So in a new chapter of sauntering back vaguely downwards into the Harry Potter fandom, I’m having feelings about the Hufflepuff house because its so underplayed in the canon when it’s probably the unassuming danger.
Because Hufflepuff house qualities are loyalty, and hard work, an patience, and general niceness. Because Hufflepuff are mostly adorable yellow sunshines in the background.
But it’s actually not that, is it? Because that motto must’ve come later. At least not just that, because we know that when the Houses were founded, Sytherin, Gryffindor, and Ravenclaw all had exclusive criteria for choosing who gets to be in their houses. They made it a select club. And to paraphrase: ‘Helga Hufflepuff took the rest’.
Salazaar, Godric, and Rowena saw children who they subconsciously
wanted to mould into their ideals, and took them into their houses. Dungeons old as time for Slytherin, the rooms in the foundations on which Hogwarts was built for the ‘purest’ an ambitious of the lot. Find your destiny in these spaces, continue my legacy, he’d whisper, until he’d saturated the dungeons with it, until they whispered it back, years and decades, and centuries after he’s gone. Towers for the brave Gryffindors, and the clever Ravenclaws because heroes and intellectuals are always above the rest. Because heroes always have a tower to climb and this is a reminder, and intellectuals always have their head in the clouds. They start at the sky, watch over from the tower.
Helga Hufflepuff basically saw a bunch of wide eyed eleven year olds who
just came to the school that would become their second home for the
next 7 years. She saw the children who weren’t pure of blood or
ambitious enough like a snake for Salazaar, who weren’t brave or heroic enough like a lion for
Godric, who weren’t clever and smart enough like an eagle for Rowena. Helga Hufflepuff saw the remainders.
And she took those children under the flag of the badger and said “Come.” She gave them a room that
was on the ground, but filled with sun and smelled of earth and fresh baked bread and late
afternoon naps in the sunlight and evenings spent getting lost in old
stories and sanctuary, and home.
And she whispered to them, “Toil and hardwork and stubborn determination can bend the world as much as talent can.”
Helga saw wanderers and dreamers. “This is yours. This is where you start,” she said. “Keep your feet firmly on the ground, draw down the sun as a hat an braid stars into your hair
and fill your hearts with the seas if you want. Run all the roads and paths you want, or climb every hill or mountain or fly through the skies or swim to the depths of the oceans. But do not
sink, do not float, do not fall. And even if you do anchor yourself and start again. Remember this is where you begin, your path is open from here, and is yours to choose.”
She said, “Do not bring someone down. But do allow someone else to make you less, so they can make themselves more.”
Helga saw raw potential. “You are iron and flint, and this is your workshop” she said, “Forge yourselves however you want here; I will give you whatever you need. But do not grind yourselves down to dust.”
No, Helga Hufflepuff only saw children.
Children who are still blank slates, who won’t always just be clever or just be
brave or just be ambitious yet, at eleven. Who’ll be various combinations of them. Who’ll be none of that. Who’ll be all of that. Who’ll not be stagnant water mired in one thing but will explore and change and grow unimpeded by one house trait.
Children who will choose to become.
(The other founders forgot: the truly exceptional rise from the commons and ordinary. The blacksmiths, the bakers, the farmers, the tradesmen, the ones who quietly already make the world go round. The others just co-opt them later.)
Where the other founders saw the leftovers, Helga Hufflepuff saw children who would always be more. Now and for generations to come.