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Salazar Slytherin Character Analysis: Cup, Personality Traits, Family & Patronus

Salazar Slytherin Character Analysis: Cup, Personality Traits, Family & Patronus

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Salazar Slytherin is one of the four founders Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It was created in the 10th century, and Slytherin is considered one of the greatest wizards of that age. He is the founder of Slytherin house.

Unlike his fellow founders, Slytherin believed that magical knowledge should be reserved for the pure-blooded. When the others disagreed with him, he fought with his childhood friend Godric Gryffindor and left the school.

However, he also created the Chamber of Secrets within the school, hiding a Basilisk to destroy all “unworthy” students at Hogwarts at some future date, as we see in the events of The Chamber of Secrets.

Slytherin was particularly talented in the dark arts, but also Legilimency (a type of mind reading), and even created his own wand, from Snakewood and Basilisk Horn. He was also famously a parseltongue, which meant that he was able to speak with snakes.

As well as being the founder of Slytherin house, Salazar Slytherin is the ancestor of Lord Voldemort. He is also the source of many of the pureblood philosophies followed by Voldemort, his Death Eaters, and others.

About Salazar Slytherin

BornPre 976 in Ireland or the United Kingdom
Died11th century (assumed)
Blood StatusPure Blood
OccupationCo-Founder of Hogwarts
PatronusSerpent (assumed)
HouseSlytherin
WandSnakewood and Basilisk horn
Zodiac SignCapricorn (speculative)
OtherCreator of the Chamber of Secrets
Original owner of Slytherin’s locket

Salazar Slytherin Personality Type & Traits

Like many of the other Hogwarts founders, Slytherin committed to choosing students for his house based on the personality traits that he prized most, and that reflected his own character. These include ambition, ruthlessness, and a willingness to break the rules for one’s own benefit.

Slytherin also believed in blood purity and that those with muggle heritage were not only inferior but untrustworthy.

Slytherin House has accepted some half-blood wizards over the years, for example, Severus Snape and Tom Riddle. This is probably because there are so few pure-blooded wizards left.

We see that Slytherin thought himself superior and above the rules that govern others in the events that surround his leaving Hogwarts.

When the other founders disagreed with his suggestion that only pure-blooded wizards should be taught at Hogwarts, it resulted in an explosive fight between himself and his childhood friend Godric Gryffindor. Slytherin subsequently left the school.

According to the Wizard’s Ordinary Magic and Basic Aptitude Test, Slytherin later settled his differences with the other founders and returned to the school. But if he did this, it seems like he did so under false pretenses to create the Chamber of Secrets.

That he would return to Hogwarts only to hide a Basilisk there to kill muggle-born students at a future date reflects the ruthlessness and arrogance that we have come to expect from Slytherin.

Salazar Slytherin Zodiac Sign & Birthday

Capricorn Zodiac Sign Symbol and Dates

J.K. Rowling never tells us Salazar Slytherin’s birthdate. Nevertheless, based on his personality traits, many fans speculate, that he was a Capricorn born near the turning of the year. This would mirror the birthdate of Lord Voldemort (26 December).

Capricorns are very focused on their own goals. They are methodical and ruthless. These characteristics certainly seem to line up with what we know of Slytherin.

Salazar Slytherin Wand

Salazar Slytherin Wand
Salazar Slytherin’s Wand

Slytherin created his wand himself from snakewood and Basilisk horn. His choice of materials reflects Slytherin’s ability to speak to snakes as a parseltongue. Rowling asserts that Slytherin was one of the first wizards known to have this talent.

His wand was passed down to his heirs through the generations, in a fashion consistent with Slytherin’s belief in bloodlines. It was eventually stolen from Gormlaith Gaunt by her niece Isolt Sayre. It was later buried in the grounds of Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in North America. There it grew into a unique snakewood tree with leaves with powerful medicinal properties.

Salazar Slytherin Locket

Salazar Slytherin Locket

Slytherin’s famous locket was a golden piece emblazoned with the letter S for Slytherin. While it is not described as possessing any magical properties, it was almost certainly enchanted in some way.

The locket was kept in the family for almost a millennium, eventually being passed down to Lord Voldemort’s grandfather Marvolo Gaunt, who was proud to be an heir of Slytherin.

When his daughter Merope became pregnant by a muggle, she stole the locket when she ran away. She sold it to Caractacus Burke for money. Burke eventually sold the locket to Hepzibah Smith, who showed it to Lord Voldemort, while he was still using the name Tom Riddle. He killed her and took the locket.

Voldemort later turned the locket into one of his Horcruxes. He planned to use an artifact from each of the Hogwarts founders in his spell.

He hid the locket in a seaside cave that he frequented in his youth and where he tormented other children at the orphanage. Despite elaborate booby traps, Regulus Black was able to retrieve the locket with the help of his house-elf Kreacher.

The locket was kept hidden in the Black family home for many years until it was stolen by Mundungus Fletcher when the house was opened up as the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix.

It eventually found its way into the possession of ministry of magic employee Dolores Umbridge. She pretended that it was an heirloom from her own pureblood household Selwyn.

Harry, Hermione, and Ron later retrieve the locket, and Ron destroys it with Godric Gryffindor’s sword.

Salazar Slytherin Portrait and Statue

Salazar Slytherin Statue

We are told in passing that there were portraits of Slytherin in the Slytherin Common Room and also the headmaster’s office. But the only image that Rowling describes in any detail is the giant statue of himself that Slytherin placed within the Chamber of Secrets.

Rowling says that an impressive statue of Slytherin stands against the back wall of the chamber. The man himself is portrayed as ancient with a long beard falling almost to the ground and wearing sweeping robes. His stone feet are described as enormous, suggesting that the statue was very large.

The statue was clearly made when Slytherin was already an old man. This lends support to the idea that he created the Chamber later in life after returning to Hogwarts, rather than prior to his falling out with Gryffindor and the others.

Salazar Slytherin and the Chamber of Secrets

The Chamber of Secrets

There is a suggestion that Slytherin originally built what would become the Chamber of Secrets to teach the dark arts at Hogwarts, which were not forbidden at the time. But when his plan to limit the school to pure-blood wizards was rejected, he instead used it to hide his Basilisk.

Slytherin locked the chamber, creating a seal that could only be opened with parseltongue. He clearly assumed that his descendants, and his ultimate heir, would be able to speak parseltongue. Not only would they be able to open the chamber, but they would also be able to command the Basilisk.

The chamber was first opened by his descendant Tom Riddle in 1943. At this time the Basilisk killed one student, who would go on to become the castle ghost Moaning Myrtle. Fearing Dumbledore, Riddle closes the chamber and blames the death on Hagrid and his giant spider Aragog.

But Riddle did not give up on his mission. Instead he enchanted a diary with a piece of his soul, creating a Horcrux.

Later, Lucius Malfoy conspires to give the diary to Ginny Weasley. The fragment of Riddle’s soul compels her to open the chamber again. These are the events that unfold in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Salazar Slytherin Patronus

A Patronus is a non-corporeal shield that some talented wizards can generate to protect themselves against dark forces, such as the Dementors.

A Patronus will take the form of an animal and reveal something about the personality of the caster.

Rowling never specifically reveals the form of Salazar Slytherin’s Patronus. But there is little question that it must have been a serpent.

Salazar Slytherin Descendants & Family Tree

Despite Slytherin’s fame, his bloodline seems to have become murky over the years. At the turn on the 20th century Marvolo Gaunt can claim to be his descendant and of pure blood, but he is poor, not respected, and madness seems to run in his family.

Nevertheless, it is Marvolo’s daughter Merope that gives birth to Tom Riddle, the son of a muggle by the same name, who will go on to become Lord Voldemort and Slytherin’s true heir.

Later, when Rowling tells us about the history and founding of Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in North America, we meet other members of the Gaunt family that were also descendants of Slytherin.

The most famous is Isolt Sayre. She would follow in her ancestor’s footsteps and was one of the founders of the school. She had a number of children with her No-Maj husband. So, Slytherin would have had more heirs in North America, though he may not have been very happy with them.

In the United Kingdom, Voldemort is not actually the last of Slytherin’s line. In Harry Potter and the Cursed Child we learn that Lord Voldemort had a daughter Delphine with Bellatrix Lestrange.

Who did Salazar Slytherin Marry?

J.K. Rowling never reveals who Salazar Slytherin marries. Popular fan theories include that he married a member of the Black family, tying the two lines together from early times. Others suggest that he married Helga Hufflepuff, his complete opposite in temperament and attitude towards wizarding lineage.

Lord Voldemort is a descendant of Salazar Slytherin through the Gaunt line. His grandfather Marvolo Gaunt inherited Slytherin’s locket from his ancestors. But it was the last heirloom of a fortune wasted on self-indulgence.

Aside from an ambitious philosophy and a belief in the supremacy of wizards over muggles, the most obvious thing that Voldemort inherits from Slytherin is his ability to speak parseltongue and affinity for serpents. This is what makes Voldemort Slytherin’s heir and able to open the chamber of secrets.