How the forgotten house became the most loyal.
When I was younger, I was the person who waited up all night in line to get my copy of the latest Harry Potter. I remember buying a cheap robe from Target and prancing into a bookstore to wait for hours for someone to hand me a book. I wasn’t alone. There were hundreds of other people there waiting with me. I felt like a part of something huge and exciting.
I remember my parents telling me I wasn’t allowed to start the book until the next day, and then opening the cover the moment they left my room and tucking into an adventure. I consumed the books hungrily, and when the movies came out, I was at every single one with a gaggle of friends, so excited I could hardly sit still.
With the rise of internet quizzes, I found “Which Hogwarts House Would You Be Sorted Into?” and got excited. Who wouldn’t? It was something I had dreamed about for years. I always thought I would make a cunning Ravenclaw, with my love of learning and excitement to find answers, or perhaps a brave Gryffindor. I didn’t have the characteristics of a Gryffindor (but all the main characters were there, and so I wanted to be, too); I was a bit of a coward growing up. Anywhere but Slytherin, I told myself, in the same manner that Harry had. I don’t want to be from Slytherin.
So when I finished the test and waited for my results, I was dismayed to see a name I hadn’t even considered — the house that was often forgotten and often cast aside for the others. Most people wanted one of the houses that were most discussed in the books. Even Ravenclaw had a better reputation, but it planted me firmly in the home of the loyal.
I puzzled at this and decided the test was wrong. Apparently whoever made it didn’t understand what it meant to be a Ravenclaw, and that if I took a different test the answer would change. It did not. Each test revealed the same truth — one I did not want to admit at the time. I was a Hufflepuff.
When Pottermore hit the scene, I was ready to see the “true” answer. I went through the test as honestly as I could, expecting a new and different solution. I was prepared to see what J.K. Rowling herself would think of me. It happened again.
I was a Hufflepuff.
I racked my brain for why this house that was the butt of fandom jokes (and even Hagrid spoke poorly of) fit me so well. I looked for answers in the books. I did not understand why I fit into this strange mismatched house that hardly even got a mention in the stories– at least outside of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This house that was joked about as being the house for people who fit nowhere else– and I thought I fit somewhere. But, I realized slowly, as many Hufflepuffs did: this wasn’t true.
What does it mean to be a Hufflepuff?
After much digging, I discovered a few things that I did not even consider in my first read-through of the books because like many fans, I hardly even registered Hufflepuff’s existence. There are several mentions of what it takes to be sorted into Hufflepuff House, and they are very different than the brief discussion Hagrid gave in Philosopher’s Stone, “Everyone says Hufflepuff are a lot o’ duffers.” This was part of what turned me off to the house, and part of what turned a lot of people off. And yet, every other mention (especially from the Sorting Hat) tells a very different story. The hat recites nothing but exceptional qualities for this undervalued house. These were qualities I value in myself — and you should, too.
“You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true
And unafraid of toil.”
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
“For Hufflepuff, hard workers were
Most worthy of admission.”
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
These quotes are taken straight from the Sorting Hat’s song. Harry Potter missed quite a few of these songs (he had a habit of being late), so we don’t hear much else about the Hat’s take on the houses. However, in Order of the Phoenix, the Hat concludes that Helga Hufflepuff happily took anyone who did not fall into the other houses. So at its core, Hufflepuff is a house of acceptance, no matter who you are.
These traits aren’t ones to be ashamed of; there is kindness here, hard work, and acceptance. These are amazing qualities. To be strong in the face of adversity, and stand beside those you believe in is something we all need more of in our lives.
The thing is you can be brave and work hard; you can love to learn but love the effort you put in just as much. You can strive to succeed, but instead of working to do so at any cost, you can bring others with you. Hufflepuffs aren’t focused on the me; they are focused on the we.
The thing I came to realize about Hufflepuff is that it is a community. Hufflepuffs bring others up with them. They like to succeed, but they want others to do so as well. It’s not a competition. It’s about everyone doing better together. Which is why I have found that Hufflepuffs make fantastic friends (and that isn’t me saying something nice about myself).
This is something I’ve heard repeated more and more often. Hufflepuffs make great friends. With loyalty being one of the most defining factors of the house, it means Hufflepuffs form strong bonds with the people they care about. If you need to move, a Hufflepuff will be there with a truck and snacks. If you want to try something new, a Hufflepuff will join you on the adventure for the sake of spending time with you.
This is not a house of those left behind. It’s a house of those who band together, and that is unabashedly the most magical thing I’ve ever heard.
Why don’t you hear more about Hufflepuffs?
Well, to put it plainly, Hufflepuffs don’t like to toot their own horn. The fact of the matter is that Hufflepuffs tend to avoid bragging about their accomplishments. Because of this, their more noteworthy members slide under the radar, even in the books.
Cedric Diggory was an incredible student, an accomplished Quidditch player, and valued fairness and kindness above all else. He helped Harry with his Triwizard task because he felt it was fair. If he had not suffered an untimely death, we assume he would have gone on to be a fantastic Wizard, and probably a professional Quidditch player for his skill on a broom.
Then there is Newt Scamander. No one had ever spent so much time cataloging magical creatures. He made it his life’s work to ensure the creatures were understood and not feared or hated. He explored the magizoological world and wrote down everything he could for others, so they could care as he did for these magical beasts. His accomplishments were essential to the Wizarding world, but he was more interested in protecting creatures than touting that fact.
If you want a non-traditional Hufflepuff (and proof that all kinds are welcome), look no further than Tonks. She was a dedicated member of the Order of the Phoenix and a less than typical example of Hufflepuff, yet she was loyal and just. She fought hard for those she cared for and did her best to help others. Sure, she had a bit of a temper and didn’t have the patience of many in her house, but she was a good person and strove to save the world from prejudice. She died for that cause, and that still brings me sadness.
J.K. Rowling herself says it best though: “I would not be disappointed to be sorted into Hufflepuff House. So I’m a little upset that anyone would feel that way.” Hufflepuffs have been misunderstood for too long, and we’re all finally coming to realize the truth of it. It’s time to cast off the idea that Hufflepuffs are just the ones who were left over, or too dumb for other houses (thanks for that, Hagrid). We should be proud of being loyal, being just, and being kind. There are no greater virtues to pride yourself in.
So remember, like me, when you try to wrap your head around it. Hufflepuffs are wonderful, and you’ll always be welcome in this House.