In Defence of Hufflepuff

November 18, 2010

Tomorrow night, I’m seeing HP7I (that’s Harry Potter 7: Part 1). So, it would be reasonable for me to do a Harry Potter post the night of, i.e. tomorrow night.

Eh… we’re not always big on reason here.

Actually, the truth is, I already know what I want to talk about tomorrow. I’m excited about it. Therefore: we get a Harry Potter post today! Whoot!

As we all know, Hogwarts has four houses. When you ask small children, and cool adults, which house they want to be in, they usually reply “Gryffindor!” or “Ravenclaw!” The rebels say “Slytherin!”

But no one ever wants to be in Hufflepuff.

Of all the houses, poor Hufflepuff is the most neglected. It doesn’t even have a cool name. Slytherin evokes vaguely threatening serpentine imagery perfectly, while Gryffindor and Ravenclaw can both be broken down into “Gryffin d’or” (golden griffin) and, obviously, “Raven claw.” Those are names to be proud of. Hufflepuff? It sounds like cotton candy made of sneezes.

Putting aside its name for a moment, Hufflepuff never really had a chance. In the first book, we’re introduced to it when Hagrid refers to Hufflepuffs as “a bunch of duffers.” Who wants to be in a house like that? Certainly not the new crop of wizards; on the Hogwarts Express, they all talk about getting into the other illustrious houses. Some actually talk about going home if they turn out to be Hufflepuffs.

But is Hufflepuff really that bad?

The Sorting Hat’s song in the first book lists the houses’ character traits. Here’s what it says about Hufflepuff:

You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true
And unafraid of toil;

Ok. So they’re not “brave and daring,” or insanely intelligent, or evil cunning. A lot of the time, it seems like Hufflepuff is the catch-all for everyone who’s not smart enough for Ravenclaw, brave enough for Gryffindor, or egotistical enough for Slytherin. That’s not really fair, though. Loyalty and pride in one’s work are admirable qualities in their own right; they shouldn’t be an afterthought.

The other houses seem tied to glory: being the best, whether in brains, nerves, or… in general. Hufflepuff isn’t about being the best. It’s about being your best. Like the tenacious badger, Hufflepuffs get the job done, not because they want to show how great they are or profit from it, but because it’s the right thing to do.

Their hearts are true. That’s not a reason to shunt them to the side.

Justin Finch-Fletchley, Susan Bones, Ernie Macmillian, Cedric Diggory… I salute you.




  1. I think Cedric Diggory exemplified the spirit of Hufflepuff, and he will always be known as a martyr in the war against Voldemort. I have tickets for Saturday afternoon, and am looking forward to it with sleepless anticipation (Okay, not that bad, but I am a fan).

  2. Loved this, especially . . . “Hufflepuff? It sounds like cotton candy made of sneezes.”

    I would want to be in Gryffindor because my alma mater (William and Mary) just adopted the Griffin as its new mascot.

    But I would be friends with Hufflepuffs . . . especially after reading this defense of their loyalty and pure hearts.

  3. Thank you for standing up for the Hufflepuffs. I have decided that I am a Hufflepuff and i’m tired of getting crap from my friends for being one. Now I can show them this post and say ‘HA! Look at that! We aren’t so bad after all’

    Oh. And the “Hufflepuff? It sounds like cotton candy made of sneezes.” is priceless.

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