- "I'll teach the lot and treat them just the same."
- —Hufflepuff's view, unlike that of the other founders[src]
Helga Hufflepuff (fl. c. 993) was a Welsh witch and was one of the four founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. While the other founders chose to have special students, she accepted them all without preference, but the students of her house are described as loyal and hard-working. Helga's portrait remained at Hogwarts by at least the 1980s.
Helga Hufflepuff was born in the 10th Century and came from the broad valleys of Wales. She was either born or married into the Hufflepuff family. Helga's greatest friend was Rowena Ravenclaw from the Scottish glens.
United by the common goal of creating the world's best magic school, Helga Hufflepuff, and her good friends Rowena Ravenclaw, Godric Gryffindor, and Salazar Slytherin built Hogwarts Castle together and established Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry sometime around 993. She brought people from different backgrounds together to help in the building of the school.
While the other founders took students based on either ambition, bravery, or intelligence, Helga took the loyal, hard-working, patient and tolerant and treated them all equally. She had a gift for Food-related charms, and her recipes are still used as the basis for many Hogwarts feasts. She also arranged for the house-elf contingent to work in the kitchens, giving them somewhere safe to work, where they would not be mistreated or abused.
After a time in which the school enjoyed great prosperity, Helga's fellow founder Salazar Slytherin proposed a controversial action in which Muggle-born students should not be admitted to Hogwarts based on their heritage. Hufflepuff and the rest of the founders refused this, however, and the problem escalated to such degrees that Salazar ultimately left the school permanently.
One relic of Hufflepuff's, a small golden cup, had been passed down to her distant descendant Hepzibah Smith. Smith said the cup was supposed to have some magical powers, many of which she hadn't tested. The Cup was stolen from Smith by Tom Riddle, who corrupted Hufflepuff's legacy by changing it into a Horcrux. However, the Cup was destroyed by Hermione Granger with a basilisk fang during the Battle of Hogwarts in 1998.
Personality and traits
Helga favoured loyalty, honesty, fair play, and hard work, but was known to accept all students regardless of whether or not they possessed these traits. Members of her House usually display at least one of these traits in varying degrees. Given that all of her portraits show her with a wide smile, it can be inferred that Helga was a very jolly woman. Her affinity for food-related charms and plump shape might also indicate that she had a large appetite.
Helga was renowned for her compassionate nature and charming ways. She took in the house-elves to work in Hogwarts Kitchen, where they could work in peace and safety. This was considered to be the best option at the time for house-elves. While the other founders were careful in selection of students, Hufflepuff took in the rest.
She was also a woman of tolerance, willing to accept Muggle-born students and disagreed with Slytherin's pure-blood exclusiveness, as well as bringing together people of varying backgrounds to construct the school and ensuring a decent working environment for house-elves, who were generally treated with indifference if not outright cruelty by most wizards.
Magical abilities and skills
Hufflepuff was described as being one of the four greatest witches and wizards of her age.
- Charms: Helga was highly talented in food-related charms and many of her recipes are still used in Hogwarts today, testifying to her unique talent as a magical cook. With the help and abilities of her fellow founders, she bewitched the Sorting Hat into a sentient magical artefact with personality in order to sort students well after their lifetimes. Furthermore, Helga was capable of conjuring a non-corporeal Patronus, which was a highly advanced piece of magic as well as a mark of superior magical skill.
- Magical manufacturing: Helga created a cup with special magical powers, which was eventually passed down to her descendant, Hepzibah Smith.
- Wand: Hufflepuff owned a wand made of an unknown wood, length, core and flexibility.
- Hufflepuff's Cup: Hufflepuff owned a cup that was reputed to have special magical powers, though these were never revealed. It was eventually passed down through the Hufflepuff family to Hepzibah Smith. The cup was stolen by Tom Riddle and made into one of his horcruxes.
- Godric Gryffindor
- Rowena Ravenclaw
- Salazar Slytherin
- Hogwarts founders
- Helga Hufflepuff's Cup
- Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
- The name Helga is from Helge, from Old Norse heilagr, meaning "holy" or "blessed". Their symbol is the badger, a large mammal related to the weasels with distinctive white stripes on its head. In Celtic mythology, a badger was a guide. The badger also can symbolise a tendency to be hard-working, strong, and tenacious. Hufflepuffs are known for loyalty and hard work.
- Helga was a name which was common in northern Europe; in countries such as Norway. It was soon adopted by many soviet countries and others which bordered with the north, including; Russia, Latvia, Denmark and Belgium. As those in northern Europe pronounced the 'e' in Helga as more of a cross between 'e' and 'o', and, like the french, didn't pronounce the 'h', the soviet countries adopted the name as 'Olga'. Some countries, including Germany, kept the name as 'Helga'.
- Hufflepuff could mean "huff and puff" or blustery. "Huff" also means to breathe; "puff" is a medieval term for pastry.
Behind the scenes
- Both Helga and her friend Rowena were referred to as males in the Sorting Hat's song in early German editions and in the German audiobook of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire read by Rufus Beck. This was corrected in later editions of the book.
- Helga Hufflepuff was the May 2007 "Wizard of the Month" on J. K. Rowling's website. Both the famous wizard card and the illustration on Rowling's website depict her as a plump woman with red hair.
- At The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Helga Hufflepuff speaks in a Welsh accent in her portrait on the Forbidden Journey Ride. This lends further credence to her coming from Wales.
- It is theorised that Zacharias Smith is related to Hepzibah Smith and thus is a descendant of Helga Hufflepuff. Although Smith is obviously a very common last name, both Zacharias and Hepzibah are uncommon names of Hebrew origin. It seems unlikely that the two first names are a coincidence. Should Zacharias be truly a descendant of Hufflepuff, this would be an odd irony because he lacks the loyalty and fair play that Hufflepuff's house commands, despite being in her house. It is possible that Zacharias was only put in Hufflepuff because he lacked the qualities needed for the other houses and going by one of the Sorting Hat's songs, Hufflepuff did take those at Hogwarts who didn't meet the needs of the other houses.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game) (Appears on a Famous Wizard Card)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (First mentioned)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game) (Mentioned only) (Appears on a Famous Wizard Card)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game) (Appears on a Famous Wizard Card)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Mentioned only)
- Wizarding World
- J. K. Rowling's official site
- LEGO Harry Potter
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Appears in portrait(s))
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery (Appears in portrait(s))
- Harry Potter: Wizards Unite (Appears in portrait(s))
Notes and references
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 9 (The Writing on the Wall) - "You all know, of course, that Hogwarts was founded over a thousand years ago - the precise date is uncertain - by the four greatest witches and wizards of the age." Binns says this late in the year 1992. Given that Hufflepuff would be of age by the school's founding, the latest she could be born is 976.
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 12 (The Triwizard Tournament) - The Sorting Hat refers to Helga as "sweet Hufflepuff, from valley broad" which is likely a reference to the South Wales Valleys. Furthermore, at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Helga's portrait speaks with a Welsh accent.
- Given Slytherin's hatred of Muggle-borns, it is unlikely he would work with one.
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 9 (The Writing on the Wall)
- Wizard of the Month, Rowling's official website
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 11 (The Sorting Hat's New Song)
- Famous Wizard Card
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- J.K. Rowling PotterCast Interview
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Hufflepuff is available in the Nintendo DS version of LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7. For other devices, she is available in the "Downloadable Character Pack" DLC for the game.