Every fan of Harry Potter dreamed of getting their owl and heading to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to learn how to do actual magic… and to be sorted into one of the school houses on arrival. First years are ‘sorted’ by the magical Sorting Hat, and are sent to spend the rest of their education within that house; taking classes together, supporting the house Quidditch team, gaining and losing points toward the House Cup, and living together in the House dorms. But whether you are a Gryffindor, a Ravenclaw, a Hufflepuff or a Slytherin, you have to admit that not all the rules surrounding the houses make sense!
10. No-One Can Visit Another House’s Dorm
It might make sense to divide these magical kids by house for sleeping purposes, but what’s the reasoning behind the kids not even being allowed to set foot in each other’s common rooms? Throughout the Harry Potter series, most of the kids don’t even seem to know where the other common rooms and dorms are in the school, and it’s clearly forbidden for kids to fraternize… even if they are friends (although that’s not very likely). Surely it would make sense to let friends hang out together outside of the library or Great Hall?
9. Common Rooms Have No Curfews
Hogwarts implements a strict curfew, and should a student be out of bed after this time, Filch is going to come running… thrilled to be able to mete out a punishment. However, despite the strictly enforced curfews for the hallways, there seem to be no curfews on the common rooms themselves. The Gryffindors routinely seem to party until the wee small hours, with Fred and George stealing food from the kitchens, of course… and only once in the series does Professor McGonagall come to tell them to keep it down (and gives no punishments for the late night partying).
8. And Potentially No Bathrooms?
This one has to be a simple oversight in the story, but no bathrooms are ever mentioned in the dorms or common rooms - despite being a big part of the story in the rest of Hogwarts. From the Prefect’s bathroom where Harry opened his egg to Moaning Myrtle’s haunt, bathrooms are mentioned throughout the rest of the school, but never in the dorms or common rooms. Which, given the curfew for being outside the common rooms, has to be wrong - surely there’s no expectation that students can’t get up in the night to pee!
7. House Quidditch Tryouts Are Totally Confusing
Each of the Houses has their own Quidditch team, and they compete each year… but the team members and the process for tryouts seems to make no sense. For most of the Harry Potter series, it seems that there simply are no tryouts - Harry never has to try out (although McGonagall does vouch for him), but when he becomes Captain, it is stated that every player has to go through tryouts, every year. Another plot hole, probably, otherwise the rules for the House Teams changed halfway through Harry’s schooling and no one mentioned anything about it!
6. Teachers Can’t Get Past The Passwords
Each of the students is required to give a password (or answer a riddle) to get into their House dorms… which makes sense, if you buy into the idea that no one from another House should be able to enter. But even the teachers seem to have to know the passwords and answers, as was revealed when Professor McGonagall had to answer the Ravenclaw riddle to get in, and we learned that the Carrows were incapable of doing so without help. But surely this is dangerous, and any teacher should be able to get into the dorms to help children if needs be?
5. Families Sort Into The Same House
There may be a few exceptions (like Sirius Black, the Patil sisters, or Harry Potter’s own son!) but for the most part, it is a rule of Hogwarts that families get sorted together. Which makes little sense, if the Sorting is supposed to be based on personality traits. Anyone who has siblings can tell you that brothers and sisters can be polar opposites - and shouldn’t be lumped together just because they share some parents. Just look at the Weasleys - while many suit the Gryffindor house, Charlie is arguably more Hufflepuff, and Percy is a straight up Slytherin.
4. They Are Tiny
Perhaps it was just Gryffindor, or just Harry’s particular year, but the size of the Hogwarts houses doesn’t add up, when considering how many people in the UK must be witches and wizards. In Harry’s year and house, there were only around ten students. If that is a solid average, there are only a few hundred students at the entire school - which just doesn’t make sense, unless the vast majority of wizarding families are homeschooling, or if Harry just had a surprisingly small class size for some reason. The tiny size makes it easier for readers to keep up with characters, but that doesn’t mean it makes sense.
3. They Have To Sit Apart To Eat
The extent to which the houses at Hogwarts are kept separate is completely bonkers - not only do they live together, learn together, play sports together, and take exams together… they have to eat with members of their own house as well. During meals (and especially banquets) all the houses have their own dining table - something that seems to be taking the idea of House Pride a little too far. No wonder there is such a rivalry between the houses, given that the school makes it almost impossible to maintain friendships between them.
2. They Sort Too Young
Ok, so if you are going to have school houses, it makes a certain degree of sense to have them start when schooling does… but perhaps that’s a system that makes more sense if the houses are random, rather than based on traits. The idea of popping a magical hat on an eleven-year-old and defining them by their strongest characteristics is a problematic one: is the suggestion that people simply are one way or another, and their character is set by the tender age of eleven? Even Dumbledore agrees that Hogwarts sorts a little too soon…
1. There’s A Recognized ‘Evil’ House
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again - the assumption that Slytherins are just straight-up ‘bad’ is a truly weird one, even for Hogwarts. Even the professors (especially Hagrid, who is admittedly not the least biased source) openly buy into the idea that Slytherin students are more likely to go dark than those in other houses. This would be an insane thing to actively sort for, for one thing, and for another… it’s just not true! Voldemort may have been in Slytherin, but Peter Pettigrew was in Gryffindor, and he’s as dark and cowardly as they come!