Slytherin House used to get a bad reputation because a few wizards didn’t end up being the nicest, to put it mildly.
Even though times have changed a little since Harry defeated Voldemort, there is still a lingering weariness and distrust towards Slytherins, but do we really need to fear the Slytherin House anymore?
Is Everyone in Slytherin Bad?
Not everyone in Slytherin is bad. Some people have all the traits of a true Slytherin yet can still be helpful and do good for others.
Many people perceive Slytherin as a House of evil because of Voldemort and his Death Eaters. Many others think that cunning and ambition are negative traits because of the way Slytherins achieve their goals (the end justifying the means).
What we believe is that Slytherins are a lot like their House animal, the snake. Many people think snakes are bad because they seem dangerous, but snakes usually prefer to do their own thing and be left alone.
The same is with Slytherins. They are not all good and not all bad, but like everyone (except maybe Hufflepuffs), they are somewhere in between.
What Traits Make a Good Slytherin?
Ambitious, cunning, resourceful, with a well-developed sense of self-preservation are all traits of a good Slytherin.
Although, all of those traits can be perceived as good or bad, depending on the point of view. On their own, ambition and cunning are, in fact, very positive traits, and many people would gladly put them into their strengths. Being resourceful is rather helpful while trying to achieve your goals.
Self-preservation is a good thing to have as well. Many people admire Gryffindors for their bravery, but they are usually hasty and often risk their own lives. A good Slytherin would think first, weigh all the options, and figure out a plan of action before deciding what to do.
Which Slytherin is the Best?
There are a few Slytherins that we know who did good things for others. Knowing which one is the best is challenging as they all did remarkable things in one way or another.
The best known and beloved by many was the late Professor Severus Snape. Although he was still mean and abusive towards most of his students, we believe it had to be the acting he needed to perform to stay in his role of Death Eater. Ultimately one of the saddest stories in the series, Snape gave his life for love. That makes him one of the best Slytherins there are.
Horace Slughorn is another Slytherin Professor who wasn’t bad at all. Although Slughorn was very ambitious and driven, in pursuit of his own agendas, he gave a lot of leg up for his students and encouraged them to network and progress. He even came back to fight for Hogwarts against Voldemort and his Death Eaters.
One of the less known Slytherins, who turned out to be a good guy, was Regulus Black, Sirius’ younger brother. Because of his family, he was rather forced to be a Death Eater, fed the old stories of pureblood wizards’ grandeur. He quickly realized what it means to be a Death Eater and wanted out. Regulus discovered Voldemort’s secret and set out to destroy the Horcrux giving his life in the process.
Leta Lestrange was a true Slytherin, cunning and calculating. She was friends with Newt Scamander and about to marry his older brother Theseus. Even though full of her own agendas, in the end, she willingly gave her life for Newt and Theseus.
Albus Severus Potter, one of the youngest Slytherins we know, is the son of the famous Harry Potter. Even though he messed up a lot, he did everything he could to help the wizarding world by stopping Voldemort’s rebirth.
Let’s not forget about Harry’s school arch nemesis, Draco Malfoy. From very early in the books, we learn that Draco is a pompous little brat who thinks of himself better than others.
In the end, after going through the ordeal of being a Death Eater and realizing his mistakes, he turned out to be a decent human being. Draco learned his lesson and ultimately became one of the best Slytherins we know.
Slytherin is a very controversial House. It is always portrayed as “the bad” guys, prejudiced against non-purebloods and very proud. People usually say that Slytherins are evil and that “there’s not a single witch or wizard who went bad who wasn’t in Slytherin,” which is not entirely true because we know of one Gryffindor (Pettigrew) and Ravenclaw (Quirrell) who went bad.
We also know that Slytherins are not bad people. They are mostly misunderstood, but ultimately, they don’t try to harm people on purpose and very rarely start any fights themselves.