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Slytherin House Traits: Good and Bad

Slytherin House’s reputation tends to precede it. To be fair, it is the House that produced the most evil wizard of all time. But not all Slytherins are villainous masterminds. Like everyone else, they’ve got bad traits, but good traits, too.

They’re clever, ambitious, resourceful, quick-witted, and cunning. Basically, they’re the MacGyvers of Hogwarts. Sure, some of them may lean toward practicing the Dark Arts, but who doesn’t have a dark side? And honestly, Slytherins can be the most relatable out of all the houses. It’s a dog-eat-dog world, and Slytherins are just doing their best to get ahead of the pack. And who doesn’t want to do that?

These traits make for great and successful leaders, just like the founder of Slytherin House himself, Salazar. I’m not condoning his pureblood-supremacy views or his “less than” attitude toward Muggle-borns, but the guy was incredibly smart and influential.

Let’s break down some of Slytherin House’s best qualities. They’re determined, intelligent, strong leaders, loyal, and brimming with self-confidence.

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Table of Contents

Good Slytherin Personality Traits


Slytherins may not always take the high road, but they’ll take the road that gets them where they need to go. Take Salazar Slytherin, for example. He was all about cunning, ambition, and purebloodedness. That may not be the most politically correct value, but he stuck to his guns when it came to sorting Hogwarts students. Sure, his disdain for Muggle-born wizards rightly ruffled some feathers, but the guy committed to his ideas and didn’t let anyone change his mind. When a Slytherin sets their sight on something, they’ll stop at nothing to achieve it.


Just because Ravenclaw is the House known for intellect doesn’t mean the other three are full of dunces. I mean, have you seen the Slytherins? With their sharpness and quick thinking, these guys make sure to stay one step ahead. Take Snape, for instance. Not only is he a masterful double-agent, but he rewrote the whole book on potion-making. Not just anyone can create a new potion from scratch! This goes to show that intelligence comes in many forms – you don’t have to be a bookworm to be smart.

Strong Leaders

Say what you will about Slytherins, but those guys know how to lead. Their idea of “doing the right thing” can be unconventional at times, but you can’t deny their capacity to rally the troops. Just look at Tom Riddle – the guy had a whole army of Death Eaters following him. Sure, it may have been out of fear, but you can’t deny Riddle’s leadership ability.

Then there’s Snape, who may not have been the friendliest, but he stood up for what he believed in. And let’s not forget about Salazar Slytherin himself, one of the brightest wizards of his time and a founder of the wizarding world’s greatest school. So maybe Slytherins aren’t always the most morally upstanding bunch, but you can’t deny their power and influence.


You may associate loyalty more with Hufflepuff, but trust me, it’s integral to Slytherin too. Just look at the Malfoys. When Harry told Narcissa that Draco was still alive, Narcissa didn’t hesitate to lie to Voldemort in order to find her son. That’s next-level commitment to family. Snape, too, was so loyal to the woman he loved – Lily – that he never moved on from her decades after her death, and everything he did was in her honor. So Slytherins may not be the warmest and friendliest bunch, but you can’t deny their fierce loyalty to the ones they love.


When it comes to self-assurance, Slytherins are basically the kings and queens. And these are traits you need to have to survive:  just look at the world they live in. With all the backstabbing and double-crossing that goes on, it’s hard to trust anyone. So if you want something done right, you have to be able to trust yourself to make it happen. That’s what Draco Malfoy does. He gets Crabbe and Goyle to do the bulk of his dirty work, but when it comes down to the wire, he’s not afraid to roll up his own sleeves.

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Bad Slytherin Personality Traits

Slytherin has its reputation for a reason. I’m not saying they’re a bunch of scheming, backstabbing, devilish maniacs, but they do have their fair share of personality flaws.

For starters, these guys can be downright prideful – and not in a good way. They’re pretty malicious, too: how many Death Eaters come from this House? They’re not afraid to break the rules every now and then, especially if it gets them ahead somehow. Plus, they’re sneaky and manipulative. It’s always better to keep an eye on these guys …


There’s a big difference between having healthy self-confidence and being so prideful you can’t think straight. Slytherins have a tendency to blur that line. These guys sometimes think of themselves more highly than a Hippogriff flying through the clouds. But as the old saying goes, “pride goes before a fall.” Slytherins should get more familiar with this idea. Look at Voldemort. He constantly overestimated himself while underestimating Harry, and you see where that got him: defeated over and over!


Let’s start by acknowledging that not every Slytherin is a cruel, malicious jerk. But I also have to point out the obvious: they’re not the nicest either. Look at the way Draco and his cronies treat the other students; it’s not exactly a ringing endorsement for Slytherin. There’s also Snape, who could give Professor Umbridge a run for her money in the “most unpleasant teacher” category just because he has a vendetta against Harry Potter.

Sometimes, they’re malicious just for the sake of it – it’s not Harry’s fault he looks so much like James, whom Snape despises. We see the softer side of some Slytherins every now and then, but let’s not forget that the majority of them would not hesitate to screw you over if need be – or sometimes, just for fun.

Rule Breakers

Ah, Slytherins, the rule-breakers without a cause. They know that sometimes, you have to bend the rules a little to get ahead. And when the rules don’t serve their purpose, they’ll break them for the thrill. While Harry, Hermione, and Ron may get in trouble for their rule-breaking antics, they only do it when they need to. Slytherins, though, view it as a way to make their mark and stand out from the crowd. They thrive on taking risks and living on the edge. So next time you see a Slytherin sneaking around after curfew, just remember they’re just trying to make life a little more interesting.


When it comes to Slytherins, they take the “fake it till you make it” motto to the extreme. They’re all about being sneaky, sly, and cunning. You can never be too sure whether they’re telling you the truth. For example, Tom Riddle managed to outsmart Professor Slughorn under the guise of wanting to learn – and then he himself was outsmarted by another fellow Slytherin: Snape, who was secretly an agent of Dumbledore’s. It’s no wonder their mascot is a snake. They’ve got the whole slithering thing down pat.


Anyone can be manipulative, but it seems that Slytherins are especially gifted at it. They love nothing more than getting others to do their bidding and achieving their goals through cunning schemes. Of course, not all Slytherins are like this, but the ones who are tend to be really good at it – and it’s hard not to judge the entire House based on them.

And when it comes to the master of manipulation, look no further than Lord Voldemort. He made manipulating people his full-time job, and he was so good at it, he could probably get a snake to buy him a drink.

Smart, Sly, and Snake-like

Some of the traits of Slytherin House may not be seen as the most desirable, but they certainly make for interesting characters. From their cunning and resourcefulness to their self-assurance and loyalty, Slytherins bring a unique perspective to the world of Harry Potter. But there are always exceptions to the stereotype: you may find a Slytherin who’s the nicest person you’ve ever met. So, if you find yourself sorted into Slytherin house, embrace your powerful traits and use them for good.

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