Jul 16 2013 9:00am

Everyone Should Want to Be A Hufflepuff, Or, Stop the Hogwarts House-Hate

Harry Potter Hufflepuff Tonks

In a rare annotated copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling commented that she wondered if people would have thought differently of Hufflepuff House had she gone with her original instinct and made their mascot a bear rather than a badger. It’s an interesting thought, sure, but probably would have only led to droves of Winnie the Pooh comparisons, with pictures of Hufflepuffs holding their hands to their heads and shouting “Think!” over and over.

While Slytherin and Hufflepuff both have their share of intensely dedicated fans, it’s no secret that among the general Potter-reading population, most would prefer to be a Gryffindor or a Ravenclaw. Why? Do people prefer lions and ravens? Red and blue? Or is it something a little less obvious… perhaps something to do with the attributes awarded to each house, and the values we place on them as a culture?

Life’s not easy for the Hufflepuffs out there. In every sketch, humorous fanfic, and rousing talk over butterbeer at the Harry Potter theme park, they are the butt of all the jokes. Sweet and slow like molasses, that’s what people think. Sure friends, but not particularly talented. Or, as one of those hilarious Second City videos has put it—“I can’t digest lactose; I’m a Hufflepuff!”

And though the jokes are certainly funny, they’re not at all fair. Only last year, Rowling praised her daughter for saying that everyone should want to be a Hufflepuff, and claimed that it was her favorite house too for reasons that the last book makes clear; when the students have a choice about whether or not to fight in the Battle of Hogwarts, the badgers all stay “for a different reason [than the Gryffindors]. They didn’t want to show off, they weren’t being reckless, that’s the essence of Hufflepuff.” So why don’t people get that? Why will Hufflepuff always be a shorthand term to make fun of those deemed dull and useless? Why are Slytherins assumed to be straight-up terrible people?

And what if it’s just a matter of word association?

Let’s talk about the central terminology associated with each Hogwarts House.

  • Gryffindors are brave.
  • Ravenclaws are intelligent.
  • Slytherins are ambitious.
  • Hufflepuffs are loyal.

Now, none of these terms are actually bad things to be, but in everyday society we read between the lines and give them other meanings. Bravery is all about heroics. If you’re brave, you self-sacrifice, you’re there to further the common good by helping those in need. You’re one fearless berserker. Intelligence is always valued, even when people want to tear it down out of spite. Smart people are always essential, they are always valuable. If you’re smart, you are meticulous, the person to call upon in a crisis. You have expertise, and that is required in all areas of life.

But ambition often reads like this: You’re selfish. You’re completely focused on your own evolution, and you don’t care who you have to screw over to get to the top. You are looking out for Number One, and all that matters is your position, your station in life. And loyalty reads like this: You’re a follower. A pushover. You find the strongest voice, you latch onto it, and you are there ’til the bitter end whether or not it’s in your best interest. You are a good person to have at someone’s side, but you have no backbone.

It’s not too hard to figure out which of the four options are going to look most appealing to the general population.

Harry Potter House Banner hugsWhat many fail to realize is that the downsides of Gryffindor and Ravenclaw are just as undesirable. Intelligence is great—of course it is—but if that’s your primary characteristic, you might also be cold and detached. Wit is entertaining, but it is often scathing as well. If you’re too logical, you run the risk of being too cautious in your approach to life. Not every Ravenclaw chose to fight Voldemort and his followers in Deathly Hallows because they weighed the options, considered every avenue carefully, and decided what they thought about the possible outcomes. That doesn’t make them bad people by any means, but it can mean that Ravenclaws are liable to pursue logic to the exclusion of compassion.

And here’s a good object lesson for Gryffindors from personal experience… I’m a Gryffindor. I know, it’s boring. I’d sort of rather be a Ravenclaw, or maybe a Slytherin. But every time I do one of those dumb online tests or think about it really hard, I know where I’d end up at Hogwarts. Why’s that, you ask?

Funny story: I once participated in a theatre workshop where the instructor had given us this really cool exercise—she would give a group of six or seven of us a word, and we had 10 seconds to work out a tableau that imparted that word to the audience. My group was given “Protect.” We only had enough time to decide who in the group would be protected before she called on us to create the tableau. We assembled the picture and froze. “Well,” she said, in a very Professor McGonagall-y sort of way, “isn’t that interesting.”

Using my peripheral vision, I could just make out the scene we had formed. Every other person in the group was working to corral the person who needed protecting away from harm, leading her to some safe haven. But I (alone) had flung myself in front of her, feet planted, arms spread wide to fend off whatever was coming.

You see where I’m going with this, right? Foolhardy. Inclined to grandeur. Big gestures without much forethought. Gryffindors come with their own special set of issues that are every bit as unattractive as Slytherin egocentricity and the Hufflepuffian potential for playing second fiddle to stronger personalities. The problem is, people in the wizarding world clearly have the exact same preconceptions about Hogwarts Houses. New students come in with all sorts of opinions about where they should want to be. Only people from Slytherin families actually want to be in Slytherin. That’s probably mostly true for Hufflepuffs as well, though they would likely be just as pleased to have their kids end up in Ravenclaw or Gryffindor. But there’s a pervading sense that Slytherins are bad news and Hufflepuffs are lame, even among other wizards.

Slytherin House potions Malfoy Slughorn

If only there had been someone in those books who could have shifted our perceptions and taught us better—wait, there was. In fact, he had a depressingly abrupt death that you might recall from the end of Goblet of Fire….

Cedric Diggory was supposed to be the lesson in all of this. Instead of inciting irritation and confusion in readers, the reaction to his selection in the Triwizard Tournament should have only ever been, “Of course the Hogwarts Champion is a Hufflepuff.” That was precisely the point. Of course the person who represents everything excellent about Hogwarts—its students, legacy, caliber—would come from Hufflepuff. Some roll their eyes and claim that Diggory was mis-sorted; clearly he’s a Gryffindor. No, he’s not. Being brave and charismatic does not make you a Gryffindor. Gryffindors can also be smart—Hermione is a prime example who was also not mis-sorted—just as Ravenclaws can be cunning, and Slytherins loyal. The houses are not as cut and dry as they seem. Where you are sorted has to do with what is important to you, what parts of your person need to be nurtured as you’re learning and growing.

Cedric Diggory was the Hogwarts Champion and he was pure Hufflepuff, through and through. Just, honest, hardworking and fair. Helpful, capable, and a fierce friend, just as Dumbledore said. It’s not as flashy as Gryffindor swagger, but it’s infinitely more admirable.

Cedric Diggory Amos Harry Potter

On the other hand, Slytherin presents a unique set of issues in perception. That poor house is the worst kind of self-fulfilling prophecy; it’s obviously possible to be ambitious and still be a good person, but you attract a certain type of personality by making it the soul of your snaky crest. What Slytherin seems to need is more students who are constructively ambitious, and the fact that they don’t have them is largely the wizarding world’s fault—in part due to the reputation of the house, but even more because wizarding society is stagnating in the shadows during Harry’s time. If the future generation continues to build and create better relations with the muggle world, it’s possible that new Slytherins will be the architects of that world, so long as they don’t have all that pureblood station propaganda to worry about anymore. Slytherins are not inherently evil at all, but they need more interesting goals to achieve now that the primary one is no longer “Keep Voldemort happy with my family or we’ll all die.”

And why do we continue to think of Gryffindors as the ultimate heroes? They have those knightly complexes, that’s for sure, and we’ve never quite put our admiration for chivalry to rest. The fact that some of those lionhearts may be enacting impressive feats for their own glorification isn’t as important to readers as the fact that they do it. We also have to consider that being so willing to throw yourself into harms way, but being incredibly flawed in how you go about it, is just plain interesting. Gryffindors make good heroes because their hubris gives them imperfections. It’s fun to watch them land hard when they don’t think things through.

What it means is that Hufflepuffs might actually be too good to be interesting protagonists. And Slytherins won’t get invited to the party until they have new points of interest. Instead of the damage of word association propagated by the Sorting Hat and family histories, it would be better to ignore what people say about the founders and the former alumni, and instead focus on what each house has to offer its students. It’s clear that Harry has adopted this policy by his middle age, prompting him to tell his son Albus that being sorted into Slytherin was really entirely okay as long as it made him happy. The houses should be an exercise in celebrating the diversity of the student population, not a dividing line that makes it easier to bully each other.

Albus Harry Potter Deathly Hallows epilogue Harry Potter

The generation that battled Voldemort was markedly imperfect, but with a little work they could achieve a future where everyone is proud to be sorted anywhere in Hogwarts at all. We should think on that future, and stop giving Hufflepuffs and Slytherins such an unduly hard time.

Top image from NerdFighters.

House Hugs banner from Tumblr user littletude.

Emily Asher-Perrin is surely a Gryffindor, but she has friends and family from pretty much every house. She has written essays for the newly released Doctor Who and Race and Queers Dig Time Lords. You can bug her on Twitter and read more of her work here and elsewhere.

1. aleistra
I was actually just talking about Hufflepuff the other day. Part of the issue with the under-valuing of Hufflepuffs in the books may be that we're seeing them from the perspective of teenagers, and that people get Sorted when they're kids - I now, in my thirties, identify pretty strongly with Hufflepuff values, but at eleven I would have been Ravenclaw all the way. The Hufflepuff virtues tend to be things that only become obviously important with a little more maturity than the more obvious "bravery" of Gryffindor and "smarts" of Ravenclaw. I like to think that Hufflepuffs go on to do great things as adults when they're no longer being judged by the standards of teenagers.
Adam S.
Hufflepuff just isn't as cool a House as the others. They come off as very nice, but a bit dull. They just aren't as ....sexy, as the other houses. The housing reflects this. The Slytherins live below the lake, in a cool, creepychamber that sounds like a Professor Moriarty lair. Griffindor and Ravenclaw (my chosen house) have high towers with great views. The Hufflepuffs are in the basement, next to the kitchens. While that would be awesome for getting late night snacks from the house elves, otherwise it's just not as cool as living in a medieval tower or under a lake. I agree that as a house, Hufflepuff is probably the best, in terms of its values and students. That doesn't make it desirable, unfortunately.
Pamela Adams
3. PamAdams
The real problem is that the name sounds funny- like some sort of off-brand breakfast cereal.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
4. Lisamarie
Thank you, I love Hufflepuff and like to defend them :D Although I also feel pretty strongly about Ravenclaw as well. Not sure what that makes me!

I totally agree that a)Slytherin gets a bad wrap, and I really would have liked to see a few more examples of 'good' Slytherins in the book (aside from Slughorn and Snape - who is of course quite debateable). It would have been nice to see some decent Slythern students. And yes, to the Gryffindors really being kind of annoying at times, hehe. Of course the books are written from Harry's point of view (mostly) so it makes sense that they are going to get the most development, but I don't think they are meant to be seen as perfect or the best.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
5. Lisamarie
Also, I live in Wisconsin, and badgers are pretty awesome ;)
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
6. Lisamarie
And - sorry for the comment bombing - that graphic at the top is awesome. Hahahahaha. I love Tonks :D
Kristoff Bergenholm
7. Magentawolf
I'm stealing that hugs banner for my own nefarious purposes. Bwahaha.
Chris Nelly
8. Aeryl
Peter Pettigrew was a Gryffindor!!!!

That should put a sock in the mouth of anyone who's all "Gryffindor ROX"

I think a lot of the adult fans kinda forgot that the school houses weren't all that important to the adults in the HP series. Other than Sirius, who's got a stunted maturity problem, and the Malfoys, who are ALL ABOUT STATUS, most of the other adults don't care about the houses of their adult acquaintances, and only care insofar as it effects their children(who they'll hang out with, learn with...).

But, and maybe this is just a Western-Centric viewing, but I think a lot of adults linked the import many have with college fraternities and sororities with Hogwarts houses, assuming that those associations are just like the voluntary associations people make in college, and that emphasis BY ADULTS, when the point JK was making is that these houses aren't important to adults in her world, has caused this exagerrated skewed world of the Hogwarts houses.
Shelly wb
9. shellywb
I've only read some of the Potter books, so I'm not all that invested in it. But since I am a Trekkie my first thought was Spock was a Ravenclaw, Kirk was a Gryffindor, Bones was a Hufflepuff. They all have their shortcomings. They all accomplish the most when they stand together as a team. And there's no room for the bearded Slytherins.
11. Tesh
What's the quip? "It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog" or something like that? Bears are impressive creatures, no doubt, but badgers are, pound for pound, every bit as powerful. They might be unassuming little fellows by the look of them, but they are not to be trifled with.

I second the sentiment that their name is what gives them a bit of a "puffy" sort of lightweight mental space. Their values and mascot are rock solid.
Joe Vondracek
12. joev
I thirds the idea that the issue is with the name. Would you rather be in House Steadfast, House Trueheart or House Hufflepuff? I rest my case.
13. imbubbasmom
I agree that the issue is with the name. It sounds way too "fluffy" for a badger.

On another note, every sorting quiz I've ever taken divides me evenly between Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw. Not sure what that says, but there it is.
14. gadget
Interesting analysis, but I think the real problem with this perception is the way Rowling wrote and described the Houses to begin with. Hufflepuff was described and presented as a group of 'duffers', as Hagrid put it. Slytherins were aristocratic racists who sought power (or at least to maintain their family's power). The reader is left with very little else to go on, especially in the earlier books when our impressions of the Houses were formed, first impressions being key. Part of this problem was how the books, particularly the first book, were written for children and tended to have wry humor with short descriptions and impressions and focused more on the story at hand. At least that was the case in the early books, when Rowling's editors tended to actually edit her and keep the story relatively lean and focused. Hufflepuff suffers the most from this treatment through sheer neglect, and other than Cedric in the fourth book, does not receive much attention at all to countermand the daffy first impression we receive. Sylitherin, meanwhile, despite logic and common sense telling everyone otherwise, is constantly presented as the Evil House full of Evil (or at least snarky, mean, & patronage oriented) people.
15. JRE
Frankly, I can't read most debates about the houses online. Invariably, they become buried in Slytherines are all misunderstood indie rock star goth geniuses! Every other house sux! hype.
16. JRE
I do think Book 2 (despite otherwise being one of the weeker entries) has one of the best scenes showing Hufflepuff's best traits...the moment Hermione has been attacked, the Hufflepuff students all cease suspecting Harry. They know he'd never attack her.
Michael Grosberg
17. Michael_GR
It's weird about the house animales - You'd think Griffindor's symbol would be a Griffin, and Ravenclaw's symbol should be a raven (it's an eagle). Snakes do slyther so that fits. As for hufflepuff, the animals most closely embodying the house values is a dog, but the name makes me think of a wolf (I'll huff and I'll puff, etc). If Rowling had t use a badger she should have at least used the honey badger. He don't care.
18. Dr. Thanatos
Even voldie gets it by the end; he wants to end the house distinctions.

Clear from the beginning that the students (and faculty) use the houses for stereotyping. After all, Harry was a Slytherin (even the Hat said so), Hermione was a Ravenclaw (I dare anyone to dispute that), and Ron is clearly a loyal Hufflepuffler. Yet they were all sorted into Gryffindor, proving that the labels are meaningless. The only pure Gryffindor we meet, I submit, is Neville, who doesn't show his bravery in full bloom until Book 7. You could argue that at first appearance he looks like a stereotypical Hufflepufferfish, loyal and not that bright; yet he arguably does one of the two bravest Deeds in the book: pulling out the sword and cutting off Voldemort's serpent (as it were).
Joseph Newton
19. crzydroid
Thanks for writing this. I am a Hufflepuff defender. I had been aware that Hufflepuff was the butt of many jokes and considered really lame, and I think even in the books everyone (not just Malfoy) sort of discounts wanting to be in Hufflepuff (or maybe it is just Malfoy). But in rereading the books, and reading what the sorting hat says about the different houses every time, I suddenly thought--"Hey, wait a second...Hufflepuff is actually the BEST house."

I think the problem with Ravenclaw is that they pursue intelligence for its own sake, and put it above everything else, and it just sort of comes off as condescending.

One thing that I think we can realize is that Slughorn was a Slytherin. And while he definitely went after his own power in a passive sort of way ("Collecting" people so he could later use them to get what he wants), he was genuinely appalled that Tom Riddle went to the Dark Arts and went to lengths to hide from being recruited by the Death Eaters. While he needed coaxing to go into action, his stance was always firmly against Voldemort.
Joseph Newton
20. crzydroid
@2: Getting midnight snacks from the kitchens IS really cool. I can always make a magic window if I want a nice view.

@5: I JUST had the thought: "Hey, I live in Wisconsin now, so that makes me a Badger."
David Goldfarb
21. David_Goldfarb
If you want to see Hufflepuff made sexy, go look up the video "Sorted This Way" (a filk of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way") by Not Literally.
David Goldfarb
22. David_Goldfarb
And here's a direct link, put in a separate comment for fear that it'll trigger the spam filters: Sorted This Way
Alan Courchene
23. Majicou
@10: The man who turned down three offers of command is in the house of ambition? Don't know about that, I must say.

Also, if you can find the That Mitchell and Webb Sound sketch with David Mitchell as head of Hufflepuff expressing his sympathies to new students, give it a listen.
24. driceman
While I agree with this article, I think a lot of people like Gryffindor because the heroes in the story itself are from Gryffindor-especially younger audiences who want to be just like Harry, Ron, and Hermione. If we took the context of the story out of it, I think people would be a lot more accepting of Hufflepuff and Slytherin. It might help Slytherin if the name wasn't Slytherin, too-it just sounds bad. :P
Ursula L
25. Ursula
I'm not sure that Hufflepuffs make boring heroes.

After reading this, I couldn't help but wonder about Hufflepuff heroes in other fictional worlds. Rory and Modern-Clara in Doctor Who come to mind. Also Cazeril in The Curse of Challion. Also Ivan Vorpatril, once his character was fully fleshed-out in Memory, A Civil Affair, and Captian Vorpatril's Alliance. And Tej, of course - that's why Ivan likes her so much. People who are good and decent and loyal, and who become heroic simply because, when they are faced with a choice, they will do what is good, decent and loyal, even at great personal cost.

Characters whom, if you asked them, would say they have no interest in being the hero. It just is that there was something that needed doing, and the onlydecent thing was to do it. Now would everyone please stay still and stop causing unnecessary drama.
Joseph Newton
26. crzydroid
@25: Interesting. I might add Sam in LoTR.
Shelly wb
27. shellywb
@10, he's got the beard but no ambition. Ensign Ro had ambition. She might fit. And so did Chekov, now that I think about it.
Alicia Dodson
28. LynMars
The name sounds--Hufflepuff and Slytherin--help the associations, I think.

Also, the way Rowling herself wrote them--the only "good" Slytherins we see, the entire time, are Slughorn and Snape--and the latter people debated about until the very end of the last book (personally, I think it was obvious and always thought Snape was a hero, but that may have been my lit major training and excessive tropes reading). Every Slytherin student who wasn't already with the Death Eaters chose to leave at the end rather than lay it on the line. Sure, they had a lot of good reasons--but it would have been nice to see someone breaking stereotypes.

The Hufflepuffs just weren't present outside Cedric and a few other random names, like Ernie MacMillan, showing up once in awhile. The point above that the Hufflepuffs stopped suspecting Harry of the basilisk attacks once Hermione was a victim is a good point. But I think Harry didn't get a chance to directly deal with the Hufflepuffs often enough to see their qualities, like how he got to know Luna for instance. If one of Harry's core group members had been from Hufflepuff, maybe they'd get a different outlook. Like, did all of the Weasleys really fit Gryffindor? Not that Percy would have been a Hufflepuff, certainly--maybe the Hat wanted to put him in Slytherin too, and he chose differently? The point above about Ron and Hermione is spot on too--but plot dictated Harry's BFFs be in his own house, I guess. I can see ways around it.

The adults' former houses don't matter too much as they graduated and are beyond all that in the real world, yet some of the prejudices still seem to exist, at least from Harry's own limited and school-minded PoV. It does at least act as a shorthand for their personalities and backgrounds to know what house they were in during their school years
Andrew Knighton
29. gibbondemon
Nice analysis.

I've always admired Hufflepuff more than the other houses, because they're the only house whose defining feature is about making the right moral choice. Other houses are full of people who are smart, or brave, or cunning. They're defined by their abilities, or by the questionable intentions, sometimes good sometimes bad, that come with ambition. Hufflepuffs are those who, regardless of their capability, want to do the right thing. For me, that always made them the best.
Adam S.
30. MDNY
@29 I think the defining trait for Hufflepuffs is loyalty, actually, rather than morality. While loyalty is a good trait, so are the traits that define the other houses. And loyalty is not always good, if it is misguided, just as bravery, intelligence, or cleverness can become negative if misapplied. Not dissing on Hufflepuff, just wanted to point out that being in any house, including hufflepuff, does not automatically translate to being moral or "good".
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
31. Lisamarie
@15 - I would say Androl from Wheel of Time (one of the newer breakout characters that only appeared in the latter books) would also be a Hufflepuff. I love him - he's just a humble guy who does his duty, because it's his duty. Lan might even qualify. Hmmmm.
Joseph Newton
32. crzydroid
@30: It seems to me that Hufflepuff is made up of more than one trait, whereas the others seem to have one. Hard workers would seem to be the trait that is mentioned most promenently by the sorting hat. There may be other defining characteristics mentioned elsewhere in dialogue, but according to the sorting songs:

"Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true
And unafraid of toil;"

"For Hufflepuff, hard workers were
Most worthy of admission"

"Said Hufflepuff, 'I'll teach the lot
And treat them just the same.'
Good Hufflepuff, she took the rest
and taught them all she knew,"

So while the second sorting song seems to attribute a hardworking quality to the Hufflepuffs, the first song also lists loyalty (as is frequently mentioned), patience, and justice/being just. So in this last you might make a grounds for morality as a defining characteristic. True, people in other houses can be moral, just as Hufflepuffs can be smart, brave, and ambitious or cunning.

I think the third sorting song is interesting. This may open the door for criticisms of Hufflepuff, as good Helga might be interpreted as saying, "give me all the leftovers who don't have any of those other traits." But I see something more here. I see her as not prizing any students above any others merely because of their talents, abilities, or ambitions. I see her as giving a fair and equal chance to everybody, dispite their background, traits, or beliefs. All of the other founders had some particular trait they prized (though obviously we've seen that she values hard work).

An interesting note here is that the sorting hat says of Slytherin that they use any means to accomplish their goals, which I think in turn says something about Hufflepuff too. A Hufflepuff can be ambitious, but will draw the line at doing something morally reprehensible to achieve their ends.
33. marbled
I think the housing system in the Potter world is a really good example of the fact that this series was very much intended for children - it makes sense when you're 11 because it instantly gives you a group to support (Gryfindor) and a group that you can hate (Slytherin).

However, the second you start to think about it, dividing people up by their personality type aged 11 is insane! People develop massively over their teen years which is why it's essential to have contact and be exposed to different opinions and attitudes than your own. Sticking you in with a group of people who will only reinforce your own views (or ostracise you if you challenge theirs) just leads to wizarding society being made up of narrow-minded individuals.

Frankly the best thing that could have come out of the Battle of Hogwarts was for that bloody hat to have been burned up, and for students to be sorted randomly....
Alicia Dodson
34. LynMars
@33 Well, Dumbledore himself says he thinks they sort too early, when refering to Snape. Given Snape was telling Lily that Slytherin's the best house, he maybe chose it himself, despite the hat possibly wanting to put him in Gryffindor. Because an 11 year old has their own ideas and prejudices, too.

And the narrow-minded view of the wizarding world is pretty much what we get through the series, and why it's problematic and causes so much trouble that Dumbledore has to create the Order of the Phoenix in both wars to get things done. Harry has quite a few problems with how rigid the wizards are. That's indicated to change quite a bit in the aftermath of Voldemort's death.

Also, I believe the houses and other boarding school tropes come from actual old fashioned British boarding school motifs, right? Granted, in the real world, there's no magical hat determining your innermost qualities.
Frederic Hugot
35. Priscus
A big problem regarding Hufflepuff is simply the way Rowling wrote them: they are rather consistently written off (look at their much-publicised Quidditch scores: they are usually dead last). Even brave, steadfast Tonks is often made fun of (So what if she's clumsy? She changes shape and balance more often than Lockhart changes clothes).
Furthermore, some of their virtues are also regularly mis-attributed, such as loyalty left to Griffindor in cannon.
I am sadly a Ravenclaw through and through, addicted to knowledge and information for their own sake, coldly rational, but the Hufflepuff values are those I respect most and strive to emulate.
36. Mama Kestrel
Had I been sorted at age 11, I have very little doubt I'd have ended up in Ravenclaw. Now, in my 50's, I'm a complete a Hufflepuff. I do what needs doing as I see it, without counting "favors" or making anyone feel they "owe" me. I'm the person who gets called at 2:00 a.m. because someone's child has died or spouse has announced they want a divorce. (Literally - both have happened) The thing I see is that both the empathy and the fascination with pure scholarship have always been part of my personality, and which is foremost depends on what's going on in my life. Right now, I'm a caregiver. Perhaps I'll get to be a student again. But I have never underestimated Hufflepuffs, from my first reading of the books.

And just for the record, I am indeed lactose intolerant. :)
Paige Vest
37. paigevest
I was sorted into Hufflepuff on Pottermore. *nod*

That is all. :)
38. Maac
I'd marry a Hufflepuff. But I agree with # 9 -- I think the name plays a large role in creating the perpections (consider how awesome -- and heroic -- "loyalty" is made out to be in so many other fantasy franchises). "Hufflepuff" sounds like me when I have breathing difficulty.
39. Maac
#10 -- I don't think Riker's much of a Slytherin. Didn't he get dissed by Q for not being ambitious enough, content to be Number One for what, nearly a decade?
Chris Nelly
40. Aeryl
About Riker, he's just the sleaziest, so he seems a good fit. But that's me being biased about Slytherins.
41. Maac
I've read most of Harry Potter, but I'm not a fan, and so I've allowed a lot of it to slip from my memory -- which house did the most voracious amounts of snogging in the last few books? Cuz Riker belongs in that one. :-)
Joseph Newton
42. crzydroid
RE: Riker. After getting on the Enterprise, his ambition dwindled, as he became content to stay there (although it's arguable that he just wanted Captain Picard to leave. Part of the reason he turned down the other commands is because they were puny ships in the middle of nowhere. On the Enterprise is prestige, so you could say that's ambition there). But prior to his posting, he had his eye on the captaincy, and moved up through the ranks really fast. I'd say his ambition defined him at that point in his career. It was actually the thing that ended his relationship with Deanna.
43. Jasmine Baggenstos
I once thought I was a Ravenclaw, but I never truly identified with the house. When I got sorted into Hufflepuff on Pottermore I realized that it fit completely. I wouldn't want any other house :]
44. Simon* Hunt
I agree the root of the problem is the name, but Hufflepuff was successfully re-branded by Not Literally. I defy anyone not to re-consider their house loyalties after watching this:
Aeria Lynn
45. aeria_lynn
Emily, I love your description of the protect scene. I suspect if I were in the same position, I'd do exactly the same thing.

I get sorted into Gryffindor every time, and it's right, just for those instincts. But honestly, I'd rather have a Hufflepuff at my back; that way, I know my back is safe.

Plus, badgers? Those are vicious creatures. When I was growing up, some badgers denned up along the county road where we lived, and my parents made sure that we kids left them completely alone. They are territorial, vicious fighters, and cranky when poked with sticks. If Hufflepuffs follow their animal, I wouldn't want to make them mad. Ever.

And living in the basement near the kitchen? Classic badger.
Simon Hunt
46. h3rne
*Apologies if this double posts - it didn't seem to take first time*

I very much agree that the problem starts with the name. However, those like #2 MDNY thinking that Hufflepuff is not sexy have probably missed the (breath-takingly audacious) rebranding done by the parody band Not Literally.

I defy anyone to watch this and not question their house loyalties just a little bit...


It's a bit scary to come to the conclusion subsequently that I'm actually too square to be Hufflepuff...
47. Maac
Holy crap, they have an aerialist. Nicely done.
Brett Dunbar
48. Brett
We do encounter at least one other heroic Slytherin, if posthumously, Regulus Black.
49. Amaryllis
Very belatedly, but if we're talking about non-Potter characters in terms of Hogwarts houses, my niece informs me that Granny Weatherwax is definitely a Hufflepuff.

And I can see it: Granny certainly has enough brains for Ravenclaw, although she has not much use for formal education. And enough courage for Gryffindor-- "You wouldn't let a poor old lady go off to confront monsters?" "So why shoud we care what happens to monsters?" And her own variety of amibition-- Everyone knows that the witches don't have a leader. And everyone knows that Granny is the leader the witches don't have.

But what Granny values, what most of the witches value, is doing what needs to be done. With as little fuss made about it as possible. While remembering that people aren't to be treated as things.

Or, there was that joke going around a few years ago, in which the Hogwarts houses are compered to a large high-tech company, or even a high-tech army: Ravenclaw is R&D, Gryffindor is line operations, Hufflepuff is staff operations, and Sytherin, of course, is management.
David Goldfarb
50. David_Goldfarb
h3rne@46: How did you manage to get a YouTube link in there and not be caught as spam? You'll notice that there's a gap between my #21 and #23 -- I tried to link to that same video, but my post was caught and has not been released.
Chris Nelly
51. Aeryl
@50, I've had the spam filter catch my posts, or let them through.

Seems totally random to me.

I've also had luck, posting a comment, then editting it with the link.

Hope that helps!
Bridget McGovern
52. BMcGovern
@50: Your post should be visible now (sorry that we missed it earlier last week!) I've noticed that comments that end with a link get marked as spam more often than posts that put the link in the middle, with some text afterward. I don't think that's a surefire way of avoiding the Sarlaac spam filter, but it does seem to help!
Simon Hunt
53. h3rne

I'm really not sure. I initially tried posting without logging in, and that vanished into the aether. Maybe the spam filter is more forgiving if you're logged in? Or maybe it's because the link is relevant to the discussion and not spam?

Sorry not to be of more help.
Simon Hunt
54. h3rne
David @50

Okay, that is super weird. I just noticed your post about Sorted This Way by Not Literally has appeared @21 and @22. I swear I read the whole thread before posting mine. Maybe yours got held in moderation? That or I'm going blind/mad (or possibly both ;)
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
55. Lisamarie
Heh, so I finally bit the bullet and joined Pottermore just to see how I did on the sorting test, and I was actually a tiny bit dissapointed I got Ravenclaw (although also pretty pleased since that's my other favorite house). My husband got Hufflepuff though :)

That said, I feel like the wand I was assigned was completely wrong, so take it with a grain of salt.
56. Mero
Don't forget, RAB destroyed a horcrux--he was also Slytherin. And Narcissa lied about Harry in the end, which also helped the cause.
57. Hufflepuff Lisa
This was truly a wonderful article and I adored it. I've always been proud to call myself an archetypical Hufflepuff, but you really summed up the qualities that make up that pride. Thanks for a great read!
59. SW
I think it's odd... I am, torn between two houses that couldn't be more different. Slytherin and Hufflepuff. Those also happen to be the two LEAST liked hoouses. I love them both!
PS Slytherins are loyal too, just more loyal to other snakes, less to the others.
60. J.R. Littlejohn
I was actually just about to write a blog about this. Then I saw this and thought I'd give it a look. I agree with everything you say. i think one of the things that's always bothered me is it's almost as if Rowling wants the houses to fight amongst each other. I got an account on Pottermore, hoping to be a Ravenclaw or Slytherin. I am a Ravenclaw. My Brother is a Hufflepuff. My sister is a Slytherin. All of the house letters were pretentious and seemed to encourage infighting. The Hufflepuf letter boasts about how humble they are and talks mad shit about everyone else. The Ravenclaw letter is basically like 'Well, we're smarter than you, so...' and the Slytherin letter is like 'Congratulations, you're better than everyone'. It's kind of sad.

I've always viewed Ravenclaw house as being a kooky sort of creative intelligence. Gryffindor is a show boading sort of bravery. I've never been quite sure about Slytherin house. I feel like no one really is. When we look at Harry Potter, the house is compeltely warped from what it should be. Which sucks. Now, I never wanted to be a Hufflepuff. I like Hufflepuffs, but I am cold and detached and I don't like people and empathy and compassion are hard. That is not my house. I've always considered Hufflepuffs to be, at their core, generally good people. It is fitting that one would be the champion of Hogwarts because they show everything good about the school despite all the huge mess they are in.

Okay. This is long. I should be blogging this stuff. xD One last thought: If Hufflepuffs were Pooh Bear, that would be perfect. I am a cold, heartless Ravenclaw. And Pooh is my favorite thing in the world.

Thanks. I have a lot to think about now. Okay. That is all.
61. Ricky joe
I love harry potter
Anna Hivoina
63. nya_anna
Until certain age I was feeling sorry for Hufflepuff. They were so ordinary for me, not so brave, smart or special as other houses. But later I realized that they ARE special. They are good friends, they are ready to help people not judging by house. Loyalty is hard to come by so Hufflepuffs deserve more respect to their house, I agree. Understanding of this comes with time :)
64. Crys
A great sentiment I'm sure. I myself identify more with Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw. That said, there was a huge flaw in this article. The author, trying to show how amazing Hufflepuff is, while putting the other houses down.

Saying that the Hufflepuffs alone stayed for the Battle of Hogwarts because they were wanting to protect, while the Gryffindors only stayed to be reckless and show off... makes me think you don't understand the books at all.
65. MicJam
The only house worth being in is Ravenclaw. IMHO.

Gryffindor is too prominent - there are too many Gryffindors (like that show-off H. J. Potter and his friends). Anyone could reel off the names of 30 Gryffindors, standing on his/her head. The amusing Gryffindors - Hermione, Lee Jordan, some others - really belong in Ravenclaw. Gryffindor is for show-offs and grand-standers.

Slytherin sounds very uncomfortable and rather unfriendly. It sounds much more interesting to read about than to be in.

Hufflepuff is too characterless, like beige, despite having some memorable characters in it, like Ernie MacMillan, Justin Finch-Fletchley, Zacharias Smith, etc. As a House it sounds too like a pale imitation of Ravenclaw. And "Hufflepuff" sounds like a name for an over-fed Puffskein.

Ravenclaw is highly intelligent - as a House in a school should be.
66. Lightness
Thank you for writing this....... I search hufflepuff on google, and some MEAN stuff comes up.... and yes, i'm a hufflepuff. But, has anyone had the thought that badgers eat snakes.....?
67. AnnieHufflepuff
@65, Funny, I thought this was a blog about not putting down other houses. Either way, I'm a proud Hufflepuff. Yes, school is traditionally about results and learning, but it wouldnt be a very nice place if everyone was just clambering over each other for results. We need the kindness, the bravery and the cunning to make it a balanced environment ready for the real world.
68. Diwa
"Not every Ravenclaw chose to fight Voldemort and his followers in Deathly Hallows because they weighed the options, considered every avenue carefully, and decided what they thought about the possible outcomes."
I tried looking this up but found no evidence proving this. Do you have the exact quote from the books or a JK Rowling interview to prove this? Not trying to be snarky, geniunely curious.
69. UnSortable
My problem with the sorting system is that it is entirely depentant upon how you interpret each trait, and most manifested traits are dependent upon others that are there but aren't as flashy. People who have grand ambitions of being the bravest knight in all the land could easily end up in Slytherin, just as people who are religiously devoted to destruction for its own sake could be in Hufflepuff. It does take a certain type of bravery to be truly intelligent (to be able to face the fear that you are completely wrong and learn from your mistakes is something not many people are willing to do), just as it takes intelligent awareness of your surroundings to find situations in which you have act chivalrously or bravely. One could argue that any goal to which one has set oneself requires a certain amount of loyalty ("I want to read all the books on legal loopholes so I can exploit them make the world a better place for House Elfs" to "I want to learn to dice carrots").

Point is, sorting is stupid because people aren't cut and dry like that. The fact that the Sorting Hat has trouble sorting some kids atests to that fact.
70. Char
Slytherins FTW. Because let's be honest, we're just cool.
71. Jesse F
I was sorted into Hufflepuff on Pottermore and as soon as I read the description I was really happy. Their dorms sound like hobbit holes and I am all about that life. Plus, the honey badger is one of the toughest animals on the planet, so there's that.
73. Awesome Sauce
I am a Hufflepuff through and through. Every quiz I've ever taken, it's always said: You are a Hufflepuff (or occasionally, a Ravenclaw) and I say: Well HALLELUJAH Hufflepuff is my favorite house because we are'nt like: Oh yeah we'll do it because YOLO right! Or 'This will definitely put me in a good position ten years from now' or 'This seems like a smart move' oh no, we're like: We'll do it because we want to help.

Battle of Hogwarts: Any Gryffindors who participated were being brave. Any Ravenclaws were thinking: I have enough skills. Good idea. And And Slytherins were probably thinking: I can redeem myself if Voldermort loses. But Hufflepuff, oh no. We were just: I AM DEFENDING MY SCHOOL AND YOU ARE NOT GONNA GET PAST US

we are dependable, loyal and hardworking. You're in a jam, we aren't gonna stop helping you until it's done.

Exactly the kind of friend you want when everyone else has abandoned you.
74. Renjini
You're absolutely right!!! I'd want to be in Hufflepuff if the founder Helga is anything to go by (more about that later!). I think Hufflepuff must truly be the most diverse, inclusive and multifaceted House at Hogwarts. I mean, not only does it take people who's strongest qualities are being just, loyal, kind and fair (their other qualities could very well be courage, intelligence and cunning), but it'll have also taken in people whose qualities might be everything other than this - you might have people who are quirky sweethearts to witty pranksters to even those who are enduring realists. Imagine the fun! [color=#333333]Oh, and regarding tenacity - lets not even get started there. Cedric is a Puff, and yet, is chosen to be the Hogwarts champion having been endowed with ALL the traits of a true champion. He's kind, brave, fair-minded and performs consistently, even when the odds are stacked against him. Tonks is yet another. She is consistently described as being a little clumsy (not a very Auror like trait, is it?). But I bet she worked on it enough to make it into Auror training without fumbling much AND becoming Moody's (he of the *high*standards) favourite student. Given that, it's hardly surprising that she ran to fight at Hogwarts within weeks of giving birth to him. Erie Mcmillon is yet another tenacious character. He's tenacious (and let's face it, wrong) when it comes to defending Justin and other Puff muggle-borns during the 2nd book. But he does man up enough to apologize to Harry as soon as he figures out he's wrong. And proclaims his belief in Harry when he says Voldy is back. And helps save Hary's life in Book 7. And sticks it out to the end with almost ALL the Hufflepuffs. All this takes guts. Perhaps not the flashy kind that Gryffs might crave (and get), but a quiet inner strength and conviction that is as enduring as it silent. And besides, Puffs were never after the glory any way. It is sad that JKR chose to make most Puff characters (except a few like Tonks and Cedric - who both UNNECESSARILY died, thank you very much) do nothing more than wring their hands, widen their eyes and generally whimper or talk with their voices wobbling. Or be a git like Smith. Which is sad because Gryffindor's have acted like gits themselves, but with so many Gryffs thrown about the place, and with their characters being more well-developed, their 'git-ness' does tend to take a backseat to their other qualities. I wish JKR would have written or mentioned more about Hufflepuffs in her books. The world needs that, you know. The world needs to know that we need people who embody Puff qualities. After all, Puffs make up the best parts of the world.
76. ElizabethHufflepuff???
The way I see it, Hufflepuff is where people who maintain traits of the other three houses go, because they have a little bit of Gryffindor, a little bit of Ravenclaw, a little bit of Slytherin--so where should they go, if one trait doesn't dominate the others? That's where Helga Hufflepuff came in and said " I will take them". Maybe I'm biased because I'm a Hufflepuff and I get teased by my boyfriend a lot (he's a Slytherin), but I really think Hufflepuff is basically the Shepard's Pie of Hogwarts.
77. Rosalynn
I'm a hufflepuff in a group of gryffindor and raven claw and I have been subjected to the comment "oh she couldn't do it she's Hufflepuff." being Hufflepuff doesn't mean your not strong or smart or brave it means your loyal and kind. You should be proud of it.
Jake Acton
78. TheFloyd1
Always been a Ravenclaw and proud of it.

But one thing that must be said about Ravenclaw is that the intelligence of it's members is not understood as people would believe. It is not just great wit and understanding, or the ability to read books and remember there contents.

The intelligence of Ravenclaw is the one intelligence that despite Herminone's smarts she doesn't possess, it's the ability to look at the bigger picture and make decisions others would not choose. Hermione is clever, but when they encounter a problem, much like the other Gryffindor's she is usually stumped. They are a brash house, and people who are smart can be very brash aswell, Ravenclaw does not possess such brash people.

An example which is glaringly obvious is during the Deathly Hallows. When they must find the lost Diadem, the three gryffindors do exactly what you would expect them to do (even Hermione) they run off without thinking searching the castle, Harry running up to the Ravenclaw tower without thinking for a second! Everyone surely know's who Ravenclaw's house ghost is, shouldn't the brilliant Hermione be able to inform Ron? It's literally the house founder and the owner of the diadem's daughter. It takes Luna running after Harry to literally yell at him about it.

That rational, constructive thinking is why the Ravenclaw's are set apart from Gryffindor, and why I would argue is why Hermione is certainly not a Ravenclaw. She is quick to anger, and doesn't think thing's through, however very brave and loyal when necessary.
79. Karin64
This is where Rowling tells her views of Hufflepuff: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Smu0RneksxI

This is an excellent article, Emily and lots of good comments too!
80. The Anonymous Puff
As a very, very proud 'Puff I just want to point out some things:
1. 'Puffs are not stupid, cowardly or meek, sure, some of us are, but what Hufflepuffs value over all is LOVE and LOYALTY. We may want good grades are have high ambitions, but our primary goals are making people happy and letting everyone know that they are loved. Kindness is our measure of self worth.
2. Badgers are scary. The Honey Badger is the only known animal that can survive a King Cobra bite. Not only that, they EAT the cobras. The most venemous snake on the planet and they nosh on them for breakfast. Puffs are bombs with a veeeeeeerry long fuse and the world's most destrucive explosion. Mess with us, that's fine. Mess with our friends, family and loved ones, not fine. We will DESTROY you in ways you didn't know were possible.
81. Aoloach
I'm sure this is a rather old article, and it's unlikely someone will read this comment, and less likely that they will respond. Anyway, it ocurred to me at some point that a True Slytherin, one with the ultimate amount of cunning and ambition, would be able to convince the Sorting Hat to put them in Gryffindor. A Slytherin in Gryffindor, if he was able to emulate the qualites of those in that house, would be more likely to create allies for future endeavors due to Gryffindor's higher standing among the population than Slytherin. Conceivably, there could be very few of these, or else the fundamental principles of Gryffindor would be altered. Also, I find that few people in Slytherin are actually cunning. Crabbe, Goyle, and Draco are really the only ones that get any time in the spotlight, and we don't really see any of the upper years, other than the Quidditch team. But all of these people act more like Gryffindors with their foolhardy actions. No self-respecting "cunning" person would openly bully people, or clearly cheat during sports. You could even make a case for Crabbe and Goyle being Hufflepuffs, due to their loyalty to Draco. All the Death Eaters and their children, or really everyone but the true neutrals (and Ron, because Ron is rather self-serving and jealous, at least in the beginning when he's sorted and it matters), could be in Hufflepuff due to their loyalty to their cause. Harry is loyal to the light, after all.
82. Raven Claw
The Ravenclaw mascot is an eagle, not a raven. I guess I should expect that kind of a mistake from a hufflepuff though...

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