The Sorting Hat of Game of Thrones
Everyone from Buzzfeed to the JK Rowling’s official website, Pottermore, offers quizzes that allow voracious readers of the Harry Potter series to try to guess which of the four Hogswart Houses they would be sorted into. As all Potter fans know, Harry and most of his friends are members of Gryffindor, the house known for its scarlet and gold lion banners, and as the house of the bravest Hogwarts students. But the other houses have proud histories as well: Ravenclaw, which takes the intellectually curious, Hufflepuff of the kind and hard-working, and Slytherin for the sly and ambitious. All of the houses have their own quirks and culture and all attract certain types of students.
In watching the complicated and three-dimensional characters on Game of Thrones, it can be interesting to think which houses the various characters would be sorted into by the reliable Hogwarts sorting hat (which looks into each student and decides where they best fit). After all, in the world of Westeros, alliances between houses are far more serious and deadly than those regarding the Hogwarts House Cup. Yet certain characters do seem to be obvious choices for particular houses – and their Quidditch matches would definitely have a certain ferocity!
The Lannister Twins: Slytherin
Trained by their father, Tywin, another recognizable member of this house, the Lannister twins fall easily into the main characteristics of Slytherin. They are willing to do anything for power (enter into loveless marriages, murder children), have a strong desire to lead (Jaime commands the elite force of the Kingsguard while Cersei is the Regent of Westeros) and an emphasis on family lineage – Slytherins are obsessed with “blood purity” while the Lannisters are taught as children to distrust outsiders (as Cersei once told her young son, “everyone who isn’t us is an enemy.”)
Slytherins, such as Draco Malfoy and his father, Lucius, are known for their incredibly ambition. In the case of the Malfoys, this leads to their alliance with a harmful dictator, Lord Voldemort, out of a desire to achieve political position for their family. Despite their odious behavior and political views, the Malfoys are incredibly family-oriented. Narcissa Malfoy was willing to completely undercut any chance of Lord Voldemort winning the Battle of Hogwarts in order to protect her son.
Cersei can be viewed quite similarly to Narcissa. More than anything, she loves her children and her desire for power in an unstable world is her means to protect them and ensure their survival. Slytherin is a house of survivors and with the Lannister family’s ability to adapt and survive in any situation, they would certainly fit right into the Slytherin common room under the lake.
Petyr Baelish: Ravenclaw
Instead of a password, the door to the Ravenclaw common room requires the answer to a riddle – allowing students to continue to learn the correct answers. In the spirit of constantly learning, Petyr Baelish would be quite at home in Ravenclaw. The son of a small, impoverished house (in the world of Westeros, quite similar to being a Muggle-born wizard), Baelish has survived in Westerosi politics through his own intelligence and strategic thinking. It has also been noted in Pottermore that Ravenclaw students are extremely competitive, preferring to rely on themselves for top marks – Baelish is certainly a good example of that independent mindset.
Having no particular loyalty to any alliance, Baelish is happy for regimes to rise and fall in order to gain even a modicum of power for himself. While it is perhaps tempting for the sorting hat to place Baelish in Slytherin due to his ambition, what sets him apart from Lannisters is his ability to not only react to situations in order to give himself an advantage, but to think pre-emptively and form strategies. He certainly doesn’t necessarily use his intelligence with good intentions, like others Ravenclaws such as Professor Flitwick and Luna Lovegood, but there is no doubt that Baelish is incredibly smart and shrewd.
Brienne of Tarth: Gryffindor
Brienne of Tarth combines many of the best traits of a Gryffindor. A house known for its bravery and courage in all forms, Brienne would fit right in. She is, of course, a fierce warrior, distinguishing herself both in combat and in tourneys in Westeros. Yet Brienne is also a role model, who fights outdated gender roles and seeks to establish her own moral code. In a Westerosi society which instructs women to maintain purely decorative roles, Brienne is determined to become a female knight. She is determined to defend the innocent and bring a sense of order and justice to Westeros. Brienne faces difficult decisions to comply with her ethical views – she is often torn on how to best support those under her protection (like her squire Podrick) while trying to end the suffering that civil war has brought to Westeros.
Harry Potter has faced similar dilemmas as a member of Gryffindor – navigating the murky questions of who to trust and how to best protect muggles and wizards during the Wizarding Civil War. And even Harry’s best friend Hermione realized the importance of courage for fighting social injustice as a Gryffindor – founding the Society for the Protection of Elvish Welfare. Being a member of Gryffindor seems to require, as much as anything else, a realization that courage can take many forms, from physical bravery to a refusal to abandon ethical standards. Brienne has all of these.
Samwell Tary, Hufflepuff
Hufflepuffs are not the type to focus on their accomplishments – instead preferring to focus on how they treat people and their sense of commitment to the values of the wizarding community. Samwell Tarly has similar ideals. A brother of the Night’s Watch, Sam has come to cherish his commitment to preserving the mission and traditions of his brotherhood – whether through studies, through democratic participation (maneuvering to have his best friend Jon elected as the Lord Commander) or even through battle – gaining the nickname of Sam the Slayer.
Sam has a strong sense of loyalty, one of the core values of Hufflepuff House. Although he may not always agree with the decisions Jon makes, Sam is willing to trust and follow orders – even leaving his home in the Night’s Watch to train as a maester. He has a sense of kindness – willing to quickly extend his support and protection to pregnant wildling Gilly when they first meet. It would be unthinkable for Sam to not reach out to someone in need. Professor Dumbledore once praised Hufflepuff house as valuing loyalty and fair play – there are few better descriptions of Sam the Slayer, determined in his own way to help the Nights Watch defeat their enemies, yet behaving with compassion and integrity.