The shortchanging of House Hufflepuff

In which one of the non-quidditch related shortcomings of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series is explained:

    For instance, Slytherin
    Took only pure-blood wizards
    Of great cunning, just like him,
    And those of sharpest mind
    Were taught by Ravenclaw
    While the bravest and the boldest
    Went to daring Gryffindor.
    Good Hufflepuff, she took the rest,
    And taught them all she knew,
    Thus the Houses and their founders
    Retained friendships firm and true.

“She took the rest”

“She took the rest”

Okay. So maybe Hufflepuff doesn’t pick students with dependable, useful, non-flashy but underrated qualities. Apparently, Hufflepuff just takes the rejects.


We’ve hit, by the way, on the biggest flaw of Rowling’s House system. She pays lip service to people overcoming the expectations set by the house they’re sorted in, but in reality characters who are part of Slytherin are evil, characters who are in Gryffindor are good, and the middle two houses don’t matter. Rowling at least has the decency to add in Luna Lovegood, a Ravenclaw and one of the series’ most interesting and beloved characters, but in Hufflepuff…well, there’s Tonks. Except that we’re never actually told Tonks is a Hufflepuff until after the series is over. And let’s not even get into all of the problems with Rowling’s portrayal of Slytherin House.

I could never figure out what Hermione was doing in Gryffindor when she was an obvious Ravensclaw. I mean, being intelligent and studious to the point of being annoying about it was the primary aspect of her personality.

But as I pointed out many years ago, Rowling isn’t any good with coherent plots or worldbuilding; nearly everything about Harry Potter is entirely nonsensical. What she’s good at is creating vivid characters and appealing to the lowest common denominator in children. And that, quite frankly, is a considerably more valuable skill than mere logic or literary talent.