So here I am, at the end of this. I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows earlier this week, and have been wrestling with what to say about it since then. I think the biggest things that I received from this re-read of Harry Potter as an adult is related to the Hogwarts houses. I think it is safe to say that I know understand what people mean when they say “they just know” they have found the right person for them. Granted, I am not in love, but I truly believe the feeling of “just knowing” something could still apply in this situation. Before I get to that, however, I would first like to address Snape, Dumbledore, the Hallows, and my favourite chapter in the whole series.
Let’s start with Severus Snape, who is perhaps one of the most conflicting characters in the series. When I was younger, I think that I felt he was somewhat of a hero when Deathly Hallows revealed his actions in The Prince’s Tale. I do not believe that I feel the same way. He did none of this for Harry, but for his delusion of love for Lily. I am not entirely sure that Snape ever truly loved Lily. I can hear you cry out now, but let me explain. In my mind, when you truly love someone you would do anything for them. Granted, this ought to mean that Snape begging for Lily’s life would prove his love, but I do not feel it does, given other circumstances. How could Snape ever love Lily if he called her a Mudblood? He hung around people who would later become Death Eaters, and did become a Death Eater himself. How could he stand that, knowing that Voldemort would kill Lily without hesitation simply because she had non-magical parents? Voldemort was actively hunting Muggleborns like Lily, so if Snape truly loved her why would he participate in that?
Not only that, but I think that at one point Dumbledore was right in his opinion of disgust with Snape, when in The Prince’s Tale it showed Snape going to Dumbledore to ask for Lily’s protection. He did amend his statement to ask Dumbledore to hide them all, but that should have been his first reaction if he loved Lily. He should have immediately called for the protection of James and Harry in addition to her own. No matter how much seeing Lily with James may have hurt, true love would mean that Snape ensured Lily’s happiness right away instead of planning to leave the man she loved and her son for dead.
Do I applaud Snape for contributing those memories and helping Dumbledore? Yes, but that does not excuse his deplorable actions and none of it, in my opinion, means that he really loved Lily. I do not know what it is, but it does not seem like love to me.
Moving on, this book is where I remember my overall faith in Dumbledore shatter when I was younger. It’s not black and white by any means, but I do dislike Dumbledore though I can kind of see why he did what he did.
This series does make for a good story, so I don’t know that I would change anything for fear of ruining it. Despite this, however, I do think that I can still dislike the actions of characters, even those on the good side. Dumbledore seems to lie with a lot of ease, which for me is a terrifying quality. Maybe he should not have given Harry all of the information upfront, but I think that changing the way he told him things would have better prepared Harry for the end. For example, I think that Harry should have known about the prophecy much sooner. He needed to know about that. As well, more information about how to destroy the Horcruxes and potential locations would have been quite beneficial. Harry, Ron, and Hermione were very lucky in their quest. It was definitely a fine line and although everything did turn out okay in the end (or as good as can be expected), they could have easily turned out another way.
This does not take into account what happened with Ariana all those years ago. Of course, no one can be blamed for the attack itself apart from Ariana’s attackers, but I think that her death is for sure one giant grey area. Regardless of who actually killed her in the struggle, I think that Dumbledore blindness and love towards Grindelwald was the real catalyst. I cannot fault Dumbledore for love, but I cannot help but wonder about his inklings before. He should have also stood up and gone after Grindelwald sooner. Yes, he was afraid, but something like this should still have warranted more of a reaction from him.
Finally, before I talk about the Hogwarts houses, I want to address my absolute favourite chapter in the Harry Potter series, which contains the only scene that still manages to make me tear up. This chapter is Chapter 34: The Forest Again.
Harry’s walk through the Forbidden Forest is chilling, and the scene with his parents, Sirius, and Remus is almost heartbreaking. I would like to think that his parents were “there” every step of the way for him from that fateful Halloween in Godric’s Hollow, and Harry just could not see them. Maybe they were not physically walking beside or behind him as in this chapter, but they would still be there. Perhaps they were simply in his heart. It is actually hard to find words about this chapter even now. I think that it speaks for itself in a way, and I do not want to tarnish anything for anyone. There are quite a few things I would like to change about the series, but I would never want this scene to be any different. Just as how this is the only scene that still brings me to tears, it is also the only one where I find myself almost speechless.
Everyone has qualities from each of the four houses inside them. No one is one particular thing. Hermione, after all, was nearly in Ravenclaw instead of Gryffindor. Neville argued for Hufflepuff though the Hat wanted him in Gryffindor. McGonagall was the same as Hermione. Knowing this is why it makes more sense that Pottermore sorted me into a different house each time I took the quiz. I had different questions, so it is only logical that my ultimate answer would be different.
So why do people end up in the house they do? Thinking about it now, after finishing the series again, I think that the house someone ends up in is based on the quality that they value most out of what they possess. This goes, I think, whether they realize it or not. I also believe that we all have the ability to draw on different qualities when we need them. For instance, I always tried to be the typical studious Ravenclaw whenever it came to research papers or exams in university. I imagine that, if I were faced with a similar situation as the one Lily Potter found herself in, I would make the same decision. Well, there would not be a decision for me. In that situation, there is only one thing I would do: the same thing as Lily.
So where do I think I belong? That is not the right question.
Where do I know I belong?
For years whenever someone asked me, I would always say Ravenclaw. After finishing this re-read…I have to say Hufflepuff.
I do believe that I am intelligent, and I am for sure a bookworm.
But I also believe that I am a loyal individual and I always try to be kind if I can.
My family and my close friends are the most important things (people) in my life and honestly, I would give up my books and everything else if they needed me too. Looking back at the Pottermore welcome message for Hufflepuff, and I am even more convinced.
Another thing that I noticed in this series is during the fourth book when the goblet chose Cedric as the Hogwarts Champion. People generally look down on Hufflepuffs for whatever reason (they should not be), so people find themselves asking “Why a Hufflepuff?” They are not chosen very often, and frankly, neither do I. When I examine certain parts of my life, and me as a person, I realize that I so identify with Hufflepuff and their experience throughout the novels. Unless I am woefully wrong about myself, and I do not believe that I am, I am also a calm person until you try to hurt someone I truly care about—then, you get the badger. Out of all the main qualities we know in relation to the four houses—loyalty, kindness, hard work—the ones Hufflepuff is known for are the ones I value above all else.
I am not ashamed of being a Hufflepuff. Just knowing where I belong, and understanding what led me to know this, is comforting.
There is an interview where J.K. Rowling says that her daughter told her “we should all want to be Hufflepuff.” Rowling cites a significant event in the final book that we now know to be the final battle as her reasoning for the beauty and essence of Hufflepuff. It is why she says Hufflepuff is often her favourite house. I will copy some of the video here, the part you should know about, but watch the video for the whole thing.
“There comes a point in the final book where each House has the choice whether or not to rise to a certain challenge, and that’s everyone in the House. The Slytherins, for reasons that are understandable, decide they’d rather not play. The Ravenclaws, some decide they will, some decide they won’t. The Hufflepuffs, virtually to a person, stay, as do the Gryffindors. Now, the Gryffindors comprise a lot of foolhardy and show-offy people, that’s just the way it is, I’m a Gryffindor, I’m allowed to say it. You know, there’s bravery, and there’s also showboating, and sometimes the two go together. The Hufflepuffs stayed for a different reason; they weren’t trying to show off, they weren’t being reckless, that’s the essence of Hufflepuff House.”
It was the only choice. It was the right thing, the loyal thing, to do.