One of the most popular aspects of the Harry Potter universe are the houses that witches and wizards are sorted into when they begin their magical education. The author of the series, J.K. Rowling, created a system of order in which the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry would be founded upon. Many famous witches and wizards have been sorted in either Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin for centuries.
Each house values different characteristics and aims to select students that show characteristics. Gryffindor values bravery, daring, nerve, and chivalry, represented by a lion. Ravenclaw values intelligence, wit, and knowledge, an eagle at the center of their emblem. Hufflepuff values hard work, dedication, patience, loyalty, and honesty, represented by the badger. And finally, Slytherin values ambition, resourcefulness, cunning, and creative personalities with a snake as their animal.
Unfortunately, Slytherin has constantly been associated with evil witches and wizards. Most of this negativity surrounding Slytherin came because of the rise of Lord Voldemort and his followers, the Death Eaters. Voldemort’s belief that pure-blood wizards and witches were superior to the muggles, the muggle-born, and mixed witches and wizards were enough to influence people to follow him and cast an evil shadow on the house and the students in it.
However, it’s very drastic to assume that all Slytherins have chosen to be evil, even before he came to power. There have also been a few witches and wizards that have never chosen follow any of his beliefs or have broken the mold and found redemption later in life. Evil witches and wizards have come from the three other houses, and some have even become notorious criminals. One of the most prominent evil wizards that come to mind is Peter Pettigrew, who betrayed his best friends and became a Death Eater.
Most of those negative claims often lodged at fans who sort themselves into Slytherin house do in fact come from Lord Voldemort having once been a Slytherin and having influence in that house. However, I wanted to take time and defend the house and prove that not all wizards and witches that have come from Slytherin are truly evil.
Here is a list of exceptional individuals who were Slytherins and managed to never be truly evil or managed to redeem themselves.
Although he is a very prominent figure within medieval literature, not much is truly known about Merlin within the Harry Potter series. All that is known about him is that he’s one of the most influential wizards in history and was a champion for muggle rights. The Sorting Hat never officially mentions that any wizards that are sorted into Slytherin are pure evil. Merlin is definitely the antithesis of evil.
Horace Slughorn is quite possibly one of the most complex yet important characters in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. A former Head of Slytherin House and one of the greatest Potion Masters to have ever taught at Hogwarts, Slughorn was notoriously known for being a social climber. He always sought to be around the best of the best and even established the “Slug Club”, which was comprised of students he thought to be exceptional. His actions may not have always been pure of heart, but he proved to be a fantastic professor who championed for education.
Yes, he is the reason why Voldemort was able to create the Horcruxes and rise to power. Horace went into hiding once he learned that Voldemort had come back, fearing that he would come for him. However, he began to redeem himself by saving students from being bullied by the Carrow siblings.
He also took part in the Battle of Hogwarts, confronting Voldemort alongside Professor McGonagall and Kingsley. He aimed to redeem himself by standing up to the one person who manipulated him for selfish needs. Even though he didn’t manage to defeat his former student, Slughorn stood up for his students and for the fate of the entire world.
Even though she did not make many appearances in the books, it’s known that Sirius once referred to her as his “favorite cousin”. She’s the mother of Nymphadora Tonks and the sister of both Bellatrix and Narcissa. She too is the complete antithesis of evil and definitely stood out from her fellow Slytherin housemates.
Andromeda married a Muggle-born named Ted Tonks, which is what earned her a burn mark on the Black family tapestry as seen in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Plus, she was a member of the Order of the Phoenix during Voldemort’s first attempt of rising to power and wasn’t upset that her daughter married an animagus like Lupin. She’s definitely a character that I would have loved to have seen more of in the series.
Regulus was born into the Black family, one of the most famous pure-blood wizarding families, and in the same vein as the Weasleys, have always been Slytherin. He was a one-of-a-kind student who found success in and out school. He was even one of the few students who was recruited into the “Slug Club”.
After graduating from Hogwarts, he continued to practice the pure-blood beliefs and joined the Death Eaters. Not much is known about his relationship with his family, but its known that Sirius doesn’t quite have many fond or negative memories of him. That being said, he didn’t stay that way.
His betrayal of Voldemort and ultimate redemption came from his love of Kreacher, the house elf assigned to serve the Black family. Voldemort didn’t care for house elves and mainly saw Regulus as one of his servants. Regulus volunteered Kreacher to test out the Horcrux defenses but ultimately hated the way his house elf was being treated. He defected from Voldemort’s forces, but stole one of the Horcruxes and replaced it with a replica. From that day, he vowed to find a way to destroyed the Horcrux, which ultimately cost him his life.
If you want a redemption story in this series, then look no further. Snape started off as the prime example of evil wizards that would fit perfectly within the Slytherin House. Much like Regulus, the love he had for someone special is what caused both his fall into Voldemort’s forces and his reason to defect from them. He may be one of the most controversial characters in the series because of this, but he still managed to redeem himself.
Although he didn’t show it, he did care about Harry, even though it could be argued that it was just out of love for Lily. Regardless, he still protected him and made sure to keep his cover as a servant of Voldemort. He agreed to Dumbledore’s demand to kill him in order to save him from a painful death and to prevent Draco from taking a life. Even after becoming Headmaster, he still tried to protect his students as much as possible.
In the end, he sacrificed himself so that Harry could learn the truth about the night his parents died and what Dumbledore had been planning.
Even though there are only a few examples of wizards who never strayed to the path of evil or found a way to redeem themselves, it should be enough to solidify that not everyone in Slytherin is evil. Like I mentioned before, other houses have spawned other evil and treacherous wizards.
Just look at most of the Defense Against the Dark Arts professors who have taught during Harry’s time at Hogwarts. Slytherin gets a lot of undeserved hate. Hopefully this is serves as proof that it’s not as bad a house as everyone thinks.
Plus, who wouldn’t have to have a snake as their House mascot?