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Or perhaps in Slytherin, You'll make your real friends, Those cunning folk use any means, To achieve their ends.
~ Sorting Hat, Determining students who exhibit qualities fit for Slytherin
We'll teach just those whose ancestry is purest.
~ Salazar Slytherin, the founder

Slytherin is one of the four Houses at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from the Harry Potter series and the main student antagonists of the franchise, and is traditionally home to students who exhibit such traits as cunning, resourcefulness, and ambition. Given that many of the franchise's villains came from Slytherin, they are the technical main antagonists of the series.


Its emblematic animal is the snake and its colors are green and silver. The house ghost is the Bloody Baron. Founded by Salazar Slytherin, the house is composed mostly of pure-blood students, due to its founder's mistrust of Muggle-born witches and wizards. It was headed during Harry Potter's years at Hogwarts by Severus Snape, who was also the Potions teacher. Slytherin house has a negative reputation, with many claiming that it is the source of most dark wizards in Britain, notably Tom Marvolo Riddle, who later became Lord Voldemort, as well as a large majority of his Death Eaters. It has a traditional rivalry with Gryffindor, the protagonistic house that values bravery.

Slytherin corresponds roughly with the element of water.

Notable Slytherin students include Tom Riddle, Dolores Umbridge, Bellatrix Lestrange, Draco Malfoy, his father Lucius Malfoy, Horace Slughorn and Severus Snape, who would be the head of Slytherin house during the events of the Harry Potter franchise.

Not all Slytherin witches and wizards are evil as Horace Slughorn, Andromeda Tonks, Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy were good-natured. But even so, the relationship between Slytherin and other houses are poor, especially with Gryffindor.


There's not a single witch or wizard who went bad who wasn't in Slytherin.
~ Wizards' prejudice against Slytherin House

It is said that all Dark Wizards were in Slytherin (though this is untrue, as Peter Pettigrew was a Gryffindor and Quirinus Quirrell was a Ravenclaw), though how many were from this house before Tom Marvolo Riddle began recruiting Death Eaters there is unstated. As Slytherin was his own House, it was certainly easier for him to recruit there.

It might also be possible (though quite unlikely) that the Sorting Hat simply sorts anyone with ill intentions into Slytherin, regardless of whether they possess cunning and ambition. Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle were both incredibly stupid and did not have clever or cunning minds, but were still sorted into Slytherin. Though it does appear that perhaps they had more of the minor Slytherin traits since the cowardly Peter Pettigrew was obviously not brought into Gryffindor by bravery, but by chivalry instead. It is also likely that Crabbe and Goyle were simply placed there by process of elimination, since they exhibited virtually none of the qualities valued by any of the other houses (lacking the work ethic or honesty of Hufflepuff, the academic prowess of Ravenclaw, or the bravery of Gryffindor). Or the sorting hat simply took into account what house they wished to be placed in, which with their family history was most likely Slytherin.

However, it must be noted that Slytherins who oppose use of the Dark Arts and discrimination based on blood purity do exist, such as Horace Slughorn and Andromeda Tonks; Tonks was related to many Dark wizards and witches (most notably her sister Bellatrix Lestrange, her brother-in-law Lucius Malfoy, and her nephew Draco Malfoy), but chose to forsake the loyalty to her family in marrying the Muggle-born Ted Tonks. Also, the allegiance of Severus Snape was found to be ultimately towards Albus Dumbledore, serving as a triple agent for the Order of the Phoenix. Furthermore, there have been Dark wizards from other houses; Peter Pettigrew, who betrayed James and Lily Potter to Lord Voldemort, was a Gryffindor.

Cunning and ambition are easily turned towards ill purposes, but are not inherently negative; furthermore, daring, intelligence, and loyalty can as easily become negative. Slytherins may be thought less of by people because many of them seem to value their own lives more than the lives of others. When Harry was trying to run away, because he was afraid that his presence was putting his friends in danger, Phineas Nigellus saw him and said, "We Slytherins are brave, yes, but not stupid. For instance, when given the choice, we will always choose to save our own necks". There are exceptions to this rule, however, such as Snape, who Harry said was a "Slytherin and... probably the bravest man I ever knew", and Regulus Black, who gave his life in an attempt to destroy one of the Horcruxes of Lord Voldemort.

The truth is that while most Dark wizards are Slytherins, many members of Slytherin House do not have Dark leanings, and smaller groups of Voldemort 's supporters are aligned with other Houses. During the Battle of Hogwarts, while all of the Slytherin students left the school before the fighting started, several of them did return with Professor Slughorn as reinforcements to join the fight against Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters.


  • French: Serpentard
  • Norwegian: Smygard
  • Finnish: Luihuinen (taken from the adjective 'luihu' which means 'deceptive' or 'sneaky')
  • Dutch: Zwadderich (taken form the old dutch noun zwadder which means snake poison)
  • Afrikaans: Sibberin
  • Portuguese: Sonserina (taken from "Sonso" a term to someone who pretends to be innocent or harmless)
  • Czech: Zmijozel (taken from "Zmije" = viper snake)
  • Hungarian: Mardekár
  • Russian: Слизерин [Slizerin](Sleezerin - Слизь means slime), Слайзерин [Sluytherin], Пресмыкайс [Presmykais] (Пресмыкаться means to slither)
  • Bulgarian: Слидерин [Sliderin]
  • Greek: Σλίθεριν [Slitherin]
  • Serbian: Слитерин/Sliterin
  • Slovak: Slizolin
  • Romanian: Viperini
  • Italian: Serpeverde ("Green Serpent")
  • Albanian: Gjarpërblertit (Green snake)
  • Slovenian: Spolzgad
  • Hindi: नगशक्ति (Nagshakti, Sanskrit naga-shakti = "snake-power")
  • Macedonian: Змијолик (Zmijolik, which means "Snakeface")
  • Welsh: Slafenog
  • Chinese: 史萊哲林 (Shi-lai-zhe-lin) / 斯莱特林 (Si-lai-te-lin)
  • Thai: สลิธีริน (Sa-li-thee-rin)
  • Lithuanian: Klastūnynas (taken from the noun 'klasta' meaning 'guile' or 'ruse'. Also could be translated as 'viper' or 'scoundrel'.)
  • Korean: 슬리데린

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