When I began the Harry Potter series well over a decade ago, I, like other fans, wanted to be Sorted into a House so badly. We learned a great deal about Gryffindor in the first four books (I came in late enough to read them together), and a fair amount about Slytherin, in the sense that Slytherin was more-or-less defined as “NOT GRYFFINDOR AT ALL”. We didn’t know much about the Other Houses. The Sorting Hat’s delightful songs, although very quotable, gave us nothing but: “Hufflepuffs are unwanted, yet for some reason still loyal, and therefore have to work hard to be necessary” and “Ravenclaw is for smart people, only smart people…ONLY”. There were not many characters that weren’t rocking scarlet or green; those that were had maybe five lines, collectively, per book (my math may be off by a line or two). So I, of course, chose Slytherin because…screw the whiney Gryffindors.
And then a goddess came down from the heavens in the form of Luna Lovegood. A year after I initially entered the fandom, I finally found my comfy place on the Lovegood Couch of Weird. I saw Luna, I understood Luna, and I was Luna. The moment her chapter finished in OOTP I understood Ravenclaw in a way I hadn’t before. (It also helped that I was a year older and was now reading more for fun than because my teacher was adamant that I had to read that damn hunting book whose title I do not remember.) Ravenclaw was for the witty, the clever, and the bookish. But it was also for the weird, the ones that think outside the box, that see patterns (and conspiracies) that may or may not exist. I understood that this weirdness was its own type of cleverness, because one needs a sense of creativity to truly be intelligent. I felt an even stronger connection to the Wizarding World at that moment, and that is why I am the rabid fan I am now.
I believe that Ravenclaws can be split into two basic types. (Granted, these are super general, and most Ravenclaws are actually in both of them simultaneously…so…just go with it.) These two types are: The Dreamers and The Readers (titles chosen purely because they rhyme!). The Dreamers are the Lunas; a little weird, all over the place, creative, or, well, dreamy. They may not have the greatest grades, may not make sense when they talk or theorize, may be artists or writers or thinkers. They are in their own worlds, in their own heads, and they may not even realize that they haven’t eaten yet today…or peed. The Readers, meanwhile, are like Ollivander, who could tell you every wand he ever sold; his knowledge of wandlore is presented as unmatched in Britain. In addition, Ollivander was awed by the power of Voldemort’s wand, despite him putting it to not-great uses, purely at the wonder of seeing the wand in action. The Readers are the other extreme. They are the book nerds that quote text books, know everything, and need to be doing the best in whatever they do. This is not to say that they have straight O’s in all of their classes. They are probably mediocre in quite a few; Ravenclaws of either category can be very knowledgeable in things they are interested in. Don’t like Potions? Just read your Charms textbook during class. Screw Potions. Not that this was a great idea, but I read novels during my sophomore English class instead of listening to yet another speech about FCAT. Readers also tend to be the logical, organized, and lovers of plans. (Spontaneity makes me ill.)
This is what Ravenclaw means to me. Personally, it gives me a stronger sense of who and how I Am. When asked about me, my first thought is usually, I am a Ravenclaw. In a larger sense, we are neither leaders nor followers; we make the pathways, we plan the routes, and we suggest riding animals most of the population find extremely unlucky. (Poor thestrals, you get such a bad rap.) Despite this, we do not expect people to follow us down these pathways, we just enjoy making them! We are not always the smartest person in the room, but we are the ones to fact check to make sure you are wrong correct…and then tell you how wrong you are. (Thank you, Google, for your existence.) In short, Ravenclaw is the House that celebrates the individual’s thoughts and ideas.
Also…our mascot is the Eagle. Not the f*cking Raven.