In the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling uses a foolproof way to distinguish her characters.
When young wizards and witches start their training at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, they’re sorted into houses.
Hogwarts has four houses. Each house represents different characterizes, distinct to one of the school’s four founders.
The sorting is done by an ancient witches hat that sings—that’s right it sings.
If you read the lyrics you’ll see the distinction.
Here are the lyrics:
Oh, you may not think I’m pretty,
But don’t judge on what you see,
I’ll eat myself if you can find
A smarter hat than me.
You can keep your bowlers black,
Your top hats sleek and tall,
For I’m the Hogwarts Sorting hat
And I can cap them all.
There’s nothing hidden in your head
The Sorting Hat can’t see,
So try me on and I will tell you
Where you ought to be.
You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell brave of heart,
Their daring, nerve, and chivalry
Set Gryffindors apart;
You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true
And unafraid of toil;
Or yet wise old Ravenclaw,
If you’ve a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind;
Or perhaps in Slytherin
You’ll make your real friends,
Those cunning folk use any means
To achieve their ends.
So put me on! Don’t be afraid!
And you won’t get in a flap!
You’re safe in my hands (though I have none)
For I’m a Thinking Cap!
The amazing part of this fabulous display of writing is how J.K. Rowling keeps these characteristics in tact throughout the seven books. There are hundreds (literally hundreds) of characters, and all hold true to the traits distinct to their house at Hogwarts.
While not all of the characters are students, the diversity she displays is brilliant. Every character she writes has a voice and style different from all the rest.
I read all seven books before I started writing.
Now that I’m studying the craft of fiction writing, I’m in greater awe of these stories, and by Rowling’s talent.
If you want to learn about characters and be entertained at the same time, read these books. I promise, you learn something.
Are you ready to be sorted?