Ilvermorny Pride: Only I Can Define Myself

Over the past couple of decades, Hogwarts House pride has taken off in the Harry Potter community, but where is our Ilvermorny pride? Your Ilvermorny House can say just as much about who you are as your Hogwarts House does, and when put together, both Houses can give a clearer, fuller picture of your personality. The four Ilvermorny Houses have been described as each representing a different part of the human being; Horned Serpent represents the mind and favors scholars; Wampus represents the body and favors warriors; Pukwudgie represents the heart and favors healers; Thunderbird represents the soul and favors adventurers. Whereas Hogwarts Houses describe which traits you value above all else, Ilvermorny Houses describe who you are and how you define yourself.



To me, “mind,” “body,” “heart,” and “soul” mean the following:

Mind: Horned Serpents are defined by what they know, how they learn, and how they think. They are idealists, philosophers, ethicists, and truth seekers. Horned Serpents keep an open mind, think their way through difficult situations, and use the knowledge they gather to become more courageous people, to fuel their creative drive, to inform their relationships, or to feed their ambitions.



Body: Wampuses are defined by their actions, by what they say, and by how they express themselves. They are experimenters, designers, architects, and servants; they lead by example, learn by doing, speak their minds, and live their truths. Wampuses are the central actors of their world, and their every action is deliberate, intentional, and representative of what they most value.



Heart: Pukwudgies are defined by their passions and desires, by how they feel, and by whom they love. They form deep connections, wholly commit themselves to everything they do, and defend their people and passions with ferocity. Pukwudgies are caregivers, protectors, and loyal friends. They will use all their talents, values, and potential to pursue their passions and protect the ones they love.



Soul: Thunderbirds are defined by their experiences, by their motives, and by the choices they make despite their circumstances. They are soul-searchers, travelers, breakers of boundaries, and those who defy expectations. To a Thunderbird, there are no coincidences or accidents; Thunderbirds can have grounded and self-possessed as well as trailblazing and tumultuous personalities.



The distinct personalities found in each Hogwarts House are united by a shared set of characteristics that they value above all else. Similarly, students of each Ilvermorny House define themselves in distinct ways, and Sorting allows students to be surrounded by like-minded people over the course of their education. The Hogwarts and Ilvermorny Houses do not match up one-to-one – other than in a few superficially similar areas, like House mascots – but they do complement each other in any combination. We already know that each Hogwarts House is made up of a diverse array of personalities; perhaps identifying people by their Ilvermorny Houses can help us to better understand that diversity and find commonality with new people.

The difference between what Hogwarts and Ilvermorny Houses represent can best be exemplified by the differences in their Sorting Ceremonies. The Sorting Hat looks into your mind, sees your potential, and puts you with the people it thinks can best help you realize that potential. The questions you ask the Hat or the choices you make, as in Harry Potter’s case, only further demonstrate your core values and potential to the Hat.



At Ilvermorny, sometimes the personality that steps forward onto the Gordian Knot is already well defined; in that case, there is really only one House that could accept that personality, and vice-versa. But oftentimes, it isn’t quite as clear what kind of person a young student may be. Though you can only take the Pottermore quiz once, the actual Sorting Ceremony allows you to choose where you belong if more than one carving responds to you. I finally chose Horned Serpent as my own House because as a Hufflepuff, I strive to be compassionate above all else, but I do so by learning more about the world and applying that knowledge to my actions.



You may not realize what you value most in life or know your true potential when you are Sorted, but only you get to choose who you are and how you define yourself. That, ultimately, is the value of Ilvermorny to me.

How do you define yourself? Mind, body, heart, or soul? Share and spread some Ilvermorny pride!

  • Iain Walker

    “Only you get to choose who you are and how you define yourself”. Well, yes. So why have you written an article advocating the opposite?

    Both the Hogwarts and Ilvermorny Sortings shoehorn people into arbitrarily chosen categories, categories which are neither mutually exclusive nor mutually exhaustive. Ilvermorny at least doesn’t have a House partly selected by racist criteria, but otherwise the systems are equally flawed. In-universe, the best one can say about them is that they are administrative conveniences for the two schools. And while the Pottermore “Sortings” might be a bit of fun, they’re ultimately superficial, unscientific tests that can’t hope to mimic the complexity of their fictional models.

    Given this, why on earth would you base an “identity” on such limited, arbitrary choices? You’re basically saying (as do the two Sorting systems) that you can be A, B, C or D, four options that have been pre-selected for you, and you only get to pick one. That’s not a free choice. Why not all of the above? Or none of the above? Why not A and D and G and K and R and Y?

    You, me, and everyone else on the planet is a unique, shifting point in a multi-dimensional landscape of values and traits. Labels are approximations of this complexity, nothing more, and are often as harmful and divisive as they are useful. So why not celebrate your uniqueness and your individuality? At the very least, never let anyone tell you that you can only be A or B or C or D.

    Oh, and this has got nothing to do with diversity. Sorting, labelling, defining or stereotyping people into arbitary groups isn’t diversity – it is the enemy of diversity.

    • Nocturnial Wolf

      In the old ways, where those schools are based on, communism hadn’t been discovered then, so show some respect for the old ways as part of the legendary history and don’t over analyze everything and categorize every single action. Yes everyone is unique and everyone has the right to choose whatever they think best for them, but societies do not function properly that way having everyone in an utter chaos of unique individuality. The options here are those 4 if you are so rizospastic and rebelious and feel you are confined by them, you may as well leave. I don’t remember reading that someone is obligated to attend the schools in the first place.

      • Iain Walker

        Sorry, you do know these schools are fictional, don’t you? One can’t leave a fictional school that is impossible to attend in the first place.

        And seriously, “old ways”? “Legendary history”? Even in the real world, these may be worthy of understanding, but understanding does not imply respect. Respect is earned by traditions on their merit, not because they’re “old” or “legendary”. And applying this to (say) the Hogwarts Sorting, once you take the time to understand its origins, you discover that it was only ever a compromise to fix a spat between the Founders, and ceased to have any justification after the last of them died. That’s the thing about “old ways” – they may make sense in the context of their time, but once that time is past, and the context no longer applies, their utility disappears. They become at best quaint anachronisms, and at worst barriers to progress and reform.