Why was Hermione not in Ravenclaw?

  • She's clearly the smartest person in her year, and the defining trait of Ravenclaw is intelligence. Why would she be in Gryffindor rather than Ravenclaw?

    According to OOTP - the sorting hat did consider putting Hermione in Ravenclaw - but I guess Hermione's courage outweighed her intelligence.

    @mustard - I knew that I'd read that reason somewhere - thanks for that. The question still stands though, as from what I recall that was the extent of it: no reasoning as such actually provided

    tbh i think it takes real courage to fully acknowledge the consequences of being a 'know-it-all'

    Out of canon, all the heroes are in Gryffindor. How else would you know they're the heroes? (Warning: TVTropes). Even _Neville_ is in Gryffindor. It's my major peeve with the Harry Potter universe: good guys in Gryffindor, bad guys in Slytherin, extras in Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff.

    I regard Luna as a Hero wasn't she in Ravenclaw?

    She's not very intelligent IMO. Have you seen her silly idea of *liberating house elves*? Kids these days...

    Not an answer, but it's possible she, Harry and Ron were all placed into Gryffindor to discover the *flaws* in their most notable traits - Harry discovers that proving himself worthy isn't the most important thing in life, Ron discovers that loyalty has its limits, and Hermione discovers that an obsession with knowledge isn't always the right way to go about things. Yes I think Harry belonged in Slytherine, Ron in Hufflepuff, and Hermione in Ravenclaw, and I'm not going back on it.

    @Zibbobz: That's a great interpretation, but then the hat would've done it with everyone else I guess? Yet I think that Draco was well-placed in Slytherine, instead of going to Hufflepuff to have a lesson on humility.

  • alexwlchan

    alexwlchan Correct answer

    7 years ago

    The Sorting Hat actually spent a long time deliberating over Hermione. She mentions it when somebody asks her about a particularly complicated piece of magic in Order of the Phoenix:

    “How come you’re not in Ravenclaw?” he [Terry Boot] demanded, staring at Hermione with something close to wonder. “With brains like yours?”

    “Well, the Sorting Hat did seriously consider putting me in Ravenclaw during my Sorting,” said Hermione brightly, “but it decided on Gryffindor in the end.”

    This is a rare event, but not unheard of. Pottermore has some more information on other borderline candidates:

    Hatstall. An archaic Hogwarts term for any new student whose Sorting takes longer than five minutes. This is an exceptionally long time for the Sorting Hat to deliberate, and occurs rarely, perhaps once every fifty years.

    Of Harry Potter’s contemporaries, Hermione Granger and Neville Longbottom came closest to being Hatstalls. The Sorting Hat spent nearly four minutes trying to decide whether it should place Hermione in Ravenclaw or Gryffindor.

    As for why Hermione is sorted into Gryffindor over Ravenclaw, I think she answers this herself in Philosopher’s Stone. On the Hogwarts Express, she shows a clear preference for Gryffindor over Ravenclaw:

    ”I’ve been asking around and I hope I’m in Gryffindor, it sounds by far the best, I hear Dumbledore himself was one, but I suppose Ravenclaw wouldn’t be too bad…”

    We know the Sorting Hat takes your choice into account, so if it was struggling to place her, then it might use her preference as the deciding factor.

    Later, in the dungeons as they’re trying to get to the Philosopher’s Stone, we have this particularly telling line:

    “I’m not as good as you,” said Harry, very embarrassed, as she let go of him.

    “Me!” said Hermione. “Books! And cleverness! There are more important things – friendship and bravery and – oh Harry – be careful!”

    Hermione holds the values of Gryffindor – courage and bravery – higher than those of Ravenclaw – raw intelligence and knowledge.

    She doesn’t just value these traits; she exhibits them throughout the books. She encourages Harry to start Dumbledore’s Army; she fights with him in the Ministry of Magic; she works alongside him in the hunt for Horcruxes. But she starts off as a stereotypical know-it-all, and we don’t really see much courage or bravery.

    The Sorting Hat placed her in Gryffindor because she has the traits of a Gryffindor within her, and placing her in that house can bring them out. She’s already very studious and intelligent, more so than a lot of Ravenclaws, so I think she has more to gain from Gryffindor than Ravenclaw.

    And let's not forget her rebellion against authority in founding SPEW amidst a complete lack of support from even her best friends.

    Great answer, especially the last sentence!

    I think a really key point is that *even if* we argue that Hermione is "more" intelligent and studious than she is brave and courageous, she *values* bravery more. To be studious is a natural proclivity of hers, but bravery is something she has actively chosen to try to be (and she is).

    This is an exceptional answer, bravo!

    Hermione sticks up for herself, she sticks up for her friends, and she sticks up for the weak. That's why I like her. You can also compare her kind of courage to Harry's. Harry's bravery is foolhardy--in the heat of emotion, he'll take extraordinary risks. Whereas Hermione, she's never reckless, but she is committed to do what she believes is right, *and sometimes that needs her to be brave*.

    Dumbledore was exceptionally 'brainy' as well, probably the most brilliant and most cunning Wizard; yet he was in Gryffindor. Voldemort, another exceptionally brainy and inquisitive young Wizard; yet he was sorted into Slytherin. Just goes to show that being intelligent isn't the only thing the Sorting Hat considers.

    Great answer, reminds me of something I read somewhere. Harry should be in Slytherin, Ron in Hufflepuff and Hermione in Ravenclaw. But they all ended up choosing to be gryffindor

    Blimey good answer!

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