The loyalty of Nymphadora Tonks was never called into question – not once across the whole Harry Potter series. She might have been a loyal member of the Order of the Phoenix, but ‘don’t call me Nymphadora’ Tonks was fighting Dark wizards as an Auror before we ever got to meet her in the books.
We shouldn’t be surprised. The Sorting Hat told us Hufflepuffs were loyal in the first ever song we heard it sing in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The head of Hufflepuff house, Professor Sprout, had this trait in spades. Loyal to Dumbledore, the Herbology teacher openly opposed Dolores Umbridge over the sacking of Professor Trelawney, and also awarded Harry twenty points just for passing her a watering can, after his Quibbler interview about the return of Voldemort.
A Hufflepuff’s loyalty to the good side is demonstrated clearly in Tonks, and it is extended to people as well, particularly an unswerving loyalty to The Boy Who Lived. Remember that time the conductor of the Knight Bus almost gave away Harry’s location? ‘If you shout his name I will curse you into oblivion,’ Tonks warned. You don’t mess with Tonks. Beyond Harry, it’s worth remembering that even after the death of her father and giving birth to her son Teddy, Tonks was still determined to fight at the Battle of Hogwarts.
From a variation of the Sorting Hat song we heard in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Helga Hufflepuff’s attitude about equality was one that passed down to generations of Hufflepuff students. Just think about Professor Sprout, who channelled the house founder when she said, after Dumbledore’s death, ‘I feel that if a single pupil wants to come, then the school ought to remain open for that pupil.’
Tonks too prized individuality of spirit – just look at the pink hair she rocked – and accepted people no matter who they were or where they came from. Remus Lupin’s identity as a werewolf didn’t bother her one bit – in fact it frustrated her that he thought of himself as so ‘other’:
'You see!’ said a strained voice. Tonks was glaring at Lupin. ‘She still wants to marry him, even though he’s been bitten! She doesn’t care!’
‘It’s different,’ said Lupin, barely moving his lips and looking suddenly tense. ‘Bill will not be a full werewolf. The cases are completely –’
‘But I don’t care either, I don’t care!’ said Tonks, seizing the front of Lupin’s robes and shaking them. ‘I’ve told you a million times …'
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Despite Tonks downplaying her job as a Dark wizard catcher, we know that it was one of the hardest careers to get into after Hogwarts. When Harry raised the career idea with Professor McGonagall we learned that anyone who wanted to become an Auror would need ‘top grades’ and ‘would be required to undergo a stringent series of character and aptitude tests at the Auror office.’ Yikes! That is a lot of toil.
Tonks might have joked about how she, ‘Nearly failed on Stealth and Tracking,’ during Auror training because she was so clumsy, but the point is she didn’t actually let her clumsiness get the better of her. And at school she would have had to work really hard to get the grades she needed – ‘a minimum of five N.E.W.T.s, and nothing under “Exceeds Expectations” grade’.
Kindness is not (and should not be) limited to members of Hufflepuff house but it is a trait that graced many of the house’s members. There was Newt Scamander, who took the blame for his friend Leta Lestrange’s transgression while they were at Hogwarts, and of course Cedric Diggory. Even during the competition and pressure of the Triwizard Tournament, Cedric took the time to be kind to Harry – telling his friends to stop wearing the nasty badges, for example – even though Harry really did steal his thunder when they became joint Hogwarts champions. And fellow Hufflepuff Tonks had a great deal of kindness in her heart too.
When Harry showed an interest in how Tonks became a Metamorphmagus, she showed him empathy – expressing her understanding of why he might be interested in hiding his scar from the world, rather than making him feel self-conscious about his enquiry. Then, when Malfoy attacked Harry on the Hogwarts Express in Half-Blood Prince, Tonks saved him and healed his broken nose – ‘Episkey!’ – without a second thought, despite her own broken heart.
But Tonks’ kindness wasn’t limited to healing or sympathy. When the stakes were high transferring Harry from Privet Drive to Grimmauld Place, Tonks broke the tension by making light of Moody’s warnings about one of them getting killed: ‘Stop being so cheerful, Mad-Eye, he’ll think we’re not taking this seriously’. And as the strain became hard to bear at the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix, Tonks could be found transforming her nose, Metamorphmagus-style, to entertain Hermione and Ginny. Sometimes kindness is just cheering people up when they’re in need of a good laugh.
Any Hogwarts house would have been lucky to count Nymphadora Tonks amongst its numbers, but with apologies to Gryffindor, Slytherin and Ravenclaw – this witch is Hufflepuff through and through.