[LMB] Vorkosiverse Characters Meet Harry Potter Sorting Hat

Matthew George matt.msg at gmail.com
Tue May 15 18:51:33 BST 2018

Miles is profoundly ambitious.  And too often willing to take shortcuts to
achieve his goals.  Why wouldn't he be Slytherin?

The superficial problem is that Rowling both wanted a Villain House, and
for the potential for evil and corruption to be found in all human hearts,
and tried to have it both ways, unsuccessfully.  If each house is defined
by certain virtues, all of those virtues can lead to evil in the right
circumstances.  Hufflepuff is founded upon Faithfulness, Loyalty, and
Stubbornness?  "Just following orders."  "My country, right or wrong."
 Gryffindor based on Courage and Passion?  "You're either with us or
against us."  'The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of
passionate intensity.'  Et cetera.

But the way Rowling actually approached them was that Gryffindor was the
house of heroes, and Hufflepuff is the joke house.  (I mean, I get that
it's meant to sound like breathing during hard work, but nothing called
'puff' inspires respect.)

The *real* problem is that Rowling isn't that great a writer at many
points, and didn't plan out details well, but her works are too loved for
people to see both their merits and their flaws.  (And they are very

Miles has all of the virtues of the four Houses... and all of the flaws,
too.  Because he's an actual person, and not a caricature.  (Well, I mean,
he's not an *actual* actual person, but...)

Matt G.

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