This Presidential election season has had a lot of strife, angst, anger and hate. So I want to enter the fray–but with some frivolous fun: I am going to sort all U.S. Presidents into the Houses of Hogwarts from the Harry Potter series.
I absolutely love the Harry Potter series. In fact, I recently went to Harry Potter World in Universal Studios (Florida) for vacation. While there, I couldn’t help but think of the sorting system at Hogwarts. For those that aren’t familiar with the series, the titular hero attends the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. At the start of the school year, each new student gets “sorted” into one of four Houses: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin, which are basically known as the brave, loyal, wise and ambitious houses, respectively. Here’s how the four houses are described in the first book:
You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart,
Their daring, nerve, and chivalry
Set Gryffindors apart;
You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true
And unafraid of toil;
Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
if you’ve a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind;
Or perhaps in Slytherin
You’ll make your real friends,
Those cunning folks use any means
To achieve their ends.
Muggles such as myself can sort themselves into one of these four houses via a variety of websites. J.K. Rowling’s official website Pottermore lets you do it, though you need a free account for that. If you’d rather do it quick and easy (if unofficially), many websites offer sorting quizzes. (Full disclosure: I’m a Ravenclaw.)
So I thought it would be fun to sort all Presidents (plus this year’s candidates) into these houses. One important point before I get started. Because we see these houses in the books through Harry’s point of view, the perceptions of the houses often get skewed. Gryffindor can appear the “good guys,” versus evil Slytherin, while the other two houses might be considered nerdy (Ravenclaw) or losers/leftovers (Hufflepuff). For example, in explaining the Houses to Harry, Hagrid tells him “There’s not a witch or wizard who went bad who wasn’t in Slytherin.” However, we learn over the course of the series that there are “evil” wizards who didn’t go to Slytherinn (such as Prof. Quirrell1 or Peter Pettigrew) or Slytherins who stood up to Voldemort (Snape and Regulus Black come to mind). So in doing this exercise, I’m thinking of these four houses more neutrally than perhaps they’re often considered. Similarly, I don’t want to appear partisan in assigning houses to the presidents. Just because I disagree with a President doesn’t mean I’m automatically going to place him in Slytherin. Similarly, some of the more, shall we say obscure Presidents, aren’t automatically Hufflepuffs.
Join me as I sort the Presidents!