When an 11-year-old boy is chanting ‘NOT SLYTHERIN! NOT SLYTHERIN!’ endlessly into a Sorting Hat, you may get the impression that this Hogwarts house has an iffy reputation.

Draco being sorted

Of course, Slytherin do have a couple of foibles: their issues with Muggles, a terrifying serpent emblem, and that dreadful chap Lord Voldemort. But if you do get Sorted into this house, there is absolutely no need to be down about it. This ancient community has just as much to offer as the other three houses, despite all evidence to the contrary. We promise.

Not every Slytherin is a total git

It’s a common misconception that Slytherin house is host to every dark wizard imaginable. Alright, so its founder, Salazar Slytherin, had a tendency to target Muggle-born students with a terrifying giant snake in a specially-made Chamber every now and then... And fair enough, Lord Voldemort is more or less the most evil force in wizarding history. But it’s not all doom and gloom!

Take one of Hogwarts’ most esteemed professors, Severus Snape, who gave his life for the greater good, all in the name of love.

How about Regulus Black, Sirius Black’s brother, who famously defected from being a Death Eater in order to try and vanquish one of Lord Voldemort’s Horcruxes? Nymphadora Tonks’s mother, Andromeda, defied the pure-blood traditions of her family (which included her sister Bellatrix Lestrange) to marry a Muggle-born: a very un-Slytherin sort of thing to do. And as for wily old Horace Slughorn, he may have had some skeletons in his cupboard, but in the end he shone true in the great Battle of Hogwarts.

The common room is quite picturesque, you know

Unlike the other houses, Slytherin’s common room is situated deep in the dungeons of Hogwarts, surrounded by the school’s Great Lake. Its décor includes a crackling fireplace, carved chairs and greenish lamps – which actually sounds quite homey. And dungeons, smungeons. What’s not to love about a nice, Gothic feng shui?

The Slytherin Common Room with Draco from the Chamber of Secrets
© JKR/Pottermore Ltd. ™ Warner Bros.

One of the greatest wizards ever known was a Slytherin

Slytherin’s repute is always going to be ever so slightly tarnished by the fact that pesky Lord Voldemort was a staunch house member who embodied every Slytherin stereotype going. But not much is said of the fact that one of the most famous wizards of all time, Merlin, was also from the house. So beloved and great was Merlin, that to this day, wizards are awarded The Order of Merlin to celebrate an outstanding achievement. Proof that even Gregory Goyle may one day turn into a great inspiration. Okay, maybe not.

Snakes are cool

And while we’re defending things, let’s also hear it for snakes – the Slytherin emblem. We can understand that sometimes serpents have some poisonous tendencies that also relate to a few of Slytherin’s alumni, and yes, sometimes snakes can be murderous Basilisks or even secret Horcruxes, but don’t hold that against them. Snakes are some of nature’s most resourceful creatures, and if life weighs down on them, they shed their skin and start anew. Some Slytherins, including a certain Draco Malfoy, have been known to do this too.

Harry opening the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Slytherins are born winners

When Harry first joined Hogwarts, Slytherins reigned supreme. They had ‘flattened’ Gryffindor on the Quidditch pitch and were on course to win the House Cup for the seventh time in a row before Harry, Ron and Hermione put an end to that. Now, if Slytherins were so terrible, where did all those house points come from? And since when was being good at sport a crime? Perhaps everyone who has a go at Slytherin is just a bad loser.

And finally: who doesn’t look good in green?

Let’s be honest. If we had to pick between a glorious emerald dress robe and a ghastly yellow one, we’d pick the former every time. (Sorry, Hufflepuff.)

Draco on his broom beofre quidditch match
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

The Sorting Ceremony
Be sorted and discover your house