123

Your House can represent traits you value, not necessarily have. This is a good explanation for all the Sortings that that don't seem to match up with the student's traits. Peter Pettigrew could have been a Gryffindor because he wanted to be brave, not because he was. Although he did develop courage later on, unlike Pettigrew, the same thing could be said ...


109

Let's have a shout out for Slytherin House! Several great examples have already been given regarding Slytherins that aren't one-dimensional evil villains. Under the spoilers tag is the Slytherin welcome letter from Pottermore (and note that Pottermore is still in beta, so you can only access it if you have a beta account -- some here might, some might not), ...


104

The Dark Lord himself might have said he was in Slytherin. When the Dark Lord was at the height of his power, though he might not have wanted to talk much about his father or Muggle heritage, he was proud to be the descendant of Salazar Slytherin. He had been even as Tom Riddle, and though he wanted to be rid of his father’s name, he was quite proud of his ...


91

Harry was opposed to becoming a Slytherin for three primary reasons; His visceral dislike of Draco Malfoy The fact that he receives a very negative impression of Slytherin from his newfound friends; a former Gryffindor (Hagrid), two current Gryffindors, (Ron's older brothers) and a would-be Gryffindor (Ron) The fact that the man who murdered his parents was ...


85

As you have not read the books, the following conversation happens between Harry and Ron in the train compartment: "What house are your brothers in?" asked Harry. "Gryffindor," said Ron. Gloom seemed to be settling on him again. "Mom and Dad were in it, too. I don't know what they'll say if I'm not. I don't suppose Ravenclaw would be too bad, but ...


66

1) They kept size over skill because it was very effective for them in the past, and it seemed to beat most other teams even in the present. The Slytherin team was often in contention for the cup, even while Harry was at school. It also has a precedent in the real world - eg Alabama's football team. Let's look at the results of Slytherin that we know outside ...


65

Not every member of the Slytherin house has gone bad and neither has every bad wizard been in Slytherin. For instance: Here’s a little-known fact that the other three houses don’t bring up much: Merlin was a Slytherin. Yes, Merlin himself, the most famous wizard in history! He learned all he knew in this very house! Quote from Pottermore, Slytherin ...


63

I don't think we can exclude the possibility that Ron - and more-or-less everyone, actually - simply assumed that he was in Slytherin. It obviously has a reputation for generating villains. Recall this statement: "‘Better Hufflepuff than Slytherin,’ said Hagrid darkly. ‘There’s not a single witch or wizard who went bad who wasn’t in Slytherin. You-Know-...


57

I think the main issue is ironically, not Marcus Flint as captain, but Malfoy. There is something that you are overlooking in your base assumptions, which is that, while Slytherin have been losing to Gryffindor, they have been doing very well against other teams. Year 1 - Despite losing to Harry (winning the match with a catch, though the team itself was ...


50

No, there is no evidence for him ever using Dark Arts, or for him using any Unforgivable Curses (which really should be termed "We'd-Really-Rather-You-Didn't" Curses, given their frequency of use and general lack of punishment). Salazar was a Parseltounge, a bigot, and quick to anger. This might make him a bad person (at least the second two might), but ...


47

The Slytherins came back and fought against Voldemort in the final battle, with Horace Slughorn leading the charge! JN: And how much is it that being sorted into Slytherin is, you know, sorted into good guys and bad guys here? JKR: Well, they’re not all bad, that would- I know I’ve said this before, (JN: Yeah, I remember.) and I think I said it to ...


46

Quidditch practice keeps the school's worst troublemakers busy and tired. It's a subtle tool for maintaining order at Hogwarts by enlisting the students' unknowing aid in their own policing. The benefits of this unspoken policy are made particularly evident in Order of the Phoenix when Umbridge bans Fred and George from the Gryffindor team. Snape is ...


40

That's not entirely true. It's just that the less-bright kids who end up in the other 3 houses try to make up for it somehow, so you don't think of them that way. You think of them as "hard-working", or "diligent". Let's do our own sorting here... Say you've got a kid who's not too bright, and doesn't like learning for its own sake. We know right off the ...


39

There are definitely examples of non-evil Slytherins (Such as Nymphadora Tonks' mother Andromeda Black, who married muggleborn Ted Tonks and later raised Lupin and Tonks' son; or Professor Slughorn), as well as complicated ones (RAB/Regulus Black, Severus Snape). As a matter of fact, there's pretty much no evidence that Salazar Slytherin himself (the ...


33

Yes, Herpo the Foul is a Parselmouth who pre-dates Slytherin. From Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (emphasis mine): The first recorded Basilisk was bred by Herpo the Foul, a Greek Dark wizard and Parselmouth, who discovered after much experimentation that a chicken egg hatched beneath a toad would produce a gigantic serpent of extraordinarily ...


32

Most of Slytherin fought alongside Voldemort. Slughorn fought on the Hogwarts side. Draco Malfoy, after ambushing Harry in the room of requirement, seems not to really have fought; it seems his parents were more or less with Voldemort but didn't actually fight. I think we all know about Snape. I don't believe we get any more info about the rest, so I'd ...


32

‘Dark wizard’ usually means ‘evil wizard who uses Dark magic’. Everyone described in the books as a Dark wizard is also considered an “evil” wizard. Though the term “Dark wizard” is often used in abstract to describe unnamed threats or wizards who engage in certain practices like creating Inferi or Horcruxes, the two named wizards who are specifically ...


29

The Sorting Hat was picking up on the Dark Lord’s soul in Harry. It’s hinted that the reason that the Sorting Hat was considering putting Harry in Slytherin was because of the piece of Lord Voldemort left inside of him. “You can speak Parseltongue, Harry,’ said Dumbledore calmly, ‘because Lord Voldemort – who is the last remaining descendant of Salazar ...


27

Because Slytherin is the House you're Sorted into when you desire power, and - other than Lily - that's what Snape wanted the most. At the age of eleven there's no reason to believe he didn't have the same need to be powerful, and the same desire to be feared or respected, that he displayed a few years later as a teenager at Hogwarts when he began hanging ...


26

Information on Salazar Slytherin and the Chamber of Secrets can be found at Pottermore; I've taken screenshots for those without a Pottermore account, which are here and here. Salazar Slytherin was indeed a Dark Wizard. This is my interpretation of Slytherin, based on the following information provided by J.K. Rowling, as cited above. Slytherin built the ...


26

Since the other answers only mention bad non-Slytherins in passing, I'll contribute to the defense of my house with a few examples of evil outside Slytherin (possible spoilers): Gilderoy Lockhart - Wiped the memories of many incredible people in order to take credit for all their achievements, and thus composed a corpus of lies as his biography. Also a ...


24

Merope DID give some information to the orphanage. Enough, as it turns out. From Half-Blood Prince: “Did she say anything before she died?” asked Dumbledore. “Anything about the boy’s father, for instance?” “Now, as it happens, she did,” said Mrs. Cole, who seemed to be rather enjoying herself now, with the gin in her hand and an eager audience ...


21

Speaking from the point of view of someone who participates in a physical contact dependent ball sport. When skilled players are lacking, do not underestimate the advantage of shear brute strength in a player. Both for intimidation and for the ability to move the ball rapidly down the field. Often successful amateur teams concentrate on the current squad ...


21

The problem isn't the Slytherin team, it's being up against Harry. The Slytherin Quidditch team is actually fairly good in general, either despite or because of their brutal tactics. The problem, quite simply put, is Harry messed it all up for them. Before Harry: The Gryffindor team isn't good and lost heavily to Slytherin at least once. Once she sees how ...


20

Hagrid tells Harry some things about the Houses and he states that Slytherin is the worst of all. So the person that tells him he's a wizard, really cares about him and all that, his first friend, tells him it's the worst house therefore Harry did surely not want to become a member of the house this person thinks is the worst. Also when on the Hogwarts ...


20

In addition to @Bellatrix's comprehensive answer, inbreeding also plays a role. Most Slytherins are pureblood supremacists and elitists, so they prefer to marry with other pure-bloods from a select few influential families, narrowing their gene pool. While not all Slytherins end up having severely inbred children, their racist and elitist ideology allows/...


18

Destiny for greatness Because you know what Salazar Slytherin looked for in his chosen students? The seeds of greatness (Pottermore) Harry was destined for greatness. Both in-universe (by the time of Sorting, he was told so by Ollivander upon picking the voldemort-phoenix wand). And fourth-wall, as we know he ended up ending Riddle in the end and ...


17

I think it was stated in the second book that Tom Riddle was the only living direct descendant of Salazar. Quote from "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" : "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 ...


17

While just a fanfic, Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality gave a surprisingly good explanation that I like as headcanon. As we know from canon, the Sorting Hat sorts people based off of not just the quality they most aspire/demonstrate, but also what they personally want, so they don't end up in a house they are unhappy with. The problem is that ...


15

Slytherin isn't evil, only highly ambitious, above anything else. This trait leads them to abuse the power that comes naturally, ignoring other people and whatnot in the process. Also of note is that Voldemort was Slytherin. He no doubt shaped the reputation of the house for some time to come after. He recruited from Slytherin, who were all in his power. ...


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