I'm with Jenna on the car trip to Hogwarts. It doesn't really impress me. But in all fairness, I'm pretty sure I was full of dumb ideas myself when I was 12, weren't we all? And when things didn't go As They Should, I know my mind also tended to leap over all the practical, expedient options to the wildest, most dramatic solution. Still..not exactly a great start to the school year for Harry & Co.
This year's missed sorting is a frustrating reminder that Rowling's house system is not at all a division based on personality and talent, but on virtue. The Good Guys go to good houses, the bad kids all end up in Slytherin. Families don't all end up with the same temperament and abilities, obviously, so the fact that Gryffindor is welcoming it's 1 millionth Weasley seems like more of an easy way to drive it home to the reader that the Weasleys are Good People, Magically Competent. Not Evil. If I were the sorting hat...this is how the Weasley's would really break down:
Mr. Weasley would be in Hufflepuff, because, well, he doesn't have much backbone
Mrs. Weasley leans toward Slytherin, because she's obviously a talented manipulator, well meaning, but determined to get her way with other people.
Bill is sort of a wild card, I can see him anywhere, but I'm leaning toward Ravenclaw (he's the smart Weasley) or Slytherin, because anyone working everyday with Goblins has to have some serious cunning. And, he's the hot Weasley: hot = dangerous, and dangerous = Slytherin, right!
Charlie is pure Gryffindor. Brave, daring, not a lot of sense.. adrenaline junkie..
Percy is an easy Slytherin, didn't you see what he was reading at the bookstore?
Fred & George really are kind of interchangeable, aren't they? And both of them fit Gryffindor perfectly.
Ron could go Hufflepuff or Slytherin. He striving enough for Slytherin, but also sort of lacking in distinction. But sometimes he's loyal..so Hufflepuff?
Ginny leans toward Gryffindor (willful and disobedient) or Slytherin (wait 'til you see her dating)
..but J.K. Rowling didn't consult me, obviously, and her books probably wouldn't have sold as well if I'd gotten my hands on them.
But all that sort of goes along with Hagrid's comment about the Malfoy's having 'bad blood'. Poor Draco never had a chance in the eyes of the world..though, you do sort of get a sense that Rowling gave him a bit of one (not so much Crabbe and Goyle), which is nice to see. And Hagrid's attitude doesn't bother me as much coming from the gamekeeper than it does coming from the sorting hat, the Weasley's, and the 'good' wizards in general.
I found myself liking the Weasleys as a family more this time around, and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley as a couple less. They make me uncomfortable with the whole screaming, pushy, intrusive, over-bearing wife and mother with her mild, hen-pecked husband, who's always in trouble for something. In my mind, I always imagine Mr. Weasley at the office, head in hands: "If I'd known, Perkins! If I'd only known 30 years ago, I've have run off with that pretty secretary down the hall! She, at least, was calm!" and maybe he wouldn't mean it, but Perkins would always think less of Molly anyway.