May 9th, 2007
|06:25 am - Yellow and Black|
According to J.K. Rowling's newly updated website, Nymphadora Tonks is a Hufflepuff.
Thereby shooting down any fanon conception of her as a "good" Slytherin.
(Now you know why I'm on a writing hiatus until after "Deathly Hallows" comes out!)
It's not that I have an issue with Hufflepuffs nor even really with her being one.
It's just that she, as a member of the House of Black, reknowned for putting out generations of Slytherins, was widely seen among fans as the likely sole example of a "good" Slytherin. Snape's tainted by Dumbledore's death and Slughorn is a posterboy for venality at best. Draco may be a dud as a Death Eater, but he still tried repeatedly to kill Dumbledore, even if Severus had to finally do it for him.
To me, this just underlines the "Slytherin = Evil" equation that has run through the series to date. Unless the last book has Lucius redeeming himself by switching sides and Severus being somehow loyal to Dumbledore, the message I get is that the Sorting Hat can determine that an 11-year-old child is likely to turn out to be a bad egg -- and possibly a VERY bad egg indeed.
So much for Dumbledore's assertations that "it is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities" and "it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be."
Given this, I'm surprised the Wizarding World doesn't set up a gas chamber in the backyard of Hogwarts to get rid of all the little snakes as soon as they're Sorted. Save everyone a whole lot of bother, now wouldn't it? "The only good Slytherin is a DEAD Slytherin" and all that.
~~ wants to throw rotten tomatoes at Rowling ~~
Current Mood: irate
Current Music: "The Voice Within (Dark Inception)" by Sintz
I honestly believe JKR has no real understanding of subtlety. I'm surprised she can write a character like Snape - and yet she writes him with very little sympathy towards him, so maybe I'm not surprised.
And honestly, Tonks being a Hufflepuff makes me hate her more, and I have nothing but respect for Hufflepuffs. She just should have been a sodding Slytherin. She's a Black. Who cares if she's half-blood? Snape's half-blood, so it obviously happens.
Tommy's a half-blood too, so it may not even be that rare an event. Maybe every year there are one or two who get Sorted into Slytherin and we simply haven't been told about any that are in Harry's class. Nobody knew much about Blaise Zabini until HBP, now did they?
I don't hate Nymphadora, I just don't think Rowling has given readers enough about the relationship between her and Remus to make it plausible. It reads more like an infatuation with a "safe" older man who has enough of an air of danger around him to make him both attractive to her and repellent to her family -- something of a "two-fer" for a rebellious post-adolescent who is still not quite sure of her identity as an adult. Remus has good reason to be dubious about it, since she may end up breaking his heart as well as her own when she realizes he's not quite what she thought he was and it might be more than she wants to be saddled with long-term.
I don't particularly mind that's she's a Hufflepuff, per se. It's more that Rowling has stacked the deck so much against Slytherins, since alone of all the houses, you can't find one truly "good" one in the books. As mentioned above, Severus is tainted and Slughorn is portrayed as a living example of a number of sins, particularly Gluttony and Greed. If Tonks had been a Slytherin, there would have been at least one role model for young readers to look up to who happen to identify with that house. As it is, when you look at the Slytherins as a set, it's no wonder the Weasley twins hissed at the little firsties who Sorted there. (Which I personally thought was reprehensible conduct on their part.)
At this point, I tend to think of Rowling as being about as subtle as a baseball bat to the head. I think Snape was somewhat of an accident and I'm not sure she knows what to make of him and his legions of fans. The impression she gives in various interviews is that she's quite taken aback by the popularity of Severus and the Malfoys and is especially appalled by the fans of Tommy and the Death Eaters. She doesn't seem to comprehend that these characters that she wrote to be "bad guys" appeal to anyone who's even been a social outcast or misfit (which is almost everyone, at some point in life), because they are so easy to identify with if you've ever spent time on the outside of the "in" crowd.
Well, you know I've said repeatedly that I'd've been sorted into Slytherin, especially at 11.
But I have to say this really doesn't bother me much, Nymphadora Tonks' sorting. For one thing, it's clear that although some families end up all in one house, others don't. The Patil twins are an obvious example. And Tonks' personality -- which is the guiding force behind one's placement -- doesn't seem at all Slytherin. She has talent, but she does NOT have cunning. I like Tonks as a character, but frankly, there's no good reason to think she'd be a Slytherin. Whatever our flaws, a talented Slytherin is competent to the point of intimidating. Tonks is a fine Auror, but the woman can't so much as cross a room without botching it outside of her professional life. We're far more graceful than that, dammit! And showing a talented, professionally-competent Hufflepuff goes quite a ways to undermine the House perceptions.
Further, Tonks is arguably NOT a member of the House of Black. She was expressly cut off. Her mother was literally pruned from the family tree for marrying a muggle. Tonks herself doesn't seem to have had any contact with the Blacks, other than Sirius. She'd be viewed as a bastard (or even sub-human) by Black's mother.
There's valid reason for showing Slytherins as more likely to support Voldemort than other houses. We do know that Salazar Slytherin himself did not accept Muggle-borns into his house, and that this strong preference has been maintained to this day. Yes, some half-bloods have gotten in, but they seem to be the exception that proves the rule. And those half-bloods that we know were Slytherins -- Tom Riddle and Severus Snape -- showed a strong antagonism towards their Muggle kin. Given this, it's not surprising that Voldemort found a strong following there. A large part of his movement is based on "pure-blood superiority" and a vicious hatred of Muggles. Such poisonous seeds would likely find more fertile ground in a house that similarly privileges wizarding birth. (This does NOT imply that ALL evil wizards would appeal more to Slytherins, but this _particular_ ideology might grow deeper roots there. For what it's worth, I also don't think anti-Muggle prejudice is Voldemort's primary driving force, but it's a strong one, and the events of the World Cup show that it's a strong draw to his followers.)
Personally, I think this underscores the Sorting Hat's comments -- it finds the task difficult, could place a child in more than one house, and wishes it didn't have to do this at all.
My issue isn't really with Nymphadora being a Hufflepuff, per se. It has more to do with the profound lack of positive Slytherin characters.
I have no problem with Tommy and the other Death Eaters being Slytherins either -- what I find objectionable is that there has been no one identified as a Slytherin who is "good" to date. If there were at least one other definitively "good" Slytherin, I wouldn't have bothered to throw the minor tantrum that made me write this post. I'd just go "Meh -- that's nice to know" and move on, perhaps using her house affiliation in a future fic and thinking no more about it. The reason I had this little hissy-fit was because of this "moral imbalance" between the houses. Other houses have both nice and nasty members, but not Slytherin -- there we only see the rotten eggs. To me, that stinks.Tonks is arguably NOT a member of the House of Black. She was expressly cut off. Her mother was literally pruned from the family tree for marrying a muggle.
I'd like to point out that that was done by Sirius' mother Walburga, not
by her brother Cygnus, Andromeda's father and Nymphadora's grandfather. It is possible that Cygnus and Druella are still on speaking terms with their offspring, even if said offspring are being shunned by other members of the extended Black family.For what it's worth, I also don't think anti-Muggle prejudice is Voldemort's primary driving force, but it's a strong one, and the events of the World Cup show that it's a strong draw to his followers.
I agree. I wrote an essay about it
a while back, in fact.