Salazar Slytherin
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Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry


Salazar Slytherin was a great wizard. He was a parselmouth (a wizard with the rare ability to speak with snakes), and skilled at Legilimency. He was one of the four founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.


Like Rowena Ravenclaw and Godric Gryffindor, Salazar Slytherin appears to have carefully selected members of his House. According to Albus Dumbledore, the qualities which Slytherin prized in his "handpicked students" included resourcefulness, determination, and a certain disregard for the rules, along with the ability to speak Parseltongue. He also selected his students according to cunning, ambition, and Blood purity. His House within Hogwarts is symbolised by a serpent, with House colours of green and silver.

The Sorting Hat described him as "power hungry Slytherin," and that he came "from a fen." A fen is a marshland, typically inhabited by water fowl, amphibians and snakes. This could be the reason why he and his family have the rare gift of speaking Parseltongue. The Fens of Eastern England are in Norfolk, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and adjoining counties, although it is not established that Slytherin actually came from that particular region.

Family HeritageBearbeiten

Salazar Slytherin owned a locket emblazoned with the letter S that became an heirloom of his last known line of descendants, the Gaunts. Merope Gaunt sold the locket to Caractacus Burke. It was then bought up by Hepzibah Smith, who had a love for antiques. It was subsequently stolen from her by Tom Marvolo Riddle. Riddle would later turn the locket into a Horcrux, and conceal it in a seaside cave he had visited in his youth. The same locket was later removed from the cave by Regulus Black with aid from his house-elf, Kreacher. Kreacher was ordered to destroy the locket, but was unable to do so.


The statue of Salazar Slytherin and the Hiding-place of Slytherin's Basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets.

It was later stolen from the Black family home at 12 Grimmauld Place by Mundungus Fletcher, and eventually found its way into the hands of the Ministry of Magic employee, Dolores Umbridge. Dolores Umbridge used it as an intimidation tool by wearing it and claiming the S stood for Selwyn, a pure-blood family line. She either did not know better or wanted to conceal its real meaning from the public.

The locket was recovered by Harry Potter, and was later destroyed by Ron Weasley with Godric Gryffindor's Sword. The act of destruction removed all of the Horcrux's power.

The Chamber of SecretsBearbeiten

After founding Hogwarts and coexisting for years, a rift eventually began to grow between Slytherin and the other founders. Slytherin despised taking students from Muggle families, seeing them as untrustworthy, and tried to persuade the other founders to only take students from pure-blood families. However, the other founders didn't agree with Slytherin, particularly Gryffindor. Eventually, Slytherin and Gryffindor had a huge argument over the subject, and the end result was that Slytherin chose to leave the school [4].

According to ancient legend, as told by History of Magic Professor Cuthbert Binns, Salazar Slytherin was responsible for the construction of the Chamber of Secrets beneath Hogwarts dungeons. It was specifically created for the purpose of purging the school of all Muggle-born students. The Chamber contained a Basilisk which could be controlled only by his own "true heir", and use it to rid the school of all Muggle-borns. At least part of the legend was revealed to be true in 1943, when Tom Marvolo Riddle, the heir of Slytherin, opened the Chamber and used the Basilisk to attack Muggle-borns. One girl he actually killed, a ghost who is now known by the name of Moaning Myrtle. The opening to the Chamber of Secrets is located in the bathroom she now haunts, and can only be opened by a Parselmouth like Slytherin. Riddle opened the Chamber again in 1993 through the use of one of his 7 horcruxes, his diary. Using the bit of his soul encompassed by the diary, he posessed Ginny Weasley and forced her to do his bidding. However, this second time opening the Chamber Riddle seemed to have a slightly different goal than the first time. For example, Ginny is a pure-blood witch, but he did not care. While he still attacked Muggle-born students, ultimately, his goal was to lure Harry Potter into the Chamber and kill him.

Physical DescriptionBearbeiten

Salazar Slytherin WOTM

Salazar Slytherin.

The statue of Salazar Slytherin in the Chamber of Secrets depicts an ancient man with a long thin beard that fell almost to the bottom of his sweeping robes. His beard was white in colour.


The name Salazar is originally a Portuguese family name. António de Oliveira Salazar was the dictator of Portugal (where Rowling lived for several years) from 1932 to 1968. Rowling stated that the name "Salazar Slytherin" was chosen after the Portuguese dictator's name. Meanwhile, slytherin may refer to the words "sly" as well as "slithering", which is the form of locomotion of snakes, possibly referring to his rare ability to talk to snakes called parseltongue.

Behind the scenesBearbeiten

Magical abilities and skills Bearbeiten

  • Parselmouth: Salazar Slytherin was a Parselmouth and used this ability to control a Basilisk. He passed this trait on to his descendants.
  • Legilimency: He was said to have been a skilled Legilimens.


Notes and referencesBearbeiten

  1. As appeared on JK's official website.
  2. As appeared on JK's official website.
  3. As appeared on JK's official website.
  4. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Hogwarts Houses:
Gryffindorcrest Hufflepuffcrest Ravenclawcrest Slytheirncrest
Namesake Founder: Godric Gryffindor · Helga Hufflepuff · Rowena Ravenclaw · Salazar Slytherin
Head of House: Minerva McGonagall · Pomona Sprout · Filius Flitwick · Horace Slughorn
House Ghost: Nearly Headless Nick · Fat Friar · Grey Lady · Bloody Baron