It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post, though several topics have drifted through my mind and even half written themselves at inconvenient times like the car or bed. This one emerged from a conversation I overhead and joined recently.
I was eating with other homeschool families, and a girl came up to her mom and said, “So-and-so said I would be in Hufflepuff because they’re kind and loyal…”
“And awesome!” I interjected, dropping my Hufflepuff glove on the table.
She continued, “Ravenclaws are intelligent and Gryffindors are brave and Slytherin is cunning and evil.”
Later, I thought about how many of my friends in the church and their children enjoy the world of Harry Potter, ranging from the casual, movie-only group, to Potterheads (like me). This lead me to think of how the characteristics of each house might relates to our Christian walk.
Before beginning, I think it’s important to note that the above, shallow understanding of the houses that many children have fails to grasp what Dumbledore says near the end of Chamber of Secrets, “It is our choices, Harry, that show us what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” It’s not merely natural abilities or inclinations that unite each house, but shared values.
I’ll start with the house that is the most misunderstood, Slytherin. Most children, and even many movie-only adults would agree with the above summation that Slytherins are “cunning and evil,” but not all are evil, and there’s definitely more to it than that. There are some good, or at least neutral, qualities that Slytherin values: determination, resourcefulness, ambition. Slytherins are also intensely devoted to those to whom they are closest: Snape’s obsession with Lily, Bellatrix’s slavish devotion to Voldemort, and (in a more positive sense), the Narcissa Malfoy’s intense protection of Draco. People can be Christians and have Slytherin tendencies. They would be the type to do anything to try to teach the truth. The struggles they may have would be concerning being overly harsh (truth without love), prejudice, and selfishness.
The next house I want to discuss also seems to be often misunderstood: Ravenclaw. It’s not that the house is only made up of “smart people,” or Hermione would’ve been put in Ravenclaw, as the Sorting Hat actually considered. Furthermore, Luna Lovegood, the most prominent Ravenclaw, is certainly not your stereotypical studious bookworm. This is because Ravenclaw is made up of those that value learning, knowledge, logic, deep-thinking, etc, above most other things. In the church, these would be your Bible scholars, the ones who learn the original languages, sometimes the well-known speakers and apologists. Ravenclaw Christians would likely struggle with elitism, looking down on those less educated and becoming wise in their own eyes. They may also struggle with speaking the truth without love, appealing to logic to the exclusion of tact.
Gryffindors probably don’t like being so far down the list, especially being after Slytherin, since competitiveness seems to be a part of their daring, nerve, and chivalry. As Christians, Gryffindors are “not ashamed of the gospel,” and are unafraid to boldly speak the truth. The greatest collective weakness seems to be impulsiveness whether it’s shown in action (like when Harry rushes to the ministry to attempt to save Sirius and Sirius subsequently leaves his post at Grimmauld Place to join the rest or the order) or in words (like Hermione’s inability not to answer a question in class and speak her mind in general). Gryffindors may also have little patience for those they consider to be weaker Christians, forgetting that we all have a role in the body of Christ.
Finally, my own house, Hufflepuff is known for being loyal, just, and hardworking. I struggle personally with being hardworking because of my tendency towards procrastination, but most Hufflepuffs would be those Christians quietly getting things done behind the scenes. They are the encourages, the card senders (something I also fail at because of the aforementioned problem). We are naturally forgiving and easily give second chances (think of Tonk’s love for Remus despite his “furry little problem” or how Ernie Macmillian stood up to Harry when he though he was the heir of Slytherin, but apologized immediately when it was clear he was not). Hufflepuffs have no problem infusing love into their truth-speaking, but we may sometimes try to soften things too much. Another struggle we may have is being overly accepting because we want everyone to get along.
I just wanted to share my thoughts on this, though I didn’t realize it would get so long. It’s likely been written about before, though I haven’t read any such things myself. If you are a Potter fan, what’s your house? Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts? Do you think I wasted an hour of my life writing this and minutes of your reading this.