In Sorcerer's Stone we find:

Sometimes, Harry noticed, the hat shouted out the house at once, but at others it took a little while to decide. "Finnigan, Seamus," the sandy-haired boy next to Harry in the line, sat on the stool for almost a whole minute before the hat declared him a Gryffindor.

What was the reason the decison took so long? What was the other house Seamus might have been placed in?

(Note: I want either answers from JKR's external writing/interviews, or facts from the books based on Seamus's personality that might imply he'd belong to a different House.)

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    I think this mainly comes down to an analysis of his personality, it's unlikely that there was an official statement about this. But it is answerable, I think. – Fabian Röling Oct 30 '17 at 12:56
  • One possibility you seem to be discounting is that it didn't find him to be an obvious fit for any house, and was mulling through what would be the closest match. – T.E.D. Oct 30 '17 at 19:20

Probably Hufflepuff, it's unlikely to be Ravenclaw or Slytherin.

He probably wasn't almost a Ravenclaw.

Seamus never showed any particular talent in class, or love for learning, so it's unlikely he'd have been almost in Ravenclaw. He doesn't seem to spend a lot of time studying, or learning because he enjoyed it, nor does he have any special ability to learn quickly. In fact, he seems rather impatient at times.

“It was very difficult. Harry and Seamus swished and flicked, but the feather they were supposed to be sending skywards just lay on the desktop. Seamus got so impatient that he prodded it with his wand and set fire to it – Harry had to put it out with his hat.”
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 10 (Hallowe'en)

He's disappointed when McGonagall says exams won't be cancelled because of the attacks in Hogwarts. While Ravenclaw students may sometimes be happy over something like this, they don't usually get this disappointed over having to take their scheduled tests.

“Exams?’ howled Seamus Finnigan. ‘We’re still getting exams?’

There was a loud bang behind Harry as Neville Longbottom’s wand slipped, vanishing one of the legs on his desk. Professor McGonagall restored it with a wave of her own wand, and turned, frowning, to Seamus.”
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 16 (The Chamber of Secrets)

He didn't show any Slytherin tendencies either.

Seamus never really shows any particular cunning or ambition, so it's unlikely that he'd be put in Slytherin. He never does anything sneaky or particularly clever, or resourceful.

Hufflepuff is the only other House that seems to fit Seamus.

Seamus is shown to be a loyal friend. He watches out for people he considered his friends, and although he doubted Harry for a while, he was firmly on his side once he realized Harry was telling the truth and the Daily Prophet was wrong about him.

“Harry felt terrible. In an hour’s time he’d be walking on to the pitch.

‘Harry, you need your strength,’ said Seamus Finnigan. ‘Seekers are always the ones who get nobbled by the other team.”
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 11 (Quidditch)

Therefore, it seems most likely that the Sorting Hat would have been considering if to put Seamus in Hufflepuff or Gryffindor.

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Almost certainly Hufflepuff.

Hufflepuffs are hard-working, friendly, loyal, honest, impartial.

During school, Seasmus was rather easy-going and good natured. He was also a bit clumsy and had a pentachnt for setting things on fire (or outright blowing them up in the films). He displays curiosity from time to time (such as asking Nick how he could be "Nearly Headless"), but never enough to classify as a closet Ravenclaw.

In the fifth year, he was the least enthusiastic supporter of Harry and Dumbledore in his dorm room (Harry, Ron, Dean, Neville, Seamus). Though once he realized he was wrong, he apologized to Harry.

And finally, in the seventh year, he chose to stay at Hogwarts and oppose the Death Eaters.

So while Seamus demonstrated the "daring, nerve, and chivalry" that, according to The Sorting Hat, "set Gryffindors apart". He also showed that he "might belong in Hufflepuff, where they are just and loyal,".

‘Oh, you may not think I’m pretty,
But don’t judge on what you see,
I’ll eat myself if you can find
A smarter hat than me.
You can keep your bowlers black,
Your top hats sleek and tall,
For I’m the Hogwarts Sorting Hat
And I can cap them all.
There’s nothing hidden in your head
The Sorting Hat can’t see,
So try me on and I will tell you
Where you ought to be.
You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart,
Their daring, nerve and chivalry
Set Gryffindors apart;
You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true
And unafraid of toil;
Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
If you’ve a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind;
Or perhaps in Slytherin
You’ll make your real friends,
Those cunning folk use any means
To achieve their ends.
So put me on! Don’t be afraid!
And don’t get in a flap!
You’re in safe hands (though I have none)
For I’m a Thinking Cap!’
Philosopher's Stone - Chapter 7: The Sorting Hat

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  • Seamus was anything BUT loyal. – TheAsh Oct 30 '17 at 14:23
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    I'm not sure which book you read. Could you provide an example? – amflare Oct 30 '17 at 14:24
  • @His fights with Harry (and Dean Thomas) show it. – TheAsh Oct 30 '17 at 14:24
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    First, loyalty doesn't mean you never fight. Friends fight. It's a fact of life. Friends also let bygones be bygones and remain friends after the fact. Second, you assume that Loyalty means Loyalty to Harry (which is an easy mistake to make since Harry is the protagonist). But bear in mind that Hufflepuffs are also impartial. So you can not fault Seamus for not jumping on the bandwagon immediately. However, once he did is was loyal to Harry/Dumbledore. He stands up for what he believes in, which demonstrates loyalty. Being wrong (At the time) doesn't change that. – amflare Oct 30 '17 at 14:29
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    Strangely enough, one's assigned House is not a perfect personality portrait of the character. Students are free to exhibit traits that are not among those their House values. – amflare Oct 30 '17 at 14:34

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