Hogwarts House sorting is probably my favourite habit that I’ve picked up over my decade-plus interacting in the Harry Potter fandom. It’s calming, and it’s helped me deal with social anxiety for the last few years. When I know someone’s a Gryffindor versus a Ravenclaw, I can shift the way I approach them, hopefully to the benefit of both parties. As an introverted Hufflepuff, this practice has saved me from being too overwhelmed by people, especially as I’ve tried to interact more on social media.
Thankfully, the book community is a welcoming one, with many an introvert mingling on Twitter and Tumblr. But there is one group of people that I’m still a tad intimidated by: authors.
“Don’t be silly, Angel,” you might say, “authors are people too!” Lots of authors I admire have spoken about their own struggles with anxiety/depression, and I do appreciate that. But as I’ve started to interact with more authors over my years of blogging and writing for other websites, I return again and again to my sorting habit.
Gryffindors are a-plenty on social media, with Ellen Oh and Roxane Gay leading the way among my own favourite authors. Both women come across as classic Gryffindors, outspoken and committed to their respective causes. Toni Morrison’s powerful statements on not identifying feminism as a theme of her stories also distinguish her as a Gryff, willing to say the things she believes in but which people might not agree with. I would also count Tahereh Mafi as a member of the red and gold crew–she embodies a lot of the charisma that Gryffindors possess.
Ravenclaws are also pretty easy to find: Malinda Lo and Daniel José Older come to mind almost immediately. Lo’s tireless work gathering and analyzing statistics in YA literature is a very Ravenclaw kind of project, as is Older’s writing on different topics affecting intersectionality in the book community. Sabaa Tahir also comes across as a Claw for me, with her measured words and demeanor, and Meg Medina’s advocacy for Latino kids in media makes her an Eagle in my mind.
Jessica Martinez and Sherman Alexie seem most Slytherin among the authors I read most, though that definitely doesn’t make them bad people. Slytherins are some of the most resilient and focused people I’ve ever met, their ambitious natures leading them to do amazing things. Alexie’s willingness to speak up about Native representation in media, even if it isn’t the popular thing to say, is admirable, as is Martinez’s uncanny ability to capture characters from all walks of life in stories that we might not expect to see in YA.
But Hogwarts wouldn’t be complete without the kind and loyal Hufflepuffs and I’ve been lucky to have had some really fulfilling conversations with my fellow badgers. Aisha Saeed has been both a role model and a supportive acquaintance, and Heidi Heilig is a warm and funny presence anywhere you might get the chance to interact with her. Zen Cho can seem like a Ravenclaw at first glance, but she and Erin Entrada Kelly both value community the way Puffs do.
Admittedly, these sortings might be anywhere between spot-on to completely off the mark, and I’d be interested to see where the aforementioned authors might sort themselves. But House sorting has been a fun lens to wear as I interact with some of my favourite writers, and a therapeutic one, reminding me that while we might find ourselves in different houses, we’re all part of one community that loves the written word and the connections those pages give us.