Sorting actual and fictitious characters is a significant part of the fandom – but what I enjoy is looking at the different Hogwarts Houses that act in different scenarios. I was so taken by my colleague Lorrie’s piece about how members of the Hogwarts Houses collaborate on group projects that I decided to use a similar perspective to my field of expertise: planning. As an outgoing Ravenclaw, I am typically the one to organize events, whether they are minor, like a trip to the movies, or large, like a group trip to another continent. And in working on this with others, I’ve witnessed the accomplishments and flaws that other Houses bring to the planning table.
Gryffindors are fantastic at taking charge. They are frequently the ones that propose the activity in the first place. There is no such thing as a big or ambitious strategy. Except for Gryffindors, this is usually the extent of the planning. They tend to overlook little details and think in broad strokes. We see it in the Harry Potter books: “We’re heading to the Department of Mysteries to help Sirius!” is Harry’s interpretation of a plan. How? How are they going to save Sirius from a Death Eater army? How are they going to get past Ministry security? It doesn’t matter; the Gryffindors will figure it out as they go. That is an excellent example of the Gryffindor/Ravenclaw dynamic in action: ‘The Mysteries Department?’ Luna expressed her modest surprise. ‘However, how will you get there?’ Harry ignored her once more. (OotP 736) For all the other Houses, the frustrating thing about Gryffindors is that their schemes somehow work out despite the complete absence of information. Gryffindors who declare they’re headed to London will eventually arrive in London. That has become a descriptor for me when making arrangements. ‘A writing retreat is in the works for the end of the month!’ ‘Wow, what are your plans?’ ‘It’s in Gryffindor territory.’ That suggests that the plan is currently “I intend to go on a writing retreat on a certain day” and that nothing else has been considered except that I’m not a Gryffindor. Therefore this is merely the beginning of the process for me. Gryffindors will ideally have one of the other Houses pick up the ball and run with it, but if it isn’t possible, they’ll make it up as they go. The plans will go ahead, with an adventure or two thrown in for good measure.
In terms of planning, the four Houses are divided into two groups: Gryffindor/Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff/Slytherin. Ravenclaws are the polar opposite of Gryffindors; they will work out every little detail when it comes to planning.
You’re likely to learn of a Ravenclaw’s intentions when they’re nearly finished, and there’s already at least one spreadsheet of material. Ravenclaws thrive on information and investigation. There will undoubtedly be Google Docs with hyperlinks, color coding, and possibly more lengthy emails than anyone wants to receive. They’ll be the ones that meticulously analyze every Airbnb in the vicinity, cross-referenced train schedules, and have a handy list of admission times and costs for each stop on the itinerary when they go on vacation. Ravenclaws can be a tad intense, especially for those who prefer to go with the flow and don’t need to plan their entire vacation ahead of time. They are, nonetheless, quite helpful to have on hand, especially for more sophisticated plans that require collaboration or involve large sums of money. “Are you able to locate hotel rooms for 12 guests near the city center?” Yes, we’re working on it! When the other Houses come up with the broad contours of a strategy and then assign the Ravenclaw with specific chores, it’s excellent cooperation.
The Slytherins are ready to do what they want and use whatever technique to get the rest of the House to follow them. When the Slytherin offers you to the movies, the ideal showing time that allows for dinner will be at the theatre five blocks from their flat. They’re also adept at making reasonable arguments for why their method is the best. If Slytherin is looking for a flight, the flight given will be on the airline with whom they have a credit card. In comparison to Ravenclaws, Slytherins work backward. Whereas Ravenclaw will conduct research and consider all options before settling on the best, Slytherin will choose the best option fast and then create a case for why it is the best. Slytherins generally have their way when there are no Ravenclaws in the group — the Gryffindors don’t care about specifics, and the Hufflepuffs want everyone to be happy. However, if a Ravenclaw determines that the best solution differs from the Slytherin’s, or if two Slytherins agree, things might become tense.The Hufflepuffs feel that everyone should be happy and devote their efforts to making that happen; the Ravenclaws believe a proper answer will satisfy everyone, and the Gryffindors are unconcerned about minor details. However, the Slytherins occasionally opt to do things their way, with or without the help of the others. (Extroverted Slytherins are particularly prone to this “my way or the highway” attitude.) If the group is overturned, the Slytherins are the most likely to do it alone. When the group is talking, please beware of the emails on the side or one-on-one texts from the Slytherins, who will often whip votes and seek out people to convert them to their position. They are mighty in smaller groups of five to ten individuals since a few swing votes are all they need to win. On the other hand, Slytherins are useful in large groups because they make decisions. Too many choices never paralyze them; they will not spend their days googling or attempting to reach an agreement. “What hotel should we book?” The Slytherin will choose one and end the impasse of indecision.
Hufflepuffs are the polar opposite of the Slytherins in that they are eager to reach an agreement that will benefit everyone. When kids participate in developing plans, there will very definitely be several choices available for everyone. We want to watch ‘Secrets of Dumbledore’! What theatre is everyone’s favorite? Is it Thursday, Friday, Sunday, or Tuesday that people prefer? Should we go for IMAX or 3D? The Hufflepuff stage of planning follows the Gryffindor stage: they want to work out the details, but only after everyone was had a chance to speak up and participate in the process. Rather than asking which theatre to go to, the astute Hufflepuff will provide two or three possibilities. While most Hufflepuffs will be satisfied with their plans at the end of the day, the procedure also necessitates the most input from everyone in the group. Hufflepuffs, on the other hand, are usually content to let someone else lead, just way Gryffindors are. As long as there is no dispute, they will defer to the more prominent personalities, but if there is, they must mediate. As a result, Hufflepuffs excel in making plans in smaller groups. If four people are going for afternoon tea, the Hufflepuff will ensure that everyone is satisfied with the time and location. However, if the groups are larger – or if numerous stubborn persons are involved – the Hufflepuffs struggle. They will insist on going back to the drawing board until a solution that pleases everyone is discovered to ensure that everything is fair and no one is unhappy. The Hufflepuff will require voting, revoting, and ranked-choice voting, sure that consensus can be created with enough work, even if an overruled Slytherin refuses to go along with the agreement.
When it comes to creating plans, all Houses have a lot to offer. The Gryffindors start things off, the Hufflepuffs keep things calm and involve everyone, the Ravenclaws conduct the necessary study, and the Slytherins make the final decisions. The most effective outings will frequently include a group with at least a few qualities from each House.
What has your planning experience been like, readers? Does it correspond to your House membership?