Move over, Gryffindor. Hufflepuffs are the real heroes here.
When we reached out to our Harry Potter community, asking all self-proclaimed Hufflepuffs to describe their unique House pride, we weren’t at all surprised to find that many fans didn’t love their Hogwarts House assignment at first. Countless stories began with community members expressing their knee-jerk shame in being sorted into Hufflepuff — some outright admitting to lying or cheating to skew their results.
“I never really wanted to be a Hufflepuff,” began FANDOM user Squidwiki2017, echoing many similar responses. “Gryffindor was my house until I [took the] Pottermore quiz.”
Once the butt of many jokes, Hufflepuff has blossomed into one of the proudest and most-searched Houses online on our site alone with over 800 thousand page views each year. How did Hufflepuffs reveal themselves to be the true heroes of the Wizarding World, and what made us too blind to see it for so many years?
Hufflepuffs Began as Punching Bags
First, we must ask ourselves where all the Hufflepuff Hostility™ came from. Draco essentially said he would leave Hogwarts for good if he were dubbed a Hufflepuff. Even Hagrid — the benign, the beloved! — had less than flattering things to say about the Hufflepuff House: “Everyone says Hufflepuff are a lot o’ duffers.” This from the loose-lipped professor who drank in front of students and led unsanctioned excursions through the dangerous Forbidden Forest? I love you, Hagrid, but glass houses, my man. Glass houses.
The blatant bias against Hufflepuffs wasn’t contained to the books and films alone. Out here in the non-Wizarding World, the name “Hufflepuff” became synonymous with everything bumbling and unremarkable. Youtube videos, mean tweets, and jokes from parents and peers painted Hufflepuffs as the butt of the joke. If you were the Hufflepuff of your group, of Congress, of the New York Yankees — it meant you were less sharp and less accomplished than your peers. Even Mindy Kaling — as beloved and benign as Hagrid — once tweeted, “No one wants to be a Hufflepuff.”
Type ‘Hufflepuff’ into Google and it will autofill your search with mean questions from days past: “Why Are Hufflepuffs lame?” “Is Hufflepuff for losers?” Our personal favorite: “Hufflepuff = stoner house.” But all the trite Huffle-puff-puff-pass jokes aside, where did all this hate come from?
The History of Hufflepuff
Some people attribute Hufflepuff’s broad-stroked reputation to its aesthetic: Their mascot is a seemingly timid badger, and their house color is a polarizing bright yellow. But let us never forget the much-memed “Fearless Honey Badger” who took on six lions, or Beyoncé’s now iconic dress in the “Hold Up” music video. Sadly, no, the real source of all this Hufflepuff Hate is far less surface or cosmetic; it comes from a deep and reckless misread of the House’s Hogwarts origin story.
Everyone knows that before there was a Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, there were Four Founders (or, as I like to call them, the Alliterati): Godric Gryffindor, Rowena Ravenclaw, Salazar Slytherin, and Helga Hufflepuff. Each created their own namesake house. Gryffindor famously chose students who were brave and chivalrous; Slytherin called dibs on the ambitious and the cunning; Ravenclaw selected the studious and the intelligent; and, according to the Sorting Hat’s sing-song version of the legend in Order of the Pheonix, Helga Hufflepuff “took the rest.”
A shallow read of this tale implies that Hufflepuff was established as a House of leftovers; the bottom-of-the-barrel kids left on the bleachers and selected last for gym class Quidditch teams. But this is a complete misconception. The Hat’s song goes on to say that Helga “taught them all she knew.” These teachings included magical cookery (apparently she could whip up one mean pot roast), fostering House Elf and wizard relations, and more. Helga valued generosity, ingenuity, and friendship — and she made sure that anyone who bore her namesake House would do the same.
And Helga succeeded. Some of the most dedicated and steadfast characters in the whole franchise hailed from Hufflepuff. Take, for example, the courageous Triwizard contender Cedric Diggory, or the Heiress of Herbology herself, Professor Pomona Sprout. (Please, leave your Herbology stoner jokes at the door.) Yet people still perpetuated the tired idea that Hufflepuff, unlike the other three Houses, was a motley hodgepodge of the talentless and unremarkable. Clearly, something had to change — and who better to usher that in than the source of the holy texts herself, Harry Potter author JK Rowling?
The Hufflepuff Revolution
“Hufflepuff is my favorite House in some ways,” Queen Rowling said in a 2012 live chat. “The Hufflepuffs stayed [to fight in the Battle of Hogwarts] for a reason. They didn’t want to show off. They weren’t being reckless. That’s the essence of Hufflepuff. My daughter Jessica said to me recently, who wasn’t sorted into Hufflepuff, ‘I think we should all want to be Hufflepuffs.’ I can only say to you, I would not be disappointed at all to be in Hufflepuff. I’m a little upset anyone does feel that way.”
There it is, folks, staring us in the face as clearly Lily Potter’s green eyes: We should all want to be Hufflepuffs. Rowling’s quote jump-started a grassroots PR campaign for the Hufflepuff House. No longer were they the leftovers — now they were the loyal; the hard-working; the aspirational. And as if being ordained by Rowling wasn’t enough, celebrities began to come out of the woodwork as Hufflepuffs, including “proud Hufflepuff” Eddie Redmayne, Rupert Grint, and Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson. This is the Dwayne Johnson that battles earthquakes and giant gorillas for a living, so remind us how Hufflepuffs aren’t badasses again?
On FANDOM, no House’s Wiki has come close to collecting more pageviews in the last four years (with over 3.4 million visits to the page and counting). The Hufflepuff community on Reddit challenged the other three houses to a good-doing contest. They encouraged their peers to better the world, in true Huffle spirit, with small but impactful tasks like conserving water and donating books to a local library. Hufflepuffs, once marginalized on the internet, have become a mobilized force to reckon with.
Hufflepuff’s Famous New Hero
And, of course, there’s Newt. No one deserved a leading man more than the Hufflepuff House, and they finally got a hero in Newton Scamander, the next-generation hero of the Fantastic Beasts movie franchise. Newt, in all of his Hufflepuff glory, isn’t much of a rabble-rouser; his power comes from his empathy. “You know what I admire about you, Newt?” Dumbledore asks during Crimes of Grindelwald. “You do not seek power. You simply ask, ‘Is a thing right?’” As the Fantastic Beast films have and will continue to prove, Newt’s the unconventional hero we all deserve: diligent, moral, and as kind to magic’s cousin of the rhino (the erumpent) as he is his fellow human beings.
When we asked Hufflepuffs from our Harry Potter community to explain what made them gleam with Badger Pride, user RackUp said it most magically: “As a person, I parallel Newt in many ways. He’s a kind soul that tries to always be honest, but he’s also a bit of an introvert when it comes to people. Once you get to know him, however, you learn that Newt is actually a great person, if a little atypical (maybe the Swooping Evil joke on Kowalski wasn’t the nicest). Now that I know how similar other Hufflepuffs are to myself, I’m proud to call myself one.”
The Future of Hogwarts’ Houses
Now that Hufflepuff has received its much-deserved comeuppance, what House shall history reconsider next? You could make a convincing argument that Slytherin needs a public rebranding; they’re in no way all Death Eaters and bigots, and to claim that is to paint with the same wide brushstrokes that maligned Hufflepuffs for all those years. Or maybe it’s Ravenclaw that deserves its time in the sun — comparatively little is known about Hogwarts’ brainiest house, and it seems fans are growing increasingly intrigued: No other house has seen such a surge in pageviews on our site (a 33% growth in just four years).
Maybe, with the cinematic expansion of the Wizarding World, fans will come to associate themselves with Houses from wizarding schools abroad. In ten years, will the young and the young-at-heart define themselves as Thunderbirds from America’s school, Ilvermony? Or a now-unknown house from Brazil’s Castlobruxo, or Uganda’s Uagadou?
Over the years, and especially considering the evolution of Hufflepuff, we’ve learned that we must approach Hogwarts House assignments with a touch more nuance. Many were too quick to judge Severus Snape as a self-serving Slytherin when he actually dedicated his life to avenging the woman he loved. And what about the ultimate Gryffindor, Albus Dumbledore? Was he not sometimes driven by the desire to attain glory and even to escape death? Aren’t those classic Slytherin characteristics?
Identifying with a Hogwarts House is a phenomenal diving board into introspection. Who are you? What do you value? Do you look good in yellow? (Answer to the last question: Not as good as Beyoncé.) But people are complicated, people! You can tell them which section of a castle to live in and which Quidditch team to root for, but you can’t reduce their personality to a single trait and judge them for it. Humans — be they magical or muggle — are so much more dynamic than their Hogwarts House.