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McGonagall and the Sorting Hat-SS

Professor McGonagall was a known hatstall

A Hatstall was an archaic term for a student of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry whose sorting took more than five minutes, because the Sorting Hat found them to have a personality equally suited to different Hogwarts Houses.[1][2] The Sorting Hat sometimes took the student's personal preference into consideration in order to break such a tie.[2][3]

True Hatstalls were rare, occurring around once every fifty years,[1] but near Hatstalls may have been more common.

Known Hatstalls

  • Minerva McGonagall — The Sorting Hat spent five-and-a-half minutes wavering between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw before deciding to place her in the former.[4]
  • Peter Pettigrew — The Sorting Hat placed him in Gryffindor, after a long deliberation between that house and Slytherin. The Hat, to this day, insists he made the right choice, citing the manner in which Pettigrew died as (what some would call dubious) evidence.[5]

Known near Hatstalls

  • Filius Flitwick — The Sorting Hat wavered between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw before choosing the latter.[4] He was not, however, a true Hatstall.[5]
  • Gilderoy Lockhart — The Sorting Hat fought to place him in Slytherin, a House from which he narrowly escaped into Ravenclaw.[6]
  • Hermione Granger — The Sorting Hat spent nearly four minutes trying to decide between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, and "seriously considered" Ravenclaw, but ultimately went with Gryffindor.[1][7]
  • Neville Longbottom — The Sorting Hat was determined to place him in Gryffindor, but because Neville found Gryffindor's reputation for bravery intimidating, he asked to be put in Hufflepuff. The two argued silently for "a long time" before the Hat finally got its way and declared him a Gryffindor.[1][3]
  • Harry Potter — The Sorting Hat found he could do well in either Gryffindor or Slytherin, but because he was averse to Slytherin's negative reputation, it ultimately chose Gryffindor.[3][2]


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