Picture this: you're a small kid and it's your first day at school. A brand new school, to be precise. You're invited to sit on a stool in front of all the other students and teachers and then you have an old hat put on your head, a hat that is going to pretty much stare into your soul like some sort of magical MRI scan. Then the hat judges everything you are- and will be- while everybody is watching you, just so you can finally slip off the stool and sit at a table where you're (thank Merlin!) left alone. Sadly, for the following seven years you're constantly called evil, snobby, and mean by nearly the whole school and even the teachers don't seem to like you very much. Well, maybe except for this one creep who always looks like he's about to turn into a bat and fly off.

Yes, I just described what it felt like to be a Slytherin.

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I used to think people were aware of this. I used to think they understood the reality of those times before Harry defeated Voldemort, that specific atmosphere and the fact that Hogwarts always reflected it. I used to think it was obvious that after the war had ended, everything changed both in Hogwarts itself and the whole magical world. Turns out, I was wrong.

And that's why I'm writing this article: to explain what being a Slytherin really is and what it certainly isn't. To let people from other houses know they might have not been quite right about us, but also to remind some of those who call themselves Slytherins that being "mean to pretty much everyone" and enjoying "being evil" don't make them Slytherins (no, sadly I didn't make these up. These are actual things I've heard people say).

Here we go then!

Slytherins are:

  • ambitious
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  • determined
  • focused on their goals
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  • always prepared
  • adaptable
  • self-reliant
  • perfectionistic
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  • realistic

It's simple: we're ambitious perfectionists who trust their abilities, consider many different outcomes, and always have a plan ready (and a plan B too. Well, and a plan C. Just in case). This is why you might have heard that whoever ends up in Slytherin is destined for greatness: because we know how to work for it and we're not afraid to do it, not because we're going to lie and cheat our way through.

Slytherins aren't:

  • evil
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Yes, many of us were jerks. But that's history and we're not what our house was when Voldemort was still around.
  • mean
  • snobby
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  • cheaters (in fact, I believe many Slytherins would be completely opposed to the idea of cheating! After all, what we want is success and it's not success if you had to use lies and deceit to get it)
  • lazy procrastinators who "just wing it" and somehow get what they want anyway (come on, this is exactly what we're not! We're very well aware we have to work hard if we want to achieve our goals)
  • obsessed with power only for the sake of being powerful and feared
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Some of us want the power to actually do something good for this world, others don't even care about power at all.
  • manipulative rule-breakers (Slytherins do care about rules. Either because of our perfectionism or simply because we don't want to get in trouble!)
  • indifferent to other people's opinions
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We often hide behind our sarcasm but we really do care about what others think of us.

And that's it! Maybe you already knew some (or all!) of these things, maybe some of them came as a surprise but either way I hope I got to break down some Slytherin stereotypes, show that we really aren't as bad as we were painted in the books, and, who knows, maybe even make someone feel a little bit better about being a Slytherin themself!

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Take care everyone <3
-Linn