Sorting Hat Sunday: Charlotte’s Web

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a Sorting Hat Saturday – or anything, really – on this blog. But I realized the other day just how well the four main characters of Charlotte’s Web fit the four Hogwarts houses, and naturally, I just had to write about it.

Wilbur is a Hufflepuff. When Charlotte describes him as “humble”, she’s absolutely right – he’s humble in the best way. Even as he rises from runty pig to celebrity, he remains grounded and down-to-earth. He is a true friend to Charlotte and her descendants and is even polite to Templeton, although the rat does not return the favor. What’s truly extraordinary about Wilbur is the way he sees everyone in the barn as a friend and an equal, and brings them all together where they had been indifferent to each other in the past.

Fern is a Gryffindor. Nothing will stop her from standing up to injustice and doing what she thinks is right. Like many Gryffindors, she instinctively protects the weak, such as the runty piglet her father intends to kill. She is not afraid to stand up to those she loves, and as Dumbledore reminds us, that takes even more courage than standing up to your enemies.

Charlotte is a Ravenclaw. She is wise, helpful, and extremely intelligent. Not only does she fulfil the role of the wise mentor for Wilbur, giving him good advice and guidance, her attempts to save his life are also a good example of Ravenclaw heroics. As a spider, she is small and seemingly insignificant, unable to physically protect her friend, but she uses her intelligence, creativity, and inner strength in a very selfless way to save him.

Templeton is a Slytherin. While he sometimes helps out Charlotte and Wilbur, he looks out for himself first, plain and simple. He’s concerned with having plenty of food to eat and hoarding things in his den under Wilbur’s feeding trough, and usually has to be manipulated into doing anything for others. This often comes from the goose, a very different kind of Slytherin, who is not greedy and gluttonous like Templeton, but recognizes those as his weaknesses and uses them to threaten or tempt him into helping.

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Nineteen Years: a Poem for 9/1/2017

Nineteen years since the war
In a world rebuilt
Brick by brick
Stronger than ever before

Maybe the
Crumbling
Walls
Fell
Down
For a reason

She pushes through the barrier
Into a world of smoke
And a scarlet-red train
Waiting
How many years did she wait
Counting down
As her older brothers boarded
Leaving her behind
A firey-red potion boiling over
With impatience

Red and gold banners
Racing the wind on a Firebolt
Sneaking off to practice spells
Or track down trouble
Hidden beneath his father’s cloak
And guarded by the silver spirit of his love
Lazy days at the lake
And laughter in the common room
That’s what Hogwarts means to him

It also meant danger
But danger meant a chance to fight
For the home and family
He’d found there

More figures surround them on the platform
Old friends
Old rivals
And strangers whose children are bound
On the same journey

She’s devoted her life to laws and justice
To making this world she stepped into
Twenty-six years ago
Burning up with an outsider’s curiosity
Better for everyone

He’s the laughter that fills their lives
Bringing them all a little closer together
Like the sweaters his mother knits
Every Christmas
And their children trail after them
Grinning as brightly as little lumos charms
Full of hope for the future

Across the smoke
A familiar rival waves goodbye
To a child who looks
Like a polyjuice copy of his younger self
Their eyes meet
But it’s been nineteen years since they stood
On opposite sides of a battlefield
And there’s no need to fight
Anymore

All around, voices chatter:
“Do you think I’ll make the Quidditch team this year?”
“Look at my new owl, isn’t she gorgeous?”
“Yes, I’m taking Arithmancy this year, I can’t wait to get started.”
“Want to find a compartment together?”

One voice cuts through the chaos
“What if I am in Slytherin?”
And nineteen years later
It doesn’t seem to matter

Dozens of eager first-years board the train
Leafing through textbooks
Trading chocolate frog cards
Chatting eagerly about the school
About themselves
About their hopes and dreams

With a surge of magic
And a gust of steam
The train starts to chug along
As it does year after year
Taking a new generation
On a familiar adventure