No, I’m definitely not obsessed with Harry Potter. Not at all. And yet, I continue to make posts about the Sorting Hat. (Also not my favorite character–for real this time!)
While chatting with some friends of mine at school (you know who you are!), I realized that people can be boiled down to four basic personality types based on the four Hogwarts houses. This isn’t exact, of course, (because how else would Hermione Granger end up in Gryffindor…?) but it’s a start to creating a character.
The founders of the houses favored the following traits:
Gryffindor: courage, bravery, loyalty, nerve and chivalry.
Ravenclaw: intelligence, creativity, learning, and wit.
Hufflepuff: hard work, tolerance, loyalty, and fair play.
Slytherin: ambition, cunning, leadership, and resourcefulness.
Most people will not fit perfectly into a specific category. Furthermore, characters, like people, will display a collage of traits from each house. In my observance, however, they trend toward one house or another.
A while back I wrote this post on me and my family and how we fit into Hogwarts. My mother and I went into Ravenclaw, my sister to Hufflepuff, and my dad to Gryffindor. I then compiled a list of other traits that might fit these houses.
Gryffindor: brash, stubborn, head-strong, impatient, daring
Ravenclaw: smart, organized, knowledgeable
Hufflepuff: emotional, caring, friendly
Slytherin: patient, planning, sneaky
Just to show how someone wouldn’t fit any one mold, I’ll put forth myself as an example.
I’m smart (so people tell me), creative, witty (sometimes), intelligent, and knowledgeable. I’m not organized. I’m also impatient, head-strong, loyal, caring, friendly, leader-ish, ambitious, and resourceful. I’m a mix of nearly all the traits from all the houses, but my personality leans the strongest towards that of Ravenclaw.
Of course, there are folks who fit better. My sister, for instance, embodies pretty much all the Hufflepuff characteristics, with intelligence, loyalty, organization, and stubbornness thrown in. My mom is pretty much a straight Ravenclaw, with some Hufflepuff and just a bit of Gryffindor.
Moving on to characters.
I’ve noticed that many heroes (except Artemis Fowl, but he’s really an anti-hero) are Gryffindors. Brash, daring, courageous, and loyal. They have to be, to fit the Heroic Quest sort of Hero.
Allies can be a mix. I rarely see a Slytherin ally, though, which leaves mostly Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff. Add in the fact that many allies are there to help the hero get out of sticky situations, I’d take away Gryffindor, because of the sheer amount of foolhardiness accompanying most Gryffindors.
Mentors are hard. I tend to think of them as a mix of Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, intelligent and creative, yet strong and courageous, willing to help the hero.
Villains, of course, fall into the Slytherin category almost every time. It’s not that all Slytherins are bad, it’s just that villains embody many Slytherin traits in their quest for power/wealth/death of the hero/whatever. They’re ambitious, great leaders, great strategists, etc.
See? It’s pretty easy to classify characters as one of those four personality types.
This leads me to my final point–that is to say, certain personality traits are not complementary. An ultimate desire for power (Slytherin) will clash with a strong desire for fair play (Hufflepuff), if present in the same character. Such conflicting traits will make your character seem flat and unrealistic. Bottom line: keep away from exact opposites.
These are the two best Hogwarts-House quizzes I’ve come across. The first is lengthy but comes up with better results; the second is faster and good for a quick personality check.
Just for good measure, I’ll sort my own characters.
Jeline: Mix of Ravenclaw and Slytherin
Jelir: Slytherin with a hint of Ravenclaw
Katherine: Ravenclaw with a lot of Gryffindor
Belerion: Slytherin, with a hint of Gryffindor
Rhila: Slytherin and Ravenclaw
Brisies: Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw
What house would your character sort into?