They say ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ – unless it’s one designed by a Slytherin, because chances are it would look pretty fabulous.
Slytherin house displayed some exquisitely dark, yet beautiful designs over the years – as shown both in the Harry Potter books and film adaptations. Here are some of our favourite pieces of artistry from Slytherin’s history.
Salazar Slytherin’s locket
Wearing the locket of Salazar Slytherin, one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes, caused Harry, Ron and Hermione a lot of deep emotional turmoil. Despite these hardships, this locket was described in the books as a richly-designed and ancient piece of jewellery, eloquently embossed with green emeralds.
As a hugely valuable Slytherin heirloom, it was almost a pity Lord Voldemort had to turn this valuable antique into a Horcrux. Yikes, are we starting to sound too much like Kreacher?
It was as large as a chicken’s egg. An ornate letter ‘S’, inlaid with many small green stones, glinted dully in the diffused light shining through the tent’s canvas roof.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Draco Malfoy was always sure to wear his family’s wealth, quite literally, on his sleeve. In Half-Blood Prince, a particularly glimmering set of green robes (what other colour could it be?) perfectly articulated just how dapper Draco was.
A teenage boy with a pale, pointed face and white-blond hair appeared from behind the rack wearing a handsome set of dark green robes that glittered with pins around the hem and the edges of the sleeves.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Salazar Slytherin’s wand, passed down from generation to generation, had no doubt performed many a great and terrible spell. Until, that is, the wand came into the possession of a young Irish girl named Isolt Sayre.
Slytherin’s wand contained a fragment of Basilisk’s horn and stopped working when Isolt’s murderous aunt told it, in Parseltongue, to ‘sleep.’ After the confrontation with Gormlaith, Isolt buried Slytherin’s wand and a mysterious tree grew on that spot, that refused to be pruned or destroyed.
Within a year an unknown species of snakewood tree had grown out of the earth on the spot where the wand was buried. It resisted all attempts to prune or kill it, but after several years the leaves were found to contain powerful medicinal properties. This tree seemed testament to the fact that Slytherin’s wand, like his scattered descendants, encompassed both noble and ignoble.
‘Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry’, Pottermore
The Slytherin common room
We got a peek into the Slytherin common room during Chamber of Secrets, when Ron and Harry took on the unenviable task of being Crabbe and Goyle for the evening. Situated in the dungeons, the common room was as green and mysterious-looking as you’d expect.
The Slytherin common room was a long, low underground room with rough stone walls and ceiling, from which round, greenish lamps were hanging on chains. A fire was crackling under an elaborately carved mantelpiece ahead of them, and several Slytherins were silhouetted around it in carved chairs. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
The Dark Mark
Although the Dark Mark was not strictly confined to Slytherin house, it shared an undeniable association with Slytherin. This was Lord Voldemort’s dreaded sign: an ominous skull with a cascading tongue-like snake that evoked fear and dread in every witch or wizard who witnessed it. Trust Lord Voldemort to have a really evil-looking logo.
Then he realised that it was a colossal skull, composed of what looked like emerald stars, with a serpent protruding from its mouth like a tongue. As they watched, it rose higher and higher, blazing in a haze of greenish smoke, etched against the black sky like a new constellation.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
The Chamber of Secrets
Now, we’re certainly not advocating the fact that Slytherin built the Chamber of Secrets – home to the horrendous Basilisk. But you must admit that Salazar Slytherin’s creation was kind of stunning in its own, grotesque sort of way. The chamber, which could only be opened by speaking Parseltongue, contained a huge statue of Salazar Slytherin himself. Although it signified so much evil, it was an undeniably majestic image.
Then, as he drew level with the last pair of pillars, a statue high as the Chamber itself loomed into view, standing against the back wall. Harry had to crane his neck to look up into the giant face above: it was ancient and monkey-like, with a long thin beard that fell almost to the bottom of the wizard’s sweeping stone robes, where two enormous grey feet stood on the smooth chamber floor.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
The Black family tapestry
As much as Sirius Black detested most things associated with Grimmauld Place, the Black family tapestry had a macabre beauty to it. As a rare Gryffindor in a gargantuan family tree littered with Death Eaters and Slytherins, Sirius was not alone in being represented as a burn mark. A few others in this pure-blood family had the audacity not to follow in the footsteps of the Dark Lord.
But there is also no denying that so much wizarding history in one tapestry was bound to look quite magnificent. Plus it was definitely the best decoration in number twelve, Grimmauld Place.
The tapestry looked immensely old; it was faded and looked as though Doxys had gnawed it in places. Nevertheless, the golden thread with which it was embroidered still glinted brightly enough to show them a sprawling family tree dating back (as far as Harry could tell) to the Middle Ages.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix