Sort Too Soon?

In Chapter 33, “The Prince’s Tale,” of Deathly Hallows we see a previous conversation that Dumbledore and Snape had at the end of the Yule Ball. They are talking about the Dark Mark and discussing whether Snape will flee if summoned by Voldemort, as Karkaroff plans to do.

‘No,’ said Snape…’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….

For this minute I wanted to talk about this conversation…

To begin with, did Dumbledore really think they sort too soon? We know from the epilogue in Deathly Hallows that the sorting procedure has not changed in the nineteen years since trio and friends attended school; so, Dumbledore either never mentioned this thought to anybody else on the Hogwarts staff or if he did no one took it seriously. Perhaps he just made this comment to further manipulate Severus. We all know Dumbledore was the master manipulator. He probably knew that this comment would make Snape think of the whole reason he decided to betray Voldemort, thus further securing Snape’s loyalty.

This leads to the question, what exactly made Snape look so stricken? Was he perhaps thinking of what could have happened if he hadn’t been sorted at age 11? He would have been free to hang out with Lily Evans more, and not be seduced by the dark arts and junior death eaters, like Mulciber and Avery. He probably sees a whole different life for himself if he had not been sorted into Slytherin when he was 11 years old.

So does Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry sort too soon? If they didn’t sort the first years when they arrive at Hogwarts what would they do? One idea I came up with was having first and second years dorm together in one big room. They could get to know their peers for who they are before stereotypes of the houses set in. Then, in third year they could get sorted and move into that dormitory. Regarding Quidditch: either ban second years from being able to play also, or they could set up something like a junior varsity league, where first and second years could play for randomized teams. This would be more entertainment for the whole Hogwarts community and it would also give an idea for the House Team Captains of who they would want to recruit once they do get sorted.

What do you think? Does Hogwarts sort too soon? How would you sort the students if they didn’t get sorted at 11 years old?



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