Summary: Can we really trust this hat to be able to make such a critical decision in a person's life? Is there a better system we should be using?
"Though condemned I am to split you
Still I worry that it's wrong,
Though I must fulfill my duty
And must quarter every year
Still I wonder whether sorting
May not bring the end I fear..."
Excerpt of song from Order of the Phoenix
The sorting hat is not ignorant. It has been around for longer then any human, and it has seen more history then anyone can imagine. It knows, because it has seen mistakes made in the past, that people must unite together in order to accomplish anything. The Sorting Hat was made for one purpose only, to sort, so it will not just give up on its duty. Yet it seems to know the wrong it is doing. Isn't it better to have something that knows the faults of what it is doing to do the task, rather then something that thinks the system is perfect? I think we can trust the Sorting Hat on what it is meant to do, sort. It isn't the hat's fault it put Voldemort into the negative atmosphere of Slytherin house, it was only doing what it was meant to do, sorting people into their correct houses. It shouldn't be the hat's motives we should be questioning, it is still just a hat. Shouldn't we question the people who gave all their knowledge to the hat - the founders? It is the founders that created the sorting system, not thinking of the great effect that system would have on wizarding history in later years. If they had stuck together like they were meant to have done, and not had their own prejudiced opinions on who they should teach, none of the division would be created. I do not think Sorting is a bad thing that must be stopped, it has many positive attributes and has created just as much good as it has hate. But it is most definetly a flawed system that needs to be questioned. It is because of the founders unwillingness to stick together in the past that created the animosity between the houses today. The wizards in the modern era are having trouble uniting, because of the way things have been running for thousands of years.
The sorting hat is merely a hat that was charmed to hear and speak, that has been picking up the knowledge of the wizards it has spent time around. Though it may have started as a hat with a charm, it now has the power to form its own conclusions on deep matters and warn the school of upcoming dangers. Because of all the things the hat has heard over its many years, it knows that the Sorting is a flawed system. It is not ignorant to the fact that the system is creating enemies between members of various houses. It is better to have this hat that knows the dangers of the sorting to be the one that does it. The people we really should be questioning are the founders, rather then the hat who was enchanted to do their bidding.
And from now on, I don't care if my tea leaves spell die, Ron, die — I'm just chucking them in the bin where they belong.
Ron Weasley Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 31, Page 718
Natalie McDonald, who appeared in Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire, was based on a real girl Rowling knew who was dying of leukemia. She wrote to JK Rowling asking what was going to happen in the next Harry Potter book as she would not live long enough to read it.