When I think Christmas, I think mainly of the colors red and green. The two colors couldn’t clash more, don’t you think? Well, they aren’t the only ones constantly clashing: Gryffindors and Slytherins have a notorious rivalry that goes back to the time of Hogwarts’ founders. In short, Salazar Slytherin felt that his work and ideas were unappreciated at Hogwarts, so he left, leaving behind his legacy in Slytherin House (as well as a giant snake in a totally awesome, underground lair, but that’s besides the point). Slytherin House has the worst reputation of all the Houses; most notably, Rebeus Hagrid once said, “There’s not a single witch or wizard who went bad who wasn’t in Slytherin”. I, as a Slytherin, feel pretty offended when people tell me I “don’t seem like a bad person” or that I was “Sorted wrong”; I’m a Slytherin and proud of it. In fact, I felt so strongly about this topic that I decided to write an example essay about how Slytherin doesn’t deserve the prejudice it receives. I’ll just glance over the main points and summarize them here.
- Severus Snape – Though this is probably overkill to Potterheads worldwide, I still thought it would be useful to first present Snape as my example that not all Slytherins are bad. Snape is arguably one of the more well-known Slytherins (besides Slytherin himself and of course, Draco Malfoy) and his selfless actions out of love for Lily demonstrates a loyalty that rivals that of Hufflepuff. Sure House qualities ring true in most cases, but that doesn’t mean that witches and wizards can’t have the qualities of another House. Realistically, a person is a blend of House qualities, but the ones that we aspire to be the most determine our House.
- Draco Malfoy – Another classical example of Slytherins not being the full-fledged villains straight from moment they’re born. Many people may think that Malfoy is pure malice, but in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, it’s actually really heartbreaking to see Malfoy breaking down. Malfoy was a bratty bigot in his first few years at Hogwarts, but people change, and we see Malfoy go from a pompous little rascal to a broken teenager. I don’t know of many students at Hogwarts who could even handle the pressure Malfoy had to endure during his 6th year. If he didn’t kill Dumbledore, he and his parents would have to pay for his failure. Malfoy, when at last confronting Dumbledore, is more bent to save himself and his family more than anything. He doesn’t want to kill Dumbledore or serve Lord Voldemort anymore; his eyes showed not evil, but desperation.
- Qualities of Slytherin – “Cleverness, resourcefulness, power, ambition, self-preservation, determination, cunning”; Contrary to popular belief, we don’t value talent in the Dark Arts and sadistic tendencies.
- Relationship with Other Houses – We’re sworn rivals with Gryffindor, but rivals doesn’t mean “archenemies”. If they’re willing to get along, we wouldn’t have a problem with Gryffindors. The “self-preservation” thing doesn’t bode well with the Gryffindors’ bravery and self-sacrifice, but I’m sure it won’t be a big deal in the great scheme of things. Our relationship with the Ravenclaws is pretty good I’d say; Ravenclaws make totally rational decisions, which we have a huge understanding for. Despite what people think, Hufflepuff’s work ethic and loyalty is impressive to us; we try not to work hard when we don’t need to, but their dedication to their cause is plenty admirable. However, it’s hard to get along with people if all they do is give you furtive glances and avoid you like the plague.
I ended my essay with this sentiment:
“Sometimes, I think we sort too soon.” I agree with Dumbledore; sometimes, we too soon, sort people into stereotypes and hasty generalizations, the “Houses” of the muggle world, but perhaps it’s not that we’re sorting too soon, but that we limit what a House means and fail to acknowledge the capability of an individual, regardless of House.
– March Hare
Credits to juliooliveiraa on Flickr for the photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/78865207@N05/