize that the Hogwarts houses and the Ilvermorny houses are not equivalent. I keep seeing posts on Tumblr about how Pukwudgie is obviously Hufflepuff because it represents the heart or how Horned Serpent is Slytherin because it has a snake mascot. But there’s no one-to-one ratio between Hogwarts and Ilvermorny.

You can see this in my group of friends alone. Me and one of my Slytherin friends are both in Pukwudgie while my fellow Ravenclaw friend got Horned Serpent and my other Slytherin friend got Thunderbird. If the Ilvermorny houses and the Hogwarts houses were exactly the same, that shouldn’t have happened. And honestly, it’s a lot more exciting for North American fans if Ilvermorny isn’t knock-off Hogwarts.

Compare and Contrast

In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, we learn more about the founding of Hogwarts. It’s clear that the four founders knew what they were doing when they created the school, which is not really the case for Ilvermorny. Additionally, the Sorting Hat gives us a huge clue regarding the sorting process when it talks about the fact that the founders built their houses around values. It’s now become a widely accepted fact in the Harry Potter fandom that the Sorting Hat also places students into houses based on their values.

This is where we begin to see differences between Hogwarts and Ilvermorny. In the Pottermore information on Ilvermorny, J.K. Rowling says that the Ilvermorny houses took on the characters of the people who named them and that these houses are more representative of the whole witch or wizard. For students sorted into those houses, the idea is much the same.

Because of the major differences in Hogwarts and Ilvermorny’s foundings, the two schools don’t have similar sorting ceremonies, and that’s a huge deal when figuring out which houses you belong in.

Understand Thyself: Hogwarts Edition

This is perhaps the hardest part of embracing your Hogwarts and Ilvermorny identities, and it’s definitely the part I struggled with most. Basically, you need to think through your values and your attributes, which requires being honest with yourself.

We’ll start with Hogwarts because that’s the one we’re all most familiar with. What do you value most in life? Bravery and daring? Intelligence and wit? Hard work and dedication? Ambition and resourcefulness? Remember that sometimes these houses overlap. Both Slytherin and Hufflepuff value loyalty but in different ways.

For me, I’m a Ravenclaw because I prize intelligence in both myself and others. I consider my intelligence my defining attribute, and I’m very proud of that fact. I also embrace my eccentricities, another Ravenclaw trait, and try not to let others define me.

How about you?

Understand Thyself: Ilvermorny Edition

Now that you’ve thought through your Hogwarts house, we can move on to Ilvermorny.

Ilvermorny sorting is a little more complicated, partially because we don’t know much about it. But here, you can use your Hogwarts house to help you. Many people in fandom feel that the Ilvermorny houses represent how you choose to express and achieve your values, as embodied by your Hogwarts house.

Remember Horned Serpent represents the mind, Thunderbird the soul, Wampus the body, and Pukwudgie the heart. This means Horned Serpents will express themselves and their values through their thoughts, Thunderbird through their experiences, Wampus through their actions, and Pukwudgie through their feelings or passions.

The trick to Ilvermorny sorting is that you can definitely identify with several of these houses. J.K. Rowling specifically says that witches and wizards are often chosen by multiple houses at Ilvermorny because a person can have many different traits. So, this is where you really have to dig down deep.

For instance, based on my description of why I know I’m in Ravenclaw, you could say that I’d be a Horned Serpent, and that was what I wanted at first. But would a Horned Serpent be so overtly proud of their intelligence? It’s definitely possible, but that pride and pleasure I get from learning and proving how smart I am means I truly belong in Pukwudgie.

When you factor in my Ravenclaw sorting, you can see that I routinely express the opinion that intelligence is the greatest quality any human being can have, and my Pukwudgie side means I like to show-off just how intelligent I am.

Where do you fall on the Ilvermorny scale? And how does that relate to your Hogwarts house?

Put It All Together

tl;dr version

Your Hogwarts house is determined by what you value and see as most important. In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Hermione says that bravery and friendship are more important than books and cleverness. That’s why she’s in Gryffindor rather than Ravenclaw.

Your Ilvermorny house is determined by your motivations in life and why you do what you do. Are you a thinker like the Horned Serpent, an observer like the Thunderbird, a doer like the Wampus, or a sensor like the Pukwudgie?

Sorting can be a complicated thing, so take your time to determine where you truly fit. After all, like our Hogwarts houses, our Ilvermorny houses may just end up defining us.

But don’t worry if Pottermore gave you an Ilvermorny house that you don’t think fits with your Hogwarts house. If you take away one thing from my article, I want it to be this: the Ilvermorny houses can have members from every single one of the Hogwarts houses.

Hogwarts and Ilvermorny aren’t mutually exclusive. You just have to embrace both.

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Kali usually ends up watching movies and TV shows when she should be writing, which means she can and will beat you at any pop culture trivia game. When not found reading or wishing it was Halloween, she dreams about one day creating a TV show that ruins people’s lives (in a good way). @iKNOapostrophe

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