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The Rowling Magazine Issue #41 · May 2020

Professor Sprout’s Heart Belongs to Hufflepuff House and Herbology

Demi Schwartz

1267 words

What better time to celebrate Professor Pomona Sprout than her birth month of May? She was born on May 15, 1933, and she’s a true Hufflepuff to heart. Professor Sprout is a squat little witch with fly-away gray hair. Due to being the Herbology teacher, her robes and fingernails are often earthy, and she also wears a patched hat. Throughout the series she shows her kindness and loyalty as the beloved Head of Hufflepuff House. Let’s take a look at some of her most significant moments in the series.

Professor Sprout by J.K. Rowling
Professor Sprout by J.K. Rowling

Professor Sprout Gives Neville the Confidence and Support He Deserves

It’s no secret that Neville struggles a bit at Hogwarts. How could anyone expect him to have a lot of confidence when his greatest fear is Professor Snape, one of his teachers? Professor Sprout is the complete opposite of Snape. She builds Neville up instead of tearing him down. After a rough Defense Against the Dark Arts class with Mad-Eye Moody, Neville is understandably shaken over witnessing the Unforgivable Curses, especially the Cruciatus Curse. To cheer him up, Moody gives Neville a book called, Magical Water Plants of the Mediterranean. When Neville shows the book to Harry, he says, “Apparently, Professor Sprout told Professor Moody I’m really good at Herbology.” The fact that Professor Moody is really Barty Crouch Jr. is beside the point. Neville is rarely told he’s good at anything, and Professor Sprout sharing his Herbology abilities with another professor shows how much she cares about her students. It must feel incredible for Neville to know one of his teachers truly believes in him.  

Professor Sprout’s support makes Neville super excited about a class for the first time. On the Hogwarts Express at the beginning of Order of the Phoenix, Neville proudly shows Harry, Ginny, and Luna his Mimbulus Mimbletonia. His great-uncle Algie had given it to him for his birthday. Neville says, “It’s really, really rare. I don’t know if there’s one in the greenhouse at Hogwarts, even. I can’t wait to show it to Professor Sprout.” His love for plants, all thanks to Professor Sprout, leads Neville to become the Herbology teacher himself. Kindness and encouragement really does go a long way, and Professor Sprout, as a Hufflepuff, is a natural.

Professor Sprout is There for Cedric’s Parents After His Death

The Triwizard Tournament ends in despair during the third task. It’s terrible enough that Lord Voldemort is reborn. On top of it, Cedric loses his life because he takes the Triwizard Cup with Harry, and he’s murdered once they arrive at the graveyard. This is a horrible truth for everyone at Hogwarts, especially because Cedric was such a caring and loyal person. The Hufflepuffs are affected most deeply, and Professor Sprout’s kindness shows when she is with Cedric’s parents after his death. When Harry asks Dumbledore where Mr. and Mrs. Diggory are at, he says, “They are with Professor Sprout. She was Head of Cedric’s House, and knew him best.” Hufflepuff House lost an incredible student, and Professor Sprout would naturally do whatever she can to help those hurting most.

The Times Professor Sprout Took Being the Herbology Teacher to a Whole New Level

The Hogwarts teachers are truly fantastic at magic and excel in their own subjects. Aside from giving the students a well-rounded education, the teachers also know when to step up and use their skills outside the classroom. Professor Sprout plays a key role in some important moments in the series, which is all thanks to her Herbology expertees.

In Sorcerer’s Stone, she is one of the teachers who help guard the Sorcerer’s Stone. After Harry, Ron, and Hermione get past Fluffy and go through the trap door, they land on Devil’s Snare. Ron, who doesn’t realize what broke his fall, says, “Lucky this plant thing’s here, really.” He and Harry don’t find it too lucky once the plant starts wrapping itself around them. Hermione says that Devil’s Snare likes “the dark and the damp,” so Harry tells her to light a fire. It’s one unforgettable moment when Hermione says there’s no wood, and Ron blurts out, “HAVE YOU GONE MAD? ARE YOU A WITCH OR NOT?” Hermione pulls out her wand and sets a jet of her signature bluebell flames on the plant. As Harry says, the trio was lucky Hermione pays attention in Herbology. Still, Professor Sprout’s Devil’s Snare is just the beginning. 

Professor Sprout truly becomes a hero in Chamber of Secrets. Only a loyal Hufflepuff would take care of a tree that hits back, and that’s exactly what Professor Sprout does. Harry and Ron’s big entrance to school in the flying car damages the Whomping Willow when they crash into it. On his first day of class, Harry feels bad about the whole situation because “Professor Sprout’s arms were full of bandages, and with another twinge of guilt, Harry spotted the Whomping Willow in the distance, several of its branches now in slings.” Someone had to tend to the tree, and even though she got whacked by its branches in the process, Professor Sprout did what her Hufflepuff heart believed needed to be done.  

More importantly, Professor Sprout plays a key role in reviving those who have been petrified by the basilisk. Harry and his friends learn about Mandrakes in their first Herbology class of the year. Professor Sprout tells the class, “We’ll be repotting Mandrakes today. Now, who can tell me the properties of the Mandrake?” Of course, Hermione knows the answer as always. She says, “Mandrake, or Mandragora, is a powerful restorative. It is used to return people who have been transfigured or cursed to their original state.” Professor Sprout awards Hermione ten points for her perfect answer. At that moment, no one knows how important the Mandrakes will become. Still, after a long and difficult year, Professor McGonagall makes a very important announcement three days before exams start. She says, “Professor Sprout has informed me that the Mandrakes are ready for cutting at last. Tonight, we will be able to revive those people who have been petrified.” So, Professor Sprout’s kind heart, intelligence, and dedication results in the Mandrake juice being given to the victims, and the school year ends on a high note.

Finally, Professor Sprout fights in the Battle of Hogwarts, just like everyone else. After Professor Snape peaces out, the Heads of Houses talk about establishing protections around the school and giving the students who are over age the chance to stay and fight. As Professor Sprout jogs off to get her House, she Says, “Tentacula. Devil’s Snare. And Snargaluff pods…yes, I’d like to see the Death Eaters fighting those.” During the organization of the battle plan in the Great Hall, Professor Sprout is named one of the teachers who will be taking groups of students to fight from one of the highest towers. When the battle starts, Harry spots Professor Sprout leading a group of students, including Neville. They’re all wearing earmuffs and carrying large potted plants, which are Mandrakes. The group is going to throw them over the walls at the Death Eaters. Then, Professor Sprout’s Snargaluff pods come into good use when Peeves drops them onto the Death Eater’s heads. So, Professor Sprout definitely played a significant role in one of the greatest battles in Wizarding history.

Professor Sprout is a kind and loyal Hufflepuff, and she’s truly an expert at Herbology. Throughout the series, she’s shown her incredible heart and loyalty. Hufflepuffs everywhere should feel proud to call her their Head of House.

You are reading an article from The Rowling Library Magazine Issue 41 (May 2020).
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