The Sorting Hat’s Third Song

Last of the triptych of hat songs. Wrote this one for me to sing and it’s the most Carthyesque of the three, so there’s a nice image of the great man in action below! Hi, Martin!

In this song, the hat explains the development of the Houses and the rivalry that turned unpleasant. As a result, the hat worries that it’s doing wrong by segregating students …but it has no choice. This is one of several moral dilemmas that I think JKR deals with beautifully in Harry Potter. She also deals with racism and white supermacy quite forcefully. Best of all, she deals with friendship, love and teenage angst!

here it is as an audio download

and as a pdf (sheet music)

and as a pdf (just the words)

Finally, here are the words …

In times of old when I was new and Hogwarts barely started
Thee Founders of our noble school thought never to be parted:
United by a common goal, they had the self-same yearning
To make the world’s best magic school and pass along their learning.

And now the Sorting Hat is here  and you all know the score:
I sort you into Houses because that is what I’m for
But this year I’ll go further, listen closely to my song
Though condemned I am to sort you, still I worry that it’s wrong, 

Together we will build and teach!” The Four good friends decided
And never did they dream that they might one day be divided,
For were there ever friends like Slytherin and Gryffindor?
Like Helga and Rowena, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw?
So how could it have gone so wrong? How could such friendships fail
 Now, I was there and so can tell the whole sad, sorry tale.
Said Slytherin, “We’ll teach just those whose ancestry is purest.”
Said Ravenclaw, “We’ll teach those whose intelligence is surest.”

Said Gryffindor, “We’ll teach all those with brave deeds to their name,”
Said Hufflepuff, “I’ll teach the lot, and treat them just the same.”
hese things were not a problem, when first they came to light,
For each of the four founders had a House in which they might
Take only those they wanted, so, for instance, Slytherin
Took only pure-blood wizards of great cunning, just like him
And only those of sharpest mind were taught by Ravenclaw
While the bravest and the boldest went to daring Gryffindor, 

Good Hufflepuff, she took the rest, and taught them all she knew
So the Houses and their founders were all friends and firm and true.
So Hogwarts worked in harmony for several happy years
But then anger crept up on us, feeding on our faults and fears,
The Houses that, like pillars four, had once held up our school,
Now turned upon each other and they tried to win and  rule.
And for a while it seemed the school must meet an sticky end,
With duelling and with fighting and the clash of friend on friend

And at last there came a morning when old Slytherin departed
And though the fighting then died out he left us quite downhearted.
And never since the founders four were whittled down to three
Have the Houses been united, as they once were meant to be.
Though I must fulfil my duty and must quarter every year
Still I wonder whether sorting may not bring the end I fear
 Oh, know the perils, read the signs, the warning history shows,
For Hogwarts is in danger from our cruel and deadly foes

And we must unite inside her or we’ll crumble from within
I have told you. I have warned you. Let the sorting now begin