Today, this first day of #HogwartsOctober, we pay homage to our Houses.
Are you surprised that I’m a Gryffindor?
To be honest, so am I.
When I started planning out this whole Hogwarts adventure, I was curious to try to find out my house again. (If you haven’t done it, by far the most reliable quiz is on Pottermore.) I mean, it’s not like I’ve never done the quizzes. I did those super obvious ones in the early 2000s that were had answers like, “I would just hug everyone!” or “I would roll my eyes and go back to reading.” Those were dumb. Pottermore is much less obvious in how it’s going to sort you, though you can still sometimes sort of tell what trait it’s looking for. Not always though.
Anyway, it’s not like I hadn’t done the quiz before. (I just used different emails to retake the quiz. Shh….) I was just curious to see, now, what House I would be.
Let me say this: it’s not that I never wanted to be in Gryffindor. Who wouldn’t want to be in the house that Harry was in? The one with the Weasleys and Hermione and everyone else we came to love? Who wouldn’t want to be in the house of the brave and courageous?
It’s just that I never, at heart, thought I belonged in Gryffindor.
When I took the Pottermore test in college once, I got Ravenclaw. That seemed pretty typical for me, even though it meant being in a house that I really didn’t know that well. Luna was cool, Cho was meh, but it was the House for those who were smart and clever. As someone who rarely ever removed her nose from a book, this seemed fitting for me and I started to really think of myself as a Ravenclaw.
But the last two times I’ve taken the test, I’ve gotten Gryffindor. And when I took this test and got my results…I was hesitant. I’m reluctant to say I was disappointed because it’s definitely not that (I look really good in red), but I very much didn’t see myself as a Gryffindor.
As the Sorting Hat says,
You might belong in Gryffindor, where dwell the brave at heart. Their daring nerve and chivalry set Gryffindors apart.
That…didn’t sound like me. I have social anxiety, an introvert’s heart, a reluctance to take on any leadership role, and a real lack of an adventurous spirit. So there was a time when I was a little depressed that the Sorting Hat had gotten it wrong.
Then I got thinking more about it.
While all those things are true, I started to realize there was more to being a Gryffindor than just simply a fighter’s spirit and heroic bravery.
Not all bravery looks like Harry’s. Take Neville for example. For years, few would have thought Neville a proper Gryffindor. I’m pretty sure he also suffered from anxiety, either social or otherwise. He definitely would not have been cut out for leadership roles, and his life had already been too adventurous by the time he started Hogwarts.
I started reflecting on the fact that I was more like Neville than Harry, and I was ok with that. Like Neville, I don’t have a problem standing up to people who are mistreating others or who I think may be endangering themselves. (Also like Neville, I’m probably better at standing up for other people than I am myself.) Like Neville, I’m fiercely loyal to those who have earned it and I will Mess You Up if you threaten them.
Do big shows of bravery scare me? Absolutely. For example, as a teacher, I’m trained on what to do in a crisis, like a fire or an active shooter. It basically comes down to the fact that I need to keep the kids as safe as possible, putting myself between them and the shooter/danger if necessary. And that absolutely terrifies me. And I have a constant fear that if it does happen, I’m going to freeze instead of doing whatever I’m supposed to. But when push comes to shove, will I be able to do it? More than likely.
I also think a part of being a Gryffindor is individualism. We have to be brave to be ourselves in society anymore, what with shaming on social media and constant comments about things like, “Did you SEE what she was wearing?” or “Can you BELIEVE what she did?”
This is an aspect of bravery that I think I do maybe better than average at. I have a more vintage fashion style, so I tend to dress a little differently than everyone around me. Perhaps I don’t have purple hair or a sleeve of tattoos, but I do my own thing. People can make fun of me for being a nerd or bringing knitting to a party, but I’m going to do what I want to do. I can get flack for reading YA at 27 or jabs for being left-handed, but it all rolls off.
And you know what? If that makes me brave enough for the Sorting Hat to put me in Gryffindor, then I’ll happily accept. (But maybe at heart I’ll still feel like a Gryffinclaw.)
Looking for a House banner of your own? Go ahead and take one of mine, whichever one matches your House to post on your blog!