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10 Slytherin House Personality Traits: Good and Bad with Examples

10 Slytherin House Personality Traits: Good and Bad with Examples

Slytherins are full of both good and bad personality traits that make them who they are. Slytherin House has the worst reputation of all the houses and while some of it is for good reason, granted it produced the ultimate dark wizard, not all Slytherins are inherently bad.

There is more to a Slytherin than meets the eye.

What kind of a person is a Slytherin?

Slytherins are highly complex individuals that are intelligent, ambitious, resourceful, quick-witted, and cunning. While some poor Slytherins reputations do precede them, Slytherins can actually be the most relatable of the Houses at Hogwarts.

Good Slytherin TraitsBad Slytherin Traits
Problem-solversRule breakers

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Good Slytherin Personality Traits

Slytherins are not inherently bad; they are determined, highly intelligent, problem-solvers, and full of self-confidence. Slytherins are fiercely loyal to their family and friends and stand by those they love. All of these traits combined make Slytherins great and successful leaders.

1. Determined

Salazar Slytherin Hogwarts Founders
Salazar Slytherin – One of the four founders of Hogwarts School

Even though the method of accomplishing their goals might not be the best way to do it, when a Slytherin sets their mind to something, they achieve it.

For example, Salazar Slytherin, one of the cofounders of Hogwarts, made a point to primarily have pureblood, cunning, and ambitious witches and wizards sorted into Slytherin House.

While his idea of muggle-born wizards being “less than” was not well-respected, the legacy of Slytherin House and what they stood for lived on, proving that Slytherins know what they want, and they go for it.

Example of Slytherin’s determined trait:

One clear example of a Slytherin character being particularly determined comes from “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” both in the book and the film adaptation. The character is Draco Malfoy, a prominent Slytherin throughout the series.

“You’ll soon find out some wizarding families are much better than others, Potter. You don’t want to go making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there.”

Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Draco Malfoy
Draco Malfoy

In this scene, Draco Malfoy attempts to befriend Harry before the sorting ceremony, demonstrating his determination to gain Harry as an ally. Draco’s determination is driven by his belief in pure-blood superiority and the prestige associated with Harry’s fame in the wizarding world. However, his attempt is rejected by Harry, setting the stage for their rivalry throughout the series.

2. Intelligent

Severus Snape Half Blood Prince
Severus Snape

Although intelligence is the staple quality of Ravenclaw house, it doesn’t mean the other houses are less intelligent or that intelligence means only being “book smart”. Slytherins are always aware of their surroundings, quick on their feet, clever, and resourceful.

Example of Slytherin’s intelligence trait:

An excellent example of Slytherin’s intelligence trait comes from “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” both in the book and the movie adaptation. The character exhibiting this trait is Severus Snape, a former Slytherin student and the Head of Slytherin House.

“You dare use my own spells against me, Potter? It was I who invented them — I, the Half-Blood Prince! And you’d turn my inventions on me, like your filthy father, would you? I don’t think so . . . no!”

Severus Snape in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

In this dramatic revelation, Snape shows his intellectual prowess by declaring that he is the Half-Blood Prince, who was the original creator of the spells annotated in the Potions textbook that Harry had been using throughout the school year. This admission showcases his ingenious magical innovation and deep understanding of spell-crafting from a young age.

3. Strong leaders

Tom Riddle Plot to open the Chamber of Secrets
Tom Riddle Plot to open the Chamber of Secrets

Slytherins encompass all the characteristics of a strong leader even though their priorities and intentions do not always line up with the “right thing.” Their leadership can occasionally tip into manipulative or self-serving territories, influenced by their notorious ambition and drive for self-preservation. Nevertheless, the strength of their leadership, regardless of their moral compass, remains an integral part of the Slytherin identity.

Example of Slytherin’s strong leadership trait:

Tom Riddle, who later becomes Lord Voldemort, is a prime example of a wizard who successfully establishes a legion of loyal followers. His leadership, even though primarily driven by fear and intimidation, showcases his ability to command and direct a group towards his own objectives.

Severus Snape, on the other hand, represents a different facet of Slytherin leadership. Despite his personal shortcomings and controversial actions, he exhibits unwavering conviction in his beliefs and inspires his students to do the same. His unyielding determination, his ability to make difficult decisions, and his resilience under extreme pressure are clear indicators of his leadership abilities.

Lastly, Salazar Slytherin, one of the co-founders of Hogwarts and the namesake of Slytherin house, was widely considered one of the most brilliant wizards of his age. His leadership is evident in his legacy; he was instrumental in shaping Hogwarts and setting up its house system. Although his views became contentious over time, his influence and standing in the wizarding world remain undeniable.

4. Loyal

Malfoy Family
Malfoy Family

Loyalty, while not immediately associated with Slytherin house, is indeed a defining trait that surfaces upon closer examination. Though it may manifest differently than the steadfast loyalty often seen in houses like Hufflepuff or Gryffindor, Slytherin loyalty is just as profound and influential. This loyalty tends to be more selective, fiercely pledged to specific individuals, ideologies, or causes that align with their personal interests or values.

Example of Slytherin’s loyalty trait:

A striking example of Slytherin loyalty is seen in the actions of the Malfoy family, particularly Narcissa Malfoy, in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” both in the book and the film adaptation. The Malfoy family has been consistently portrayed as unswervingly loyal to each other, often going to great lengths to protect their own.

Harry Potter and Narcissa Malfoy
Harry Potter and Narcissa Malfoy

In the climactic moments of the Battle of Hogwarts, Narcissa Malfoy is asked by Voldemort to check if Harry Potter is dead. When she kneels beside Harry, he reveals that her son Draco is alive. Narcissa, hearing this, decides to betray Voldemort by declaring Harry dead, all in the hope that she will be able to enter the castle and find her son.

This pivotal moment illustrates the depth of Narcissa’s loyalty to her family. Despite having seemingly allied herself with Voldemort, her true loyalty lies with her family, showcasing that the familial bond outweighs her commitment to any other cause.

5. Confident

Draco Malfoy's Gang
Draco Malfoy’s Gang

One thing Slytherins do not lack is self-assurance and self-confidence. They are intentionally loyal, but also incredibly self-reliant. Since Slytherins don’t trust easily they tend to count on themselves to get the job done.

Example of Slytherin’s confidence trait:

Draco’s interaction with his peers, particularly his cronies Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle, exemplifies his supreme confidence.

Draco routinely bosses Crabbe and Goyle around, making them do his bidding. This showcases not just his leadership abilities but also his self-assured belief in his own superiority and entitlement.

However, it’s worth noting that when something of high importance is at stake, Draco prefers to take the reins. For instance, in “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” when tasked with a mission by Voldemort, Draco takes it upon himself to complete it rather than relying on his usual henchmen.

This pivotal moment underlines Draco’s confidence in his own abilities. Despite the odds stacked against him, he takes on the dangerous task, showing that when it comes to crucial matters, he trusts no one but himself to get the job done right.

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Bad Slytherin Personality Traits

Most Slytherins are prideful, malicious, rule-breakers, sneaky, and manipulative. They get what they want, but usually by stepping on, hurting, or using the people around them to do it.

6. Prideful

Voldemort and Harry Potter Deathly Hallows
Harry Potter and Voldemort

There’s a fine line between being self-confident and being prideful, and Slytherins cross that line frequently when they think of themselves more highly than others. As the proverb goes, “pride goes before a fall,” and a Slytherin knows this very well.

Example of Slytherin’s prideful trait:

A prime example of Voldemort’s pride leading to his downfall is seen in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.” Convinced of his own invincibility and superiority, Voldemort chooses to duel Harry in a grand show of his power upon his resurrection.

He underestimates Harry’s abilities and overestimates his own, leading him to ignore the potential implications of their connected wands. As a result, he is taken by surprise when their duel results in the Priori Incantatem effect, causing the shadows of his previous victims to appear and distract him long enough for Harry to escape.

This event serves as a significant moment that showcases Voldemort’s arrogance. His underestimation of Harry and overconfidence in his own power becomes a recurring theme in the series, leading to his eventual downfall. This characteristic of pride, while contributing to their ambition and leadership, can also be a Slytherin’s Achilles heel, as exemplified by Lord Voldemort.

7. Malicious

Slytherin Quidditch
Slytherin Quidditch Team

It’s true that not all Slytherins are cruel, but as you can see how Draco and his friends, and even Professor Snape, treat the other students, it’s a plausible conclusion that Slytherins are malicious. In general, they don’t care who they hurt as long as it benefits them.

While we do see the softer side of many who come from Slytherin, excluding Voldemort of course, the overwhelming evidence points to Slytherins being unfair or mean to those outside their inner circle.

Example of Slytherin’s malicious trait:

One such example occurs in “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” where the Slytherin Quidditch team exhibits a malicious streak during their match against Gryffindor. Draco Malfoy, the Seeker for the Slytherin team, uses underhanded tactics to throw off Harry Potter, the Gryffindor Seeker. Draco doesn’t just play to win, but aims to taunt and distract Harry, resorting to personal insults about his family.

Furthermore, the rest of the Slytherin team is not above playing rough. Their aggressive style often borders on foul play, focusing not only on outperforming their rivals but also on undermining them, displaying a certain level of malice that extends beyond competitive spirit.

However, it’s essential to clarify that these behaviors are not representative of all Slytherins and are predominantly seen in characters who misuse their Slytherin traits.

8. Rule Breakers

Draco Malfoy Quidditch
Draco Malfoy Playing Quidditch

While we see Harry, Hermione, and Ron frequent Dumbledore’s office for being disobedient, Slytherins are different in the sense that they enjoy pushing the boundaries when it comes to rule following. If it serves them, they’re more than happy to oblige, but when it no longer benefits their wellbeing, they’re ready to wreak havoc.

Example of Slytherin’s rule breaker trait:

An illustration of this can be found in Draco Malfoy’s actions in “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” In this book, Draco is tasked by Lord Voldemort with a mission of great importance – to assassinate Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts. This mission requires Draco to break numerous school rules and even the laws of the wizarding world.

He smuggles Death Eaters into Hogwarts through the Room of Requirement, uses the Imperius Curse on fellow student Katie Bell to transport a cursed necklace, and attempts several times to murder Dumbledore, disregarding the safety and wellbeing of other students.

Draco’s actions during this period are indicative of the lengths some Slytherins are willing to go to achieve their goals, often justifying their disregard for rules and norms with their ambition and the ends they aim to achieve. However, it’s crucial to remember that these actions represent an extreme and not all Slytherins engage in such behaviors.

9. Sneaky

Tom Riddle and Professor Slughorn
Professor Slughorn and Tom Riddle

Maybe being sneaky wasn’t so bad when it was Snape tricking the Dark Lord, but most of us can see past his questionable actions for the greater good. Slytherin House is credited with being sly, cunning, and sneaky and you couldn’t be fully sure they were telling you the truth or lying to you.

Example of Slytherin’s sneaky trait:

A classic example of this can be seen in the actions of Tom Riddle during his years as a student at Hogwarts, as described in “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”.

In the memory shared by Professor Horace Slughorn, a young Tom Riddle can be seen deftly manipulating the conversation to extract information about Horcruxes, a dark and forbidden branch of magic.

Riddle cunningly presents his questions under the guise of academic curiosity, flattering Slughorn and exploiting the professor’s fondness for him. He successfully dupes Slughorn into revealing crucial information, demonstrating his slyness in obtaining knowledge that would later become key to his transformation into Lord Voldemort.

10. Manipulative


No matter what House, every person can be manipulative, however, Slytherins enjoy manipulating others into helping them or achieving something. Not all Slytherins of course, but in the same way that a bad apple can ruin the bunch, the ones that are manipulative tend to stand out.

Example of Slytherin’s manipulative trait:

A notable instance of this manipulation occurs in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.” In an intricate plot to get Harry into his clutches, Voldemort manipulates a multitude of characters, bending their will to serve his purpose. Using a complex plan involving the Triwizard Tournament, a Portkey, and even the Imperius Curse, Voldemort manages to arrange for Harry to be delivered to him.

He bewitches Barty Crouch Jr. and forces him to impersonate Mad-Eye Moody, a professor at Hogwarts. Through this disguise, Crouch Jr. manipulates events so that Harry becomes a participant in the Triwizard Tournament, eventually ensuring he touches the Portkey that takes him to Voldemort.

Through this grand scheme, Voldemort not only demonstrates his ruthless ambition but also his masterful manipulation skills.

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What are the zodiac signs of Slytherin?

If you are a Slytherin, then you are more than likely a Scorpio or a Capricorn. Both Slytherins and Scorpios tend to be emotional at heart, but ambitious in thought and action. Capricorns and Slytherins are both determined, and their hard work is unmatched.


Scorpio Zodiac Sign Symbol with Dates

Scorpios are commonly misunderstood in the same way Slytherins are often misconstrued as the house no one wants to be in (unless of course you come from Slytherin lineage).

We see this in the way Harry whispers, “Please not Slytherin. Please not Slytherin,” when wearing the Sorting Hat.


Capricorn Zodiac Sign Symbol and Dates

Capricorns are very ambitious and goal oriented. They know what they want and take the steps necessary to achieve it.

Capricorns and Slytherins are patient in their success, which makes a lot of sense when you consider how many years it took Tom Riddle to gather his followers in order to destroy Harry and take over Hogwarts.

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Slytherin House Personality

All in all, Slytherins tend to live in the “grey area” more than Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff. Slytherins are arguably the most relatable of the four Houses because they’re at least honest about their shortcomings.

Slytherins are fiercely loyal to their own, highly intelligent, goal-oriented, and achieve success when they put their minds to something. If you’re lucky, you’ll get close enough to see the soft side of a Slytherin someday.

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