Dear Professor Dumbledore,
What did the words ‘nitwit’, ‘oddment’, ‘blubber’ and ‘tweak’ really mean?
Francesca of Hufflepuff
Over the years I have read many explanations for my words at that first banquet of Harry’s. One school of thought is that I was referring to the Houses and the disparaging remarks they would make, which kept each house divided. Another is that I was looking at certain members of my staff as I spoke. (Poor Severus is particularly irritated that I would have used the word ‘blubber’ in connection with him because of his old nickname.). Or I was reassuring each new First Year that the myriad of emotions that they’d feel in the first few weeks were entirely normal.
The truth is far more mundane. I like words. I like nonsense. I like nonsense words and the impression they make on those impressionable minds. As the First Years faced the imposing atmosphere of Hogwarts, they were reminded in those four words, that laughter never leaves us and can be our greatest ally.
I believe Harry never forgot my speech, and to this day, many others still quote it. If that is my legacy, then I am grateful.