Slytherin House Dichotomies: Pride, Loyalty, Ambition
Potter fans around the globe take their Hogwarts Houses very seriously. How many times have you met a new friend or reader and the first question out of your mouth was, “What is your House?” Perhaps you’re like me and have arguments with friends about their House or your House or a mutual friend’s House, constantly disagreeing or debating the intricacies of each trait. I have a Hufflepuff friend who believes their secondary House is Gryffindor, but I vehemently believe it is Slytherin (yes, don’t come at me, I know “it is our choices” – just bear with me!), and we are constantly bickering over this. Our continued disagreement got me thinking about the dichotomies between Houses. Are Gryffindor and Slytherin essentially opposite sides of the same coin? Would this hold true for the other Houses?
After speaking to around 100 readers and friends, I have narrowed down each House pairing to what I believe to be the shared prominent trait. Part 3 of the series is taking a closer look at Slytherin House, the stereotyped villains. Be sure to check out the other articles in the series for Hufflepuff, Gryffindor, and Ravenclaw.
Slytherin & Gryffindor – Pride
Slytherin and Gryffindor appear to be the most natural of pairings but had surprisingly few come up in my research pool. Regardless, this combination is the most talked about and written about, given that our protagonist and peer-aged antagonist embody these Houses and traits. The back-and-forth and push-and-pull between this pair was also the inspiration for this entire series. I easily chose pride as the shared trait, and I think it’s quite obvious why.
Slytherins’ pride expresses itself via their superiority (complex or otherwise, you decide). Because they are comfortable with breaking or sidestepping the rules, they are often at the forefront of confrontations or debates, arguing for their beliefs even if they know – internally or subconsciously – they are not in the right. The cunning and malicious snake is not afraid to step on toes and fingers to get where they want to go. Slytherins are proud of who they are, where they came from, and where they are going – often to their own detriment.
Gryffindors’ pride emanates from their courage. Because they are often confident and self-assured, they are the first to speak up in awkward situations and most often the leaders of movements or moments. The chivalrous lion is brave, even in the smallest of moments, and a complex thinker (although very rarely a puzzle solver). Gryffindors are, at their core, the loudest and arguably most diverse group of people; it doesn’t take any special skill or talent to be yourself, it simply takes guts.
Slytherin & Hufflepuff – Loyalty
According to our survey, Slytherin primary and Hufflepuff secondary are the rarest of combinations. I had a hard time finding even a handful for my research and eventually had to crowdsource answers on Twitter (to which we only received three responses!). Still, I was surprised to see the answers from the small group were quite similar and consistent. I chose loyalty as the shared trait, the first and only response I received.
Slytherins’ loyalty comes from their need for self-preservation. Because they are known for looking out for their own, they tend to have small circles of close friends rather than large groups of acquaintances. The dutiful snake will not go too far out of their way to do something for another, but if the situation arises where they can boast about someone they know or a strong connection they have, they will not let the opportunity slip away. Slytherins are wonderful, loyal friends to have – as long as you don’t try to cross them.
Hufflepuffs’ loyalty comes from their strong sense of community. Because they are unafraid to toil, they will always stand up for their friends and peers, and the friends and peers of those friends and peers (read: basically everyone). The kind and thoughtful badger is never weak and often stubborn in their convictions, but this just means they will fight all the harder for you. Hufflepuffs have nerves of steel, and it will take a lot to shift them away from, or even a step from, their ideas and beliefs.
Slytherin & Ravenclaw – Ambition
This was, by far, the most popular pairing among those I surveyed. Whether that is because most of MuggleNet staff are Slytherins or because the two Houses are closely related, I don’t know, but I am inclined to believe the latter. I chose ambition as the shared trait, and 80% of my respondents agreed. Let’s explore why this is.
Slytherins’ ambition expresses itself in the form of resourcefulness. They are always looking for the next step, whether that be upward or onward – anything to advance them to their goal. The determined snake is fantastic at networking and making new friends, connections that they will use to further their station or status in the community. Slytherins are talented and they seek new acquaintances, always expanding their social circle.
Ravenclaws’ ambition expresses itself in the form of learning. They are excited about knowledge and seek to acquire as much as possible. The studious eagle is a good student and is always engaged in the craft of gathering information, knowledge they use to further their own abilities and skills. Ravenclaws are creative, and they seek new opportunities to expand their talents, whether that be art or literature or singing.