A Hat-Stalk is the term for a rare occasion wherein the sorting hat will attempt to force a student to change their mind about their sorting.
This occurs when the hat comes close to the more benign Hat-Stall, but has a slight preference toward one house, where the student has more of a preference toward the other. The hat will initially concede, but then violently stalk the student in question until they change their mind.
This only usually occurs once a century, but happened on tow occasions during the 20th century. It affects only pure-bloods, and usually tries to pressure the student into Slytherin. The hat is unaware it does this.
Creation of the Problem
The problem is beleved to have been caused by a drunken curse placed on the hat by none other than one of the founders, Salazar Slytherin. Growing disparaged by the lack of new students going into Slytherin that particular sorting, he cursed the hat with the intent of making it pressure pure-blooded students into his house. In his drunkenness he botched the curse, not only did it not just force students into his house (as there have been occurrences of it pressuring Slytherins into other houses), but it didn't give up once the ceremony was complete (it stalked one student well into their fourth year). He didn't confess, however, to avoid the scorn of his fellow founders.
Taurus Gemini Black
Not much is known about this case, just that Taurus was initially placed in Slytherin, but the hat wanted him to be placed in Hufflepuff. The hat-stalk ended in tragedy when Taurus died in his second year of a bout of dragon pox that swept the school in 1773.
Newt Scamander was a case not involving Slytherin at all. The hat initially placed him in Hufflepuff, but constantly pressured him to convert to Ravenclaw. This ended abruptly, however, when one of the professors learnt the hat-stalk was occurring and the headmaster was able to stop it early in the first year. They believed this to have fixed the issue once and for all. This would prove a mistake.
Bellatrix Lestrange (ne Black)
Bellatrix Lestrange was once a kind, loyal and loving but ambitious little girl, who wanted to be in Hufflepuff. The hat, however, veered toward Slytherin. This led to a tragic series of events wherein the hat constantly stalked Bellatrix until well into her fourth year when eventually it drove her mad, and she relented, requesting to be transferred to Slytherin house. In her madness, caused mainly by sleep deprivation, she attacked her close friend Frank Longbottom, who had attempted to reassure her as usual. It is considered the reason she targetted him so strongly.
Fred Weasley was a rare occurence when the hat targetted someone twice in one century. The hat placed him in Gryffindor (as he wanted to follow his family's tradition) but attempted to persuade him toward Slytherin. This also ended fairly early on in the year as the professors soon noticed that it was happening again.
Harry Potter's experience with the hat is what is believed to be what happens when a half-blood or muggle-born student meets all the circumstances required to cause a hat-stalk other than having 'pure' blood. This is likely because Salazar Slytherin didn't care about non-pure-blood students. The hat violently persuaded him during the sorting, but relented fully thereafter and didn't stalk him.
Common Persuasion Phrases
- "Ravenclaw will help you reach your full academic potential, no doubt about that!"
- "Hufflepuff will make you more loyal than any man, no doubt about that!"
- "Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, no doubt about that!"
- "And Gryffindor will make you braver than any man, no doubt about that!"