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What the real differences in each house or should I say, frats? Are they like them or am I confused by British academics?
Well, I think the books talk about the types of characteristics people have who end up in each house, right?

But yeah, structurally, they are technically dorms, but work more like frats, and take on the collective personas of their membership. Just like in college, if a bunch of druggies and
philosophy majors all live in the same dorm, or belong to the same frat - or both - then a reputation will develop for it being the stoner dorm or frat. Same for jocks, ROTC, preps, etc.
Way back, in the early days of the HP franchise, a TV program discussed the world of HP. Included was the head of a small 'Public School'.

In Britain, council schools are open to everyone, and Harry was going to go to one of these. Public Schools are what in the US we call private schools, and Harry had been down for Hogwarts since he was a baby.
Here in Connecticut, there are several that seem similar. a TV show written by and acted in by Erik Bloomquist
"Erik graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, CT with a B.A. in Theatre and Dance and is an alumnus of the London Dramatic Academy in London, England. He has served on faculty at Trinity College, as Artist-in-Residence at Avon Old Farms School, and as a master class instructor throughout New England."
All of these schools listed for Erik, are on the private school side of the spectrum.

If the school is small enough, there is one person, the Headmaster, who goes through the lists of students, and decides who will be in the same house, the same room. Any larger, like more than 40, and I assume some sort of committee or lottery puts people in their houses.

This is more like the original sorting that put me with my first college roommate. We were part of a group that all signed up for standard Lit = English (put us in the same Dorm building). I was then put in a room with another Southern New York person. This turned out to be a terrible match, and we self corrected by switching rooms with another pair of women in our Suite of 3 bedrooms bath & living room. After that the structure was similar: We had a Floor counselor: Sort of a Head boy/girl, and a Dorm Representative (a Grad student) on the par with a HP prefect.

Now at Hogwarts the sorting hat puts new students in their houses. It chooses for the traits that the original 4 masters most treasured; Honesty, Brains, Ambition and Bravery. (Find that sorting hat song from Harry's first year) You could be a person with more than one of these, and it seems that you can argue with the hat. But once in that House, you were in it for all 7 years. (McGonicle states that sometimes she thinks that "We sort to young"). There don't seem to be drop outs or new students.

In my College, after that first semester, you got to select your own room mate & at my school, you also got to select your own suite mates. Each semester you got to choose again. I was also able to change to dorms (building) on the other side of campus for a year, where there were rooms off a long hallway. After that year my room mate found cheaper quarters off campus, and I went back to the suite rooms side of campus. At that point I joined a suite where two rooms were filled with friends and a new student was selected to go into my room. In my senior year, my room mate took a semester abroad, and I got a single room - though I eventually had to pay extra.

At Hogwarts, all of the houses are actually separate parts of the castle. At Miss Porters School in Connecticut( the different houses are actually in separate houses. My University had only a couple of Fraternal groups (Frats & Sororities), and these were just a floor of the regular dorms. These were self selected, and the use of a whole floor were by request. I'm not sure how new members of the Frats were to get a room on that floor. But this is NOT the way that Hogwarts worked.
People may not remember it, but the old American sit-com "The Facts of Life" was based on life in a group house for girls attending a private American school. The first season was set in a larger house with a larger group of students. To save on production costs and simplify the story-telling they chose four girls to "get into trouble" who had to go into a special probationary arrangement in order to continue attending the school.
I don't know for sure.

That early interview the Headmaster said that he acted as the "Sorting Hat"

I assume that each of the Houses in British Public Schools have Deans, or other titled Professors that act as "Head of House".... Hmmm, There are a couple of BBC TV programs that have professors living in the houses with "Scouts" handling the doors & the students.

Perhaps you need to look for the books with Midsummer Murders, or Father Brown Mysteries, or the Dorothy Sayers novels.
Yeah, that's just the British system, or rather Rowlings' spin on it. Obviously real-life schools where parents pay tuition don't have teachers
choosing students to be on their "side" like picking dodgeball teams. Wink But of course, read any autobiography of a British guy who went to Rugby or Eton or wherever,
and there are plenty of stories about one of the teachers showing preference to someone, or some student being a toady to one of the teachers.
See if this is the History of magic in HP... If it's not the one from 10 or so years ago. It seems to be pretty good.

Yup at around 25 minutes in around the school in Scotland "Gordons" the Headmaster discusses how he selects what houses to put students in.
And thank you for sending me down THIS rabbit hole ...

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This is cool and educational. I always thought Muggles was kinda of racist such calling someone a non -christian pagan or gentile vs a Jew or non- white person. I also thought that the reasons for the houses to have animals was like the four creatures in Revelations of the Bible. I read somewhere that rhinos were once mistaken as mythical unicorns, which would explain why they are going extinct because of their horns had healing powers. As for Owls, they said in this video , they don't know why owls were used in myths as supernatural wisdom beings. Didn't Athena, the goddess of wisdom have a owl and owls were considered wise to the Greeks? I also read that the ancient Hebrews were scared of owls like people are with wolves. They thought they were ghosts, and they were associated with spiritual world.
I never heard that about owls to the ancient Hebrews.
As for those racist words, well the ones you listed were actually then nicer "non" names that groups sometimes called the outsiders. I thank you for your restraint.

I think that you will find that Muggles being an odd, but insider Wizarding world description is more insider than No-Maj or Non-Magical that the New Yorkers referred to the non-Wizarding community.

From Wikipedia:
Rowling has stated she created the word "Muggle" from "mug", an English term for someone who is easily fooled. She added the "-gle" to make it sound less demeaning and more "cuddly".[2]

Even inside of Hogwarts, the knowledge of one's parents status is important. This is possibly (in my humble opinion) the way that Rowling sees children going to public schools treat someone on scholarship to those schools.
But there's not anything in the books about Revelation, right?

But witches have traditionally had animals as familiars, right, and are often said to take animal form. And sports teams often have animals as mascots, so I think that's pretty much it. Smile
Revelation??? I don't understand your logic. Some books/stories/traditions have 'witches have familiars', some of these witches might take animal form, but how you got to sports teams I have no idea.

I just call the owls, frogs, cats, rats and bunnies, that the children brought to Hogwarts, pets.
Irene Wrote:Revelation??? I don't understand your logic.

Do you mean me? I was responding to this:

badlands Wrote:I also thought that the reasons for the houses to have animals was like the four creatures in Revelations of the Bible.

So no logic involved - just asking if there was anything in the books about four creatures from Revelation.

Irene Wrote:Some books/stories/traditions have 'witches have familiars', some of these witches might take animal form, but how you got to sports teams I have no idea.

Again, just responding to the previous post. There was something about owls, Athena, unicorns, Hebrews, wolves, ghosts, etc. And the idea of witches-in-training having animals as pets seemed pretty
straightforward, even though I doubt the average boarding school has any pet owls on campus. Wink

How I got to sports teams was that each house has an animal as its symbol, which the students wear on their clothing sometimes, in the same way that students at high school and colleges do the same for the mascot
of their sports teams. And since each house is also a sports team, and you see people dressing up in the animal regalia (like Luna in her absurd headgear in, was it the 6th film?) for those sports matches, it again seemed like a pretty normal detail given the setting. Make sense now?
Yup. I must have skimmed over that stuff in the previous post(s). I didn't realize that you were referring back to badlands "Revelations in the Bible". and the rest of the paragraph.

No problems. I didn't see a lot of 'in the Bible' in the J.K. Rowlings books. I did see a lot of history, myth and stealth education snuck in.

The animals that stood for each of the four houses at Hogwarts, were the house mascots. The creatures brought to school by the students were pets. Though Hagrid's choice of giant spider was perhaps odder that most choices....

Hmmm no dogs? Maybe that is something we should figure out next.
I found this article on the Jewish Virtual Library about owls and badlands was correct. The owl was not well received among ancient Hebrews.

There are a few Christian memes in the Harry Potter books. I've never read anything about why J.K. Rowling mixed them in, but European folklore has obviously been heavily influenced by Christian thought for over a thousand years. Rowling hints at explanations for why many supposedly evil creatures are perceived as evil. Some of them are just dangerous. Some of them truly are evil, but in most cases they just appear to be trying to do their own things and humans push them aside.

Whether the house mascots were in any way inspired by Biblical imagery, I don't know. A lot of mythical things were inspired by Biblical imagery, so there may be some grandfather connection if not a direct, overt one.