Behind the Societies: Harry Potter Sorting Ceremony

In a new feature for, Emmet Curtin goes behind the scenes at UCC Society events. This week he looks at the Harry Potter Society and their spectacular Sorting Ceremony.

Harry Potter is a fandom that has reached monumental proportions in some circles, gaining a huge following in colleges and universities, primarily for it’s amazing universe and spellbinding story, and UCC is no different. The UCC Harry Potter Society was founded only this year but it has quickly become the most popular new society in the history of UCC societies attracting a phenomenal amount of people to it’s Sorting Ceremony event and easily established itself as one of the societies to watch this year. Today, we’re going to look at the Sorting Ceremony as it happened and give some insight for the UCC students who weren’t able to make it to his event what happened.

The society promoted the event from the start of the year, attracting over 1000 students at Societies day, who signed up to the society, telling all of them of the upcoming events, including the sorting ceremony. Last Tuesday, the Sorting ceremony took place in the hallowed hall of the Aula Maxima, chosen for it’s similarity to the Great Hall in Harry Potter. Despite the event starting at 6.30, there was people starting to line up from 6pm outside the Aula Maxima. By 7pm the line of people had reached epic proportions, as you can see in the video below.

On the night almost 600 people were sorted into the various Hogwarts houses: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin. Upon entering the hall people were presented with their robes to wear to the sorting, and a short questionnaire to decide which house they would be sorted into. Questions varied depending on the questionnaire given, so that people wouldn’t simply copy a friends answers to get into the same house. Here are some examples of the questions asked of students:

  1. Favourite Harry Potter Character?
  2. What password would you choose for you House door?
  3. Moon or Stars?

Once the questionnaires had been filled they’d be passed on the Auditor, Ellen McCarthy, and Vice-Auditor, Kelly Coyle, who would then examine the answers and decide which house that person would be sorted into.

Kelly Coyle and Ellen McCarthy sort UCC students into their houses at the Sorting Ceremony.
Kelly Coyle and Ellen McCarthy sort UCC students into their houses at the Sorting Ceremony.

Once sorted the questionnaire would be passed onto the Sorting Master, who would call out the name of the student to be sorted. They would approach the stage and the hat would be placed on the students head before the Sorting Master would call out what house they had been sorted into.

Above is an example of one of the sorting’s that took place on the night. Reactions ranged from unabated glee for some students sorted into their favourite houses and utter disappointment for some who had been sorted into the last house they’d ever want (including one poor student who had James Potter robes and was sorted into Slytherin).

Hundreds of students lined up for hours to be sorted into their houses and showed their dedication to their chosen fandom. Here’s another view of the line outside the Aula Maxima.

Copyright: Emmet Curtin

For those students who weren’t able to make it that night, or who gave up before finally reaching the sorting ceremony, they were given a chance to be sorted online via an online questionnaire. Another 100+ students took part bringing the total number of students in Hogwarts houses to just short of 700. Given that J.K Rowling said roughly 1,000 students actually attended Hogwarts itself, it shows we only need a few hundred more to reach that number!

So what’s next for the society? Well now that the various houses have been settled, the students will have a chance to compete in the House Cup and Quidditch tournaments in the hopes of being named the best Hogwarts house in UCC at the end of the year! Quidditch info night takes place this Thursday at 7pm in Boole 1. There are many other events planned by the Society including a Yule Ball and a Triwizard tournament organised with other Harry Potter Societies from across Ireland. In the coming weeks they have debates, quizzes and much more prepared so be sure to check out their facebook here: Or for more information simply e-mail them at:

All photos by Emmet Curtin Photography. 


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