I think it’s fair to say that, 21 years since the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter still has the power to transport the reader to a whole new world within its pages. With more than 10 years since the last book in the series was published, the Potter fandom isn’t going anywhere. As these books (and later on, the movie series) are some of my all-time-favourites, I wanted to offer another perspective on the story, through the lens of Process Communication Model (PCM), my all-time-favourite concept and training, for which I received my trainer certification in 2017.
PCM has been the only training that, even after 1.5-2 years since participating in, I could still remember the main concepts and still see their daily utility. That has never happened before with any other training, and I had my share. I love it and I want to share this love with you, my reader! Thank you for being here and taking the time to read this post! 🙂
Now… getting back to Harry Potter:
The books follow the classic trajectory of a bildungsroman, or coming-of-age story, and have gained a legion of followers of all ages and from all backgrounds, and its 500 million books in circulation are a clear testimony.
While the series falls under the genre of fantasy, it is maybe due to author J.K. Rowling’s ability to create such realistic and relatable characters, in spite of their fantastical surroundings, that the books enchant the readers and keep them involved in the incredible world of wizarding.
The characters are so highly engaging because they remind us of ourselves or of people we know, friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances. We’ve all had that teacher or line manager who rightfully earned our distaste like Dolores Umbridge; or the little know-it-all friend that reminds us of Hermione Granger. Perhaps we saw a part of ourselves in the pleasant and eccentric Luna Lovegood, or cheered Neville Longbottom on as though his struggle to overcome teenage awkwardness was symbolic of our own. We kept these characters in our heart because they were familiar, and it was equally easy to identify with the houses of Hogwarts for similar reasons.
And because they are so familiar, it’s makes it so easy to recognise in them the common Process Communication Model © (PCM) personality types, just as we can recognise them in us and the others.
The four houses can serve as archetypes for different types of personality, in their base of phase, and the PCM theory can be used to further assess these differences.
PCM Personality Types
According to PCM, individual personality structure is comprised of six types of personality. Each of us has all six of the personality types in differing orders and in differing strengths. PCM is often described as a condominium, in which a person’s “Base” personality type is the ground floor (the easiest and most accessible) which has the strongest influence on our behaviour. The weakest and least accessible personality type would be the sixth floor. These six personality types are: Thinker, Harmoniser, Persister, Rebel, Imaginer and Promoter. They all have different strengths and weaknesses, different views of the world, prefer different environments and have different priorities.
Read more about the PCM personality types HERE.
Thinker is exceptional in organizing activities and detailed planning. They would gladly take responsibility, which makes them a good to have around individual in both professional and personal relationships. They tend to structure their ideas logically and explain them quickly and clearly to others. In order to feel good and be efficient, the Thinker needs a structured approach and to be recognized for their thoughts and accomplishments.
When in distress, they tend to over control, take responsibility for more than they can handle – as they don’t delegate anymore and will criticise other people’s thinking.
Persister is a person who sees the world through the filter of his values, standards and beliefs. People often admire their moral conduct and ethics. They are very observant. When communicating with others, the Persister is willing to express his/her opinion and to hear others. In addition, they are extremely dedicated their personal and professional development.
When in distress, they become suspicious, push beliefs and start to preach. They will tend to focus on what is wrong, not what is right.
Harmoniser is a warm, compassionate person who sees the world through the filter of feelings. They respect people who recognize the importance of their emotions. They brings empathy and harmony into relationships and in order to feel comfortable he/she needs to be recognized as a person.
When in distress, they tend to make silly mistakes thus, attracting criticism, and become wishy-washy in decision making.
Imaginer is an introspective and imaginative person. They often observe themselves and think about life and all possible scenarios of different events. That is why they often need to be alone. When talking to people, they do not give a lot of facts. Rather, they like to analyze as many hypotheses and options as possible before reaching a conclusion.
When in distress, they passively wait, withdrawing and simply “spinning their wheels”.
Rebel is a very creative person who tends to find solutions in situations when others see only problems. They are spontaneous, playful and able to turn a boring task into a game. The Rebel reacts to people and things with likes and dislikes. They are a source of positive energy and enthusiasm for others and is therefore gladly invited to numerous gatherings.
When in distress, they blame others and will start to delegate inappropriately and without direction.
Promoter is a charming and likeable person. They are extremely resourceful and able to find solutions in every situation, as well as to get back on their feet after any setback. They see the world through the filter of actions and need dynamic environments to feel comfortable and alive. The Promoter has a direct way of communication and likes to get to the point immediately.
When in distress, they manipulate, break the rules and will expect others to fend for themselves.
The Hogwarts houses and six PCM Personality Types
The sorting hat, in its wisdom, understands this principle, and sorts incoming students into their four respective houses. Each of the houses has distinct characteristics, and these characteristics share a surprising number of qualities with the PCM personalities.
Gryffindor: Persisters / Promoters / Rebels
Positive traits: brave, daring, chivalrous, passionate, loyal, courageous, adventurous
Negative Traits: arrogant, reckless, self-righteousness
Gryffindor is described as the house of the daring and the brave. Its symbol is the lion, and its colors are red and gold. Its founder is Godric Gryffindor. Its element is fire, and its ghost is Nearly Headless Nick.
Notable members are Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Albus Dumbledore.
Inspiring, talkative, persuasive, interesting, people-oriented, and always protecting the “good”, Gryffindor’s are a rich combination of Persisters, Promoters and Rebels. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve (Promoter traits). Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor. “Do what is right” is the motto Gryffindors go by (“right” and “wrong” are judgmental filters Persisters will often make use of) and they will typically stand up for others in need. Given their passion for the Quidditch game, one can also see them guiding their actions by another motto: “If it isn’t fun, why do it?” (Rebel)
They love winning and being in the limelight (Promoter). Nothing makes a Gryffindor happier than when their bold-colored banners are flying in the Great Hall because they just won the House Cup (Rebels/Promoters). They will always find their way out of a tricky situation: let’s just look at Harry’s ability to get out of a dangerous situation (Promoters/Rebels). Optimistic, brave, charming and motivational, it is not hard to imagine that “the Chosen One” came from the ranks of this house.
Gryffindors got along well with all of the other houses, aside from Slytherin – and that is because most of the times they had opposing convictions (Persisters). They have strong beliefs (Persisters), stood up for the rights of their fellow students during the tyrannical reign of the rule-abiding Umbridge and the sadistic Carrow siblings. Gryffindors are daredevils, doing anything for a good time and willing to engage in risky behavior in order to reap the rewards (Promoter/Rebel). As with all personality types, when in excess, or acting under stress, these traits can lead to negative behaviours and results and for the Gryffindors the line between bravery and stupidity gets to be awfully thin at times.
Ravenclaw: Thinkers/ Imaginers
Positive traits: intelligent, self-sufficient, clever, knowledgeable, creative; value brains over brawn
Negative traits: cliques, arrogant
Ravenclaw is described as the house of the wise. Their sigil is the eagle, and the colors of the crest are blue and bronze. The founder is Rowena Ravenclaw, and its element is air. The Ravenclaw ghost is Rowena Ravenclaw’s daughter, The Grey Lady, otherwise known as Helena Ravenclaw. Ravenclaw students are clever, wise, and eager to learn, but they can be seen as “weird” and are sometimes extremely competitive when it comes to exams. “Do what is wise” is the motto they strive to follow.
Notable members are Luna Lovegood, Filius Flitwick, and Cho Chang. Ravenclaw’s ghost, The Grey Lady, is notable in helping Harry in finding the Ravenclaw diadem, and her story may reflect themes of power, betrayal, envy, and pride. In members like Luna Lovegood, Ravenclaw might be interpreted in the fact that there is knowledge in everything, even in that that might not even exist, or seems impossible to believe (Thinker and Imaginer elements)
“Wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure” says the carvings by the statue of Rowena Ravenclaw. Ravenclaw house favours the fair and wise. Their quick-witted manners brings them respect and at the same time, mocking. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.
The Ravenclaw house shares numerous characteristics with the Thinker personality type: they love data and information; are analytical, strategic, systematic and calculating; they learn fast. These people are task-oriented, and for the Ravenclaws this means working very hard to achieve good grades. They excel at puzzles and at improving upon existing systems. Open-minded to new possibilities, Ravenclaws/Thinkers are excellent problem-solvers because they pay attention to details and see the things that no one else sees. (Think Luna Lovegood when she realized that Rowena Ravenclaw’s diadem may have been seen by a ghost rather than a living person. A Ravenclaw is concerned with being correct and well- informed. (You can see why the sorting hat had such a hard time placing Hermione, as she is more of a Gryffin-claw.) This house/personality type takes great pride in being accurate and correct. Because these people are task-oriented rather than people-oriented, they may occasionally be seen as eccentric, but Ravenclaws are ok with that.
The Imaginer side of the Ravenclaw house is nicely illustrated in parts of Luna Lovegood’s personality: like the classical Imaginer, she’s Imaginative, reflective, calm. She is very intelligent and has a clear dexterity with magic – but one will only see that when they really look at her… as she will not brag about it or make it obvious just how good she really is.
Positive Traits: people-oriented, patient, humble, benevolent, friendly, hard-working, “good people”, loyal
Negative Traits: low competitive nature, too humble
Hufflepuff is described as the house of the friendly, the loyal and the fair. The mascot is a badger- the colors are yellow and black. The founder is Helga Hufflepuff, and the earth is their element. The Hufflepuff ghost is The Fat Friar. Hufflepuffs are seen as loyal, having a good sense of fair play, and are hardworking, kind, just and true. “Do what is nice” is their motto. They are, however, slighted by others, and are seen as people who do not fit into the other three houses, or are seen as “weak”, “untalented” or the “underdog”.
Notable members are Cedric Diggory, Nymphadora Tonks, and Newton Scamander. Hufflepuff might have been used as a way of seeing how other misfits are unjustly seen within society, and may be saying that these supposed “oddballs” have deeper depths and have their own interests, skill sets, and talents. Or it might be just a strong indicator of how Hufflepuffs, just like Harmonisers, are sometimes the invisible “glue” that keep a team/family/group together. Interestingly enough, the official website for all-Harry-Potter-stuff, www.pottermore.com, even has an article on “Why you should fall in love with a Hufflepuff”. Some of the reasons exposed are :
- Hufflepuffs aren’t just nice: Nobody would dispute that Hufflepuffs are the “nice” house. But isn’t nice usually another way of saying that someone has no other personality traits? Hufflepuffs are so much more. Case in point, one of the coolest characters in the wizarding world: Nymphadora Tonks. A Metamorphmagus with bubblegum-pink hair? Who gave birth then went to fight Voldemort? Being nice doesn’t mean boring.
- Cedric Diggory: was a Prefect, Captain of the Hufflepuff Quidditch team, and was selected as the Hogwarts Champion in the Triwizard Tournament. He was humble and kind and never bragged about his results (like most of the other houses would have done) but plenty of others noticed the good qualities of this ‘strong and silent’ one.
- Hufflepuffs won’t turn into a Dark wizard after a bad break-up: Hufflepuff has the fewest Dark wizards of any house at Hogwarts – that comes from their tendency to act decently when confronted with difficult circumstances and not turning into a Dementor any time someone crosses you.
- They’re accepting of everyone: When the founders of the other Hogwarts houses were explaining what types of students they most wanted to teach, they picked very specific qualities. Said Helga Hufflepuff: “I’ll teach the lot, and treat them just the same.”
- Even J.K. Rowling thinks Hufflepuffs are brilliant: in the past, J.K. Rowling has said, “In many, many ways, Hufflepuff is my favourite house.” J.K. Rowling says to look at how they act during the Battle of Hogwarts. “The Hufflepuffs, virtually to a person, stay – as do the Gryffindors. Now, the Gryffindors comprise a lot of foolhardy and show-offy people… You know, there’s bravery and there’s also showboating, and sometimes the two go together. The Hufflepuffs stayed for a different reason. They weren’t trying to show off, they weren’t being reckless. That’s the essence of Hufflepuff House” – they stay, they protect, they care.
Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind (very Harmoniser-like behaviour). This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren’t smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people, appreciating teams which feel like “family”. They are true friends, loyal and steadfast, reliable, slow and steady, and very hard workers.
They may have Hufflepuff solidarity, but they are not boastful or competitive. Sure, they don’t tend to win the Quidditch Cup, but they’re just happy that everyone had a good time playing and no one got hurt.
The Hufflepuffs, like their mascot the Badger and the Harmoniser personality type, will defend their family, friends or teams if push comes to shove.
Slytherin: Promoters (in the books/movies they are mostly depicted in their distress sequence, showing the negative traits of the personality type)/ Persisters
Positive traits: cunning, ambitious, resourceful, adaptable, intelligent, determined
Negative traits: high sense of self-preservation, manipulative, ends justify the means, lax morals, power hungry, prideful
Slytherin is described as the house of the ambitious and the cunning. Their symbol is the serpent, and their colors are green and silver. Its founder is Salazar Slytherin, and their element is water. The Slytherin ghost is the Bloody Baron.
They are seen as “the worst house” in the series, a representation of evil, power hungry wizards, and produce the most dark wizards and witches. They are portrayed as the least liked of all the four houses.
Notable members are Tom Riddle (Voldemort), Draco Malfoy, and Severus Snape.
However, not every Slytherin turns out dark, and this comes to show again and again the concepts of good and evil are not at all straightforward, and we see this especially in the fight between light and shadows that takes place inside Professor Snape. In the end, it’s a matter of the choices one makes every moment, every day.
Slytherin’s love to be in charge and crave leadership. “Do what is necessary” is the motto of this house. Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws. Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is pure blood and exceedingly proud to be so.
A Slytherin will achieve their goals through any means necessary – this is quintessentially the Promoter. Their style is decisive, active, and results-driven. They tend to make decisions based on a whim. To them, it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission. They would rather lead than follow, and they are very self-confident and self-sufficient. Highly competitive, the Promoter Slytherins are active and results-oriented. These people are risk-takers and problem solvers. Slytherins don’t care if they are liked, they care if they are in control.
As said before, this might make it sound as if it is all bad, and though the Slytherin house did produce the highest number of dark wizards of any house, they are not by nature evil. Neither is the Promoter personality type. Like any of the styles, a behavioural trait that was once an asset can turn into a liability when overused. Some of the most well-known Slytherins fall into that category. But there are positive sides to this, as well.
The Slytherins, like the high Promoter style personalities, thrive on challenges, adrenaline and excel at obtaining fast results. They are big on cost/benefit analyses and seek recognition and love to be the centre of attention. As the sorting hat decreed, “Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, there’s no doubt about that.” When a Promoter (or Slytherin) is on your team they will get results fast, and they won’t be afraid to pursue challenges – they will welcome them. They have the potential to achieve great things, as Salazar Slytherin understood. That doesn’t sound so bad, now does it?
There are few elements that bring the Persister type personality in mind when analysing a Slytherin: their strong convictions (strongest supporters of pure blood policy, for example), their search for power and respect, perseverance to attain an objective, indifferent of the amount of time and effort would take (see Lord Voldemort long-term plan for his come-back) etc.
All four houses have their strengths and weaknesses, just like the six Personality Types. It’s easy to see how J.K Rowling’s understanding of the nature of personality has allowed her to create realistic and relatable characters, that mirror parts of us that we love and parts of us that we want to improve. We are all light and shadow, but the side who wins is the side we feed the most.
A SUMMARY TABLE OF EACH OF THE PCM PERSONALITY TYPES TRAITS, STRENGTHS AND DISTRESS SEQUENCE BEHAVIOURS, TOGETHER WITH THEIR RESPECTIVE HOGWARTS HOUSES FOLLOWS BELOW:
I hope you enjoyed this analysis! I know I did and I know I also feel the need now to somehow find the ~20h to watch the series again and maybe update some of the elements above :).
I hope this blog post will help you to better understand the Personality Types as presented in Process Communication Model. Let me know if you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer.
Disclaimer: these thoughts and this analysis are my own and do not represent the view of Kahler Communications. I wrote it in order to offer my readers and educational and fun analysis that combines two of my most favourite things of all time: PCM and Harry Potter. I hope you will take it as such and enjoy it. I am open to feedback and suggestions regarding it so please feel free to leave a comment. Thank you!
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Sources on the Hogwarts houses: