ASST. A&E EDITOR
You sit at your computer waiting for the page to load. It is the moment of truth; the moment every young witch or wizard dreams about. You’re about to be sorted. You’ve speculated and soul searched and now Pottermore, the website created by J.K. Rowling, is about to decide your fate. The page loads, the yellow-banner unfurls, and you are officially… a badger? Not even a honey badger; you’re just a European rodent.
Hufflepuff is often the pig-tailed butt of jokes in the Harry Potter community. This is largely because not much is known about Hufflepuff. “The other houses have really clear things that they’re attached to: Gryffindor - Bravery, Ravenclaw - intelligence, and Slytherin - ambition, but then Hufflepuff is kind of like, well, they’re loyal,” English Professor Sean Morris said. “If you’re not one of these “real” things, you can go in Hufflepuff — it’s the catch-all category.”
However, the tides may be turning for what is often known only as the “leftover” house. Recently, a new stage play known as Puffs, or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic & Magic, debuted off Broadway at the Elektra Theater on 43rd Street in Manhattan. The play portrays the events in Harry’s seven years from the point of view of a Hufflepuff, giving a voice to the often forgotten house.
In addition, the next movie to be added to the Harry Potter canon, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, should help bring greater awareness and prestige to Hufflepuffs. The movie, which premieres on Nov. 18, features a Hufflepuff protagonist: Newt Scamander, played by Eddie Redmayne.
Even without these boosts to Hufflepuff moral, many ‘Puffs on campus are proud of their house. Though members of other houses may look down upon them as the Malfoys would to a house elf, these Hufflepuff students choose to see the admirable traits the house values in its members. “They’re loyal, they’re caring, they’re giving; they’re my favorite house,” said junior Alisa Anhold. “I know other people shame me for being a Hufflepuff, but I don’t care.” sophomore Taylor Scriber said. “I’ve never felt ashamed of being a Hufflepuff. They’re the backbone of Hogwarts, and anyone who says otherwise isn’t paying attention. They’re a lot more intelligent than people give them credit for, and I think they’re very good problem solvers because they can utilize teamwork better than any other house.”
Despite their stereotypically unassuming nature, Morris maintains that Hufflepuffs can be great leaders. “There are a lot of things in life that people don’t notice,” Morris said. “You see this in leadership types. People will talk about the star CEO; the person they bring in and pay a lot of money. Often times those people don’t make big changes, as opposed to people who are more quiet. Less flashy leaders who are able to come in [can] make lasting change by simply focusing on the mission, and it’s less about themselves.”
Though a Gryffindor herself, J.K. Rowling has stated in interviews that Hufflepuff is, in many ways, her favorite house. Then why was Hufflepuff given the short end of the wand? Morris believes Rowling did this purposefully. “I honestly think she had this in mind, because so many things in the books lead you toward an easy and all-embracing conclusion about people,” said Morris. “Substitute your favorite prejudiced ethnic group in real, human life. It’s that kind of thinking that the books are attacking. The books lay out your expectations and then they turn it around and say ‘Look, it’s not that simple.’”
Though often depicted as weak, Rowling gives Hufflepuffs two inspiring heroes: Cedric Diggory, the rightful Triwizard Champion, and Nymphadora Tonks, the badass who gave birth and then immediately joined in the Battle of Hogwarts. These characters prove that‘Puffs are anything but weak.
So take pride in your house, my fellow Hufflepuffs. The dawning of a new era is now upon us; an era where being sorted into the house of the badger is not mortifying, but magical. Regardless of what house you may fall into, now more than ever, with our own Voldemort on our doorstep, we must remember the words of the Sorting Hat, for “We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”