03 July, 2013

The Wizard In Thom

I don't think there is much wizard in me. Nor do I think I would make a very good wizard, but the test assigned me to a house anyway.

I generally avoid these Facebook-based tests. They circulate almost every day, but I take very few. This one - What Hogwarts House are you? (Realistic) - sucked me in though. I don't know if it was the "realistic" descriptor or the fact that I thoroughly enjoy Harry Potter, but I took the test. I guess I can see the relationship between the questions and the characteristics of the typical house member. After all, it said I was intelligent and clever. Of course. But I'm not sure that makes it realistic.

I was sorted into Ravenclaw - one of the four Houses of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and founded by Rowena Ravenclaw.

     "Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
     If you've a ready mind,
     Where those of wit and learning,
     Will always find their kind."       -- The Sorting Hat

I have to admit I was disappointed; I wanted Gryffindor. Who doesn't, but in a moment of boredom I read further. My colors are blue and bronze and are represented by the element of Air. I had found my way into the house of wit (as in wits rather than witty) and intelligence! As a wizard I was destined to be an expert in any field of my choosing, and as a Ravenclaw it would be my duty to seek out the truth and not take any knowledge for granted. Sounds about right.

With further research, I read - again - that members of this house are characterized by their intelligence and cleverness, that the house symbol is the eagle, and that the house ghost is the Grey Lady who in life was the daughter of house founder Rowena Ravenclaw.

I read that many great wizards and witches have come from Ravenclaw, including Filius Flitwick who became Professor of Charms and Head of Ravenclaw House. Another member was Myrtle who was killed by Salazar Slytherin's basilisk and is now the ghost haunting the second-floor girls' lavatory. My house also counts the prolific Gilderoy Lockhart among its alumni - unfortunately.

My favorite, however, has to be Luna Lovegood. She's quirky, and I like quirky - although I have to admit whenever I see or hear her name it reminds me of Linda Lovelace who was also quirky - at least for her time but in a very different way.

I was getting happier with my sorting. It was revealed in Order of the Phoenix that the Sorting Hat had originally considered putting Hermione Granger in Ravenclaw due to her intelligence but ultimately decided on Gryffindor. Ravenclaw was definitely looking better.

Was it a realistic test? I don't know. It certainly discerned that I was clever and intelligent - although everyone I know who took it ended up either in Ravenclaw or in Gryffindor. If they were sorted into Gryffindor, it was for their leadership ability, enthusiasm, and idealism.

It's kind of hard to complain. No matter where you end up, you're either clever and intelligent or an idealistic leader. As a psychologist, I can't help but think about the Barnum Effect which notes that individuals tend to give high accuracy ratings to personality descriptions that are supposedly tailored specifically for them but are in fact vague and general enough to apply to just about anyone. We see this a lot in astrology and fortune telling, and something similar is surely operating here. Except for me, of course.

Nevertheless, that doesn't mean it isn't fun. Now - whether you're clever and wise or an idealistic leader, it's time to read Harry Potter. Again.

Or listen to the audio CDs - perhaps in parseltongue for a challenge.