Now, Sara quotes an interview with Rowling that illustrates exactly why many authors would be well advised to just shut the hell up about what they meant by various things.
In this case:
Su: How did neville get the gryfindor sword, is there a link to the hat
J.K. Rowling: Yes, there is very definitely a link to the hat!
J.K. Rowling: Neville, most worthy Gryffindor, asked for help just as Harry did in the Chamber of secrets, and Gryffindor’s sword was transported into Gryffindor’s old hat
J.K. Rowling: – the Sorting Hat was Gryffindor’s initially, as you know.
J.K. Rowling: Griphook was wrong – Gryffindor did not ‘steal’ the sword, not unless you are a goblin fanatic and believe that all goblin-made objects really belong to the maker.
Thanks for clearing that little mystery up, J.K. Can I call you that? I'm going to. You have to be a goblin fanatic to think that all goblin-made objects really belong to the maker? Really? Now, I don't have the book in front of me, but didn't Bill make it sound like... well... most if not all goblins hold that belief. So... all goblins are fanatics?
It was bad enough when I thought she just dropped the ball on the whole species as race aspect of the books, but it turns out that I was wrong. She didn't just drop the ball, she threw the damn thing away.