Description: Hufflepuff never gets the props it deserves.
In Defense of Hufflepuff
Upon having a conversation with a friend about which house we would be sorting into, I came to the sad conclusion that I would be in Hufflepuff. My dentist friend proudly proclaimed she would be in Ravenclaw.
I did graduate from college, but wasn't an exceptional student. Not enough to be placed in Ravenclaw anyway. I got a degree in journalism, forgoing a more academic sounding degree like post-18th Century English literature – or something like that. As a journalist you are expected to write for the fifth-grade reading level. I figured I could do at least that, although I admit I depended on spell check more than I should. While I did work as a journalist for several years, I'm currently a housewife and have not worked professionally for many years.
So, I figured I'd be sorted in to Hufflepuff, a place where students are sorted when they don't have any of the qualities of the other three houses. Sorry, I'm not smart, brave or ambitious. I can hear the Sorting Hat say "You must be in Hufflepuff!"
The first mention of Hufflepuff in the Harry Potter books was mentioned in disgrace, done by Draco Malfoy in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." In Madam Malkin dress robe shop in Diagon Alley, Malfoy told Harry Potter "Imagine being in Hufflepuff. I think I'd leave, wouldn't you?" So right from the start, we knew Hufflepuff wasn't the place you wanted to be… not that we knew why.
When Harry Potter asked Hagrid about Hufflepuff, Hagrid states "Everyone says Hufflepuff are a lot o duffers…" Harry told Hagrid he bet would be in Hufflepuff. He figured he had nothing to offer the magical world, not knowing he would eventually become their savior. Hagrid said better Hufflepuff than Slytherin. Thank goodness, at least someone has a worse reputation than I.
The Sorting Hat
We heard again about Hufflepuff from the Sorting Hat.
"You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true,
And unafraid of toil"
—The Sorting Hat
Hufflepuff students are also described as hard-working, friendly, loyal, and non-judgmental. Well, when you put it that way, I guess Hufflepuff doesn't seem so bad.
However in the Sorting Hat's song in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," the Hat sings the truth about Helga Hufflepuff's legacy: "Dear Hufflepuff, she took the rest and taught them all she knew." As a consequence of being accepting and non-judgmental, Hufflepuff has been stereotyped as the house of the unexceptional.
While not the most impressive professor, Professor Pomona Sprout, head of the Hufflepuff house is an exceptional teacher. We readers don't think much about her, having been described as a dumpy little witch with dirt under her nails. Yet, she is a steady and knowledgeable professor. She's not a showy witch like Professor Minerva McGonagall who once had a lesson entitled "Look at me; I can change into an animagus." Nor is Professor Sprout as flamboyant as Professor Snape who proclaimed pompously to his first year students that he "can put a stopper in death." Although unassuming, Professor Sprout's steady and accepting nature is in true Hufflepuff spirit.
It may be that due to their unassuming values, Hufflepuffs are not as competitive as the other houses, or simply more modest about their accomplishments. For these reasons Hufflepuff tends to do poorly in the House Cup. Gryffindor and Slytherin share an enormous rivalry, and thus are extremely competitive with one another, whereas Ravenclaw is defined by the intelligence and academic accomplishments of its members.
Hufflepuff appears to have the least rivalry with the other houses, although the Triwizard Tournament did temporarily put a great deal of strain on the relationship between Gryffindor and Hufflepuff when both Harry Potter and Cedric Diggory were named as Champions. The Hufflepuffs felt their rare glory was snatched away when Cedric was not named as the sole Hogwarts champion.
However, this does not mean that there are no talented students in Hufflepuff, or that there aren't students in other houses who perform poorly. For example, Neville Longbottom was sorted into Gryffindor and is unremarkable in all subjects except, ironically, Professor Sprout's Herbology.
Additionally, Slytherins Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle appeared to have been poor students as well. They also don't have the Slytherin traits of ambition or drive to prove themselves like Draco Malfoy, or even Harry Potter. As you remember from "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," the Sorting Hat thought Harry would do well in Slytherin.
While Hufflepuff is rarely in the limelight, we can't assume its members are all losers. According to Minerva McGonagall, all four houses have produced exceptional witches and wizards in their time. So, those of us who knew we would be destined for Hufflepuff, if we weren't mere American Muggles, rejoiced in Cedric Diggory. He brought Hufflepuff joy as its Quidditch captain and seeker and once caught the snitch in a game against Gryffindor. True to his Hufflepuff trait of fair play, Cedric asked for a rematch after finding out Harry Potter, Gryffindor's seeker was injured during play. Later Cedric brought Hufflepuff glory as Hogwarts' Champion in the Triwizard Tournament. Cedric represents Hufflepuff at its best, embodying all signature Hufflepuff traits: loyalty, honesty, fair play, and hard work. Oh and he was handsome to boot!
While the naysayers of Hufflepuff like to point out Cedric Diggory was Hufflepuff's only hero, I must introduce Nymphadora Tonks, accomplished Auror and Order of the Phoenix member. Tonks mentioned to Hermione Granger in "Harry Potter: The Order of the Phoenix" that she was in Hufflepuff. Tonks showed loyalty by volunteering time and time again to be part of Harry Potter's protection detail. She also helped guard Harry's prophecy at the Department of Mysteries and fought to save Harry and his friends at the battle that insued there.
Somewhere along the way, she fell in love with Remus Lupin, a werewolf. In true, Hufflepuff accepting spirit, she accepted him… although he was not as accepting of himself. Loyal to her love, her feelings caused her Patronus to change to a werewolf. Again she shows her undying loyalty to her Auror Department mentor by opening crying after hearing Alaster Moody was murdered.
Most notably, Tonks bravely fought and died in the Battle of Hogwarts. As a trained Auror, she could not sit back and let students defend Hogwarts alone. But true to her loyalty to her husband, Remus Lupin, she searched for him as soon as she arrived at the school.
A number of Hufflepuff students joined "Dumbledore's Army" with its formation in "Order of the Phoenix. Susan Bones, Hannah Abbot and Ernie MacMillion, Justin Finch-Fletch and Zacharias Smith were founding members.
Ultimately, it was not a Hufflepuff, but a Ravenclaw who betrayed the DA. Marietta Edgecombe went to Dolores Umbridge with information about the D.A. Edgecombe was a reluctant member, having been dragged to meetings by her friend Cho Chang.
Battle of Hogwarts
Hufflepuff House rose to the occasion by demonstrating its loyalty during the Battle of Hogwarts. Hufflepuff was second only to Harry Potter's own house in the number of students willing to stay and fight against Voldemort in the defense of their school. DA members Susan Bones, Hannah Abbot and Ernie MacMillion fought, as well as Professor Spout, head of Hufflepuff house.
Other Hufflepuffs who were in Dumbledore's Army were Justin Finch-Fletchley and Zacharias Smith. Justin was not mentioned as a participant in the Battle of Hogwarts. It is possible that he participated in the battle without being noticed by Harry Potter, but as a muggle-born it was more likely that Finch-Fletchley was either imprisoned, dead, or in exile.
While some houses have members that they may not be proud of, Hufflepuff's version of its failure is Zacharias Smith. If Cedric Diggory represents Hufflepuff at its best, Zacharias Smith is Hufflepuff at its worst. While Smith was a member of the legendary Dumbledore's Army, Harry Potter thought Smith was just there to hear details about Cedric Diggory's death. Smith showed cowardice and a lack of the loyalty in fleeing, instead of fighting for his school and fellow students.
As described in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" in the evacuation before the Battle of Hogwarts "...there was much pushing and shouting; Harry saw Zacharias Smith bowling over first years to get to the front of the queue, here and there younger students were in tears, while older ones called desperately for friends or siblings."
It's possible that Zacharias was only put in Hufflepuff because he lacked the qualities needed for the other houses. Going by one of the Sorting Hat's songs, Hufflepuff did take those at Hogwarts who did not meet the needs of the other houses.
While Zacharias Smith puts a possible Hufflepuff like me to shame, at least he's not a huge disgrace as is that of Lord Voldemort or Peter "Wormtail" Pettigrew for the houses of Slytherin and Gryffindor respectfully.
How about them Indians
There is a saying "too many Chiefs and not enough Indians." Hufflepuffs are the Indians. We have to acknowledge that we can't be all Chiefs. Hufflepuffs aren't wannabes like the Slytherins. Hufflepuffs know they can be the most loyal, hard working Indians there are.
So I pose this question to you, if you had someone who had to watch your back, what house would you like them to be from? Before you answer Gryffindor, how did that go with James Potter?
So it is now with pride, that I can say I am happy to be a Hufflepuff. Going back to "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" when Hagrid tells Harry about Hufflepuff: "Everyone says Hufflepuff are a lot o duffers, but –" I think had Hagrid been allowed to finish, he would have said that it's a great house full of wonderful people. Yet it took me seven whole books to come to that conclusion.
Now, when I think of Hufflepuff, I think of the Nirvana song "Come as you are." Hufflepuff students just have to show up and be themselves, and there is nothing wrong with that!