Characters: Hermione, Luna
Summary: There's nothing a Gryffindor wants more.
Author's Note: It's not like Snake Eyes, but like Snake Eyes, which explores Slytherin house, this will explore Gryffindor house, albeit it only to the extent of a single trait.
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter.
You know the tags, the labels. The brave house. The loyal house. The smart house. The evil house. Anyone who ever has occasion to pass the gates of Hogwarts has heard those labels passed around more times than they can remember or care to.
But are they really all they seem to be?
There is a pattern taken to most of the members of a certain House—yes, occasionally you'll get aberrations but they're uncommon. They aren't the ones pasted on the doors, though. In reality, there isn't within the walls of Hogwarts a brave house, a loyal house, a smart house, or an evil one. There are still, however, traits typical to each house.
Take for example Gryffindor House. The 'brave' house. What is it in reality? The house that thirsts for recognition, for others to know and admire them. This drive to be seen to be good at something, anything is what so often makes others think of them as brave; a Gryffindor is the one most likely to perform a dangerous maneuver during Quidditch or try out a risky spell during a dueling session.
Just because they want the rush that comes from being recognized, the glory of achievement, doesn't mean that the members of Gryffindor House are brave. If anything Gryffindor has a disproportionate number of cowards. So many there are simply those who want their day in the sun but otherwise couldn't be bothered to take a risk. So many cowards in the 'brave' house; perhaps it's not such a 'brave' house after all.
There are those who end up in Gryffindor House and you immediately know why they're there. Cormac McLaggen's a menace but he wants nothing more than the adulation of his peers. Percy Weasley's much the same; he might seem as bookish as a Ravenclaw or as "dangerously ambitious" as a Slytherin, but in the end all he really wants is for someone to tell him he's good at something.
Then, there are those whom it takes a second for you to realize exactly what they're doing in Gryffindor. At first glance Neville Longbottom doesn't seem like much of a Gryffindor; he doesn't seem like much of anything, really. Most say he's better suited for Hufflepuff but the fact that Neville's such a loner means that the Hufflepuffs with their pack mentality would have eaten him alive. As the years pass, Neville emerges to be a classic Gryffindor: He's come to Hogwarts with something to prove and by God he's going to prove it.
Then, there are those whom no one ever figures out why they're in Gryffindor. Peter Pettigrew's always been a coward, he'll die one as well, and he's never wanted anything more than to simply fly under the radar.
Then, there's Hermione Granger.
Hermione Granger is, in short, an anomaly. An enigma. She is quite literally the most intelligent student in her year. She's made the very highest grades on her exams (sans Defense Against the Dark Arts) every year since the first. She cares more about her schooling than possibly anyone in Hogwarts.
On the surface, she's the perfect Ravenclaw.
Except she's in Gryffindor.
That's what no one can figure out. Even the Sorting Hat, who knows better than anyone else in which House any child passing the doors of Hogwarts should go, tried to convince Hermione that she should allow herself to be placed in Ravenclaw, but eventually, it relented. Why? No one can say.
But there is a reason.
Yes, by all rights it appears that Hermione should have gone to the 'smart house'. Most of those in Hogwarts, even those in Ravenclaw wonder why she isn't with them even though, really, most of the Ravenclaws don't want Hermione. Most Ravenclaws wonder why Hermione isn't in their house even though they consider her to be possibly the most uptight, obnoxious girl in Wizarding Britain.
Hermione Granger is without a doubt an academically-centered girl. She wants to know everything. But her motivation for wanting to know, well, everything is not an intrinsic one. She doesn't want to know for the sake of knowing.
Hermione soaks up every word that comes out of her professor's mouth out of a drive to succeed. She learns because she wants to be the best, and she wants to be seen to be the best. She's smart, she's driven, and she wants everyone to know it. It's hardly a bad thing, but it is what it is.
That's not the essence of a Ravenclaw. That's a Gryffindor, through and through.
You don't have to be an academic genius to be in Ravenclaw. You don't even have to be particularly smart, though it certainly helps. All you need to be in Ravenclaw is curious.
That's right, curious.
The essence of a Ravenclaw is a desire to know. They want to know everything about everything, or something like that. Some Ravenclaws want to know everything there is to know about Herbology; others want to know everything about Charms, or about history or anything else. Grades don't matter to them quite as much as does the pursuit of knowledge.
To a Ravenclaw, it's simple. If they want to know everything, it's not because they want high marks (Well, it's not the primary reason they want to know everything, anyway). If a Ravenclaw wants to know everything, it's because he or she wants to know everything. Simple as that.
It's for that reason that Luna Lovegood is the epitome of the true archetypal traits of the Ravenclaw.
And it's for those reasons that Hermione Granger could never have been put anywhere but in Gryffindor.
Ravenclaw isn't the place you go if you want recognition, and what does a brainy Gryffindor like Hermione Granger want more than for everyone to now that she's the best of the best?