When the Sorting Hat initially assigned Harry to House Slytherin, was it because of Harry's nature or was it actually detecting Voldemort's presence?

  • If your asking specificly about the hats decision based on Harry vs voldemorts soul in harry. this is a duplicate question. IF however, like your title states your asking about Harry being a Hat-Stall, this question is NOT a dupe.
    – Himarm
    Apr 28, 2016 at 15:58
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    I’ve voted to close this as Unclear what you’re asking because the title and body text of the question here are asking two completely different and unrelated questions. As @Himarm says, the answer to the question in the body text has been covered elsewhere, so if you do edit the question to make it less unclear, I would suggest you limit it to the one asked in the title. Apr 28, 2016 at 16:36
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    You know what just occurred to me? When I was around this age in school, they made a big deal about telling kids never to share hats (or combs, etc.) to prevent the spread of head-lice. When you consider this hat has been worn by every single student at the school for decades, man, all it would take is one kid to come in his first day with a case of lice and he'll spread it to every student after him for the rest of time... (I assume there's some magical delouser they must use after the fact...) Apr 28, 2016 at 19:04

2 Answers 2


According to Pottermore, Harry was not a Hatstall

The only true Hatstalls known personally to Harry Potter were Minerva McGonagall and Peter Pettigrew.

Hatstall Defenition -

An archaic Hogwarts term for any new student whose Sorting takes longer than five minutes. This is an exceptionally long time for the Sorting Hat to deliberate, and occurs rarely, perhaps once every fifty years.

By definition despite the peice of Voldemorts soul and the debate Harry had with the Sorting Hat, he does not meet the requirements.

As to whether or not Voldemorts soul came into play in the deliberation, https://scifi.stackexchange.com/a/10988/29220 is the answer you want to take a look at.

  • Did his decision take more than 5 minutes? Deliberation can include debate.
    – user40790
    Apr 28, 2016 at 15:44
  • @Axelrod according to pottermore its not even considered, so it was sub 5 min, more like 1-2, hermione was close at 3-4
    – Himarm
    Apr 28, 2016 at 15:45

He was a near Hatstall between Slytherin and Gryffindor but didn't take long enough to be a true Hatstall.

The Sorting Hat detected the presence of Voldemort's soul:

J.K. Rowling: "Also, I always imagine that the Sorting Hat detected the presence of that piece of [Voldemort's] soul when Harry first tried it on, because it's strongly tempted to put him in Slytherin.

From The Leaky Cauldon's interview.

However, it should be noted that it isn't wrong about Harry's Slytherin-esque personality traits as observed at multiple times. (He's determined, talented and has a penchant for rule-breaking).

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