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Old April 16th, 2012, 7:33 pm
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Join Date: 31st July 2005
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Re: Slytherin House: Character Analysis

Originally Posted by sekhmetlion View Post
What could she have said? That snakes are primitive animals that think few and when they do it is only about their own survival?
I think that she was speaking of symbolism rather than the actual trait of the animal. Lions are not chivalrous. Eagles are not paricularly bright (compared to some other species of birds, like parrots). Badgers are tenacious, but I doubt they are fair. Serpents have some negative connotations, but they are also sometimes conflated with dragons, which do tend to be considered wise (though Potterverse dragons don't seem to be either).

But yes, I don't think she would dwell on the association between serpents and Satan in Christian mythology.

2. In the welcoming letter Farley speaks about the Dark wizards from the past, long family lineages but also about students with a muggle parent. Do you think JKR has written this particular bit to redeem Slytherin post-DH? Or was there really no problem with halfblood students during the Harry Potter years?

The question supposes that Gemma speaks for the whole house. She doesn't. Bella Lestrange, a Slytherin of Harry's parents' generation, refers to "filthy half-bloods". So I think yes, there could have been problems with halfblood students. Either directly, or by peer pressure leading such students to focus on their wizard ancestry.

3. Merlin, a famous wizard in the wizarding world but also from our own Arthurian legends, was a Slytherin according to JKR. A case of a desperate hatstall by the sorting hat or does it make perfect sense to you?

Perfect for the versions of the legend I have read. He was a power behind the throne, and he laid long-term plans to bring about Arthur's conception and rule. So, heis ambitious, exercises power, and is cunning.

4. Slytherins care about the honour and traditions of their house. Is this solely connected to Quidditch?

No, we also need to win the House Cup.

I would guess that there are other things we could leave to the fanfic writers or read about later. Spells they may like to use, activities people enjoy in the Common Room, traditions about past members that are handed down, etc.

5. Prefect Farley shows various sides of Slytherin House in her letter, she calls Slytherin: sleek, powerful and often misunderstood. Do you agree with her?

I am not sure what she means by this. I would guess it reflects the negative comments about her House she has heard from other sources (as the welcome messages provided by Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw's Prefects suggest she could have.) Those in my opinion can certainly lead to misunderstanding of Slytherin students by others.

6. What do you think about the descriptions of other houses in the Slytherin welcome letter? And what do you think about the descriptions of Slytherin House in the Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff welcome letters?

I hope it is OK for me to post this content without a link. (I will happily delete it if it is not, but we are being asked to discuss it...) One would find these on Pottermore upon being Sorted into the appropriate Houses. Since I am a Slytherin, I needed to find them elsewhere online, but the authors of the sites I found them on (obviously) do not hold copyright, Rowling does.

Hufflepuff welcome on Pottermore:    

  We’ve produced the fewest Dark wizards of any house in this school. Of course, you’d expect Slytherin to churn out evil-doers, seeing as they’ve never heard of fair play and prefer cheating over hard work any day, . . .  

Clearly these are houses that don't typically get on well. I think this message fails to recognize that "hard work" is often necessary to achieve great things, and so Slytherins can and do engage in it. (Examples would be Snape's teaching and Draco's fixing of Vanishing cabinets, whether or not we approve of either activity...) Also, it makes Hufflepuffs sound like maybe they are sometimes rule-bound, not able to see when a rule makes little sense and needs to be bent a bit.

Ravenclaw welcome on Pottermore:    

  As for our relationship with the other three houses: well, you’ve probably heard about the Slytherins. They’re not all bad, but you’d do well to be on your guard until you know them well. They’ve got a long house tradition of doing whatever it takes to win – so watch out, especially in Quidditch matches and exams.  

Ravenclaws sound like they have a more realistic assessment of the pros and cons of Slytherins. They would compete head to head with Slytherins that have ambitions in the academic arena, and so heed this warning, but the caveat "until you know them well" suggests the speaker considers it worth getting to know at least some Slytherins "well".

The Slytherin description of Ravenclaw seems to miss that sometimes, the 'Claw that may have beat them out on a class assignment was able to do so not because she crammed all night, but because she walked into school knowing all about the topic, from having been interested in it for its own sake.

7. At the end of her letter Farley shows a side of Slytherin we don't often see. She tells us not to judge those students that might not look anything special, because the Sorting Hat sorted them into Slytherin for a reason. Another redeeming quality of Slytherin?

I am trying to think of a canon instance of conflict between school-aged Slytherins, and you know? I am not thinking of any. I think canon WAS showing us this all along and we just didn't see it because we were too busy seeing the behavior of Slytherin students towards students in other Houses.

Draco was very upset when Crabbe died, and tried to save Goyle. Maybe he was acting in the traditions of his House.

8. Has the new information changed your opinion of Slytherin House?

It has provided new support for my (oft in need of defending) view that Slytherin is not, many fans' and the Hufflepuff prefect's opinions notwithstanding, intended by Rowling to truly be "the evil house".

The Sorting Hat says I belong in Slytherin.

“Death is the only pure, beautiful conclusion of a great passion.”-D. H. Lawrence

All was well.

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