Sorting Hat Saturday: Margaret Peterson Haddix Novels

Welcome to another Sorting Hat Saturday. This is the second of four weeks that I’m going to be sorting the characters of Margaret Peterson Haddix, a kids’ author whose books I’ve been re-reading for my book blog. If you’d like to hear more of my thoughts, definitely go check that out, but for now, here’s the sorting:

Amelia “Melly” Hazelwood (Turnabout): Gryffindor. She might seem more like a Hufflepuff at first glance, but I would say she’s a Gryffindor raised in a Hufflepuff environment. During her first lifetime, Amelia does what’s expected of her: she participates in her community, raises her kids, and lives an honest but ordinary life. If I were to put her in Hufflepuff, it would be because it’s what she would have wanted at age 11. However, by the time she’s 11 again, I’m not sure that would be the case. Even in her original childhood, she acted bravely, for example jumping into the river to save a younger cousin from drowning. Her second lifetime – in which she ages backwards – is defined by courage and independence that she was not allowed to express the first time around.

Anny Beth Flick (Turnabout): Gryffindor. A more typical sort of Gryffindor than Melly, Anny Beth is outspoken and doesn’t particularly care what others think of her. She didn’t have an easy life the first time around but remained a good person and becomes determined to take full advantage of her second chance. She doesn’t always play by the rules, but she always does what she feels is right and wants to do good in the world.

Kira Landon (Escape from Memory): Hufflepuff. I very rarely find a book where the four main characters fit into four different houses, but this is one of them. The book-smart best friend is a Ravenclaw; the courageous and self-sacrificing mother a Gryffindor; and the ruthless, deceptive villain a Slytherin. Kira, the protagonist, is motivated by a desire to protect her loved ones. Like many Hufflepuffs, she’s easily underestimated because she assumes the best of people and lets others take the lead. However, when Rona threatens her best friend, her mother, and her family’s legacy, she steps up and protects the others. I tend to see Gryffindors as fighting for causes and Hufflepuffs as fighting for people; with Kira it’s definitely the people she cares about.

Bethany Cole (Double Identity): Ravenclaw. A sheltered child who discovers she is a clone of her long-dead older sister, Bethany is nothing if not intelligent. For instance, she “collects” obscure words that few twelve-year-olds would know, like “cascading”, “delusional”, and “disconcerting”. While Elizabeth was lively and outgoing, Bethany is quiet and contemplative. “I’m the only kid I know … who likes old-fashioned words, who’s ever bothered to read the dusty, falling-apart books at the back of the school library, behind the brand new computers,” she tells the reader (20). And, while she is disturbed by some of the things she learns about herself and her family’s past, she spends the entire novel seeking the truth and refusing to accept comforting lies for answers. She puts things together quickly, connecting the dots that link herself to Elizabeth and her father to a rumored human cloning experiment. In the end, when her parents sit her down and explain everything, there is very little she hasn’t already worked out for herself.

Lindsay Scott (Claim to Fame): Slytherin. One of the best examples of heroic Slytherin I’ve been able to find, in fact – and unlike many of them, I don’t think she would be appalled enough at the thought to plead “not Slytherin, not Slytherin” and end up somewhere else. She embraces her Slytherin cunning and uses it almost instinctively. Applying the skills she learned as a child actress, she “improvises” an intricate web of lies to protect herself. She can be quite manipulative at times, and although she never wants to hurt anyone, she doesn’t always think through the way her actions will affect others. However, she is still a sympathetic character whose decisions are understandable, if not always right.

Tessa (The Always War): Ravenclaw. A Ravenclaw who thinks she’s a Hufflepuff. At the beginning of the story she is utterly convinced she is ordinary, compared with her two companions or even the other kids at school. She isn’t a tech expert like Dek or a strategist like Gideon, but she spent her childhood reading books that are no longer read in her society, and they give her a unique strength of mind. Tessa seeks the truth where other characters are willing to accept lies and ignore questions. She puts things together in ways the other two don’t and sees possibilities where they only see confusion.

Gideon (The Always War): Gryffindor. Gideon has a strong moral compass in a society that doesn’t necessarily value that, and he comes to see that being a hero means something different than he’s been taught. While he starts out by calling himself a coward, he turns out to be anything but. When he believes they are in danger, he goes out of his way to protect the others, particularly Tessa, risking his own life to do so.

Dek (The Always War): Slytherin. If Tessa seeks truth and Gideon seeks heroism, Dek is just looking to survive. Intelligent, pragmatic, and not afraid to break the rules, she puts herself first, only helping the other two because she thinks their chances of getting home are better if they stick together. She has an extraordinary ability to read people; for example, she figures out early on that Tessa looks at all possibilities, makes a major decision based on her understanding of Gideon’s motives, and knows that the public will trust Tessa more than herself or Gideon when they finally reveal the truth: that their country was never at war.

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