The Sorting Hat Had A Hard Time With Minerva McGonagall And Peter Pettigrew
In the "Hatstall" essay, Rowling reveals that Minerva McGonagall was nearly placed in Ravenclaw, which shouldn't come as a surprise, as braininess is among her more obvious traits. The same could be said for Hermione, who was also considered by the Sorting Hat for Ravenclaw, though it doesn't sound like Hermione's situation was a true "Hatstall," by Rowling's definition of the word, as Hermione's sorting took less than five minutes. It took longer than that for the Sorting Hat to settle on putting McGonagall in Gryffindor, and aren't we all glad it did? Professor McGonagall went on to be the head of the Gryffindor house during Harry's time at Hogwarts. It's impossible to imagine anyone -- save, perhaps Dumbledore -- serving that role.

Another example of a Hatstall is Peter Pettigrew's sorting. The Gryffindor alum went on to betray his friends, so we might not be surprised to learn that the Hat strongly considered putting him in Slytherin during his sorting. Rowling says the stubborn hat still refuses to accept that it made the wrong call, "citing the manner in which Pettigrew died as (dubious) evidence."

Personally, I think the Sorting Hat did Peter Pettigrew a big favor in sorting him into Gryffindor, as it gave him the opportunity to be a better, braver version of himself, and put him in the company of James, Remus and Sirius. Alas, Pettigrew squandered that opportunity, choosing power over loyalty, and paying for it in the end.

There was another Hogwarts student that was nearly sorted into a different house. Fortunately for this one, Gryffindor's influence paid off massively. More on that next...

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