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downtroddendeity:

So a while ago there was this post going around about the houses in Harry Potter and how it makes no sense for Slytherin- the house that’s supposed to be all about personal ambition- to be the house full of people who support an evil overlord, and how it’d make way more sense for Gryffindor to be the one full of zealots who are willing to serve their master to the end. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it, or I would have made this comment there: I realized there’s a very simple in-universe way to explain this.

It’s the Sorting Hat.

It’s said several times that the Sorting Hat’s first priority is that if a student badly wants to be in a certain house, it puts them there. Now consider- what was Salazar Slytherin’s reputation?

Even the Hat itself goes back and forth a bit about whether he intended for his house to be about ambition (which is how the song describes it in the first book) or about bloodlines (which is how it describes it in its new song later). What if Salazar told the Hat to sort to his house based on ambition (probably because Helga Hufflepuff was giving him this look like, “I respect you as a colleague but I swear to Merlin if you get your shitty opinions in my school I will fucking end you" and Godric Gryffindor had this big fake "I will hold her coat while she ends you" smile), but because he was a noted pureblood supremacist, a ton of people assumed that that was what his house was about?

Sirius says it was taken as a granted that all Blacks were to be in Slytherin, and Draco has a similar “well duh” attitude about Malfoys and Slytherin that got him sorted so quickly the Hat barely even touched his head. If it was basing it off the traits it’s supposed to be focusing on, this wouldn’t make any sense- different people, even ones growing up in the same household with very similar circumstances, will have different personalities. Which means that if being in Slytherin is a family tradition, then a lot of them aren’t there because of their personality, they’re there because, well, it’s a family tradition, and they chose to be.

(BTW: see also: Weasleys all being Gryffindors. I wouldn’t be surprised if Percy, for instance, was a bit more of a Slytherin, but put himself in Gryffindor because that’s what his parents expected.)

Somebody like Bellatrix Lestrange is, honestly, pure Gryffindor. She endures a decade and a half of Azkaban on behalf of her lord, respects and loves him above all else, and will put herself in harm’s way in any manner she needs to to aid him. She doesn’t seem to have any particular ambition on her own behalf; it’s all for Voldy. Sure, she’s a horrifically cruel monster, but there’s nothing against that in the Gryffindor charter, and nothing for it in the Slytherin one. But because she has always believed firmly in the (bigoted, racist) ideals of Salazar Slytherin, she asked to be put in his house, so she was.

And that goes a long way to explaining why so many Death Eaters and similar assholes are in Slytherin. It’s not that it’s inherently the asshole house, it’s that the assholes all think it’s the asshole house, so it’s… well, full of assholes who wouldn’t otherwise be there.

Which means there are probably a lot of Slytherins who followed the family tradition, but then, a few years in, abruptly realized, “…My god. Most of these people are terrible. And everyone probably thinks I’m just like them.”

earrelatedhumour:

  • fandom please I implore you all to talk about Dean Thomas more
  • literally yelling for a red card during a Quidditch match
  • painting a potter for president banner for his friend HOW CUTE
  • offering to forge a signature so that same friend could go to the village with the rest of them
  • actually he paints banners supporting Harry on two separate occasions four years apart 
  • is it weirder that he keeps doing that or that Harry keeps getting himself into situations where he requires banners
  • good with a quill be still my beating heart the boy is an artist
  • literally not giving a single fuck that their teacher was a “dangerous half-breed” because he respected the hell out of him as a person and educator
  • IF YOU MEAN PROFESSOR LUPIN, HE WAS THE BEST WE EVER - 
  • and he grew up as a muggle so he had already been exposed to werewolf folklore and he had every excuse to be afraid or prejudiced and instead decided to judge him on a human level, even without the familiarity the trio etc. had to him
  • standing up for that same teacher time and time again
  • including to a ministry official who he just generally gave the sass to anyway
  • never losing his faith in Harry even when his very best friend in the whole world and approximately 89% of the wizarding community basically thought the bloke was a nutjob
  • convincing his best mate to join DA 
  • there was a fair bit of an anti-dean sentiment in HBP best to ignore that then
  • never having any animosity towards his friend for getting together with his ex-girlfriend so soon
  • completely supporting and defending Harry while on the run because OBVIOUSLY why stop now after seven years of doing literally that at every single opportunity
  • being completely bemused by but always kind towards Luna
  • helping to dig the grave on the beach
  • running out into the final battle without a fucking wand 
  • evidently winning one at some point
  • everything to do with him and Seamus however you want to view their relationship but frankly I could do a whole other post on that
  • also I met Alfie once and he was so pretty
  • dEAN THOMAS

Class and Harry Potter

vaguepretension:

"Quidditch is a rich man’s sport: like polo, in which the expense of horses limits participation to those with money or those sponsored by money, Quidditch players on old brooms can never hope to compete with those in possession of the latest technological marvels. "
-Crowning the King by Sarah Mendlesohn

The most interesting thing about Harry Potter is that it initially appears to be a fairy tale in which troubled boy finds his place in the world and lives happily ever after. What it actually amounts to is lonely supposedly lower class boy discovers he is actually one of the aristocratic elite and spends the rest of the series enjoying the moral virtue afforded to the very poor while also gliding through the doors that are only open to the very wealthy.

Harry is a member of the privileged upper class, just like Draco Malfoy. He proves himself to be a mediocre wizard time and time again (incompetent in potions class, falling behind in classes, etc), while Hermione is the smartest witch of the year and Ron is not considered distinguished enough to try for any specific title, being of the lower class. Harry, unlike the typical scrappy orphan boy, is constantly receiving gifts to ease his way. Harry receives the invisibility cloak, the Marauder’s Map, a preternatural ability to cast a Patronus, Quidditch ability from his father, and a part of Voldemort within him that allows him to fight the Dark Wizard. There is not much personal choice implied in all of this. Harry is the Chosen One, respected for something he did before he could talk, something he barely remembers, whose prestige will carry him through life. (Interesting that when others receive or give out gifts it is not judged the same way, such as when Malfoy gives his entire team of fellow Slytherins new brooms this is unanimously condemned as cheating but when Harry receives an expensive new broom out of the blue no one questions it, though he will undoubtedly exceed the speed of the other Seekers. Furthermore, when Slytherin rightfully wins the House Cup at the end of Year 1, Dumbledore fixes the match to Gryffindor’s benefit, an act that if reversed would have been protested on all sides.) 


Harry also has the exceedingly loyal Ron and the brilliant Hermione tagging along (another unflattering parallel to Malfoy’s sidekicks Crabbe and Goyle, who also look to Draco for their next move, rarely displaying any agency of their own) and Hagrid and Dobby (both troublingly infantilized and presented as ‘lower class,’ lacking intelligence and class, showing Harry’s brave tolerance in accepting them) and Sirius, Lupin, Dumbledore and even Snape, etc. Unlike the typical orphan hero, who must discovery the truth on his own, Harry has an entourage of helpers to assist him in his every move.

Hermione transcends the rigorous boundaries of class placed in the books (see narrator mocking the Malfoys’ pride at their pureblood status and then rushing to add that the Weasleys and Potters were some of the oldest magical families there were) by being a part of that elusive middle class. Hermione’s parents are dentists, they can go take Hermione traveling in the summertime, Hermione is comfortable purchasing her own textbooks and the like, but nowhere in the text is there any indication of her being wealthy. This would explain Ron’s implied resentment towards her, explaining it in terms of the lower class being jealous of the potentially for upward mobility the middle class has and the opportunities they are given. Hermione becomes attractive to the boys only after having plastic surgery, not an opportunity usually afforded to the lower class in the Muggle world and Victor Krum, the only adolescent in the book whose level of fame equals Harry’s, and thus the only male whose validation of her physically would stick, accompanying her to the Yule Ball. All of these things make Hermione much closer to the aristocracy than Ron is. As a woman in the wizarding world, intelligence seems to receive mockery but beauty allows one the innate ability to move in circles beyond one’s birth status.

This is why Ron rarely misses an opportunity to correct or criticize Hermione and her lack of wizarding knowledge (having grown up Muggle); Ron is looking for any chance he can get to prove himself worthy to Hermione, who is closer to him in status than the unimpeachably high class Harry, whom Ron rarely argues with. This is why Ron chooses to accuse Hermione at the Yule Ball of betrayal (unlike Harry, who admires Hermione’s makeover at the Yule Ball and thus validates her superficially as Krum did, both of them having the social authority to do so). This is actually the cruelest insult Ron can think of, implying that Harry Potter first made Hermione respected and now she is changing allegiances to another famous, aristocratic young man and turning her back on Harry, who allowed her to move up in status along with him. Ron, whose family is known for their poverty (hand me down robes, must be a Weasley) cannot even validate Hermione even if he were so inclined because he is too socially inferior for his opinion to matter. All he can do is attempt to shatter Hermione’s bubble of happiness and social acceptance with the harsh darkness of reality.

This also explains the trio’s attitude towards the house elves: Ron, being lower class, enjoys the pleasures of having a house elf when he can (ie whenever he is at Hogwarts), Harry in his upper class status is scarcely aware of the house elves because he is accustomed to that lifestyle (since the adoration he received in Year 1 and his discovery of his heritage and Gringotts, etc.) and therefore performs the symbolic (and self serving) act of freeing a single house elf (who will then accept Harry as his new master in everything but name, arguably a strategic move on Harry’s part, or a rare moment of sympathy for those with less but regardless this action is not repeated with Kreacher, Harry’s own property.) Hermione, as a member of the middle class, with enough money to pay for household help and enough time to focus on social awareness, is understandably the most liberal, practical and objective of the bunch, creating S.P.E.W. and attempting to make a difference. Hermione’s social radicalism is ridiculed by most for attempting to change the status quo of the deceptively rigid socioeconomic classes of the wizarding world.

Harry is a legacy at Hogwarts. There is an unflattering parallel between the way the Dursleys fawn over Dudley and the wizarding world fawns over Harry. Harry is naturally gifted, unlike Hermione who must work to be the smartest, and Ron who was raised in the Wizarding World. Harry is cozily ensconced in his wealth, occasionally pausing to feel discomfort but for the most part disregarding it as a fact of his existence. Dumbledore, like Harry, is renown for his wisdom but displays very little of it in practice, choosing instead to characterize himself as a quirky old man who loves sweets. As a member of the aristocracy, Dumbledore is permitted to do this while still retaining the respect of his peers. Think of Kate Middleton designing a clothing that is objectively terrible. This information would not matter because of who she is wed to. There is a safety the upper class enjoy that allows them greater freedom in exploration, discovery and making mistakes.

The wizarding world is not a fairy tale. Pull aside the velvet curtain and you’ll find thousands of slaves sentenced to clean up after the students for life. Step outside of Hogwarts and you’ll see magical creatures criticized and discriminated against. Go to Diagon Alley and prepare to see the brutality of class separation in action. (See Hagrid, member of the lower class, who automatically takes Harry to Madame Pomfrey’s to get fitted for robes, the same location that the wealthy Malfoys buy their son’s garments, but stays outside the shop the whole time, fully aware of the difference between his status and Harry’s.) Pop back inside Hogwarts and witness deeply inbred interhouse prejudice. The wizarding world is a mess that Harry floats above, Hermione wades through and Ron sinks under. No wonder Ron quit being an Auror (a respectable job) to work in his brother’s candy shop (that Harry paid for); it’s likely the only place he felt he belonged.

And therein lies the message of Harry Potter: the wizarding world parallels our own in that it has nearly destroyed itself, but for all the Malfoy/Dumbledore/Harrys out there, there is a Hermione, naively, earnestly attempting to make a difference. And to do that would require some serious magic.

(Source: blasphemousprophet)

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