“Why do you hate Hufflepuffs so much?” Harold asked me a few days ago. Other recent conversations at work include the one where my boss calls me to come over immediately and then asks me whether Megatron is an Autobot or a Decepticon (Answer: Decepticon), and the one where I was asked which American Idol contestant I was rooting for, and when I didn’t have a proper answer, which contestants I’d heard of (Answer: 0). This is what happens when I’m at work every minute I’m awake.
But anyway, about Hufflepuffs. Hufflepuffs, I explained, don’t have enough personality to earn hate. They are the space-fillers of Hogwarts. They exist to make a fourth team for Quiddich tournaments. Hufflepuffs are good-hearted plodders, they fill seats in classes and offer straight lines to the actual characters. They study just hard enough to show that Ron’s a slacker but not hard enough to outdo Hermione. They’re the red-shirts, when you need a good guy to be kidnapped or killed to show just how dangerous the villain is.
“I don’t hate them,” I said, but Harold still seemed skeptical.
“Let me put this in terms you’ll understand without reading the books,” I said. “The only Hufflepuff who’s really successful and gives the House any glory is Cedric Diggory. He’s the Quiddich captain — Quidditch is lame, by the way — and he would have won the Tri-Wizard Tournament — which is awesome — but Voldemort — that’s the villain– kills him. And then after Cedric dies, he comes back in Twilight as a good-looking sparkly vampire. You see why no one likes Hufflepuff?”