What would you say to people who are disappointed that they have been sorted into Hufflepuff? (x)
I love this, I really, really do, but it bothers me that good old JK has seemingly fallen into the same trap as everyone else when it comes to underappreciating Hufflepuffs.
Let’s start with Helga. This woman, who was considered one of the most powerful witches in all of wizarding history, has the following contributions passed down through the ages:
- She brought the house elves to Hogwarts. This was no doubt noble and also practical, but hardly one for posterity.
- She invented many of the recipes still in use in Hogwarts kitchens. Well, bully. I was a little worried about her qualifications as a founder, but now that I know she was good in the kitchen…
- She had a golden cup.
… I have nothing further to add here. I mean, to be fair, Godric had a sword and the Sorting Hat, Rowena had an enchanted diadem, and Slytherin had a chamber and a pet basilisk. But a cup is good, too.
I want to hear about how Helga was a leader in the fight to link Muggles and wizards. How she would pose as an ordinary midwife and provide help to muggle women who were having hard births. How she stood up for muggleborn rights against Salazar, then turned around and stood up for Salazar when he managed to go too far and turn Godric and Rowena against him. Helga Hufflepuff was a wonder of tolerance and wisdom, and all we get is “She had a lot to do with the kitchen.”
Moving on to the other Hufflepuffs in the series:
- Justin Finch-Fletchley - Gets petrified. This is the only thing to be said about him.
- Cedric Diggory - Is said to be kind. Is apparently handsome. The most we know about him is that Harry is jealous of him and his friends are loyal to Ced and don’t like the fact that Harry is stealing their house’s thunder.
- Zacharias Smith - A right little git. I mean this quite honestly. The only thing Zacharias does in this series is be a jerk.
- Ernie MacMillan - Is a pompous boy who tries to be kind but really just ends up sounding like a peacock. Yes, yes, this is the kind of guy I want to claim.
- Pomona Sprout - Make no mistake. This woman is amazing. However, the one time we get to see it is at the end of Deathly Hallows, when McGonagall says they’re going to fight. Seriously. Think of one thing Sprout adds to the series prior to that moment?
- Nymphadora Tonks - Unless you go and look this up, you will not know that Tonks is a ‘Puff. I’m guessing you thought Gryffindor? Yeah, me, too. Now, she is a wonderful ‘Puff. She is smart and brave enough to be an Auror. She’s a bit zany. She doesn’t care what people think of her. She has the ability to change her appearance in any way, but she doesn’t try to to be anyone but herself. She sees past what society thinks of people and falls in love with Remus Lupin, a werewolf who is decades older than she is, but she just doesn’t care. I love Tonks. She is spectacular. She is a true Hufflepuff. But unless you’ve bothered to check interviews, you wouldn’t know. *sigh*
Where are the Hufflepuffs who accept Harry in spite of his fame? Where are the Hufflepuffs who are willing to stand up to Umbridge for a younger classmate? Where are my Hufflepuffs who stand up to the Slytherins for using the word “mudblood”? Where are my wonderful, loyal, smart, accepting, non-annoying Hufflepuffs?
As a Hufflepuff, I will say this. We don’t brag, we don’t show off. Hufflepuffs are humble. We work hard, we look after each other, and we’re compassionate to others.
Now let me put on my “I’m a writer” hat and speak about what it’s like to write for a little bit here.
Rowling was juggling the primary plot, various subplots, and even a few tertiary plots in the books. Something had to give. She’s even said that she wanted to get Harry into the Hufflepuff Common Room somehow but she could never figure out a way to do it that worked in the books, and thus we don’t see it.
The Gryffindors were the main characters. The Slytherin’s the antagonists. The other two houses, unfortunately, got pushed to the background. We don’t know about many Ravenclaw’s either. Both houses got the short end of the stick.
The characters we see from the other houses were the characters that had a point in the books. Rowling needed someone from a house that wasn’t a Gryffindor or a Slytherin, and it seemed like a bit of a coin flip whether they were from Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw. I think Hufflepuff’s got a few of the worse lines because Ravenclaws are supposed to be the intelligent ones.
Now, I don’t know Rowling at all. All I know is what I’ve read in the books themselves, what she’s said in interviews, and what’s been put on Pottermore. But I am a writer, and I know that setting a story in a school with hundreds of students means that not everyone is going to get their moment in the sun and that there’s a lot of untold stories that are going on behind what we see in what is published.
For all we know, she’s got plenty of stories about Hufflepuffs floating around in the back of her mind but they may never see the light of day because they weren’t integral to Harry’s story. Because, in the end, that’s what the Harry Potter books are about. Harry’s story.
Also, on the perceived annoying qualities of those Puff’s listed above. These are characters seen from Harry’s very biased and ill-informed POV. Was Ernie really pompous? Maybe, but Harry sees him as pompous. Maybe he was really very nice, but tired of everyone letting Harry do whatever the fuck he wanted. We are told Cedric was kind by the people around him so yeah, he probably was the way most of the other characters described him. Was he kind to Harry? Who knows- he was 3 years older than Harry and in a different house. Harry routinely ignores most people that much older (or younger) than him who are also outside his house.
As a writer, I feel JKRs choices make sense- she is telling Harry’s story. As a reader you have to remember your main character and his POV is flawed and you can not completely trust his impressions of other people.