Why the Fat Friar Might Not Be Such a Good Person
Hufflepuff is well known for being the nice House, and their House ghost seems to be no exception to that. The Fat Friar always comes off as cheerful in the books. However, despite his kind countenance, there may be something more devious lurking beneath.
The evidence for this comes from his name: the Fat Friar. Allow me to break that down. Friars are members of religious orders that call them to uphold the vows of chastity, obedience, and poverty. Unlike monks, they don’t live in cloisters, but instead travel among the common people, spreading their faith. Like the disciples of Jesus, they are meant to live off the charity of others.
However, not all friars actually do so. In fact, during medieval times, friars were often despised because they were frequently corrupt, coercing people into giving them money and food so that they could lead lavish lives rather than ones of devout poverty. There are numerous literary depictions of this kind of friar, one of the most notable ones being Chaucer’s friar in The Canterbury Tales.
Of course, what does any of this have to do with the Fat Friar? After all, there were friars who weren’t corrupt. Couldn’t he be among them? The answer to those questions lies in the other half of his name, for he is not just any friar, but the Fat Friar.
Now, there are people who are naturally plump, but usually that’s not considered such an integral part of their identity that it becomes a part of their name. Even in his introduction on Pottermore, it’s one of the first things mentioned that “Not much is known about the Fat Friar. He’s fat, obviously.” Given the emphasis on his fatness, it’s likely that this trait shows a important part of his personality, such as a fondness for indulging in food and drink.
But a truly pious and devout friar should not have had the money to indulge in such a way, and there’s no way that such food could have been provided to him by magic, given that it’s the first of the five Principal Exceptions to Gamp’s Law of Elemental Transfiguration. Thus, he had to have purchased those indulgences, meaning he either used his faith to guilt people into giving him money, which he then used for his own personal use instead of for charity, or he used magic to create fake money which he could spend on food and drink. Either way, those aren’t particularly moral actions, showing that the Fat Friar was one of the corrupt ones in this order.
Therefore, while the Fat Friar may be a kindly ghost, he might not have been such a paragon of virtue while he was alive. Now, that doesn’t make him an irredeemable person, but it certainly helps show that not all Hufflepuffs should be stereotyped as simply nice.