Seth Brown | The Pun Also Rises: Harry Potter and the Mount Greylock tourism board


NORTH ADAMS — As the Harry Potter fans among you already know, J.K. Rowling has announced that while British wizards go to Hogwarts, the Potterverse school of American wizardry is located high atop Mount Greylock, right here in the Berkshires.

While the sunsets atop Mount Greylock are occasionally magical, the mountain's main trick seems to be making an afternoon disappear, which may or may not be enough to cast that most essential of spells, "Accio Tourism."

Still, a new location for a new wizarding school requires a new sorting of the students into thematic houses. Admittedly, Rowling may have thought of a few new houses, but the fact is that we don't get many Horned Serpents or Wampuses around here. And from my wizard's study in NORTH ADAMS, where many a SHAMAN TROD, I know that sorting students can't just be left to RANDOM HATS.

So if Hogwarts has a Sorting Hat, then surely the Berkshire School of Wizardry and Witchcraft demands something equally majestic, befitting the spirit of the Berkshires: The Sorting Flannel.

And just as the Sorting Hat sings each year about the four houses into which it will sort the four students when worn, the Sorting Flannel has asked me to share with you this short song about its role in selecting the proper affiliation for magical students in the Berkshires:

Oh, you may not think I'm pretty,

Or that some folks shouldn't wear plaid,

But here amidst the Berkshires,

It's the cloth in which we're clad.

You can keep your sweater-vests,

And keep your blouses too,

For I'm the Sorting Flannel

And I know what's right for you.

Forget those school advisers,

They're a bunch of useless fakes.

To see where you should be,

Just put on ME, that's all it takes!

You might belong in Tanglewood,

Whose tastes are quite refined,

Preferring proper picnics

Full of upscale cheese and wine.

The Tanglewoods are striving folk

Who seek the very best,

And fill their halls with music

To leave visitors impressed.

You might belong in Splatterbrush,

Where dwell creative hearts.

Their burning need to make things

Drives them further in the arts.

Creating something wondrous

Is the way their minds are flexed,

But a Splatterbrush will never rest,

And always ask "What's next?"

You might belong in Ashuwillticook,

Where does reside

The soul who nurtures nature

And just loves to be outside.

The Ashuwillticooks are strong,

On foot, on ski, on bike,

And always nice to have along

If going on a hike.

Or last, you may be Hatchet-Bear,

The house that takes its name

From an old North Adams incident

That brought the town some fame

If you like drunken forest runs

And acting like an ass,

Then Hatchet-Bear's the house for you.

(There's one in every class!)

Seth Brown is an award-winning humor columnist, the author of "From God To Verse," and a hirsute ceramicist. His website is


If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions