Transcript #527

Transcript for MuggleCast Episode #527, In Defense of Hufflepuff House

Show Intro

[Show music plays]

Andrew Sims: Welcome to MuggleCast, your weekly ride into the wizarding world fandom. I’m Andrew.

Eric Scull: I’m Eric.

Micah Tannenbaum: I’m Micah.

Laura Tee: And I’m Laura.

Micah: And we’re in the right order this week.

Eric: I’m happy to fill that gap, you guys.

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Andrew: And what a change in tone. Oh yeah, Eric is back after he abstained from last week’s episode.

Eric: I absolutely abstained. But having listened to it, I’ve got to say, you guys did a tremendous job, and Tylor as a guest. You talked about the House that I just couldn’t bring myself to sympathize with.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: And you did a great job, and I think I learned a thing or two.

Andrew: Oh, good, good. Well, maybe for a couple of us on the panel, we’ll learn a thing or two today as well, because on today’s episode, following last week’s episode in which we defended Slytherin House, we will now be defending Hufflepuff, the House that was once referred to as having “a lot of duffers.” And like with last week’s episode, we’re hoping that this is a resource for those who want to know why Hufflepuff is no joke, so this is in defense of Hufflepuff. But before we get started, just a couple quick reminders: Make sure you’re following MuggleCast for free in your favorite podcast app, and leave us a review if they allow you to. Also, don’t forget to follow us on social media; we are @MuggleCast on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Follow us there. Hit us up if you have any thoughts about this episode, or any other episode. Also, very important, there’s one week left to become a patron at and receive this year’s physical gift. You can receive the socks. You can receive the car. You can receive both if you pledge at the Slug Club level. And all patrons, don’t forget: You have to fill out that form by the end of August or we will not be able to send you your gift. So please, with peace and love, Become a patron today at the Dumbledore’s Army level or higher and you will receive this year’s physical gift.

Main Discussion: In defense of Hufflepuff House

Andrew: So Eric, let’s jump straight into the discussion today.

Eric: Absolutely. Well, one of my favorite things that you guys mentioned last week, and I think maybe Tylor was the first person to bring this up, but he talked about how J.K. Rowling started real bold in the Harry Potter books with Slytherins being very evil, and “There’s not a wizard or witch who went bad who wasn’t in Slytherin”; we all know that quote from Book 1. But Tylor said that J.K. Rowling kind of backed off towards the end and really tried to almost course correct, which is why in the later books like Book 6, we get Horace Slughorn, who’s objectively really not an evil character in any way. More nuanced. So funnily enough, as far as the Harry Potter books are concerned, J.K. Rowling kind of chose what she wanted to do with Hufflepuff and just kept going with it. Hufflepuff is the House in the books that’s picked last for kickball…

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: … and just contains some people that are really mean to Harry, and the only people that we love from this House die and don’t get to see their lives continue after the books go on. So it’s kind of… I don’t want to compare how slighted the House is compared to Slytherin because I think they both get flack, but I’m thrilled that we’re able to talk about Hufflepuff because Hufflepuff really is, I think, done a little dirty in the books themselves.

Laura: Agreed.

Andrew: Yeah, they get flack in different ways.

Eric: Yeah, so I thought we’d start off with a little bit of a fun segment. I’ve compiled the five most disparaging or damning lines involving Hufflepuff House.

Andrew: Uh-oh.

Eric: And this is my evidence, so to speak, that Hufflepuff is just treated very poorly by the author. [laughs]

Andrew: This is how we got here. Y’all wonder how we got here? This is how. [laughs]

Eric: Exactly. So Andrew, if you wouldn’t mind taking the first quote from Book 1.

Andrew: Sure. Sorcerer’s Stone, page 78. Draco says, “Well, no one really knows until they get there, do they, but I know I’ll be in Slytherin, all our family have been – imagine being in Hufflepuff, I think I’d leave, wouldn’t you?”

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: So that’s the very first mention of Hufflepuff in the book, and it’s somebody saying, “I think I’d run far away from that House.” Not a good intro.

Micah: Setting it up for success.

Eric: Ugh. And he’s saying it to Harry, who for 11 years of his life didn’t know he was a wizard. And Harry is being asked wouldn’t he leave, if after all of that he finds out… he gets his spellbooks and everything, if he goes to Hogwarts and gets Sorted into Hufflepuff, wouldn’t you leave, Harry? I think I would.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Four pages later, here’s a quote from Hagrid. Micah, you want to take it?

Micah: Yes. So you can see almost immediately the influence that Draco has over Harry in terms of Hufflepuff. The quote starts from Hagrid saying, “School Houses. There’s four. Everyone says Hufflepuff are a lot o’ duffers, but-“, and then Harry says, “‘I bet I’m in Hufflepuff,’ said Harry gloomily.”

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Micah: “‘Better Hufflepuff then Slytherin,’ said Hagrid darkly. ‘There’s not a single witch or wizard who went bad who wasn’t in Slytherin. You-Know-Who was one.'”

Laura: And we know that’s not true. [laughs]

Eric: Well, that’s right. Yeah, Lockhart was a Ravenclaw, Quirrell, who’s the villain in this book, was a Ravenclaw, and Peter Pettigrew was a Gryffindor.

Laura: Exactly.

Eric: So Hagrid is a little narrow-minded here, but it’s just funny to me that Hagrid says, “Oh, better to be in Hufflepuff than in Slytherin,” but that’s not really a defense of Hufflepuff, at all.

Laura: No, it’s really not. It’s kind of like Hagrid saying, “It’s better for you to be a loser than to be evil, Harry.”

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: Exactly. And to top it all off, in Book 1 Hufflepuff does get fourth in the House Cup, and it’s not close; it’s by like, 70 points, and they’re fully 120 points behind everybody else, so it really just… the first Harry Potter book is not great to Hufflepuffs, and that is actually a trend that keeps going. We know in Book 2 after the Justin Finch-Fletchley incident – who is a Hufflepuff – Hufflepuffs kind of close rank against Harry, and the next quote is them gossiping, and Laura, I’d like you to take it.

Laura: Yeah, so this is a conversation between Ernie Macmillan and Hannah Abbott – who’s someone who we actually focused on within the last few episodes – in Chamber of Secrets. And Ernie says, “Hannah, he’s a Parselmouth. Everyone knows that’s the mark of a Dark wizard. Have you ever heard of a decent one who could talk to snakes? They called Slytherin himself Serpent-tongue.” And then it says, “There was some heavy muttering at this, and Ernie went on. ‘Remember what was written on the wall? Enemies of the Heir, Beware. Potter had some sort of run-in with Filch. Next thing we know, Filch’s cat’s attacked. That first year, Creevey, was annoying Potter at the Quidditch match, taking pictures of him while he was lying in the mud. Next thing we know – Creevey’s been attacked.'” Then Hannah says, “‘He always seems so nice, though. And, well, he’s the one who made You-Know-Who disappear. He can’t be all bad, can he?’ Ernie lowered his voice mysteriously, the Hufflepuffs bent closer, and Harry edged nearer so that he could catch Ernie’s words.” And Ernie says, “No one knows how he survived that attack by You-Know-Who. I mean to say, he was only a baby when it happened. He should have been blasted into smithereens. Only a really powerful Dark wizard could have survived a curse like that.”

[Eric sighs]

Laura: Oh, Ernie.

Eric: Oh, Ernie. The information is not necessarily wrong – Harry is a Parselmouth, Harry defeated You-Know-Who – but the bias here, they just got it all wrong, you guys. And Harry actually confronts Ernie here, and it’s not good. Ernie is just like, “Oh, yeah? You want to prove you don’t hate Muggles? I heard you hate the Muggles you live with,” and it’s just meant to be this nail in the coffin of “You are this evil person and I know I’m right.” And it just feels sad because the Hufflepuffs are ganging up on Harry, but they just don’t really have it all right, they don’t have the facts, and they’re just mongering and… ugh. I feel really bad for my House when I see just how catty they can be, and it’s unfortunate they’re not really being intelligent about this.

Andrew: Yeah. Can we argue, though, that this type of behavior, this type of thinking was probably happening elsewhere around Hogwarts too? It wasn’t limited to Hufflepuff.

Laura: 100%.

Andrew: So at least there’s that.

Eric: I think that’s fair. Why I say this is a Hufflepuff trait is because it’s actually… Hufflepuffs value the social aspect of Houses, I think, more so than the other Houses. Their whole thing is society and talking with each other, and one of their big things is loyalty towards other Hufflepuffs, and so when they get… it’s like when you attack a badger, if you guys have seen that honey badger video on YouTube, like, ten years ago? If you attack a badger, you’ll get stung, or you’ll get crushed, so I think that this is a way of showing the negative side to that loyalty that Hufflepuffs have among each other.

Laura: Well, and I have to imagine that especially as a House – particularly this early on in the core Potter books – that takes so much flack and is given the social stigma of being the “loser” House or the “dumb” House or whatever adjective you want to put in there, I can see why that group of people would maybe be a little insular at times if they’re feeling threatened by outsiders, particularly given the unfair reputation that has been bestowed upon them.

Andrew: That’s a good point.

Eric: Well said.

Laura: And also, we have to point out Hannah is not convinced of this here. Hannah is trying to push back on it, so that’s a great trait. And I think, Eric, you have noted here that Justin Finch-Fletchley actually apologizes to Harry after all is said and done.

Eric: Yes, he apologizes apparently endlessly, it says, which… it’s Justin apologizing, not necessarily Ernie. But I think that they all… the problem is we aren’t also really seeing the good side of Hufflepuff, and this is the thing. It’s written in the books, but it’s not shown. Justin apologizing is just one of the hundred things that happen to Harry in the Great Hall that day, but we’re seeing and having to deal with Harry’s guilt and his witnessing of this gossip, and that portrays the Hufflepuffs as being very gossipy. They don’t have all the facts; they’re not smart enough to figure it out.

Micah: Right. Well, I don’t think Filch apologized, did he?

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: But I think this is the reaction, though, to a Housemate being attacked in some way, right? They’re defensive of their House, and I think had it been any other House, you probably would have seen similar conversation happen. Going back to the point that was raised earlier, it’s just that we get a glimpse into what the Hufflepuffs think in this moment, and it’s not great for them, because we don’t get to spend a whole lot of time with them, so we get these impressions of them. We just read from Sorcerer’s Stone what the general sentiment is, and now here we have them in Chamber of Secrets and they’re anti-Harry, so of course we’re not going to like them.

Eric: Right, exactly. And to find these quotes, I basically just did a find command on the ebooks and searched “Hufflepuff.” These are the only scenes that occur outside of Quidditch that feature the Hufflepuffs.

Andrew: Interesting.

Eric: They’re then the not great moments. So it is a bit rough, especially in the earlier books. And I thought with having a champion in Cedric Diggory in year four, we would maybe see more of a mutual support type of thing, but because Harry’s name is also pulled out of the Goblet of Fire, the Hufflepuffs, again, throughout the whole book… remember the “Potter stinks” badges? Cedric himself tries to downplay it kind of, but at the same time, the Hufflepuffs feel very slighted and threatened by Harry also being a Hogwarts champion, the second one, breaking the rules to do it, and so they’re not happy about it either. So this next quote comes from Goblet of Fire, page 293. This is right after Harry has been chosen as the other Hogwarts champion. It says, “The Hufflepuffs, who were usually on excellent terms with the Gryffindors, had turned remarkably cold toward the whole lot of them. One Herbology lesson was enough to demonstrate this. It was plain that the Hufflepuffs felt that Harry had stolen their champion’s glory; a feeling exacerbated, perhaps, by the fact that Hufflepuff House very rarely got any glory, and that Cedric was one of the few who had ever given them any, having beaten Gryffindor once at Quidditch. Ernie Macmillan and Justin Finch-Fletchley, with whom Harry normally got on very well, did not talk to him even though they were repotting Bouncing Bulbs at the same tray – though they did laugh rather unpleasantly when one of the Bouncing Bulbs wriggled free from Harry’s grip and smacked him hard in the face.” Come on, guys. It’s childish. “Harry even thought Professor Sprout seemed distant with him – but then, she was Head of Hufflepuff House.”

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah, and an adult.

Eric: Even the adults are… this kind of tribalism extends into adulthood. This is just… everyone’s disliking Harry.

Andrew: But we’re here to defend Hufflepuff, right? So I will say, I can definitely feel for the Hufflepuffs here because this was their moment. Cedric in the Triwizard Tournament, this was their time to shine. This was going to put Hufflepuff on the Marauder’s Map, and Harry steals the thunder.

Laura: [laughs] And think about how we feel, or even just the Internet responds anytime somebody gets out of their lane, if you will. I can understand that feeling, particularly if you’re a House that feels like you don’t get very much glory. And I will say, in defense of Professor Sprout, teaching is hard, and there are a million reasons she might have seemed distant that day, and it may have had nothing to do with the Triwizard Tournament at all. We’re also reading this from Harry’s point of view, so he’s had this negative interaction with two people who he previously thought he was friendly with, and that I could see setting the tone in his head that like, “Oh, everybody hates me now; even Professor Sprout hates me.” And that may not have been the case. It’s all Harry’s perception that we’re seeing.

Micah: Right. I think we talked about this when we did the episode on Professor Sprout. And to Laura’s point about Harry, seeing everything through Harry’s perspective, he’s probably really anxious in this moment, too; maybe just a little bit neurotic because of how everybody is perceiving him. And so it’s likely that perhaps Professor Sprout was just having a normal day and he’s looking at it just the wrong way.

Eric: Absolutely. And had these been isolated incidents and then there were other instances that we were shown where Hufflepuffs are friendly and amazing, then I’d be like, “Oh, Hufflepuffs aren’t maligned in the books at all.” But the fifth and final most disparaging moment about Hufflepuffs is from Order of the Phoenix. Who can forget the first ever Dumbledore’s Army pre-meet up with a one Zachariah Smith? Andrew?

Andrew: Yes, from page 340. He starts, “‘Where’s the proof You-Know-Who’s back?’ said the blond Hufflepuff player in a rather aggressive voice. ‘Well, Dumbledore believes it -‘ Hermione began. ‘You mean, Dumbledore believes him,’ said the blond boy, nodding at Harry. ‘Who are you?’ said Ron rather rudely.”

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: “‘Zacharias Smith,’ said the boy, ‘and I think we’ve got the right to know exactly what makes him say You-Know-Who’s back.’ Zacharias said dismissively, ‘All Dumbledore told us last year was that Cedric Diggory got killed by You-Know-Who and that you brought Diggory’s body back to Hogwarts. He didn’t give us details, he didn’t tell us exactly how Diggory got murdered, I think we’d all like to know -‘” And he gets cut off.

Eric: [sighs] Yeah. Do you guys think Zacharias has a point in that he’s clearly entitled to some details, maybe? Or isn’t he? Dumbledore’s word as headmaster should be good enough for him, shouldn’t it?

Andrew: Yeah, but when something so huge like that happens, so tragic, losing a fellow student, you’re naturally going to want more answers when you’re grieving. So I understand where Zacharias is coming from from that perspective. However, this is probably not the time and place to get into this discussion. Maybe Zacharias could have reached out to Harry somewhere else, or he could have gone directly to Dumbledore, or maybe to Sprout. Sprout would know more information.

Eric: That’s true.

Laura: Yeah, I definitely understand where he’s coming from. Because we have to remember, Zacharias does not have the level of access to Dumbledore that Harry has, so I can understand why someone on the outside looking in might think, “Oh, Harry is Dumbledore’s golden boy. I don’t have access to those conversations. I don’t get the level of explanation that someone like Harry gets, and all I get to hear at the end of a year that was supposed to be a glory year for Hufflepuff is that our champion was murdered, and all we saw was that Harry Potter came back with the body.” I understand the suspicion.

Micah: Right. And I also think it’s important to put into context the age of Zacharias right now; he’s 15 years old. And to the point raised earlier, he’s most likely grieving, he’s most likely confused about what’s going on, and there’s probably a part of him, too, that just wants to be in the know. He wants information, and Dumbledore, Sprout, they probably should have set up grief counselors or people for these students to talk to instead of just treating it like another day at Hogwarts.

Laura: Well, yeah, and if you’re being asked to join something called Dumbledore’s army but the guy who’s the namesake of this didn’t really give any insight to anyone beyond that end of year speech, I can understand having a few questions. I think it’s completely valid to want to check your sources.

Eric: But because this is through Harry’s perspective – and even Ron and Hermione are having to sputter to defend Harry here – we just see Zacharias as a prick, right? Objectively, he’s got a point, or it’s fair to want to know more, but Harry is also not going to divulge that, especially in front of Cho. But also in general, Harry has no tolerance for being questioned in that manner, and when they’re all Harry’s friends here, and all of a sudden this Zacharias Smith – who is he? – comes up… so I guess my point in summarizing all of these quotes is just to say that Hufflepuff is the biggest antagonist to Harry, next to Slytherin. Anybody that’s giving… you just don’t have the Ravenclaws acting out like this. You don’t. Like, in none of the books.

Micah: It’s interesting, though, Eric, that you see this edginess from two characters that are both Hufflepuffs. You see it from Ernie first, and then you see it from Zacharias later on. And I don’t know, is that a quality of…? Not necessarily in a negative way, but just the edginess, the combativeness almost, in a way?

Eric: Yeah. Well, I’d say it goes to representation, right?

Micah: Don’t poke the badger.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Right, don’t poke the badger. Hannah Abbott seems nice, but she also doesn’t get her closeup the way Zacharias and Ernie do; we don’t find out about her or her thoughts or how her brain works. However, we are treated to the other two.

Micah: Right.

Eric: So it’s just an example of… these are the biggest excerpts involving Hufflepuffs in all seven Harry Potter books. So coming out of the book’s publication in 2007, I was not rushing to change House from Gryffindor to Hufflepuff. Nothing in the books themselves urged me to declare allegiance to the House where people gossip and give Harry crap.

Micah: [laughs] Maybe this is what happens, though, when you take all the rest. There’s just a weird cross section of students.

Andrew: Yeah, a hodgepodge. Well, I think to defend these attitudes that you see in these scenes, you could just argue that they’re standing up for what’s right. They just want answers. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Laura: Yeah, and they want to protect their own, right? Because again, we have this sense that the Hufflepuffs, they’re constantly treated like they’re in fourth place at Hogwarts all the time. That’s the brand that has been foisted upon them. And I understand why it would make you edgy, especially when a very near and dear member of your House is killed. I think if I were to put myself in the shoes of these characters and put myself in a mindset of being 15 years old and dealing with that, I don’t know that I would have the best reactions to this either.

Eric: So I love what you guys are saying, and I appreciate it because I think that we’re about to see different angles from Hufflepuffs other than the straight interpretation of what we see these characters do and say in the books, which is nice. So moving into kind of an overall, we’re going to talk about House traits like you guys did for Slytherin, which is really, really important. First, Micah, I see you have a point on Hufflepuff House in general.

Micah: This was something that came to mind when I was listening to our last episode on Slytherin. And I know, Andrew, you and I and Eric spoke about this a little bit last night. But I’m just wondering – and this is not necessarily how I feel – but I’m wondering, in the way that J.K. Rowling has come up with this name, what’s the first thing that we think of when we hear the name Hufflepuff? Does it sound a bit doofy to the rest of the group here?

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Andrew: And what’s “doofy” mean? Define “doofy.”

Micah: Silly. Not serious.

Andrew: Silly, yes.

Micah: If you think about the other names of the Houses, they inspire something, right? Just in the name itself, it’s very definitive, very solid. There’s no rhyming going on. It’s Slytherin, Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, and then… Hufflepuff. It’s just not…

Andrew: Well, let’s start with…

Micah: Go ahead.

Andrew: Eric, what’s your point? Because I want to go off of this.

Eric: Well, I have the pleasure of actually remembering what I first thought of when I heard about Hufflepuff, which was the Tale of the Three Little Pigs.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: “I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down,” says the Wolf. And he’s, I don’t know, just blistering mad about what the pigs have done in shutting him out. So I just thought of a children’s fairy tale, which is like, okay, kind of fitting for a fantasy series involving kids, but also, the Big Bad Wolf gets his own. And also, you’re not supposed to aspire to be the Big Bad Wolf. And that’s not an accurate representation of what the kids in that House are, so…

Andrew: The name does sound flimsy to me. “I’ll blow your house down.” Maybe because I’m thinking of the Three Little Pigs, but “Huffle,” that’s not a word of strength. And “puff” is just blow. It’s a very flimsy, light name/word.

Micah: Right, so that’s why I wondered if in creating this name, that also lends itself to why there’s this stigma about Hufflepuff House, because the name itself fails to inspire any sort of confidence in even saying it. And I know we’re going to get a lot of emails for this…

Andrew: No.

Micah: … but I also looked up, just for some comparison, I happened across a few other translations of what Hufflepuff is like in other languages…

Andrew and Eric: Ooh.

Micah: … and I think some of them are a bit worse. I have two here to share with you. The first is French, “Poufsouffle.”

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Oh my God. Could that be soufflé?

Micah: No, there’s no accent on the “e.”

Andrew and Eric: Okay.

Micah: At least in the ones, the versions that I saw. And then Welsh – and my Welsh is not going to be very good – but the way that it was phonetically spelled out was “hoof-tee-poof.”

Andrew: [laughs] Hoof-tee-poof.

Eric: Oh my God.

Micah: So if we think this is bad in English, it’s definitely worse in at least two other languages.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Oh my goodness. Hoof-tee-poof. Okay. All right, yeah. So if this was the experience reading the Harry Potter books when it first came out, and I think it was universally by everybody – I don’t want to speak for everybody – but I think that’s the general consensus. It wasn’t until a couple years later, like 2010-ish, where I felt that J.K. Rowling was really trying to right a wrong, or starting to tilt the other way. Because again, in the Harry Potter books we have Cedric Diggory, and also Nymphadora Tonks. Strangely, we don’t actually find out Tonks is a Hufflepuff until Pottermore, which happens years after the last book. But regardless, both of those heroes die. Cedric dies right away; doesn’t even get to duel Voldemort, dies. Tonks has a very depressing… she’s in her head all throughout Book 6, and then has a kid, and dies. So there’s no Hufflepuff heroes in the books. And that said, there’s this quote from J.K. Rowling, which it’s on YouTube. There’s a video of it. But she is talking about… she’s asked the question, “What would you say to people who are Sorted into Hufflepuff and are upset about it?”

Andrew: So the author said, “In many ways, Hufflepuff is my favorite House. Here’s my reasoning. There comes a point in the final book where each House has a choice whether or not to rise to a certain challenge. Everyone in the House. For reasons that are understandable, the Slytherins decide they’d rather not play. The Ravenclaws, some decide they will, some don’t. The Hufflepuffs, virtually to a person, stay, as do the Gryffindors. Now, the Gryffindors comprised of a lot of foolhardy and show-off-y people. That’s just how it is. There’s bravery, and there’s also showboating; sometimes the two go together. The Hufflepuffs stayed for a different reason. They weren’t trying to show off. They weren’t being reckless. That’s the essence of Hufflepuff House. My oldest child, my daughter, Jessica, said something very profound to me not very many days ago. She said to me, ‘I think we should all want to be Hufflepuffs.’ I can only say to you that I would not be too disappointed to be in that House.”

Eric: Well, how about that? Color me surprised. Color me yellow and black, actually.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: We should all want to be Hufflepuffs? But nothing in the book supports this except her interpretation of the events of the final battle.

Laura: Well, I think, too, we have to remember, again, we’re still seeing these events through Harry’s point of view, right? So Harry is not going to think of Gryffindors as show-off-y, right? Because he is a Gryffindor.

Eric: Right.

Laura: So I think it would be hard for Harry to maybe have this level of awareness about the qualities that make someone truly a Hufflepuff. I mean, bravery is a great thing, but bravery without loyalty, bravery without conscience can go the wrong way, right? And loyalty and conscience are things that Hufflepuffs have in droves, I would argue.

Eric: So it definitely… this interview, or this interview answer, and coupled with the Pottermore Sorting quiz, which I took and got Hufflepuff, were really, I think, the first steps that were being taken towards just healing the malignancy, or healing the opinion of Hufflepuff that might have come out of less than typical representation in the books; less than positive. Hufflepuff is the one House that Harry doesn’t go to the common room of. That’s neither here nor there, but when you look at it, and you’re like, “Oh, yeah, why did he never visit Hufflepuff?” It’s like, “Oh, were they not interesting enough? Were they not central enough to the plot? Because he went to all the other common rooms.” So it’s stuff like that.

Andrew: But they’re a bunch of duffers; that’s why he didn’t go.

Eric: They’re a bunch of duffers, yeah. He’s not going to want to go hang out with a lot of duffers, comfy seats or not.

Laura: And see, I think that he’s probably missing out, because we know Hufflepuff’s common room is near the kitchens.

Micah: Ron would love it. If he cared about Ron, he would have taken him there.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: Yeah, I mean, we just… I feel like there’s probably a lot of good times he missed out on the Hufflepuff common room. They have an affinity for Herbology.

Andrew: Do the Hufflepuffs get all the leftover food at the end of each day?

Laura: Maybe.

Eric: Probably.

Laura: Because they’re nice. I could see the elves being like, “You guys are nice. Here, have all this leftover food.”

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Yeah. “Don’t try to free us, but we’ll feed you.”

Micah: I used to love that at work because I was right by one of the really important conference rooms and so we used to get all the leftovers from all the catering that would go on.

[Andrew and Eric laugh]

Micah: It was fantastic, so I definitely wouldn’t mind being close to the kitchens.

Eric: It’s a sweet deal, yeah. Well, so let’s go back to basics: The Sorting Hat songs. What are the traits that actually on paper make up a Hufflepuff?

Andrew: Well, in year one, the Sorting Hat says,
“You might belong in Hufflepuff
Where they are just and loyal
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true
And unafraid of toil”

Eric: So, just.

Andrew: Just and loyal.

Eric: Strong sense of justice.

Andrew: Yeah. “Those patient…” so they’re patient. There’s a lot packed into these four lines.

Micah: But who are they loyal to? Themselves or everybody?

Andrew: I think anybody who places their trust in them. They’ll be loyal to any friend.

Micah: Except Harry.

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: Right, not Harry. Well, not after he attacks…

Andrew: Those were special circumstances.

Micah: Not until Deathly Hallows

Andrew: The Sorting Hat was going to get into how the Hufflepuffs would treat Harry, but he had to cut it for time.

Eric: [laughs] This is kind of what I’m getting at, saying Hufflepuff is the most social House though that loyalty, that kind of… they’ll be friends and they’ll be good friends to you type aspect is how I read that.

Micah: What I find interesting, too, is that Hufflepuff is really the House that does come around in the end. We just sat there and read quotes from four or five different books, and J.K. Rowling just talked about how it’s the Hufflepuffs who in the end stand next to the Gryffindors in the Battle of Hogwarts, and then you only have some of the Ravenclaws and really, none of the Slytherins. And so I think there was probably an expectation that it would be Slytherin that would do an about-face and maybe get Draco and some of his pals to join with Harry, but it’s actually like, in looking at this, it’s Hufflepuff that does come back in the end and stand as loyal to Gryffindor.

Laura: And honestly, there’s something to be said… and I think that sometimes where we get into trouble with having House discussions is it can be really easy to pigeonhole a whole group of people into a very short list of characteristics. I mean, we can dig into like we talked about with Slytherin; it is a spectrum, right? You’re going to find different people who represent Hufflepuff differently. I mean, Hepzibah Smith and Hannah Abbott are very different characters, right? But they’re both Hufflepuffs. So the follow-up to that is that it’s a special kind of personality that is able to admit when they were wrong. That’s exceedingly rare. Especially with online culture – think of Twitter culture – think about how hard it is for people to admit that they’ve had a change of heart or that they were wrong, or that they’ve changed their mind in the face of new information. I think that’s one of the things that makes Hufflepuff most special; I think that their North Star is the truth as they know it, and when that truth changes, or when it evolves, or when they learn more about what it means, what defines that truth, they continue following that North Star.

Andrew: Amen.

Eric: You’re right, that was a dynamite point.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: I love that a lot.

Andrew: In year four, the Sorting Hat says, “For Hufflepuff, hard workers were most worthy of admission.”

Eric: This line about hard workers… now, I think we can all agree that that is an amazing trait, right? For anyone to have. It’s really being able to put in the time. Patience was a trait earlier, but also, just being hardworking is a good quality. We would hate for people to be always apathetic or lethargic, because nothing in government or otherwise would actually get done.

Andrew: Right. Yeah, I mean, it can be really hard to be a self-starter. It’s not very common. Or just to be self-motivated, to get up and want to go to work. So I really admire Hufflepuffs for being hard workers, for not being lazy. That’s how I take this one.

Eric: Yeah. And it’s interesting to pair this alongside Slytherin’s ambition. Hufflepuffs are not characterized as ambitious people; that’s not what drives them the most. But the ability to do hard work… and they won’t always be, also, the most studious people. They aren’t the Ravenclaws. They’re not going to always be able to be academically as good, but they will do the hard work required to get to those places, to fulfill their dreams, while basically through merit, through actually doing the things. It’s very interesting to compare and contrast why a House would be said to be the hardworking House, comparatively, because everyone at school works hard.

Andrew: Not everyone.

Eric: Well, okay. Well, we’d like to believe that people work hard in each House, I’ll say.

Andrew: Okay, yeah. that’s fair.

Eric and Laura: Yeah.

Eric: So getting on to the only other Sorting Hat song we have, and this is a very interesting point about Hufflepuffs in education. Andrew, go ahead.

Andrew: Yeah, so in year five, the Hat says,
“Said Hufflepuff, ‘I’ll teach the lot
And treat them just the same’
Good Hufflepuff she took the rest,
And taught them all she knew.”

Eric: That’s huge.

Andrew: This is a big one.

Eric: So we have Salazar Slytherin, who says, “Those who are pure of blood, they’re the ones for me.” Gryffindor is like, “Yeah, loyal, brave, pure of heart. We’re going to do that. Totally. Gryffindor out.” And Ravenclaw is like, “Oh, the most studious, the smartest ones; I’m going to teach them.” And Hufflepuff is left with everyone else. But she doesn’t miss a beat; she says, “I’ll teach the lot and treat them just the same.” So I see a real almost ableism in the philosophies of the other founders, in comparison. When you’re talking about a magical school, I mean, these aren’t private individuals that are running a non-public academy here that can pick and choose students; you have the entire wizarding community of Britain, and they’re going to come to you because they need to be trained up. And Hufflepuff is the one that says, “I’m going to take everyone, I’m going to take everyone else, whoever doesn’t strictly fit into the other Houses, I’m going to take them.” And it’s really important when you’re talking about educating our children to have a no discrimination policy. Period.

Laura: Yeah, and it can be easier said than done. We are all subject to a level of bias, be it unconscious. And we’ll even just break it down to teaching a particular subject matter: If you routinely express favor for and admiration of and promotion of only the students who excel in the areas that resonate with you, then that’s not an inclusive way to run a classroom or a school. I’ve talked about this on the show a little bit before; I am formerly a teacher. I’ve been out of education as a field for several years at this point, so there are certainly current educators who would probably be far better to speak to this than I would. But running an inclusive environment is a constant work in progress, because we are all human beings, and we’re all fallible, and we’re all subject to confirmation bias as well, right? So if your favorite student is also really, really talented in your preferred field, then of course, you’re naturally going to gravitate towards that person. But as educators, we need to be careful to check ourselves and ensure that we’re affording the same level of opportunity to all students, and I think this is one of the areas where maybe the founders fell short. Even certain teachers at Hogwarts who really express a great preference for students who excel in their subject matter carry that unfortunate social phenomenon forward; it’s not anything new, certainly. But I think this is another thing that makes Hufflepuff very special, which is this idea that anyone can come into a school, and they may not fit this criteria of being pure of blood, they may not be brave, they may not be booksmart, but they still have a place at the school. They still deserve to be there, and they still deserve to receive the same education as everyone else, because maybe some of those qualities will come out in them later in their education.

Eric: Everyone’s 11, for crying out loud.

Laura: Exactly.

Andrew: Right.

Micah: I was going to say, when you were running through that checklist of criteria that some may be brave, some may be intellectuals, and it’s just we don’t know yet, but I do think it’s important that we’re looking through this lens now. But I don’t know that we would have necessarily looked at it this way when we were reading the book for the first time, and when kids read these books for the first time, because I think they might subscribe to more of a mentality like Hagrid had in viewing the Hufflepuffs as a bunch of duffers because of the way that J.K. Rowling positions Hufflepuff House in the sense that “Okay, well, Slytherin, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, they all had their pick, and Hufflepuff is just going to take the rest.”

Eric: Yeah, yeah. Again, being picked last for kickball.

Micah: Like you said earlier, Eric, picked last for kickball. It’s the perception that’s created around Hufflepuff House by the author; to me, that’s who really positions them in this type of light. But now that we’re reading it as adults, and we’re looking at these characteristics, these lines from the Sorting Hat… we did this with Slytherin, right? We deeply analyzed it last week through a different type of of lens, and I think that, yeah, it’s super important that she’s willing to just take the rest and treat them the same and give them the best education possible.

Andrew: Thank goodness for Hufflepuff. And I will add, we heard Rowling’s comments earlier. They don’t really mean much, because like you were just saying, Micah, kids are going to start reading these books today. As we speak, there are new readers, and they’re going to be reading this stuff. They might happen to go on YouTube and see a clip years down the road, but 100% of the Harry Potter readers are reading all the Hufflepuff hate in the books.

Eric: Right.

Andrew: So it’s kind of useless to years later say, “Oh, you know what? They’re not bad, and here’s why.” An interviewer just happens to ask her and then she finally clears the air.

Micah: And she puts it on her daughter, too. “My daughter said.”

Andrew: [laughs] Yeah. “And you know what? I didn’t even have this thought; my daughter did. She just happened to say it the other day.”

Eric: Well, and I mean, we didn’t mention this earlier, but the House ghost: the Fat Friar. We know how J.K. Rowling feels about fat characters in Harry Potter, too. It’s just one thing after the other. Like, why can’t they just call him Friar Tuck or something? Why is it Fat Friar?

Andrew: “The Friendly Friar.”

Eric: Yeah. He’s jovial about it; he’s rotund because he’s eaten well and lived a good life, right? That’s the part that doesn’t necessarily come across in the name. He could be the Friendly Friar, to your point.

Laura: Yeah, I feel like in that case, “Fat” and “Friendly” are used as interchangeable terms, whereas there are other cases in the book where the descriptor of somebody’s body dimensions may not necessarily be correlated with a positive personality or characteristic. But I think all of this conversation that we’re having about the reclaiming of Hogwarts Houses is what makes fandom so special, because fandom is really where this all got started. Fandom is what we have to thank for Hufflepuff pride, 100%.

Andrew: That’s so true. Actually, we should give a shout-out at some point during this episode to Puffs the Play, the Harry Potter stage play that is dedicated to Hufflepuffs, and it’s a love letter to Hufflepuffs. I believe somebody in our Discord who’s listening live right now, Beth, she’s listening live via our Patreon; she said, “I love that this episode is recorded one day after the two year anniversary of closing night for Puffs the Play.” [laughs]

Eric: Aww, that’s beautiful. Yeah, and I’ll say, too, the best people in life, I feel, have a good nature, a good spirit about… they can be a little self-deprecating. They don’t take themselves too seriously. No matter what your personality, I think it’s a good trait to have where you can laugh at yourself sometimes, and Puffs the Play very much carries on in that spirit with Hufflepuffs due to that stigma.

Laura: And I will say, something that I really like about these two episodes we’ve had back to back – we had our defense of Slytherin and now our defense of Hufflepuff – my partner is a Slytherin, and I said on last week’s episode, he’s the best person I know. My best friend is a Hufflepuff, and I’ve known her for more than half of my life at this point, and I can say with 100% certainty that my life is better because she’s been in it.

Andrew: Aww.

Laura: I know; you’re over there aww-ing. But she really exemplifies a lot of what we’re talking about today, because she wasn’t originally a Hufflepuff. She kind of adopted Hufflepuff and was adopted into Hufflepuff House, and she embraced it and really embodies a lot of what we’re talking about on the show today. So I consider myself lucky to have two of the most important people in my life represent Slytherin and Hufflepuff Houses.

Andrew and Eric: Aww.

Micah: And Eric.

[Everyone laughs]

Eric: And I’m here too. I’m thrilled to be part of your life, Laura.

Laura: Obviously. I feel like it goes without saying; we do this together every week.

Eric: I know, I know. No, the feeling is mutual. So I’ve told the story on the show before, too, about how it was really the Pottermore welcome letter that made me… I was having a crisis after being Sorted on the old Pottermore, the original. I was like, “Oh my God, I got Hufflepuff. What am I going to do?”

Andrew: [laughs] Eric was on the floor, he was in tears, in the fetal position.

Eric: Yeah, like, “What’s going on?” It was like, “This can’t be right. I’m going to click ‘Next’ anyway. There’s a button that says ‘Next’; I’m going to click it.” And it wasn’t until I read – and right away it pops up – but really read and internalized the welcome letter that I thought, “Wow, okay. Not only is this me, but there are traits to Hufflepuffs that I haven’t previously thought about that I now feel very aligned with.” And I actually changed Houses. I felt comfortable. Some people were like, “Pottermore Sorted me as a Gryffindor. I know I’m a Ravenclaw. Screw Pottermore.” But I actually went through the trouble of admitting, “Yes, now I’m a Hufflepuff,” for many years.

Andrew: [laughs] Went through the trouble. And you went to the Wizarding World theme park and you bought the Hufflepuff crewneck sweater, and I was there that day buying a Slytherin one.

Eric: We both changed Houses at the same time!

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: I love that. Well, I didn’t do it because I wanted to be a badass; I did it because I was admitting that I was no longer a Gryffindor.

Micah: You both ditched Gryffindor.

Andrew: We did, we did. And we need a Gryffindor on this panel now maybe. [laughs]

Eric: So here’s some information and tidbits from that welcome letter. We’re not going to read the whole thing because it’s long, but it is fully available on the Internet, so I would recommend it. But in case anyone was wondering why the emblem is the badger – and I did mention that honey badger video, which you should absolutely see – but the welcome letter actually answers that question. “Our emblem is the badger, an animal that is often underestimated, because it lives quietly until attacked, but which, when provoked, can fight off animals much larger than itself, including wolves.” That’s actually pretty badass. The letter goes on to say, “Hufflepuff is certainly the least boastful House, but we’ve produced just as many brilliant witches and wizards as any other. We produce more than our fair share of powerful, brilliant, and daring witches and wizards, but just because we don’t shout about it, we don’t get the credit we deserve. Ravenclaws, in particular, assume that any outstanding achiever must have come from their House.”

Laura: [laughs] True.

Eric: I also think in this world that we live in, you’ve got to make noise to be heard, and that might not be in a Hufflepuff’s skillset or their… I often find this about myself; it’s like, although I talk a lot, I’m not always the most boastful person about my accomplishments, and I think that it’s caused others to succeed who were better than me at that.

Andrew: Okay. Are you taking credit for other people’s success because you didn’t brag about your own? [laughs] Is that what you’re saying?

Eric: No, no, not at all. That wasn’t a threat. I’m saying have you guys ever experienced people who are louder getting better, more recognition than you at anything?

Laura: Sure.

Andrew: Yeah, yeah.

Laura: I think a good way to think about this is who are you when you interview for a job? What does selling yourself look like when you’re interviewing for a job?

Andrew: Right.

Laura: And how comfortable are you with doing it?

Andrew: Or sometimes… there’s a common phrase, “It can’t hurt to ask.” Just ask a favor, or ask for a job. Ask something that might lead to greater things. That’s kind of what you’re talking about, Eric; you’d be surprised… some people are successful because they’re not afraid to ask. They’re not afraid to take that leap.

Eric: Right. Yeah, and I think the ambitious angle… if we’re talking about Slytherin being ambitious and Hufflepuff not, I lack some of those ambitious traits that would otherwise have me asking friends for help, or asking for a leg up or a way in or a foot under the door, the way you have to when you’re, for instance, seeking a new job.

Andrew: Right, I feel that.

Eric: So I just guess I’m saying I identify with that quieter aspect of Hufflepuff in terms of self-advocacy, but let no one ever say I’m not hardworking.

Andrew: That makes sense. I got you.

Laura: Right, and it can be hard to learn to advocate for yourself, because again, it is a learned skill. It’s not something any of us are born with. I think that – like all of these conversations about the Houses are going – it’s something that’s attained over time. There are some people who are more comfortable putting on that hat, and there’s some people who have to work a little harder to get there to get to that comfort level, but it doesn’t mean you can’t get there. Just means it’s not your default preference, right?

Eric: Yeah. Well, one thing that I’ll be interested in following in however many Fantastic Beasts films that we get remaining… that’s an open question.

[Laura laughs]

Eric: But with Newt Scamander, we see how brilliant he is and the love of animals is also this huge Hufflepuff trait now; that seems to be going really well. I know all Houses have pets, but it seems like Newt’s communion with animals is being portrayed as something to do with his Hufflepuff nature more than everything. His patience with learning what each of these animals need, his hard work in creating a housing environment for each of them in his case, all of that. But I’d like to make sure that whatever J.K. Rowling’s plans are for the future, that Newt does succeed not because he’s Dumbledore’s favorite. There was this thing where Dumbledore in Movie 2 put him in that position to be in New York at the time with Credence, etc., etc., and I’d like no more leg-ups from Dumbledore, please. I’d like to see Newt succeed because of his brilliance, and really get an actual Hufflepuff action hero.

Andrew: Yeah, that would be great. Justice for Hufflepuff.

Laura: I know.

Eric: Justice for Hufflepuff!

Micah: I think that might actually be a really nice segue. Similarly to how we started off, we’ll mention Helga Hufflepuff; I think that’s a pretty simple one to include. And then next up, we actually have a witch named Bridget Wenlock. So she was listed on Pottermore as being one of the most famous Hufflepuffs through the ages. She was a famous 13th century witch, celebrated for her skills in Arithmancy. Protective of her theorem, she wrote many of her ideas down in invisible ink, making them somewhat easy to misplace. Bridget was the first to discover the magical significance of the number seven.

Andrew: Well, that alone is super cool.

Laura: That’s big.

Eric: Probably due to being patient and taking your time and saying, “Hey, wait a minute. Everybody else is just using the number seven, but I’ve realized that the closer you look at this, there’s something here,” kind of a thing.

Micah: Cedric Diggory, we talked a little bit about him earlier in the episode.

Andrew: [imitating Amos Diggory] “My boy!”

[Eric an Laura laugh]

Micah: Amos, is that you?

Eric: I’ve got to say, when everyone else is upset with Harry for having his name out of the Goblet, and Igor Karkaroff and Madame Maxime are all blaming Dumbledore in the trophy room and Mad-Eye comes in, Cedric, to his credit, is not outraged. He does not say anything like “Surely this was cheating,” because Krum and Fleur absolutely do. But Cedric keeps quiet. He looks bemused. He’s just not gazing at Harry, because I think he thinks that something was amiss, but he’s not going to accuse Harry flat out, and he just stays quiet and waits for the adults to sort it out, and that’s exactly what happens, so bless Cedric.

Micah: He was probably just happy to have somebody along for the ride with him that he knew.

Eric: [laughs] Well, they certainly develop a friendship when it comes to giving each other the leg up on the competition. And I think by the end, when Harry recommends they both go for the cup, by that point, even then Cedric is not expecting that level of affection and friendship and trust, and he grins and then they go for it. A friend to the end.

Micah: Right. Laura, you mentioned Hepzibah Smith earlier, and if we were putting these characters on a spectrum, I think she might be at the far end of one just in terms of her nature. She’s definitely arrogant; she claims to have been one of the direct descendants of Helga Hufflepuff. She treats Hokey not very well. So if in fact she was in Hufflepuff, the traits of that House do not shine brightly through her. [laughs]

Laura: Yeah, she reminds me of Slughorn in some ways. I mean, we don’t get to see very much of her, but I think she just goes to show there are various dimensions that can be represented in each of these Houses. It’s like, there’s no one way to be a Hufflepuff, just like there’s no one way to be a Slytherin.

Eric: Well, and you mentioned the mistreatment of Hokey. A lot of that comes from her lack of self-awareness. She likes the drink, and she is not self-aware to realize that she’s being taken in by Tom Riddle, but then who is? A lot of people fall victim to Tom Riddle, but it’s uncomfortable reading the scene with Hepzibah in the memory when Dumbledore and Harry visit and see that she is a person who, quite easily by Voldemort’s standards, is being taken in and being victimized. Hepzibah Smith is another Hufflepuff victim, the way that Cedric is and the way that Tonks arguably is.

Micah: Right. And she’s certainly enamored with Tom Riddle, taken by him. But even putting that aside, she always gave me the feeling of just having been this upper class elitist type of individual.

Eric: Yeah, I agree.

Micah: So switching gears slightly, let’s talk about the brothers Scamander. Both Newt and Theseus were Hufflepuffs. I did not know this about Theseus until I was doing some research for the show.

Eric: That’s amazing. I like that a lot. I would have assumed Gryffindor for obvious reasons; he basically works as part of the magical defense squad, and he just seems more athletic and competent than his brother. He’s also a bit more headstrong; he’s chosen a side, whereas Newt has not. He’s less of a pacifist, I guess, is what I’m saying. So finding out that Theseus was in Hufflepuff speaks more to, I guess, the hardworking nature; he’s working in government and he’s putting in the hard work to get where he needs to be.

Laura: I think they’re both hardworking but in very different ways.

Andrew: And I mean, Newt by the end of the movie chooses a side.

Laura: Yep. Plot twist, he sides with Grindelwald.

[Andrew laughs]

Laura: I’m kidding. I’m kidding.

Eric: Yeah, because killing Leta was something he’s like, “Thank you so much. I’m going to join you now.”

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Andrew: “I’ve been trying to do that forever.”

Eric: “One less thing I have to do.”

Micah: This would be another example, though, of J.K. Rowling trying to course correct. I know we’ve talked about it with Newt in the Fantastic Beasts series, but having another character, like Theseus, would certainly speak to that as well.

Andrew: Yeah, because I think we found out with the first movie. We didn’t know prior to that that he was a Hufflepuff, because we see he opens a suitcase and there’s a Hufflepuff scarf. Don’t quote me on that if that was the first time. We may have known before.

Micah: I don’t know that it was widely known. It may be if you looked it up online his House was listed, but good point.

Andrew: Right. Newt is bringing Hufflepuff mainstream with the Fantastic Beasts franchise.

Micah: Exactly. All right, we’ve done an entire episode on her: the Head of Hufflepuff House, Professor Sprout.

Eric: Love her.

Andrew: So see that episode for more.

Eric: Yep.

[Laura and Micah laugh]

Micah: How about Tonks? We talked a little bit about her earlier on in the episode. Surprised that she was in Hufflepuff?

Eric: No, I love it. But the one thing I’ll say… there’s a quote from Order of the Phoenix, page 170, where Tonks reveals why she was never a prefect. She says, “I was never a prefect myself. My Head of House said I lacked certain necessary qualities.” And Ginny bites; she says, “Like what? And Tonks says, “Like the ability to behave myself.”

[Andrew laughs]

Eric: So Tonks has no self-restraint. She’s clumsy as all heck. What an addition to Hufflepuff. But then again, she works real hard with her innate gift of Metamorphmagus-ness, and she’s able to become an Auror, so that’s neat.

Andrew: And Tonks, a fan favorite character. She’s definitely given Hufflepuff a good name, I think.

Eric: Yeah. But again, not revealed to be a Hufflepuff. She just says, “My Head of House said I lacked certain qualities,” and it’s not revealed until… it’s actually a chat in December of 2007 with Time Magazine.

Andrew: See, again, this post-book “Oh, yeah, Hufflepuff.”

Eric: In the book, she could have been anything. She could have been Gryffindor. She could have been Slytherin, even. We just don’t know.

Micah: And for those who are wondering, the episode where we talked about Professor Sprout is Episode 513, so not that long ago where we talked about her. And then the last few listed here are some that maybe listeners have heard of; some maybe not. I honestly hadn’t heard of most of these. [laughs] But Hengist of Woodcroft, so this is the founder of Hogsmeade.

Andrew: Hardworking.

Micah: That’s cool enough in and of itself. Harry actually learns about him on the first trip on the Hogwarts Express; it’s on a Chocolate Frog Card.

Eric: Oh!

Laura: That’s cool.

Andrew: Hardworking.

Eric: He built a village, yeah.

Andrew: Welcoming of all, as long as you have a letter from your guardian.

[Eric laughs]

Laura: Yep. I mean, he created the only economy around Hogwarts, right? [laughs]

Micah: Yeah, yeah. And the only wizarding village for what, miles?

Andrew: Miles!

Eric: He probably had a Ravenclaw balance his books, I’m guessing. [laughs] But other than that, great guy.

Micah: So we also have left here two Ministers for Magic. The first is Grogan Stump. He began his duties back in 1811, particularly addressed the nomenclature of beings and beasts. He was an immensely popular Minister, one of probably the most popular Ministers in history. He decreed that a being was “any creature that has sufficient intelligence to understand the laws of the magical community and to bear a part of the responsibility in shaping those laws.” And by doing so, he settled a debate that had been going on in the wizarding world since the 14th century. Stump created the three divisions of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures: Beast, Being, and Spirit Divisions.

Eric: That’s incredibly important, just coming to some agreement, because this involves governing peoples with intelligence that need protection and need… or also to be left alone by the Ministry. That really sets in stone what will happen.

Micah: And worth saying, too, was the longest serving Minister, from 1811 to 1891, so 80 years.

Eric: So probably well-loved.

Micah: Pulling a Michael Bloomberg.

[Everyone laughs]

Micah: And finally, we have Artemisia Lufkin. She was the first female Minister for Magic. It’s said that it’s likely that after her appointment, several of the oldest Wizengamot wizards stepped out of their positions in protest. She served as Minister for 13 years, being succeeded in the post by none other than Grogan Stump, who we just talked about.

Eric: Oh!

Andrew: Replaced by a man.

Micah: So back-to-back Hufflepuffs.

Andrew: [laughs] Back-to-back Hufflepuffs.

Laura: Nice.

Eric: I love that. I love that so much. Yeah, she’s a rabble-rouser.

Laura: Yeah, I know; I hear about all of these male Wizengamot members stepping down, I’m like, “Okay, bye.”

[Eric and Micah laugh]

Andrew: So like we did last week, I thought we should say a couple nice things about Hufflepuff House. Laura, I think what you said earlier is probably what you were going to say here, maybe?

Laura: Yeah.

Andrew: Okay, so I can start. So this conversation has definitely been very enlightening, and I appreciate sitting here and looking at this House for an hour. And I definitely gotta admit, I too have fallen into that trap of judging Hufflepuffs for being flimsy, for being a joke, because that’s what you hear online and I’m just going with the flow.

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: But this conversation has been enlightening, and I, of course, would never want to judge anybody, except for those times in the past where I have. I haven’t really judged Hufflepuffs.

Eric: Hey, we’re all guilty. I’ve judged Hufflepuffs. It’s cool.

Andrew: Yeah, right. And then you got that Pottermore letter and you were like, “Oh, this is okay, I guess.”

Eric: I know, I know. I’m like, “Ooh, I probably can’t do that anymore. I can’t do that.” That’s cool.

Andrew: But what I was thinking about is that if Hufflepuff House will take the rest, then I’ll go ahead and say they’re as cool as anybody in the Harry Potter fandom. And the Harry Potter fandom is one of the most welcoming places that I’ve ever seen; it’s a group that definitely takes the rest. I mean, we’ve spoken about how the fandom consists of a lot of outcasts. So to me, Hufflepuff kind of is the Harry Potter fandom, and I of course adore the Harry Potter fandom. So my good thing to say about Hufflepuff is Hufflepuff equals Harry Potter fandom, and that makes me want to be a member of Hufflepuff.

Eric: Crushed it. Absolutely crushed it.

Laura: That’s beautiful.

Eric: Micah, do you have a nice thing to say?

Micah: Eric. That’s all I have to say. Just Eric.

Eric: Aw.

[Andrew and Laura laugh]

Eric: Thank you, I guess.

Micah: It’s hard, between Laura talking about her best friend, and Andrew, this comparison that he just drew. But I would almost say something similar to what I said about Slytherin last week, which is just it’s important to remove the label of the House and just look at the people. And as you said, Andrew, about the community being so welcoming, it is really about fandom at the end of the day. It’s the fandom that really makes these Houses what they are, and I think you can find great people in any of those Houses, great friends. We certainly have.

Eric: Yeah. Well, and on that note, I’ll just say my piece, which is we’ve talked about this, that Hufflepuffs have a lot of good qualities that you would want in a friend. So if you think about a friend of yours that you have – Laura, in your case, it is your best friend – think about why you’re friends with this person, what traits they embody that you like about them, whether they’re reliable, thoughtful, careful… these are Hufflepuff traits. If you have a very good friend, the chances are they have at the very least qualities… you can trust a Hufflepuff, and these are the qualities that everyone needs. You need a friend to support you and encourage you in life, in your life journey, and that is something toward what Hufflepuff’s essence truly is.

Andrew: Well said as well.

Eric: Love it.

Andrew: We also received some feedback from listeners on our social media channels. We said, “What are some good things about Hufflepuffs?” Caroline said, “Hufflepuffs can do everything the other Houses do, they just don’t brag about it.” I like that. “Also, Hufflepuffs value the most important things in their short spectacular life – relationships and community.” She’s saying short lives because of Cedric, or…?

Eric: Probably. Yeah, we’re destined to die, “Kill the spare,” step over our corpse.

Andrew: [laughs] Petra said, “They’re the most welcoming House. Not racist or elitist. Lets kids grow on their own terms without peer pressure and molding them to live up to an antic obsolete standard. Hufflepuff rules and is the most modern House there is.” Carina said, “Tonks. Need I say more?”

[Eric laughs]

Andrew: ForeverLana said, “Hufflepuff House is so precious to me. There’s something so healthy about having a Head of House that helps magical plants grow.” That’s beautiful, Lana. “I’m sure Sprout led with kindness and nurturing, but with a realistic viewpoint that isn’t idealized.” Very well said. And then finally, I liked this comment from James too. He said, “Of all the students, the Goblet of Fire chose Cedric, a Hufflepuff, to represent the school in the Triwizard Tournament. Signed, your friendly neighborhood Gryffindor.” [laughs] So thank you, Gryffindor, for coming forward and speaking up for Hufflepuff.

Eric: Yeah, yeah, thank you. [laughs] I feel really good about that discussion, guys.

Andrew: Yeah, so that’s our defense of Hufflepuff. If anybody has any feedback about it, send it on in,, or you can use the contact form on You can also call us, 1-920-3-MUGGLE. That’s 1-920-368-4453. You can also record a voice memo, keep the message about a minute long, and send that to, and we’ll have a Muggle Mail episode in the weeks ahead. And by the way, we’ve been enjoying these House-focused discussions so much that we are going to do Gryffindor and Ravenclaw episodes in the coming weeks. Not next week. Next week, we’re going back to Hogwarts, so we’ve got other stuff to talk about. We’ll have other fun. But then the two episodes after that, the current plan is right now to do Gryffindor and Ravenclaw episodes. So there’ll be some nice symmetry there: two Houses, back to Hogwarts, another two Houses.

Eric: Love it.


Andrew: Okay, it’s time for Quizzitch.

[Quizzitch music plays]

Eric: Last week’s question, asked so well by Micah in my absence: What living creature are both Marvolo Gaunt and Salazar Slytherin compared to in appearance?

Micah: Tough question.

Eric: Tough question. We heard from listener Morgan, who said, “It’s not a snake, is it? It seems like that would be an obvious answer, but I’m going to go for it anyway. Final answer: snake.”

Micah: Nope. Gotta go for the other Legends of the Hidden Temple emblem.

Eric: [laughs] That’s right, because the shrine of the silver monkey, everybody. The correct answer is monkey, a powerful, aged monkey. Interesting. Don’t know what Jo was going for in that; we’ll save it for another episode. Correct answers were submitted by the Dark Bort; Sherbet Lemon; A lost packet of Droobbles Best Blowing Gum; Petrifyingly Putrid Potter Plot Holes; Baby Yoda, Order of Merlin, first class… [laughs] … Harambe, hero to millions; TTV; Manda; DreamQuaffle; Dutch Harry Potter fan; Newt and Tina forever; and Cassie Sanders, among others.

Micah: Nice.

Eric: Next week’s question: What conceals the entrance to the Hufflepuff common room? You guys knew it was coming, a Hufflepuff question for next week.

Andrew: [laughs] Somebody must submit one of those alternate Hufflepuff translations that Micah brought up earlier as your name next week.

Eric: Yes.

Andrew: Peace and love. Thank you.

Eric: Them’s the rules.

Micah: Hoof-tee-poof.

Andrew: Thanks, everybody for listening to today’s episode. I’m Andrew.

Eric: I’m Eric.

Micah: I’m Micah.

Laura: And I’m Laura.

Andrew: Bye, everyone.

Laura: Bye.

Eric: Keep calm and badger on.

Micah: Where did you say we’re going next week, Andrew?

Andrew: Back to Hogwarts.

Micah: Choo-choo.

[Everyone laughs]