“Everyone says Hufflepuff are a lot o’ duffers.”
September 21, 2015 3:12 PM   Subscribe

In Defense of Hufflepuff [The Atlantic] The much-maligned house of the Harry Potter series doesn’t get nearly enough attention or praise for its egalitarian ethos.
To her credit, the Harry Potter series author J.K. Rowling makes plenty of subtle efforts to elevate the house through the admirable actions of its less-heralded students. Hufflepuffs are supposedly defined by strong loyalty, disinterest in public glory, and a hardworking spirit. Perhaps that’s why they don’t stand out: Hufflepuffs have an ethos of self-improvement, while Gryffindors are brave, Ravenclaws preternaturally smart, and Slytherins deeply ambitious. When translating the four houses into vague personality quadrants for us non-magical Muggles (as many websites do), Hufflepuff comes up especially short. Not extroverted, or cunning, or inherently intelligent? Then you must belong to the other house, which, as Kaling joked, nobody wants. But that doesn’t make much sense considering how much she herself values hard work.
posted by Fizz (142 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
Hufflepuff is the stoner house.

• Their common room is literally just full of couches, with easy access to the kitchen
• Known for being relaxed, friendly, and not too ambitious
• Specialists in Herbology
posted by vogon_poet at 3:17 PM on September 21, 2015 [48 favorites]


Can I volunteer to be a Hufflepuff?
posted by Talez at 3:19 PM on September 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yay, this is nice! I've always thought of myself as being a Hufflepuff and it's nice to see the house (and the virtues of loyalty and friendship) getting some acknowledgement as something other than "well, you're not smart, brave, or cunning enough for the other houses, soooo."
posted by everybody had matching towels at 3:21 PM on September 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


after a long conversation with my partner about which house the sorting hat would sort us into, we decided that the only appropriate place at Hogwarts for us would be a new house named "Dirty Ravenclaw."
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:22 PM on September 21, 2015 [9 favorites]


but yeah in my headcanon Hufflepuff is full of clandestine revolutionary wizarding socialist organizations and militant offshoots of SPEW.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:24 PM on September 21, 2015 [25 favorites]


When a true Gryffindor puts on the Sorting Hat, she thinks "Please not Slytherin! Please not Slytherin!"

When a true Slytherin puts on the Sorting Hat, she thinks "Please not Hufflepuff! Please not Hufflepuff!"
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:26 PM on September 21, 2015 [19 favorites]


When translating the four houses into vague personality quadrants for us non-magical Muggles (as many websites do), Hufflepuff comes up especially short.

Indeed, I recently entered Pottermore and was sorted into Ravenclaw and the welcome note had this to say about the Hufflepuffs:
"As for the Hufflepuffs, well, nobody could say they're not nice people. In fact, they're some of the nicest people in the school. Let's just say you needn't worry about them when it comes to competition at exam time."
posted by Fizz at 3:27 PM on September 21, 2015


I always thought Hufflepuff would be the best house, because all the other houses embody attributes that are strongly correlated with assholery.
  • Gryffindor: bullies and butterbeer kegstands; magical tweenage fratboys
  • Ravenclaw: "well, actually..." forever
  • Slytherin: I don't even need to say any more
Meanwhile in Hufflepuff it's good people, friendly chats and comfy, comfy chairs.
posted by Sternmeyer at 3:28 PM on September 21, 2015 [62 favorites]


I did like how Slytherin was rebraded as the goth house in Pottermore... especially as I was sorted into Slytherin
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:32 PM on September 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


House Sparklypoo forever!
posted by asperity at 3:32 PM on September 21, 2015 [9 favorites]


I don't completely buy the whole nuSlythetine thing about them being about ambition, which seems retrofitted in. The book Slyths seem to be far more about unearned power and privelege, from outright Malfoy racism to the "nice" nepotism of Slughorn and Snape's MRA whining.

Really I think they're basically written as out and out baddies till right near the end and don't really bear being part of some kind of D&D alignment system.

My feelings on this have nothing to do with Pottermore sorting me into Slyth, of course.

Fucking hat.
posted by Artw at 3:35 PM on September 21, 2015 [19 favorites]


As I grew, matured, gained self-knowledge and confidence, I began to realize that, although I'm plenty smart and would like to be a Ravenclaw, I'm absolutely a Hufflepuff through and through —and that's a good thing.
posted by erlking at 3:36 PM on September 21, 2015 [12 favorites]


Ravenclaw: "well actually..." forever

Their symbol is a sealion.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:37 PM on September 21, 2015 [32 favorites]


Oh god no.
posted by Artw at 3:39 PM on September 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


after a long conversation with my partner about which house the sorting hat would sort us into, we decided that the only appropriate place at Hogwarts for us would be a new house named "Dirty Ravenclaw."

Dirty South Ravenclaw?

Ol' Dirty Ravenclaw?

(punished venom slytherin?)
posted by selfnoise at 3:40 PM on September 21, 2015 [3 favorites]




I once had a very passionate conversation with my Children's Literature professor during my undergrad. We discussed how J.K. Rowling had missed this perfect opportunity at the end of the last book. Harry and his friends have won the day and he walks back into the castle and there are all these different people: professors, students, servants, etc. They're all together in one room and it would have been wonderful if Professor McGonagall, as the new Headmistress established that from this day forward there would be no more division among the Great Houses. One great House, everyone together.

But what do we get instead, we get some bullshit about 19 years later and Harry Potter trying his best to teach his son that Slytherin isn't entirely bad. The same horrible bigoted fears have been passed down to the next generation. And yes, Harry tries to tell him about the legacy of his name, and that if Albus gets sorted into Slytherin it wouldn't be an entirely terrible thing, but still...
posted by Fizz at 3:42 PM on September 21, 2015 [30 favorites]


I tend to think of Slytherin as people who work very well within systems and social structures - who understand that every system has 'give,' and know how to exploit that give to arrive at whatever happens to be their goal. Or people who know how to maneuver through structures of power quite successfully. People with very high social intelligence, people who excel at strategy and lateral thinking, politicking.

I know a lot of Slytherins in my real life and they're incredible useful when, say, dealing with University administration. They're rarely confrontational but usually very effective.
posted by erlking at 3:43 PM on September 21, 2015 [12 favorites]


People with very high social intelligence, people who excel at strategy and lateral thinking, politicking.

And Crabbe and Goyle.
posted by vogon_poet at 3:44 PM on September 21, 2015 [20 favorites]


Plenty of successful career politicians get their start as toadies!
posted by erlking at 3:46 PM on September 21, 2015 [7 favorites]


Look everyone knows Hufflepuff is the only thing between them and a violent workers uprising at Hogworts so cut them some slack
posted by The Whelk at 3:47 PM on September 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


Probably plenty of Slyths familiar with "The Hogs Head", if you know what I mean.
posted by Artw at 3:50 PM on September 21, 2015 [65 favorites]


Story of my life. Sorted into Ravenclaw, mostly hangs out with Hufflepuffs.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:51 PM on September 21, 2015 [9 favorites]




Welcome to Hufflepuff by David Mitchell.
posted by humanfont at 3:54 PM on September 21, 2015 [9 favorites]


> I tend to think of Slytherin as people who work very well within systems and social structures

An interesting take on the idea. Charitable. I don't see it myself, at least not as presented in the books. More like, sociopaths of varying levels of function. The Mr. Teatimes of the wizarding world, viewing other people as things.

Is there any point in the books where a Slytherin values another character for any reason other than what that other character can do for them?
posted by Sternmeyer at 3:54 PM on September 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Snape's friend zone nonsense, maybe? Kind of not.
posted by Artw at 3:56 PM on September 21, 2015


No, Slytherin is basically the house for evil magical children.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 3:56 PM on September 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


Magic Tories.
posted by Artw at 3:57 PM on September 21, 2015 [7 favorites]


(The ministry being run by Magic New Labour)
posted by Artw at 3:57 PM on September 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


That someone in The Atlantic is writing a hot take on Hufflepuff in 2015 is sad.
posted by GuyZero at 3:57 PM on September 21, 2015 [20 favorites]


Reminds me of a twitter conversation from way back. If Slytherin isn't automatically evil and every house as a good and bad side, what would an evil Hufflepuff even look like? A politician? A banker? A professor fixer? A master emotional manipulator? How would that differ greatly then a sucessful Slytherin?
posted by The Whelk at 3:57 PM on September 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


Potter is relevant forever!
posted by Artw at 3:58 PM on September 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


It occurs to me that there's a new Rowling-penned wizard movie coming out next year, and the protagonist is a Hufflepuff.
posted by vogon_poet at 4:00 PM on September 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


what would an evil Hufflepuff even look like?

According to the analysis up-thread, they'd smoke all your shit while you were out, eat all your Wizard Doritos and deny it ever happened.
posted by GuyZero at 4:00 PM on September 21, 2015 [15 favorites]


I always thought Rowling's houses, as fucked up as that entire system is, were filled with people who exemplified whatever virtues the house holds up as its own, and the people who needed that particular community to blossom into themselves. Fred and George are flamboyant and brash; Neville is totally paralyzed with fear and anxiety and so is placed somewhere he'll be encouraged to do a lot of personal work to be brave and overcome that. Draco the ambitious racist is exactly what Slytherin House wants; Crabbe and Goyle need the class system to function in society, period.

But there's also some interesting stuff about how the Houses are used to determine who is allowed to be part of society based on access to education. Hufflepuff isn't just the "scholarship kid" house, it's the only house that has universal public education in its house charter. The other houses seem to be either at minimum tracked education or founded with the intention of making magical alumni societies based on select students-- a warrior caste, the intelligentsia, the landed aristocracy. Gryffindor and Ravenclaw are a little bit more meritocratic than Slytherin's desire for only the feudal overlords to be able to come to school, but Hufflepuff is the only house that actually thinks the people who don't fit into those rigid and elite groups deserve a basic education. I always imagine them to be full of people who don't fit anywhere else, yes, but to have a core of people for whom civil service and infrastructure actually matters. You know how assholes say, "those who can't do, teach" because it never occurs to them that there are some people for whom teaching in itself is a passion? That's what everyone means when they say, "this is the house nobody wants; I'd rather leave."
posted by moonlight on vermont at 4:02 PM on September 21, 2015 [24 favorites]


Maybe an evil hufflepuff is more con-man like? That's why Hufflepuff/Slytherin friendships are the most dangerous, a classic grifter/mastermind teamup
posted by The Whelk at 4:03 PM on September 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think an evil Hufflepuff would be kind and loyal to members of their in-group, and just completely brutal to anyone else. Like those Nazis playing with kittens, or a Capone-esque crime boss.
posted by vogon_poet at 4:05 PM on September 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


Neville was the real hero of the series, and was miserable for his first several years in school because the fucking hat mis-sorted him.

Wizarding society is terrible.
posted by schmod at 4:06 PM on September 21, 2015 [15 favorites]


Evil Hufflepuff: George W. Bush.

Evil Gryffindor: Curtis LeMay.

Evil Ravenclaw: Henry Kissinger.
posted by officer_fred at 4:07 PM on September 21, 2015 [20 favorites]


Or, maybe in a way that doesn't step on Slytherin's toes, an evil Hufflepuff is an emotional vampire who gets people dependent on them. Hannibal Lecter is an evil hufflepuff.
posted by The Whelk at 4:08 PM on September 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


If Slytherin isn't automatically evil and every house as a good and bad side, what would an evil Hufflepuff even look like? A politician? A banker? A professor fixer? A master emotional manipulator?

I believe answers to this question may depend on the answerer's opinion of Lenin.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 4:08 PM on September 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


There are also definitely some epic 30's style socialist murals of Helga Hufflepuff in the wizarding countries that got into leftist politics. That's where the evil Hufflepuffs come into the picture imo-- the civil servants who go totally overboard in their desire to create a cohesive society. Making Umbridge into a Slytherin instead of a bad Hufflepuff was a bad move, Jo.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 4:11 PM on September 21, 2015 [9 favorites]


Neville was the real hero of the series, and was miserable for his first several years in school because the fucking hat mis-sorted him.

There are three protagonists of the Harry Potter series: Harry, Ron, and Hermione.

There are three Hogwarts students who saved the wizarding world: Neville, Luna, and Hermione.

As the only member of both sets, Hermione is the hero.

(though seriously I wish we could have gotten more about Neville and Luna keeping the resistance running while the main three moped around in a tent with no idea what to do.)
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 4:12 PM on September 21, 2015 [57 favorites]


I've lost track of it but someone wrote a quite decent fanfiction piece that was basically exactly that -- the story of the Dumbledore's Army's resistance during the seventh year of the series.
posted by Nerd of the North at 4:20 PM on September 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


I just think of the Hufflepuffs as the ones bending over backward and running at double time to keep the wizard world actually functioning; all while the Gryffendors are of doing feats of daring do (and making messes), the Ravenclaw are doing their Spock imitations (and making messes), and the Slytherins are making big bloody messes of everything.

The Hufflepuff's grins are getting more and more fixed, their answers are getting shorter if no less polite, and some of them are developing tics. And late at night, after official lights out, copies of Common Sense are being passed around. Someday soon, Hogwarts is going to have a major cleaning our...
posted by happyroach at 4:21 PM on September 21, 2015 [8 favorites]




When a true Gryffindor puts on the Sorting Hat, she thinks "Please not Slytherin! Please not Slytherin!"

When a true Slytherin puts on the Sorting Hat, she thinks "Please not Hufflepuff! Please not Hufflepuff!"


when a true Ravenclaw puts on the sorting hat, they think "oh god please Ravenclaw I'll be so embarrassed if I'm not Ravenclaw oh please Ravenclaw." Then when the hat says "Ravenclaw," they immediately start thinking "oh god I'm not Ravenclaw the hat made a mistake I know it I'm such a fraud I'm a total fraud I bet I'll never even figure out how to get into the common room tonight."

they then continue to think this every single day until they graduate. and sometimes after.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 4:27 PM on September 21, 2015 [69 favorites]


Evil Hufflepuff: George W. Bush.

"...his first mention in The New York Times occurred in 1967 when, as former president of the Delta Kappa Epsilon chapter at Yale, Bush defended the fraternity’s practice of branding its pledges with a red-hot coat hanger."

Nah. Bush was Slyth through and through. (He's never quite understood why people criticize the house; after all, he had a great time there!)
posted by Iridic at 4:34 PM on September 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


GOD PEOPLE it's just like horoscopes, each house embodies some vague shit that everybody can identify with if they cock their heads at the right angle, the hat just runs a fucking rand() function and justifies your placement after the fact, WAKE UP
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:37 PM on September 21, 2015 [23 favorites]


So, Ravenclaw, huh?
posted by officer_fred at 4:39 PM on September 21, 2015 [34 favorites]


There are three protagonists of the Harry Potter series: Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
There are three people who saved the wizarding world: Neville, Luna, and Hermione.


Harry should definitely go in the "saved the wizarding world" category too. He personally destroyed one Horcrux as a 12-year-old, sacrificed his own life to destroy the one inside himself, and when that didn't kill him he went on to kill Voldemort. (Also, can you remind me what Luna did that Ron didn't? They were both in the Department of Mysteries fight in book 5, and while Ron had plenty of flaws, he also contributed to destroying a few Horcruxes, albeit not in any way that Harry and Hermione couldn't have.)

The Sorting Hat Chats has a rather complicated system for assigning people to houses which includes breaking them into your primary House (what you hold as an ideal), secondary House (what you naturally tend to do), and an optional model House (what you can empathize with even if you don't naturally fall into it).

It's hard to reconcile what we're told about the houses in canon by the Sorting Hat—Gryffindor for the brave, Slytherin for the cunning and ambitious, Ravenclaw for the intelligent, Hufflepuff for the loyal and hard-working—with what we're shown by the characters and general reputation—Gryffindor for Muggle-loving protagonists, Slytherin for Mudblood-hating bigots and their lackeys, Ravenclaw for... who, really? (do the known Ravenclaws seem especially intelligent or studious to you?), and Hufflepuff for the leftovers.

I find the Houses' ideal "told" qualities to be more useful for categorizing than their "shown" qualities. Plenty of the "evil Muggle-hating wizards" seem like a better fit for Hufflepuff (loyal to their own tribe) than Slytherin (Draco Malfoy would have gained more power by befriending Harry Potter than by staying loyal to his family's principles). And even in canon, Peter Pettigrew was a Gryffindor (somehow).

Quick Sorting Hat test: write about your view of the Houses. If it's longer than a few paragraphs, you're a Ravenclaw.
posted by Rangi at 4:40 PM on September 21, 2015 [14 favorites]


An evil Hufflepuff wouldn't be George Bush. The core characteristic, after all, is diligence and work ethic. An evil hufflepuff would be more like Adolf Eichmann- quiet, efficiency minded, and completely able to rationalize away the evil he was doing so long as it fit into a larger social agenda. The other way a Hufflepuff goes bad is like the more sympathetic mobsters in a gangster film- loyal to a fault, trying to redeem or at least ablate the evil of their charismatic leader until it's way past the moral gray area.

An evil Gryffindor would be a bully. Captain Hammer, or Zapp Branigan, are evil Gryffindors. Or Gaston, from Beauty and the Beast. Zap first, ask questions later, that sort of thing.

In a sense, evil Ravenclaws are your classic D&D evil wizards: let's make an owl bear, because we can! The bad guys in The Ninth Gate can also be said to be evil Ravenclaws. Or Goethe's version of Faust- selling their souls for the sake of curiosity. Also Shiro Ishi, Werner van Braun. Evil ravenclaws make bombs and don't ask why, or who they are making the bombs for.

Good Slytherins are like Jane Austen's Emma. They may regard other people as tools, but they also have a desire to 'put people in the proper places', and they're motivated by the desire for social capital above all else. Franklin Delano Roosevelt or LBJ could be said to exemplify the best possible Slytherin: a slimy manipulative bastard for all the right causes.
posted by LeRoienJaune at 4:40 PM on September 21, 2015 [40 favorites]


GOD PEOPLE it's just like horoscopes, each house embodies some vague shit that everybody can identify with if they cock their heads at the right angle, the hat just runs a fucking rand() function and justifies your placement after the fact, WAKE UP

I dunno that sounds like Ravenclaw talk to me.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 4:41 PM on September 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


We don't need to think too hard to figure out what an evil Gryffindor is
like, because we have an example given in the series: James Potter.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 4:46 PM on September 21, 2015 [37 favorites]


Sometimes I forget myself and think that because I've read all the books and watched all the movies I have enough familiarity with the Harry Potter universe to participate in discussions like these but hahaha noooo, PBO, no no no no no.
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:50 PM on September 21, 2015 [23 favorites]


do the known Ravenclaws seem especially intelligent or studious to you?

I like to think Ravenclaws are more thinking-outside-of-the-box intelligent, not necessarily book smart. After all, where the other three houses require passwords to enter their areas, Ravenclaw requires an answer to a riddle — not a "one train leaves King's Cross at 4:00 traveling 50km/hr..." type question.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:54 PM on September 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


We don't need to think too hard to figure out what an evil Gryffindor is like, because we have an example given in the series: James Potter.

I was just reading a blog post (can't find it right now) about how we're told in a few sentences by Lupin that James matured during/after courting Lily, and he turned into a good guy, and besides he fought against Voldemort; but we're shown him bullying Snape and being an "arrogant toerag" in a whole chapter. And that maybe this was intentional, so that we feel as uncertain as Harry does about his father, having to reconcile what you personally viewed in a Pensieve with what your father's friend said to reassure you. But regardless, it leaves plenty of room to say that James was simultaneously an arrogant bully and willing to fight against a genocidal maniac (and charismatic enough to attract Lily regardless of how he treated everyone else).
posted by Rangi at 4:54 PM on September 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


The Toast: Sorting 19th Century British Novelists Into Hogwarts

(Anne Bronte, Wilkie Collins, and Anthony Trollope are the Hufflepuffs.)
posted by Iridic at 4:58 PM on September 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


Seriously. Look at those house.
Gryffindors are drunks.
Ravenclaws drop acid and molly.
Slytherins do coke.

Hufflepuff puffs *and* passes.
posted by eriko at 4:58 PM on September 21, 2015 [7 favorites]


surely the ideal Ravenclaw would cast off any notions of "acing tests" and be building experimental golems that only occasionally attack people
posted by The Whelk at 5:00 PM on September 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


*10 years later*
Gryffindors: Remember when we saved Hogwarts?
Ravenclaws: Yeah. That was great.
Slytherins: We almost had you though. And we're still here!
Hufflepuff: Are you all still talking about high school?
posted by Smedleyman at 5:02 PM on September 21, 2015 [48 favorites]


uh so I hate to say it but it seems like the main thing that list of known Ravenclaws shows us is that Ravenclaw is disproportionately Asian.

I bet/hope that JKR is kinda embarrassed about that...
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 5:03 PM on September 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


I like to think Ravenclaws are more thinking-outside-of-the-box intelligent, not necessarily book smart.

Luna is still the only one I can think of offhand who fits that description. Cho Chang is a Quidditch player without much personality; Marietta Edgecombe is (charitably) not brave enough to stand against the Minstry or (uncharitably) a traitor to Harry Potter's obvious moral righteousness; and the other students in Harry's generation are barely seen.

Fanfiction manages to represent all four houses a lot better than the canon books (if only by imagining Harry in Slytherin, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or all of the above). "Second Thoughts" also has an extended conversation with the Sorting Hat that explains some of the fridge logic questions about Sorting.
posted by Rangi at 5:06 PM on September 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


Seriously. Look at those house.
Gryffindors are drunks.
Ravenclaws drop acid and molly.
Slytherins do coke.

Hufflepuff puffs *and* passes.


I'm pretty sure Ravenclaw has a major Adderall problem, but there's also a contingent that's really nerdy about psychedelics.

Meanwhile the Gryffindors have just killed the keg and are now taking turns jumping off the tower and casting "Arresto Momentum".
posted by vogon_poet at 5:13 PM on September 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


My understanding is not that Ravenclaw is for the smart or intelligent, but rather for the clever.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:15 PM on September 21, 2015 [7 favorites]


We don't need to think too hard to figure out what an evil Gryffindor is
like, because we have an example given in the series: James Potter.


yes, because poor Peter Pettigrew just fell in with the wrong crowd.
posted by floweringjudas at 5:19 PM on September 21, 2015 [13 favorites]


uh so I hate to say it but it seems like the main thing that list of known Ravenclaws shows us is that Ravenclaw is disproportionately Asian.

This list seems to indicate otherwise: Cho Change and Padma Patil were it. But most of the Ravenclaws seem to be so much fifth business.
posted by GuyZero at 5:23 PM on September 21, 2015


Pfah! I'll be a goddamn Hufflepuff when I'm a corpse in the cold, cold ground, as being both dead of mind and spirit would qualify me for the house. Gryffindor are the useful idiots of the wizarding world, upholding the racist and classist traditions through the talent and charisma that one attributes to an especially intelligent golden retriever. Ravenclaw at least have curiosity and ingenuity, although their detached academic noodling is ultimately useless. Slytherin, though recently controlled by an unfortunate outside element, hold the true will to power to bring revolution and change to a turgid and stagnant caste system. Make me a Slytherin, and I will change the world!
posted by codacorolla at 5:24 PM on September 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


Ravenclaw's drug of choice is definitely caffeine.
posted by baf at 5:42 PM on September 21, 2015


I'm thinking that Hufflepuffs also drink a lot of beer that they brew themselves.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:57 PM on September 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


I always thought of Hufflepuff as kind of the USA of the houses. Not the imperial USA, the "give me your tired" USA. They'd take anyone, no matter what class or race or whatever. They weren't ever angling for glory. They just did good work. And they did it together.
posted by nushustu at 6:02 PM on September 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


what would an evil Hufflepuff even look like?

Luca Brasi.
or
Darth Vader.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:08 PM on September 21, 2015


This has long been one of my favorite discussions of the houses, especially the underdeveloped Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff dynamics and the question of sorting Neville.

I think of Hufflepuffs as valuing teamwork and cooperation and belonging, while Ravenclaws value individuality and cleverness for its own sake. I definitely thought of myself as more of a Ravenclaw as a teenager and then realized the importance of Hufflepuffness in adulthood.
posted by earth by april at 6:15 PM on September 21, 2015 [8 favorites]


Sorted This Way
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:32 PM on September 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Draco says that if he didn't get the sorting he wanted, he'd leave.

Neville was probably terrified to be sorted at all -- awkward, clumsy Neville, standing in front of all those people -- but when the time came, he knuckled down and did it anyway.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:41 PM on September 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


Honey badgers for life! Hufflepuffs will kill you and dispose of your bodies with teamwork yo, how do you think our flowers grow? The three other houses can go mess around with house points while the badgers actually get shit done.

(I feel very strongly pro-Hufflepuffs. Like, The Whelk dressed as a Hufflepuff banker is xxx-smutty pinup material to me. Sorry, TW for the objectification!)
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 6:55 PM on September 21, 2015 [12 favorites]


Gryffindor: "Hold my butterbeer. Watch this."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:56 PM on September 21, 2015 [14 favorites]


Gryffindor: "Today IS a good day to die!"

Slytherin: "You need somebody killed? I can make it happen. You need a toe? I can get you a toe. This afternoon."

Ravenclaw: "Actually, nobody needs to die here. According to contract paragraph 283, subparagraph 64, the aggrieved party shall..."

Hufflepuff: "Dudes, just chill. Spongebob is on."
posted by LastOfHisKind at 6:58 PM on September 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


My claim to fame on Pottermore is the sorting let me choose between Hufflepuff and Syltherin, I chose Hufflepuff at the time, and it's still my favorite house, but I am really ambitious, so I'd probably pick Syltherin if given the choice again.
posted by KernalM at 7:13 PM on September 21, 2015


Gryffindors are drunks.
Ten pints to Gryffindor!
posted by fings at 7:14 PM on September 21, 2015 [10 favorites]


There are so many missorted people in Hogwarts I can only conclude that houses are a purely social construct that has no real meaning. There's no universal qualities that point you to where you belong. You go to the house you want to be in and act the way you believe you should act because you're in the house you think you belong in.

The more I think about this being the case the more realistic (and depressing) the conclusion becomes. Oh and as a bonus: astrological signs, the Chinese zodiac, and Meyers-Briggs archetypes are also meaningless constructs. Sorry.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:15 PM on September 21, 2015 [11 favorites]



Meanwhile the Gryffindors have just killed the keg and are now taking turns jumping off the tower and casting "Arresto Momentum".

(Jumps.)

Arresto....

(Vomits.)

(Splats.)

(Hufflepuff sighs, gets to work with the healing spells.)
posted by eriko at 7:16 PM on September 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Gryffindors are drunks.
Ten pints to Gryffindor!


You just know some Gryffindork ordered beer like that in public, don't you?
posted by eriko at 7:16 PM on September 21, 2015 [7 favorites]


Rangi: "The Sorting Hat Chats has a rather complicated system for assigning people to houses which includes breaking them into your primary House (what you hold as an ideal), secondary House (what you naturally tend to do), and an optional model House (what you can empathize with even if you don't naturally fall into it)."

Oh my gosh. I'm not particularly into the Harry Potter fandom, and this is fascinating. They have unquestionably given this more thought than Jo did (unless she's actually ghostwriting the whole blog, which seems oddly plausible).

As far as complicated fanstuff goes, their system might possibly be the most cogent, coherent, and well-written thing that I've seen.
posted by schmod at 7:27 PM on September 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


Joking aside, I think that this is a case of how we trick our minds into believing that mutable social constructions are actually true natures. Like the mistaken conceit behind Idiocracy, which intrinsically conflates being poor with being stupid, and ties both to heredity.

The Red Hen article someone linked up thread gets to the same idea: you're going to be taught certain things as part of a wizarding family. Likely your mother and father will have matriculated into the same house. They will have reproduced value systems associated with those houses into you. You go through that house, get those values beaten into your impressionable adolescent mind, graduate, marry, have kids of your own, and hammer those values into them. The muggle-born will have been taught SOMETHING, if not wizarding precepts, and placed in houses that best fit those values. Then, having met your mate during schooling, you'll have your own magical family and perpetuate the cycle.

It's an unquestioning system of reproduction and amplification. I disagree with the Red Hen article about Voldemort having tampered with the hat, but would rather say that a gradual amplification of the base traits of each house is just a natural add-on effect of the system. You can combine that with the supposed 'magical' (well, I mean it's a talking hat, so it's a bit magical) qualities of the hat - you're sorted into a house that you're programmed to be a part of, and you think that it's fate. But, really, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. In other words, it's the social masquerading as the natural (or, rather, the magical).

I also agree with the person upthread who mentioned how disappointing it is that Rowling never upends the house system. To paraphrase Jameson, it's easier to imagine a magical apocalypse than the end of the class system. And, in fact, with the worst case product of that system having stared the people in charge directly in the face, they still opt to go with the status quo!

Still, the Potterverse remains a compelling fantasy, probably not least because it takes a familiar problem like the class system, and reassures us that with the right folks in charge it will all be alright.
posted by codacorolla at 7:51 PM on September 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


At least you get a war badger.
posted by feckless at 8:00 PM on September 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


Justin Finch-Fetchley (who I think may be muggle nobility, given that he mentions being down for Eton too) and Ernie MacMillan are Hufflepuffs. I think that Ernie wants to be Minister of Magic...and his patronus is a boar, the symbol of Hogwarts.

Moody was Tonks' mentor, what was his house?
posted by brujita at 8:11 PM on September 21, 2015


Moody has taken care to redact the records so we can't figure out what house he was in. CONSTANT VIGILANCE!
posted by Wretch729 at 8:29 PM on September 21, 2015 [11 favorites]


(No, really! In the movies at least...)
posted by Wretch729 at 8:29 PM on September 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also I suspect Hufflepuffs keep the whole damn wizarding world running. Who else is hardworking and thorough enough to maintain the damn statute of secrecy in the face of wizardkind's general ignorance and arrogance? Who else makes sure wizard society has, oh I don't know, food? Somewhere in the bowels of the Ministry is an overworked collection of 'puffs who keep the wheels from falling off the train.
posted by Wretch729 at 8:35 PM on September 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Are there wizards who aren't part of some posh ersatz aristocracy

Like is there a group of wizard bolsheviks/levellers/rebels out there planning to burn down Hogwarts
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:54 PM on September 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Any attempt to redeem Slytherin is going to fail, because no matter what you wanna crowbar in Slytherin is the Bad House, because Gryffindor is the Good House, and the other houses are the Other Houses. Part of why the worldbuilding in the HP books is so dreadful is that the entire series is set up so that Harry gets to be the good guy Mister Hero. This means he gets to be in the house for good guys, and for that to work there has to be a house for bad guys. Like anything else in the HP books that doesn't contribute to that dichotomy, the other houses get to be cardboard at best.

This is also why Hermione and Neville (who exemplify Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff respectively) are in Gryffindor. They're Good Guys.
posted by Itaxpica at 9:00 PM on September 21, 2015 [7 favorites]


This reminds me of how I used to have friends who would be all, "I'm so Slytherin!" and I would be all, "Just because you're a Scorpio does NOT mean you're a Slytherin, because you're not a power-mongering asshole." (And I would not be hanging out with them if they were.) Seriously, the only Slytherin who isn't 100% awful is (IMO) Slughorn, since he seems more concerned with his little popularity contests than say, slaughtering innocents.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:06 PM on September 21, 2015


GOD PEOPLE it's just like horoscopes, each house embodies some vague shit that everybody can identify with if they cock their heads at the right angle, the hat just runs a fucking rand() function and justifies your placement after the fact, WAKE UP

Man, the best possible epilogue twist for the books would have been for them to reveal that Sorting Hat just picks at random and everything about the GREAT DEEP DIFFERENCES between the houses was just a bunch of self-perpetuating nonsense.
posted by Itaxpica at 9:06 PM on September 21, 2015 [13 favorites]


Dæmons are where it's at anyway, guys. I still remember the website for the film of The Golden Compass, telling me my companion animal would be a snow leopard. That's right, fuckers. Who cares about bloody Hogwarts houses when you could have a snow leopard by your side for life grumble grumble yes I was sorted into Slytherin
posted by Quilford at 9:26 PM on September 21, 2015 [9 favorites]


Harry Potter House Personality Study.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:29 PM on September 21, 2015


Hogwarts Houses Divided — next-generation fanfic wherein the strife and emnity between Houses is greater even than at the time of the canon books... and the Sorting Hat decides to do something about it. Touches on some of the issues discussed here.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:00 PM on September 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Tank: Harry
Healer: Hermione
DPS: Neville
posted by blue_beetle at 10:06 PM on September 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


Bard: Ron
posted by Itaxpica at 10:09 PM on September 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


Dæmons are where it's at anyway, guys. I still remember the website for the film of The Golden Compass, telling me my companion animal would be a snow leopard. That's right, fuckers. Who cares about bloody Hogwarts houses when you could have a snow leopard by your side for life grumble grumble yes I was sorted into Slytherin

Of course you were sorted into Slytherin, you have the same daemon as Lord Asriel. These fictional works have you pegged.

Pottermore also called me a Slytherin and I'm cool with it. Sometimes I think of sortings as warnings: the sorting hat saying: Hey, I see you there, with your ambition. That's cool. But don't be a dick.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:29 PM on September 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


I got Cyndaquil the first time I did the personality test in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon if you can work that in somehow
posted by Quilford at 10:41 PM on September 21, 2015


How can something as essentialist as the "sorting hat" be considered egalitarian?

Full disclosure: I specifically avoided following the Harry Potter franchise because the sorting hat exists as a force within it. It all stank too much of aristo bull to me. People talk about the ethics of the series, but I can't get over this one problem enough to get into it.

Can we drop-kick "destiny" as a force for moral analysis already?
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 11:33 PM on September 21, 2015


Part of why the worldbuilding in the HP books is so dreadful is that the entire series is set up so that Harry gets to be the good guy Mister Hero.

I attribute a degree of unreliable narration to the books. It's only once or twice we see events through any other perspective but Harry's, and Harry can be judgmental, hot-headed, and not terribly bright. With that in mind, it would be surprising if the world of the books did not seem to revolve around Harry, or if rival cliques didn't appear to be literally evil.

But what's the larger story of the books? Harry keeps assigning people (especially adults) to categories based on first impressions; they keep blindsiding him by acting in ways he didn't begin to anticipate; and he keeps suffering for it. His is the classic literary journey of learning to grant other people their own interior lives, with the added stakes that some of those people are wizards who genuinely want to kill him.
posted by Iridic at 12:13 AM on September 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


No seriously guys, one of these days Hufflepuff is going to get tired if the shit they have to deal with, and so the other Houses are going to wake up to find they're completely bricked in.

And when the Ministry and the parents arrive to find out what's going on, why they haven't heard from the troublemakers recently, they will find Hogwarts is so very very clean, organized and quiet.
posted by happyroach at 12:24 AM on September 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


My wife's interpretation (which I am stealing, because I like it)

Slytherin: Politicians and Managers
Gryffindor: Police and Military
Ravenclaw: Teaching and Academia
HufflePuff: Engineering and Getting Stuff Done

You need all of them to make a society
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 1:18 AM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Harry Potter - yeah, I remember that!
posted by Segundus at 1:18 AM on September 22, 2015


Remember Cedric Diggory!
posted by Coaticass at 1:34 AM on September 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


A theory, backed by empirical observation: if Slytherin is goth, Hufflepuff is indie-pop.
posted by acb at 2:47 AM on September 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm rather taken with theory that the three heroes are the kinda platonic ideals of the other houses - Hermione is Ravenclaw, Ron is Hufflepuff, and Harry is Slytherin. But their courage overcame their over traits / they asked to be in Gryffindor / that's the way JKR wrote it.

Actually I've just realized that the books would have been a whole lot better if they had been in other houses and then had to overcome house predudice to work together.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:05 AM on September 22, 2015 [12 favorites]


I imagine the house system would be quite flexible.

Think of the logistics, they need roughly the same number in each house each year. I don't think Harry was unusual in being an either/or, most people probably are and end up in the house that already has family in it. The characters we follow most closely are the Gryffindor-iest of the Gryffindors and the most Slytherin of the Slytherin.

What does an evil Gryffindor look like? Well, they might just be evil, just because bravery is the great value of the house doesn't mean that every person in it is braver than every member of every other house. It just means that, on average, the bravest will end up there and everyone else in the house aspires to greater bravery than they might actually have.

Remember that these kids are sorted into houses at a very young age. The personality traits of an 11 year old are hardly fixed, take someone of slightly above average intelligence and put them in an environment where cleverness is the thing to aspire to and don't be surprised if he turns out to be a scholar. Ravenclaw values wisdom but that is not the same thing as only taking in the most natively intelligent children.

Neville is in Gryffindor because he values courage (his grandmother is obsessed with it and pounds it into him as a value) regardless of how brave he actually is.

Also, we're seeing this world at a time of stress. Of course Gryffindor looks great during a war, especially a war that several of their own are involved in on the winning side. It's a time for their positive tendencies towards courage and daring to shine. On the other hand, would someone like Sirius Black ever have thrived in a normal wizarding world? The negative side of Gryffindor self-belief and arrogance are evident - James Potter's behaviour as a young man, Dumbledore's flirtation with wizard fascism. I bet that in peace-time many Gryffindors gamble away their money, die pursuing extreme sports, or turn to crime as glamorous, self-regarding outlaws.

Hufflepuffs go on to be wizard accountants, buy a house in the suburbs, and raise a family. That's not so exciting to read about but it probably matches how most wizards want to live their lives because it matches how most normal people in the real world live their lives.
posted by atrazine at 3:13 AM on September 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: Glamorous, self-regarding outlaws.
posted by whuppy at 4:24 AM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


>That someone in The Atlantic is writing a hot take on Hufflepuff in 2015 is sad.

This is David Sims of the Phantom Podcast, the only podcast I know of that has looked at George Lucas' classic first three Star Wars films (Episodes I, II, and now III, of course).
posted by The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal at 4:28 AM on September 22, 2015


When I was 11, I was bright and weird and bullied, and I would have given anything to be a Ravenclaw. When I graduated, it turned out that Hogwarts Harvard wasn't going to sweep me away to a magical land because I was smart and special and misunderstood. None of that gave me the discipline to get the grades I needed for my poorly planned escape from my hometown.

So I joined Americorps, to get away from all my pain, and I learned some real truths about myself and the world. I learned what real suffering looks like, and about serving my community, and how much we all need friendship and kindness in our lives. Now I'm looking at 30, and I never went to Ravenclaw Harvard, but I'm still in public service, with incredible friendships to boot. So thank goodness, I'm proud to have been a Hufflepuff all along.
posted by skookumsaurus rex at 6:57 AM on September 22, 2015 [13 favorites]




You Can't Tip a Buick: "As the only member of both sets, Hermione is the hero. "

Okay. You've convinced me.
posted by schmod at 7:27 AM on September 22, 2015


I don't completely buy the whole nuSlythetine thing about them being about ambition, which seems retrofitted in.

That's not new at all. Slytherin has always been about personal ambition; the entrenched-privilege part shows up later and becomes increasingly important as Voldemort gains power.

it would have been wonderful if Professor McGonagall, as the new Headmistress established that from this day forward there would be no more division among the Great Houses. One great House, everyone together.

It's a nice dream to have; and if you wrote fanfiction about it, then I would read it. Unfortunately Hogwarts is a parody of real British boarding schools, most of which do have a system of four Houses into which students are sorted for equally arbitrary reasons. (Disclaimer: I am not British and found this out by reading Gunnerkriegg Court.

Wizarding society is terrible.

The Sorting system is not the only reason. Again, there's a subtle parody of the British aristocracy and post-aristocracy in there.

Ravenclaw and proud, baby.
posted by dialMforMara at 8:25 AM on September 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


I agree that the whole House system is similar to astrology or whatever in that you can read almost anything into it.
That said, I want to push back with atrazine against the idea that Hermione and Neville are mis-sorted solely to serve the plot. I also strongly agree with Iridic that the canon books present a Hogwarts viewed through a strong "Harry-filter" - something also discussed at length on J0del's Red Hen site people keep linking to.

Neville is all about courage, a defining virtue of Gryffindor (as cocky arrogance is a defining vice). Beat down by life he finds the courage to stand up to his family, to stand up for and to his friends at school, and eventually to stand up to the big baddie when it seems like all is already lost.

Hermione, for all that she's bookish, also prizes bravery over the more intellectual virtues of Ravenclaw. Ravenclaws love knowledge for its own sake; Hermione's pursuit of informational is almost always instrumental, a means to an end, driven by her need to excel, her need to be the best and do the best and tell people what's best. (Also by how often she needs information to save danger-prone Harry.) For all her pretensions of deference to authority this is also someone who was lighting faculty on fire as a first year, felt remarkably little guilt about diddling the Gryffindor quidditch try outs (confounding a student while he was flying a broom!), keeping a human being trapped in a bottle for weeks, etc. Does she really ever think the rules apply to her? She's hardworking but not really into teamwork or social cohesion. If anything her ambition might have landed her in Slytherin.
posted by Wretch729 at 8:35 AM on September 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


This is also why Hermione and Neville are clearly meant for each other; Nobody else in canon is better equipped to stand up to and up for Hermione and make sure the better angels of her nature triumph, and that she is a little more careful in her crusading. Absent his influence I see 20 years of frustrated political infighting followed by her rapid rise as a Dark Lady. (Harry? pfft Don't make me laugh, when does he ever stand up to Hermione except when she tries to take away his toys? Ron? A good man but no match for Hermione.) /hamburger
posted by Wretch729 at 8:41 AM on September 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


I had never taken the pottermore sorting hat thing, so I started through the process last night, then decided to go to sleep and finish it later. I check today, and they've rolled out an entirely new website, promising to bring the sorting hat quiz back eventually, but it's not available right now.

Bad timing.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 9:00 AM on September 22, 2015


Bad timing.

No, not bad timing. They just decided you're not wizard enough and, much like the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron isn't visible to muggles, the sorting hat quiz is just not available to you.

Tough break, kid.
posted by phunniemee at 9:09 AM on September 22, 2015 [12 favorites]


It's a nice dream to have; and if you wrote fanfiction about it, then I would read it. Unfortunately Hogwarts is a parody of real British boarding schools, most of which do have a system of four Houses into which students are sorted for equally arbitrary reasons.

Most boarding schools have houses, usually considerably more than four and usually of widely varying sizes. How important they are socially varies from school to school. Most schools don't have strong inter-house rivalries, real rivalries are between schools.
posted by atrazine at 9:11 AM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I agree with the those of you who said that Hermione and Neville being in the "wrong" house is fully intentional - a sacrifice of world building for story building.

Obviously Gryffindor and Slytherin are the "problem" houses as far as things making sense. But consider also that there are lots of examples of the wizard world not making sense. It doesn't really have to - it's magic. And it's clearly highly bound by tradition. So the idea that Hogwarts was founded by a bunch of crazy old wizards with radically different visions of wizardry doesn't stick out more than any number of things.
posted by atoxyl at 11:19 AM on September 22, 2015


I attribute a degree of unreliable narration to the books. It's only once or twice we see events through any other perspective but Harry's, and Harry can be judgmental, hot-headed, and not terribly bright.

I recently, for the first time in 25+ years, re-read The Great Gatsby. Afterwards, I went poking around the internet for analyses, and there seemed to be widespread agreement, at least in recent analyses, that Nick Carraway was an unreliable narrator, at least as far as his judgment of other people's characters, feelings, etc. went. I had come to this conclusion as well in my re-read (I don't remember what I thought of Nick's reliability the first time around), pretty early on in the book, particularly when Nick mentions to the reader how honest he is. Because really, what truly honest person makes a point of telling you how honest they are?

But what I found interesting was one paper that compared analysis of Gatsby over time, and asserted that Nick was widely regarded as a trustworthy narrator in earlier analyses, and it's only around the 1960s or so where Nick starts to be more likely to be taken as an unreliable narrator, and perhaps this says as much about the times when the analyses were written as about the book. I wonder if the view of Harry will similarly evolve over time.

(Aside: I had pretty much taken for granted that Nick was unreliable re: judgments of other characters, but Googled "nick carraway unreliable narrator" wondering if anyone had explored the idea that Nick was also unreliable as to actual observable facts — maybe, what if Nick had been the one driving the car — but didn't find anything along those lines. But perhaps exploration of that idea is more likely to be found in fanfiction than in literary analysis.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:35 AM on September 22, 2015


The best Gatsby analysis comes from Kate Beaton.
posted by Wretch729 at 11:39 AM on September 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


>This is also why Hermione and Neville are clearly meant for each other.

Great, now I ship it and I don't want to. (Still better than Ron x Hermione though.)
posted by chaosys at 11:58 AM on September 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


Hermione can have Neville over Luna's cold dead hands. l+n 4ever
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:34 PM on September 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


Classic science and F&SF geek here, so of course I've idolized intelligence and feel a kinship for Ravenclaw, like most of the online community seems to.

Past that, though, I've always felt the greatest liking for Hufflepuff, no question. It feels like I'm a long way from being in a minority opinion in this.
posted by Four Ds at 12:34 PM on September 22, 2015


YCTaB: Actually, I kind of like Luna with Hermione, almost entirely because of this fic. They balance each other out, once they get over themselves.
posted by chaosys at 1:15 PM on September 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


l+h is also acceptable, yes.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 1:26 PM on September 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


I think it's interesting how skewed the house stereotypes get - for all four houses, really. Like the Slytherin stereotype is that we're evil. Cunning and ambition can be evil when taken to extremes, certainly. But so can the other houses' core values. Gryffindor's bravery manifests as arrogance and tactlessness, Hufflepuff's loyalty manifests as insularity, xenophobia, and groupthink. Ravenclaw's cleverness can lack a moral compass.

So let's break this down. Slytherin's stereotype is the evil aristocrat, but ambition can also mean the drive to exist under your own auspices, to buck the system and write your own rules. In this context, cunning is a survival trait. (As a Slytherin and a trans woman of color, this rings very true for me. To be honest, I'd expect more representation of marginalized groups, or activists, in Slytherin because of this.)

Ravenclaw's stereotype is that of the bookish nerd obsessed with grades. Frankly, that seems more like Hufflepuff to me. That's hard work, not cleverness. Ravenclaws would be the ones who can't help but have pun wars and build things for fun and discuss the minutiae of fictional universes in depth. (I'm a Ravenclaw secondary, if you couldn't tell ^^; ) Ravenclaws care about intellectual pursuits because they enjoy them, not necessarily because of any desire for recognition. I feel like Ravenclaw is the most playful of the houses.

Gryffindor's been pretty well deconstructed, I think. Thor to Slytherin's Loki isn't exactly inaccurate. Gryffindors are the type to feel compelled to act, whether they actually do or not, and to seek recognition for their abilities (particularly natural talent) as an end unto itself. A Gryffindor really comes into their own when they find a purpose for those talents.

Hufflepuff doesn't actually seem to have a single stereotype. There's the stodgy bureaucrat type who keeps things running, and the misfit party kid who smokes a lot of weed, and that one kid who ate glue until he was 8. But none of these really fit the ideals of loyalty and hard work. Hufflepuff isn't the party house or the boring house, it's the band kid house. These are the ones who work together to make things happen. They look out for their own and are the ones who are most likely to have each others' backs when things are tough, and the ones most likely to care about grades as a measure of how hard they're working. If a Hufflepuff isn't giving something their all, it feels like a waste to them.

I'm going to blame the skewed stereotypes on unreliable-narrator Harry and the needs of the narrative.
posted by chaosys at 2:05 PM on September 22, 2015 [11 favorites]


Hufflepuff isn't the party house or the boring house, it's the band kid house.

I think I screamed a little and banged my fist on the table. Thank you, you win the thread.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 2:33 PM on September 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


(One night at Hufflepuff)

"Accio weed, man."

"NO MAN I PUT A COMMA BETWEEN THOSE TWO THIS SPELL HAS TOTALLY RUINED MY BUZZ MAN."

"Can someone get this guy off me? Anybody?"
posted by eriko at 3:28 PM on September 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


After reading these stories I can only ever picture Neville and Draco.

I never expected it either.

(As for houses, many British non boarding schools have them too and I can never quite tell if they actually have an educational purpose or it is pointless copying of posh schools. Suspect a bit of both - my kids' school[1] has them and it really only becomes relevant on sports day and house colour day.)

[1]Which is the one Rowling's eldest daughter went to before the books got big and they moved.
posted by hfnuala at 9:01 PM on September 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Just wanted to back up hfnuala that AJ Hall's LoPiverse is a wonderful thing. It took me a long time to be convinced to try it because I dislike slash and in particular dislike the fannish tendency to want to redeem Draco Malfoy but what she does with it is just so fun and so well written I was completely won over, to the point that I'd hold it up as one of the best examples of fanfic. It helps if you have a weakness for caper-type mysteries too. I actually teared up reading the The Perilous Point, which is a lovely little coda to the two novel-length LoPiverse stories. Sure there are aspects of her stuff that I find silly or conflict with my own imagination's version of the characters, but that's more than trumped by my appreciation for the stories. Hall also manages to satirize the ridiculousness of Rowling's worldbuilding without coming across as bitter, like JOdell at Red Hen or Arsinoe de Blassenville sometimes do.
posted by Wretch729 at 7:47 AM on September 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hufflepuff isn't the party house or the boring house, it's the band kid house.

This one time, at Hogsmeade...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:41 PM on September 23, 2015


I like a lot of things about Harry Potter, mostly that the books (and also the movies) are just such great entertainment, but I've never been a particularly hardcore fan (although I did read the last few books very quickly after they came out, and in one sitting).

However, if I were the type to take it more seriously, my main disappointment with the whole series would be how the ending (and the kind of unnecessary 20 or whatever years later epilogue) didn't actually show the wizarding world changed much at all. Cataclysmic events that are equivalent to a world war or a genocide (although on a smaller scale) don't leave society unchanged, and this would have been a great time to get rid of a lot of the archaic bullshit.

The pseudo-aristocracy is one thing, but the magical creature slavery? Hermione was supposed to become an activist for the rights of house elves, but there's not a lot of signs anything came of it. Harry becomes a cop, and the new magical prime minister is an ex cop, which feels pretty reactionary.

As well as, of course, the whole wizarding world continuing as a secret thing, when they could really have ameliorated suffering and death for billions of muggles...
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 2:49 AM on September 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Joakim Ziegler - That's why god gave us fanfiction. Okay I admit mostly it seems to be so people can vicariously live out their dirty fantasies but besides that there are great fanfiction stories that take on the dark side of the Potterverse post-Deathly Hallows or that just try to fill in the gaps in the worldbuilding.
posted by Wretch729 at 9:28 AM on September 24, 2015


I'd like to take this time to point out a short fanfic Ursula Vernon wrote, with accompanying illustration: The Only Harry Potter Fanfic I Will Ever Write (Probably)
posted by endotoxin at 12:29 PM on September 24, 2015 [7 favorites]


the new magical prime minister is an ex cop, which feels pretty reactionary.

And worse yet, in the Pottermore stuff, it's made clear that he came from an old Sacred 28 pureblooded family, same set as the Malfoys, Lestranges, and Blacks (and Weasleys and Prewetts), which makes the whole revolution sound increasingly like a fight between two sets of purebloods. The idea that nothing changes except liberalization of blood (racial) prejudice is depressing when you change the faces at the top and nothing else is depressing but probably true.
posted by immlass at 12:38 PM on September 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure it's supposed to be an entirely happy ending, TBH, ending of wizard Hitler and individual characters aside.
posted by Artw at 12:56 PM on September 24, 2015


endotoxin that is a work of beauty and genius.
posted by Wretch729 at 6:40 PM on September 24, 2015


« Older Nuu-chah-nulth Territory   |   3D print your own speculum Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments