Hello and welcome to Mari’s Strong Opinions About Slytherin House: A Saga. Our first step towards understanding of what is arguably the most misunderstood Hogwarts house is to discuss what it means to be a Slytherin, from the vantage point of an actual bona fide 2000% Slytherin, a.k.a. Yours Truly. Because guys, my people deserve justice.
And if we don’t receive that justice, there will be consequences.
Slytherin =/= Evil
Guys. Guys. Not all Slytherins are necessarily evil. EVIL is not what encapsulates the Slytherin existence, although we have no qualms about this alignment whatsoever. Pls look to your left and observe that Slytherin = ambition, leadership, cunning, and charisma. It is not our fucking fault that many villains in literature and film also subscribe to these character traits. Nor is it our fucking fault that Rowling wrote practically every villain in the Harry Potter series as a member of our illustrious House. (I have always had issues with this but I will not delve into that hot mess at this time.)
“When people say impossible, they usually mean improbable.”
Perhaps the true heart of being Slytherin is to have AMBITION — the urge to become better, the drive to be superior. We like to win. We like to be the best. If we aren’t the best, we fight to be the best. A true Slytherin is never content to sit on the sidelines, wearing a silver medal or existing as the power behind a throne. We will wear the crown and we will probably not share it. Speaking from experience, this applies to like every aspect of my life. At work, if I’m not the best at something, I don’t whine about it. I study the person who is better than me and then I don’t stop until I surpass them. I’m mentioning this mainly because there are non-Slytherins at my workplace who are catty to me on many occasions because they suck and I don’t. If they were Slytherin, they would quit hating me cause they ain’t me and switch to fighting tooth and nail to dethrone me. I’m just saying.
The other side to this coin is the Slytherin quality of never being satisfied with our own work. We always look at it and think, “I COULD BE BETTER.” Sometimes this is really a hindrance to our success. We do, however, have the willpower to master it eventually. Willpower is a huge part of being Slytherin. We couldn’t be so ambitious without it.
“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.”
If you are a Slytherin, you are usually a natural LEADER. I am personally incapable of being someone’s sidekick. Part of why I enjoy teaching as a profession is that my classroom is my own kingdom and I am the only ruler there. My boss isn’t constantly checking on me. I don’t have to report to her every minute of every day and she doesn’t tell me how to teach. I do what I want. But as a Slytherin leader, I honestly don’t pull a Voldemort daily. I have yet to start giving my students creepy tattoos or requiring them all to wear sinister hooded robes and I def have not created any Horcruxes (yet). I don’t rule my classroom with cruelty because any truly clever Slytherin will attest that you become more powerful through ruling with love. LOVE! Also, when I’m in charge, it mainly means that the policy of What Needs To Be Done is observed 24/7 and 365. I do whatever is necessary, regardless of whether it is pleasant or not. When my students deserve to be praised, they are given praise. When they need to be destroyed, I destroy them. Given power, a Slytherin can be counted on to accomplish the things that need to be accomplished. We don’t really care if it upsets people or if the general public view it as wrong or right. If it has to be done, it will be done.
“It isn’t cheating if they don’t catch you.”
Slytherins are CUNNING. We believe in working smarter, not harder. We will take shortcuts. We will take risks. We watch for patterns and our brains are always looking for a better solution, one that is less tedious or time consuming. Because boy, do Slytherins hate wasting time. Time = money, friends. Time is a valuable resource. Unlike a Ravenclaw, we will not pursue knowledge to the ends of the Earth. We will, however, use our intelligence to reach the ends of the Earth in a more economical and efficient fashion.
Slytherins live for efficiency. How can I accomplish this in the shortest amount of time, with the least amount of resources, to result in the greatest gain for myself??? <– the Slytherin mindset 90% of the time. I wouldn’t say we are selfish, but we are liable to put ourselves first. Self-preservation is important. Example, my gallant Gryffindor husband (David The Lone Gryffindor™) almost always complains when we’re flying somewhere because during the safety demo they say to put the oxygen mask on yourself before putting it on others i.e. children. The rationale is that you should make sure you’re okay so that you can then help someone else. I totally comprehend this. How the hell can I save you if I am dying?? First, let me save me. Then I will save you. It’s not really a selfish thing at all. Well. Not entirely.
CHARISMA is, I think, one of the most vital things about being Slytherin. It’s tied directly to leadership. A charismatic leader is an effective leader. People will follow you, ride to war for you, be willing to do anything for you, but not if you lack charisma. As a teacher, it’s like I give speeches every 5 minutes. I contend that one reason why I am good at my job is that I can move small children to tears or heroics with nothing but my words. I teach them this, too — that our words have power, that the use of our words can change a life or an outcome. A Slytherin knows how to move the masses. A Slytherin knows how to carve a place for themselves in your heart, and sometimes it might be totally against your own wishes. Didn’t want me there? Too bad. I’m irresistible. Also, I tend to get what I want. Deal with it. LOVE AND FEAR ME.
Haters Gonna Hate
Slytherins are often feared or misunderstood. That’s understandable. We’re terrifying. We do whatever we have to do in order to achieve what we want. We’re goal-oriented, and our goals aren’t small, cute little goals; we go big or go home. We are never happy with just existing. We have to leave our mark and make a difference. For many, it’s scary to see or meet someone who attacks obstacles without caring whether the strategy is morally righteous or politically correct. While you will find Slytherins on either end of this spectrum, we are generally united by our tendency to keep our eyes on the prize, no matter what it takes to win it. We will lie, cheat, steal, bat our eyelashes, get our hands dirty… WHATEVER IT TAKES. Also, I’ve noticed that many don’t like the fact that encountering a Slytherin makes you think. It might cause you to question long held beliefs about right and wrong or good and evil. And that can really upset people, not that we really care. Our often ruthless approach to life suits us just fine, and we hold ourselves in pretty high regard, which is no more than we deserve. I mean, let’s be real.
Come back next time for my lecture on the most solemn of Slytherin duties: protecting your Hufflepuff at any cost. Until then, remember to keep calm and do what needs to be done.