‘Or perhaps in Slytherin
You’ll make your real friends,
Those cunning folk use any means
To achieve their ends.’
The Sorting Hat, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
One of the four founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Slytherin prized resourcefulness and ambition in his students. He believed that the school should only teach pure-blood witches and wizards. His ability to speak Parseltongue is why the Slytherin emblem is a serpent.
Merlin himself was sorted into Slytherin when he was at Hogwarts, and the young wizard went on to become one of the most famous wizards in history. The Order of Merlin, named to commemorate him, has been awarded since the fifteenth century. Legend has it that the First Order of Merlin’s green ribbon reflects his Hogwarts house.
As Potions master at Hogwarts, Severus Snape held his students to almost impossibly high standards and wasn’t one to suffer fools gladly. As Head of Slytherin house, he clashed with some of Gryffindor’s more… active students like Harry Potter. Still waters run deep though, and underneath the sneer lies a complicated man.
Phineas Nigellus Black
Sirius Black’s great-great grandfather, Phineas Nigellus Black was the least popular of all Hogwarts headmasters. Possibly because he hated being a teacher and seemingly young people in general. Even after his death Phineas went on to advise future headmasters, albeit from his lofty position on their office wall.
The orphaned Tom Riddle found a home at Hogwarts and also a Dark purpose. A direct descendent of Salazar Slytherin, Riddle shared his forebear’s attitude on restricting magical learning to pure-bloods – despite having a Muggle father himself. As a teenager, he unlocked the Chamber of Secrets, leading to the death of a Muggle-born girl, and even learned Dark magic to protect himself from death.
Another Hogwarts Potions master, Horace Slughorn was Head of Slytherin house – twice. Lily Potter, Harry’s mother, was one of his most gifted students. Not one for the spotlight, but certainly one to name-drop, Horace enjoyed the reflected glory his ‘Slug Club’ favourites gave him.
House Ghost: The Bloody Baron
The Bloody Baron is the gaunt and blood-soaked Slytherin house ghost. He’s the only one who can keep pesky poltergeist Peeves under control. The strong and silent type, the Baron wears chains in penitence for a terrible act.