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Late entry into Hogwarts - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Late entry into Hogwarts
So, in Daedalus Maze, I sort of forgot that Maurice's kid brother would be at Hogwarts. In a later scene, I implied that there was some tension, because I'd decided that Wendell was ill during the year that would have been his first at school. Now, I want to resolve it.

Given the ritual involved in being Sorted and so on, how would a new student of an older year be brought in? I don't want it to come off MarySue-ish (especially since Wendell's not going to be particularly important!), and I assume that there has to be some mechanism (people do come and go in the world), but with no canon on the subject...

Anyway, my thought is that, rather than being Sorted with the firsties in front of the whole school, a new kid would be brought in during the summer, tested to make sure he has the relevant home education to not crash and burn in his appropriate year, then Sorted privately in the Headmistress's office. Does that sound right, or is there some foreseeable problem with it?
19 comments or Leave a comment
demonoflight From: demonoflight Date: May 10th, 2010 07:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
That sounds perfectly fair to me.
amamama From: amamama Date: May 10th, 2010 08:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sounds good to me, Fern. Very reasonable. Which of course could be a problem. :-p Just kidding, I think it will work.
selonbrody From: selonbrody Date: May 10th, 2010 09:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sounds perfectly reasonable, and manages to avoid the horrible Mary Sue "tall, blonde Amethyst Marie walked up nervously and sat on the stool" scenario.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 10th, 2010 09:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
The only difficulty I see - and it's probably because I've been reading some things on the psychological value of initiation rituals - is that the Sorting Hat stands as a public initiation into the group.

Hmm, I understand one of Rowling's discarded storylines that she couldn't squeeze in would have dealt with someone developing magic powers later than usual (don't know if it was supposed to be a Muggleborn or ex-Squib) who would have come to Hogwarts. I bet it would hav answered this question.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 10th, 2010 10:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think there'd be some psychological difference, yes (btw, is any of the stuff you've been reading online? Sounds interesting!).

I think it was supposed to have been an adult who developed powers later in life, so that probably wouldn't have helped with Hogwarts.
From: (Anonymous) Date: May 11th, 2010 05:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Not online. It's mostly been bits and pieces that I was coming across while reading about hazing. The point that kept coming up as an aside to hazing was how initiations served a psychological purpose. It could also serve certain, practical purposes. Gangs, for example (this came under the hazing category) would have some kind of ritual beating up of guys wanting to join (like walking through a line of guys who all got to hit him with something as he passes). The point being that, since dealing with fights and physical threats is part of the whole gang thing, you don't want a guy in who hasn't proved he can take it.

But, to a lesser degree, other groups did similar things that fell into grayer areas.

Hmm, the easiest one to explain without reams and reams of detail was actually a bit exotic, a clan of traders who followed traditional routes through the Sahara. When a young man became old enough to go on his first trade journey, after they were a ways into the desert, some of the group would go off, put on these freaky disguises, and stage a fake rush (it wasn't quite a fake attack) on the new treader and the members of the group who had stayed behind to cover for them.

The point of it as an initiation was that the young trader had experienced his worst fear, and it had turned out not to be dangerous at all. For most people, that means those fears would never be quite as bad again (and he was less likely to panic if something real happened).

More to the point, although he knew it was faked and staged, the other traders stood by him - and the "danger" was transformed from being the "unknown" to other people who would stand by him. On an emotional level, the message the new trader learned was that the others would stand by him and they would all get through this together.

But a couple of things I read mentioned how some attempts to get rid of what sounded like pretty ugly hazing to me (I have NO problem with not inflicting that stuff on people) sometimes led to a loss of all initiations and how people from those periods said they had never felt part of the group.

But I know I'm mostly overthinking this. I'd suppose that explaining the system to the new student and doing a "private" sorting would work.

From: (Anonymous) Date: May 12th, 2010 02:07 am (UTC) (Link)
I think that standing in front of a room full of strangers and my 11-12 year old peers while a hat analyzed my personality might qualify as experiencing my worst fear too.

From: (Anonymous) Date: May 10th, 2010 10:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think logically it *works* but in terms of story telling it's not very smooth. It feels like tap-dancing to avoid something. Why wouldn't they sort him in front of the kids, introducing him to the school and his house like all the other kids get to do? It's not like there's a huge size difference between first and second years so he probably wouldn't stand out too much. I think you should have more confidence in your writing that a perfectly logical character introduction won't come across Sue-ish. I think it will be very clear in the writing that he's not a Sue.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 10th, 2010 10:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
He'll be a third year when I do it. It just seems more of a "first year" ritual than a "new student" ritual--singling out an older student to be treated like a firstie, as if there's no difference... that's where it seems off to me.

Edited at 2010-05-10 10:23 pm (UTC)
malinbe From: malinbe Date: May 10th, 2010 10:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think it's perfectly reasonable. Sounds good to me.
miseri From: miseri Date: May 10th, 2010 11:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Why not just bring him in without going into his Sorting at all? You don't have to describe every single detail of everyone's private life. You can leave it to be assumed that he came in at the normal time, was sorted normally, but simply didn't intrude into the story.

Or you could just change his age. But I'd go with the "he was there, but not mentioned" tactic.
From: severely_lupine Date: May 11th, 2010 12:30 am (UTC) (Link)
That makes sense to me. Sorting is an important part of a student's Hogwarts experience, but it seems like singling out an older student during the feast or having him/her sort with the first-years would be more embarrassing than anything. A private sorting makes sense to me, though I wonder how they'd tell everyone else who he is and everything so people aren't constantly like, "Who's this guy? Where'd he come from?" and he has to explain it all the time.
alkari From: alkari Date: May 11th, 2010 01:02 am (UTC) (Link)
If he was Sorted privately, it would be nice to think the Head of House could at least arrange a brief introduction to his house-mates in the common-room. Perhaps this woudl work best if he came in a couple of weeks after term started?

But as with a couple of other comments, I can't see why he wouldn't routinely be Sorted at the start of term, possibly just before the firsties.
sreya From: sreya Date: May 11th, 2010 03:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I guess I'd be more inclined to have him actually in the first year class, even though he's older than the rest. Hogwarts doesn't seem to care what sort of prior educational background you have - otherwise, there could be a huge difference in the classes for muggle-borns versus those raised in the magical world. Presumably, a child raised in a wizarding household is going to have some education in the magical arts. But when you get to Hogwarts, zip, that's it, you're all in one class together.
maxzook From: maxzook Date: May 11th, 2010 05:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

Make the decision on Sorting part of the story

How long has it been since a non-first-year was admitted into Hogwarts? For example, how does Hogwarts handle transfers from Durmstrang or Beauxbatons? I don't recall anything in JKR as to whether those schools had houses, but I know Draco said his father had considered transferring him to Durmstrang.

So perhaps the past practice has been to Sort older students privately, but Headmaster Sprout thinks it would be better if Wendell were to be Sorted at the same time as the firsties, but separately. (For one thing, it would make it easier for him to be accepted into his House if he didn't just show up on the doorstep the first day - especially if he doesn't end up in Slytherin.) Or maybe someone on the faculty - Neville? - has to convince Sprout to break with tradition.

And also, would Maurice stand up for his brother's right to have a public Sorting, or would the Burkes prefer not to make a "public scene" about it?

In short, I don't think Sorting an older student privately would be doing him/her any favors ... but that doesn't mean it isn't the way it's "supposed to be", or should be.
maxzook From: maxzook Date: May 11th, 2010 05:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

A further thought

In the year of Deathly Hallows, at least some firstie parents would have kept their kids from enrolling, especially if they'd already gone into hiding. So how were those kids sorted when they came back after Voldemort's death?
maxzook From: maxzook Date: May 11th, 2010 08:44 pm (UTC) (Link)

Yet another thought

When all is said and done, wouldn't it be up to the Hat? The Headmaster and/or others can set all the rules and precedents they want, but if the Hat doesn't want to sort you the Hat doesn't want to sort you.
sidealong From: sidealong Date: May 12th, 2010 04:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
We've only seen 3 full sortings in canon right? During Harry's 1st year, 4th year and 5th year.

After reading the comments, I'm thinking sort him at the feast, maybe even prior to the arrival of the first years- so that everyone is introduced to the new student.

Don't worry about the Mary Sue thing. He isn't some blonde American 6th year chick, right? : )

I assume there's a reason he didn't recover and show up for his 2nd year?
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 12th, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I think I'm going to work his illness into the plot on some level. We'll be seeing a little more of Maurice's family.
19 comments or Leave a comment