The Sorting Hat Deserves More Credit
It’s not uncommon to hear complaints of how the movies didn’t do Ginny Weasley justice. My biggest beef, however, is with how much the Sorting Hat was cheated, especially in the films.
The Sorting Hat is probably the most enchanted object that most witches or wizards will ever meet, and we barely get a chance to know the Sorting Hat – whatever that means in regards to a hat. It essentially spends every day of every year – except for the start of term – sitting on a shelf in the headmaster’s office. If you ask me, the Hogwarts staff probably could’ve found some additional way to use such a powerful object. Instead, the Sorting Hat literally spent all year long coming up with a song to sing prior to the Sorting Ceremony each year.
How many years did the Sorting Hat create a brand new song? Every single one. How many songs did Harry (and us, the readers) hear with Harry’s inevitable obstacles and tardiness to Hogwarts? Three. How many songs did the people who only watched the movies hear? Zero.
But year after year, the Sorting Hat wrote annoyingly long songs and performed them, its pride and joy. The few times we do hear its songs in the books, they are extremely underappreciated by the Hogwarts student body.
Sings a different [song] every year… It’s got to be a pretty boring life, hasn’t it, being a hat? I suppose it spends all year making up the next one.” (GoF 178)
According to WizardingWorld.com, “The Sorting Hat is one of the cleverest enchanted objects most witches and wizards will ever meet. It literally contains the intelligence of the four founders, can speak (through a rip near its brim) and is skilled at Legilimency, which enables it to look into the wearer’s head and divine his or her capabilities or mood. It can even respond to the thoughts of the wearer.” Yet in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Arthur Weasley says to “never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain” (CoS 329). I suppose that the Sorting Hat is an exception to this rule because it seems that everyone – whether Dark wizard, headmaster, or parent – would trust it with their lives and, consequently, the lives of young children.
The one thing that the Sorting Hat does other than reading minds is writing its annual song, and nobody cares. Yes, the Sorting Hat can also hold/transport/whatever Godric Gryffindor’s sword, but nobody pays attention to that when the Chosen One is busy killing a giant snake with it after the Hat does its job.
Maybe witches and wizards are just desensitized to extremely weird and magical items because I can only imagine my shock and disbelief at seeing a mind-reading, singing hat. I mean, the Hat literally uses Legilimency to interpret new students’ thoughts. Additionally, the Hat has urged students to maintain a united front in the face of adversity and danger.
Stand together, be strong from within.” (OotP 209)
If the Harry Potter film series is ever remade, I hope that we get to see more of the Sorting Hat. I find it to be one of the most fascinating bits of magic throughout the series, and the Hat deserves all the screen time it can get.