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"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, and is traditionally home to students who exhibit such traits as cunning, resourcefulness and ambition. Its emblematic animal is the snake and its colours are green and silver. The house ghost is the Bloody Baron. Founded by Salazar Slytherin, the house is composed mostly of pure-blood students, due to its founder's mistrust of Muggle-born witches and wizards. Slytherin house has a negative reputation, with many claiming that it is the source of most Dark Wizards in Britain, notably Tom Marvolo Riddle, a.k.a. Lord Voldemort, as well as many of his Death Eaters (followers). It has a traditional rivalry with Gryffindor.

Slytherin corresponds roughly with the element of water.[7]

Traits and values

Personality

"You could be great, you know, and Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, no doubt about that."
—The Sorting Hat to Harry Potter[src]

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 chose 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.

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 claims on Slytherin's views.[src]
Sada2

Slytherin's founder, Salazar Slytherin

The Sorting Hat claims that blood purity, is a factor in selecting Slytherins. This suggests that it bases its decisions more upon the views of its members than on any accurate test of a student's lineage. 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 Marvolo Riddle and Severus Snape. Harry Potter was nearly sorted into Slytherin, but 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, including the Weasley family, Sirius Black, Neville Longbottom, and James Potter I all being sorted into Gryffindor house, Ernie Macmillan being sorted into Hufflepuff, and Morag MacDougal and Stephen Cornfoot being sorted into Ravenclaw.

Contrary to the wishes of the other founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Salazar Slytherin wanted a stricter policy of admission to the school —one limited strictly to pure-blood students. The controversy this created apparently led to him leaving the school and the Chamber of Secrets behind. A millennium later, the house's students are still considered affiliated with Salazar's reputed views, and open expression of pro-blood purity sentiment does seem to be more common in Slytherin than in other Houses.

This disagreement over blood purity, which caused Salazar Slytherin's friendship with Godric Gryffindor to break, is the origin of the feud between Slytherin and Gryffindor, the two most competitive of the houses. Slytherin and Gryffindor are generally rivals in Quidditch and for the House Cup, 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 common for them to share animosity. This was particularly the case during the First and Second Wizarding Wars. During the latter conflict, no Slytherin students joined an association known as Dumbledore's Army; however, this could be explained by the fact that only those Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, and Harry Potter trusted were invited. Some Slytherins declined to defend their school in the Battle of Hogwarts, with some joining the Death Eaters. However, there are exceptions, such as Slytherin Severus Snape and Gryffindor Lily Evans, who were best friends until Snape's use of the slur "Mudblood" and his aspirations to be a Death Eater caused Lily to sever their ties.

Reputation

BaronHP

House ghost, The Bloody Baron

"There's not a single witch or wizard who went bad who wasn't in Slytherin."
Ron Weasley to Harry Potter[src]

It is said that all Dark Wizards were in Slytherin (though it is untrue, as Peter Pettigrew was a Gryffindor and Quirinus Quirrell was a Ravenclaw), though how many were from this house before Tom Marvolo Riddle began recruiting Death Eaters there is unstated. As Slytherin was his own House, it was certainly most easy for him to recruit there.

It might also be possible (though unlikely) that the Sorting Hat simply sorts anyone with ill intentions into Slytherin, regardless of whether they possess cunning and ambition. Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle were both incredibly stupid and did not have that clever, cunning mind, but were still sorted into Slytherin.

However, it must be noted that Slytherins who oppose use of the Dark Arts and discrimination based on blood purity do exist, such as Horace Slughorn and Andromeda Tonks; the latter was related to many different Dark wizards and witches (most notably her sister Bellatrix Lestrange, her brother-in-law Lucius Malfoy, and her nephew Draco Malfoy), but chose to forsake the loyalty to her family in marrying the Muggle-born Ted Tonks. Also, the allegiance of Severus Snape was found to be ultimately towards Albus Dumbledore, serving as a triple agent for the Order of the Phoenix. Furthermore, there have been Dark wizards from other houses; Peter Pettigrew, who betrayed James and Lily Potter to Voldemort, was a Gryffindor.

Serpentard

The Slytherin Dungeon.

Cunning and ambition are easily turned towards ill purposes, but are not inherently negative; furthermore, daring, intelligence, and loyalty can as easily become negative. A reason Slytherins may be thought less of by people is perhaps because many of them seem to value their own lives more than the lives of others. When Harry was trying to run away, because he was afraid that his presence was putting his friends in danger, Phineas Nigellus saw him and said, "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.

Slytherinbg1600x1200

Slytherin common room

The truth is that while most Dark wizards are Slytherins, most Slytherins are not Dark, and 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 the Hogsmeade reinforcements to join the fight against Voldemort and his Death Eaters; Furthermore, it should be noted that the acting head at the time ordered the entire house to leave due to a single Slytherin student suggesting the student body hand Harry Potter to Voldemort (although none of the Slytherins present moved to defend Harry from the suggestion, as the other three houses did).[10]

Common room

Main article: Slytherin Dungeon

The Slytherin common room is found in the dungeons of Hogwarts Castle, and is located underneath the Black Lake. Because of its location, 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.

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, 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, or at least did not assign any Death Eaters as a new head of house.

List of known Slytherins

Slytherin Period Attending Hogwarts Notes
The Bloody Baron[11] Founder's time Later became the house ghost.
Merlin

[5]

Medieval era Member of King Arthur's court, advocate of Muggle rights, and arguably the most famous wizard in history.
Elizabeth Burke Unknown Has her portrait hanging at Hogwarts, and tells Slytherins to be "Nasty to Mudbloods".
Phineas Nigellus Black Unknown, possibly 19th century In later years he was a Headmaster, his portrait hangs in the Headmaster's office.
The Black family   Except Sirius Black
Horace Slughorn Unknown Later became Potions teacher and Head of Slytherin.
Tom Marvolo Riddle/Lord Voldemort 1938 - 1945 Later became the most powerful Dark Wizard in history. Finally defeated by Harry Potter during the Battle of Hogwarts.
Avery Later became one of the first Death Eaters.
Dolores Umbridge

[6]

Unknown Later became Senior Undersecretary to the Minister for Magic, Defence Against the Dark Arts Porfessor, Hogwarts High Inquisitor, Headmistress of Hogwarts (1996), and Head of the Muggle-Born Registration Commission. Imprisoned for her crimes against Muggle-borns.
Rodolphus Lestrange 1960s Later became a very loyal Death Eater.
Bellatrix Lestrange née Black 1962 - 1970[12] Later became one of Lord Voldemort's most loyal Death Eaters. Killed by Molly Weasley during the Battle of Hogwarts.
Lucius Malfoy 1965 - 1972 Prefect; later became a Death Eater (defected).
Narcissa Malfoy née Black 1966 - 1973  
Evan Rosier 1960s or 1970s Became a Death Eater. Killed by Alastor Moody.
Rabastan Lestrange Later became a very loyal Death Eater.
Avery Later became a Death Eater
Severus Snape 1971 - 1978 Became Death Eater, but defected to the Order of the Phoenix; later Potions master and Head of Slytherin, and became Headmaster for one year. Killed by Lord Voldemort during 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.
Gemma Farley

[5]

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
C. 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 1990s Chaser of the Slytherin Quidditch team until 1993.
Flora Carrow

[14]

Member of the Slug Club.
Hestia Carrow

[14]

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.
Blaise Zabini 1991 - 1998 Member of the Slug Club.
Daphne Greengrass Sister of Astoria Greengrass.
Draco Malfoy Prefect, Seeker for the Slytherin Quidditch team, member of the Inquisitorial Squad and later blackmailed by Lord Voldemort to become a Death Eater (defected).
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.
Theodore Nott Was supposed to be a member of the Slug Club.
Tracey Davis  
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.
Bridget 1992 - 1993 Duelling Club member.
Peter
Rachel
Roy
Harper 1992 - 1999 Reserve Seeker of the Slytherin Quidditch team in 1996.
Graham Pritchard 1994 - 2001  
Mafalda The infamous cousin of the Weasley family who was cut from the books.[15]
Malcolm Baddock
Tabitha Bainbridge
Sadie Baldock
Tristram Bassenthwaite
Darius Berrow
Kinjal Bhatia
Cameron Boyle
Sebastian Daley
Damon Gosforth
Amrish Gupta
Manami Ichijoh
Sourav Kartik
Gertrude Meads
Sylvia Melville
Byron Miller
Titus Mitcham
Garrick Newbourne
Ona Parangyo
Mildred Peebles
Poonima Shah
Bhupen Shastri
Archana Shetty
Reiko Sibazaki
Norman Stacey
Atsushi Takagi
Spencer Whiddon
Phylis Whitehead

Translations of the name

In many translations they have changed the name:

French Serpentard
Norwegian Smygard
Finnish Luihuinen (taken from the adjective 'luihu' which means 'deceptive' or 'sneaky')
Dutch Zwadderich
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
Russian Слизерин [Slizerin](Sleezerin - Слизь means slime), Слайзерин [Sluytherin], Пресмыкайс [Presmykais] (Пресмыкаться 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-ability")
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)
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

See also

Notes and references


Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Hogwarts Houses:
G final H final R final S final
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

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