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I wanted to know, would it be against Hogwarts school rules to allow, say, a Slytherin to join the Hufflepuff Quidditch team? I don't recall anything saying so, or any statements from J.K. Rowling.

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    It wouldn’t really be a Hufflepuff team if they let people from other houses on, would it? So presumably no. But I don’t recall seeing anything specifically saying so either. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 1 '18 at 22:57
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    Well one thing is certain: even if it was allowed (and Miss Bella feels it's against rules and I imagine it is - and it would also cause house cup problems) there wouldn't be a Slytherin at all with Gryffindor and vice versa. Even other houses want Gryffindor to win if it means Slytherin doesn't! – Pryftan Aug 1 '18 at 23:24
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    The Hogwarts house system is not something Rowling invented out of thin air, it's very directly based on the way British boarding-schools work. In real life, inter-house sports/competition teams are limited to members of that house. The question might not have even occurred to Rowling (it certainly didn't occur to me, and I went to boarding school for a bit, and took part in house competitions). So, I'd absolutely expect not - however, if you asked Rowling about it, she'd likely make up something on the spot based on what was the most interesting answer. :) – cloudfeet Aug 2 '18 at 10:40
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    @cloudfeet Agreed - I didn't go to a boarding school, but we still had houses/forms and intra-school competition. This question's a bit like asking "Could a Durmstrang student have entered the Triwizard Tournament as the Hogwarts champion?" – Chronocidal Aug 2 '18 at 11:58
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    Welcome to the site, by the way. I hope you stick around. – EJoshuaS - Reinstate Monica Aug 2 '18 at 13:51
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It’s probably against the rules, and certainly very atypical.

Professor McGonagall tells students that they can sign up for their house team by asking their Head of House to put them down for tryouts. She doesn’t say anything about playing for another’s.

“Those wishing to play for their house Quidditch teams should give their names to their Heads of House as usual. We are also looking for new Quidditch commentators, who should do likewise.”
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 8 (Snape Victorious)

When Harry directs Quidditch tryouts, students who aren’t from Gryffindor show up, and Harry made them all leave. He didn’t allow them to try out. If they were supposed to be able to try out for another house’s team, then Harry wouldn’t be allowed to make them all leave before they could.

“The third group had a pile-up halfway around the pitch. Most of the fourth group had come without broomsticks. The fifth group were Hufflepuffs.

‘If there’s anyone else here who’s not from Gryffindor,’ roared Harry, who was starting to get seriously annoyed, ‘leave now, please!’

There was a pause, then a couple of little Ravenclaws went sprinting off the pitch, snorting with laughter.”
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 11 (Hermione’s Helping Hand)

It doesn’t seem like something that would be typically allowed. Students are usually loyal to their house, so most wouldn’t even want to play for another house. In addition, if students were allowed to play for another house, they could use this to cheat for their house. For example, a Ravenclaw could play for the Hufflepuff team and purposely not play well in matches against Ravenclaw, making sure that Ravenclaw gets more house points and does better in the Quidditch Cup. Even if they don’t purposely sabotage anything, they’d be less likely to ‘give their all’ against their own house (consciously or not) since they wouldn’t want to see their house lose.

If they were somehow able to play in a completely unbiased way, and not even subconsciously ‘taking it easy’ on their own house’s team, they’d still have to contend with both the team they’re on doubting their true allegiance. Cormac McLaggen accused Ginny of giving Ron an easy save because he’s her brother, which Harry says wasn’t true.

“His sister didn’t really try,’ said McLaggen menacingly. There was a vein pulsing in his temple like the one Harry had often admired in Uncle Vernon’s. ‘She gave him an easy save.’

‘Rubbish,’ said Harry coldly. ‘That was the one he nearly missed.”
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 11 (Hermione’s Helping Hand)

If someone was allowed to join another house’s team, if they ever did anything that caused their own house to have an advantage (whether or not it was actually intentional or just a mistake) they’d have to deal with the other team members accusing them of throwing it purposefully for their house. People even get upset if other houses lose points if it means a house they dislike will win instead.

“And then the story started to spread: Harry Potter, the famous Harry Potter, their hero of two Quidditch matches, had lost them all those points, him and a couple of other stupid first-years.

From being one of the most popular and admired people at the school, Harry was suddenly the most hated. Even Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs turned on him, because everyone had been longing to see Slytherin lose the House Cup.”
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 15 (The Forbidden Forest)

It'd also cause problems with figuring out Quidditch and House Cup points, since for example any win when there’s a player from another house would be a combination of two houses’ work.

Gryffindor didn’t get a player from another house for the final.

Further evidence that it probably isn’t allowed is that when Harry ends up in the hospital wing and can’t be Seeker, no one ever brings up the idea of Gryffindor getting someone from another house to play for them. Gryffindor was a player short, and desperately needed another one to have any chance of not getting thoroughly beaten. Oliver Wood definitely wanted to win, and, however he would have felt about the idea of a non-Gryffindor on the team in general, would have been glad to accept a player from anywhere, including another house, in that circumstance if it was allowed.

“Now, listen here, you lot,’ he said, glowering at them all, ‘we should have won the Quidditch Cup last year. We’re easily the best team. But unfortunately, owing to circumstances beyond our control …’

Harry shifted guiltily in his seat. He had been unconscious in the hospital wing for the final match of the previous year, meaning that Gryffindor had been a player short and had suffered their worst defeat in three hundred years.”
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 7 (Mudbloods and Murmurs)

In addition, the students from both Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw were very eager to see Slytherin lose the House Cup, so would gladly help Gryffindor if it meant Slytherin would end up losing.

“Which means,’ Dumbledore called over the storm of applause, for even Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff were celebrating the downfall of Slytherin, ‘we need a little change of decoration.”
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 17 (The Man with Two Faces)

Professor McGonagall was also somewhat willing to bend the rules if it meant Slytherin would lose, since she got Harry on the Gryffindor team. If there was any way to allow someone from another house to play on their team in the final match when Harry couldn’t, she’d probably be willing to allow it so Gryffindor wouldn’t be so thoroughly beaten in both the Quidditch and House Cup.

“I shall speak to Professor Dumbledore and see if we can’t bend the first-year rule. Heaven knows, we need a better team than last year. Flattened in that last match by Slytherin, I couldn’t look Severus Snape in the face for weeks …”
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 9 (The Midnight Duel)

Oliver Wood also knew how much McGonagall wanted their team to win as well, so would likely at least try to get her to let someone from another house play for them in the final as an emergency situation substitute if he thought it was possible that she could allow it.

“I know,’ said Harry, ‘but McGonagall still wants to strip it down –’

Wood went pale. ‘I’ll go and talk to her, Harry,’ he promised. ‘I’ll make her see reason … a Firebolt … a real Firebolt, on our team … she wants Gryffindor to win as much as we do … I’ll make her see sense … a Firebolt …”
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 12 (The Patronus)

If no one from another house played on the Gryffindor team then, it’s probably not allowed at all.

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    You should make bold the for their house (the actual quote in the book) to really help it stand out, maybe? Also maybe you could add something about how upset Hufflepuff/Ravenclaw were at Gryffindor for losing points simply because it meant they wouldn't win over Slytherin! That shows just how much enmity there was between certain houses. You pointed out the cheating part of different houses but I would say that even if no cheating was involved it would still cause a Quidditch Cup (and maybe House Cup?) problem simply by having more than one house on the same house team. – Pryftan Aug 1 '18 at 23:29
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    The example of McLaggen is interesting. If he was sooooooo keen to play - as evidently he was - why not try out for another house team if he could – Au101 Aug 1 '18 at 23:48
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    @Pryftan Thanks a lot, your suggestions were all good so I’ve edited my answer to add them all in! :) Overall, I think Hogwarts wouldn’t allow students to play for another house’s team since allowing that would make things more complicated in various ways, including ones difficult to ‘fix’ or control for. I can’t imagine that there’s any situation that would make the Hogwarts staff want to choose to allow it - though Quidditch is a popular sport and many students want to play, it doesn’t seem worth it to allow other house members on house-specific teams, especially considering point awarding. – Bellatrix Aug 2 '18 at 2:09
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    @Miss Bella True. And I just remembered something else too: Even the heads of houses have a rivalry going don't they? You cite this but it also goes for the House Cup; another example McGonagall gives not just the Gryffindors points (who were at 0) at end of OotP but also Luna points for Ravenclaw (after the battle of the Death Eaters - most powerful of which would be you - and the kids) right as Severus was trying to take points away (and it was already at 0). And there are I'm sure many other examples. Anyway good updates! – Pryftan Aug 2 '18 at 22:06
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    @Pryftan Thanks so much! :) – Bellatrix Aug 2 '18 at 22:39
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J.K. Rowling didn't mention if it was against the rule simply because there was no need for it.

Quidditch is just like a normal school sport where different houses compete with each other. Houses are the teams and if one wants to play, it should be through their own house.

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    Although minimalist, I think this is a good answer. Harry Potter's house system is not a new invention - it's directly based on the British boarding-school system. I wouldn't be surprised if this hadn't really occurred to Rowling, much like it hadn't occurred to me (as somebody who went to boarding school and competed in inter-house sports and competition, despite having friends in other houses). – cloudfeet Aug 2 '18 at 10:19
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    In the British public school system, it's not inconceivable that a House team, depleted by circumstances beyond their control (maybe an outbreak of food poisoning confined to that House) might be loaned players from other Houses so that an important match could go ahead. The loaned players would, of course, consider it a point of honour to play to their full capacity. But this is a fanciful possibility. You play for YOUR House team. – Laurence Payne Aug 2 '18 at 13:18
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    @ANeves (Some) real world schools have houses just like Hogwarts has houses. As mentioned in the comments above, the house system isn't something JKR came up with. In the real world, the whole point of a house team is that it is made up entirely of members of the house. Which really makes sense right? Otherwise it's hardly a house team. That's how it is in real schools and we can assume that's how it is at Hogwarts. Partly by the same logic. How can it be the Slytherin Quidditch team if the Keeper's a Ravenclaw. Also because the house system wasn't JKR's invention. – Au101 Aug 2 '18 at 17:34
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    Since she hasn't said actually stated that Hogwarts houses are different in this respect, it makes sense to assume that, in this way, Hogwarts house teams work in the same way house teams work in real life. In the same way that we just assume Hogwarts homework needs to be turned in on time and there's no need to state that Hogwarts homework is the same as Muggle homework and you won't be able to get away with not doing it if you Transfigure your unfinished homework into a suitably impressive spaniel :P – Au101 Aug 2 '18 at 17:37
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    @ANeves so the point is that if you use something that also exists in real life, of course you have to state explicitly the ways in which that thing works differently in your world (for example, in JKR's world, you get assigned to a house by a magical hat which can see inside your head). Otherwise it can be assumed that in your world it works in the same way the reader is familiar with – Au101 Aug 2 '18 at 17:41

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