At Harry Potter’s Hogwarts, the Sorting Hat determines which house the students will be in when they are only 11 years old. The students are so young when the storying occurs that it’s no wonder that the Hat sometimes makes the wrong choice. Dumbledore himself even mentions in the books that he sometimes thinks they sort the students too young. While there is some discussion in the books about certain characters who might have been sorted wrongfully, there are even others who might have done better in other houses.
What mistakes did the Sorting Hat make? These particular Hogwarts students mark the biggest Sorting Hat mistakes in the franchise.
Updated on July 21st, 2021 by Amanda Bruce: The Harry Potter fandom continues to grow on a daily basis thanks to theme parks, spin-off stories, and stage shows. There appears to be no end in sight to the interest in the wizarding world originally created for a series of children’s novels. The movies will likely see an inevitable reboot in the future, but these particular Sorting Hat mistakes will live on forever as fans continue to debate Hogwarts house placement.
12 FRED AND GEORGE WEASLEY: SLYTHERIN
There’s no doubt that Fred and George Weasley are both funny and brave too. They, after all, are some of the first Hogwarts students to stand up to Dolores Umbridge. It could be argued that they should have been in Ravenclaw thanks to their outside-of-the-box thinking and creative pursuit of a career.
They were actually a better fit for Slytherin though. Their creativity went hand in hand with their ambition to make something of themselves and to have the security of their own business instead of following someone else’s plan for them.
11 SEAMUS FINNEGAN: RAVENCLAW
Rumors have run rampant for years that there are 7 mistakes made by the Sorting Hat in the Harry Potter franchise, but creator J.K. Rowling maintains that the Hat never made a mistake. Fans have long speculated about the possibility, and Seamus Finnegan, surprisingly, rarely comes up in those discussions. He didn’t exhibit the same level of bravery that his Gryffindor roommates did. In fact, he shied away from the conflict concerning whether or not Voldemort ever returned by placing his loyalty and his belief squarely in his mother, a more Hufflepuff trait.
Realistically, however, Seamus is a better fit for Ravenclaw because he was the type of student who would do something just to see what would happen. That’s showcased well in the movies with his propensity for pyrotechnics – no matter what spell he attempted.
10 DUMBLEDORE: SLYTHERIN
It’s very clear to fans of the books that Rowling had a habit of sorting most of the main or important characters into Gryffindor. There’s definitely a bit of an imbalance, and the books definitely set up Gryffindor as the best house, which could easily account for some Sorting Hat mistakes.
While Dumbledore might have been a Gryffindor, a good argument could be made for him actually being a Ravenclaw. But, even more than that, he belongs in Slytherin. Given his ambition and his cunning, also his propensity to lie to achieve his ends, he probably would have fit in well there.
9 CRABBE AND GOYLE: HUFFLEPUFF
The four Hogwarts houses can sometimes be a pretty reductive system as most people don’t fit evenly into one of four categories. Crabbe and Goyle obviously were sorted into Slytherin because the books set it up that all bad wizards and Death Eaters come from that house.
The truth is, however, that Crabbe and Goyle weren’t particularly cunning or ambitious. They simply followed Malfoy’s lead. In one way, it would make more sense to have them in a house like Hufflepuff. Their loyalty to Malfoy, and willingness to do any amount of work required of them, would have fit right in.
8 PERCY WEASLEY: SLYTHERIN
The Weasleys take great pride in always being sorted into Gryffindor. It’s a little disheartening how much pressure they put on their kids to be in this house.
While most of the Weasleys are brave, they are all individuals. Percy was always all about ambition and working his way up in the ministry. His entire life was about working up in the world and being the best he could be. These aren’t bad traits at all, but they are very Slytherin traits.
7 REMUS LUPIN: HUFFLEPUFF
While having all of the Marauders be in the same house makes sense from a storytelling perspective, some of them might have done better in another house. Remus was a hero and always the most level-headed of the group. An argument could be made that he would fit in well in Ravenclaw as he was more quiet and bookish while in school.
He cared a lot about loyalty and fairness. During his brief time as a Hogwarts professor, he attempted to make every student in his class feel seen and heard, tailoring his lessons to their needs. He would likely have fit in very well in Hufflepuff.
6 PETER PETTIGREW: SLYTHERIN
This example is one of the most obvious Sorting Hat mistakes that is talked about in the book. Peter Pettigrew is not really brave in any sense of the word, just someone with a strong sense of self-preservation.
He is very cowardly and willing to betray his friends to save himself. He was always a character that was looking to find powerful people to take care of him. While not all Slytherins are evil, his desire to use other people to achieve his ends makes him a Slytherin in this case.
5 NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM: HUFFLEPUFF
Neville Longbottom is definitely brave. There is no contesting that he has a lot of courage, especially as he grows up. He also, however, has a huge heart and isn’t reckless like many Gryffindors. He’s one of the most relatable characters for fans of the series.
Having Neville in Hufflepuff would have shown how much people from other houses can also be brave at times. Neville likely would have fit in really well in the Hufflepuff house, and it would have been great to have such an important character not be in Gryffindor.
4 GILDEROY LOCKHART: SLYTHERIN
Gilderoy Lockhart is another character who fell victim to the Sorting Hat mistakes. While he was a Ravenclaw, he would have made an even better Slytherin. While in one sense he was smart enough to trick people and get away with stealing the stories of others, he wasn’t actually smart in the traditional Ravenclaw way.
His intelligence was a lot more about using cunning and manipulation. Plus, he was really ambitious and was willing to do whatever it took to become famous. Fame was his primary motivator.
3 LUNA LOVEGOOD: GRYFFINDOR
Luna Lovegood is definitely one of the most well-known and important Ravenclaws in the entire book series. While Luna might have fit into Ravenclaw in some ways, she definitely has the heart of a Gryffindor.
She was brave through and through and always loyal to her friends. While often the books sorted way too many characters into Gryffindor, Luna is the one time where a character wasn’t sorted into that house – but should have been.
2 HERMIONE GRANGER: RAVENCLAW
Hermione is another character that is briefly talked about in the books as having possibly been sorted into the wrong house. The Sorting Hat took its time making a decision about her. Hermione did well in Gryffindor at times, but she definitely was way more devoted to learning and studying than most of the other students in that house.
While it was a refreshing change to have a character break some of the house stereotypes, she probably would have felt more relaxed in the Ravenclaw environment. From a storytelling perspective, having most of Harry’s friends by in Gryffindor made everything a lot simpler for his tale.
1 HARRY POTTER: SLYTHERIN
This might be somewhat of a controversial opinion, but it’s the one that’s most talked about in the books. The Sorting Hat thought of putting Harry Potter into Slytherin, but Harry’s choice made the difference.
While it’s powerful that some students can have some choice in their placement, having Harry not be in Gryffindor would have made an amazing point to the fans and the other characters. Showing that Harry could still be just as good and brave would have bucked all the Slytherin stereotypes. However, he likely wouldn’t have fit in well if his rivalry with Malfoy is anything to go by. Fans can chalk Harry’s sorting up to the mythical 7 mistakes of the Sorting Hat debate that rages on.
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