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Not every elf can be better.

"Welcome to Hufflepuff! Long live the bumbling badger of mediocrity!"

Some settings are richly designed, with a complex social and political system where The Federation and The Empire compete for power. To spice things up, they will often include various "third side" factions to give the people in the wardrobe department something to do.

You can't have them be too powerful, though, or too relevant, lest they get in the heroes' limelight. This is Hufflepuff House, an organizational equivalent to the Mauve Shirt or Redshirt Army. They help round out the setting without actually impacting much on it, filling out the empty seats in The Alliance HQ and making things look diverse. At best, they might perhaps be The Cavalry.

Hufflepuff House is often part of the Backstory of a new character for an episode; and if the character becomes popular enough their House will become patterned after them.

Named for the group in Harry Potter. Subtrope of Cryptic Background Reference. When a background character/group actually does have impact in the forehead, they are a Hero of Another Story. If they get promoted to the main roster, then Sailor Earth might be in effect.

Examples of Hufflepuff House include:

Anime and Manga

  • Every ninja village that isn't the Leaf, Sound, or Sand is like this in Naruto. Rain may become more important since Pain took over and later Konan, the de facto leader, pulled a Heel Face Turn in response to Nagato's last-minute redemption. Likewise, the Cloud village has had several characters introduced recently and its leader decided to call a meeting of the Kages, which can mean a lot for the villages in general.
    • The Mist village occupies an unusual space here. Ninjas from it show up rarely, and so far none of them (excluding Zabuza) have had a large effect on the plot of the series. But the ones that do show up are all sorts of awesome.
    • This trend is ending even as we speak. Recent events have catapulted the other four main villages into the main story. Though they still aren't as important as Konoha.
  • For a series that takes Everything's Better with Princesses to the highest level (besides maybe Fushigiboshi no Futagohime), Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch certainly doesn't care much about what the princesses are ruling. Most of the countries exist only as Doomed Hometowns, and, besides random extras in one or two chapters, only three servants and one civilian ever appear in the whole thing. Only one of those four is plot-relevant in the manga, and she was cut from the anime entirely.
  • The EU in Code Geass is the largest of the three superpowers (the other two being Britannia and China), but much to the annoyance of the show's European fans, they don't really do anything other than get parts of it conquered by Britannia in series 2 - and the war mostly takes place off-screen.
    • Perhaps to rectify this, Sunrise is making a sidestory set in the EU during the main series called Code Geass Gaiden: Akito of the Ruined Land.
    • Australia gets this even worse - Mao mentions he has a house there, but that's all we ever find out about it. Later, Australia was the biggest uncolored land on the map. To be fair, it's possible all that means Australia is a country all superpowers have agreed to keep neutral (so Mao has a house where Britannia will never attack), but if we stand to canon, actually no ones cares about Australia.
  • Similar to Code Geass, Mobile Suit Gundam 00 has the AEU. While the two other world powers (the Union and HRL) have important characters who act as The Rival to the Gundam pilots and contribute to the plot, the AEU's only real contribution for the first part of the series is Patrick Colasour, a Ted Baxter Ensemble Darkhorse. The only time the AEU's Humongous Mecha come off as any kind of threat is when they're piloted by Blood Knight Ali Al-Saachez. Even considering how dangerous Ali Al-Saachez is, being the archenemy of at least two Gundam Meisters, it doesn't improve the AEU's standing beyond being good at buying mercenaries. Slightly mitigated later in the first season with the introduction of the competent, take-no-crap Katie Mannequin, but overall the AEU is still the weakest and least important of the show's factions.
    • Oddly, many other major characters (originally) hailed from the AEU, such as both Lockon Stratos, Sumeragi Lee Noriega, Louise Halevy, Klaus Grad, Ian Vashti and Descartes Shaman. The thing is, none of them are actually working for the AEU by the time they show up.
  • Bleach has this with many of the Shinigami divisions: 2 is the stealth and assassin squad, 4 is the medic and janitor squad, 9 is the primary security force, which traditionally looks after arts and culture, and heads the Seireitei News Magazine, 11 is physical combat specialists and 12 is scientific research, but the other eight divisions have no known specialties as of late, and there are relatively few members that have been introduced.
    • Based on Rukia's descriptions, the 13th squad seems to be the opposite of the 11th, focusing primarily on Kido-based combat. Though this is simultaneously a case of All There in the Manual, as most of the other squads have identities based on the personality of the members. For example, Squad 7 is characterised as having members who fight out of a passionate love of life, while Squad 3 is made of those who fight hardest in order to get the whole unpleasant business over with.
    • The 1st Division seems to be the administration, since except for Commander Yamamoto and his lieutenant (who wears different clothes than the other lieutenants), not one shinigami of the 1st squad has ever been seen or mentioned.
    • There is also the "Kido Corps". Their mooks were used several times to control something big (like a trans-dimensional Wave Motion Gun), but their only known members - their captain and lieutenant - were shown in a flashback over a hundred years ago. At the end of it, they both went out of service and no replacements were shown, unlike all the other squads that lost members at that time.
    • Should be noted that the specialisations of each division appear to be up to the Captains themselves: Divison 12 only became the Science division after Urahara took over; Division 4 is Medical because Unohana, the longest serving Captain after Yama-jii, is a medical specialist; Division 2 is assassination because of Yoruichi, since members of her House are usually the head of the quite seperate Assassination Corps, resulting in close ties between the two whenever a member of said House is made a Shinigami Captain; and Division 11 was once taken over by a Kenpachi- a title reffering to "the strongest"- and, well, the only way to become Kenpachi is to beat or kill the old holder, which by coincidence is also a method of becoming a Captain (plus, you'd need Captain level skills to win such a fight anyway). The reason the other Divisions are more neutral is because, well, all of the Divisions are neutral by default.
  • According to Word of God for Gundam Seed, Orb is ruled by a collective of five prominent families, who between themselves select a chief representative. Over the course of the two TV series and the spinoff manga Gundam SEED Astray we meet three of the families, the Attha, Seiran, and Sahaku. The other two are non-entities, even in critical moments such as when their allies in the Earth Alliance start bulldozing Europe with a walking WMD. The Sahaku are a partial example, as their actions have zero impact on the anime, mattering only within the context of Astray.
    • Speaking of Earth Alliance, all of its members except the Atlantic Federation have pulled the short straw.
  • The Ra Yellow house from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. We don't meet the Ra housemaster for one and a half seasons, and of the 3 recurring characters who are in Ra Yellow at some point, one gets Put on a Bus, and another only stays in Ra for one year.
    • This is lampshaded when the Ra Yellow housemaster shows up and challenges them to a duel to get them to come back to their own dorm, not even his own students have any idea who he is until he introduces himself.
  • The Cherry Blossom class in Crayon Shin-chan. The Sunflower class has Shin-chan himself and the rest of the gang and the Rose class is basically The Rival. And then there's the Cherry Blossom class, which is there just to pad out the school and takes a long time to get a name. We don't even met their original teacher before miss Ageo replaces her and otherwise has no remarkable characters.
  • Canada of Axis Powers Hetalia, being the Anthropomorphic Personification of the country, this is played for laughs. Since Canada and America are twin brothers in this series, the only difference being Canada's Idiot Hair, none of the other countries, except for possibly England and France, seem to realize that they're two different characters. When Canada is around, the other characters will usually either not remember that he's there (at one point, Russia sits in a chair without realizing that Canada was already sitting in it, then later complains about how uncomfortable the chair is), or mistake him for America.

Comic Books

  • This is pretty much how the Indigo Lanterns operate in the Green Lantern cosmology. They're the lanterns of Compassion but little detail has gone into them and they rarely involve themselves with the other six Lantern Corps.
    • To be fair, they have had some development on occasion and it's been shown this is intentional - being reclusive and kind of creepy is part of their shtick. Each Corpse embodies its defining principle to its fullest extreme - for the Indigo Tribe, that means understanding everyone's point of view so completely that they can rarely muster a point of view of their own.
  • The Initiative teams in Marvel Comics. They have a tendency to die in crossovers.


  • Played with in a few Harry Potter fanfics where Harry's son Albus Severus is sorted into the Hufflepuff House. Example here.
    • Hufflepuff is not mentioned in My Immortal except for a throwaway line which casually states that "Vampire" is "sucking some blood from a Hufflepuff."
    • Averted in ~Dumbledore's Army And The Year Of Darkness~, where students of every house play an important role.


  • The other Greek soldiers in 300 who weren't from Sparta. They do basically zip and leave frightened so the Spartans can die in a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • The other pirate lords from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. Smoke-trails in the background imply a huge battle, but we never get to see any ships but the main characters'.
  • To avoid the Elves becoming this in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Peter Jackson had a contingent of Elves show up to help the heroes. In the books, the Elves and Dwarves are absent because they are fighting Sauron's other armies on their own home fronts. One line reveals this is likely true of the dwarves in the films as well, but it's possible the extra trouble in making people dwarf sized on screen in large numbers prevented them playing a visible role. The video game Lord of the Rings 2: Battle for Middle-earth and the Games Workshop tabletop game expand the scope to show some of the Elves' and Dwarves' perspective.


  • Harry Potter
    • Ravenclaw doesn't have much to do throughout the series, though they are a lesser example than Hufflepuff since they have the eccentric fan-favorite Luna Lovegood as its representative and its Commons Room has actually been seen.
    • Hufflepuff has very little to do in the series. The only real member of distinction they have is Cedric Diggory, who is a sympathetic character and Hogwarts co-champion. They're also mentioned to have the second-most students stay to battle Voldermort.
      • In addition, each of the other houses have convenient stereotypes for them: Slytherin is a bunch of Magnificent Bastards, Gryffindor are (more or less) Designated Hero types (even if they don't get to be particularly heroic, they fit the mould), and Ravenclaw consists of Ditzy Geniuses (some lighter on the ditzy than others). Hufflepuff, on the other hand, never seems to get a clear description...
  • The (live) Southerlings in Garth Nix's Abhorsen, who border on being a Mauve Shirt Army. They are refugees from the far southern countries who are seeking asylum in the Old Kingdom, even though they don't know about the magic that inhabits it. Their main features are their blue caps and scarves and their desperate need for protection, since the bad guy's plan is to kill and resurrect a lot of them at once. Instant Zerg Rush. Avoiding this takes up a lot of the heroes' time. The reason they're even in the Old Kingdom is to give certain Ancelstierre officials political brownie points.
  • Mistborn has an odd example of this in the second book. The heroes deliberately set up the city they're protecting as a Hufflepuff House, so they'll have that third party power of choosing which invading army to ally with. As the description may indicate . . . they're kinda desperate.
  • Animorphs, being a story about one front in an inter-planetary war, has several. The Leeran war was originally this, but the Animorphs were transported to their world and helped end that affair in short order. But there's also the Yeerk Peace Movement, a contingent of Yeerks who believe that infesting and controlling humans (or at least humans against their will) is wrong; the Anati system of planets, where the Andalites are planning to attack the Yeerks because they feel things are more urgent there and that Earth is likely lost; and the Rakkam Garroo conflict, another something-or-other that is distracting the Andalite fleet for three years so that the Animorphs are basically left to do everything themselves.
  • The entire world map of the Discworld has been laid out, and is full of places that either a) have only been mentioned occasionally or b) were never mentioned at all. However, that isn't to say they won't eventually get their own books. Borogravia did, after all. As did Xxxx and the Counterweight Continent...
    • The Rimside kingdom of Krull certainly counts; visited and given a reasonably thorough description in The Colour of Magic, then it vanishes from the face of the Disc, never to be referred to again. Likely as it is so remote from the main super continent containing the Sto Plains (home of Ankh-Morpork, the main setting), Klatch, Uberwald, Genua, Tsort and Ephebe and others.
    • Chirm, a city sufficently close to Ankh-Morpork that it is the first destination Rincewind and Twoflower set out for after leaving the city is also never mentioned again after The Colour of Magic. The obvious solution is that it is the same place as similar sounding Quirm, a near Ankh-Morpork town that is frequently mentioned in later books... except that the Discworld map lists both.
    • Krull was briefly mentioned in The Last Hero as being different after The Luggage wiped out most of the ruling class, specifically they just charged huge salvage rates for ships stopped from going over the edge instead of enslaving the survivors. The Circumfence was an obstacle that had to be defeated, and as a reference to the trope everyone but Rincewind, who was there the last time Krull was part of the story, forgot the wall around the edge of the world they built.
    • There's also the Muntab Question, which more often than not ends up being "Where's Muntab?"
  • At the beginning of the Riftwar Cycle, pretty much anyplace outside of the Kingdom is treated in this manner, mentioned periodically to add a little color to the tale but not having any significant impact. This series is very long, however, and by now almost every Hufflepuff House kingdom and empire on (and several beyond) Midkemia has been featured in at least one full book in which it is showcased as the center of events.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire broadens its view with each book, putting characters and factions under the microscope that might have first been mentioned in passing several books ago. By the fifth book, just about every major area and faction in Westeros has played some part. Outside of Westeros, there are still a number of countries, such as Yi Ti and Asshai, which are mentioned occasionally, but nothing of significance has happened there. Ultimately it's doubtful that every single place mentioned will be important.
  • Similarly, in the first two books of The Wheel of Time, the reader is led to assume this of all Ajahs but the Blue, Red and Brown : no mention of them in the glossaries, no relevant characters (Alanna and Alviarin are featured but have done nothing yet)... This isn't helped by the fact that at this point the reader has seen only (apparently) good Blues and bad Reds. The later books help rectify this.
  • WindClan serves as this for Warrior Cats as they are neither the designated villains like ShadowClan,the protagonists like ThunderClan,or the neutral softy like RiverClan. In fact they weren't even in the first book,made almost no appearance in the third and fourth books, and a minor one in the fifth book. Only in the 2nd and 6th books are they important, otherwise before Starlight they were simply "ThunderClan's allies", then Tallstar died making them the focus one last time, but once Onestar took over WindClan just became RiverClan.
  • Dune has this with pretty much any house that isn't Atreides or Harkonnen — House Richese in particular, which is essentially "like Ix, but not quite as much".
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four takes place in Oceania, one of three empires that each rule a third of the world. The other two empires are Eurasia and Eastasia. Eurasia and Eastasia are there only to have wars with each other and with Oceania, while repeatedly changing alliances. They are all even described as using political systems functionally identical to each other.
  • Villainous example- in the Codex Alera series, there are three main villains who want to usurp the First Lord's throne. Two are major characters, but the third, High Lord Rhodes, is not. While we're told he's both very smart and incredibly ruthless, he lacks both High Lord Aquitaine's personal flair and High Lord Kalarus's spectacular sadism, meaning he tends to get shoved into the background and namedropped every so often so we know he's still there.
    • From the same series, the Icemen might be this. While they've been at war with Alera more continually than any of the other nonhuman factions (about 300 years solid), their attacks are confined to a particular region in the far north where the POV characters almost never go, meaning they get comparatively little pagetime and development.
  • The Tales of the Otori series features five "Great Clans": The Otori, the Tohan, the Seishuu, the Maruyama, and the Shirakawa. However, the only clans featured with any great frequency are the Otori, Tohan, and Maruyama, and even then the Tohan drop off the radar after the first book when their ruling warlord is assassinated. Two principle characters hail from Seishuu and Shirakawa, but the clans themselves are not looked into.
    • There's also the Tribe, an organization of ninja assassins comprised of four families: Kikuta, Muto, Kuroda, and Imai. Only the Kikuta and Muto families matter as most of the villains and heroes of the series hail from those two families, respectively.
  • The starmap of David Weber's Honor Harrington includes such entities as Matapan, Midgard and Asgard, of which virtually nothing is known. In early books of the cycle, polities like Solarian League or Andermani Empire also counted, but since then they've got more screen-time.
    • A preview chapter release suggests they are heavily involved in the plot of 'A Rising Thunder' as Plan Lacoön is all about seizing the wormhole networks.
  • The two 'other' wizards in The Lord of the Rings. Gandalf and Saruman are obviously well known to us and Radagast is mentioned. What little we know of the rest of the wizards' council comes from sundry notes published in Unfinished Talesof Numenor and Middleearth.
    • Tolkien's eventual answer to the question (in his letters) was basically, "I don't know; they probably went East and founded some religions."
  • In Divergent, from all of the factions, Amity gets mentioned the least. None of the transfers to Dauntless are from it, and only one named character is a member of it. ** Averted in Insurgent, however.
  • In the Nintendo Adventure Book Leaping Lizards, Mario and his friends compete against the Koopalings in the International Mushroom Games, along with two less important teams, one consisting of nothing but Sledge Bros. ("The Hammers") and another that's just random monsters ("The Sneaks"). Of the two, the Hammers are less prominent, despite one of their members actually getting a name.
  • Actual werewolves (not shapeshifters like Jacob and co.) are occasionally mentioned in Twilight.
  • In The Hunger Games there are 12 districts that make up Panem (plus the Capitol). Most of the districts are glossed over as only a few of them are plot relevant. Occasionally an important character or detail might come from one of them but for the most part they are pretty irrelevant.
  • Long before Hufflepuff House, there was "Rabbit's friends-and-relations", a broad term applied to everyone in Winnie the Pooh who isn't Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Owl, Rabbit, Kanga, Roo, Tigger, or Christopher Robin.

Live Action TV

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel give us the Powers That Be. They have a few noteworthy contributions: sending painful visions to Doyle and later Cordelia, pulling Angel out of a hell dimension and not much else. There's a reason they were called The Powers That Sit On Their Behinds once. Oh, and they basically fire PTBs that actually do shit. Otherwise, they just sit out the multi-dimension war between good and evil, preferring to act through their Champion, Angel. If The Apocalypse was Buffy Season 8, well, looks like they'll need a new champion, seeing as Buffy and Angel said fuck no to starting the new universe.
    • The Watcher's Council also fits. Other than being the background for two major characters (Giles and Wesley), the Council is a non-entity for most of the episodes of the series.
  • Babylon 5: For most of the series, the Minbari are dominated by the competing Warrior Caste and Religious Caste. The Worker Caste is almost entirely ignored (no political symbolism there...). Even when Delenn rebuilds her people's ruling council and gives the Worker Caste the majority, no members of the caste in question are given speaking parts, and while Delenn gives a stirring speech about how generically great their genericness is, the spotlight stays literally and figuratively on her throughout.
    • There's also the various members of the League of Non-Aligned Worlds, excepting the Drazi and (later) the Brakiri. Except for the occasional focus episode (like Secrets of the Soul for the Hyach) and their ambassadors occasionally saying something in council, they're pretty much relegated to the background. Some League members get it worse than others. As mentioned, Drazi and later Brakiri are the only members to transcend Hufflepuff House, while the Gaim, Hyach and pak'ma'ra form the "likely to actually say something" subset. Meanwhile, the Vree, Abbai, Yolu and Grome are reduced to background characters after the first season. They're mentioned in dialogue every now and then or are seen sitting in council sessions (and in the case of the Vree their ships show up as part of the allied fleet) but other than that they're unimportant. The most extreme example is the Llort, who never get a speaking part or any focus at all. Their name is never said aloud, and their sole notable presence which wasn't just an extra walking around in the background was one scene where a Llort is receiving medical treatment and Stephen can't understand it.
  • Battlestar Galactica Reimagined has quite a few.
    • Every colony except Caprica, Gemenon, Tauron, and Sagittaron. Picon is given some background importance, as it was the Headquarters of the Colonial Navy.
      • In fact, the colony corresponding to Libra was never even given a name on-screen until The Plan. We now know it's Libran. (RPG materials called it Libris.)
      • In 'The Plan', the last bit of the show released (showing the destruction of the colonies from the Cylon perspective), we see some lovely CGI shots of each colony as they are destroyed, and they all get their names said on screen.
      • Caprica sheds more light on the Colonies, and there's a full array of background material now that the writers have access to. The Caprican newsletter and Serge's Twitter are great sources of information and flavor.
    • There's also the Quorum of Twelve, which is pretty powerless and ineffectual compared to President Roslin and Admiral Adama. Lampshaded in season four where the Quorum's feelings of impotence and irrelevance are explored.
    • On the Cylon side, there are models Four and Five, the Simons and the Dorals, who have no "unique" members or much established personality/screen time, although 'The Plan' gave some more importance to Simon.
  • Stargate SG-1 "There were once an alliance of four great races, the Asgard, the Nox, the Furlings, and the Ancients." The Asgard and the Ancients are important races in Stargate mythology who turn up often. The Nox made a couple of appearances in the early series but the Furlings never turned up apart from a short gag in episode 200. According to the writers the Furlings only ever existed because they wanted four races, and will remain a Cryptic Background Reference (or even a Running Gag).
    • The Tollan, a planet of humans who had technology beyond that of the Goa'uld but neither the intent nor the brains to use them. While they did help out in small ways on occasion, the Tollan were eventually wiped out to make things harder for SG-1. Their isolationism also makes them something of a Hidden Elf Village.
    • Much more Hufflepuff-ish were the Serrakin, an advanced species that had mass-produced faster-than-light starships and had managed to defeat the Goa'uld in their sector of space. Somehow, despite all this and a capitalistic social structure with no real problems with trading technology with the less-developed Tau'ri, the Serrakin never bothered to help Earth in the war with the Goa'uld or even give them anything useful, and their sole use in the show was inviting SG-1 to take part in their version of Wacky Races... In Space!.
      • However, they did get taken over by the Ori about two years later. And in those two years, the reigning Goa'uld were Anubis and Ba'al, who had vastly more powerful fleets than the ones the Serrakin had defeated.
    • The Asgard and Tok'ra are this trope, thematically. They're always out there, and occasionally drop in to help, but don't get all that much focus unless they're doing something important with our heroes.
  • On Greek, the focus is on Zeta Beta, Omega Chi, and Kappa Tau, as well as Iota Kappa Iota during season two...and every other of the approximately 30 houses gets shunted to the side unless they're needed for a plot.
  • In Dads Army, anyone not in the 'first section', i.e. anyone who's not a main character, is generally part of 'Private Sponge and the others'.
  • There is a logical in-story for this in Star Trek: Voyager, as the eponymous ship is literally The Only Ship In The Sector. But, still, you have Project Pathfinder which does little to nothing to bring the ship home, although they do provide occasional moral support.
    • Star Trek's real example is the four quadrants of the galaxy. The Alpha Quadrant is where it's at: Earth, its major allies and enemies, and every ship named Enterprise do all their boldly going here. The Gamma Quadrant is on the other side of the wormhole in DS9, home to a lot of new races and the Dominion who'd become the biggest threat to the Federation ever. The Delta Quadrant is the setting of Voyager, and home to the Borg. The Beta Quadrant, tends to get lumped into references to the Alpha Quadrant.
      • Nothing was known about the Gamma Quadrant until DS9 and nothing about the Delta Quadrant until one ship had the misfortune to have to travel through it. So until those series, the Alpha Quadrant races knew almost nothing about the rest of galaxy except the Beta Quadrant, which actually happens to contain most of the Klingon and Romulan Empires as well as part of the Federation.
    • The dividing line between the Alpha and Beta Quadrants runs right through Earth's solar system.

Tabletop Games

  • In Magic: The Gathering, there are seven ruling clans in Benalia. The only notable one is Capashen, which is the clan Gerrard belongs to. The other six are never mentioned on any cards and most players have never heard of them.
    • There's also Orvada, supposedly a powerful merchant empire that rivals Benalia, but never mentioned on any cards or in any post-revision novels. Magic is full of Hufflepuff Houses andCryptic Background References.
    • Recent times, after Magic started consciously giving a greater amount of respect and focus to Magic's story and setting, the creative team ends up producing a tremendous amount of material from which to draw inspiration for mechanics, spells, and legendary creatures. A superfluous amount in fact, just so they'll draw have the most potential amount of information to draw from. Considering that most players only have a passing involvement in the story, most of it ends up rather Hufflepuffian to all but the hardest of hardcore story nuts.
  • In BattleTech the Free Worlds League in essence did nothing for some thirty years of in-world time apart from a leadership change and slowly building up the universe's biggest economy and arms industry. It turned out that during that time they were being subverted by an army of evil toaster-worshiping fanatics with an apocalyptic agenda, and nobody noticed because the rest of the state was so dull and peaceful.
  • Any Skaven clan in Warhammer that isn't Eshin, Pestilens, Skryre, or Moulder doesn't really matter in the greater scheme of things. Hell, when was the last time Pestilens or Moulder really did anything? (Well, maybe the time that Pestilens singlehandedly brought the entire Lizardman civilization to its knees.)
    • This is improved in the new skaven book, where smaller clans even get special characters. And clan mors have done things for quite some time now. In warhammer Cathay could qualify however as the only things it seems to exist for is to expand the ogrekingdoms background and give them giant katanas (cathayan longswords).
  • Warhammer 40000 has the Dark Eldar, whose codex spent several editions without being updated, described as a race of evil torture-obsessed sociopaths who torture people, and that was about it. Their background was so shallow that many players thought they were some faction of Generically Evil Chaos Space Elves, and even many Dark Eldar players admit that they kind of suck. It took until November 2010 (eleven years after their previous codex) for the Dark Eldar to get a new codex, models that actually look cool, and a complex and interesting back story.
    • For the Tau Empire, the Vespid don't appear as prevalent or numerous as the Kroot, in that we don't know much of their culture or what other military units they might have. The Gue'vesa, Demiurg and Nicassar, however, have gotten just as bad of a treatment.
    • Also, only a relatively small number of the thousand-odd Space Marine Chapters are referenced in canon, and an even smaller number fleshed out in any detail beyond a name and a colour scheme. However, this particular use is justified, as it allows players to create their own in-game chapters without having to worry about conflicting with canon. A similar situation exists in regards to Eldar Craftworlds and Imperial Guard regiments.
      • To elaborate a bit, GW favors certain chapters and regiments due to it being simplier for newer players. That's why you always see Cadian soldiers or Ultramarines on the respective army boxes, mostly due to them both being generic and not very biased. To be fair, Catachan Jungle Fighters get a lot of support from GW too, for those who don't want to play as Cadia, and they do sell metal models for other regiments too, such as Steel Legion, Valhallan Ice Warriors and Vostroya, while Death Korps of Krieg are widely available at Forge World. As for the Space Marines, they do have similar releases, since several other chapters have their own codexes with notable differences in their army lists. The Space Wolves are the best example here, but we also have the Blood Angels and the Dark Angels, who also have a lot of unique models to play with. Still, one is surprised how often GW goes with the Ultramarines for the chapter of choice for many starter campaigns and skirmishes, while they are just about as big as their hundreds and hundreds of successor chapters, which makes you wonder why they never even paint their models in that color scheme just to show off how they can look like painted.
      • However, this problem was greatly exacerbated when it was revealed that Matt Ward wrote the 5th Edition Space Marine codex. He basically admitted that he personally thought the Ultramarines were the best Space Marines ever, and wrote the entire codex to reflect that at the cost of virtually every other chapter. A lot 40k players reacted poorly to their favorite chapters being marginalized even further.
        • It seems that a supposedly impartial (enforced or otherwise) developer became susceptible to fanwank, at the worst possible time...
        • In some interpretations of his admittance, Ward did not actually say he thought the Ultramarines were the best, but at the time they were the only ones he'd ever heard of in detail. A Hilarious in Hindsight moment considering the hufflepuff-nature of the other chapters inadvertently made everything worse.
        • The fandom certainly did not rejoice when Ward decided to do this with every other subsequent Space Marine book he wrote (Namely Blood Angels and Grey Knights). To top it off he literally forced this trope on them by naming every bit of equipment after the aforementioned Space Marine Chapters (Blood Angels have named "Blood" versions of standard weapons, and Grey Knights got "Nemesis Force" versions of the items).
  • The Yugioh Card Game has Sea Serpent-type monsters, who theoretically function as stronger version of Fish-types, but end up being this most of the time. Fish-types have found their own ground, which has resulted in Sea Serpents being easily the most undermanned type in the game, aside from Divine-Beasts, of which the God Cards are the only three in existence. Sea Serpents are even the only type that doesn't have at least one archtype to call its own.


  • Romeo and Juliet: There's actually three clans involved in the fight- in addition to the title characters' families, the Capulets and Montagues, there's the Prince's family (historically, the Scaligers, as evidenced by the Prince's Latinized name Escalus), represented in the plot by the Prince himself, Mercutio, and Count Paris. And just like the other two families, the Prince loses his younger relatives in the course of the plot.


  • Bionicle's Matoran/Toa come in all sorts of colors and elements, though the primary focus is spent on the main six (Fire, Water, Ice, Air, Earth and Stone) and Light. This results in a whole group of Hufflepuffs including Sonics, Electricity, The Green, Iron, Plasma, Magnetism and Gravity.

Video Games

  • Trabia Garden in Final Fantasy VIII is given off-hand references in Disc 1, but never seen until after its destruction. Though one of the party (Selphie) is a transfer student from Trabia.
    • Given Selphie's personality, one has to wonder if it's all a Cloudcuckooland.
    • It is heavily implied in-game that Trabia is Garden's Military Intelligence arm, and the general kookiness and secrecy of the students is either a side effect of dealing with information overload or is an act to keep people from prying into their business too much.
  • In Final Fantasy IX there are four major political powers on the Mist continent--Alexandria, Lindblum, Bermecia and Cleyra. The first two factions are the most prominent, with Alexandria as The Empire for the first half of the game or so and Lindblum as a safe haven ruled by Reasonable Authority Figure Regent Cid. The other two, you arrive at Bermecia to find it already invaded and destroyed by Alexandria, and once you arrive at Cleyra you get to look around the town for about five minutes before it too is invaded. Though Freya is a Bermecian, the kingdoms themselves may as well vanish once you leave them because they're never mentioned again.
  • Subverted and somewhat deconstructed in Final Fantasy XII. Your heroes are members of the Dalmascan resistance trying to free the kingdom from the Archadians, and off in the distance somewhere the Archadians are worried about a war with the Rozzarrians. However, as the game progresses it becomes clear Rozzaria really is the bigger player in the plot, and the resistance is actually the Hufflepuff House. The only reason Archadia is paying any attention to the resistance and the heroes is because they can't fight a war on two fronts and don't want the Rozzarrians to use an attack by the resistance as pretext to intervene and go to war with Archadia, a war that would basically be the Ivalice equivalent of World War II. As a result, during the climax the big battle between the resistance and Archadia occurs and the heroes try to stop it and placate the faction leaders before Rozzarria makes its move.
  • Yokuda in The Elder Scrolls. Until Elder Scrolls IV, Akavir fit this trope as well. And even then, the Akaviri are only involved in one quest.
    • In Morrowind the character can only interact with Houses Telvanni, Redoran and Hlaalu. There are mention of the other houses, Dres and Indoril, but apparently they have no holdings or representatives on Vvardenfell Island (the Dres do have an excuse for that: their centre of power is in southern Morrowind, as far away from Vvardenfell as one can get while still being in Morrowind).
      • It is mentioned in some in-game books and other sources that many Ordinators are members of House Indoril. House Dres is not represented, though.
        • In Mournhold expansion, Indoril gets a good bit more exposure for the chilling Knight Templars they are as Almalexia's honor guard. More background details on the Dres are revealed here, and a bit more in Oblivion, but no Dres personalities are present.
  • All of Etruria, the Western Isles, and perhaps the greater part of Sacae are entirely ignored in Fire Emblem Blazing Sword.
    • Ilia, too. At least there's one level set in the Western Isles (Hector's Story only--The Berserker.)
    • Sword of Seals came out first, but only in Japan. Blazing Sword is a prequel. Sword of Seals uses the entire world map it created, but Blazing Sword keeps the action more local. The fact that the rest of the world even exists in Blazing Sword is an artifact of the game that came before it.
  • In Eternal Darkness, Word of God has said there's a fifth, yellow ancient. Since the relationship between the ancients is rock-paper-scissors with a gun in the middle, it's interesting to wonder what a fifth does to the dynamic.
    • It probably functions as the kevlar vest. This ancient seemed to be mainly used for walls. So, if Mantorok is good at killing all other ancient powers, this ancient is good at defending against the ancient powers.
  • In the Suikoden series, there are quite a few countries that seem to be Hufflepuff House, generally the homeland of foreign characters. Subverted in that they tend to become the primary setting of later games while what used to be The Federation and The Empire become Hufflepuff Houses.
  • Ustio and Sapin are treated like this in Ace Combat Zero to Osea and Yuktobania. Especially strange in Ustio's case, as the player character is at the very least a mercenary hired by their government, and the first third or so of the war takes place there.
  • The Orlesian Empire and the foreign Grey Wardens get this treatment in Dragon Age Origins, though there are two Orlesian NPCs in Denerim, Leilana was raised in Orlais, and you later meet Riordan, a Grey Warden from Orlais. Justified; the foreign Wardens are too far away to help with the Blight and Loghain's paranoia about another Orlesian invasion prevents the Orlesians from coming to Ferelden's aid. You can learn a little bit more about Orlesian society from codices and a few NPCs but you never actually see it for yourself.
    • The Orlesians and the Tevinter Imperium both conquered Ferelden at different points, and it is all but said that the Qunari will try to eventually. Antiva has The Crows. Loghain won is position as a Lord freeing Ferelden from Orlesian rule, hating his former opressors so much. he let his King and all but two Grey Wardens die partially to keep Orlsesain re-enforcements from comming back int the country.
    • After ten years of World Building, Dragon Age has tons of Fantasy Counterpart Cultures that remain under developed in Origins. The clearest example may be the Avvar, a viking-like culture that had an Origin story associated with it, but was cut for time.
    • In the newly announced "Mark of the Assassin" DLC for Dragon Age II, we'll finally get to see some of Orlais, and their often mentioned but never seen Chevaliers.
    • Despite sending troops to Ostagar and a few in Lothering, the Chassind wilders are ignored entirely in Origins and, aside from a character in "Mark of the Assassin," completely absent from Dragon Age II. It's justified, though, as they're also stated to live in Ferelden's Kocari Wilds, where the Blight breaks out in Origins, while II takes place in another country, so their absence makes sense.
  • Supreme Commander: On maps shown in the mission briefings for the first game, there are several so called "neutral" planets, different groups of them even. This apparent neutrality is the only thing that anyone knows about any of these planets...
  • The Nerubians in World of Warcraft are an ancient insectoid race known for their philosophy, art, and violent xenophobia. They had an underground empire that stretched through the entire continent of Northrend, before it was destroyed by the Scourge. Now they're a remnant desperately trying to strike back at the undead, as well as contending with the stirring of an Old God, the same type of being that created them before they abandoned its worship. Meanwhile, a subspecies within their ranks rises to power serving an unseen emperor they claim will lead them to victory over the Scourge. This is of course, from outside material. Their entire presence in the game consists of a lot of dead Nerubians raised as Scourge, and three living Nerubians. One of which has a name. He asks you to clear out a couple of their cities, with no hint that he has a problem working with humanoids.
    • Out of the playable races, plot-wise, the Burning Crusade races, the Draenei and Blood Elves, tend to be this. In the entirety of the plot afterward, they've contributed approximately nothing, although they're still somewhat popular (especially the Blood Elves, who sometimes top the list of most-selected race and are usually in the top three).
    • Worgen and Goblins are treated similarly, with worgen becoming Night Elves in all but look outside of Gilneas, and goblins essentially just giving the Horde an excuse to look more industrial.
    • As far as player-selected races, the trolls and dwarves tend to be this, being the least-selected races. The trolls became more popular in Cataclysm where their racial leader, Vol'jin actually gets to do stuff and they take back their islands from a level 10 traitor who kept replacing his severed head with a disguised coconut or something.
  • The Umojan Protectorate and the Kel-Morian Combine from Starcraft receive little to no attention at all in the game, despite being some of the more important Terran factions. The Kel-Morian Combine gets nothing more than a minor resource grab mission and a few passing references by various characters, but that's nowhere near the same level as the Umojan Protectorate, which would probably go virtually unknown if not for its inclusion in various Starcraft novels. There's also the Koprulu Liberation Front, remnants of the UED and Confederacy, and the Kimeran Pirates. The KLF was supposed to be featured prominently in Stacraft: Ghost, but that became Vaporware.
    • The Umojans get their chance to shine in the backstory, where they're the secret allies of the Mengsk family and help Angus and Arcturus with their anti-Confederate war.
    • Though not canon, the famous player-made campaign for the first game "The Antioch Chronicles" make the main Terran characters Kel-Morians (and through them the faction is a major antagonist).
  • The Kushan of the Homeworld universe are made up of at least six major Kiith (clans), with plenty of backstory. The only one to receive any mention in the first game is Kiith S'jet, from which the Mothership's operator Karen S'jet comes from.
  • Several groups in Touhou, including the Kappa, Higan, and the Human Village, possessing one or two representatives and not elaborated upon further. The Former District of Hell is beginning to get like this, centered on the residents of the Palace of Earth Spirits more than anywhere else down there. Makai, not seen for seven games, is also like this but for other reasons.
    • A lot of this is due to how the series' worldbuilding works; most characters show up in one main game and get a brief profile mostly detailing their involvement in the current incident, with most actual detail showing up in fanbooks and sidestories. For example, the tengu are mostly just kind of there in the main games, but are among the most fleshed out societies and characters if you include the side material. As of Symposium of Post-mysticism, the main examples of this trope are probably Heaven (one character, marginal information) and Makai (all we know is that it exists).

Web Comics

  • In Harry Potter Comics, Rosie Weasley's neurotic indecision lands her in Hufflepuff House. Mostly to Ron's chagrin. Besides hard work, the Hufflepuff's are largely into singing about how adequate they are and putting on Christmas Pageants during Quidditch games.
  • Of the nine major clans in Drowtales, the Nal'Sarkoth, Illhar'dro and Jaal'Darya clans mostly fall into this, though there are indications that the Jaal'Darya may play a bigger role later on. The Nal'Sarkoth are only a partial example, since they play a large role in the Path to Power game on the site, and the Illhar'dro became much more important in chapters 33 and 34 when their home city of Nuqrah'shareh and the civil war there was focused on.
    • Among the other underworld cities, most of the cities that haven't been seen on-screen or covered in sidestories or in subscriber comics are like this. Of the underworld cities listed on this map, Gularg'dasa, Dariya'ko and Mirat haven't had any information on them revealed.

Web Original

  • A Very Potter Musical, has the famous line: "What the hell is a Hufflepuff?"
    • Answer? "Hufflepuffs are exceptionally good finders!"
      • In the same scene, Dumbledore remarks that the Sorting Hat isn't there, so he's just been putting anyone who looks like a good guy into Gryffindor, anyone who looks like a bad guy into Slytherin, and the other two can go wherever they hell they want. Which makes Ravenclaw basically a less iconic Hufflepuff.
      • A distinction was made that since Ravenclaws are smart, they are also good-looking (see: statistically improbable number of temporary love interests are Ravenclaws), so Ravenclaw is the Love Interest House. Hufflepuffs, being generally shown as good-natured and friendly, are the Cannon Fodder House.
  • The Second City Network parodies this in their YouTube video HOGWARTS: Which House Are You?.

 Gryffindor girl: I'm really brave; I'm a Gryffindor!

Slytherin boy: I'm ambitious; I'm a Slytherin!

Ravenclaw girl: I'm really smart; I'm a Ravenclaw!

Hufflepuff girl: I'm a Hufflepuff!

  • In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, the country with the second highest number of active superheroes (after the United States, and not counting the People's Republic of China, whose "superheroes" are more akin to soldiers than to crimefighters) was Brazil. This was a well-established part of the background world, and yet no Brazilian heroes (or villains, for that matter) were ever presented with any detail past their names and what city in Brazil they protected.
  • Lots of groups at Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe. The Underdogs, the Whitman Literary Girls, the Intelligence Cadet Corps, the Robo Jox... Well, there are tons of them. Some of them get a Day in The Limelight sooner or later.
  • Trinton Chronicles has several factions listed but only two of the groups are ever even seen - The Silence Cult & The Relic Link. Other groups who get a wave are Keeps of the Grove, mostly full of druids, shamans, and gardeners, and to a MUCH lesser extent (like only once) the Night Walkers who are mostly a guild of assassins, thieves, and murderers.
  • A particularly hilarious motivational poster posits that members of Hufflepuff House function as sexual dynamos whose sole purpose is to keep the Wizarding World population up while the other Houses are busy trying to kill each other off. Given that their Common room is apparently said to resemble a large cosy bedroom, this actually may not be too far off the mark.

Western Animation

  • Six words: Winx Club, season 3, Beta Academy. Introduced as where Chimera comes from, never seen period. Not the only major complaint about this season, though...
  • Invader Zim has over a dozen alien species, planets and organisations floating around, but only humans and Irkens ever have significant time devoted to them.
  • Whatever mythical state The Simpsons takes place in has four towns/cities of note. There's Springfield, of course. Then there's Shelbyville, their rival town. Next we have Capital City, a large, modern metropolis which appears to be fairly close to Springfield and is better than it in nearly every way. And finally, there's Ogdenville, which gets mentioned fairly often but which we know next to nothing about. Our only information about the place is that Springfielders neither hate it like they do Shelbyville, nor envy it as they do Capital City.
    • It's also one of the three towns which were conned into getting a monorail before Springfield was. We don't know what became of that, but considering the fate of Springfield and North Haverbrook's monorails, it probably didn't end well.
    • Ogdenville has been expanded on in a later episode. Apparently they're barley-farming Norwegians.
    • Typically it's used as a town that's way out in the sticks, but close enough to be an hour or so's drive away.

Real Life

  • Both World Wars saw the involvement of many countries beyond those which are commonly thought of as Axis, Allies, or Central Powers. The Other Wiki provides comprehensive lists for World War I and World War II.
  • A similar, more recent example is the nations involved in the invasion of Iraq who aren't the USA or Britain. This eventually led to the famous Memetic Mutation of the phrase "He forgot Poland".
    • Not to mention Australia.
  • The origin of the term Third World is this trope. The first two "worlds" being the contenders of the Cold War.
  • The 2010 British General Election is an illustration of this. Since the Liberal Democrats are not perceived as overly... political... (and seem to be lacking in most defining characteristics, good or bad), the electorate and media are giving serious thought to what they would be like in power, for a change.
    • The daft thing being that of the two parties that formed the Lib Dems, the Liberal Party had been around hundreds of years longer than the Labour Party.
    • Considering how it all turned out, it might be presupposed that this trope no longer describes British politics, and that all the parties were in actual fact legitimate contenders for office anyway. It depends on how long it lasts, however.
      • All of them legitimate contenders? Well this seems to be applying to all the parties that are not Labor, Conservative, and Lib Dem. You have the BNP, famous only for being racist idiots, The Green Party, who are the obvious and also one of the only third parties to win a seat, UKIP, who are racist idiots but appeal to the middle classes, so get away with it and then there is...
        • While some view the BNP as ridiculous, they at least enjoy some exposure due to the fact that some of their opinions do resonate with the British public.
        • To be honest, the idea that the BNP has a strong "silent majority" is just propaganda. Since the election, they have slid into oblivion. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
      • The Christian Party, on the other hand, is the true Hufflepuff on the virtue that some people don't even realise they are an actual political entity.
  • All of the political parties in the US besides Republican, Democratic, and whatever third party has the current media favorite loony.
    • The third party would almost count, since it never has even a remote chance of carrying an election, but several elections have seen third parties draw enough of the right votes to sway the win from one of the major parties to the other.
    • The Progressive Party with Theodore Roosevelt behind it did beat the Republican Party one time. It didn't beat the Democrat party though.
      • Historically while there have always been two major parties in the US politics, due to the election system that discriminates any third option, these two parties have not always been Democratic and Republican, nor have these two always stood for the same ideals as they do today.
    • The Green party! plants. Trees especially. Probably more to the party than that, but you wouldn't know it from the media.
      • The Canadian one is worse, They're supposed to be one of the main 4 parties, and average 1 seat out of hundreds, yeah.
    • There is a bitter joke among American Democratic Party members to the effect that 'Green' stands for Get Republicans Elected Every Novemeber.
  • Wales is this to the rest of Great Britain, and most of the Midwest states that make up Flyover Country are considered this to the rest of the US.
    • The ultimate example of American geography would probably be Delaware. Aside from housing Dover Air Force Base and a politician who insists that she is not a witch, Delaware has contributed approximately nothing.
      • They were the first state and also the home state of Joe Biden.
    • Australia has its own version of Flyover Country - South Australia, located between the major cities of the east coast (Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane) and the west coast (Perth, and, um, did I mention Perth?).
  • Manitoba and Saskatchewan could be considered this for Canada...actually anywhere that isn't BC, Alberta, Ontario,or Quebec.
  • The University of Pennsylvania recently held a campaign where each one of their four schools was assigned a corresponding Hogwarts House. Penn's Nursing School, with the smallest student body and least amount of advertising, corresponded to Hufflepuff.
  • In France, everything that isn't Paris or the Côte d'Azur seems to be this.