Personality Type: ESFJ
Ilonka turns up at the school highly motivated to connect to others and carve out her place in the world. She’s also very good with people and tuning into their needs, but also has a lot of trouble separating her feelings from the logic of the situation in front of her. She is adamant that she is not going to die, and so she finds it hard to face the realization that all of them are going to die as well—the story is really a tale of her coming to terms with her diagnosis, giving up on her ‘magical thinking,’ and accepting that death is no excuse to avoid living. ESFJs can get drawn up into others’ lives easily and that’s what happens with Ikonka, as she tries to keep everyone cheerful and upbeat, make friends with her angry and isolated roommate, and quickly integrates into the Midnight Club (by showing up and improvising a sinister story on the spot to please them all). She suppresses her own feelings much of the time to please others, but can also unload them on unsuspecting people when she’s upset—like in one of the final episodes, after she’s finally coping with her own impending death (Ilonka refused to believe she wasn’t being miraculously cured) and she runs into Kevin’s girlfriend in the corridor; she is polite at first, but then attacks her for being inconsiderate and selfish, for not facing the harsh reality that Kevin is dying, and just wanting to pretend like nothing is painful or hard—she’s disowning her own feelings and putting them onto someone else. She also has a ‘we’ mindset in wanting to save and cure all her friends, and in assuming if the ritual works, they can duplicate it however many times it would take to heal everyone. In that way, she’s being unrealistic; sometimes ESFJs can focus on a happy outcome they want, and ignore how it’s logically impossible. Now, it would be easy to argue ENFJ for her, but I think not; while she is goal-oriented and determined to have one outcome, to the extent that she fixates on it and assumes it has come true just because she wants it to be true (when she overhears a phone conversation saying one of them is cured and going home, she leaps to the conclusion that it’s her, even when the person tells her to her face that it isn’t; and she only accepts that it isn’t her when someone else confesses that they were misdiagnosed and are returning home), Ilonka often inaccurately misinterprets situations and leaps to the wrong conclusions. That speaks more to over-confident lower intuition more than a high level of intuition. Shasta, the woman she meets in the woods, seems more like the ENFJ—she intuitively knows what to tell Ilonka that will make Ilonka trust her, by reading into her state of mind and catering her argument to it (something NFJs are good at), uses her talent for telling her what she knows she wants to hear to earn her trust and make her feel welcome, and has a long-term strategy in mind that kicks in when she meets Ilonka in the woods (her own eventual cure). She is a cult leader who spouts idealistic beliefs that draw Ilonka, because they reinforce her desire for a cure. And, there’s the fact that Ilonka is operating off a desire to recreate a single incident in the long history of hospice care—when one person vanished for a week, and came back cured. SJs tend to trust what has worked before; they think if they can duplicate the method someone else used, it will turn out perfectly for them as well. She turns up at the school rather like Hermione Granger, in that she has done all of her research, she trusts what’s been written down in books, and she knows more about the history of the place than the person giving the tour, including dates and names. She methodically gathers information, spends a lot of time in the great outdoors (showing a love for nature and natural curiosity), and is open to trying a variety of self-cure methods (teas, herbs, etc). Her objection to Shasta’s ritual only happens after she has let her into the school and taken part in half of it—and then she notices that Shasta is missing her sacrifices, a comparison between what she and the other kids did for Anya and what’s happening now in front of her that tips her off that something is amiss here (and yet, she almost still drinks the tea).
Enneagram: 7w6 so/sp
Enneagram 7s participate regularly in “magical thinking” – that is, if they ignore things that are unpleasant and hard and focus on positivity and optimism instead, things will magically turn out all right. That’s what happens when she receives her diagnosis – she confidently tells her dad that she’s a smart girl who beats everything, she can beat this too. And she comes to the school convinced that she’s going to find a magical cure and be the one person since 1968 not to leave in a body bag. That’s the ultimate in toxic positivity, as she avoids processing her own impending death, filling out her death report (what she wants for her funereal), and chasing after her dream of surviving. She picked the one place with a “miracle” that happened there, in the assumption that she will be picked for another one and that she can make it happen. That’s re-framing. She assumes she has been cured when she hears one of them will be going home, showing her self-confidence and need to believe in the best for herself. 7s can be delusional in their positivity. Ilonka has to come to terms with her own impending death and accept it, and that’s what winds up happening with her story arc. She does have an active 6 wing, however, in how loyal she is to her new friends, how she tries to do what’s best for them all, and that she becomes suspicious of Shasta at the last minute—creeping out of her optimism and hope into concern and distrust when things don’t measure up to what she expected them to be. She shows the social instinct in how collective-thinking is, always adjusting herself to those around her and attempting to connect to and establish relationships with them, as well as providing for her own health (her herbal teas and desire to ensure her body works as long as possible.