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Uniting the Houses

by Lucy Wilson

According to the Sorting Hat, the Hogwarts Houses have to reconcile, or else risk danger from ““external, deadly foes”.” This storyline would not have been introduced if the Houses weren’’t eventually going to reunite. I do not believe the house system will just disappear, as that would raise all these problems about student accommodation and stuff. Remember, Hogwarts functioned best a thousand years ago, when all four founders worked together. Then Gryffindor and Slytherin had a fight and the Houses were forever divided. The real story, the one that would be written down in history books if this were fact, will not be the defeat of Voldemort. It will be the reunification of the Houses.

Consider that Harry Potter’’s greatest enemy is Lord Voldemort, that is, his mortal enemy is the Heir of Slytherin. Sooner or later, unless we have grossly misinterpreted the Prophecy, Harry will kill Voldemort, or Voldemort will kill Harry. It doesn’’t matter how it turns out. One will kill the other.

Now imagine the Houses were united sometime in book six, and everything is how the Sorting Hat, in its infinite wisdom, knows it should be. Then in book seven, Harry suddenly runs off from school or something, vanquishes Voldemort, comes back and effectively announces to the school (including Slytherin House), “”I, Harry Potter, the heir of Gryffindor, have killed the heir of Slytherin. Now the Houses can be united! Hurrah!””

That’’s right. It sounds dumb, huh? Harry would be lucky to get out without a lynching.

The students of each House seem to become more and more like one of the founders the more time they spend in school. Gryffindors come to favour bravery and valour above all else (dulling their basic survival instincts, I might add). Hufflepuffs value teamwork and togetherness. Ravenclaws focus on cleverness. Slytherins become mean, spiteful, ugly, and begin to believe in all that pure blood business. One could argue that this happens because the students are taught to act that way by older students and teachers, and that there’’s nothing weirder going on than psychology.

One could better argue that this is a story about a magic castle, and science hasn’t got anything to do with things. Ever notice how all the Slytherins seem to be ugly? What about how Slytherin House is pretty much isolated from the rest of the school, not forming friendships with students from any other House? Ever. In normal circumstances, there would at least be a couple of freaks that wouldn’’t mind associating with people from other Houses. It doesn’’t make sense. However, it would make a sort of sense if something of the founders’ souls were trapped within the walls of Hogwarts. Sleeping in a Gryffindor dorm, one probably can’t help but absorb feelings of anger at Slytherin. In a Slytherin dorm, one probably feels cut off from the rest of the school, unwelcome, as Slytherin would have the last time he passed through the castle.

This would explain why Harry could belong in Slytherin when he first arrived at Hogwarts, but after a few weeks living in Gryffindor House, be an ideal Gryffindor.

The only way the Houses will be able to unite, if I’’m even close with any of the above, is if the blood of the four founders leaves the earth. That is, the heirs of the founders have to die.

I think it is quite possible Voldemort will, by coincidence or on purpose, kill the heir of Gryffindor. Perhaps he’’ll get rid of the heirs of Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw as well. This will mean within the school, Slytherin House rises to power for a while, far stronger than any of the other Houses, or even all three put together. Then, of course, Harry will destroy Voldemort, and all will be equal as it hasn’’t been since the Dark Ages.

The people who actually facilitate the reunification will most likely be ambassadors from each House. I would guess that only Gryffindor and Slytherin will have to settle their differences, as Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw don’’t appear to have been part of the original argument, and don’’t seem to have any real quarrel today with either Gryffindor or Slytherin.

It is difficult to say who the heir of Gryffindor will be. I really, really doubt it is Harry – if he were the heir, the Sorting Hat wouldn’’t have been so reluctant to put him in Gryffindor House. The blood would have cancelled out any link with the heir of Slytherin. We should be looking for someone with no siblings, no heirs of their own, and no surviving relatives. That’’s the whole point –– that all of the heirs are killed forever.

We can guess, though, who the ambassadors will be – the ones who actually have to resolve the argument Slytherin and Gryffindor had a thousand years ago.

The ambassador for Gryffindor will be Harry (duh).

I have a good idea about who the ambassador for Slytherin will be. It is the obvious choice, yes, but despite the sentiments of some, that doesn’’t make it any less likely. It is of course going to be Draco Malfoy.

It has been theorised that in book six, with Lucius Malfoy out of the picture, Draco and Narcissa will be pulled into the foreground. However, every editorial I have read on this subject has said Draco will take on his father’’s role as a Death Eater, and a force against Harry and friends. But this is Gryffindor thinking –– we’’re dealing with Slytherins here.

What if the new Minister of Magic takes Dumbledore’’s advice, and replaces the Dementors with more reliable guards? In this scenario, the second mass breakout may not happen for some time, if at all. If it does happen, I would say the best time for it to happen would be at the very beginning of book seven, which allows a whole year for other things to occur.

If Draco’’s Death Eater father is locked up seemingly indefinitely, I would say it is more likely Draco would rethink his loyalties than take up his father’’s mantle. He is a Slytherin after all, and will always choose to save his own neck. He won’’t even have the family card to play anymore. It is far more fitting with the ideals of Slytherin House that Draco will despise his shameful father than follow in his footsteps.

This next bit is pretty circumstantial. It may or may not mean anything to the books. I’m presenting it here as evidence, but that really is unfair. If you want to rip holes in my theory, I suggest you start here.

“OH NO YOU DON’T, LADDIE!”Harry spun around. Professor Moody was limping down the marble staircase. His wand was out and it was pointing right at a pure white ferret, which was shivering on the stone-flagged floor, exactly where Malfoy had been standing.
(Page 180, The Goblet of Fire)

Later, Hermione calls Malfoy a ““twitchy little ferret”,” and indeed he acts like one. I think we have been given a big clue there. Whether Malfoy being a ferret is just a metaphor or it is a more literal thing (i.e.: it is the animal that reflects his personality and manifests itself as a Patronus or an Animagus), I can’’t really say. You may argue that, as this was Moody’’s opinion of Malfoy, as it was Moody who cast the spell, this excerpt is completely irrelevant. But then ask yourself, why would JKR choose that particular animal, out of all the despicable creatures in the world? It quite possibly offers us some insight into how our favourite author views young master Malfoy.

In Britain and Ireland the weasel has a bad reputation as an unfortunate, even malevolent, animal. However, since childhood I have had a great fondness for the family mustelidae; not so much malignant as maligned, in my opinion. 
(From the “Extra Stuff” section of JK Rowling’’s website)

JK Rowling’’s website, I think, seems to act just like the books. That is, we get a few obvious clues, and a billion subtle hints. She goes on for ages about the poor weasels. But notice, she doesn’’t restrict that paragraph just to weasels –– she refers to the whole mustelidae family (which, if you don’t know, also includes ferrets).

Could Malfoy really be “not so much malignant as maligned”? Remember, he seems to have been treated like a house elf all his life, if that day in Knockturn Alley in Chamber of Secrets is typical. We have seen the whole series from a Gryffindor point of view, so we can’’t help but be biased. Malfoy isn’’t mean to other Slytherins, not even to Crabbe and Goyle (who obviously aren’’t his intellectual equals). If you don’’t believe that, read our only reliable account of how he treats his friends: the chapter entitled “The Polyjuice Potion”, in Chamber of Secrets.

What is it former Headmaster of Hogwarts, Phineas Nigellus, says about Slytherins in general? “”We Slytherins are brave, yes, but not stupid. For instance, given the choice, we will always choose to save our own necks.”” Almost as if they will always weasel out of things to survive. Remember what form JKR says her ideal Animagus would be? It’’s an otter –– she gave it to Hermione Granger in book five as a Patronus (she said this in her World Book Day chat).

It is the mongoose that fights snakes. Okay, technically the mongoose is not from the family mustelidae. But this could still be relevant if a) JKR doesn’’t know the mongoose is in fact from the viverridae family, or b) we consider that symbolism is involved to a heavy extent here. Therefore, the ferret could symbolise the mongoose (which looks a bit like it belongs with the weasel in the family mustelidae), which kills snakes, which symbolise Slytherin. If that makes any sense.

Look, I know this could be coincidence, but people have drawn huge lists of how many times perfectly ordinary things like noses or the colour purple have been mentioned in the series. Having so many references to animals from the mustelidae family is pretty obscure, even if it turns out to mean nothing.

If you want more credible evidence that Draco will be Slytherin’’s ambassador, remember that it is Harry and Draco who have been arguing about purebloods since Chamber of Secrets, just like the founders. It is they who will have to bridge the gap. As Draco is not Slytherin’’s heir, this could be seen as further evidence Harry is not Gryffindor’’s. From a storyteller’’s perspective, it would make a good subplot to have rivals Harry and Draco have to rely on and even trust each other, and it would be interesting to watch the development of that relationship.

If Malfoy did choose to openly ally himself with Harry against Voldemort (and it would be an alliance –– they would be equals. Malfoy would flatly refuse to be Harry’’s subordinate), it could have wonderful effects. For a start, as Malfoy is on the Quidditch team, seems to be popular, and has that long line of purebloods behind him, other Slytherins would follow. And this would be a very good thing, as without Slytherins, the rest of the school is very weak.

Imagine a life or death situation where a Gryffindor, a Ravenclaw, and a Hufflepuff are involved. The Gryffindor stands and fights, and therefore dies a hero’’s death. The Ravenclaw either freezes, or thinks so hard about the situation that he or she forgets to react. The Hufflepuff simply relies on his or her friends, which is a real problem if its friends are a Gryffindor and a Ravenclaw. Throw a Slytherin into the mix. Suddenly there’’s a chance someone will a) try to talk their way out, or b) run, and put the idea to run into the heads of the others. Slytherins greatly increase the life expectancy of any group.

And don’’t forget, it wouldn’’t hurt to have someone on the side of the Order of the Phoenix who perhaps has some idea of how the Death Eaters think. Gryffindors have little understanding of this. According to Sirius Black, “”You should have died! Died rather than betray your friends, as we would have done for you!”” A Gryffindor would understand that quote, believe in it. A Slytherin wouldn’’t take it to heart, and probably wouldn’’t even comprehend it. They are very much of the sort who prefer people to say, ““He is a coward”,” as opposed to, “”He was a hero”.”

So to summarise:

  1. Harry Potter is not the heir of Gryffindor
  2. The heir of Gryffindor, and quite possibly those of Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw will be revealed and killed before the end of the series
  3. Harry will represent Gryffindor, and play a crucial role in uniting the Hogwarts Houses
  4. Draco Malfoy is, despite his apparent meanness, a valuable ally, and will also play a crucial role in uniting the Houses
  5. Slytherins are very, very important to the series, and not just as a malevolent force
  6. JKR’s website contains many hints to the eventual outcome of the series, many more then this immediately apparent

So in conclusion, those still searching for hidden clues after reading the books for the twentieth time should turn instead to the offhand comments that abound on JK Rowling’’s website. There is a reason she decided to change it. Secretly, she’’ll want someone to connect the dots and discover things about the books she would never exactly say. She is only human, after all. Imagine how hard it would be to keep a secret from millions of people, most of them children.

In any case, the final two books in the Harry Potter series should be very interesting indeed.