Entering my Hogwarts House Surveys, I had the notion that Hufflepuff and Slytherin were stark opposites. As more surveys roll in, it’s becoming apparent that the similarities between the two houses have been overlooked; Hufflepuff is, in many ways, Rowling’s “ideal” house, where-as Slytherin is the most prone to corruption. But it is my interpretation that these houses are like siblings - different in many ways, but built on the same foundations.
Ambition Vs. Hard-work
A Slytherin tumblr user, taylorthegift, when describing Hufflepuff said, “Hard work is how anyone gets anywhere”. Ambition has negative connotations whereas hard-work has positive connotations; when you take away these associations, ambition and hard-work are closely related. Their relationship is something along the lines of:
Acquire ambition ———-> Use hard-work —————-> Success
You could easily pop off the ambition and apply the hard-work to every day tasks that don’t necessarily require ambition, but the relationship between the two is undeniable. People associate ambition with cutting corners and deceit, whereas hard-work is the noble and admirable trait, but ambition is most often achieved through the utilization of hard-work.
Another common descriptor of Hufflepuff is dedication, which is also closely related to ambition; a common description of Slytherin is determination, which is related to hard-work.
Both Hufflepuffs and Slytherins display loyalty towards their respective groups, and surprisingly, each other; the two houses often referred to their attitude toward the other house a sort of kinship (the most common descriptor from Hufflepuffs towards Slytherin), either spurring from the discrimination both suffer or from admiration of the other house. Hufflepuff tumblr user dejener8 said “Out of all four Houses’ welcome letters, Slyth struck me as the most welcoming, which was strange because I’ve never been a very ambitious person”; Slytherin, to the outsider, can appear colder than it truly is, and that’s because it’s orientation is not towards other houses, but their own. Likewise, the unity among badgers is one of the most admired traits from other houses from these surveys, along with their perceived kindness*.
Hufflepuff tumblr user killycheesetake said “The reason I respect Hufflepuff and Slytherin so much is because they’re both the most communal houses, and the main reason I ID as a puff is because they’re the extroverted of the two”. Although Ravenclaw is most identified as the house that accepts odd characters, the dynamic between members of both Slytherin and Hufflepuff most closely resembles those of families; Slytherins pottermore welcome letter supports this with “As far as we’re concerned, once you’ve become a snake, you’re one of ours – one of the elite”. As for Hufflepuff, their loyalty towards their own is displayed when Harry steals Cedric’s glory in being a competitor in the Tri-Wizard Tournament - more specifically, Hufflepuff’s glory**. Hufflepuff, who usually gets on best with Gryffindor, teams up with Slytherin in disapproval of Harry.
Both houses, once a member of their own house is threatened in a way, go into “defense” mode. Once again, I believe loyalty and group-orientation are closely related; Hufflepuffs are given the adjective of loyal, but Slytherins are capable of fierce loyalty as well. Bellatrix’s loyalty to Voldemort, Umbridge’s loyalty to the Ministry, Snape’s loyalty to Lily - all are unhealthy versions of extreme loyalty. One could even argue that the drift between Sirius and his own family, a family of Slytherins, is largely because Sirius (in a sense) betrayed their loyalty by displaying loyalty to Gryffindor, James, and consistently rebelling against them.
This is more through observation than anything else, but Slytherin and Hufflepuff are the houses that are most misinterpreted among fans. The “evil” stigma of Slytherin based on Rowling’s ideas relating to misguided ambition and corruption, along with the individual interpretations that Hufflepuffs are “useless”, get Hufflepuff and Slytherin the most negative attention. While my surveys supported that tumblr users are more fond of Hufflepuff than Gryffindor in general, the lack of proper development in text of any house but Gryffindor causes people to jump to the wrong conclusions. Again, I have nothing to support this, but the Slytherin and Hufflepuff stereotypes are the most offensive, and it is my impression that this causes an even closer kinship between members of the two houses.
*Just a clarification: I said perceived mostly because kindness isn’t actually a given Hufflepuff trait, not because I disagree that they’re kind.
**Many people argue that Ron would be an excellent Hufflepuff, and while I cannot say that I have proof or evidence of this theory, I have speculated that Ron’s Hufflepuff traits are one of the reasons he was so offended by Harry being entered into the Tri-Wizard tournament; Harry and Ron are a part of a group, and as Hufflepuff wears Cedric’s glory as their own, as if he were not separate from the house as a whole, Ron wishes that Harry would have shared the tactics so fervently because they are part of a group and should share such things. Now, I think most of his rage stemmed from his Gryffindor traits and his desire for personal glory; many Gryffindors were bitter towards Harry, although accepting that if he won, Gryffindor would be praised.