Sorting Hat Saturday: Star Trek Voyager

My latest fictional obsession is Star Trek. I’m actually watching Deep Space Nine right now, but I’m only on season 3 and want to see how things play out before I do a Sorting Hat Saturday for it. So I’m going to start with Voyager and The Next Generation.

Voyager is a starship full of Slytherins and Hufflepuffs, and I mean that in that in the best way possible, because I actually have a huge soft spot for Voyager. The characters are far from home, often in hostile territory, bending and breaking the Prime Directive, using whatever means necessary to survive (but not to the extent that the Equinox does), setting their sights on an incredibly ambitious goal: to travel 70,000 light years within a single lifetime and arrive home in one piece. At the same time, they’re a mismatched crew full of underqualified people, some of whom should by all rights be enemies, who manage to come together to form a tight-knit family, continue giving their best even when things look hopeless, keep on trying diplomacy before resorting to more Slytherin means of negotiation, and try to live up to their own ideals as much as they can given their situation.

Captain Janeway: Ravenclaw/Slytherin. It’s not just her background as a Science Officer or her ability to spout off technobabble as easily as Seven and B’Elanna. Captain Janeway seems to see their situation of being stranded in the Delta Quadrant not just as a difficulty but as an opportunity to learn more about an uncharted part of space as well. She genuinely gets excited about all the new and unusual things they encounter, even when those things are dangerous, and sees the value in exploration even if Starfleet may never know what they’ve achieved. Her Slytherin side is carefully balanced with a set of ethics and rules that she tries to live by – but is not above bending and breaking when necessary. Declaring that she will get Voyager home is incredibly ambitious, given that it means defying the laws of physics. She’s pragmatic and resourceful, makes increasingly risky alliances (Maquis, Kazon, Borg), and will use any combination of diplomacy, creative thinking, aggression, and manipulation to overcome obstacles and protect her crew. I would say that she becomes more Slytherin and less Ravenclaw as the series goes on, from destroying the array in the premiere and embracing the chance to explore a new part of space, to stealing time travel technology and breaking the temporal prime directive in the finale to get her ship, crew, and past self home early.

Chakotay: Hufflepuff. Chakotay is a foil to Janeway. Where she is hyper-focused and driven, he is calm and laid-back, hard-working but not consumed by duty in the way that she is. She never gives up and resorts to some pretty desperate schemes to keep going, whereas he is more cautious and willing to accept that they may not succeed. She’s a natural leader and future Admiral; he has very little personal ambition and is content to follow her lead. He is patient, down-to-earth, and simply wants what’s best for the crew. Hufflepuffs are “just and loyal”, “patient”, hard workers, and value fairness and equality – basically Chakotay in a nutshell. Loyalty might be the only question mark, but then again, his backstory is about conflicting loyalties, not lack of. His loyalty to Voyager and Captain Janeway is one of his defining traits. While he is also courageous and could possibly be a Gryffindor, he seems to be a better fit for Hufflepuff overall.

Tuvok: Slytherin. It would be easy to say that because he’s a Vulcan, Tuvok is obviously a Ravenclaw. However, while he is calm, introverted, and logical, his values are not Ravenclaw values; he has little interest in knowledge or learning beyond what will help him in his work. His brand of logic seems to be mostly about strategy and common sense. He is a very practical person who has chosen a career as a security officer and is devoted to maintaining order. I would almost be tempted to say Hufflepuff, except that Tuvok is also a spy, and a very successful one. Vulcans aren’t supposed to lie, but Tuvok spent months undercover in the Maquis and was able to rationalize his lies as being “true to his mission”. He shows great skill at creating logical arguments to justify his preferred course of action, even when those actions go against his orders or Starfleet rules. Many of the wizards most skilled in occlumency are Slytherins, and while such magic does not exist in the world of Star Trek, Tuvok expertly hides a whirlpool of emotions behind a calm Vulcan exterior and rarely lets on what he is thinking. He’s not particularly ambitious, but he handles authority well and shows a great amount of Slytherin cunning.

Tom Paris: Slytherin/Gryffindor. There’s a fine line between Gryffindor and Slytherin, and Tom seems like the kind of person who could reasonably be put in either house. However, I think he leans a bit more heavily towards Slytherin, even after his character development kicks in and he becomes more heroic. He starts off as a self-described mercenary who will work for anybody as long as he’s paid well, and his intentions when he joins Janeway’s crew are purely selfish. His friendship with Harry and the trust Janeway shows by making him a Lieutenant go a long way toward putting him back on the right path. However, even the reformed Tom Paris can be quite proud and ambitious, not to mention sneaky. His whole part in the plan to catch the spy in season 2 was heroic Slytherin at its finest, and his actions in “Thirty Days” show a willingness to look for loopholes and “use any means to achieve [his] ends”, albeit for a good cause. While he doesn’t have the “rule the world” kind of ambition so common in Slytherin villains, he’s fiercely competitive and proud of his accomplishments, to the point of being a show-off sometimes. I feel as though, if the Star Trek characters went to Hogwarts, he would be an Albus Severus Potter type, a Slytherin from a family of Gryffindors, proud and defensive of his house but at the same time seeing it as one more way he’s disappointed his father.

Harry Kim: Hufflepuff. By far the easiest Voyager character to sort. Harry is just about the nicest person on Voyager and just wants to be everybody’s friend. He seems drawn to people who feel like outcasts – such as Tom, B’Elanna, and Seven – and goes out of his way to make them feel like part of the Voyager family. He is generous, hard-working, and loyal, Hufflepuff through and through.

B’Elanna Torres: Ravenclaw/Gryffindor. On the one hand, she’s one of the smartest characters, and she’s chosen a career in engineering – something that requires her to use her intelligence and creativity – rather than becoming a warrior, as one might expect of a Klingon. She does not seem to care very much about Klingon ideas of honor or glory and has little interest in their traditions. However, she is courageous and outspoken. She never hesitates to say what she thinks or stand up for herself, and while she may not be a warrior, she doesn’t back down from a fight. Klingon honor means little to her, but she is more than capable of devoting herself to a cause and being willing to die for it. She is both very courageous and very intelligent. However, the sorting hat takes your choice into account, and I suspect that eleven-year-old B’Elanna would have been thinking “Not Gryffindor! Not Gryffindor!”, in an attempt to distance herself from her Klingon heritage.

Neelix: Slytherin/Hufflepuff. Neelix looks like a Hufflepuff at first glance, but before he joined the Voyager crew, he was a devious schemer who did whatever it took to survive. He only helped them in the first place when they offered to trade with him, and he double-crossed them before eventually ending up back on their side. He later admits to a woman who has impersonated Captain Janeway as part of a scam that he was once not too different from her. He quickly takes on a Hufflepuff-type role on Voyager, as cook, ambassador, guide, and morale officer, but there’s something very Slytherin about deciding you want to travel on a star ship, spotting exactly what that ship’s greatest need is, and adapting to fill it.

Kes: Ravenclaw. Her kind and caring nature might make her seem like a walking Hufflepuff stereotype, but what stands out most to me about Kes is how inquisitive and open-minded she is. She identifies with Captain Janeway’s urge to explore rather than simply traveling from point A to point B, and she absorbs knowledge about nursing and medicine at a rate that impresses even the Doctor. She is the first to consider the possibility that the Doctor is a person rather than simply a program, which could be a point toward Hufflepuff but also displays a willingness to consider things that never occur to other people – a tendency she also displayed on her home planet, when she challenged the leaders’ orders to remain hidden underground. Kes reminds me a little of Luna Lovegood: open-minded, a bit eccentric, a lot smarter than she seems, and unwilling to be anyone but herself.

The Doctor: Slytherin. What the Doctor wants most is respect and recognition. Once Kes puts the idea in his head of being a person and a crew member rather than simply a piece of technology, he becomes insistent that others recognize him as such and makes it his mission to grow beyond the limits of his programming. He essentially reprograms himself to be a fully-developed individual. In stark contrast to Data, another artificial life form, the Doctor has strong emotions and human-like flaws, the greatest of which is his pride. Fame and appreciation easily go to his head and influence him into making risky choices.  His wide range of interests and creative nature could put him in Ravenclaw, but everything he does to expand his program is, essentially, a statement of defiance and a move towards reaching his full potential. The Voyager crew is just lucky he has all those ethical subroutines, because a machine that’s decided it’s your equal and refuses to let you forget it could be a terrifying villain if he wasn’t also a doctor bound by medical ethics.

Seven of Nine: Hufflepuff. Perhaps the most counterintuitive of my Voyager sortings, but I’ve been over it again and again, and this is what I keep coming back to. Seven is efficient and ruthless, but as a former Borg drone, she has no ambition whatsoever, and she is far too straightforward to be cunning; she’s not a Slytherin. She is very intelligent and knowledgeable, but she has little interest in expanding her knowledge and is endlessly frustrated by Captain Janeway’s desire to explore. She has very little intellectual curiosity, so she is not a Ravenclaw. One could argue that Seven is brave, but on the other hand, she sees herself as an expendable drone and does not value her own life at all, so that’s more the effect of brainwashing than a true personality trait. What she does value more than anything else is being a part of something greater than herself. She is distraught at being separated from the Borg Collective and is not able to recover until she finds a new “collective” on Voyager. She values efficiency, which is another way of saying she has a strong work ethic, and she sees Voyager’s command structure as inferior to the hive mind equality of the Borg. She’s not warm and fuzzy, but her values are Borg values, which are essentially Hufflepuff values taken to their most horrifying extreme. As she becomes more human and less Borg, she retains those values, although the way she pursues them changes.

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The Sorting of Queenie Goldstein

Crimes of Grindelwald spoilers.

Shortly after the first Fantastic Beasts movie, I said that if Queenie went to Hogwarts, she would be a Slytherin. Now that Crimes of Grindelwald is out, all I can say is …

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The Sorting of Neville Longbottom

The Sorting Hat takes your choice into account, but it doesn’t always give you what you want. Harry was able to choose Gryffindor over Slytherin, but Neville was put in Gryffindor despite his preference for Hufflepuff.

In Neville’s case, the Hat was determined to place him in Gryffindor: Neville, intimidated by that house’s reputation for bravery, requested a placing in Hufflepuff. Their silent wrangling resulted in triumph for the Hat. – Pottermore

It’s easy to imagine Neville as a Hufflepuff. Even aside from the fact that Helga Hufflepuff took all the students the other founders rejected, and would have accepted him regardless, he’s a pretty good embodiment of Hufflepuff traits. He is down-to-earth, humble, and generous. He’s hard-working and always seems to try his best despite not doing very well in his classes. He certainly values fairness and justice, and he’s less-inclined to break the rules than some of his Gryffindor peers. Meanwhile, he spends the first six books as a timid, awkward, easily-overlooked kid who seems utterly out-of-place in Gryffindor. While he does show some signs of bravery, such as standing up to the trio in Sorcerer’s Stone and joining Dumbledore’s Army in Order of the Phoenix, it’s hard to say at that point that Neville is defined by his bravery. It’s not until Deathly Hallows, a full seven years after the sorting ceremony, that his true heroism begins to show.

So why, then, did the hat refuse to put him in Hufflepuff when it’s honored similar requests before? His preference was different from Harry’s in one very important way. While Harry asked not to be a Slytherin because he knew of their reputation for dark magic and evil, Neville was just intimidated by Gryffindor, not repulsed by it. He didn’t think he was good enough for Gryffindor and thought he would have to settle for Hufflepuff in order to avoid embarrassing himself. Putting Harry in Slytherin would have meant dismissing his values and denying him a choice. Putting Neville in Gryffindor, on the other hand, was a vote of confidence.

In many cases where a character doesn’t quite live up to what their house is supposed to stand for, I think we can assume the hat was trying to give them a chance for growth. For instance, Peter Pettigrew is a cowardly Gryffindor, but he was almost certainly placed there because the hat saw his admiration of his more heroic friends and hoped he could become more like them. Gilderoy Lockhart is an incompetent Ravenclaw, but his skill as a writer indicates intelligence and creativity that could have been put to better use. On a more positive note, Hermione grows from a stuck-up know-it-all to a courageous young woman as a result of her time in Gryffindor. It’s as if the sorting hat can see not just a person’s potential but where they’ll have the best chance of reaching their full potential as well.

Neville didn’t truly want to be a Hufflepuff or value Hufflepuff work ethic and fairness over Gryffindor bravery. He simply wasn’t ready yet to accept his own potential, and as a Hufflepuff, might never have embraced it. Being placed there would only have confirmed his fears of inadequacy, while being sorted into Gryffindor gave him a chance to grow in confidence and courage.

Or, in other words, the Sorting Hat takes your choice into account if you want it for the right reasons. It takes your choice into account if your value system doesn’t match up to a house you’re suited for, if you have a deep personal reason for what you want, or if your choice will give you a chance to grow into a better person. It doesn’t take your choice into account if your choice would limit you. Neville did value bravery and heroism and was simply afraid he’d never be capable of them, so by putting him in Gryffindor, the hat made sure that he would.

Sorting Hat Saturday: A Wrinkle in Time

Meg: Ravenclaw. Meg is the perfect example of a gifted child whose grades do not reflect her abilities. Although her mother refuses to tell her what her IQ is, it’s implied to be pretty high. However, Ravenclaw isn’t purely about intelligence any more than it’s about grades or test scores. Ravenclaws are the researchers and experimenters of the world, hungry for knowledge and filled with a love of learning. Meg displays those qualities in ways that have nothing to do with school. As a child she loved playing number games with her father (which resulted in her learning “far too many shortcuts” and having trouble showing her work at school). On their journey through the universe, she constantly attempts to make sense of the strange things around them, looking at everything with an open mind and yet not without thinking critically about it all. Once Charles Wallace is taken over by IT, Meg is the one who figures out most of what needs figuring out, like how to use her faults to resist IT’s temptation and how to use Mrs. Who’s glasses to rescue her father. She has to be very brave, as well, but her journey is mostly about finding answers and seeking understanding, and it is her intelligence, self-knowledge, and emotional strength that enable her to succeed.

Charles Wallace: Ravenclaw. Is there any question here? Not only is Charles Wallace a child genius whose mind “breaks out of the ordinary mold” entirely, and who understands the mysteries of the universe more thoroughly than even the greatest adult minds, but he’s also far more comfortable with his outsider status and high level of intelligence than Meg. His fatal flaw is his pride, but it’s not the ambitious pride of a Slytherin; he’s simply used to being the smartest person around and doesn’t anticipate a situation where his mind literally isn’t strong enough to do what he wants it to.

Calvin: Hufflepuff. While Calvin is certainly intelligent, he’s driven by his heart more than his mind. He’s a team player who fits in well at school and yet is kind and warm towards the unpopular Murray kids. He seems to be at his happiest when he is helping or protecting others and is more than willing to take on his friends’ mission as his own despite having no personal stake in it.

Mrs. Murray: Ravenclaw. Meg and Charles Wallace’s mom is defined by her immense capacity for belief and understanding. Not only is she a brilliant scientist in her own right, she’s open-minded toward the weirdness happening all around her. She’s willing to believe and accept that her youngest child is an unusually gifted genius while still allowing him to be a five-year-old as well. Not only that, but she’s able to keep faith that her husband is still out there and be open-minded about the crazy project he was working on when he disappeared. Keeping in mind that Mrs. Murray herself hasn’t seen anything weirder than Mrs. Whatsit dressed in stolen bedsheets, it’s pretty incredible that she doesn’t think her whole family has gone insane.

Mr. Murray: Ravenclaw. While we don’t know a huge amount about Meg’s father, who is gone for most of the book, we do know he was a scientist and a very intelligent man. He must have been open-minded to believe that tesseracts could be possible and dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge in order to test out such a dangerous experiment himself. While he’s one of the less-developed characters, everything about him points to Ravenclaw.

Sorting Hat Saturday: The Lion King

Simba: Gryffindor. While he’s a little hesitant and unsure of himself, Simba’s whole story is about finding courage, something he has no shortage of as a cub but has to re-learn as an adult. Young Simba is adventurous and fearless, while the older Simba has a lot to be afraid of but learns to put that aside and do the right thing anyway.

Nala: Hufflepuff. While she’s just as brave as Simba, Nala’s defining trait is her loyalty. She is loyal to the pride and stays even when Scar takes over and things go horribly wrong. Although she loves Simba deeply, she’s horrified to find him avoiding his own duties and does her best to convince him to return and take his place as king. A Gryffindor in her place might be plotting rebellion, but she’s too humble to think that she could do so herself, as ready as she is to support Simba when he returns to claim his rightful place. She has strong opinions about what the right thing to do is and who should be in charge, but those ideas are rooted in her Hufflepuff loyalty and work ethic.

Mufasa: Gryffindor. Brave, noble, selfless, and an actual lion – what else could he be?

Scar: Slytherin. Ambition? Check. Cunning? Check. Self-preservation? Check. Willing to “use any means to achieve [his] ends”? Oh, definitely. Scar is more of a Slytherin than half the actual Slytherin characters in Harry Potter.

The hyenas: Slytherin. The hyenas are slapstick comic relief villains and thus are too silly to be cunning or manipulative in the way Scar is. You could argue that they’re ambitious, though, playing their part in Scar’s evil plans in hopes that they will stand to benefit. Mostly, though, they’re selfish and slippery, doing whatever seems most likely to benefit them at the moment. They’re the Crabbes and Goyles of the Lion King world: while they’re not evil masterminds plotting world domination, and wouldn’t be capable of doing so, they put themselves first and therefore are drawn to the biggest and most powerful allies – who they’re also willing to turn on in an instant.

Timon & Pumba: Slytherin. Yes, they do look like Hufflepuffs at first glance, but think about it. Why do they save Simba’s life? Not because he’s another living creature and it’s the right thing to do, but because they think a lion friend could turn out to be useful. When he saves them from another lion, they’re proven right. Their “Hakuna Matata” attitude – namely, that problems are someone else’s to deal with – is hardly that of the Hufflepuffs, who, like the Gryffindors, nearly all stayed to fight in the Battle of Hogwarts. While they do ultimately care enough for Simba to help him defeat Scar, they make it clear that they don’t understand why he would want to do so. They are good friends to each other, and eventually to Simba, but they don’t have a Hufflepuff’s sense of loyalty to something greater and certainly not any work ethic. While they’re not that ambitious and are too comical to be truly cunning, they look out for themselves (and each other) first, prioritizing their own wellbeing and survival above any greater sense of purpose – a Slytherin trait, and the same reason I put the hyenas in Slytherin. In a movie mostly filled with noble Gryffindors and duty-driven Hufflepuffs, they’re outliers among the heroes.

Rafiki: Ravenclaw, of the Luna Lovegood variety. Behind his weird mannerisms, he is wise, perceptive, and a bit mystical. He believes in things he can’t see and speaks with the dead as if they’re still alive – and while he seems crazy, he’s also right. It’s his knowledge and advice that help Simba realize he has to return to Pride Rock.

Zazu: Hufflepuff. He reminds me a bit of Bahgeera from The Jungle Book, who I put in Ravenclaw; they are both sensible, no-nonsense mentors who the young Gryffindor heroes rebel against. However, Zazu is defined by his loyalty first and foremost. He is loyal to Mufasa and endures everything from Simba’s childish antics to Scar’s cruelty while remaining steadfastly devoted to his king; it’s not until a much more mature, grown-up Simba defeats Scar and takes the throne that the bird’s loyalty shifts from Mufasa to the new king. He believes in hard work and devotion to duty and is endlessly frustrated by young Simba’s flighty independence and disgusted by Scar’s selfish tyranny. He may be stern and serious rather than warm and fuzzy, but the things he values most definitely point to Hufflepuff.

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: Finding Nemo

One of the funny things about being a teacher is how often it makes me think back on my own childhood. Yesterday in afterschool, they showed Finding Nemo – a movie I loved when I was eight but haven’t seen or thought about in years – and now I can’t stop thinking about it! Of course, one thing I’ve acquired since I was eight is a tendency to compulsively sort characters from other stories into Hogwarts houses, so here I go:

Marlin: Gryffindor. While Nemo believes his father to be cowardly and afraid of the ocean, he’s afraid for Nemo, not for himself – and he learned the hard way to be cautious. When his son is taken by a scuba diver, he immediately abandons his cautious nature and risks everything to try to find him.

Nemo: Gryffindor. Like father, like son. Nemo is eager for adventure, becoming increasingly frustrated by his father’s overprotectiveness. He swims out into the open ocean to prove he’s not afraid, is willing to go along with Gill’s dangerous escape plan even though he’s the one put most at risk by it, and swims into a fishing net to try to save Dory, who he’s just met. He’s nothing if not brave.

Dory: Hufflepuff. As much as she reminds me of Luna Lovegood, she’s not a Ravenclaw. She’s defined not by her eccentric mind but by her caring nature and persistent optimism. She puts everything she has into helping Marlin even though she has nothing to gain from it, does her best to comfort him and keep him going even as he becomes more cynical, and believes that things are bound to get better if you “just keep swimming”.

Gill: Slytherin. Gill is a strategist first and foremost. The other tank fish look at Nemo and see a scared and lonely child, but Gill sees a fish small enough to swim through the filter that keeps the tank clean, and he immediately starts piecing together a plan to escape. He later regrets risking Nemo’s life and then risks his own life to help Nemo escape alone, but it’s not uncommon for Slytherins to treat those they care about very differently from those they only see as pawns. (See also: Severus Snape, Narcissa Malfoy, Professor Slughorn)

Nigel: Ravenclaw. A pelican who frequently visits a dentist’s office to watch root canal procedures? A sea-bird who is captivated by the story of a clownfish father trying to find his son and puts the pieces together to realize he knows who the son is? A member of a fish-eating species who has fish friends and carries them in his beak without being tempted to eat them? Well, according to Pottermore, “[Ravenclaws] are the most individual – some might even call them eccentrics, but geniuses are often out of step with ordinary folk”.