Mara Dyer trilogy and The Shaw Confessions by Michelle Hodkin
Why Mara Dyer is a Slytherin
Mara Dyer’s story is one you either love or hate. However, as much as readers may disagree on whether the series is good or not, one thing I think we can all agree on is that Ms. Dyer is a Slytherin. One of the most Slytherin Slytherins to have ever Slytherin-ed. In fact, her most Slytherin trait is her selective loyalty and willingness to protect those she loves by any means necessary. She’s also got a real vengeful streak, driven by her personal brand of right and wrong. She’s judge, jury, and executioner. Whether you love her or hate her, the consensus is clear: do not fuck with Mara Dyer.
Mara’s radius of loyalty and protection extends only to Noah, her brothers, and Jamie. Her doubters and enemies are dead to her (sometimes literally). She doesn’t even really have a sense of familial loyalty. Her parents didn’t believe her and sent her away (for help, but still), so they earn no points from her. The only exception to this rule is her younger brother Joseph, and even then only when he’s in immediate, life-threatening danger. However, it can be argued that the only person who truly has her full, unconditional loyalty is Noah. She spends an entire novel searching for him because she’s convinced he’s not dead. More to the point, when he does die, she trades the lives of all the emergency personnel who rescue her and Noah from Noah’s father for his. To her, their lives matter less than that of the boy she loves. The ends justify the means.
We see this again in The Becoming of Noah Shaw, when it’s revealed she killed Noah’s father and made it look like a suicide. This is both to protect and avenge Noah, and to avenge herself. Mr. Shaw is a threat and an enemy, and thus must be eliminated. This one-track-minded fixation on Noah’s safety extends to self-harm. When other Gifted teens are seemingly killing themselves, Mara is curious but not concerned. When Noah cuts himself to exhibit his healing abilities, she is furious and devastated. Granted, Noah does have a history of self-harm and suicidal ideation, but I still posit a large part of her reaction is because it’s Noah. Her Noah. In her mind, no one is allowed to hurt Noah, not even Noah.
This becomes murky, however, when you remember the “You will love him to ruins” prediction. Even though Mara repeatedly offers to leave in order to protect him, she doesn’t put up much of a fight when Noah refuses. I would argue this is her form of ambition and shrewdness. Deep down, she must know Noah will always want her to stay. Therefore, she’s not sacrificing much when she offers to leave for his safety. She’s not callus though. When Noah finds out what she did to keep him alive, he tells her he never wants to see her again and she immediately complies. Mara’s need to protect Noah and her desire to have what she wants are constantly warring, so much so that she doesn’t have a powerful reaction to either outcome. They are both what she wants, so she wins either way. It’s the Slytherin’s dream predicament.
On a similar note, no one does revenge quite like a Slytherin. When Mara or one of her cronies are threatened, she will not hesitate to mete out what she considers justice. When her Spanish teacher picks on her and tries to fail her, Mara wishes she would die. And then, she does. Granted, Mara doesn’t understand her powers yet, but she has an inkling. Similarly, she wishes death upon a dog abuser and really doesn’t pay that much mind. She’s freaked out, sure. But she’s far more concerned with the dog’s well-being. When a group of bullying frat guys assault a homeless man and call Jamie the n-word, Mara puts the fear of God in them. Using her mind, she terrorizes and tortures them. She nearly kills them, but Stella stops her. She kills the man who tries to rape Stella. She murders Dr. Kels and her ilk. All of this is done in the name of justice and vengeance. Whether or not it’s fair doesn’t matter; Mara has her own moral code that she lives by. Her motto is an eye for an eye (or perhaps, more accurately, your head for an eye). Mara doesn’t consider what she does wrong because it’s retribution. It’s a way of distorting reality in order to fit your own agenda, a very Slytherin notion indeed. You do the crime, you do the time (proportional punishment optional).
Make no mistake, I’m not Sorting Mara into Slytherin because she has killing powers. I’m Sorting her into Slytherin because of how she uses them. She kills and harms to further her own agenda, to protect her loved ones and exact vengeance. Her loyalty is conditional, with perhaps one exception. She creates situations in which she can’t lose and has little mercy. Mara Dyer is perhaps one of the most cutthroat characters I’ve ever read about. She is savage in the truest sense. She ambitiously explores her powers and will not be contained. She is silver and green, through and through.