I am a proud Slytherin, and while most people in the Potterhead community have come to accept Slytherins for their suave albeit sometimes crooked ways, I still come across people who look at me and deadpan, “But Slytherin is…”
Please, don’t say it, do not –
So today I’m compiling all evidence I can find to prove why Slytherins are not evil.
First, I just want to get a glaring detail out of the way. When someone tells me that Slytherin is evil, I usually respond with pointing out the fact that Hogwarts Houses are based on character or personality traits. Evil is not a character trait; no one is inherently evil. Evil is a decision, and one always has a choice. The only person I’d say who has evil imbued in their person is perhaps Voldemort, after he mangled his own soul to the point of physically being unable to feel remorse. But even at that, young Ton Riddle had the choice to not start making horcruxes. Riddle was not evil by nature; he was evil by decision.
“But all the Slytherins we meet in the books/movies are evil.”
Here’s a list of Slytherins who were good:
- Regulus Black, who stood up against Voldemort and protected his house elf, an act that most wizards of any house wouldn’t do.
- Horace Slughorn, who despite his several flaws fought in the Battle of Hogwarts against Voldemort and loved both Harry and Lily as students.
- Albus Potter. I can’t say that he was my favorite character, but he was ultimately a good person who just wanted to help the greater good and a father who had lost his son. And c’mon. A Potter in Slytherin – Harry’s son, no less!
- Scorpius Malfoy. I don’t care if you didn’t like the cursed child – you have to admit that Scorpius was an adorable little cinnamon roll and perhaps the best representation we have for Slytherin.
- While we’re talking about families, let’s throw in Draco Malfoy. Though he was a little jerk for the duration of most of the HP books, he does turn himself around in adulthood, and even marries a muggle born. Not to mention having the cinnamon roll above for a son. That kid had to have gotten some of that from somewhere.
- Narsissa Malfoy, who straight-up lied to the Dark Lord when he asked if Harry was dead. She defied Voldemort to protect her son. That takes guts.
- Severus Snape, who is quite the controversial character as to whether he was good or not – but in the end, he was on Dumbledore’s side.
- Flipping Merlin, the greatest wizard of all time, was in Slytherin according to Pottermore. Wizards still celebrate and revere him to this day.
- Nymphadora Tonk’s Mother, Andromeda, defied the Slytherin stereotype and married a muggle born. For some perspective, her sister was Bellatrix. (Not to mention that she was also a member of the Order of the Phoenix).
“But I bet you can’t name an evil person who wasn’t in Slytherin.”
- Wormtail. I mean, that one’s not even hard to find. He was even best friends with Harry’s dad.
- Quirrel. Literally had Voldemort on the back of his head. And maybe that happened initially by accident, but he could have told someone (maybe Dumbledore?) to get some help.
- Lockhart was in Ravenclaw. Though he wasn’t evil per say, I think we can all agree that he was not good representation for the house of Ravenclaw and more than a little egotistical.
“But Slytherins are all cowards.”
In the words of Horace Slughorn (paraphrasing): Slytherins are brave. We’re just not stupid. For example, if given the choice a Slytherin will always decide to save himself.
I personally think that Slytherins and Gryffindors actually have a lot more in common that most people think. (Not that Gryffindors are stupid. Well, except for Harry sometimes.) Both houses are very brave, but where a Gryffindor will choose to die for his friends, a Slytherin will choose to live to fight another day. And honestly, who can blame that? Why would I die in an effort to save the day, when I could flee and then come back when I’m stronger and actually succeed in saving the day?
I think that this quote also speaks to self care. There are instances where every other house would have the tendency to overextend themselves, where as Slytherin always knows when to say no.
Here’s the thing. Throughout the HP books, we are experiencing the wizarding world through Harry’s eyes. Really, we only get to see one or maybe a few more perspectives, and that of course makes for a biased view of the world. Which is all well and fine, but must be kept in mind when reading the books/watching the movies. Everyone is the hero of their own story – and in Harry’s case, because he was his own hero, anyone who was his enemy became the story’s enemy. Thus we get cases like Draco Malfoy, who is admittedly an annoying little jerk for most of the books. But I love to imagine what the books might have been like had we gotten to hear from other perspectives, Especially Draco around the time of books six and seven.
I think Slytherins are so fought over in regards to their moral compass for a few reasons:
- We’re not the typical heroes. Stark good vs. evil doesn’t appeal to us. We know people to be a mixture of both, because we ourselves are prime examples of life’s grey areas.
- Making people like us is not a priority. I don’t care if someone doesn’t like me, especially if I don’t know them. And I’m certainly not going to go out of my way to impress them with how good of a person I am. If they’re really worth my time, then they will take the time to get to know me in all my complexities before they pass judgement.
- Voldemort was a Slytherin. When the main villain was in your own house, it makes things just a bit awkward. Not to mention that Umbrage was also in my own house – I don’t care what you say, that woman was ten times worse than Voldemort.
And finally, some other things that I think are just cool about Slytherin House:
- We’re often considered charming and suave. I mean, I don’t know how accurate that is for me, but I like to believe it’s true.
- We make great friends, because we will always tell you how it is. No lying to make you feel better. And if I see that you are half killing yourself for people that aren’t worth it when you should be focusing on self-care, I will not hesitate to shut you down and make you take a day off.
- As the house of ambition, we’re super obsessed with perfection and efficiency. Want someone to give a good presentation that’s to-the-point? I’m your girl. Need to know the best way to get to a place? I’ll find it for you. Have a group project that needs to be done? Give me ten minutes at the reigns, and the group will be at our command. Seriously, find yourself a Slytherin who can get stuff done.
- We have a natural sense of elegance. Or at least, I like to think I do. I think that Slytherins are the classiest house. I mean, if you can make the dungeons look good, you’ve got some talent.
So there you have it. My position in defense of Slytherin. I come across so many times that I must explain to people why Slytherin – and there for myself – are not evil. So now I think I can more effectively explain myself, now that I have it all written out.
Of course, this is all in the spirit of fun. I love all the houses (even Gryffindor). In fact, half my family is Gryffindor, and the other half is Hufflepuff (and then there’s me…). I think that’s good for a Slytherin, to be surrounded by the more for-the-greater-good houses. Because if left to our own unfettered devices, we can admittedly get a bit too self-preoccupied. *cough* Just a bit. *cough*
As always, have a lovely day and I’ll see you again soon. 🙂