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Mama Deb
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Thoughts on Hufflepuff



In my Sorting Hat poll, I was sorted into Hufflepuff by 17 people, Ravenclaw by 12, Gryffindor by 3 and Slytherin (!) by one. Because I used ticky boxes instead of radio buttons and had an extra category, I was also sorted into multiple Houses and into the tickybox category.

While I've always thought I'd go to Ravenclaw, I'm neither surprised nor disappointed about being Sorted into Hufflepuff..

I'm thinking about that because Hufflepuff has gotten a bad rap. Look at dorrie6's reaction to a similar Sorting. My own immediate reaction to her post is here, but I have a bit more to say, so I figured I'd say it in my own journal.

The first time we hear about Hufflepuff, it's from two very different characters, but both express the same opinion. "I think X is the best House, but I'll take Ravenclaw as a second choice, and it would be awful if I became a Hufflepuff." X = Slytherin or Gryffindor. If it had just been Draco, maybe we would have discounted it, but here's Hermione and she's saying the exact same thing. And we already know Hermione's smart just like we already know Draco's nasty.

So we know it's the last choice. Draco doesn't say, but he'd be happier in Gryffindor than in Hufflepuff. Hermione only gets three Houses because Muggleborns don't get into Slytherin (there's canon evidence that Half-bloods do), but she might not be aware of it.

What am I saying? This is Hermione.

Certainly, the Sorting Hat makes Hufflepuff less than glamorous.

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

Patient toilers. Who wants that when one can be slyly ambitious or brave or witty? They sound like plodders.

The next time we hear the song, in GoF, it's not much better:

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

Hard workers. Salt of the earth types. Blah.

And I'm going to admit I felt the same way. No, that's not true, either. I didn't think much of it. I was a Ravenclaw, if anything, right? And we see things through Harry's eyes, and Harry's pure Gryffindor (I honestly don't think the Hat would have brought up Slytherin if Harry hadn't.) And Rowling thinks bravery is the greatest of all virtues.

But. Things change in OotP. We start thinking differently about Neville, for example, and Harry. Hermione steps out of the good girl role forever. And in a song asking for interHouse unity, only Helga seems to want it. "I'll teach the lot and treat them just the same." and "Good Hufflepuff, she took the rest/and taught them all she knew". Note that Helga is the only one called "good". She's the only one who didn't divide the students into mental or physical (blood) traits. They were all just students to her, worthy of being taught. I fell in love with her when I read that poem.

We hear good workers. We hear loyal and patient and just. This is a far cry from the single traits of the other Houses. This is Helga saying that none of that matters - that we have children that must be taught and going for one special trait is wrong. So we have the intelligence (and heritage) of Ernie, the bravery of Cedric - even Zacharias's cynicism. We can see how insightful Susan Bones is (and would it be strange if her auntie was Hufflepuff? And don't we all want Madam Amelia Bones as Minister?)

All Houses are more diverse than the Founders wanted. That's unavoidable, since everyone is a combination of traits, and people will join a House because that's where their families went, even if they'd fit better elsewhere - Percy would have fit just as well in *any* of the other Houses, but he's a Weasley. The difference is that Hufflepuff has so many traits that anyone can fit.

And, you know. Only Hufflepuff defeated Gryffindor with Harry as Seeker - and then they were willing to call a do-over because of how they won. You know that no other House would have done that - including Gryffindor. In fact - only Hufflepuff defeated Gryffindor at all in these books. Cedric *was* the real Hogwarts Champion (and Harry would have been happier throughout that book had that remained so.)

Watch out for Hufflepuff in the last couple of books. We've been trained to overlook it, and I think that's on purpose.

Remember. Badgers kill snakes.

Comments
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I'll probably write a reaction post too on the houses and my main thought was that I had people from all 4 on my list and think they're all flattering. I thought it was funny the way the hat almost made it seem like Hufflepuff was the default house, but I think in canon they have their own subtle personality that isn't any worse than the others. (In fact, sometimes it seems like in canon Ravenclaw is the "all the rest" house, only it isn't because it's got this "intelligence" label.)

I do apply the house ideas differently to real people than to canon characters, though, and I didn't vote for Hufflepuff for anybody without considering it a compliment (since I mostly voted no instinct it was never a case of cataloging the person's talents or anything like that).

Watch out for Hufflepuff in the last couple of books. We've been trained to overlook it, and I think that's on purpose.

Personally, I always got the feeling that Hufflepuff was well-regarded in canon. I was surprised by all the people who thought Zach was going to be the traitor to the DA when Marietta seemed to be wearing a neon sign from the moment she appeared. Sometimes they're stodgy in canon, but they seem to also have a real sense of no-nonsense fairplay. They're hard to describe, but "duffers" is definitely not the word that comes to mind for me.

I agree that the 'Puffs seem well-regarded in canon. Certainly Cedric Diggory was a Big Man On Campus. There's no indication that the 'Puffs, as a House, are unpopular or disliked (that distinction seems to belong to the Slytherins). And there are no individual 'Puff outcasts like Luna Lovegood. I get the feeling that even Zach Smith has friends.

I think most of us, given the option, have Tickybox as our secondary House. Because, you know, ticky boxes RULE 'n stuff.

When I posted my "sort me" poll, I was voted a Hufflepuff, too. Which is just what I wanted. :D I think the more mature species of fan can see the good in Hufflepuff, whereas some might say "Ew. They're so DULL. Bleah."

By the way, Hermione to the best of my knowledge didn't mention Hufflepuff: "I hope I'm in Gryffindor, it sounds by far the best...I suppose Ravenclaw wouldn't be too bad." A few paragraphs down, Ron: "I don't suppose Ravenclaw would be too bad, but imagine if they put me in Slytherin." (PS/SS, p. 106 of my American paperback ed.) I wrote a piece in my LJ earlier which laid out the theory that it is Ravenclaw which is the "default House," as it seems an acceptable second choice to everyone - who would quarrel with being considered smart? Meanwhile, Slytherin appears to have an aura of the pariah house about it, at least for Muggle-borns and families like the Weasleys. Ron knows that Voldemort was in that House (I wonder how, but I digress). And if Slytherin has a reputation for not liking Muggle-borns then obviously no Muggle-born would want to go there.

Hufflepuff is, as you said, the "salt of the earth" house. Honest, loyal, just and hard-working. That, I think is what gives it something of a "duffer" reputation, not because it IS full of duffers but because these qualities lack glamor. And glamor is what impresses eleven-year-olds. It also has to do with our culture; our Western, or at least Anglo-American, culture prizes both individuality, intellect, and ambition. A communal outlook is regarded as either dull, for chumps, or both. I remember a long chat with a native Hawaiian woman in one of my classes a few months back. We got onto the subject of the HP books and she told me how the Hufflepuff qualities were what was valued in native Hawaiian culture - you care for your family, your land, you look out for others, humility is valued. Many, many indigenous societies would probably think Hufflepuff is the best house! (And incidentally, what is valued in mainstream society is often at odds with Hawaiian values, she told me, and so she has to hear about how her people are stupid, improvident, don't have the "right values" and so on. Hufflepuff qualities are not inherently "dull" or "duffer" but they ARE less valued in our society.)

We may be told that Hufflepuff is "a load o' duffers" but we are shown otherwise. Name one Hufflepuff who is a duffer - go ahead, I dare you. As you mentioned, Cedric Diggory was the real Hogwarts champion; not only that, he was close to actually winning the Triwizard Tournament until fake!Moody intervened. Ced bested the champions from the other schools and was going to beat Harry, too. And it was under his captainship that the Hufflepuff team beat Gryffindor.

Ernie Macmillan? Pompous, yes, but also hard-working and smart. He also had the social maturity, at age thirteen, to admit he was wrong and apologize to Harry for thinking he was the Heir of Slytherin. Zacharias Smith? He's more like fanon Draco than canon Draco is! :D He may be abrasive, but I don't think that questioning Harry makes him a bad guy, in fact, I have more respect for Zach's brains and critical thinking because of his skepticism.

I would not be surprised to find out that Tonks was a Hufflepuff. In fact, I hope she is, because it would be another feather in the badger cap, to have an Auror as an alumna.

Well, I think most fen are Ravenclaws, because of the degree to which we live in our heads as a group.

Please don't kill me! :D

Actually, have you seen what I said about Hufflepuff in my four houses meta posts? They're in my memories. I spent a lot of time talking about Hufflepuff because I really do think that they are a type and an indispensible type, not boring at all.

:) I think I can manage that.

Of course Hufflepuffs are indispensable. Someone has to actually run things when everyone else is being ambitious or brave or clever...

*goes to check memories*

danke

Thank you for this. I've been sorted into Hufflepuff numerous times, and I've never minded, but Hufflepuff does seem to be the house that gets the most whining when someone ends up in it (I was in a sorting community for a bit, see). You made good points, and I think I'll have to keep them in my mind next time I hear someone complaining about being a 'Puff.

Bitte.

It's not glamorous. You're not a rebel, you're not a hero and you're not smart.

Except. Zacharias is a rebel and Cedric is a hero, and Susan is smart.

-->\d-s

Um just great, agree with you that Helga is just wonderful. Would so love having her as a teacher, she sounds like the kind every kid needs at least one of. I'm starting to think that I'm the only person on the planet who wants to be in Hufflepuff but doesn't have the traits. I mean, the other houses are nice and all, but Hufflepuff feels like a home.

Re: -->\d-s

I mean, the other houses are nice and all, but Hufflepuff feels like a home.


It's not the traits. I think that maybe Hufflepuff encourages hard work and cooperation. It's the attitude. "Everyone belongs here. We're family." You don't see that in Gryffindor so much. chrystanza said that Luna was an outcast in Ravenclaw - if it weren't for Harry and Ron, Hermione would have been one in Gryffindor. We know almost nothing about Slytherin in that sense, so I can't say about them.

from d_s

And there isn't really much more to say that go Puffs!

I'd love to see an "evil" Hufflepuff in the next two books, though - I don't think it would be likely, per se, given that Helga's influence is specifically a force for good, but you do have to imagine all that loyalty dedicated to the DEs, for example, and get a little shiver. Like if a very, very clever Ravenclaw went over as well - would make great reading. In general, though, I'd be happy with some more explicit moments of Puff Power, not ones that you sort of have to suss out (even if they are still there).

Re: from d_s

There have to be Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws among Voldie's followers. I don't know if they'd be Death Eaters (I believe the Death Eaters are the elite) but that doesn't mean they wouldn't find something to agree with in Voldie's agenda. There is already one former Gryffindor, so why not others from there, too? Except I think politics probably plays a role there as well - someone suited for Gryffindor but with Death Eater sympathies might be Sorted to another House.

Hello, came here from the Daily Snitch. :)

You have some very interesting points, and I too think that Hufflepuff is much more than the fandom seem to think. In fact, in canon this House has many remarkable persons.

I think it's a common mistake a lot of fans make is to disregard what we are shown in fanon, and only remember what we're told, or what shows on the surface. I wish people would remember that just because you get sorted into, say Ravenclaw, the primary trait of that house is only one of many.

and Harry's pure Gryffindor (I honestly don't think the Hat would have brought up Slytherin if Harry hadn't.)

This is kind of funny, because here I disagree; I think Harry has all of the Slytherin traits mentioned in canon, and his Gryffindor trait, his bravery, has more of the has-nothing-left-to-lose kind of feel to it.

And I also think that there's nothing wrong with the Slytherin traits mentioned either. Uncontrolled and unbalanced they could be a problem, but so can the traits of the other houses.

As ajhalluk's icon says, Gryffindors are Slytherins with good press.

Harry's a Gryffindor. He jumps into action without thought or planning - and he does so for reasons other than enlightened self-interest, as a Slytherin would. If he had more Slytherin traits, Sirius would still be alive.

And if he had more Slytherin traits, he'd have been killed by Acromantulas, because a Slytherin would never have taken the Ford Anglia.

:claps: Very true, very true. Hufflepuff has always been my house of choice. They just seem the nice, dependable sort. Not really very glamorous but the sort that gets the job done, you know? Yeah, I'd be happy to be sorted into Hufflepuff

This is great! Go Badgers! (see my LJ!)

Remember. Badgers kill snakes.

Woot. Viva La Puff.

Brilliant observations! I think you've cottoned on to something significant. I'm watching for it!

"Remember. Badgers kill snakes."

Although I am what you might calls a Slytherpuff (the two houses most represented in my personality are oddly enough Slytherin and Hufflepuff...which eventually people will realize isn't that weird) -- that is an awesome quote. Would you mind if I used it for an icon?

Yes - but can I use the icon, too? Please?

i missed that quiz! i am going to do it for my own journal!!!!

i would have put you in ravenclaw too

I found this post via vassilissa and have linked to it on the loyal_badger community, which is the Huff common room for hogwarts_elite. I hope you don't mind, especially if a few people come and comment, but I found your post to be thought-provoking and very interesting.

Here via the Snitch.

Thank you for this. I get really annoyed when people discount Hufflepuff as "the duffers" or "the rest" or "people who weren't special enough to get into the other Houses." Because, honestly? They're loyal, they work hard, and they accept people. I think those would be, in the world outside of Hogwarts, the most useful traits to have to get ahead. I'll bet most of the people who keep the wizarding world running smoothly--whether they work in the Ministry, or organize the pro Quidditch league, or run shops or businesses--are Hufflepuffs.

And I know all the canon villains seem to be Slytherins, but I think the scariest person you could ever possibly meet would be an evil!Hufflepuff. Because they would create evil schemes, and then actually put them into action. They would get stuff done. And eventually, they would take over the world.

Although I don't see myself as a Hufflepuff myself (I'm too lazy, I think), I guess I'm a 'puff wannabe. They seem like a really cool bunch of people, and besides that, they're very fair. Most of them are fair in a nice way, but even the others, like Zacharias, have the common goal of stepping back and saying, "Okay, what are we doing? Why are we doing it? Is this the right thing to do? How could we improve on it?" Which is a really sensible attitude toward basically everything.

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