Okay, so I’m a huge Harry Potter fan. I get that not everyone is. But if you’ve seen the movies you sort of understand the gist of the “houses.” For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, let me elaborate.
Every person who attends the school of magic must go through a “sorting” ceremony, during which a person’s values and desires are reviewed, and thus, each person is placed into a house based on their personality, goals, and values; not dissimilar to a job interview. Keeping lingo about magic and wizardry to a minimum, the sorting ceremony essentially matches people to a house based on where they’d best fit. There are four houses in the school: Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin.
Each of these houses has its own unique and dominant traits.
- Gryffindor: bravery, daring, nerve, and chivalry;
- Ravenclaw: intelligence, knowledge, and wit;
- Hufflepuff: hard work, dedication, patience, loyalty, and fair play;
- Slytherin: ambition, cunning and resourcefulness.
Throughout the HP series, we see regular praise of Gryffindor (the house of the three protagonists), and a mockery of the other houses (as is to be expected from the point of view of a member of any of the houses). Outside of the series, in the fandom, we regularly see fans proudly claiming their own houses. (If you’re curious, you can find out what house you belong to on the Pottermore website.)
That said, time and time again, Hufflepuffs often find themselves at the butt-end of most jokes for not being the brightest, being “too nice” and otherwise not having any real “skills” to bring to the table. I mean, you can’t really blame the other houses for thinking that way — in an environment where Gryffindor brings bravery, Ravenclaw brings intelligence, and Slytherin brings ambition, it’s very hard to see where Hufflepuff, the house of inclusivity and hard work, really comes in. It has even gotten to a point that many Hufflepuff fans were ashamed to admit that they were, indeed, a member of the house, for fear of being ridiculed for it.
But today, I’m here to argue this: every house and every trait is important to a well-functioning society. Yes, I’m looking at you too, Hufflepuffs. You are important.
(Spoken like a true Hufflepuff. Unsurprisingly.)
It’s understandable where bravery, daring, and chivalry come in. How else to do we set forth and lead? Intelligence and logic move us forward, propel us and build upon the shoulders of those before us. It’s also understandable where ambition and resourcefulness come in — how else do we innovate or dream bigger than what lies before us? How else do we dream to achieve if not by living and dying for their success?
In my eyes, Hufflepuff is the great big knot that ties it all together.
Let’s think about the symbolism related to the house. Start with their common rooms. They’re right next to the kitchens, and are lit with warm, natural light. It’s literally the most welcoming room you could possibly want to be in. Even their house ghost, who is an actual dead person, is called the Fat Friar, the friendliest possible ghost you could find. And their mascot? Yes, it’s a freakin’ badger. And choosing it as a mascot was no accident! Have you seen the honey badger documentary, or this awesome website about the honey badger?! They get stung hundreds of times in the pursuit of honey, and fight and eat snakes. And, if you watch that documentary in full, you will find out that they will attempt to escape enclosures hundreds of times. Hundreds. They are the most stubborn, tough, and persistent animals you will find in the animal kingdom. When we say tenacious, we don’t just mean, “try and try again,” we mean, “try, and try 500 more times because ‘no’ is not an answer.” Tell me that isn’t badass. I dare you!
Even J.K. Rowling herself considers Hufflepuff her favorite house.
Though, most Hufflepuffs will never rub in how hard working or awesome they are, because they almost never brag. They value modesty and decency, and most importantly, making sure everyone has a chance to “shine.” So, sure, Hufflepuffs don’t toot their own horns too often. They will, however, toot your horn for you, if you’ve done something good! They are strong advocates for underdogs and believe strongly in making sure everyone gets a fair shot.
That, perhaps, is the most important underlying value of the Hufflepuff house… fairness.
Here’s the deal: in Harry Potter and in real life, people are born into families of different privilege. It’s not anyone’s fault that it happened that way, but it is our responsibility as people to understand that it has happened that way. Hufflepuffs are dedicated to the public good and ensuring everyone is recognized as a person, that everyone has a fighting chance in a world that may not think twice about “fighting chances.” Far from being pushovers, Hufflepuffs are harbingers what is often taken for granted – justice.
Hufflepuffs, jolly, and honey-badger-like as they may be, are exactly what an unfair world needs. There’s a reason that Hufflepuff has churned out the lowest number of Dark Wizards in the HP world; they are focused on welcoming others, on contributing their fair share, and on fighting for those who need the most help.
At the end of the day, where Gryffindor heralds the bravest and strongest, where Ravenclaw celebrates its brilliant thinkers, and where Slytherin celebrates it most driven and resourceful, you will find that Hufflepuff will praise and honor the most loyal and just. Hufflepuffs are the quiet laborers that rally for justice, peace, and open-mindedness… not for the exaltations, and not for any real benefit for themselves… but because it is the right thing to do.
And what is more noble than the pursuit of what is good, and giving everyone who works at it a shot at greatness?
And if that doesn’t convince you…
NYMPHADORA F*CKING LUPIN, AKA TONKS.
Featured Photo by ChromoManiac