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.