When Beta Isn’t Better: Pottermore Sorting Quiz and Identity Crisis
Let’s put our Chocolate Frog cards on the table. Back in 2011, when J.K. Rowling announced the creation of Pottermore, anybody who was remotely into the Boy Who Lived was about as excited as Hagrid hatching Norberta. When she announced clues that would grant special access to the site before it officially went live, a few die-hard fans (myself and now boyfriend included) immediately counted ourselves in. Fast-forward a day later when we took the Sorting quiz: boyfriend grumbles unappreciatively over being a Gryffindor and the lack of extra info, while I shriek like a banshee in delight, the eagle having welcomed me home.
Although there is a myriad of Hogwarts House quizzes – about as much variety as Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans – this particular quiz is the only one with the credentials of being designed by none other than J.K. Rowling herself. Being a canonical Potter purist as I always have been, this was as close as I could get to the actual Sorting. The author had a hand in it; therefore, it was law.
I was in Ravenclaw. All was well. Or so I thought.
Fast-forward a couple of years later when Pottermore is still decidedly in the beta stage. A couple of friends talk about the Sorting quiz, and I decide for kicks and grindylows that I’m going to take it again. Slytherin. I take it several times more, receiving several snakes, eagles, and a Hatstall between the two. Although unsettling, the Hat’s choice is supposed to be final. I can rest easy… A Ravenclaw… Right?
Turn the Time-Turner another year forward, and news breaks. Due to the games and the House Cup tournament implemented in the beta of Pottermore, the test was designed by J.K. Rowling, but the numbers and probability were rigged in order to put an even number within each House. This explained why, while my result was desired, thousands of Potterheads were enraged by uncharacteristic results. I began to feel a terrible gnawing from within. It was calling to me like a basilisk through the pipes. “TAAAKE THE QUIZZZZ.” After all, if the numbers were rigged, was I even an eagle in the first place?
So it begins. Hufflepuff. Ravenclaw. Slytherin. Slytherin. Ravenclaw. The years roll by, slowly chipping away at my sanity – where do I belong? A chart forms, and I begin to get lost in percentages, numbers, bulk testing, and whether or not the results are accurate due to my current emotional state at the time the test is taken. The research is all-consuming. Life is the chart. The chart is life.
Must. Have. Perfect. Unbiased. Answer. WE NEEDS IT, MY PRECIOUS!
There are 40 plus tests. No end in sight. I am half-convinced I will have to fly to Edinburgh, knock on J.K. Rowling’s door, and plead with my hands outstretched, “SORT ME, OH QUEEN OF FICTION. Save your subject from self-induced torment!”
Then it dawns on me. An idea. The tests I have been taking might not be accurate due to taking them in bulk. What if I were to take them once a month for a year? That would give an accurate picture of my mental and emotional state without the results being distorted by overanalysis.
Fittingly, on July 31, 2018, my experiment began.
My friends and fellow Potterheads, my findings remain frustratingly equalized, but each month is tantalizingly closer to the answer: Where does the Hat truly place me? Am I truly a Ravenclaw, or a snake lying in wait? Or am I a steadfast badger, like our newest hero, Newt Scamander? Only time and the Hat will tell. I look forward to sharing my findings as this experiment continues.
P.S. This is the latest update:
Now, there was one qualm I had about the latest Ravenclaw result. When I was asked the question about the Flutterby bush and was caught between “fresh parchment” and the scent of “home,” I was faced with a dilemma. Now, I don’t know whether this is association based on what J.K. said about Hermione’s third attracting scent being Ronald’s hair, but I immediately thought of the smell of someone’s hair that I am close to. Does that count as home, or do they mean home home? Because if they mean actual home, then we are talking about the smell of pasta sauce and clean dog. I was afraid to choose the parchment answer because I was pretty sure that was Ravenclaw, and I didn’t want to bias my answer. But at the same time, “home” is very vague, and vagaries annoy me. Frankly, when I think of the smell of parchment, I think of the smell of century-old books at my old university. New and old parchment is a lot closer to the same thing than the smell of the house and the smell of a loved one’s hair. See what I mean, my fellow wizards and witches? I think entirely too much.
I hope you enjoyed my neuroses.
Until next time, in my journey to find my Hogwarts House.