The first person I ever met for whom Harry Potter was as real and as magical as it is for me was my first-year dorm neighbor, Tiff. One of our hobbies in college was sorting everyone we knew into their Hogwarts houses. She's definitely a Ravenclaw, and when she declared me a Hufflepuff I knew she was right. Hufflepuff tends to be overlooked in the Harry Potter fandom, but I love my house, and today I want to share my pride for my Hogwarts house and my thoughts on my new Ilvermorny sorting.
In the first Sorting ceremony Harry attends, the Sorting Hat tells students, "You might belong in Hufflepuff, / Where they are just and loyal, / Those patient Hufflepuffs are true / And unafraid of toil." That last line is what makes me a true Hufflepuff instead of a Ravenclaw like many of my friends. While I value knowledge and learning, and do my best to impart that value to my students, I don't consider myself naturally intellectual - instead, I'm naturally curious and hard-working. In high school, I applied to a magnet school for math and science not because they were my best subjects, but because I'm stubborn (long story for another day). It was definitely my ability to work hard and stay determined that my teachers saw and valued, and that kept me from getting kicked out of that program when my grades dropped! There's a lot of talk in the world of education now about teaching students to have a growth mindset - a very Hufflepuff concept indeed. Say what you will about Hufflepuff, we're the house of egalitarian and generous Helga Hufflepuff, industrious Pomona Sprout, fiercely loyal and protective Nymphadora Tonks. Hufflepuffs Susan Bones, Justin Finch-Fletchley, Ernie Macmillan, and future Mrs. Neville Longbottom, Hannah Abbott joined Dumbledore's Army and most likely fought in the Battle of Hogwarts because not fighting for their school, for their friends, and for what was right didn't even enter their minds. Teddy Lupin was chosen as Hufflepuff Head Boy during his years at Hogwarts. Strong and smart Cedric Diggory, the young man who represented the very best Hogwarts had to offer, was a Hufflepuff. So was Newt Scamander, who I can't wait to see Eddie Redmayne play in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
When I read the description of the houses for the American wizarding school, Ilvermorny (and once I'd gotten over the fact that everything about Ilvermorny is still crazy British and the ridiculous notion that there would only be one official Wizarding school in the U.S.*), I was fairly certain I knew where I'd end up. The houses are Horned Serpent, Wampus, Pukwudgie, and Thunderbird. Instead of representing valued traits, the houses represent aspects of the perfect wizard - the mind, the body, the heart, and the soul. Horned Serpent favors scholars, Wampus warriors, Thunderbird adventurers, and Pukwudgie healers. Based on this information, Pukwudgie was sounding like the Hufflepuff analog. Whereas my answers to my original Pottermore sorting quiz years ago were probably colored by my deep-down knowledge that I am a Hufflepuff, this time I just answered as honestly as possible, and the only question that really stumped me was the one about the fears, because all of those concepts were terrifying. I'd be a Pukwudgie. I'd be the heart, right? Well...
Thankfully, I'm not the only one who initially had an existential crisis over her Ilvermorny sorting! J.K. Rowling herself says on Twitter that there's no equivalence between Hogwarts and Ilvermorny houses, and data from Hogwarts Running Club Members shows that people are getting sorted all over the place.
Then, I saw this on Tumblr and harps played and angels sang:
One of my favorite quotes that I discovered right around the time I was applying to colleges is from Bernard of Clairvaux: “There are those who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge; that is Curiosity. There are those who seek knowledge to be known by others; that is Vanity. There are those who seek knowledge in order to serve; that is Love.”
I spent my youth seeking knowledge in order to serve others. I spend my adulthood serving others in order to share knowledge. I'm proud to be a Hufflepuff Thunderbird. * There's just no way most Southern wizarding families sent their kids up North to be educated from the 1800's well through the 1960's. Why doesn't the wizarding world recognize the very old, very large plantation-turned-school that definitely exists in or around New Orleans and probably teaches voodoo? What scandal happened there? On that note, have you seen Lena's Wizarding Schools Around the World series?