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Well, I have come to understand persons with the following traits will be usually be Sorted to Slytherin

  • Resourcefulness
  • Cunning
  • Ambition
  • Leadership Qualities
  • Self-Preservation
  • Determination
  • Cleverness
  • Fraternity
  • Power

On which trait(s) was Snape Sorted into Slytherin?

One more point: Lily Evans was Sorted before Snape, and when she was placed in Gryffindor, obviously Snape wanted to be in Gryffindor too, because Lily is his only friend.

So why is he Sorted into Slytherin? Is there a stronger reason for the Sorting Hat to override his preference and Sort him into Slytherin?

marked as duplicate by alexwlchan harry-potter Dec 31 '15 at 12:44

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • How can you know that Snape had to have wanted to be in Gryffindor with Lily? – AJL Aug 1 '15 at 15:54
  • I would say he showed all of the qualities you listed except maybe fraternity. Did he still want to be in Slytherin is an interesting question! – ThruGog Aug 1 '15 at 16:36
  • Remember that on the train, Snape tells Lily, “You’d better be in Slytherin”. I think his choice of house was decided long before Lily’s sorting. – alexwlchan Aug 1 '15 at 17:19
  • 1
    I consulted several users before closing this question as a duplicate. The reason it has been closed as a duplicate is because, no matter which house, the Sorting Hat makes its choice of house for a new student based on attributes it sees the student as possessing. So the answer to Why was Snape Sorted to Slytherin and Why was Pettigrew Sorted to Gryffindor is the same: the Sorting Hat saw the attributes of a given house in each boy and Sorted them accordingly. And, per J.K. Rowling, the Sorting Hat is never wrong. :) – Slytherincess Aug 1 '15 at 19:45
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    And as a side note ... Snape didn't wince and show disappointment at Lily being Sorted to Gryffindor because he himself wanted to be in Gryffindor. No, he wanted Lily to be in Slytherin with him. Snape was always clear in the books that Slytherin was his house of choice. He even grew up to be Head of House for Slytherin. So, yeah, he was committed. It was Dumbledore who said, in reference to Snape, "I think sometimes we Sort too soon ..." :) – Slytherincess Aug 1 '15 at 19:55

(warning - massive spoilers ahead - read at own risk)

I would rather say - he's a match on almost all of them.

Going one by one:

  • Resourcefulness - he's quite resourceful in all his roles - potions teacher, head of Slytherin and double agent.
  • Cunning - Snape is incredible at that! He's the only person who managed to fool Voldemort while being a double agent all the time. He even managed to fool the Order of the Phoenix that he's a traitor
  • Ambition - while he has not lust for power he has certain goals and works on them. For example he always wanted the DADA teacher position and finally got them. Also he wanted Voldemort defeated and managed to contribute to this even from the grave.
  • Leadership Qualities - he was head of the Slytherin house which won the cup of the houses six time in a row before Harry entered Hogwarts. This requires some great leadership from the house head too.
  • Self-Preservation - he definitely fails on this one but this applies for the years after Lily's death where he only cares about saving Harry. While in the school he shows some self-preservation like immediately drawing his wand when he meets James Potter and Co.
  • Determination - I don't remember him giving up on his goals - saving Harry and defeating Voldemort even in the face of death.
  • Cleverness - considering the feats that he accomplished - he's quite clever
  • Fraternity - an obvious fail - he was a lone wolf. Still this again applies to his later years. He joined the deatheaters so he must have had such a quality. The death of Lily obviously changed this.
  • Power - he was quite an accomplished wizard if this counts as "power". He had no direct lust for power since the only things he cared about was to defeat Voldemort and save Harry.

So he is almost an exact match. He would be an good match for Ravenclaw and Gryffindor too but he despised the latter. I don't think that even with Lily in Gryffindor he would want to be sorted there.

A more interesting question would be - why would Snape want to join Slytherin at all. One explanation would be that Slytherin seems to be kind of aristocracy-oriented house while his family was poor. So for him being in Slytherin might look like joining the club of the rich/important guys.

  • 1
    You should compare the 11 year old Snape with these qualities, not the 38 one. – axelonet Aug 3 '15 at 0:27
  • @AdityaBlaze the Sorting Hat determines the potential of the kid, not its current traits. For example Wormtail was sorted in Gryffindor but turned out to be cowardly and traitorous. – vap78 Aug 5 '15 at 6:29

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