J.K. Rowling has yet again highlighted some of her iconic Harry Potter leading ladies in her new collection of e-books. What is a hatstall? If you know this archaic term, called out in Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide, you know just how important it is for both the history of our favorite school of witchcraft and wizardry and for the young women of the school.
When you break down the word "hatstall," it will give you a good indication of the meaning of the Hogwarts term. What's the most famous hat in all of the wizarding world? The Sorting Hat of course. And stall? A hatstall is the term for a student when the Sorting Hat takes longer than five minutes to deliberate over which they should be placed in. Ahem, it stalls.
Professor Minerva McGonagall is the most famous hatstall. The Sorting Hat debated for a whopping five and a half minutes to determine whether the future Hogwarts headmistress should be placed in Ravenclaw or Gryffindor. Spoiler: She went to Gryffindor.
Fellow half-blood Hermione Granger came the closest to join McGonagall as a hatstall, when the hat took nearly four minutes to make the same decision: Gryffindor or Ravenclaw. She, of course, followed in McGonagall's footsteps as a Gryffindor.
Famously, McGonagall's contemporary Peter Pettigrew was also a hatstall. The Sorting Hat (questionably) chose to put Peter in Gryffindor over Slytherin. As Rowling notes in Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide, "The Sorting Hat, which is infamously stubborn, still refuses to accept that its decision in the case of the [Peter Pettigrew] may have been erroneous, citing the manner in which Pettigrew died as (dubious) evidence."
The other almost-hatstall in Harry Potter's class? The one and only Neville Longbottom. Because a nervous young Neville wanted to be in Hufflepuff over the bravery-touting Gryffindor, the Sorting Hat wrangled with Neville to choose the final house, which of course was Gryffindor.
I'd say he ultimately lived up to the designation.
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