In Rowling Web Chat Transcript, after someone asks her whether Harry is still a parselmouth, J.K. Rowling states that

No, he loses the ability, and is very glad to do so.

In his whole life, Harry Potter used his ability to talk to snakes only twice, the first one at the zoo (I always thought Harry actually liked that snake and talking to it) and the second one to save Justin Finch-Fletchley. He also uses his ability to understand Parseltongue to stop the basilisk killing people and Tom Riddle.

Thus I don't understand why Harry felt glad when he lost his ability. I would feel pretty sad actually.

  • 5
    He also uses it when talking to Bathini (Nagilda?) in Deathly Hallows, and indirectly when opening the Chamber of Secrets. (And where does he stop the basilisk from killing Tom Riddle?!?) Jul 9, 2016 at 12:42
  • Sorry about my English, I meant to stop the basilisk which kills people and to stop Tom Riddle.
    – Levent
    Jul 9, 2016 at 14:46
  • 1
    @JanusBahsJacquet +1 for Bathini/Nagilda.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jul 9, 2016 at 18:12

3 Answers 3


Because the ability to speak Parseltongue is seen as evil.

  • "Hannah, he’s a Parselmouth. Everyone knows that’s the mark of a Dark Wizard. Have you ever heard of a decent one who could talk to snakes? They called Slytherin himself Serpent-tongue."

    -- Ernie Macmillan, HP and the Chamber of Secrets

  • "The boy can talk to snakes, Dumbledore, and you still think he's trustworthy?"

    -- Cornelius Fudge, HP and the Goblet of Fire

Who wouldn't be glad to be rid of that kind of reputation, however unearned it might be in his particular case? Parseltongue is associated with Dark Magic, and in Harry's particular case it's associated with his connection to one of the most evil and powerful Dark Wizards ever to have lived. Losing his ability to speak to snakes was a palpable sign that he'd lost his connection with Voldemort, which must have been very welcome indeed.

  • 6
    I wouldn't want to lose a part of myself just because others are bigots. There's a thing we call that type of mentality. I think the better answer is the second part, it's the connection with volemort, not so much that he's happy to not be able to do something any more.
    – Durakken
    Jul 9, 2016 at 11:43
  • 4
    Just because you wouldn't want to, doesn't mean no one would. Even if you have a bad word for that mentality. I would suspect both parts of the answer are valid, even if the Voldemort connection seems moreso. Jul 9, 2016 at 15:06
  • 6
    I think this is the sort of thing that would just backfire. you lose the benefit of actually being able to talk to snakes, but that doesn't mean you lose the reputation. however, I don't think the reputation even matters to begin with. by the end of DH he is a renowned hero, the chosen one who "single-handedly" took down voldemort. anyone claiming "he's a fishy dark wizard because he can talk to snakes" would just be scoffed at, surely. to me it seems like a pure loss.
    – sara
    Jul 9, 2016 at 16:05
  • @kai Yup. There are lots of things that people think make me "evil" and "fishy" and I wouldn't change them or hide that about me and while sometimes I think it would be easier not to be or think that, I'd never willingly allow myself to have these traits removed. Instead, it should be that me being that which is perceived to be evil wrongly and me not being evil should change the opinion of others that that thing makes one innately evil.
    – Durakken
    Jul 9, 2016 at 16:45
  • 5
    I can see the point about wanting to get rid of any ties to voldemort though. after all, the whole thing came from sharing a part of voldemort's soul, and wanting to be rid of that is pretty understandable.
    – sara
    Jul 9, 2016 at 17:20

It meant no part of Voldemort’s soul is in him.

Harry is likely glad to lose the ability to speak Parseltongue since it was caused by a piece of Voldemort’s soul in him.

“Part of Lord Voldemort lives inside Harry, and it is that which gives him the power of speech with snakes, and a connection with Lord Voldemort’s mind that he has never understood. And while that fragment of soul, unmissed by Voldemort, remains attached to, and protected by Harry, Lord Voldemort cannot die.”
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 33 (The Prince’s Tale)

Losing the ability to speak Parseltongue meant he no longer had a piece of Voldemort’s soul in him.


The scar, the pain it causes sometimes, the bad dreams and the little trips inside Voldemort's mind, and the ability to talk to snakes are all quite unpleasant things in themselves to live with.

“He’s a Parselmouth. Everyone knows that’s the mark of a Dark wizard. Have you ever heard of a decent one who could talk to snakes? They called Slytherin himself Serpent-tongue."
(Chamber of secrets, Chapter 11, The Duelling Club)

Harry lay flat on his back, breathing hard as though he had been running. He had awoken from a vivid dream with his hands pressed over his face. The old scar on his forehead, which was shaped like a bolt of lightning, was burning beneath his fingers as though someone had just pressed a white-hot wire to his skin.
(Goblet of Fire, Chapter 2, The scar)

And as he thought this, the scar on his forehead burned so badly that he clapped his hand to it.
“What’s up?” said Hermione, looking alarmed.
“Scar,” Harry mumbled. “But it’s nothing...It happens all the time now...”
(Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 9, The Woes of Mrs Weasley)

His restless night was punctuated once more by dreams of long corridors and locked doors, and he awoke next day with his scar prickling again. (Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 15, The Hogwarts High Inquisitor)

He looked around at the others. They were all staring at him, the strings still trailing from their ears, looking suddenly fearful.
(Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 22, St Mungo's Hospital)

He felt dirty, contaminated, as though he were carrying some deadly germ, unworthy to sit on the underground train back from the hospital with innocent, clean people whose minds and bodies were free of the taint of Voldemort...
(Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 23, Christmas on the Closed Ward)

But, most importantly, the scar, the pain it causes sometimes, the bad dreams and the little trips inside Voldemort's mind, and the ability to talk to snakes are all symptoms of the fact that Harry has in him a part of someone else.

That's something already quite unpleasing in itself if you ask me, but it turns out that "someone else" is also the darkest wizard of the time, the guy who killed his parents and who tries repeatedly to kill him.

Oh, and his god-father and many of his friends also died because of this "someone else" (and for Sirius, almost directly because of that stranger part of soul being in him).

“You can speak Parseltongue, Harry,” said Dumbledore calmly, “because Lord Voldemort — who is the last remaining descendant of Salazar Slytherin — can speak Parseltongue. Unless I’m much mistaken, he transferred some of his own powers to you the night he gave you that scar. Not something he intended to do, I’m sure...”
“Voldemort put a bit of himself in me?” Harry said, thunderstruck.
“It certainly seems so.”
(Chamber of secrets, Chapter 18, Dobby’s reward)

I guess what I'm trying to say is that Harry does not like Voldemort, and has every reason to very much dislike hosting a part of him.

And so, it's completey normal that he's perfectly happy to be rid of this burden and to only host his own soul.

I think it explains why Harry is happy to be rid of each of these symptoms, including the Parseltongue thing.

The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well.
(Deathly Hallows, Chapter 37, Epilogue - Ninteeen years later)

Little disgression as a PS:
The only thing he loves that links him to Voldemort is his wand... but well he lived so much with it, and this wand has helped him so much, including when fighting against Voldemort.. I think the "this wand links me to Fawkes and Dumbledore" winning over the "this wand links me to Voldemort" is really well deserved.

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