Sunday, November 25, 2007

My Myers-Briggs Analysis of Harry Potter

How’s that for a nice, searchable title? Welcome, random Googlers! There are spoilers here aplenty, so consider yourselves warned.

Cinnamon Gurl challenged me to identify the MBTI personality types of the major characters in the Harry Potter series, and that’s the kind of invitation that I just can’t refuse. First, a primer on the David Keirsey version of the system:

There are four kinds of people: (1) SJs, the joiners and club-builders – the ones who respect authority and play well with others; (2) SPs, the rebels and performers – spontaneous, charming, often very funny; (3) NFs, idealistic dreamers who thrive on imagination and romance; and (4) NTs, rational thinkers who are eminently logical.

The Harry Potter series is all about the SJs and SPs, concrete thinkers who either follow the rules (SJ) or break them (SP). On the whole, Rowling seems to side with the SPs. Everything in the wizarding world is concrete, even the magic (especially the magic). Wizards don’t read novels – or write them. At best they read the occasional fairy tale, but Beedle the Bard appears to be the only wizard who ever had a literary imagination. Wizards are scientists: they combine ingredients to create potions, they care for magical plants and creatures, and they utter set incantations to create particular effects. There is some innovation in the wizarding world (particularly by the Half-Blood Prince), but little true creativity. Perhaps if we’d ever followed Hermione to Arithmancy class or hung out in the Ravenclaw common room we might have met a few NTs, but NF idealists are terribly thin on the ground.

The classic SPs of the series are Fred and George Weasley. They are pranksters and jokers, latter-day versions of their rebellious forebears, Prongs and Padfoot. They are natural entrepreneurs with plenty of skill and intelligence but little tolerance for structured education. No matter how much Molly Weasley pressures them, they will never fit into the Ministry of Magic, being far better suited to throwing Dungbombs at authority figures than to obeying or becoming them.

Harry himself is an SP, though in far less spectacular style than the Weasley twins: he might well be an ISTP with his natural athletic skill and his ability to lie low when necessary. He is naturally ruled by impulse and though he is capable of planning and executing a strategy, he usually prefers flying by the seat of his pants. Bravery is a core value for Rowling, and it is an attribute that comes most naturally to SPs with their physical courage, their quickness of impulse, and their lack of debilitating factors like an uncomfortably vivid imagination.

Ranged against the SPs are a host of evil SJs. The series begins with Vernon Dursley’s irritable suspicion of anything that defies his definition of normal; he prides himself upon his pack mentality and his cookie-cutter suburban lifestyle. His counterparts in the wizarding world are Percy Weasley and Dolores Umbridge, both of whom are consummate rule-makers and enforcers. Though Percy proves to be redeemable in the end, his worst traits all arise from his SJ infatuation with status, authority, and conformity. There are many other, more moderate, SJs in the series: Molly Weasley, Professor McGonagall, and minor student characters like Lavender Brown (with her trademark giggles and consummately normal girly silliness). Draco Malfoy is probably an SJ as well, though in his case his SJ characteristics don’t actually make him go evil (he is that way already by heredity).

The SJs are redeemed primarily by Hermione, a classic ESTJ whose respect for rules and authority is corrupted sufficiently by Ron and Harry to become a useful counter-balance to their occasional recklessness. Hermione is supremely organized, a careful planner who can juggle everything from an unprecedentedly full timetable to packing a bottomless backpack with everything needed for a winter-long camping trip. She always urges Harry to stick to the task Dumbledore has set for him, and she is least moved by doubts or hesitations, providing a backbone when Harry and Ron lose their resolve.

NT students are hard to find a Hogwarts: in the Muggle world they’re easily located by their D&D clubs, their gaming conventions, and their science fair projects. There seem to be no nerds at Hogwarts, no cliques of misfits who bond over their arcane interests. Neville’s flair for Herbology suggests an NT nature – he may be a mild-mannered INTJ, intimidated by his robust ESTJ grandmother but never quite conforming to social expectations. Luna and Xenophilius Lovegood are mad eccentrics, a sure sign of their NT nature (all eccentrics are NTs, though not all NTs are eccentrics).

The best NTs in the Potterverse, of course, are Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape. (Snape’s loyal following, especially in the N-dominated blogosphere, may arise from the fact that he is one of the few abstract thinkers in the concrete world of witchcraft and wizardry.) Snape is a true scientist: as the Half-Blood Prince, he tinkered with potions and created spells of his own invention. The only wizard who surpasses him for intellect and creativity is Dumbledore. His early friendship with Grindelwald – based on a shared intellectual vision – suggests to me that he is a classic NT, probably an ENTP or an INTP. Dumbledore’s quirky sense of humour, his flair for nonsense, and his unsurpassed magical knowledge all place him in the same category as Lewis Carroll, Albert Einstein, and Jon Stewart.

Perhaps the only NF in the series is Lily Potter. Against the advice of her friends, she remains loyal to Snape even though he’s an outsider and a Slytherin. She is impervious to peer pressure but not to her own ideals: when Snape goes over to the Death Eaters, she ends the friendship. Lily is described by Slughorn as an intuitive potion-maker, someone with good instincts and an ability to follow them. She harnesses the power of love so skillfully that she helps defeat the greatest wizard in the world; she also has a weak spot for a good-looking Quidditch player whose arrogance cannot conceal his romantic interest. She is credulous and even, at times, na├»ve: she considers Wormtail a safe repository for secrets and laughs away the suggestion that Dumbledore might ever have been friends with Grindelwald.

The only other potential NF I can think of is Remus Lupin: his life is one of tortured emotion – he is an outcast who falls in love, considers abandoning his child out of a misguided sense of duty, and ultimately gives his life for a good cause. R.I.P., Remus. We hardly knew ye.

Final Tally:

SPs: Harry Potter, James Potter, Sirius Black, Mad-Eye Moody (though he might be an NT: much depends on how accurate Barty Crouch’s impersonation was), Mr. Weasley, Fred and George Weasley (and possibly Charlie, Bill, and Ron as well, though with their prefect badges an argument could be made for SJ status), Ginny Weasley.

SJs: Hermione Granger, Percy Weasley, Cornelius Fudge, Horace Slughorn, Hagrid, Molly Weasley, Dolores Umbridge, Minerva McGonagall, the entire Hufflepuff house (with their virtues of loyalty and industry), the Dursleys, the Patil twins, Lavender Brown, Draco Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle (obedient henchmen just looking for a gang to join).

NTs: Neville Longbottom, Luna and Xenophilius Lovegood, numerous unnamed Ravenclaws (though not Cho Chang, who is too vacuous to be anything but an SJ), Phineas Nigellus Black, Severus Snape, Albus Dumbledore, probably Voldemort (though there’s so little left of his soul that it’s hard to tell).

NFs: Lily Evans Potter, Remus Lupin.

Did I leave anyone out?

(Just before hitting "publish" I did a quick search and found this MBTI-based "Which Harry Potter Character Are You?" quiz. You can see all the possible results here. I agree with many of them, though I think the selection is likely slanted by the need to select a reasonably high-profile character for each of the 16 types. And even then the best they could do for an ENFJ was Olympe Maxime!

Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
Harry Potter Personality Quiz
by Pirate Monkeys Inc.


I still think Dumbledore's an NT - but as a potentially-fellow INFJ, I'm prepared to be persuaded otherwise.)

63 comments:

painted maypole said...

this ENFP found this post very interesting. off to take the HP version of the quiz!

painted maypole said...

i get ENFP (shocking), Fred and George Weasley

Amanda said...

I stand in awe.

bubandpie said...

PM - Yup, classic example of the need for more NFs in the Potterverse. If Fred and George are anything but ESFPs I'll eat my hat. I think we could make the argument that Lily Potter may have been an ENFP, though I'd like to think that her prowess at potions hints at an ENFJ nature.

cinnamon gurl said...

Oh thank you! This goes some way to filling the emptiness of having finished the series.

Ok, I'm off to do the HP quiz.

cinnamon gurl said...

Fred and George Weasley (ENFP) for me too... And finally! Test results that agree with your original and very accurate assessment of ME!

cinnamon gurl said...

I was kind of hoping for Lily though... oh well.

Mad Hatter said...

This, as usual, is brilliant. I'm off to take the quiz. I'll be back.

Swistle said...

This = awesome.

Mad Hatter said...

I'm ISFP (bollocks) which means that I am Harry Potter. Look out, everyone, I am the saviour of the world. And I could sworn I was an SJ on the cusp of NF. Or at least you think I'm an NF despite all my SJ ways.

Mad Hatter said...

Oh and I think Hagrid might be an NF--not a particularly intellectual NF but an NF all the same. I've always seen him as more of a dreamer and idealist than a community builder.

Jenifer said...

Ah! According to the quiz I am an INTJ which is the same as Snape! Wasn't he a bad character? Having not read the books makes this exercise a bit odd I suppose.

Mad Hatter said...

There may be too little of Voldemort's soul left but you could tackle Tom Riddle. Still NT? It's almost as if he was an SJ of the Percy Weasley ilk by nature but life experiences made him a diabolical NT.

Also, I know you wrote this post for Sin but I sometimes wonder when a post like this comes out just how much you might've been thinking "I wonder just how many times I can get Mad back here commenting and blathering away like a fool."

slouching mom said...

Mad! You're cracking me up this morning!

As for you, B&P:

Brilliant. As always.

gretchen from lifenut said...

Big exclamation point over my head right now. Wow.

I'm an ENFJ.

cinnamon gurl said...

Oh -- and good point about Mad-Eye... I found it really intriguing that almost everything we know and like about him was from an imposter.

dawn224 said...

Wow. This is better than how Gilligans Island represents Dantes levels of hell!

Jess said...

This is so fascinating. The thing says I'm an ENTJ like Minerva McGonagall. I like that assessment. I'm so impressed with your incredibly detailed, and accurate, analysis.

Mary Joan Koch said...

Bravo! You continue to amaze me. I took the Harry Potter quiz; I am an INFP like Lupin.

Magpie said...

Cool.

Magpie said...

PS - INTJ, like Snape.

bubandpie said...

Mad - That's it! Now I know who you remind me of ... Harry Potter. (Not really.) Hagrid's a tough one. Originally I had him in SJ, purely on gut instinct, then I remembered all his rule-breaking and put him over in SP. On third thoughts, however, I decided his loyalty and reverence for Dumbledore were more integral to his nature than his rule-breaking, so back into SJ he went. I agree, though, that his soft-heartedness sends him in an NF direction.

I don't think there's anything SJ-like about Tom Riddle, though: he is instinctively a loner, not a joiner.

Jess - McGonagall could go either way: ESTJ (like Hermione) or ENTJ. I lean towards "S" simply because she is such a rule-enforcer (bending only for the welfare of Gryffindor in the case of Harry's first broomstick-flight). Her association with cats makes me think NT, though (if all cats have Asperger's, as a recent book has claimed, then it's doubly true that all cats are NTs).

MJK - INFP sounds exactly right, for you and Lupin.

Cyndi said...

ISFJ- Hagrid

I guess that is an alright for me. I am a pretty loyal person. It is just the visual of him that is throwing me off. This was fun!

Lawyer Mama said...

I got Snape - INTJ. And yes, I am an INTJ.

Brilliantly clever post, B&P!

natalie said...

Apparently I'm Voldemort (INTP). Hilarious.

Beck said...

Oh my gosh, you're clever.

Julie said...

Hmm. Maybe I should read Harry Potter.

Angela said...

what an analysis

Florinda said...

This was VERY interesting! I'll probably be linking to it, if you don't mind.

I tend to get inconsistent results on MBTI-type evaluations, depending on the questions; the only constant is capital-I Introvert. So I took two different versions of the test, and am either ISTJ (Hermione) or ISFJ (Hagrid). Curious mixture, and I think ISFJ is probably more accurate, but I can live with it either way.

Mouse said...

I'm scoring as an INFJ (Dumbledore), although on the longer tests I'm an INTP (with P and J almost balanced). Of course, from comments I can see that those would put me as Snape or Voldemort. Maybe my F and T are closer than I thought.

And I wonder about McGonagall being an E. I always imagined her to be a bit introverted--commanding inside the classroom and always efficient, but not particularly gregarious and protective of her private space. But maybe that has something to do with my own teaching persona.

Mouse said...

And woah--I'm just now finding out about the potential INTP-Asperger's connection.

Sarcasta-Mom said...

Absolutely brilliant! Can I just say how much I adore you every time you wax Harry Potter? lol

Katrina said...

Love this post! Anything that combines Myers-Briggs and HP is a winner in my book. Also, I had forgotten about the breakdown into four basic groups. I'm an ISTJ and my husband is an INTJ, and I just asked him last week how we can be so different when we're only one letter off. But I think it has more to do with those dominant combinations: SJ vs. NT. Anyway, thanks for the post -- it made my evening.

Kyla said...

Very fun. I loved this post.

Aliki2006 said...

Wow. I stand in awe as well. I think I'm off to take that test.

Veronica Mitchell said...

It called me an ISTJ like Hermione.

nomotherearth said...

Your intellect astounds me.

I am INTJ which I do believe describes me. BUT it doesn't explain my penchant for acting and theatre. Is it possible to have two personalities (without being schizophrenic)??

bubandpie said...

Nomo - Do you approach theatre in an INTJ way - i.e. analytically, developing a knowledge base and applying it? Or do you find that theatre enables you to be the opposite of your usual self - spontaneous and instinctive rather than controlled and analytical? It makes a certain amount of sense either way: in the first case, it's simply an extension of your personality (it may not be the most USUAL interest for an INTJ, but it can still be considered an area of expertise ); in the second case, it's something like the "revenge of the inferior function" theory I heard once - a suggestion that each personality has a certain attraction or weakness for the things that are most OPPOSITE to the dominant personality.

nomotherearth said...

Hm. I think I do both. When I approach acting from an INTJ perspective, I am a competent and reliable actor. When I approach acting spontaneously and instinctually, I have been known to have moments of brilliance. Unfortunately, I have not been able to do the latter consistently. Something to think about for my (eventual) next acting gig..

NotSoSage said...

I love that my first read in a while was this this one. I've missed you, and what a gift this was. Okay, I, too, am off to take the quiz. I think I was once an INFP, but I wonder whether I've changed (and the Harry Potter MB test will be the gold standard, I'm sure).

You, woman, are brilliant.

NotSoSage said...

Sigh. Yup. INFP. That said, Lupin was one of my favourite under-developed characters in the series. Wait. Does self-love change my score?

Pieces said...

This is an amazing post--although I confess I read it with one eye closed because I am still only on book five (gasp!).

The quiz says I am an ISFJ--Hagrid. Not sure how I feel about that.

odd facts said...

It says I'm Snape. Hmmmm. OK.

bubandpie said...

Sage - Oh no - I'd say that self-love confirms it. NFs are the most introspective of personalities, so while there may be a certain amount of tortured self-examination going on, we NFs tend to find ourselves perpetually interesting.

Sergeant "P" said...

Hi, Hi....

Hope you don't hate me, but I'm tagging you for a meme.

Totally understand if you're just too dang busy for it, but are one of the only four blogs I'm reading right now so I have no one else!

Poor me.

I used the HP deally too....love it.

Heather said...

Very interesting. I am ISTJ (Hermione Granger). I've always liked that girl! The description was suprisingly right on. I like how they say I like things neat and orderly, rather than calling me an anal-freak.

Luisa Perkins said...

Oh, brava!

I'm thrilled to be in the same boat with Lily, Remus, and possibly Dumbledore.

Mimi said...

As an NT myself, I actively resent .. um, something. I think I'll go write some lists or herd some cats or grade some papers or something :-)

Mimi said...

Oh, and YOIKS! I came out as Severus Snape (INTJ, as opposed to the ENTJ I always get on the longer quiz).

Hm.

wordgirl said...

Oh! The thinking that is required in order to read your most intelligent post! It hurts my brain...but it hurts so good!

bren j. said...

Sweet! I'm Minerva McGonagall...I always liked her....

niobe said...

Why am I not surprised that I turned out to be Voldemort?

Anonymous said...

I got ENTP-same a Sirius Black, sweet.


-Lena Katrina

Anonymous said...

I am an ENTP, and I disagree with quite a lot of your reasoning and choice of Temperament for the characters. If you would like to argue this then my msn is whereatr_01@hotmail.com Fred and George are most definitely ENTPs, I'd go so far as to say that both Snape and Dumbly are also *NTPs. Hermione is an ISTJ, not an Extrovert.

- ShaiGar.org

Bea said...

ShaiGar.org - I tried sending an email to that address and it didn't go through. I don't have MSN, so I'll respond here:

Here's my reasoning:

Hermione as an Extravert: When she first arrives at Hogwarts she is chatting everybody up without the least sign of shyness, even in that unfamiliar situation. (Introverts don't HAVE to be shy, of course, but lots of them are.) She often functions as a source of gossip and word-of-mouth - she seems more socially connected than Harry or even Ron. She's an organizer of groups and people - rather than focusing her organizational powers on her own individual projects she always seems to be signing people up (or trying to) for things like SPEW or the DA. When she's anxious about upcoming exams, she responds by buttonholing people and trying to compare knowledge with them.

Fred and George as ESTPs: I can see the reasoning that they are inventors and therefore ENTPs. I think the way we interpret these characters depends on whether we see their joke-shop business as something that enables them to keep inventing stuff (their true passion), or whether we see the inventions as simply fueling their natural entrepreneurship. I see them more as entrepreneurs.

Snape as a J: The main thing he hates about Harry (aside from the whole grudge against his father) is that he breaks rules and gets away with it. Potions seems like a natural subject for an INTJ - it involves meticulous attention to detail (and Snape is quite contemptuous of those who seem to lack that quality).

Dumbledore as an *NTP? Huh?

Shadowfax said...

YOU. ARE. AWESOME.
this is pure brilliance
- cleo the INFP

Lena said...

The line "All eccentrics are NTs, although not all NTs are eccentrics" (paraphrased) is so perfect. As a proud INTP, this is definitely true.

Christa said...

I wonder if Luna Lovegood is an NT. She seems to be completely ruled by her emotions, which would make her more of an F. I'm definitely an NT along the lines of Dumbeldore and Snape, so it's really hard to envision Luna along those given parallels.

Anonymous said...

I would say Luna's an NF actually.

ENTJ/ENFJ said...

This is excellent! I agree with the majority of what you've said here and the premises upon which you've baesd your decisions/picks! Certainly eases my way into fleshing out their types.

Hermione, I agree, is all ESTJ.

And seriously is all ESFP! Not sure how the quiz got ENTP, except that they probably guessed based on the descriptions rather than what the types represent.

As for Dumbledore, I see the NT but I can't see the combinations. Perhaps because I see ENTP's as flighty and prone to leaving things unfinished, but ENTJ is to deliberate and "judgey" for the "twinkly eyed" headmaster. And the I are way off.

- ENTJ/ENFJ

Stella Lee said...

I think, James Potter was ENTP.
He was very inventive, very competitive, Challenging. and he was flexible, clever, extemporaneous. He try to understand Remus and Peter, and do not rash judgement of them.
Lily and Moony was NF, I agree.
I think Moony was INFP, and Lily might be ENFP.

I'm INFP too.

Bea said...

Stella Lee - Interesting idea about James Potter. In a way he's hard to type because he's such a legend - we see him always through the lens of Harry's longing and Snape's ongoing resentment. He's an enigmatic figure - which may go along with being an ENTP, a type I've found to be quite rare (I'm not sure I actually know any in real life).

Mary Sue said...

This is really interesting to me. Ever since she made an appearance in the fifth book, people have been comparing me to Luna Lovegood. I really do relate to her, but I'm a dyed in the wool *NTJ, usually leaning more to the E side of things. In all the potter/Myers-Briggs things I've never seen someone sort Luna as an NT before, but usually they just go surface level and call her a dreamer.
The thing is, everyone treats Luna like she's completely crazy for believing in weird creatures like there aren't unicorns on school grounds. It seems absurd! While some of the ideas in the Quibbler are a bit odd, in-universe, none of them are actually that much stranger than things that everyone accepts as true. I, like Luna, like to play with ideas, being on the forefront of any new information coming out, and I love telling people about it to introduce a discussion where theories can be debated. Some people are really NOT receptive to this kind of conversation, and are constantly trying to fact check me, like half the things that are printed in books aren't just as biased as any source I could have found online.
I really empathize with Luna as an extrovert who had trouble keeping friends in earlier years before I had studied people sufficiently to know what endears one to them. She probably can't help but share her ideas even if they make her peer group even less-likely to be friendly. Anyway, I'll stop rambling, but I really like this.
( other characters I've gotten on personality tests: Nevil Longbottom and Madeye Moody)