Sorting Hat Saturday: The Jungle Book

Because apparently I’m on a roll with kids’ movie-themed Sorting Hat Saturdays, here are the Jungle Book characters. This is based on the animated movie, not the live action one:

Mowgli: Gryffindor. He’s very, very brave. He’s not afraid of trying to survive on his own in the jungle and refuses to leave even with an evil tiger after him. When he finally confronts Shere Khan, he doesn’t allow himself to be intimidated and is very much ready to fight for his life.

Bagheera: Ravenclaw. He values brains over brawn and logic over emotion, and while his own actions are shaped by his affection for Mowgli, he also knows that a human child doesn’t really belong in the jungle and will be safer with his own people. He has good insights into others and always seems to know what they will do. He almost looks like a goal-oriented Slytherin, but he’s not very ambitious and is more intelligent and practical than cunning, so I would lean more toward Ravenclaw overall.

Baloo: Gryffindor. He’s not necessarily very good at his attempted acts of heroism, but it’s not for lack of courage. He wants to do the right thing and isn’t afraid to risk danger to help others. He is eager to help Mowgli learn to survive in the jungle and loves him like a son, but is willing to let him go for his own good, which requires its own form of bravery. In the fight with Shere Khan, his willingness to risk his own life for Mowgli’s sake requires the same sort of courage that defines the noblest of Gryffindor characters. I did consider Hufflepuff based on his loyalty and his “bare necessities” philosophy of life, but I’d say that overall he is defined more by his bravery.

King Louie: Slytherin. He’s an orangutan who thinks that using fire will make him human and is willing to kidnap a human child to gain it. He has the ruthless ambition thing down. There are a lot of Slytherin characters in The Jungle Book, but King Louie is probably the one who fits the best. He’s also the least obvious, though, in that he’s not really a straightforward villain and – unlike Kaa and Shere Khan – doesn’t really have malicious intentions toward Mowgli.

Kaa: Slytherin. He’s literally a sneaky snake. What more can be said?

Shere Khan: Slytherin. He’s not brave – in fact, he’s defeated by his own fear of fire – but he is good at appearing fearless and intimidating. He’s intelligent, but not in a Ravenclaw “books and cleverness” kind of way. He’s very good at being sneaky and manipulative.

The Vultures: Hufflepuff or Slytherin. They work as a team and value friendship and community. They even get a little song about the importance of friendship. They are loyal to each other and eager to welcome Mowgli into their group. However, they’re so terrified of Shere Khan that they abandon Mowgli when the tiger shows up. They do come back and help him in the end, but they do it with Slytherin methods, coming up with a plan for Mowgli in which the human boy, rather than the vultures, plays the most dangerous part.

Sorting Hat Saturday: Disney Princesses

Time for another Sorting Hat Saturday, and this is the third of five weeks where I’m sorting Disney characters.

Ariel: Gryffindor. Ariel is headstrong, reckless, and rebellious. She yearns to explore the world above and feels stifled by her father’s strict rules, which keep her below water. She doesn’t hesitate to do the things other merfolk see as too risky, like swimming right up by a ship and watching the celebration on the deck, and when the human prince she’s been watching nearly drowns, she reacts instinctively to save him. And, of course, it definitely takes courage to make a deal with Ursula and run away to a new world where she’s a literal fish out of water. Ariel doesn’t back down or give up, and there’s no risk she won’t take. In fact, there’s a fine line between Gryffindor and Slytherin, and I’m almost tempted to say she’s a “use any means to achieve their ends” type of Slytherin. Almost. But not quite.

Pocahontas: Ravenclaw. Ignoring the movie’s historical inaccuracy for a moment … Disney’s Pocahontas seeks understanding. She has a deep respect for the natural world around her, and the kind of wisdom that comes from experience rather than studying. She looks at things from a unique perspective, disagreeing with her father that the river is steady because she sees it as constantly moving and changing. While the other Native Americans and the European settlers look at each other with fear and ignorance, she is not afraid and attempts to teach John Smith respect for other ways of life. She is open-minded, perceptive, and wise – all Ravenclaw traits.

Mulan: Gryffindor. A girl who disguises herself as a boy to join the army, fights in battles, and saves her country is pretty clearly a Gryffindor. You could possibly make an argument for Hufflepuff, because she is motivated by duty as much as thirst for adventure, and tries to do what’s expected of her in the beginning. However, she is happiest once she follows her heart, and the path it leads her down is a Gryffindor one.

Tiana: Hufflepuff. If I were to sum up Tiana in one word, it would be “hard-working”. If I were to elaborate, I’d say that she’s very driven to achieve her dreams and refuses to give up once she decides she wants something. I think you could make a good argument for her being either a very ambitious and goal-oriented Hufflepuff, or a very down-to-earth Slytherin who achieves her ambitions via honest work and perseverance. Although, I think given the choice, she would choose Hufflepuff. Sorting has as much to do with values as character traits, and Tiana prides herself on her work ethic while looking down on Naveen for his more Slytherin way of life.

Rapunzel: Ravenclaw. I think you could make an argument for any of the houses with her. She learns to be brave over the course of the movie, and her longing to escape the tower could be viewed as a Gryffindor longing for adventure (although I interpret it differently). Her insistence that she keeps her promises and reluctance to betray Mother Gothel show a Hufflepuff’s loyalty and sense of duty. As for Slytherin, she escapes the tower by lying to Mother Gothel and blackmailing Flynn Rider, both definitely Slytherins, neither of whom are easily manipulated. She has a cunning mind despite being genuinely naïve and innocent. However, I think if I had to choose, I’d put her in Ravenclaw. Rapunzel is motivated almost entirely by curiosity. In the tower, she dreams of the outside world not because she craves dangerous adventures, but because she wants to see what it’s like out there. She fills her time by occupying her mind: reading, painting, playing chess, etc. It’s not until she realizes she can’t reason with Mother Gothel that she starts planning to escape, and she wants more than anything to know about the lights that float up into the sky on her birthday. She has a bit of all the houses in her, but she’s Ravenclaw more than anything else.

Sorting Hat Saturday: Beauty and the Beast

Last week, I started a series of Disney-related sortings, and this week, I’m going to do my favorite Disney movie, Beauty and the Beast.

Belle: Ravenclaw. Belle always has her nose in a book, leading the other villagers to see her as something of an oddity. Her ability to look beyond the surface, to love the Beast for who he is inside and see Gaston as the monster he is, shows a kind of wisdom that few other characters possess. She’s smart enough to figure out that the castle is enchanted on her own, curious enough to go into the forbidden west wing, and open-minded enough to go along with it when clocks and candlesticks start talking to her. There’s definitely a bit of Gryffindor in Belle, too – her willingness to stay in her father’s place and her refusal to back down in the face of a mob – but overall I’d say she’s a Ravenclaw.

The Beast: Slytherin. The Beast is hard to sort, because he changes so much over the course of the movie, from a rude, shallow young prince to a monster consumed by rage to a kind man in a monstrous form. But I would put him in Slytherin partially because he changes so much. Slytherins, more than any other house, show a remarkable ability to adapt to their circumstances. The selfish young prince could easily be one of Harry’s Slytherin classmates, and his actions after his transformation can be seen as a sort of self-preservation; he believes that the world would see him as a monster, so he protects himself by scaring them away. (I wonder how many Slytherins in the Harry Potter books could say the same? I’d guess at least a few.) The Beast also changes for the better by the end of the movie. He was not kind, gentle, or selfless before meeting Belle, but he becomes those things thanks to her influence. As I’ve said before, Slytherins don’t let others into their hearts easily, but they are capable of loving just as deeply as the other houses, which is often their saving grace.

Gaston: Gryffindor. I’ve already talked quite a bit about this, but basically: Gaston possesses the worst forms of Gryffindor traits. He is bold, arguably courageous, reacts to things he sees as a danger by attacking them, and wants to be seen as a hero. Too bad he doesn’t have a moral compass.

Sorting Hat Sunday: Disney Part 1

First of all, I know this is a little late for Sorting Hat Saturday, so sorry about that. It’s been a busy week. Anyway, today I’m going to be starting a series of sorting posts that will go on for three or four weekends: Disney characters! Today I’ll be doing the main characters of some of the very earliest Disney animated movies:

Snow White: Hufflepuff. Snow White is kind-natured and not afraid of hard work. She happily cleans the dwarfs’ cottage, cooks for them, and falls into an almost motherly role even though she is much younger than any of them. After she gets over her initial fear, she does not seem very bothered by her predicament and instead seeks to make the best of it. She’s down-to-earth and practical, despite coming across as very naïve.

Cinderella: Gryffindor. Cinderella’s courage is emphasized in the 2015 live action remake, where her mother tells her to “have courage and be kind”. But even in the animated version, Cinderella has always possessed a quiet sort of courage: the courage to keep being who she is, to get out of bed every day and face her cruel stepfamily, and to keep hoping and dreaming of something better. She may not be allowed to physically fight for her dreams as the more recent heroines do, but she shows a remarkable inner strength and refuses to let herself be broken.

Alice: Ravenclaw. In the real world, Alice is an imaginative girl who conjures up daydreams and wishes for a more interesting world to explore. In Wonderland, on the other hand, she seems like the only sane one around and tries to make sense of the nonsense. She’s creative and whimsical, but still capable of thinking logically, and is endlessly fascinated by the world around her.

Peter Pan: Slytherin. Peter Pan displays extreme cunning in his battles with Captain Hook, where he outwits a larger and stronger opponent by being faster, cleverer, and not always playing by the rules. He is ruthless in dealing with his enemies, especially for a kids’ story, and doesn’t always seem to care whether he’s doing the right thing. Even enticing three children to run away from home is kind of a Slytherin thing to do. Tinkerbell, with her fierce loyalty to Peter alone and coldness/jealousy toward others, is also a Slytherin. (Note: I’m not talking about the Disney Fairies franchise, only Peter Pan itself).

Wendy: Ravenclaw. More of the Luna Lovegood type than the studious and logical type. Wendy not only dreams up stories about Peter Pan to tell to her younger brothers, she fully believes in them and doesn’t bat an eye when they turn out to be true. She doesn’t want to grow up because she believes she will have to give up her imagination. She is defined by her curiosity and willingness to accept the unbelievable. As their time in Neverland goes on and she becomes something of a mother figure to the boys, she also shows a natural wisdom and maturity that would no doubt grow once she leaves Neverland and grows up.

Aurora: Hufflepuff. She’s by far the most difficult to sort, because she doesn’t have much of a personality to speak of. I think Slytherin can be ruled out fairly easily; she is heartbroken to discover she’s a princess because it means she can’t marry the man she met once loves, whereas a Slytherin character might be excited to become royalty or at least come up with some kind of plan to be with her beloved rather than just crying about it. She doesn’t seem to show any courage or intellectual curiosity, although she doesn’t show cowardice or ignorance either. But her kind nature and willingness to – albeit sometimes begrudgingly – accept her lot in life make Hufflepuff the best fit, if only by default.