Out of all the subjects at Hogwarts, Herbology strikes us as one of the most demanding for a professor. While Defence Against the Dark Arts or Charms are highly skilled and impressive in their own way, lessons are normally confined to a classroom. With Herbology, there are hundreds of magical plants that need attending to across multiple greenhouses – and a lot of them are rather dangerous (watch out for that Venomous Tentacula). Professor Sprout took care of all the flora in the greenhouses but did so whilst planning and teaching exceptional lessons, leading Hufflepuff house and taking on extra duties wherever necessary. After all, she was the one who grew and raised the Mandrakes that restored those who had been Petrified in Chamber of Secrets. She was clearly unafraid to roll up her sleeves, get stuck in and work hard – just like any true Hufflepuff.
Amongst the many teachers at Hogwarts, we always had the feeling that Professor Sprout was the most approachable and jolly. You just had to look at the way she nurtured the talent of Neville Longbottom to see how kind she was. Here was a student that suffered with severely low self-esteem and lacked confidence in their magical abilities. However, Sprout saw his talent for Herbology, encouraged his passion and was unafraid to sing his praises – unlike some other professors we could mention who often crushed his spirit… aka Snape. Her kindness and investment in him paid off. Not only did he have a genuine enthusiasm for her subject (remember his excitement to show her his brand-new Mimbulus mimbletonia?) but he ended up following in her footsteps and became a Herbology professor himself. Sprout gave Neville a chance when others didn’t and that act of kindness was one amongst many that shouldn’t be ignored.
We had no reason to ever doubt Professor Sprout’s loyalty and trustworthiness. She was clearly dedicated to Hogwarts and her students. When Dumbledore tragically died and the teachers were discussing what it meant for the wizarding school, it was she that declared that ‘if a single pupil wants to come, then the school ought to remain open for that pupil’. While this was an excellent example of her loyalty to Hogwarts, it also demonstrated her loyalty to Dumbledore’s memory. She was also dedicated to her house. Though she was very accepting of those who weren’t a member of Hufflepuff, and wasn’t usually one for showing favouritism, when both Harry and Cedric were selected as the Hogwarts Champions, it was no secret that it was the dashing Hufflepuff who had her unwavering support. And who can blame her? It was awesome to see Hufflepuff take centre stage for once!
Apart from that one instance with Cedric, Harry and the Triwizard Tournament, Professor Sprout was always welcoming to all pupils at Hogwarts. While some of the other teachers clearly had their favourites – Professor Slughorn and his Slug Club spring to mind – she celebrated the excellence and achievements of all her students. It could be so easy for her to focus all her energies into rewarding those from her house, especially as Hufflepuff were always the underdog who never seemed to win the House Cup. Yet she didn’t. She was fair when it came to giving praise and awarding house points and kept an open mind. It didn’t matter who you were, if you were willing to try, she’d be there to encourage you. And if you happened to be willing to take a stand against a certain High Inquisitor with an interview in The Quibbler, she might even have thrown a few extra house points your way…
Professor Sprout did a lot behind the scenes to help out and never felt the need to show off about her achievements. If it wasn’t for her, who knows how long Hermione and the others would have remained Petrified for. Yet, unlike glory-seeking Gryffindors, or ambitious Slytherins, or even Ravenclaws like Gilderoy Lockhart, she never did things for clout. She did them because they were the right thing to do. She had a strong moral compass and instilled that mentality in her students. When it came to the Battle of Hogwarts, after Gryffindor, Hufflepuff had the most students remain behind to fight. We have no doubt that some of them must have been influenced by the example set by their humble and honourable Head of House.
Unfortunately for Hufflepuff, many people consider them to be pushovers because of their kind natures. However, that is not the case. They can be fiercely protective of those they care about and will defend them to the bitter end – just like the badger featured on their house emblem. Professor Sprout was no exception. She was right in the thick of things during the Battle of Hogwarts. She stood up for her school, students and the wizarding world and did so in style – with the help of some of her beloved magical plants. Who wouldn’t be afraid when faced with a determined Sprout and her Snargaluff pods? This professor might be warm and welcoming, but we also wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of her and her Devil’s Snare.
What do you think? Have we missed anything? Do you agree that Professor Sprout was an excellent Head of Hufflepuff? Or do you think there is another more suited to the role?