In honor of the Christmas season, I’m going to be doing Christmas movies for my weekly Sorting Hat Saturday. We’ll kick it off this week with Elf, a comedy about a man raised by elves at the north pole who travels to New York to find his biological father and ends up saving Christmas in the process.
Buddy: Hufflepuff. Buddy has a big heart and cares about everyone. While kindness is not exclusive to one house, the way Buddy goes about expressing it is very Hufflepuff. He is strongly loyal both to Santa Claus, and to his biological family. He is cheerful towards strangers and gives compliments easily and genuinely. In many ways, he retains a childlike sense of warmth that most people lose when they grow up. He is hard-working to the extreme – capable of decorating the entire Gimbal’s toy department for Christmas overnight, on his own – and while he may be considered slow at toy-making by elf standards, he accomplishes all the tasks he sets for himself. He also has an innate need to be accepted and be part of a group, whether that means trying to fit in with the other elves or trying to reconnect with his birth father even after being dismissed by him multiple times. It is the bonds of friendship, family, and love he builds which bring back enough Christmas spirit to make Santa’s sleigh fly.
Walter Hobbs: Slytherin. Walter fits a character archetype that is common in Christmas movies: Scrooge, the Grinch, Doris Walker, etc. The one who starts off with no Christmas spirit and has to learn how to celebrate, believe, or care for others again. More often than not, these characters fit Slytherin house pretty well, and Walter certainly does. He’s not heartless, but he’s so fixated on his career and ambitions that he becomes distant from his wife and son, and unwilling to accept Buddy as part of his family. When he’s forced to choose between his ambitions and his family, he leaves the company, but later founds a new one with his grown son.
Emily: Hufflepuff. Unlike her husband, Emily is warm and caring. She doesn’t believe Buddy really came from the North Pole, but she feels obligated to help this seemingly mentally unbalanced young man, and shows no anger upon finding out about her husband’s grown son from a previous relationship. She values family and tradition, as seen when she insists that Michael eat at the dinner table and tells Walter not to stay at work too late Christmas Eve night. While she’s not the first to jump into action and do something, it’s her decision to join Jovie’s Christmas caroling that leads the whole crowd to join in, creating the Christmas spirit needed to make Santa’s sleigh fly. Likewise, in the Harry Potter series, Hufflepuffs are usually supporting players, but their contributions are crucial.
Michael: Gryffindor. Michael is fearless. He helps his much older brother get a date, runs off with Santa’s naughty and nice list to show it to a reporter, and refuses to be sent away by his father when Buddy goes missing. While he – like all the “real world” characters – is worn down by everyday life, he doesn’t hesitate to rush into action and do what he thinks is right.
Jovie: Gryffindor. Jovie has lost sight of what makes life worth living, but over the course of the movie, she finds her inner joy again, and with it, her courage. Being a Christmas movie, of course there’s not a lot of violence or need for physical bravery, but she overcomes her fear of singing in public. Remembering that Buddy told her, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear”, she stands up and starts singing Christmas carols in front of a crowd on live TV.