Sorting Hat Saturday: Shadow Children

One of my favorite authors as a middle-schooler was Margaret Peterson Haddix. I’ve been re-reading some of her books for my new book blog, so I figured why not use them for Sorting Hat Saturday here? I’m starting this week with the Shadow Children series, which is set in a future where families are only allowed to have two children, forcing third-borns to either hide, take on false identities, or fight for their right to exist.

Luke: Hufflepuff/Ravenclaw. The series doesn’t push the idea of a “chosen one” who can save the world. The one character who tries becomes a martyr instead, while Luke eventually succeeds by working in more subtle ways. His talent is at bringing people together, creating strong friendships and communities, and getting people who would otherwise be isolated and afraid to work together. Changing the world is a team effort. He is also intelligent and eager to learn, which becomes especially apparent in the second book, so I could also see him as a Ravenclaw. Of all the characters, he is the only one who thinks of science as a way to change the world:

Maybe there was something smaller and slower he could do. Studying ways to grow food, so no one would go hungry, no matter how many kids people had. Or changing the Government so that farmers were allowed to raise pigs or use hydroponics … Or figuring out ways for people to live in outer space, so they wouldn’t be too crowded. (Among the Hidden, 146)

I think he could be either: a Ravenclaw for his instinct to combat injustice with science, or a Hufflepuff for his humble, down-to-earth attitude and desire to help others in subtle but meaningful ways.

Jen: Gryffindor. No question.

Mr. Talbot: Slytherin. An expert at manipulation and subtlety, Jen’s father works within the Population Police while secretly sabotaging their efforts and trying to protect third children. Both Luke and Nina have trouble trusting him at times because he plays his part so well. His goals are heroic and he saves the child heroes’ lives multiple times, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s a textbook Slytherin.

Jason: Slytherin. Jason is basically the opposite of Mr. Talbot, a Population Police agent whose job is to make third children trust him enough to reveal their real names, and then betray them. In an almost Snape-like way, he attempts to protect Nina after falling in love with her, although this backfires and nearly gets her killed. The spy/infiltrator character type is very Slytherin, and if Mr. Talbot is the heroic side of that, Jason is the more standard evil version.

Nina: Hufflepuff. Despite what Jason tried to pretend, Nina would never betray her friends. Above all else, she is fiercely loyal. She loves her grandmother and aunts, cares deeply for her school friends, and risks her life to protect the kids she has been ordered to betray. When given the choice between finding Jason again and working to help her fellow third children, she chooses the latter. She is not always the bravest or smartest character, but her heart is always in the right place.

Trey: Gryffindor/Ravenclaw. Trey is a bit like Neville Longbottom, in that he starts off very timid and “cowardly”, but learns to be brave. His book is titled Among the Brave for a reason. But he’s also a book nerd whose greatest strength is his mind. He spent most of his life hiding in a room full of books, and it shows. I’m not even exaggerating when I say knowing Latin literally saves his life. I think he would be terrified at the thought of being a Gryffindor and prefer Ravenclaw, but whether that would sway the hat’s choice, I’m not sure.

Matthais: Slytherin. Matthais knows how to blend in, how to keep secrets, how to convince people to trust him, and most of all, how to survive. He has a strong conscience (most likely because the man who raised him was a warm-hearted Hufflepuff) and doesn’t enjoy playing with people like chess pieces the way many Slytherins do, but he’s certainly good at it. He’s not quite “use any means to achieve their ends”, but while he values life enough to be unwilling to use a weapon, he has no problem helping those that do via the more Slytherin methods of deception and spying. His decision at the end of book six to stay with his siblings also screams “Slytherin” to me: his loved ones come first, and the bigger picture can wait, or be dealt with by others. My biggest hesitation is that he might reject Slytherin based on its reputation, in which case I think he would be a Hufflepuff, for his ethics and his loyalty to his siblings.

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