Neville was concerned, at least early on, that he wasn't worthy of being a Gryffindor, but I don't think he ever expressed unhappiness about it. Has anyone?

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    Probably 50% of Pottermore users? :) Apr 26, 2014 at 1:19
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    @MajorStackings - aside from Harry Potter, I don't remember any canon examples of people "coveting" some student they knew of beforehand (and in likely cases when that happened, it would have been prior students' relative who was likely to end up in the same house) Apr 26, 2014 at 2:46
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    @DVK. Agreed. No known canon examples. But kids being kids, and JKR's kids having ego issues, and given the long history of Hogwarts, it just makes sense. Haters gonna hate. Apr 26, 2014 at 3:17
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    Given that the hat sorts based on your true nature, and some kids can be pretty unhappy with themselves, I'd be surprised if it had never happened. Apr 26, 2014 at 22:37
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    Well, while I'm sure Sirius Black loved being in Gryffindor, I'm sure he was fairly unhappy to see his family's reaction :)
    – Saturn
    Jun 14, 2014 at 8:36

4 Answers 4


Severus Snape was NOT happy with the choice that the hat made for Lily.

Harry was standing right behind Snape as they faced the candlelit House tables, lined with rapt faces. Then Professor McGonagall said, “Evans, Lily!”

He watched his mother walk forward on trembling legs and sit down upon the rickety stool. Professor McGonagall dropped the Sorting Hat onto her head, and barely a second after it had touched the dark red hair, the hat cried, “Gryffindor!”

Harry heard Snape let out a tiny groan. Lily took off the hat, handed it back to Professor McGonagall, then hurried toward the cheering Gryffindors, but as she went she glanced back at Snape, and there was a sad little smile on her face.

(src: Deathly Hallows, Chapter Thirty-Three, The Prince’s Tale)

  • Good answer, regardless. Apr 26, 2014 at 1:25
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    Also, at the moment, Lily wasn't too happy either since she ended up sitting next to Sirius whom she disliked from earlier train ride. Presumably, she'd be a lot more unhappy in Slytherin long term given that she was a muggleborn. Apr 26, 2014 at 1:26
  • Uh, yeah. :) It probably would not have been a good long term match! Apr 26, 2014 at 1:29
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    isn't the question asking about whether if the subject of the hat has been unhappy with the decision?
    – user13267
    Apr 26, 2014 at 2:43
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    @user13267 - see my first comment on the question. I think that's what the asker may have meant to ask; but it wasn't what they DID ask. Apr 26, 2014 at 2:45

I think it's unlikely that the sortee ever had a problem, and this comes down to one main reason; the Hat takes your choice into account. Harry himself went into this with an immense anti-Slytherin bias (which is, frankly, amazing work on behalf of Hagrid, Ron and Draco combined, considering Harry hadn't known what the heck a Slytherin was a few months before the Sorting).

Harry gripped the edges of the stool and thought, Not Slytherin, not Slytherin. “Not Slytherin, eh?” said the small voice. “Are you sure? You could be great, you know, it’s all here in your head, and Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, no doubt about that — no? Well, if you’re sure — better be GRYFFINDOR!”

Unless you were, say, a child prodigy with an IQ of 150 and for some reason didn't want Ravenclaw, it's probably reasonable to assume the Hat puts you in your preferred house. Also, this makes Ron's massive 'will I be in Gryffindor' panic slightly unnecessary, in hindsight.

  • Harry's run-in with Draco at the robe store helped a lot, too, in giving him an idea what Slitherin students were like.
    – Joe L.
    Jun 15, 2014 at 22:55

It's arguable, but at the time at least, I think you could make the case that Lily was at least somewhat unhappy with the Sorting Hat's decision. Using very much the same source as DVK, we have:

Lily took off the hat, handed it back to Professor McGonagall, then hurried toward the cheering Gryffindors, but as she went she glanced back at Snape, and there was a sad little smile on her face.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - p.539 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 33, The Prince's Tale

So obviously she's sad that she's unlikely to end up in the same house as her friend Sev and this has obviously taken the sheen off of her Sorting.

But, given that she "hurried toward the cheering Gryffindors", we might think that she was nevertheless excited about her new home. However, so far, all she really knows about Hogwarts has come from Snape and her only interaction with Gryffindor and Gryffindors so far - the conversation on the train between James, Sirius and Severus - has been negative:

James roared with laughter. Lily sat up, rather flushed, and looked from James to Sirius in dislike.

'Come on, Severus, let's find another compartment.'

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - p.539 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 33, The Prince's Tale

A point that's underlined in the very next sentence.

Harry saw Sirius move up the bench to make room for her. She took one look at him, seemed to recognise him from the train, folded her arms and firmly turned her back on him.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - p.539-40 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 33, The Prince's Tale

So it's hard to imagine that her primary emotion wouldn't be a certain sadness that she wouldn't be with her friend, since she's not really come across much that would make her happy to be in Gryffindor. She might have been ready to give it a chance, sure, but she must have been a bit unhappy and one wonders whether that feeling didn't grow a little as James was Sorted into Gryffindor too.

However, it depends what time-frame you're looking at, because Lily obviously quickly settles in, as Slughorn's recollections demonstrate.

'[...] I used to tell her she ought to have been in my house. Very cheeky answers I used to get back, too.'

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - p.71 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 4, Horace Slughorn

And the thing is, given that the whole point of the Sorting Hat is that it looks inside your head and finds where you belong, I would imagine everyone would eventually settle in and find themselves at home in their house. Unless, of course, they're the sort of person who wouldn't really be at home anywhere - but then that person isn't going to be thinking wistfully of the greener grass of some other house, so it's not really a case of being unhappy with the Sorting Hat's decision, because they can't really argue with it, there's nowhere they would have preferred to go.

Perhaps the most interesting example of this is Neville. I would argue that in the first book at least, Neville was pretty insecure about being in Gryffindor and feeling like he didn't belong. Maybe for a while he was pretty unhappy about the Sorting Hat's decision and would have preferred to find himself in a house with slightly more attainable ideals.

'There's no need to tell me I'm not brave enough to be in Gryffindor, Malfoy's already done that,' Neville choked.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - p.160 - Bloomsbury - Chapter 13, Nicolas Flamel

But he sure grows into himself, doesn't he, and that, surely, is what the Sorting Hat is there to see: just what you can be.


Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape have mixed feelings about the Sorting process:

'I am not such a coward.'

'No,' agreed Dumbledore. 'You are a braver man by far than Igor Karkaroff. You know, I sometimes think we Sort too soon ...'

He walked away, leaving Snape looking stricken ...

(Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 33: "The Prince's Tale")

Dumbledore is remarking that Snape, a member of Slytherin House as a student and head of Slytherin as a teacher, has shown an abundance of bravery, a quality prized by Slytherin's rival Gryffindor House. Dumbledore's comment has a profound effect on Snape, who normally allows only disdain to show through his stoic manner. Snape is likely contemplating how he and Lily Potter (née Evans), a Gryffindor student, could have had a happy life together if the Sorting Hat had placed him in Gryffindor instead of Slytherin.

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    Well, Snape certainly wasn't unhappy with where he ended up. I don't think Dumbledore particularly was either. He was just commenting that Shape could have been sorted differently. Jun 29, 2017 at 9:37
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    Or if Lily Evans ended up in Slytherin with Severus Snape. She was unhappy at first being sorted into Gryffindor. She could have done well in Slytherin, and would have had a childhood friend there too. She could also have done well in Hufflepuff.
    – RichS
    Jul 3, 2017 at 23:57

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