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What characterizes a Slytherin?

What characterizes a Slytherin?

Slytherin is one of the four Houses at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, founded by Salazar Slytherin. Slytherins are known for being cunning, ambitious, resourceful, and determined. They also have a reputation for prioritizing pure-blood heritage. So what exactly characterizes a true Slytherin? Let’s explore the key Slytherin traits and qualities in more detail.


Ambition is arguably the most defining Slytherin characteristic. Slytherins are driven, motivated, and determined to achieve their goals. They are not afraid to dream big and set lofty ambitions for themselves. Slytherins aim to climb to the top and make a name for themselves. Famous Slytherins like Merlin and Tom Riddle harbored ambitions to become the most powerful wizards of their time.

As children, Slytherins already demonstrate strong ambitions. For example, the young Tom Riddle was highly motivated to discover his magical abilities and leave the Muggle orphanage he despised. Slytherins understand that ambition is the key to unlocking their greatest potential. They thrive on challenge and purpose.


Slytherins are known for their cunning, craftiness, and resourcefulness. They are clever strategists who can analyze situations and subtlety maneuver people and events to suit their goals. Slytherins are adept at reading people and situations. They are politically savvy and able to persuade others through charisma and charm.

Famous Slytherins like Professor Horace Slughorn and Dolores Umbridge used their cunning abilities to form useful connections and rise to positions of power. Slytherins pride themselves on thinking flexibly and being able to find creative solutions to advance their objectives. Their cunning gives them an edge over opponents.


Slytherins tend to possess strong leadership abilities. They often emerge as leaders among their peers due to their self-confidence, cunning, and determination. Slytherins have commanding personalities that draw others to them. They lead through a mix of charm, strategy, and motivation.

Many iconic Slytherins were powerful leaders, such as Hogwarts founder Salazar Slytherin and Death Eater leader Tom Riddle. As leaders, Slytherins expect high standards and loyalty from their followers. They reward hard work and competency in their teams. Slytherins make charismatic, results-driven leaders, though sometimes their ambition can make them authoritarian.


Slytherins highly value self-preservation. They are all about protecting and advancing themselves at all costs. Slytherins look out for number one and make decisions that benefit themselves. Their ambition is often driven by desire for self-preservation.

This self-serving instinct gave Slytherins a reputation for being self-interested. For example, during the Battle of Hogwarts, many Slytherins left rather than stay to defend the school. However, Slytherins argue that their focus on self-preservation simply reflects their sense of self-importance. They believe their ambitions are too big to be thwarted.

Fraternity Within Slytherin House

Despite their self-serving reputation, Slytherins demonstrate fraternity within their own House. Slytherins are extremely loyal, supportive and protective towards fellow Slytherins. They band together against external threats and challenges. Slytherins present a united front to advance their House.

For example, during the Triwizard Tournament, the Slytherins strongly supported their champion student. Slytherins build strong connections and alliances with useful people who can help them get ahead. Slytherin became a haven for pure-blood students as they bonded over their belief in blood purity.

Pure-Blood Supremacy

Many Slytherins, though not all, believe strongly in pure-blood supremacy. They think wizards of pure-blood heritage are superior to Muggle-born wizards. Slytherin founder Salazar Slytherin only wanted to teach pure-blood students, believing them to be most worthy of a magical education.

Subsequent generations of Slytherins continued to favor pure-blood heritage. They shunned Muggle-borns and half-bloods as inferior. For example, the Death Eater movement that emerged from Slytherin house staunchly believed in pure-blood supremacy under Voldemort’s leadership. However, as Slytherin evolved over the centuries, more progressive views emerged.


In summary, the quintessential Slytherin traits include ambition, cunning, leadership, self-preservation and fraternity within their House. While many historic Slytherins believed in pure-blood supremacy, modern Slytherins adopt more progressive stances. At their best, Slytherins are driven leaders who use their wit and cleverness to achieve greatness. Their relentless ambition to be the very best makes them a formidable House at Hogwarts.

Slytherin Trait Description Notable Examples
Ambition Strongly motivated and determined to succeed. Dream big and set lofty goals. Merlin, Tom Riddle
Cunning Clever strategists who subtly persuade and manipulate situations and people to advance goals. Horace Slughorn, Dolores Umbridge
Leadership Emerging as leaders. Commanding personalities that draw followers. Results-driven. Salazar Slytherin, Tom Riddle
Self-Preservation Highly value self-preservation and make self-serving decisions. Slytherins leaving during Battle of Hogwarts
Fraternity Loyal and supportive towards fellow Slytherins. Band together against external threats. Pure-blood Slytherins banding together
Pure-Blood Supremacy Belief that pure-blood wizards are superior, though views evolving over time. Salazar Slytherin, Death Eaters

Slytherins are complex, multifaceted individuals. Their key characteristics include great ambition, cunning strategy, natural leadership and fraternity within their house. While Slytherins have been stereotyped as elitist and self-interested, their traits reflect their top priorities of achieving their ambitions and preserving themselves in difficult circumstances. Ultimately, Slytherins make up one of the most close-knit, motivated, and crafty houses at Hogwarts.