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Harry Potter Wiki

Professor McGonagall was a known hatstall

A Hatstall was an archaic term for a student of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry whose Sorting took more than five minutes because the Sorting Hat found them to have a personality equally suited to different Hogwarts Houses.[1] The Sorting Hat sometimes took the student's personal preference into consideration in order to break such a tie.[2]

True Hatstalls were rare, occurring around once every fifty years,[1] but near Hatstalls may have been more common.

Known Hatstalls

Wizard(s) Year Notes
Minerva McGonagall Unknown The Sorting Hat spent five-and-a-half minutes wavering between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw before deciding to place her in the former.[3]
Peter Pettigrew 1971 The Sorting Hat placed him in Gryffindor after a "long deliberation" between that house and Slytherin. Even after Pettigrew betrayed the Order of the Phoenix, the Hat continued to insist that it made the right choice, citing the manner in which Pettigrew died as (what some would call dubious) evidence.[1]

Other known students considered for more than one house

Wizard Year Notes
Filius Flitwick In or before 1969 The Sorting Hat wavered between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, before choosing the latter.[3] Flitwick was not a true Hatstall.[1]
Gilderoy Lockhart 1975 The Sorting Hat fought to place him in Slytherin, but eventually agreed to place him into Ravenclaw.[4]
Hermione Granger 1991 The Sorting Hat spent nearly four minutes trying to decide between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, and "seriously considered" Ravenclaw, but ultimately went with Gryffindor.[1][5]
Neville Longbottom The Sorting Hat was determined to place him in Gryffindor, but because Neville found Gryffindor's reputation for bravery intimidating, he asked to be put in Hufflepuff. The two argued silently for "a long time", before the Hat finally got its way and declared him a Gryffindor.[1][2]
Harry Potter The Sorting Hat found he could do well in either Gryffindor or Slytherin, and also noted he had "not a bad mind", a trait associated with Ravenclaw. But because Harry was averse to Slytherin's negative reputation, and insisted against it, the hat ultimately chose Gryffindor.[2]


Notes and references