Hogwarts houses can be contentious – even Dumbledore himself wonders if Hogwarts “sorts too soon”, and if the idea of sorting children into groups based on their personalities is a good one. Unsurprisingly, many characters have traits that would place them in more than one house, and some even the Sorting Hat struggles with (known as Hatstalls).
It’s also worth recognizing that in order to tell the story effectively, Rowling needed to place her ‘Golden Trio’ in one House, and focus on Gryffindor – even though Ron, Harry, and Hermione may have each made more sense elsewhere. Fans have even theorized that the Golden Trio intentionally represent each of the other three houses; Harry as Slytherin, Ron as Hufflepuff, and Hermione as Ravenclaw. While this is an interesting perspective, it’s hard to see these three as anything more than Gryffindor, with their recklessness and bravery front and center throughout the series. But while they were sorted into the right house, there were plenty of characters who landed in the wrong one.
10 Percy Weasley (Should Have Been Slytherin)
Like all the Weasleys, Percy was sorted into Gryffindor, and eventually became a Prefect and Head Boy. However, he would be a much better fit for Slytherin, based on his decisions both at Hogwarts, and working at the Ministry after finishing school.
Percy was a stickler for the rules, and while it’s not necessarily ‘brave’ to break them, he lacked the kind of daring and willingness to be flexible that most Gryffindors have. After school, of course, he then chose to put his career and ability to rise in the world (and in the Ministry) above his family – disowning them to improve his career chances. This clearly marks him as an ambitious Slytherin.
9 Remus Lupin (Should Have Been Ravenclaw)
Much like the Golden Trio, the Marauders also seem to be a group that represent each of the Hogwarts Houses, rather than fitting into Gryffindor. Arguably, Sirius could have been a Hufflepuff for his unswerving loyalty (that kept him alive in Azkaban as a need for revenge), and Lupin would be much better as a Ravenclaw.
He is far quieter than the others, tends to try and talk them out of recklessness, not into it, and is a brilliant and capable wizard. Not only that, but he is an incredible teacher (and the only truly capable DADA teacher Harry’s class had). He knows how best to teach, not just how to learn, and his love of passing on wisdom makes him a clear Ravenclaw.
8 Dumbledore (Should Have Been Slytherin)
Dumbledore appears for most of the series as a kind and wise old man – perhaps even more suited to Ravenclaw than Gryffindor. However, the more that fans learn about the Headmaster, the more he seems like a Slytherin. As a young wizard, he was arrogant and driven by a need for power and knowledge. Had his sister not tragically died, and changed the course of his life, he would have likely become as dark a wizard as Grindlewald himself.
Dumbledore even recognizes the drive for power in himself, which is part of the reason he consistently turns down suggestions he should become Minister for Magic, and he’s willing to sacrifice Harry for ‘the greater good’. Arguably, his unwillingness to keep pursuing power may be why he is not a Slytherin, but this may not be enough to balance out his underlying ambition and willingness to break rules to get what he wants.
7 Molly Weasley (Should Have Been Hufflepuff)
Molly was, of course, another Gryffindor – but may have been better suited as a Hufflepuff. This house is driven not just by loyalty, but by a sense of fair play, hard work, and a desire to be inclusive and welcoming. Molly is, of course, brave in battle, but most of the time she fits the Hufflepuff traits far better.
She is welcoming to everyone, including Harry and Hermione as extensions of her own family in many ways. She is a hard worker, motivated in large part by family loyalty, and wants everyone to have fair treatment in the world. She’s also cheerful and positive, and it’s easy to imagine her in the Hufflepuff common room… which doesn’t look too different to her own home in the Burrow!
6 Gilderoy Lockhart (Should Have Been Slytherin)
The reveal that Lockhart is a Ravenclaw was a huge surprise to many – especially after learning that Lockhart wasn’t actually that brilliant at defensive magic, and that he was claiming others’ accomplishments as his own. He was, in fact, incredibly talented at one particular spell, and other than that, is driven entirely by his ambitions to be famous.
Throughout his time at Hogwarts, it is obvious that fame and success are the most important things to him (even before his secrets were revealed), and he proves he will kill anyone who might get in his way to achieve this. He was even willing to let Ginny die in the Chamber of Secrets, and to destroy Harry and Ron’s minds in order to preserve his reputation – a Slytherin move, through and through.
5 Lily Potter (Should Have Been Ravenclaw)
Lily Potter doesn’t get a lot of screentime, as of course, she dies before the story begins. However, from what is revealed, it seems that she would have made more sense in Ravenclaw. She is brave, of course, but the possibility of giving her life to protect her baby at some point in the future shouldn’t have been enough to sort her into that house!
Instead, fans are told that she is incredibly clever – so much so that Slughorn marked her as one to succeed through her brilliance. She was also capable of creating truly unique magic, like the petal/fish that was a gift to her Professor, and wasn’t impressed by the kind of bravado and showing off that James (a true Gryffindor) loved.
4 Snape (Should Have Been Ravenclaw)
Perhaps if the Sorting Hat had put Lily and Snape together in Ravenclaw, the story would have been completely different – as Snape also seems to suit the house of wit and wisdom more than Slytherin. He is incredibly intelligent, and is shown to have created his own complicated spells and reworked potions while still a child in school. As a teacher, he is a bully, but Ravenclaw can certainly look down on those they see as unintelligent! He is also drawn to magic of the mind (occlumency) and to logic puzzles – like his test to protect the Sorcerer’s Stone.
At the same time, he has few characteristics of Slytherin beyond a desire to rise in the world – which, given his miserable childhood of neglect and poverty, is not surprising! However, he is loyal to Lily (and later, Dumbledore), and his highest ambition seemed to be to be a Professor – not a particularly extreme ambition at all. He gives his life to prove that he values love over power, which is the opposite of a Slytherin, which makes it seem as though his House was chosen purely to make him appear more villainous.
3 Crabbe & Goyle (Should Have Been Hufflepuff)
Crabbe and Goyle were likely placed in Slytherin because of the family line – their fathers worked for Lucius Malfoy, and their roles for Draco seemed pre-ordained. However, they show few real Slytherin traits.
Both of Draco’s sidekicks are stupid, but a Slytherin is usually smart and manipulative. They fall for traps easily, seem to trust easily, and are more interested in creature comforts than power or status. They also seem shockingly loyal to Draco, and don’t mind him putting them down. A Slytherin would certainly not be so calmly accepting of this behavior, but a loyal and pacifistic Hufflepuff would!
2 Hagrid (Should Have Been Hufflepuff)
Hagrid is another character who seems to have been placed in Gryffindor not because he truly fit the House, but because he is a ‘good guy’, and the heroes of Harry Potter are almost entirely Gryffindors. He does have some bravery, of course, seen when he fights against being taken to Azkaban, but his personality fits far better with Hufflepuff overall.
He is incredibly loyal to those he cares about: Dumbledore, Harry, and of course, the creatures he cares for. His love of monsters is also not driven by any sense of bravery or daring, but of fairness and inclusion. He doesn’t think of raising a dragon as brave, but as completely reasonable – because, like a true Hufflepuff, he refuses to judge a ‘monster’, and wants to give them all a chance.
1 Peter Pettigrew (Should Have Been Slytherin)
One of the most obvious wrong-house choices is Peter Pettigrew. Canonically, he is a Hatstall, but even this is surprising as he seems to be so obviously a Slytherin. Throughout the series, he displays no bravery at all – he has a brief moment of hesitation to hurt someone, and dies for it, but hesitation doesn’t quite seem like bravery. In fact, his decision to betray his friends and then go into hiding as a rat shows cowardice.
He was also willing to sacrifice his friends for power and influence, and even to cut off his own hand to try and rise in the world under a powerful master. Pettigrew has no real intelligence, no bravery, and no loyalty – he could only ever really be a Slytherin.