Sorting Hat Saturday: The Black Stallion

It looks like I’m doing children’s books this month, so my next one is The Black Stallion. There aren’t a whole lot of important human characters until halfway through the book, but I’m utterly convinced that Alec, the protagonist, is a Hufflepuff.

Alec is courageous, intelligent, and resourceful, but what astonishes me most about him is how level-headed and methodical he is. When he finds himself stranded on an island with no one but a wild horse for company, he doesn’t panic. He figures out what he needs to survive – water, food, shelter – and sets about finding or making those things for himself. Once he’s rescued, he devotes himself to caring for the Black Stallion, working hard to be able to feed the horse and give it a place to live, as well as promising his parents that he won’t neglect his schoolwork. If Hufflepuffs are “unafraid of toil”, he would fit right in.

Another Hufflepuff trait is a sense of fairness, and he has that in spades. While running away from the lifeboats to save the Black Stallion’s life could be a case of Gryffindor heroics, I think his reason is everything. It doesn’t seem fair to him that the horse should be trapped in a sinking ship, and he wants to give it a chance to fight for its survival, just like the humans. No one else on board gave the stallion a second thought, but to Alec its life was worth saving, and he couldn’t in good conscience let it stay tied up and locked in on a sinking ship.

Alec’s constant attempts to tame the Black Stallion also point to Hufflepuff. He’s nothing if not patient. From bringing it sugar, to leaving edible seaweed for it when they find themselves stranded together, to eventually riding to victory in a race against the two fastest horses around, he keeps on persevering and eventually succeeds. Even more important is that – while the horse’s previous owner tried and failed to break it violently – Alec succeeds by winning its trust, something that is totally in-line with Hufflepuff values.

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