Personality Tests and Technical Communicators: Harry Potter/Ilvermorny Houses

Personality Tests and Technical Communicators: Harry Potter/Ilvermorny Houses

By Julia Southwick and Joy Carandang

Editor’s note: We’re not going into the politics surrounding the series or author here- this is just for fun as it has been a common icebreaker for about 20 years. The author’s views do not reflect STC, STC FL, or the authors- please discuss the politics elsewhere!

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Introduced in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the first installment within the series, the Sorting Hat Ceremony or induction of first-year students to one of the four Hogwarts houses by the Sorting Hat at the start of every school year. Each house is named after and representative of the four original Hogwarts co-founders. Depending on which house you belong to, their shared traits reflect your unique set of characteristics and values. Take the official Sorting Hat Experience today on Pottermore.

Hogwarts HousesFounderTraitsNotable Members
GryffindorGodric GryffindorBravery, Daring, ChivalrousHarry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ronald Weasley
RavenclawRowena RavenclawWise, Creative, KnowledgeableLuna Lovegood, Gilderoy Lockhart, Filius Flitwick
HufflepuffHelga HufflepuffPatient, Kind, LoyalNewt Scamander, Cedric Diggory, Nymphadora Tonks
SlytherinSalazar SlytherinAmbitious, Cunning, DeterminedSeverus Snape, Draco Malfoy, Tom Riddle (Lord Voldemort)

Did you know that there is a School of Witchcraft and Wizardry right here in the US? In the Harry Potter universe, Ilvermorny is an American magical school that is nestled beside the mountainous region of western Massachusetts, called the Berkshires. Its humble origins began with Isolt Sayre, a pureblooded witch who emigrated from Ireland via the Mayflower. After marrying her husband, a Muggle-born man, and adopting their children together, the couple started to offer lessons to students at their home.

Over time, a total of four houses were established, reflecting each student’s nature and potential. Heavily influenced by Native American folklore, Ilvermorny houses (Wampus, Horned Serpent, Pukwudgie, Thunderbird) are based on magical creatures and are not exclusively interchangeable with the four more well-known houses at Hogwarts (Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff). Ilvermorny has its own Sorting Hat Ceremony different from what Hogwarts has. In their version, there is a small ceremony where a wooden carving of a magical creature that is representative of a given house chooses its newest member by moving toward them.

Ilvermorny HousesFounderCharacteristicsTraitsNotable Members
Horned SerpentIsolt SayreScholarly, intellectual, spiritualRepresents the mind; Favors scholarsSeraphina Picquery
WampusWebster BootBravery, durable, self-assured Represents the body; Favors warriorsAbraham Ronen
ThunderbirdChadwick BootFree-spirited, adventurous, attuned to experiencesRepresents the soul; Favors adventurersPorpetina Esther Goldstein
Pukwudgie James Steward (Isolt Sayre’s husband) Empathetic, good-natured, down-to-earthRepresents the heart, Favors healersQueenie Goldstein
Here are more Harry Potter/Ilvermorny Houses images and credits to all of them including this one.

You may notice some similarities in each of the eight houses but there are also some obvious differences. The Hogwarts houses are described more commonly with adjectives and the Ilvermorny houses are more often described with nouns. Another difference is Hogwarts houses are what you value and Ilvermorny houses are what you are. To learn about how each of the eight houses relate and deviate from one another, click on the link to our PowerPoint presentation. You can see exactly where your percentages lie between the four Ilvermorny houses by taking this fan-created Extended Ilvermorny Sorting Quiz on Wizardmore.

Curious to see which houses Julia and Joy belong to? If so, scroll down below! 

Julia: Ravenclaw / Puckwudgie

My result is Ravenclaw which can be described as valuing cleverness, wisdom, wit, intellectual ability, and creativity, and Puckwudgie which represents the heart and favors healers. I’ve often described myself as a lifelong learner and value my wisdom and creativity. These values can help me to express what is in my heart and provide myself and others with healing when we need it. Although not much is known about Ravenclaw house in the movies, some detail is given in the books. That said, if you want information about Ravenclaw and its students, you really do need to research online. Similarly, the Ilvermorny houses, like Puckwudgie, need to be researched online to know about them. 

I used to believe I was just like Hermione, but I’m like a different character who is intelligent in different ways than her and also shares one of my houses. Like the character Luna Lovegood, I am in Ravenclaw and share some of the core house traits with her. She didn’t go to Ilvermorny, but if she had I’d bet she’d be in Puckwudgie too. This particular combination of houses indicates that I am intuitive and willing to listen to others, just like Luna. At first, students believe Luna to be “Loony” because of her uniqueness. Even Hermione believes so until she gets to know and appreciate Luna. Luna was able to help Harry accept and start to heal from grief at the end of the 5th book because of her particularly keen emotional intelligence, unique perspective on life, and healing kindness- qualities that I believe I share with her and use to help people including myself.

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Joy: Hufflepuff / Horned Serpent

After taking the new Sorting Hat quiz on WizardingWorld, I was thrilled to discover that I had been placed into Hufflepuff. Those who belong to this house are characterized by traits such as being loyal, just, hard-working, patient, fair, and modest. As someone who enjoys being a part of a team, I try my best to embody these characteristics in every aspect of my life. Additionally, these sentiments ring true through my academic interests as within the past two years, I have been keen on learning more about ethics and intercultural communication.
Two notable members from Hufflepuff include Nymphadora Tonks and Cedric Diggory. “Tonks” as she preferred to be called, was a talented Auror who held an extremely rare ability to shift their appearance. She was loyal to her friends until the very end of her life as she fought bravely at the Battle of Hogwarts, ultimately passing alongside her husband, Remus Lupin. Cedric Diggory was also a Hufflepuff who embodied classic traits of humility and kindness. As the Captain of his house Quidditch team, an academically inclined student, and a friendly individual to all, it seemed that the future shone bright for the young Wizard. His death during the Goblet of Fire imprinted a permanent scar on the Wizarding community, especially those closest to him. Together, Tonks and Cedric illustrate the sincere compassion for others and innate moral compass that Hufflepuff represents. They represent qualities that I aim to express to those in my life every day. 
  On the other hand, my Ilvermorny house is the Horned Serpent. According to Ilvermorny folklore, Isolt Sayre made a lasting companionship with a Horned Serpent after initially meeting at a creek near Mount Greylock. Sharing a unique bond, she eventually named one of the four houses in honor of her friend. It is said that the house represents the mind and favors scholars. I have always been passionate about the pursuit of knowledge and finding meaning in all things I come across. While I still have so much to learn, I am excited to see where the future takes our field and the insights that will unravel in time. 

…But What Does This Have To Do With Tech Comm?

 A career in Technical Communication can translate into working in several ever-changing industries and fields for various causes that operate within different workflows. Taking Pottermore’s tests can help a budding technical writer, a current technical writer, or an established practitioner looking to find themselves in a new industry connect with their peers and coworkers. Discussing your houses can be a great icebreaker for new coworkers and team meetings!

Those interpersonal relationships drive our success on the job. Learning about our Gamer types provides a useful language for technical communicators to understand how we can connect with others over shared interests.

We Want to Hear from You

No test will ever present a complete portrait of who you are, but many people find them useful for self-reflection or as tools to engage with others. We would love to hear from you about your experience with personality tests. Each test you take will give you a different perspective. Let us know what results you have gotten and how you have found that information to be useful or not.

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