Susan's Blog

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sorting it out

Yesterday we went to see “9,” a new CGI sci-fi movie produced by Tim Burton, about evil robot-ruled earth and the nine small sack people who remain. The movie was, according to Ben, “1/4 Myst, 1/2 Wall-E, and 1/4 Little Big Planet.” There were also strains of The Matrix. Interesting flick, but not emotionally compelling, except at the end, where the question of missing loved ones came up.

After dinner, although we started out giving our critiques of the movie (with Ben saying, “Everytime we see a movie, we always end up criticizing it for three hours!) we found ourselves in a lively conversation about the houses of Harry Potter’s school Hogwarts. Max began it, by stating that he would have been in Hufflepuff. Hufflepuff? I asked. Not Gryffendor? I looked at Max, with his golden mane, his physical beauty, and his inner strength, and I felt disappointed that he would pick Hufflepuff rather than what I thought of as the “best” house. Max explained that Hufflepuff was all about being loyal and true, whereas to him those in Gryffendor were headstrong. Given this description, I could agree with Max, and I realized that, yes, even though I always see his potential and power, his rock-star looks, Max has never been interested in any of that. Max’s true self has always been about quietly knowing what was what, and not leaping up to brand the moment with his views.

Ben then said that he’d kind of like to be Slytherin. I felt a moment’s concern, but then Max pointed out that Slytherin was not actually evil, but ambitious and political. I could feel that Ben could have been in Slytherin, but maybe more Ravenclaw, because of their intense cerebral abilities and their focus.

I said that Ned was Gryffendor, because he is my prince, but when I think about it now, he might be Hufflepuff like Max: steadfast.

I said that I was fascinated with Slytherin, and would love to be named Bellatrix LaStrange; I also think alot about who does what to whom and why, but I don’t think that makes me a Slytherin. Maybe I’m a Gryffendor, because I like my own ideas best and I like to put them into action. Maybe Ravenclaw, because most of the time I dream things up and then go back to my laptop.

The conversation was coming to an end, when I brought up Nat. There was silence, small but excruciatingly awkward, yet I persisted. Nat was not here with us, but he still has a personality and he deserved to wear the Sorting Hat like the rest of us. Ben muttered, “Hufflepuff,” but without conviction.

“Gryffendor,” I said. “Think about it. He’s charismatic; he always attracts people to him, people who believe in him and adore him. He gets into trouble with his passions and single-mindedness. More silence. I said, “And, you know, sometimes I get a glimpse of who Nat could have been if he were not autistic.” Max and Ben looked at me, processing this. I did not elaborate; nor did I give up. I am determined not to let Nat slip into the background, the family netherworld, just because he is not with us all the time, just because he can’t converse with us when he is.

Then Max said slowly, “Yeah, I can see Nat as a Gryffendor.” I felt ridiculously elated hearing Max talk about Nat, think about who he was. And then Ben quietly agreed. The conversation gently moved on, but something good and powerful remained.


I don't know if you've read the books or not, but based on the books (not the movies, he appears differently) I've always thought that Neville Longbottom had something like a non-verbal learning disability.

— added by Ekie on Monday, September 14, 2009 at 6:33 pm

Sure I've read them! Neville is a very interesting character, paired as he is with Harry in terms of the Prophecy. I loved that twist, and I loved Neville. I think I agree with you!

— added by Susan Senator on Monday, September 14, 2009 at 6:53 pm

Lovely story.

I get a glimpse of what my daughter would be like if she didn't have autism, but it was weird to read someone else say that.

— added by Anonymous on Monday, September 14, 2009 at 8:58 pm