“Fortune was a bit of a conundrum – traditionally it shows a wheel with figures perched on it, some rise into fame and fortune, others fall into poverty and misery. While there are a lot of ups and downs for some of the characters in the HP books I didn’t really have anything as iconic as the “Wheel of Fortune” spring to mind.
Finally I settled on the whole “destiny” discourse in the books. Upon coming to Hogwarts the sorting hat allocates everyone to their house, and thereby makes implicitly a statement about the person’s character and future: Hufflepuff – nice folks but not too bright, Ravenclaw – unconventional brainiacs, Gryffindor – noble and reliable friends, Slytherin – ambitious and somewhat warped and predestined to go off to the dark side in later life.
So is fate fixed? At one point Dumbledore suggests that the school is sorting people too soon – and some folks manage to spectacularly break through their “house conditioning” like the traitorous Wormtail and the ultimately heroic Snape who each don’t quite fit the bill.
To me fortune is a bit of both – there always is some sorting happening in life – which part of town are you born in, how much education could your parents afford, what self-image did others give you (fat, smart, popular, a geek, a jock, a reliable friend)? But you also have to work with what you’re given, and there your fate isn’t fixed.
So all in all I felt that putting the hat and the houses up in the card alludes to the “fixed” stuff, but having everyone compete and add or lose “marbles” for their house showed that there also is room for personal effort and reward. That’s pretty much summing up fortune for me. Some cards life deals you – and some you get to pick yourself, and it’s always up to you how you play your hand.
If you pull “Fortune” in a spread, you can be sure that the wind will change direction. If you’re at the bottom of the pile, you’ll get your chance, if you’re on top of the world, better watch out…”
Image title supplied by the artist.