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Branwen has thoughts and feelings.

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Sorting Tortall (Nealan of Queenscove)

Note: I use the sortinghatchats system - +here’s (M to be safe) a link to their ‘basics’ post. To briefly summarize, though, they sort everyone on two different (and equally important) aspects of their personality: the first (your “primary” house) is why you do things, where the second (your “secondary” house) is how you do things. Today, I'm sorting Nealan of Queenscove from Tamora Pierce's Tortall series. Primary (the “why”) Neal is definitely a Ravenclaw primary: Ravenclaw Primaries have a constructed system that they test their decisions against before they feel comfortable calling something right. This might be constructed by them, or it might have been taught to them as children, or it might have been discovered by them some point later in life. Neal's system doesn't necessarily make sense to anyone else - I don’t think anyone else ever fully understands his decision to leave the university and become a page, despite not liking it much at all - but it makes sense to him, and he stands by it no matter what. When he hears a good argument, he’s also happy to incorporate it into that system - but he needs to hear the argument first. When he starts helping Kel fight bullies in First Test, he says: “… I’m trying to justify to myself the fact that the best lesson I ever had on chivalry came from someone five years younger than me. When you put it that way, well, I guess I’d better help.” It didn’t become the right thing to do because he was worried about Kel or realized that bullies were bad - it became the right thing to do because she gave a logical, convincing argument. There’s one scene in Lady Knight that probably illustrates his Ravenclaw primary better than any others: the scene where he confronts Alvik over his mistreatment of Tobe. When Kel-the-Hufflepuff-primary sees what’s happening, she stops the abuse and buys Tobe’s contract. When Neal-the-Ravenclaw-primary sees it, he puts an illegal spell on Alvik and then intimidates him into silence by saying, “Who will impress the Crown more, swine? The oldest son of Baird of Queenscove, or you?” Even if Kel could do that, I don’t think she would. Neal, on the other hand, is fine with breaking the rules, as long as he’s not breaking his rules. Secondary (the “how”) Neal is an academic who loves to learn, which on the surface sounds like it points to a Ravenclaw secondary: Ravenclaw Secondaries plan. They collect information, they strategize. They have tools. They run hypotheticals and try to plan ahead for things that might come up. They build things that they can use later. They feel less at home in improvisation and more comfortable planning ahead and taking the time to be prepared. However, enjoying to learn doesn't automatically make you a Ravenclaw secondary - Gryffindors, Hufflepuffs, and Slytherins can be academics, too. It's about how you use the knowledge and approach problem-solving, and Neal doesn't have the methodological approach that's described above. He could tell you all about the difference between strategy and tactics, but he doesn't tend to map out a strategy of his own - he just coasts on his innate skills, social status, and gut. That makes him a Gryffindor secondary: Gryffindor Secondaries charge. They meet the world head-on and challenge it to do its worst. Gryffindor Secondaries are honest, brash, and bold in pursuit of things they care about. Known for their bravery, it is almost a moral matter to stay true to themselves in any situation that they’re in. That's probably how he and Kel bond so quickly and so strongly despite having objectively little in common - Neal backing her up and not being a sexist jerk isn’t really a sufficient explanation for the strength of their friendship. Being two sides of the same Gryffindor coin, on the other hand, definitely goes a long way toward explaining how well they come to understand each other. Neal is generally pretty direct; he might change whether he’s saying something, but he doesn’t tend to change how he’s saying it. If it’s a fight that Neal believes is right, he’s in the middle of it. He’d generally prefer to use his words over his fists, but Gryffindor secondaries aren’t inherently more violent than anyone else - approaching the problem directly through sheer obstinacy is equally valid, and Neal is definitely the most obstinate person in the Protector of the Small series. He doesn’t deal with problems by shifting his presentation - he takes great pride and pleasure in telling people exactly what their deficiencies are and what they’re doing wrong to their faces, despite continually meeting with very mixed success. He picks a fight in almost every chapter he appears in. Neal doesn’t care about peace or harmony - he cares about being right. In summary: Neal is a Ravenclaw primary and a Gryffindor secondary. (Italicized sorting-related quotes from sortinghatchats)

abhorsen.

abhorsen.

 

Sorting the Arrowverse (Joe West)

Note: I use the sortinghatchats system - +here’s (M to be safe) a link to their ‘basics’ post. To briefly summarize, though, they sort everyone on two different (and equally important) aspects of their personality: the first (your “primary” house) is why you do things, where the second (your “secondary” house) is how you do things. Today, I'm tackling Joe West from the Arrowverse. Primary (the “why”) Joe West is a very strong Slytherin primary: Slytherin Primaries prioritize individual loyalties and find their moral core in protecting and caring for the people they are closest to. They often construct a morality system to deal with situations that are not addressed by their loyalty system. Joe has dedicated his life to the police force, and he talks a good game about the law… but when it comes down to it, his moral code is perfectly encapsulated in what he says in season three: "I’ve taken two oaths in my life. One is to uphold the law, and the other to protect my family. Guess which one takes priority." It’s not the only time he says something like that, either. When Earth-2 Harrison Wells shows up in S2, Joe gives Iris a gun and says, “I’m praying that Barry’s right and this Wells means us no harm, but… you can’t murder somebody that everybody thinks is dead, right?” There’s some benevolent sexism at the heart of Joe’s treatment of Iris that makes him particularly overprotective of her, but the same tendency to put on blinders and protect is true across the board. His morality revolves around his family. There is no right or wrong when Iris, Barry, or Wally is involved. There’s just Iris, Barry, and Wally. (I think that's probably true of Cecile as well, but we've seen a bit less of it.) He will lie to them and everyone else if he deems it necessary, shield them from even consequences that they probably should face, and use others for exactly as long as is necessary to keep them safe. It's not that he doesn't care about other people - he does! - but when it came down to it, even Eddie was a tool to keep Iris away from metahumans first and his partner second. He stopped objecting to the Arrow's kill-happy past when it was clear that the Arrow could help Barry. When his family isn't in danger, Joe reverts back to a more standard cop moral structure, but it's just a model. Secondary (the “how”) Joe is a Slytherin secondary, too: Slytherin Secondaries improvise. They are the most reactive secondary, finding their strength in responding quickly to whatever a situation throws at them. They improvise differently than the Gryffindor Secondary, far more likely to try coming at situations from different angles than to try strong-arming them. He routinely breaks the rules and manipulates the people around him in ways that they’re not necessarily comfortable with to ensure that his family is kept safe, no matter what, and we never really see him express guilt or remorse over it. His focus on their safety sometimes leads to conflict with all three of his children, but Joe doesn’t care - if he feels that what he’s doing will keep them safer, he’ll continue to do that at any cost. Sometimes that means keeping Iris’s mother away from her, or covering for Barry at work when he’s tardy (pre-Flash). Sometimes that means pressuring Iris, Barry, and Wally to stay away from superhero-ing, or the broader group to keep his kids out of it. Sometimes it means working with a man he distrusts, shrugging off the team’s incarcerating people without a fair trial, or letting a mass murderer go free in exchange for information. Joe doesn’t care: he’ll use any means he has at his disposal to keep them safe. Summary: Joe is a Slytherin primary and Slytherin secondary. How he ended up with three Gryffindor primary/Gryffindor secondary kids, two of whom he actually raised, I really don’t know.

abhorsen.

abhorsen.

 

Sorting the MCU (Peter Parker)

I’m a Brooklynite, so Captain America’s exchange with Spiderman in Civil War made my day and remains one of my favorite exchanges… like, ever. “Queens.” “Brooklyn.” Queens is not the best borough, obviously (which is why Steve wins the fight, in an art-reflects-reality kind of why), but Queens is still adjacent to the best borough and has the 7 train, so it deserves props nonetheless and may be the second best borough, all things considered. By this somewhat questionable logic, I decided to sort Spiderman. Note: When I sort, I use the sortinghatchats system - +here’s (M to be safe) a link to their ‘basics’ post. To briefly summarize, though, they sort everyone on two different (and equally important) aspects of their personality: the first (your “primary” house) is why you do things, where the second (your “secondary” house) is how you do things. Primary (the “why”) Peter is a Gryffindor primary, and it’s perfectly encapsulated in one of the first things he says in the MCU. When Tony Stark asks him in Captain America: Civil War why he does what he does, this is what Peter says: “Because I’ve been me my whole life, and I’ve had these powers for six months. I read books, I build computers. And yeah, I would love to play football, but I couldn’t then, so I shouldn’t now…. When you can do the things that I can, but you don’t, and then the bad things happen… they happen because of you.” That’s the pure, driven, idealism of a Gryffindor primary. From sortinghatchats: There’s a reason Steve (a strong Gryffindor primary himself) reacts the way he does to Peter in Civil War - when he asks Peter whether Tony told him anything else and Peter says, “That you’re wrong, you think you’re right. That makes you dangerous,” Steve’s immediate reaction it to tell him that he’s “got heart.” That’s a framing that Steve fundamentally understands and respects, and it’s because they share a primary and see the world through a very similar lens. That’s a thread that continues throughout Spiderman: Homecoming, too. Peter doesn’t always really know what he’s doing - he’s 15, awkward and clearly needed more guidance than he got - but he knows what’s right, and he knows that he needs to be making a difference in the world. Everything in his life revolves around stopping “the bad things” - he doesn’t think twice about quitting extracurriculars he seems to have enjoyed and disappointing the girl he has a crush on, because what matters is doing what’s right. Most superheroes would have left Liz at the dance - the stakes of doing nothing were just too high. The difference between Peter and other superheroes is that Peter doesn’t seem to regret it - nor does he seem to regret turning down an invitation to join the Avengers. That was a huge invitation, and it’s what he clearly wanted earlier on in the movie (and likely still would like to do in the future)… but leaving the dance and turning down Tony were the right things to do, so he did them and didn’t seem to dwell on it after the fact. Even after he puts on his new suit when he gets home, there’s no indication that he’s thinking about what he gave up - he’s just psyched to have the suit. And that’s not because Peter is incapable of hesitation, regret, guilt. He does hesitate (and ultimately refuse) to use his alter-ego as a party trick, even though it probably would have impressed everyone there and made his life a lot easier. He also clearly feels guilty about lying to May - it’s a necessary wrong, but it’s still wrong. Peter is only willing to give up being a superhero when his hero tells him, point blank, that what he did on the ferry was wrong. He did something to stop “the bad things,” and it made the situation worse. I wouldn’t call him burned at that point in the movie, even if just momentarily, but I do think that he’s slightly charred, and I think he stops being Spiderman because he’s confused about what the right thing for him to do is, especially since he doesn’t hesitate to pick it back up when the smoke clears and he sees it clearly again. He doesn’t have the tools he probably needs, but it doesn’t matter, because to Peter, right is right, and if he has to suffer or even die for it, so be it. Secondary (the “how”) His secondary is a little more hazy, though I do ultimately come down on the side of a Ravenclaw primary: The case for Ravenclaw is an easy one. Being bitten by a spider opened the door for Peter to become a superhero, but he walked through it on his own. While Homecoming doesn’t go into the details too much (which I actually liked), it’s made clear in both Civil War and Homecoming that a lot of Peter’s powers are things that he’s responsible for - for example, he tells Tony that he created the webbing, and we see him experimenting with it at school. He’s developed his tools, and with them, he’s confident and sure of his abilities. It’s also strongly implied (and even overtly shown, at a few points) that Peter absorbs a lot of knowledge that just isn’t very likely to be useful. He likes to tinker with electronics, and MJ mentions that he’d recently quit robotics lab (along with marching band). He seems to have a track record of looking for new things to learn, and a lot of them don’t seem likely to be particularly useful. In addition, Peter doesn’t really seem to rely on others the way a lot of the other MCU heroes do. When he’s buried in rubble, he initially calls for help… but he quickly decides that the only person who’s coming to save him is him. His friend Ned ultimately helps him, but it’s not in the strong, decisive way that other superheroes, both MCU and otherwise, gather people around them - Ned is helpful, but he’s not an integral part of Peter’s day-to-day hero-ing. There are points where Peter comes across as being great at improvising - there's nothing that could have prepared him for a huge Ant-Man or having to rescue Dr. Strange from a powerful villain in a spaceship, for example, and he clearly didn't prepare to break through the window on the National Monument either. However, I see both Ant-Man and Dr. Strange as actually being an example of his Ravenclaw secondary; he didn't pull those solutions from nowhere, he pulled them from pop culture. His finding a way to use them isn't evidence of him being exceptionally adaptable - it's evidence of his building up a broad toolkit that can be used in a wide variety of situations. To summarize: Peter is a Gryffindor primary and a Ravenclaw secondary. (Italicized sorting quotes from sortinghatchats.)

abhorsen.

abhorsen.

 

Sorting the Buffyverse (Faith Lehane)

This is a gift for @Dojh167 as part of our December wishlist event - I hope it makes sense to you! ❤️ (If it doesn't, feel free to argue. )   Note: I use the sortinghatchats system - +here’s (M to be safe) a link to their ‘basics’ post. To briefly summarize, though, they sort everyone on two different (and equally important) aspects of their personality: the first (your “primary” house) is why you do things, where the second (your “secondary” house) is how you do things. I sorted Buffy Summers awhile back, and I'm finally following with her fellow slayer, Faith Lehane. There’s a pretty prevalent tendency to see Faith and Buffy as two sides of the coin - light and dark, Gryffindor and Slytherin, etc. I don’t think it’s that simple, though - and while Faith has a good Slytherin primary performance sometimes, I don’t think she’s actually a Slytherin primary or a Slytherin secondary. Primary (the “why”) Faith’s primary is a little hard, because by the time Faith enters the series, she’s just so, so damaged. I feel like I probably shouldn’t include Go Ask Malice in this, especially since I’m not including the comic books… but even without it, it’s very clear that Faith had a turbulent and abusive life before being called. The Faith we see early on in the show is not someone with a healthy primary - she’s someone who’s been badly hurt. It’s very, very easy to see her tendency to focus on herself and the people she’s closest to as indicating a Slytherin primary, but while Faith at her lowest looks a little like a petrified Slytherin primary, Faith at her best doesn’t look anything like a healthy Slytherin primary. Faith’s issue isn’t that she kicks people out of her inner circle; her issue is that she wants desperately for the world to be her inner circle, and she can’t deal with the pain that entails. She hits a turning point after she wakes up from her coma and runs off to Los Angeles. When Angel (and Wesley) protect her despite having very good reason not to, that centers her enough to choose to turn herself into the police. She only breaks out when Wesley tells her that Angel needs help. Once she’s helped them, she heads to Sunnydale, and pretty quickly adopts the potential Slayers as part of her community. That’s the key here - Faith isn’t particularly discerning about who she turns into her community. She just knows she needs someone. A Slytherin primary would have been more discerning - they would not have wanted as desperately as Faith did to belong to any group that would have her. She wants to belong with the Scoobies, with Gwendolyn Post, with the Mayor, with Angel (and Wesley), with the potential slayers... Even at her lowest, Faith doesn’t want to be alone, and at her best, she actively works toward positive relationships within those groups. That’s a Hufflepuff primary: Hufflepuff Primaries value people. They value community, bond to groups, and they make their decisions off of who is in the most need and who is the most vulnerable and who they can help. They value fairness because every person is a person and feel best when they give everyone a fair chance. She probably has a Slytherin primary performance, too, but it’s just an act. Secondary (the “how”) Her secondary is a lot more straightforward. Faith is a Gryffindor secondary through and through: Gryffindor Secondaries charge. They meet the world head-on and challenge it to do its worst. Gryffindor Secondaries are honest, brash, and bold in pursuit of things they care about. Known for their bravery, it is almost a moral matter to stay true to themselves in any situation that they’re in. Even as her why changes over the course of the show, especially after she escapes from prison, Faith’s how is always very straightforward. Faith doesn’t finesse or negotiate her way through anyway - she just attacks it. She says what she thinks, and she does what she says. Faith will jump into a manhole without knowing how many vampires are waiting for her on the other side, because “I don't know how many's down there, but I wanna find out, and I'll know when I land.” Faith barely has time to process that Angel has reverted to Angelus (again) before jumping through the glass and breaking out of prison. Faith attacks every situation she’s put in headfirst. In summary, Faith is a (burned) Hufflepuff primary with a Slytherin primary performance and a Gryffindor secondary. (Italicized quotes from sortinghatchats)

abhorsen.

abhorsen.

 

Sorting the Animorphs (Jake)

This is a gift for @facingthenorthwind as part of our December wishlist event - I hope you like it! I'm working on the others, too, but I'm not sure they'll get done. ❤️   I use the sortinghatchats system - +here’s (M to be safe) a link to their ‘basics’ post. To briefly summarize, though, they sort everyone on two different (and equally important) aspects of their personality: the first (your “primary” house) is why you do things, where the second (your “secondary” house) is how you do things. Today, I'm sorting Jake from the Animorphs series, by K.A. Applegate. Primary (the “why”) Jake is a Gryffindor Primary. Gryffindor Primaries trust their moral intuitions. They feel what’s right in their gut, and that matters and guides them. If they don’t listen to and act on that, it feels immoral. He does spend most of the series constantly re-examining his personal moral code, which would suggest a Ravenclaw primary. His personal loyalty to his brother and best friend contributes to his early commitment to the fight, which would point to a Slytherin primary. And, his broader loyalty to humanity - even human controllers - and his approach to the animorphs themselves tends to emphasize fairness, which is most typical of a Hufflepuff. But even at the beginning, his why is based around his gut. His analysis tends to center around justifying what he already thinks is the right thing to do, not really interrogating it, and when push comes to shove, his personal loyalties completely break down; a Slytherin wouldn’t have been able to do what Jake did in the last couple books. And, while he’s invested in humanity, his focus isn’t necessarily around individual fairness - it’s around saving the species as a whole. Most importantly, though: when Jake’s primary starts to fall apart as the trauma of the fight against the Yeerks continues, it’s very clear that he’s a stripped Gryffindor. His faith in his own moral compass is thrown off-kilter pretty early on, and as it continues to degrade, he starts to rely on Cassie to tell him what’s right and wrong. When her system breaks down, too, he keeps fighting, but he doesn’t really have a system he trusts or lives by, which is probably part of he makes the choices he does at the end of the war and why his life post-invasion is one of the bleakest. The war damages Jake’s inner sense of who he is as a person, and that’s not something that ever really recovers. Secondary (the “how”) Jake is all Slytherin Secondary. Slytherin Secondaries improvise. They are the most reactive secondary, finding their strength in responding quickly to whatever a situation throws at them. They improvise differently  than the Gryffindor Secondary, far more likely to try coming at situations from different angles than to try strong-arming. Jake wants to have a plan going into missions, because going into a confrontation where they’re outnumbered 5-1 on a good day and might have to face the king of “look at me transform into my new favorite death!creature from the fourth planet of a dying star” without any semblance of a plan is suicide. However, his knack for  adapting when the plan goes wrong is clear in his results: he’s the leader, and he gets himself and his fellow Animorphs through three years of fighting without losing anyone. (More or less. Megamorphs and other deleted sequences don’t count.) He’s not the only one in the Animorphs who can improvise on the go, but his improvisation is different than, say, his cousin Rachel’s; Jake will absolutely charge, but he won’t just hammer the door until he breaks it down - he’ll find another way to achieve his goal. He’s just as happy to win by tricking people as by beating them openly; as long as he’s winning, nothing else matters. When he’s forced into impossible situations, Jake will go to some pretty dark places to achieve his goal, and they’re not the places a Gryffindor secondary would go. He’s the one who definitively ends the war between the Andalites and the Yeerks, and he saves the human race - but the cost is really, really high, and his means aren’t something that would probably even enter most people’s heads. Tl;dr, Jake is a Gryffindor primary and a Slytherin secondary. (Italicized quotes from sortinghatchats.)

abhorsen.

abhorsen.

 

Sorting the Buffyverse (Buffy Summers)

I like sorting characters from other fandoms - a lot. I’ve been debating doing these in blog posts rather than in various threads, and… well, now I am. I use the sortinghatchats system - +here’s (M to be safe) a link to their ‘basics’ post. To briefly summarize, though, they sort everyone on two different (and equally important) aspects of their personality: the first (your “primary” house) is why you do things, where the second (your “secondary” house) is how you do things. And now I’m going to sort Buffy Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.   Primary (the “why”) At first glance, Buffy looks like a bit of a Hufflepuff primary. From sortinghatchats: Hufflepuff Primaries value people. They value community, bond to groups, and they make their decisions off of who is in the most need and who is the most vulnerable and who they can help. They value fairness because every person is a person and feel best when they give everyone a fair chance. Buffy doesn’t always have the luxury of putting individuals first - she’s often grappling with an impending apocalypse - but each person she’s too late to save takes its toll on her, and you can see that as it weighs down on her throughout the seasons. She also does end up finding a community-of-sorts in the Scoobies, which is a vital (if occasionally contentious) part of her life and survival throughout the series. Ultimately, though, Hufflepuff isn’t quite right. Buffy isn’t “loyal before she’s right” - when she thinks that she’s right, she’s willing to tear down everything and everyone that gets in the way, regardless of her attachment to them. And, apart from that very small group of friends, Buffy often seems actively uncomfortable with the concept of being part of a broader community - she rebels against the Council on multiple occasions, she doesn’t last long in the Initiative, and while she takes on the potentials in season seven, she’s clearly not particularly comfortable with that aspect of it. Buffy can train them; she can’t bond with them. That’s because Buffy is, at her core, a Gryffindor primary. From sortinghatchats again: Gryffindor Primaries trust their moral intuitions. They feel what’s right in their gut, and that matters and guides them. If they don’t listen to and act on that, it feels immoral. Her decisions are guided by what her gut says is right and wrong. Her moral compass evolves over time - there are decisions she makes earlier in the series that are clearly very different from decisions she’d make later on - but it’s always her guiding force - and no matter what trauma she faces, it tends to remain steady, and no matter how much she loves someone, it doesn’t override her sense of right and wrong.  She’s devastated about killing Angel at the end of season two and struggles with it throughout the third season, but she never regrets it. She’s haunted by it because it hurt her, not because she questions that it was the right thing to do. In ‘Sleeper’ in season 7, she says: “I killed Angel. Do you even remember that? I would've given up everything I had to be with - I loved him more than I will ever love anything in this life and I put a sword through his heart because I had to.” In ‘Lies My Parents Told Me’ (also season 7), she refuses to give ground when Giles and Wood want to kill Spike, to the extent that she was far more concerned about Spike’s well-being than Wood’s. There are a lot of layers to Buffy’s relationship with Spike, but ultimately, I take her at her word: she believes that keeping Spike around is the right thing to do. Now he has a soul, and she’s willing to forgive him because she thinks that now he has the capacity to move past his selfishness. If there’s one thing that Buffy struggles to forgive, it’s selfishness. She’s more angry at Giles for leaving her in season six than she was with him for poisoning her in season three, and she can’t live with herself when she feels like she’s being selfish. In season one’s ‘Prophecy Girl,’ she briefly quits when she hears that she’s prophecized to die - but she clearly feels guilty about it, and when she talks to Willow after the murders on the school campus, she changes her mind. She’s sixteen, and she willingly walks to her death. She’s got a reputation as being fairly straight-laced, but I think a lot of that is about not wanting to be selfish - and on the occasions where she’s not sure what right and wrong are, she tends to collapse into despair, even (especially?) when she’s the only one aware of her lapse. In season 5’s ‘The Weight of the World,’ she short-circuits into an endless loop when Dawn is taken by Glory because she’d had one moment of wishing that the fight with Glory was over and Dawn was dead, because she was so overwhelmed and so tired. For Buffy, this lapse into selfishness was overwhelming and self-defining. Even her depression in season six ties into this - part of it is clearly being yanked out of heaven, but I think that part of it is that she’s grappling with the consequences of doing something that she comes to see as selfish. She robbed the world of a slayer and comes back to a hellish nightmare because she couldn’t deal with losing her sister. She felt like she was doing the right thing in the moment - but she’s less convinced of that when she comes back, and it’s really only after she finds her purpose again that she gets back to herself. And, while her depression in season 6 exists independent of Spike and is a major contributing factor in their relationship in the first place, she’s also wrecked with guilt about their relationship - and it’s not a coincidence that her depression starts to alleviate shortly after she ends things with him, despite ‘Seeing Red,’ Tara being murdered, and Willow turning evil, committing murder, and trying to destroy the world. In ‘Dead Things,’ she beats him bloody and tells him, “There is nothing good or clean in you. You are dead inside! You can't feel anything real!” (She was clearly talking to herself as much as him, but it pretty clearly applied to both of them.) When she ends it with him in ‘As You Were,’ though, what she says is very different - and seems much closer to the truth. “I can't love you. I'm just ... being weak, and selfish... and it's killing me.” While part of her self-loathing is that she thinks that having sex with Spike is wrong because he doesn’t have a soul, part of it is that she’s using him - and that’s wrong. Buffy is all about right and wrong. She’s a Gryffindor primary through and through.   Secondary (the “how”) Buffy is a Gryffindor secondary too. From sortinghatchats again: Gryffindor Secondaries charge. They meet the world head-on and challenge it to do its worst. Gryffindor Secondaries are honest, brash, and bold in pursuit of things they care about. Known for their bravery, it is almost a moral matter to stay true to themselves in any situation that they’re in.  While she’s certainly resourceful, she’s also all about addressing her problem in the most straightforward way possible. In season 2’s ‘When She Was Bad,’ Giles buries the Master in consecrated earth; when Buffy has nightmares about the Master coming back, she takes a sledgehammer to his bones. When Lily/Anne comes to her because Ricky is missing in Season 3’s ‘Anne,’ Buffy breaks into the offices to find information and even comments that she “sucks at undercover.” In season 4’s ‘Something Blue,’ she tells Willow while they’re patrolling, “part of me believes that real love and passion have to go hand in hand with pain and fighting.” Her friends can see this tendency, too. Early on, it takes the form of jokes - in season 2’s ‘Inca Mummy Girl,’ Buffy protests that she doesn’t “always use violence!” Xander’s response? “The important thing is you believe that.” The implications start to get darker as the series progresses, though, including in season 6’s ‘Grave,’ when Willow is about to destroy the world. She sinks Buffy and Dawn into the earth and conjures monsters for Buffy to fight, because she thinks that Buffy “should go out fighting.” Willow’s speaking from experience here, too - Buffy’s devastated to the point of catatonia in ‘The Weight of the World’ because she feels that her moment of selfishness killed her sister - and because she was sure that Glory would beat her. If Buffy doesn’t see a way to address the problem head on, she shuts down. On the rare occasions that she tries to dissemble or change her tone, she does a poor job of it - it doesn’t come naturally, and more importantly, it feels wrong. Buffy is at her best when she’s attacking everything the world throws at her, not trying to hide who she is because her classmates or family can’t know the truth. She’s also a born leader. That’s not just a Slayer thing - characters throughout the series explicitly remark on how unusual it is to have a Slayer with such a big group of people who both know her secret and actively support her. While some of them do either have or develop connections to that world independently of her, most of them join the Scoobies because they want to, not because they have to. And, while her relationships with both Angel and Spike range from a little warped to downright toxic depending on the season, that tendency is true of them as well; she pulls Angel out of the depression he’d been in since getting his soul back, and love for her causes an unsouled Spike to turn his back on his sire after more than a century of devotion, not break under torture to protect her sister, and ultimately even seek out a way to win his soul back. Buffy inspires people without really meaning to, and they’ll follow her into hell because of it - literally, in the case of Spike, Faith, and the potentials.   Summary Buffy is a Gryffindor primary who will do what’s right even when she knows that it will destroy her afterward, and she uses her Gryffindor secondary to face the problems head-on and to lead a consistent core group of people through fire and back.

abhorsen.

abhorsen.

 

Sorting the Arrowverse (Barry Allen)

I like sorting characters from other fandoms - a lot. I’ve been debating doing these in blog posts rather than in various threads, and… well, now I am. I use the sortinghatchats system - +here’s (M to be safe) a link to their ‘basics’ post. To briefly summarize, though, they sort everyone on two different (and equally important) aspects of their personality: the first (your “primary” house) is why you do things, where the second (your “secondary” house) is how you do things. And now I’m going to sort the Arrowverse’s Barry Allen.   Primary (the “why”) Barry is a little tough to sort, because he can look like a lot of different things. The only primary he doesn't look much like is Ravenclaw’s. I’ve second-guessed myself a fair amount as I’ve gone through the series, so I’m going to just look at the other three houses one by one. Slytherin Primaries prioritize individual loyalties and find their moral core in protecting and caring for the people they are closest to. They often construct a morality system to deal with situations that are not addressed by their loyalty system. It’s probably the easiest to pick out when Barry has shown a Slytherin side: they’re some of the most significant decisions he’s made, and they’ve had lasting consequences. Changing the timeline to save his parents and his fixation on saving Iris to the exclusion of almost everything else (both in season three) were both motivated by his individual loyalties. However, the key here is that Barry isn’t truly comfortable with the selfish choices that he’s made. He feels an enormous amount of guilt over them. A Slytherin primary wouldn’t be wrecked with guilt over Flashpoint the way Barry is, for example. It’s also important that, even at his lowest and most unhappy, Barry doesn’t look anything like a petrified Slytherin primary. He never stops caring about the people in his inner circle, and even when he cuts himself off from them at the beginning of season two, it’s not because having people close to him is dangerous to him - he’s (somewhat justifiably) afraid that it’s dangerous for them. I think Barry fits better with one of the ‘felt’ houses - i.e., Gryffindor or Hufflepuff, which can look quite a bit alike. They trust their guts; they don’t need to pick feelings apart to know that they’re real. But Gryffindors are also idealists, where Hufflepuffs are loyalists. For Gryffindors, the impact their actions have on people helps shape what they think is right and what they think is wrong, but there’s a bigger picture; for Hufflepuffs, people are the big picture. The end result is often the same, but how they get there isn’t. Let’s look at Hufflepuff first. Hufflepuff Primaries value people. They value community, bond to groups, and they make their decisions off of who is in the most need and who is the most vulnerable and who they can help. They value fairness because every person is a person and feel best when they give everyone a fair chance. This looks a lot more like Barry than Slytherin does. He forms strong bonds with his team at STAR Labs very quickly, and his focus is invariably on saving people who are vulnerable. He wants the world to be fair, and he embodies that when he doesn’t just give members of his team second chances - he dismisses their apologies as unnecessary. He does it for Cisco when he reveals Barry’s identity to Leonard Snart to save his brother. He does it when Harry steals Barry’s speed to save his daughter. He does it when Caitlin turns into Killer Frost and helps Savitar. Hufflepuff could fit Barry - but it’s not the best fit for him. Gryffindor Primaries trust their moral intuitions. They feel what’s right in their gut, and that matters and guides them. If they don’t listen to and act on that, it feels immoral. Barry is a forgiving person, but that doesn’t automatically make him a Hufflepuff. A Hufflepuff might forgive or help someone they dislike because people have inherent worth. That’s not Barry - he’ll forgive people because he believes they’re better than their mistakes and have the right approach inside of them, not because they have innate worth. It’s not just about his friends, either - he forgives Leonard Snart because he believes that Snart is better than that. People who he doesn’t see the capacity to change in are locked up in the pipeline. Barry is also more than willing to sacrifice social harmony when if conflicts with doing what’s right. He'd certainly prefer for the people around him to get along and agree with him, but Barry doesn’t need them to get along or agree with him. That’s a pattern established in the very first episode, and it runs throughout the series: if Barry thinks that something is right, he’ll do it, and screw what anyone else says. “I’m sorry, but you can’t talk me out of this” or “I’ve made up my mind” are used over and over and over again - and for Barry, social harmony is collateral damage that he doesn’t hesitate to accept if it means that he’s doing The Right Thing. A Hufflepuff would care about preserving it; a Gryffindor wouldn’t. And while Barry’s attachment to his ever-expanding team at STAR Labs is significant, the nature of that attachment points at a Gryffindor primary, too. His core identity doesn’t revolve around STAR Labs - it revolves around being the Flash. He doesn’t seek out a new community to get involved with in Flashpoint until it becomes intrinsically connected to doing the right thing. And, in the original timeline, his passion for his ideals drags the team out of a thick malaise and brings people together to work toward his vision. That’s far more characteristic of a Gryffindor primary than a Hufflepuff primary. Throughout the first season, Barry has a decision to make over (and over, and over): should he break his father out of jail? He wants to, but he doesn’t. Part of that is knowing that his father wouldn’t want that, but part of it is that Barry feels like it would be <i>wrong.</i> The other key is to look at Barry not just at his best, but at his worst. Barry at his worst doesn’t really look much like a burned Puff primary - he never really sees having a community as inherently unsafe, nor does he ever try to shrink it, with the possible exception of stepping away from it in the beginning of season two. However, Barry at his worst looks a lot like a Gryffindor primary who’s starting to strip - he’s never at his most anguished than he is when he doesn’t know what’s right. It’s true that some of his alter-egos do look a bit like burned Puffs - both Savitar and future!Barry in season three have stepped away from their communities in ways that are a little more characteristic of a burned Hufflepuff than a stripped Gryffindor. However, there’s too much about their journeys and internal struggles that we just don’t see to sway me. It’s entirely possible that future!Barry’s experience surrounding Iris’s death involved something that shook his faith in his ability to tell right from wrong, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see a Gryffindor primary in that position wall themselves off. Similarly, if Savitar was truly ostracized from the group, I can absolutely see his feelings about right and wrong becoming warped. We don’t get to know future!Barry or Savitar well enough to puzzle that out, and their characterization isn’t inconsistent with Gryffindor, so I’m going to stick with my original conclusion: Barry Allen is a Gryffindor primary.   Secondary (the “how”) His secondary is a lot more straightforward. His team at STAR Labs improvises and plans, and he works hard to improve his speed, but none of that is who Barry is. Charging is who Barry is. Inspiring is who Barry is. And that's all Gryffindor secondary. Gryffindor Secondaries charge. They meet the world head-on and challenge it to do its worst. Gryffindor Secondaries are honest, brash, and bold in pursuit of things they care about. Known for their bravery, it is almost a moral matter to stay true to themselves in any situation that they’re in. “Brash” is perhaps a bit harsh, but as “Wells” once pointed out, he’s a bit of a show-off. His pure glee at being mugged in S1 E7 and at helping Joe and Eddie fight criminals after Eddie finds out that he’s the Flash speaks to that. Whether something’s seen as possible doesn’t really enter the equation - Barry’s sentiment is always “I have to try.” Sometimes that involves using his powers - he does what his team thinks is impossible that against both of the Margon brothers - but it doesn’t always involve it. His unsuccessful appeal to Abra Kadabra’s better nature in season three to learn who Savitar is a great example of how he uses it in a verbal capacity as well as a physical one. He even (briefly) manages to break through to Savitar himself. His attempts don’t always fail, either - they’re often quite successful. He inspires the people around him with his hope, optimism, and sincerity. Eobard Thawne came back in time to kill Barry, but while his initial motivation in creating the Flash was clearly just to get back to his own time, he clearly comes to feel genuine affection toward Barry, leaving him both STAR Labs and a taped confession for Nora Allen’s murder. Barry pulls Caitlin back from the brink of becoming Killer Frost in episode 7 of season three because he trusts her. Future!Barry was broken by Iris’s death; Present!Barry inspires him to reconnect with the team members and become the Flash again when he goes off to fight Mirror Master and Top, because it’s The Right Thing To Do. “I heard what you said, and you were right.” Barry doesn’t just inspire the people around him to be better, either - he also inspires them to be honest. He tells them how he feels and what he knows: he’s honest about he remembers from the night his mother died, he’s honest about his feelings for Iris, he’s honest about Flashpoint. It causes him clear distress when he hides things from people - Barry’s default state is being an open book. While he can accept that it’s not always possible, he doesn’t like it, because he often isn’t deciding to tell people things so much as being too earnest not to tell them. It being a “moral matter” to stay true to himself is a perfect description of where his struggle comes from in S1 after he discovers that “Wells” was involved in his mother’s murder. Joe can fake it. Barry can’t. If he tells you that he’s going to do something, he will do it. He tells his father he’ll free him from prison, and he does. He promises to go back for the real Jay (twice!), and he does. He promises to save Iris, and he does (albeit with assistance from HR). Yes, he’s saving people he cares about (or identifies with) - but it’s often clear that Barry’s motivated by the principle as much as the practical implications. He doesn’t break promises because that’s just not what you do. In summary: Barry is a Gryffindor primary and a Gryffindor secondary.

abhorsen.

abhorsen.

 

On Straws, Environmentalism, and Ableism

If you've seen something along these lines on my facebook, sorry - I was thinking about it, and I was like, you know what this would make a blog post. So here we are. There's been a lot of attention paid to the impact plastic straws have on the environment lately, and I know a lot of people who have become pretty active in pushing back against how the waste they generate. That's not a bad thing in and of itself; many people don't use straws, and throwing out unused or unnecessary straws is definitely not good for the environment and should be avoided when possible. However. It is not okay to go around telling restaurants that they should no longer carry straws, or shaming people for using straws, or dismissing the fact that some people need straws to drink - and there's a growing trend toward taking it to that extreme. My mom needed a straw to drink before the ALS progressed to her not being able to drink on her own, and there were at least a couple events we went to where there weren't straws and so she literally couldn't drink. It was upsetting, and trying to get her water in other ways was nowhere near as safe as her being able to control what she was drinking through a straw. (It's really, really hard to tip just the right amount of water into someone's mouth at just the right pace, especially when their disability impacts things like breathing. When the straw stopped being an option because she didn't have the breath to suck the liquid up and we had to hold up the cup for her, there were multiple times when she inhaled the water - including one incident that resulted in an exhausting trip to the hospital.) My mom is not the only person in that situation. There are a lot of people who literally cannot drink or struggle to drink without straws because of disabilities or other health issues. Shaming them for needing straws is shaming them for being disabled. A lot of people don't realize this. I get that - it's not something I would have been so aware of if I hadn't seen it with my mom. But once you're aware of the issue, please, please call out the ableism when you see it. Not being to access water (or other liquids) - especially when it happens all the time because no one carries straws anymore - is really, really dangerous, and it's not an exaggeration to say that it can lead to serious health complications and even death. Reusable straws are an option - but they're not always a good option, either for individuals to carry with them or for restaurants/other events to use them like they use utensils. Ineffective. Metal, wood, and glass can be too hard (or cold) to be viable solutions for some people, and a lot of the reusable straws on the market - especially the ones that are most durable, which are also probably the most desirable for both individuals and companies - are metal/wood/glass.
  Price point. Reusable straws are often much, much more expensive.

That's a problem for individuals because people with disabilities are disproportionately poor, because disabilities are expensive. Healthcare is often incredibly expensive, accessibility isn't a priority, and just getting around can be prohibitively exhausting and also not at all cost effective.

That's also a problem for places that serve food. Some restaurants probably could afford to provide them, but many - especially places that are less formal or primarily to-go (i.e., cheaper) - would not. If we're talking about a one-time event, that's even more true, because no one is going to spend $30 on reusable straws for one event.
  Sanitation. Reusable straws aren't that hard to clean if you have the physical ability to do so, but they're still harder to clean that silverware. That's an additional barrier for people who don't have the physical ability to do so for their own personal straws, and it also makes using someone else's reusable straw problematic; there's no guarantee that it's been cleaned properly, which is particularly a concern if you have a vulnerable immune system - which many disabled people who need straws do. Beyond that... straws don't exist in a vacuum. Disabled people are often less able to minimize waste than abled people, and the answer can't be to tell disabled people to just be more like abled people - they can't be. That's the point. The onus for saving the planet has to rest on the people who can do it, not thrown at the feet of people who can't - and if people can't accept disabled people sometimes needing disposable straws, it's not going to stop there. Absolutely ask people if they need straws. Advertise reusable straws. But people need to use a little empathy, too, because they can reduce waste without shaming people for needing a little more than they do.

abhorsen.

abhorsen.

 

On depression and reaching out

Content warning for mention of suicide Click the spoiler tag to read the post. I don't talk about suicide in any depth, but I do mention it in the broader context of depression and little things individuals can do to help people who are depressed. I also want to mention that we all have shit to grapple with; these are just things I wanted to mention that could be good to do if you can do them. I'm not in any way advocating giving more of yourself than you want and/or are able to give; once it starts to take a toll on you, it's not a little thing for you anymore, either.
   

abhorsen.

abhorsen.

 

On jerkbrains and thank yous

So as some of you know, I sometimes battle with depression. And depression can be a lying liar from liarsville that whispers lies in your ears. I have this thing where I simultaneously have really good self-esteem and absolute shit self-esteem. When people dislike me, my reaction is usually "What the hell is wrong with you?" But when people do like me, my reaction is usually "But you wouldn't if you knew the real me!" I assume that people will be attracted to me because my hair is awesome, but I also get super pessimistic about prospective relationships, and will even tell people that I'm into them without giving them a chance to respond, because it genuinely doesn't occur to me that it could be reciprocal. (Then I realize three years later that it totally was and they literally tried to tell me that it was. Oops.) I'm being rash and peculiar again. My point is, I'm a vain and sentimental enigma wrapped in a number of pop culture references. So to combat the sweet nothings that depression metaphorically whispers in my ears and my sporadically low self-esteem, I have a folder on my computer. It's titled, 'Hi, Self. You don't actually suck.' And in it, I put evidence that I don't actually suck, to try to interrupt the spiral of negativity that my jerk-brain sometimes triggers. It doesn't solve it, but it helps. Anyway. I pretty much just want to thank HPFT, because I was going through it recently (read: today :P) and realized that quite a lot of stuff in the folder is stuff that you guys have given me - little threads on twitter, the OoM/archive opening threads, reviews, recs... etc etc etc. I first joined this community six years ago, and I'm so thankful I stumbled across it - no matter how shitty the world looks, there are so many pockets of fundamentally good-hearted people who care about banding together and supporting the people around them, and that's a really lovely thing.   I feel so privileged to be one of you, and I hope I give y'all as much as you give me. Because there's not actually a cure for jerkbrains... but friends can help a lot. Thanks. <3 P.S. If you struggle with the medical condition formally known in the medical community as jerkbrain, I strongly recommend making a folder like that, because it will probably help.

abhorsen.

abhorsen.

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