"Or perhaps in Slytherin,
You'll make your real friends,
Those cunning folk use any means,
To achieve their ends.
The Sorting Hat[src]

Slytherin is one of the four Houses at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, founded by Salazar Slytherin. In establishing the house, Salazar instructed the Sorting Hat to pick students who had a few particular characteristics he most valued. Those characteristics include: cunning, resourcefulness, and ambition. Many Slytherin students tend to clique together, often acquiring leaders, which further exemplifies Slytherin's ambitious qualities. Examples of these include Draco Malfoy’s Gang and the Death Eaters.

The founder highly valued and favoured pure-blood students and the Sorting Hat admitted that it can be a factor when being Sorted. Students of any blood status can now be placed in the house. However, a Muggle-Born student from that house is considered to be quite rare.

The emblematic animal of the house is a snake and its colours are green and silver. There were two notable heads of the house; Horace Slughorn took the role twice (first leaving in 1981 and then taking the role again from 1997 until leaving before 2016), and Severus Snape. The patron ghost of the house is the Bloody Baron.

Slytherin corresponds roughly with the element of water due to serpents being commonly associated with the sea and lochs in western European mythology, as well as serpents being physically fluid and flexible animals.[7] Similarly, in Celtic mythology, water is seen as a portal to another world, leading some to speculate that the element was chosen to symbolise many Slytherins' hope for a pure-blood only community. The colours also correspond with waters around lakes and lochs often being green, and silver being often associated with grey rain water.


This created great controversy at Hogwarts and it was the root of a feud between former friends Salazar and Godric Gryffindor. Salazar would later decide to leave the school when an argument started between him and Godric and they either duelled or started a civil war between the two houses. Such an argument would be forever known the origin of the feud between their two houses and also make them as the houses that are most competitive.

When Salazar departed Hogwarts, he would leave behind the Chamber of Secrets with the purpose of an heir one day opening the chamber and unleashing a means of purging the school of those who, in Slytherin's view, were unworthy to study magic: Muggle-borns. The chamber was opened twice and the monster was killed the second time by Harry Potter in 1993. Salazar’s views at the time could be attributed to the persecution of witches and wizards at the hand of Muggles during that century.


Slytherins tend to be ambitious, shrewd, cunning, strong leaders, and achievement-oriented. They also have highly developed senses of self-preservation.[8] This means that Slytherins tend to hesitate before acting, so as to weigh all possible outcomes before deciding exactly what should be done.

According to Albus Dumbledore, the qualities which Salazar valued in the students he had chosen included cleverness, resourcefulness, determination, and "a certain disregard for the rules." Dumbledore noted that all of these were qualities possessed by Harry Potter, who was in Gryffindor but almost placed in Slytherin.

Slytherins tend to take charge and possess strong leadership skills. Slytherins are often self-assured and confident of their own competence and can be very loyal.

Another characteristic some Slytherins share is a tendency towards deep, unrequited love. Severus Snape and The Bloody Baron held abiding but unreturned feelings for Lily Evans and Helena Ravenclaw, respectively. Although some Slytherins, such as Tom Riddle, were incapable of feeling love at all, those that did were known to cherish their passion abidingly and unconditionally, although often tragically due to an inability to act appropriately on their feelings. Interestingly, Bellatrix Lestrange held feelings for Tom Riddle himself, which was a factor in her fanatical devotion to the Death Eaters; although Lord Voldemort was incapable of loving her in return, the existence of Delphini suggests that there was at least some kind of intimacy between them. Although Merope Riddle likely never attended Hogwarts and therefore wouldn't have been sorted into Slytherin at all, she was a descendant of Slytherin himself and fit the pattern of those sorted into his house, as she held deep and unreturned feelings for Tom Riddle Snr, who often travelled by her house on his carriage.

Blood purity

"I always knew Salazar Slytherin was a twisted old loony, but I never knew he started all this pure-blood stuff. I wouldn't be in his house if you paid me. Honestly, if the Sorting Hat had tried to put me in Slytherin, I'd've got the train straight back home..."
Ron Weasley expressing his opinions about Slytherin's views[src]

Slytherin's founder, Salazar Slytherin

The Sorting Hat claims that blood purity was a factor in selecting Slytherins. It is not the main factor but it suggests that the sorting hat takes into account the lineage of the student as well as traits. Muggle-born Slytherins exist, but are very rare, as noted insultingly by Scabior the Snatcher.[9]

There have also been definite examples of half-bloods sorted into the house, including Tom Riddle, Dolores Umbridge, and Severus Snape. Harry Potter was nearly sorted into Slytherin, but because he asked for it, he ended up in Gryffindor instead. Also, pure-bloods are not automatically placed in Slytherin. There have been various examples of pure-bloods sorted into other houses; the Weasley family, Sirius Black, Neville Longbottom, and James Potter were all sorted into Gryffindor house, Ernie Macmillan was sorted into Hufflepuff, and Morag MacDougal and Stephen Cornfoot were both sorted into Ravenclaw.

The concept of blood purity playing a part in picking students for Slytherin house stems from the founder Salazar Slytherin who wanted a stricter policy of admission to the school — one limited strictly to pure-blood students. This was contrary to the wishes of the other founders at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, who wanted to accept students of any blood status.

It is important to note that not every student in Slytherin agrees with the idea of blood purity, but every member would still be affiliated with their founder’s reputed views a thousand years later. Since the house would nearly always select students who share his view for that house, many members would still give that impression of that house during their time at Hogwarts. For example, in December 1992, the password for the common room was pureblood.


Slytherin and Gryffindor are generally rivals in Quidditch and for the House Cup, of which the former had won seven years in a row prior to Harry Potter's arrival at Hogwarts in 1991. It is also rare for Slytherin and Gryffindor students to be friendly with one another, and is also quite common for them to share animosity. There are exceptions, such as Slytherin Merlin Merlin who had a friendship with Gryffindor Sir Cadogan and Slytherin Severus Snape and Gryffindor Lily Evans, who were best friends until Snape's use of the slur "Mudblood" as well as his aspirations to be a Death Eater caused Lily to sever their ties.

Their rivalry was particularly the case during the First and Second Wizarding Wars. During the second war, no Slytherin student joined the association known as Dumbledore's Army; however, this is likely the fault of Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, and Harry Potter, who only invited people they trusted. The three also shared a deep mistrust of any Slytherins.

There is a terrible tension, rivalry, and dislike among Gryffindors Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ronald Weasly, and Slytherin Draco Malfoy to the point that Hermione even once punched Draco. Also, from the moment Harry and Draco met, they became immediate enemies.

Slytherin's relationship with the other two houses, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, was variable. By the time of Harry Potter's years at Hogwarts, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw were frustrated at Slytherin's seven-year winning streak and readily supported Gryffindor in their efforts to break it, to the extent that they even turned against Harry and his friends when their rule-breaking cost Gryffindor 150 points (and thus the lead) with Slytherin rubbing it in at every opportunity. This persisted generally with Quidditch matches, where Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff supported Gryffindor by default if they were facing Slytherin.

When Harry was named as a Hogwarts Triwizard champion alongside Cedric Diggory of Hufflepuff, the three other houses assumed he was trying to steal Hufflepuff's glory and supported Cedric as the 'real' Hogwarts champion, though Slytherin likely only did this out of spite for Harry rather than any actual support for Cedric. After Cedric's death by Lord Voldemort's hands, Slytherin joined the rest in toasting his memory but some, like Draco Malfoy, were not saddened by his death.

Sectumsempra (full scene)

Sectumsempra (full scene)

Draco and Harry duelling in the bathroom


"There's not a single witch or wizard who went bad who wasn't in Slytherin."
—Wizarding prejudice against Slytherin House[src]
Slytherin symbol

A serpent, symbol of Slytherin House

Slytherin has a such well-known reputation for creating dark witches and wizards that many would even say that every dark witch or wizard was actually in Slytherin. While it is true that many were in the house, it is untrue to say every single one of them was, as Peter Pettigrew, betrayer of James and Lily, was in Gryffindor and Quirinus Quirrell was in Ravenclaw. 

It appears that reputation has led to an ironic prejudice against the entire house. It is unknown how many dark witches and wizards were from this house before Tom Riddle began recruiting Death Eaters but many of them came from a family that valued blood purity and would prefer, like Riddle, to be in the house and recruit from there.

In fairer terms, there were many good witches and wizards in the house who opposed the use of the Dark Arts as well as discrimination based on blood purity, such as Horace Slughorn and Andromeda Tonks. Andromeda was related to many dark witches and wizards such as her own sister Bellatrix Lestrange and brother-in-law Lucius Malfoy, but she chose to forsake the loyalty to her family in favour of marrying the Muggle-born Ted Tonks. Also, the allegiance of Severus Snape was found to ultimately be towards Albus Dumbledore to the point of serving as a triple agent for the Order of the Phoenix, in stark contrast to Peter Pettigrew, the former Gryffindor who became a double agent for the Death Eaters instead. Merlin (of King Arthur fame) was also a Slytherin.

It might also be possible (though quite unlikely) that the Sorting Hat simply sorts anyone with ill intentions into Slytherin, regardless of whether they possess cunning and ambition, which helped to unfairly give this house a bad name. Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle were both incredibly stupid and did not have clever or cunning minds, but were still sorted into Slytherin. They could have possessed one of the minor traits as even Peter Pettigrew was not placed into Gryffindor for bravery, but for chivalry instead.

It is also likely that Crabbe and Goyle were simply placed there by process of elimination, since they exhibited virtually none of the qualities valued by any of the other houses (lacking the work ethic or honesty of Hufflepuff, the academic prowess of Ravenclaw, or the bravery of Gryffindor). The Sorting Hat simply could have took into account what house they wished to be placed in which, with their family history, was most likely Slytherin.

The behaviour of Slytherin house at the Battle of Hogwarts is also debated. The majority of their members departed Hogwarts before the battle started and a few joined their families in becoming Death Eaters. However, many of them returned to Hogwarts to fight against the Death Eaters and were led back by their Head of House, Horace Slughorn.


House ghost, The Bloody Baron

The traits of the house are considered obvious examples of people turning toward an ill purpose such as cunning and ambition but they are not inherently negative. Furthermore, traits from the rest of the houses such as daring, intelligence, and loyalty can also become easily negative.

Another trait which could be seen as a negative one is self-preservation. The idea that many of them seem to value their own lives more than the lives of others can make them less thought of and trusted, but that is not always the case. Phineas Nigellus gave that impression when he saw Harry Potter trying to run away, because he was afraid that his presence was putting his friends in danger. He stated that "We Slytherins are brave, yes, but not stupid. For instance, when given the choice, we will always choose to save our own necks".

There are exceptions to this rule, however, such as Snape, who Harry said was a "Slytherin and... probably the bravest man I ever knew"and Regulus Black, who gave his life in an attempt to destroy one of the Horcruxes of Lord Voldemort and told his house-elf Kreacher to save himself and leave.

The truth is that while most Dark wizards are Slytherins, many members of Slytherin House do not have Dark leanings and are even kind and accepting, while smaller groups of Voldemort's supporters are aligned with other Houses. During the Battle of Hogwarts, while all of the Slytherin students left the school before the fighting started, several of them did return with Professor Slughorn as reinforcements to join the fight against Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters, and some decided to fight as a part of Dumbledore’s Army.

Common Room

Main article: Slytherin Dungeon
Slytherin common room

Slytherin common room

The Slytherin common room is in the dungeons of Hogwarts Castle and underneath the Black Lake. Because of this, the light in the common room is green. Harry Potter along with Ron Weasley entered the common room in his second year to find out if Draco Malfoy was the one opening the Chamber of Secrets. To enter the Slytherin common room one must merely speak aloud the current password in front of a stretch of damp stone wall; once the word is uttered a concealed stone door will slide aside leaving a rectangular hole in the wall leading to the Slytherin common room. The only known Slytherin password is "pureblood", used in 1992.

Head of House

Slytherin's head of house for Harry's first six years of school was Severus Snape; however, as he fled with the Death Eaters in 1997 at the end of Harry's sixth year, Potions Master Horace Slughorn became the head of Slytherin House. Upon Snape's return as Headmaster later that year, he apparently approved of Slughorn's appointment, as he did not assign any Death Eaters as the new head of house.

Known Slytherins

Slytherin Period Attending Hogwarts Notes
Bloody Baron


Middle Ages Hot-tempered lord and squire who remorsefully committed suicide for inadvertently killing the woman he loved in a fit of rage when she refused to come home from Albania with him, leaving his clothes stained with her blood. Later became the house ghost.


Member of King Arthur's court, advocate of Muggle rights, and arguably the most famous wizard in history.
Elizabeth Burke Unknown Headmistress of Hogwarts at some point. Now has a portrait at the base of the Grand Staircase between the Entrance Hall archway and First-floor corridor doorway, which was later hung near the Potions Classroom entrance and guarded the Main Dungeons, telling Slytherins to be "Nasty to Mudbloods".
Gormlaith Gaunt 1587 - 1594 (possibly) Descendant of Salazar Slytherin. Eventually became the Dark Witch of Hag's Glen and parental guardian of Isolt Sayre. Killed by William the Pukwudgie in the Duel at Ilvermorny.
Phineas N. Black c. 1858 - 1865 Eventually became Headmaster of Hogwarts from some point during the late 19th century to 1925. Now has a portrait in the Headmaster's office.
Black family Except Sirius Black
Leta Lestrange 1908 - 1915 Made an experiment with a Jarvey in 1913, Newt Scamander took the blame for it. Later became an assistent of the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
Horace Slughorn late 19th century and/or early 20th century Well-connected player of favourites in his year. Eventually became Head of Slytherin House and Potions Professor of Hogwarts from 1931 to 1981 (a position he took up again from 1996 to 2015), and founder of the Slug Club.
Tom Riddle 1938 - 1945 Prefect and Head Boy, Leader of a gang of students, Disgraced Winner of the Special Award for Services to the School in his fifth year, member of the Slug Club in his sixth year, and Winner of the Medal for Magical Merit in his seventh year. Eventually became assistant shopkeeper at Borgin and Burkes from 1947 to around 1958, but disappeared into the deepest layers of the Dark Arts (creating several Horcruxes and an army of followers whom he named Death Eaters) and resurfaced around 1968 as the most dangerous Dark Wizard of all time, orchestrating the last two most destructive Wizarding Wars in history under the alias "Lord Voldemort". Finally defeated and killed by a rebounding Killing Curse meant for Harry Potter in the Battle of Hogwarts.
Lestrange Members of the Knights of Walpurgis and Slug Club. Eventually became two of the first Death Eaters.
Avery I
Dolores Umbridge


unknown Unlikeable model in her year. Eventually became Head of the Improper Use of Magic Office at some point, Senior Undersecretary to the Minister for Magic from 1990 to 1998, Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor and "High Inquisitor" of Hogwarts during the 1995-1996 school year, Headmistress of Hogwarts from April to June 1996, and Head of the Muggle-Born Registration Commission from 1997 to 1998. Imprisoned for her crimes against Muggle-borns.
Rodolphus Lestrange c. 1960s - 1970s Founding leader of a gang inspired by the Dark Arts. Eventually married Bellatrix Black and became a devoted Death Eater.
Bellatrix Black c. 1962 - 1969[12] Eventually married Rodolphus Lestrange and became a devoted Death Eater. Killed by Molly Weasley in the Battle of Hogwarts.
Lucius Malfoy c. 1965 - 1972 Prefect and member of the Slug Club. Eventually married Narcissa Black and became second-in-command of the Death Eaters during the First Wizarding War, Chairman of the Hogwarts Board of Governors from 1981 to 1993, Advisor to the Minister for Magic from 1990 to 1996, and disgraced Death Eater throughout the Second Wizarding War. Defected during the Battle of Hogwarts.
Narcissa Black c. 1966 - 1973 Eventually married Lucius Malfoy and became an ally of the Death Eaters until her defection in Battle of Hogwarts.
Evan Rosier 1960s or 1970s Members of a gang inspired by the Dark Arts. Eventually became a duo of Death Eaters at the height of the First Wizarding War. Killed by Alastor Moody in 1980.
Avery Later became a Death Eater.
Mulciber Later became a Death Eater, specialising in the Imperius Curse, during the First Wizarding War.
Severus Snape 1971 - 1978 Brains of a gang inspired by the Dark Arts and member of the Slug Club. Eventually became a devoted Death Eater at the height of the First Wizarding War (until his last-minute defection), Head of Slytherin House and Potions Master of Hogwarts from 1981 to 1996, Professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts of Hogwarts during the 1996-1997 school year, Headmaster of Hogwarts for a majority of the 1997-1998 school year, and double agent within the Order of the Phoenix and Death Eaters throughout the Second Wizarding War. Murdered by Lord Voldemort's snake Nagini in the Battle of Hogwarts.
Regulus Black 1972 - 1979 Became Death Eater but defected and gave his life in an attempt to destroy one of the Horcruxes.
Mrs Snyde unknown A Dark witch who was inprisoned in Azkaban
Mr Snyde unknown a Dark wizard who was inprisoned in Azkaban
Duncan Ashe 1970s - 1980s Died during his school years and stayed at the school as a ghost
Felix Rosier 1980 - 1987 a Prefect; later became a Dragonologist
Ismelda Murk 1984 - ?
Liz Tuttle 1984 . ?
Barnaby Lee 1984 - ?
Merula Snyde 1984 - ?
Gemma Farley


1980s and 1990s A Prefect
Marcus Flint 1986 - 1994 Captain and Chaser of the Slytherin Quidditch team and he repeated a year.[13]
Lucian Bole 1988 - 1995 Beater for the Slytherin Quidditch team during the 1990s.
Peregrine Derrick
Cassius Warrington 1989 - 1996 Chaser of the Slytherin Quidditch team from 1993 to 1996; member of the Inquisitorial Squad.
Graham Montague Chaser of the Slytherin Quidditch team during the 1990s
Adrian Pucey Chaser of the Slytherin Quidditch team until 1993.
Flora Carrow


1990s Member of the Slug Club
Hestia Carrow


Miles Bletchley Keeper of the Slytherin Quidditch team from 1991 to 1995.
Terence Higgs Seeker of the Slytherin Quidditch team in the 1980s and 1990s.
Urquhart Captain and Chaser of the Slytherin Quidditch team during the 1996–1997 school year.
Vaisey Chaser of the Slytherin Quidditch team in 1996.
Sixth-Year Inquisitorial Squad Member c.1990 - 1997 Member of the Inquisitorial Squad.
Draco Malfoy 1991 - 1998 Prefect, Seeker for the Slytherin Quidditch team, member of the Inquisitorial Squad and later blackmailed by Lord Voldemort to become a Death Eater (defected). Eventually married Astoria Greengrass.
Vincent Crabbe Beater of the Slytherin Quidditch team from 1995 to 1997; member of the Inquisitorial Squad; became a Dark Wizard in his seventh year. Killed by his own Fiendfyre during the Battle of Hogwarts.
Gregory Goyle Beater of the Slytherin Quidditch team from 1995 to 1997; member of the Inquisitorial Squad; became a Dark Wizard in his seventh year.
Millicent Bulstrode Member of the Inquisitorial Squad
Pansy Parkinson Prefect and member of the Inquisitorial Squad.
Blaise Zabini Member of the Slug Club.
Daphne Greengrass Sister of Astoria Greengrass.
Theodore Nott Was supposed to be a member of the Slug Club.
Tracey Davis
Bridget 1992 - 1993 Duelling Club member
Harper 1992 - 1999 Reserve Seeker of the Slytherin Quidditch team in 1996.
Graham Pritchard 1994 - 2001
Mafalda A cousin of the Gryffindor Weasley family siblings.[15]
Malcolm Baddock
Albus Potter


2017 - 2024 The second son and child of the famous Harry Potter. The only member of his family to be sorted into Slytherin House.
Scorpius Malfoy


The only child and son of Draco and Astoria Malfoy.
Tabitha Bainbridge
Sadie Baldock
Tristram Bassenthwaite
Darius Berrow
Kinjal Bhatia
Cameron Boyle
Sebastian Daley
Damon Gosforth
Amrish Gupta
Niles Hanley
Manami Ichijoh
Sourav Kartik
Hirohisa Kubo
Gertrude Meads
Sylvia Melville
Byron Miller
Titus Mitcham
Garrick Newbourne
Ona Parangyo
Mildred Peebles
Horatio Pershore
Poonima Shah
Bhupen Shastri
Archana Shetty
Reiko Sibazaki
Norman Stacey
Atsushi Takagi
Spencer Whiddon
Phylis Whitehead


In many translations they have changed the name:

French Serpentard (from 'serpent' = 'snake' and the suffix -ard which gives it a pejorative consonance)
Norwegian Smygard
Finnish Luihuinen (taken from the adjective 'luihu' which means 'deceptive' or 'sneaky')
Dutch Zwadderich (taken form the old dutch noun ''zwadder'' which means snake poison)
Afrikaans Sibberin
Portuguese (Brazil) Sonserina (taken from "Sonso" a term to someone who pretends to be innocent or harmless)
Czech Zmijozel (taken from "Zmije" = viper snake)
Hungarian Mardekár (mar = bite (like snake), de kár = but it's a pity)
Russian Слизерин [Slizerin](Sleezerin - Слизь means slime), Слайзерин [Sluytherin], Пресмыкайс [Presmykais] (Пресмыкаться [Pryesmikat'sya] means to slither)
Bulgarian Слидерин [Sliderin]
Greek Σλίθεριν [Slitherin]
Serbian Слитерин/Sliterin
Slovak Slizolin
Romanian Viperini
Italian Serpeverde ("Green Serpent")
Albanian Gjarpërblertit (Green snake)
Slovenian Spolzgad
Hindi Nagshakti नगशक्ति (Sanskrit naga-shakti = "snake-power")
Macedonian Змијолик (Zmijolik, which means "Snakeface")
Welsh Slafenog
Traditional Chinese 史萊哲林 (Shi-lai-zhe-lin)
Simplied Chinese 斯莱特林 (Si-lai-te-lin)
Thai สลิธีริน (Sa-li-thee-rin)
Lithuanian Klastūnynas (taken from the noun 'klasta' meaning 'guile' or 'ruse'. Also could be translated as 'viper' or 'scoundrel'.)
The same name is used for the Arabic, Croatian, German, Hebrew, Swedish, Spanish, Danish, Turkish, Icelandic, Irish, Polish, Portuguese (Portugal), and Indonesia languages. Slytherin

Behind the scenes

Slytherin Banner (WBshop)

Slytherin Banner

Pottermore House Cup

  • Slytherin won the first house cup with 72,734,274 house points.
  • Slytherin came second for the second house cup with 48,495,275 points.
  • Slytherin won the third house cup with 26,990,924 points.
  • Slytherin came second for the fourth house cup with 24,865,387.
  • Slytherin came second for the fifth house cup with 27,795,479 points.
  • Slytherin came fourth for the sixth house cup with 31,926,625 points.
  • Slytherin won the seventh house cup with 52,652,850 points.
  • Slytherin came second for the eighth house cup with 26,564,159 points.


Screenshot 849

See also

Notes and references

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Hogwarts Houses
0.31 Gryffindor Crest Transparent
0.51 Hufflepuff Crest Transparent
0.41 Ravenclaw Crest Transparent
0.61 Slytherin Crest Transparent
Namesake Founders
Godric Gryffindor · Helga Hufflepuff · Rowena Ravenclaw · Salazar Slytherin
Heads of House
Minerva McGonagall · Pomona Sprout · Filius Flitwick · Horace Slughorn
House Ghosts
Nearly Headless Nick · Fat Friar · Grey Lady · Bloody Baron