The Slytherin family was a pure-blood family with several notable members, particularly Salazar Slytherin, one of the four original founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, who lived over one-thousand years ago and is the earliest known member of Slytherin house.
Not much is known about this family, but it is possible that they, like their relations, the Gaunts, and several other pure-blood families, had a tendency of marrying their cousins to keep their blood pure and to retain the traits of their ancestors (most notably, the ability to speak Parseltongue). Many Dark wizards and witches came from this family, including Salazar Slytherin himself, and Lord Voldemort, whose death on 2 May, 1998 marked the end of the line.
The Slytherin family was a prominent one in the wizarding world, as demonstrated by their famous ancestor, although over time their gene pool became unstable due to a habit of inbreeding. They slowly squandered their wealth, which was completely non-existent by the time their last descendants, the House of Gaunt, came to be.
By the early twentieth century, when the family was extinct in the male line, Marvolo Gaunt, one of the last direct descendants, had only two children, Merope and her brother Morfin. While Morfin regularly used magic to terrorize Muggles and spoke almost exclusively in Parseltongue, his sister exhibited no dark qualities and was in fact so traumatized by emotional abuse inflicted upon her by her father and brother, that she was barely able to use magic and often presumed to be a squib.
Merope later ended the pure-blood line of her family by marrying a Muggle from a nearby town, Little Hangleton, and having a half-blood son, Tom Riddle, who later became the infamous Dark Wizard, Lord Voldemort. The female line of the Slytherin family continued for several years, ending with the death of Riddle, who neither produced any children or had any known siblings or cousins.
Professor Salazar Slytherin was a great wizard of Medieval times. He was a Parselmouth (a wizard with the rare ability to speak with snakes), and skilled at Legilimency. Salazar was one of the four founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As he didn't trust Muggle-born students, he expressed his opinion against accepting them at Hogwarts. However, when the other founders didn't agree, Slytherin left the school and did not return. It is unknown when he died. Salazar Slytherin's portrait still remains at Hogwarts.
Tom was born to Tom Riddle Sr., a wealthy Muggle who abandoned his wife and unborn child, and Merope Gaunt, a pure-blood witch descended from Salazar Slytherin who died shortly after childbirth. Riddle died by the conclusion of the Battle of Hogwarts at age 71, which led to the Slytherin family, as well as the Riddle family and Gaunt family, to become extinct.
The Slytherin family, like many of the pure-blood families, had some relation to many other families in the wizarding world. The Peverells, Gaunts, Blacks, Malfoys, Potters, Weasleys, Prewetts, and other families are all linked to one another through bloodlines and intermarriage.
The only known direct descendants from Salazar Slytherin were the Gaunts, who for the most part shared their ancestor's beliefs in the purity of wizard blood. They also spoke in Parseltongue between themselves. Tom Marvolo Riddle was the last descendant of the Gaunt family and spoke Parseltongue as well.
The Gaunt family was also descended from the Peverells, although it is unknown if one of the two infamous bloodlines preceded the other or if they simply merged at some prior point.
Slytherin family tree
Cadmus Peverell Salazar Slytherin | | | | -------------------------------- | | Corvinus Gaunt | | Marvolo Gaunt | --------------------- | | Morfin Gaunt Merope Gaunt + Tom Riddle Sr. | Tom Marvolo Riddle (Lord Voldemort)
The family held onto Salazar Slytherin's Locket for many generations, and in later years Marvolo Gaunt was in possession of a signet ring passed on from his Peverell ancestors. However, the locket left the family when Merope sold it to Borgin and Burkes in order to support herself while she was pregnant. It later came into the possession of Hepzibah Smith, whom a teenage Tom Marvolo Riddle killed and stole the locket from. Riddle eventually turned both artefacts into horcruxes; the locket was stolen from its hiding place by Regulus Black and later destroyed by Ron Weasley, while the ring was destroyed by Albus Dumbledore with Godric Gryffindor's Sword. The ring also contained the Resurrection Stone.
Slytherin may refer to the words "sly" as well as "slithering", which is the form of locomotion of snakes, possibly referring to their rare ability to talk to snakes called parseltongue.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (First identified as Slytherin family)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- Wizard of the Month