How I Feel as a Newly Sorted Horned Serpent
I’ve known I was a Gryffindor since I learned about the Hogwarts Houses during my first reading of Sorcerer’s Stone. I mouthed along with Harry as he begged the Sorting Hat not to place him in Slytherin. My stomach turned with Harry’s when he asked the Sorting Hat if he truly belonged in Gryffindor during Chamber of Secrets. Like Harry, I was well aware of my Slytherin side but too frightened to get in touch with it.
Throughout the series, Slytherin characters always came across as prejudiced. Characters like Draco, Snape, Voldemort, and Salazar Slytherin carried so much vitriol toward Muggles and Muggle-borns that I didn’t feel comfortable with the part of myself that identified with Slytherin House’s more admirable traits.
As many of the Slytherin characters redeemed themselves toward the end of the series, I came to terms with my Slytherin side and grew more comfortable being resourceful, ambitious, and cunning; now that I’ve been Sorted into Horned Serpent on Pottermore, I feel even happier with that side of myself than before. Isolt Sayre shows off a side of Slytherin heritage that is the opposite of prejudiced, one that actively fights against the oppressive notions of her malicious caretaker.
Besides embodying all of the positive traits of Slytherin House, Isolt showed her lack of prejudice through her marriage to a Muggle man, love of all magical creatures, and willingness to teach magic to everyone who came to her school. When she planted the wand of Salazar Slytherin, it blossomed into a hardy and helpful tree with leaves of medicinal properties. Isolt also used her Parseltongue capabilities for good. Her interactions with the Horned Serpent led to the creation of North America’s first wands. Isolt is no Newt Scamander, but her positive interactions with a wide variety of magical creatures show how her kindheartedness extended beyond her species as well as her blood status.
It is sometimes said of the Ilvermorny Houses that they represent the whole witch or wizard: the mind is represented by Horned Serpent; the body, Wampus; the heart, Pukwudgie and the soul, Thunderbird. Others say that Horned Serpent favours scholars, Wampus, warriors, Pukwudgie, healers and Thunderbird, adventurers.
Although Ilvermorny’s Houses can’t really be compared to the Hogwarts Houses, the fact that Isolt, a descendant of Salazar Slytherin, chose the Horned Serpent as her House directly connects the two. They may represent different things, but Slytherin House and the Horned Serpent House are two branches of Slytherin influence on major magical institutions in the wizarding world.
Isolt Sayre used her Slytherin traits for good right off the bat. We don’t have to watch her learn, grow, or change to see the goodness in her heart; it’s obvious from the beginning. I hope that Isolt can be an example for anyone who still believes that Salazar’s distaste for Muggles is the defining trait of Slytherin House. Each House, from Hogwarts or Ilvermorny, has a good side and a bad side, and Isolt Sayre is a perfect example of Slytherin’s best qualities. Even though I’m a Gryffindor at heart, I’m proud to represent the House of Slytherin’s descendant from across the pond.