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The 10 Most Admirable Slytherin Traits (& The 10 Worst)

Slytherins are the Hogwarts house from Harry Potter that has the worst reputation in the series. The house is associated with dark magic and pure-blood ideologies, and they are also seen as being rather sneaky and unkind. However, their notoriety is at least partially unearned, as there are many wonderful Slytherins at Hogwarts as well.

RELATED: 5 Most Powerful Slytherins In Harry Potter (& 5 Worst)

There are some negative traits that Slytherins have, there are also some great characteristics they embody too. Each of the four Hogwarts houses has good and admirable qualities as well as undesirable ones, and there are good and bad people sorted into each house. But what are Slytherin’s worst traits, and what are their most admirable?

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Updated on January 7th, 2022 by Hilary Elizabeth: Slytherin is always one of the most controversial Hogwarts houses, and many fans feel it’s unfair that it was painted so clearly as an “evil” house. There isn’t a lot of nuance to the characters in Slytherin in the books, but fans have noted that many prominent Slytherin traits are positive and look to add some depth to a rather simplistic sorting system.

There are so many dynamic and unique Slytherin characteristics, and it’s worth looking at all of the good that the Hogwarts house has to offer along with the bad.

The Most Admirable Slytherin Traits

Goal-Oriented


As with most characteristics regarding success or achievement, this is a positive quality that can be taken too far. But, in moderation, it’s really good to have.


Being able to set goals and take the steps necessary to meet them isn’t always easy, but the ability to do so allows a person to achieve the things they want in life and be successful. Goals don’t always have to be about career or money either, they can also be centered around bettering health, relationships, or something of that ilk.

Ambitious


One of the defining traits of Slytherin as a house is ambition. While not every single student in the house is as ambitious or intelligent as others, overall they are a rather achieving bunch.

RELATED: 10 Times Slytherins Proved Everyone Wrong In Harry Potter

These are people who want to do well and want to be perceived as successful. They also want to get respect in life, and this drives them forward to be the best at everything they can. Of course, ambition can sometimes go too far, but having a healthy amount can be a great thing.


Self-Confident


While Slytherins might get a bad reputation because they can seem self-centered, they can also be really self-confident in a good way. While there are times when being focused on self-preservation can go too far, caring about their own well-being is great, and sincerely liking themselves is even better.

Self-care is essential to all people, and learning to love yourself and have confidence is something that many people can learn from Slytherins. People from this house usually aren’t as insecure, and even when they are, they fake it until they make it.

Cunning


This might seem like a bad thing, as it’s often associated with negativity, but in fact, it can be something fantastic and incredibly useful under the right circumstances.


Deviousness speaks to intelligence, which is something that many Slytherins have in spades. And although many people wouldn’t like to acknowledge it, the ability to deceive and knowing just how to do it can be an essential part of success. After all, if it weren’t for Severus Snape’s cunning, then the Dark Lord wouldn’t have been defeated.

Natural Leaders


This is one of the positive Slytherin traits that definitely doesn’t get talked about by Harry Potter fans enough. Leadership is something that is mentioned by the Sorting Hat and that also comes across to any fan that is paying attention.

While not all Slytherins make great leaders, the other core traits of the house lend to leadership positions. Being ambitious, cunning, and resourceful are all important qualities that can help someone achieve the top of their chosen field.


Shrewd


Although being shrewd isn’t necessarily good in the eyes of some, it can be used in a very positive way depending on how it’s being used. The ability to stay calm under pressure and see advantages in a situation that most people might miss is an incredibly powerful talent that many of Salazar’s students seem to exhibit.

RELATED: The Best Things Slytherins Ever Did In Harry Potter

The Slytherin characteristic of astute intellect allows them to evaluate situations with the insight to make quick decisions. These are definitely people who are sharp and aware of what’s going on around them.

Loyal


This trait is often associated with Gryffindors or even Hufflepuffs, but it’s a strong aspect of Slytherin’s ideals as well. While Gryffindors are very steadfast and true, this is another example of how they and Slytherin are two sides of the same coin.


Slytherins can be quite devoted and dedicated too, but they tend to be more dutiful towards particular people or more ardent in certain beliefs that might not adhere to the typical norms and standards. Gryffindors are idealists who tend to cleave to the same ideals, while Slytherins often choose their own paths.

Self-Reliant


Hero Fiennes-Tiffin as Tom Riddle Voldemort in Harry Potter Half Blood Prince

The confidence of most Slytherins could be intimidating to most, but the truth is that they just have faith in themselves above almost all others in most instances.

They’re not the type to wait for someone else’s help or permission, and they live by the old adage “if you want something done right then do it yourself”. They’re also not afraid to go it alone, sometimes they even seek out situations where they can achieve something purely by themselves, and that self-reliance is pretty admirable.


Pragmatic


Severus Snape speaking with Harry Potter in the potions storeroom in Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

The typical Slytherin’s ability to keep their emotions out of any situation (or at least conceal their emotions more skillfully than most would be capable of) is actually a huge strength.

Sure, they can hold onto a grudge like no other, but they are ultimately pragmatic and will engage with people that they dislike in order to achieve their greater goals. As quite a few Slytherins demonstrated throughout the course of Harry Potter, they had no love lost for Harry but were still willing to team up with him or help him if it was to their advantage.

Strategic


Bellatrix performs the Unbreakable Vow on Snape and Narcissa in HP and the Half Blood Prince

Slytherin may have a bad reputation, but it’s no coincidence that the Wizarding World was nearly conquered by Voldemort, and his plan was foiled by Severus Snape, two of the most iconic Slytherins of all time.


The natural knack for strategic thinking that can be found within this Hogwarts house likely explains why that is, as their students seemingly have a natural gift for planning ahead and sussing out what moves their adversaries will make before they make them.

The Worst Slytherin Traits

Rule-Breakers


It’s been noted by many Harry Potter fans that in many ways Slytherins and Gryffindors have a lot in common. While they might have a big rivalry and seem like total opposites, this isn’t really the case. Slytherins and Gryffindors are the two houses that are most prone to rule-breaking.

RELATED: 5 Times The Gryffindors Were The Worst In Harry Potter (& 5 Times The Slytherins Were)


While Gryffindors might be more brazen in how they go about it, Slytherins tend to be more sneaky in their flouting of rules. They tend to fly under the radar and break rules quietly and discreetly without getting caught.

Judgmental


Each house has its own ways in which they can be judgmental, and they tend to judge based on different things. For example, Ravenclaws can be rather judgemental of those who they don’t think are smart enough.

However, Slytherins, along with Gryffindors, are probably some of the most judgmental of all. They can be a rather proud house, which makes them look down on people that they think don’t measure up to their standards, which can be quite severe and exacting.


Haughty


Tom Riddle gives an evil glare in Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets.

Slytherin is a house that is associated with being prideful and having a lot of self-assurance. While these aren’t necessarily bad things all of the time, they can lead them to be stuck-up and haughty.

Many members of this house will treat other people with disdain or think they are inherently superior to them, and unfortunately, they tend to think that they are better than almost everyone. This can lead to Slytherins being unkind to others in general because they tend to stick to themselves, or it can end with even more serious and dangerous consequences.

Vindictive


Young Snape

Salazar’s students are certainly known for being prideful, and that unfortunately often means being egotistical to a fault. They don’t take any slight easily, and they never forget being scorned either.


Everyone can hold a grudge sometimes, but the fact that Severus Snape punished Harry Potter for the things James did decades ago is over the top, as is the fact that Harry’s casual insult in the first year at Hogwarts seemingly made a rival out of Draco Malfoy for years afterward.

Prejudiced


Draco Malfoy glares at Ron Weasley in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Although not every student in Slytherin is a pure-blood, one of their core values is focused on keeping wizard bloodlines together and excluding regular Muggles from the Wizarding World.

This isn’t a good reflection upon Slytherin students under any circumstances, but this prejudice can obviously have disastrous consequences in the long run. It should come as no surprise that many of Voldemort’s followers were Slytherins, simply because their thoughts about wizard superiority were already baked into the foundation of their Hogwarts house.


Elitist


There is nothing wrong with aiming high in life, but sometimes the students and alumni from this particular house take it to an unnecessary extreme.

Many Slytherins seem to think of themselves as better than everyone, and thus only want to socialize or surround themselves with those that they believe are on their level. They will also sometimes go out of their way to exclude people that they don’t think are worthy of them, which is not a good look.

Arrogant


This is another way in which Gryffindors and Slytherins are quite similar; they are both houses that are known for having a good deal of arrogance. The difference is the way this attitude is presented and perceived by others.


RELATED: 10 Most Cowardly Slytherins Of The Whole Harry Potter Series

While Gryffindors are more likely to be outwardly cocky, Slytherins have a more introverted smugness about them. They definitely think they’re the best house, just like the Gryffindors. It’s no wonder the two houses can’t stand each other.

Selfish


Slytherin and Gryffindor Quidditch Teams in Harry Potter

This is definitely one of the worst things about Slytherins, and it’s an area where they differ greatly from Gryffindors.

While other houses such as Gryffindor and Hufflepuff are known for caring about others and being oriented towards other people, Slytherins are a more self-preserving house. They are more independent and out for themselves, and they aren’t very likely to play the hero or put their own lives on the line.


Sneaky


Considering that the mascot of Slytherin is a snake, it’s no wonder that the students sorted into this house are associated with sneakiness. As a whole, many of the students who were sorted here tend to be good at getting out of trouble and not getting caught. They are rather good at evading and sneaking around.

This is definitely not a great quality, as it often means they throw other people under the bus, and Slytherins are also prone to lying. This is probably one of the worst characteristics of the house that comes out the most often.

Cruel


This is by far one of the worst traits that some of the Slytherins in the Harry Potter series exhibit. While not all of the students in the house are cruel, there are a few that are truly uncaring and nasty.


It’s a bit unfair how some Slytherins are viewed, but the bad eggs in the group are so bad that it gives the rest a likewise reputation. People like Malfoy and his friends were quite brutal. They didn’t really care much about what happened to the people around them, and they even hurt and attempted to kill other Hogwarts students and teachers.

NEXT: 10 Secrets About The Slytherin Common Room

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