Sunday, September 8, 2013

Just, Loyal & True; Embracing a Hufflepuff Sorting.

We all* take them: the "What [Popular Movie/Book] Character are You?" quizzes.  And secretly, we all have a desired outcome.  When the quizzes give us a result that we don't like or expect, we shrug it off and say, "It's just a silly online quiz. I know I'm actually more like so-and-so."  Sometimes we're right.  Other times, we miss an opportunity.  Having someone else (or someone else's quiz) tell us that we resemble a certain character-- or in this case belong to a certain Hogwarts house-- can prompt interesting discussion and introspection.

When I first took an online sorting quiz, I wanted to be placed in Ravenclaw.  It's where nerds go, right?  It's the house of the bookish, brainy ones.  I suppose I would have been OK with Gryffindor as well.  Gryffindors are cool.  I actually like Slytherin a lot, but I knew that I had very few qualities to recommend me to that house.  What I got?  Hufflepuff.  My reaction wasn't frustration or sadness.  No, my reaction was complete and utter indifference.  Hufflepuff.  Eh.  Of course, curious as to whether another quiz would yield a different result, I took another one.  Hufflepuff again.  Every sorting quiz I've taken in the past ten years has given the same verdict.  And it wasn't until recently that I acknowledged that the quizzes weren't wrong; I was a) in denial, and b) unfairly deeming Hufflepuff House plebeian and irrelevant.

I would outline all the reasons that Hufflepuff doesn't deserve to be seen as "a lesser house," but I think this list of Hufflepuff's oft-overlooked awesome traits already does that.  I think it's true that in many ways, Hufflepuff just isn't as exciting as the other houses.  Captivating an audience is part and parcel of a novel, and writing about people who have lots of ambition, or a knack for getting into trouble, or are often singled out for their accomplishments creates a more enthralling story line. Nice People tend to get overlooked or shunted aside.  Think about A Song of Ice and Fire... in general, how well does anyone do who has the defining attributes "just" and "fair"?  It's strange, but I think many of us don't realize how much we admire Hufflepuff-like qualities until the people who possess them are gone.  Then we think, Wait... that's not right. I liked him/her!  Then we begin to wonder... is "exciting" really all it's cracked up to be?  And is it a necessary trait to strive for in real life?   This article in defense of Hufflepuff says "no."

"It's nice to be important, 
but it's more important to be nice."
- John Cassis

The first part of that article's title is a bit misleading, because one of the author's conclusions, with which I wholeheartedly agree, is that all houses have their own strengths and pitfalls... just like individuals (imagine that!).  I also love that she mentions that bravery, ambition, intelligence, and loyalty aren't the sole domains, respectively, of Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff.  Dumbledore complimented Harry on his loyalty to his friends.  Fred and George Weasley were highly ambitious in their career aspirations.  Cedric Diggory was brave enough to be a Hogwarts Triwizard Champion. Hermione was the "brightest witch of her age."

I can be a nerdy Hufflepuff.  It's not an oxymoron.  I love reading, science, logical discourse, and well-researched data.  I do.  But I also remember facial expressions and the overall gist and tone of a conversation or lecture much better than I remember intellectual details, have an inclination to do what I feel is right rather than analyze a situation, and actually value honesty and fairness more than intelligence.  I cannot stand even feeling disloyal; if someone has ever been kind to me or has ever shared good times with me, even if we haven't spoken in twenty years, I likely still consider him/her my friend.  I will work hard on assigned tasks and do my best in any competitive arena, but I don't thrive on competition.  I don't like or purposefully involve myself in heated arguments, but I will "go to bat" and stand my ground for anyone who I think is being maligned or mistreated.

I'm no longer ambivalent about my sorting.  I'm a Hufflepuff.  And there's no shame in it.

Image from:

*I realize this is hyperbolic.  


  1. Thanks for the post. I haven't been sorted in a long time and I don't remember what house I was placed in. I'll have take another quiz.

    1. Thank you for reading! I always love seeing the questions on different sorting quizzes... sometimes they seem reasonable and other times you have to think, "Where on earth did they come up with these?" :-)