Although the WSO Discussion feature has not, so far, thrived, a critical question has been raised.

With the recent move by CUL to a four cluster plan, I feel that one question looms large in the minds of all Williams College students:

Of the four clusters, which corresponds to which Hogwarts house and why?

I feel that the answers to this question will be vital to the success of the neighborhood system, and so it should be discussed in such an open forum before the cluster draws occur. So which cluster (Dodd, Currier, Spencer, Wood) is which house from Harry Potter (Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Slytherin, Ravenclaw)? You decide!

How can we possibly answer this question until we know the faculty associates for each house?

AB ’07 goes with:

Spencer, Wood – Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw

Dodd, Currier – Gryffindor, Slytherin

No. I would add my thoughts to the discussion, but it does not seem that alumni are allowed to participate. I do not see Currier as Slytherin since such an assignment does not connect to the history of the Odd Quad. Neither, obviously, would Gryffindor. I think that Hufflepuff is the best match.

Hufflepuff is the most inclusive among the four houses, valuing hard work and patience, loyalty and friendship, and justice and fair play rather than a particular aptitude in its members. . . . Perhaps as a consequence of the broad principles of acceptance upon which it is founded, Hufflepuff has been stereotyped as the house of the unexceptional (or, more unkindly, as “a lot o’ duffers”).

The reputation of Dodd, at least in the 1980’s, was as the “prep” house. So, if any cluster is to be Slytherin, I am afraid it must be Dodd, assuming that “pureblood” == “prep”. The notions of aristocracy are certainly similar. Tyler could certainly provide a nice Slytherin Common Room, with its distance from campus serving as a metaphorical basement.

But what of Griffindor and Ravenclaw? Good question! Since Carter House is in the Wood neighborhood and I lived in Carter and I am the Mad-Eye Moody of Williams alums, the key question is which house Moody lived in. Alas, even Wikipedia does not provide the answer. If it was Gryffindor, then Spencer == Ravenclaw.

But what do our readers think? Surely there are some fraternity references that should apply. Note that Ravenclaw :

values intelligence, knowledge, and wit. Its emblematic animal is the eagle, and its colours are blue and bronze (silver in the films).

So, which fraternity was the “smart” one?

(Yes, I have read all 6 books to my daughters. They are much better than you might expect.)

UPDATE: This is really a critical question and we need help from our readers who know the history of houses and fraternities. To be specific, the Wood neighborhood includes — other than the Gladden and Carter — Perry (Alpha Delta Phi), Wood (Zeta Psi) and Garfield (Delta Upsilon). What were the reputations of these fraternities back in the day? The Spencer neighborhood includes Hopkins, Bryant and Morgan along with West, Spencer (Chi Psi) and Brooks (Delta Kappa Epsilon). Only the last two are former fraternities. Would West’s status as the oldest dormitory be useful here? Note that these fraternity linkages are only guesses on my part using this college source. DKE burned down before 1960 and so was never literally in Brooks (built in 1961) but was replaced by Brooks.

I guess that we could also look to the history of the men associated with the names of various houses. See here for some background on the Presidents of Williams. Nothing jumps out as useful. So, I think that our best bet is to figure out which fraternity was the smart one; whichever neighborhood has it because Ravenclaw. The other is Gryffindor. Right now, my guess is that Chi Psi (Spencer) had the reputation as the scholarly fraternity, so the Spencer neighborhood should be Ravenclaw.

This might also be consistent with the Spencer neighborhood as having only one real fraternity. Since Gryffindor “values courage, chivalry and boldness,” it would seem natural to assign it to the neighborhood with the most former fraternities, which would be Wood.

I will not rest easy until this is settled. Help us Frank!

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