Huffle-puffle-buffal-uffle September 23, 2016


(image via Pixabay)

I took the Pottermore Patronus quiz.

I should mention that I’m not the absolute keenest Harry Potter fan. I enjoy the Harry Potter books and will be happy when my daughter grows into them. But I didn’t read them until I was in graduate school– by the time they were published, the Planet Charismatic’s stranglehold on my family was lessened, but they still viewed every reference to “magic” and “witchcraft” with suspicion. So I didn’t read the series until I was in my twenties and sick of never understanding the references all my friends made. I liked them, but they didn’t shape my childhood the way L’Engle, Lewis and Tolkein did.

But everybody was talking about the new Patronus Quiz and how it was the loveliest quiz ever. And I love the idea of having a Patronus.

I am a naturally nervous person, easily ruffled. I am so afraid of not falling asleep that I stay up late on purpose. I’m terrified of heights and parties and the holes left by burrowing insects, going to the doctor and filling out forms. I’m prone to look on the pessimistic side of everything. So the idea of a dementor was something I quickly understood. I’ve been plagued by dementors my whole life. Half the time, my community’s bizarre idea of what God was like looked like nothing so much as a dementor in a white nightshirt. Perhaps that’s another reason why they regarded Harry Potter with suspicion.

I’d always known that dementors existed; I just didn’t know that they were called dementors. And I immediately took to the idea of a patronus, to keep the dementors away. It was similar to what I did for comfort, back on the Planet Charismatic, and still do to this day. I imagined myself surrounded with shimmery angel wings or a glowing force field that the enemy couldn’t touch. I was cautioned that “we don’t believe in force fields,” as visualizing a glowing wall of light sounded too much like meditation which was a gateway to demonic possession, but my force field kept coming up anyway. I still have it. I never ride the bus or climb a ladder without my imaginary patronus.

And I don’t care that one of my friends who studied Latin, and who has no patience for Harry Potter, informs me that “Expecto patronum” is Latin for “I expect an uncle.” It’s a fine thing to say when you’re nervous. I do rather expect an uncle. I expect a whole family, a communion of saints, and I like the idea of a patronus.

In any case, I went to the Pottermore website. I let them sort me into a house, and I took the admittedly lovely Patronus quiz. I didn’t like some of the dichotomies– I’ve never liked the idea that “free” and “safe” are mutually exclusive– but I played along.

And now I’m a Hufflepuff with a buffalo for a patronus, and I feel that there’s no point in going on.

I’m serious. The quiz assigned me a buffalo. My patronus, according to the Pottermore quiz, is a big fat hairy male American buffalo cavorting around the forest clearing with an awkward dangling scrotal sac and a clumsy gait. My friends have eagles and thestrals, and I have a buffalo. I’d be the least imposing young witch at Hogwarts. Students would probably sneak up behind me dressed as dementors, to make me summon my patronus so they could laugh at me.

I’m afraid to take the wand quiz, for fear I’ll find out my wand is a rubber chicken.

Then again… what’s a better defense than than a buffalo? Imagine being a dementor facing down a patronus like that. Not a sleek otter or a graceful stag, but a one-ton ball of fur and healthful lean protein. I would never want to be buffled by a buffalo, if I were a dementor.

And imagine the benefit, in social situations. I’m always looking for a place to hide at parties. Now I have a buffalo buffer I can carry with me. No one is going to attempt to make small talk with the introvert who crouches behind a buffalo. I could take my buffalo with me whenever I needed to fill out forms, as well. The grumpy secretary behind the desk would think twice before telling me she’d lost my paperwork and I had to start over, if I had a buffalo. Going to the doctor would be easy, if a buffalo was there to intimidate them into seeing me quickly. And as for my fear of heights, I could always have the buffalo wait under the ladder. A buffalo to cushion my fall would be a welcome thing. A buffalo in my bedroom at night might not cure insomnia, but it would keep me company. I’m told the wool is very soft, just the thing to lean on for comfort if I had to go near the holes left by burrowing insects.

I like my patronus. It’s a useful and noble animal. If I were at Hogwarts, I’d want a buffalo for a pet instead of a cat, a rat or an owl. I don’t care if that’s not one of the choices. I’d name him Rumblebuffin. Perhaps I’ll get a stuffed Rumblebuffin buffalo to snuggle at night.

A Hufflepuff with a Buffalo is not such a terrible thing.




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