The Burrow: The Cannon Fodder House

by Andrew Lee and Robert Lanto

You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true
And unafraid of toil;

-The Sorting Hat (Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone)

Hufflepuff. They may huff, they could puff, but they never really did a large role. Well, Cedric Diggory did but he ended up Flobberworm meat. So, that leaves us with the question: what is Hufflepuff’s role in the upcoming novels? As sick and as wrong as it may seem, no matter which side they will eventually choose, they are (and will probably remain) the cannon fodder house.

Of course any good theory needs evidence to back it up. Justin Finch-Fletchley was petrified by the basilisk, a small but subtle thing which would began the trail of destruction that follows Hufflepuff. Let’s not forget the obvious death of Cedric Diggory, he was Hufflepuff’s star student. Notice how it was a Hufflepuff (Hannah Abbot) who broke down first during the O.W.L.s. Now do you notice the trend of Hufflepuff being on the receiving end of the worst things imaginable.

But the question is: why? This is a little more complicated and requires a rather lengthy analysis of the four hour houses of Hogwarts. Take living quarters for example. Both Gyffindor and Ravenclaw students live high above their peers in their respective towers. The Slytherins live in their dungeon-like dormitory (which is apparently located on the lake) a rather comfy looking place, if somewhat cold (it is under a lake). What about Hufflepuff? They live in the equivalent of the cellar. Not too high, not too low, it could be called neutral ground.

Look at the heads of houses. Gryffindor has McGonagall, Slytherin has Snape and Ravenclaw has Flitwick. All these teachers have very difficult subjects to master and require a lot more effort in order to perfect the techniques required. Now, Hufflepuff has Professor Sprout. Now Herbology is deceptively easy. It would appear that watching a plant grow would be simple, but as the Mandrake proves can be deceptively difficult as well. So, the idea that Herbology is simple is balanced by the difficulty of certain tasks.

Next, look at loyalty. First and foremost comes the house. They rallied behind Cedric when the times called for it. Before then they were traditionally considered allies of Gryffindor. But, look at how easily suspicion drives them away. When Harry was suspected of being the heir to Slytherin, notice how distant the Hufflepuffs became (more so after Justin was petrified). Come Order of the Phoenix, the house was virtually in turmoil with some siding with Dumbledore’s Army and others totally against the idea (Zacharias Smith). Hence, it is the innocent who suffer, and in this case the poor Hufflepuffs are those who are innocent.

So, the obvious question is: why does this make them the cannon fodder house? If there’s one thing that should be noticed is that the choices and actions made by Hufflepuff are neutral in tone (or totally out of their control). The students couldn’t control what happens to them, well except for Hannah Abbot but someone had to break. Professor Sprout may appear to be the ‘weakest’ teacher but on closer inspection anyone would realize that she is just as strong and dedicated as anyone else. Finally, look at the house loyalty, notice how Hufflepuffs seem to reflect the current ‘popular’ opinion. What does this all mean? Hufflepuff represents the masses or society’s view of the ongoing events. And if there is anything that history has taught us is that it is masses that get caught in the crossfire.

Not the extreme ‘good’ or ‘evil’ portrayed by the other houses, Hufflepuff ends up as a casualty more than a key player. As a result, unless one of the students really breaks the mold, it really looks like Hufflepuff will be once again caught in the middle. And unfortunately for the students of Hufflepuff their future health can be in jeopardy. But, does that mean we should pitty Hufflepuff? The answer is no. As the sorting hat suggests, Hufflepuff remains the patient friends waiting on the sidelines willing to help when the time comes and while it may be costly, Hufflepuff won’t run from the fight.