What Makes a Hufflepuff Hero?
While Godric Gryffindor, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Salazar Slytherin valued witches and wizards with particular traits, Helga Hufflepuff promised to teach the rest and treat them all the same. The last time we saw a Hufflepuff in the center of magical affairs, Harry Potter’s name shot from the Goblet of Fire, and disaster struck the Triwizard Tournament. Unless there was a Time-Turner incident I’m unaware of, Harry Potter won’t be in New York to divert our attention from Newt Scamander, the face of the Fantastic Beasts films and one of Helga Hufflepuff’s own. With the dawn of the Age of Hufflepuff upon us, we have to ask ourselves how Hufflepuff heroics will differ from the tactics of past protagonists and how the story will be affected by the Hufflepuff point of view.
For seven books and eight movies, we’ve looked at the wizarding world through a Gryffindor lens. Harry Potter proved himself to be a true Gryffindor many times, from saving the Sorcerer’s Stone to walking toward death with his head held high during the Battle of Hogwarts. Gryffindor values dominated Harry’s story; characters were rewarded for their courage and daring, sometimes at the expense of others. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Neville all earned the points they were given during the End of Year Feast in Sorcerer’s Stone, but Dumbledore was definitely clever enough to find a way to award the points without spoiling the feast for the Slytherin students. A conversation with Professor Sprout for a lesson on fairness would have been useful.
In the Potter series, Hufflepuffs never really got a moment of their own. Harry had quite a few Hufflepuff acquaintances, many of whom joined Dumbledore’s Army and fought in the Battle of Hogwarts, but Luna Lovegood and Draco Malfoy were two of the only non-Gryffindor students to participate in the battles going on outside of Hogwarts. The Hufflepuff common room was the only one we didn’t get to see, and even “good” characters like Hagrid depicted Hufflepuffs as less talented than students from other Houses. One Hufflepuff student had the chance to stand up against these stereotypes, and even though his time was cut short, Cedric Diggory proved himself to be a brilliant wizard and a Hufflepuff hero.
Cedric Diggory exemplified the traits of Hufflepuff House. When his classmates wore “Potter Stinks” badges during the Triwizard Tournament, Cedric asked them to stop wearing them. To repay Harry for telling him about the dragons in the First Task, Cedric clued him in about listening to the egg underwater. During the Third Task, Harry saved Cedric twice – once from Krum and once from an Acromantula – and when they reached the Triwizard Cup at the same time, Cedric insisted Harry take it. Even though they were competitors aligned with different Houses, Cedric looked past their differences and treated Harry fairly, choosing a victory for Hogwarts as a whole instead of just Hufflepuff. Cedric Diggory’s story shows us that Hufflepuff traits have the power to erase the arbitrary lines that divide us and bring people together.
If Newt is anything like Cedric, I’m hardly surprised Fantastic Beasts might resemble Goblet of Fire. So what clues do Cedric Diggory’s heroics give us into Newt’s story? Fighting off prejudice was a huge part of the Potter series, and what we know about Fantastic Beasts suggests that might be a common theme. Newt will meet his future wife Porpentina, whom we know likes to “fight for what’s right,” and at some point during the movie, Newt will encounter some No-Majs who hate witches and wizards enough to burn them at the stake. Despite this, we know Jacob, a No-Maj himself, handles snakes in a scene with Newt. Even though the divisions between the magical and non-magical community seem stronger in America, Newt brings a No-Maj directly into his magical affairs!
No matter what Newt gets up to, we can already see Hufflepuff values shaping his story. Only a true Gryffindor can retrieve Godric Gryffindor’s sword from the Sorting Hat, but you can’t use a sword to fight prejudice. It takes patience, kindness, and fairness to eliminate the lines that divide us, and I can hardly wait to see how Newt uses these weapons to shatter the obstacles that beset him.