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Old 12-06-2018, 05:45 PM
SlackerInc SlackerInc is offline
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Why is Slytherin allowed to exist?

I’m only casually aware of Harry Potter from seeing a couple of the movies. So maybe someone better versed in the lore can explain this, as I have long found it perplexing.

Shouldn’t the sorting hat say “this one needs to go straight to prison, or at least be expelled”? Or if that’s too harsh, how about putting them in an intensive program designed to rehabilitate them?

I mean, I assume the Jedi Academy didn’t have a Sith Wing. What am I missing here?

Last edited by SlackerInc; 12-06-2018 at 05:47 PM.
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:54 PM
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I'm sure someone will have a far better answer but the Houses are representative of certain skills or traits. Slytherin values skills like ambition, resourcefulness, loyalty (to Slytherin), cleverness, etc. These traits make Slytherin members more prone to becoming dark wizards but several of them turn out to be, for lack of a better word, "good." Likewise, the other houses can produce dark wizards, though I don't think there are any documented from Hufflepuff. So, it's sort of a takes-all-kinds deal of the Wizarding World - Slytherin are behind a lot of bad stuff but they can also be instrumental in the progress of the Wizarding World.
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:56 PM
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Does seem weird. Relevant quote: "... another curious decision of the school's there, to dedicate an entire house to the children in its care who are evil" (from Mitchell and Webb's "Welcome to Hufflepuff").
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:56 PM
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According to Harry Potter, the bravest man he ever met was a Slytherin.
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Old 12-06-2018, 06:06 PM
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According to Harry Potter, the bravest man he ever met was a Slytherin.
I don't know that I would agree with him, though.
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Old 12-06-2018, 06:09 PM
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According to Harry Potter, the bravest man he ever met was a Slytherin.
"...he also tormented 11 year olds because he was bullied in high school, but that's beside the point."
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Old 12-06-2018, 06:12 PM
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Does seem weird. Relevant quote: "... another curious decision of the school's there, to dedicate an entire house to the children in its care who are evil" (from Mitchell and Webb's "Welcome to Hufflepuff").

Ha, nice. I love their ďare we the baddies?Ē sketch.
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Old 12-06-2018, 06:38 PM
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Coincidentally, I just happened to be reading an essay about this ("Is Ambition a Virtue? Why Slytherin Belongs at Hogwarts" by Steven W. Patterson, in Harry Potter and Philosophy).

The author's take is that ambition is the defining characteristic of Slytherin, and ambition can be a virtue. He discusses the Aristotelian point of view on virtue, where a virtue is a mean between two extremes, or between an excess and a deficiency of some quality.
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The slacker will not act on his ambitions, the climber won't act on anything but his ambitions. Both are defective, from the moral point of view. The virtuously ambitious person falls in between their extremes.
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Old 12-06-2018, 06:59 PM
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That IS quite the coincidence! Interesting.
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Old 12-06-2018, 07:12 PM
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The author's take is that ambition is the defining characteristic of Slytherin, and ambition can be a virtue. He discusses the Aristotelian point of view on virtue, where a virtue is a mean between two extremes, or between an excess and a deficiency of some quality.
I also think that people tend to overlook the possibility of institutional culture changing over time. Do we have any reason to think that Slytherin was so much more baddie-prone than other houses before Voldemort turned it into his power base? The two (?) prominent pre-Riddle Slytherins I can think of are Horace Slughorn and Leta Lestrange, both of whom had their issues but neither of whom was actually evil.

Similarly, think of the Grindelwald period at Durmstrang, during which it appears that not just a House but an entire school was largely corrupted towards cruelty and abuses of power. But we find by the time of the Second Wizarding War that Durmstrang has largely rehabilitated itself.
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:18 PM
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I also think that people tend to overlook the possibility of institutional culture changing over time. Do we have any reason to think that Slytherin was so much more baddie-prone than other houses before Voldemort turned it into his power base?
Good point.

(You've making some good points in several threads lately.)
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:23 PM
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What about Slytherin himself building a secret chamber and hiding a monster there to kill mudbloods? Evil from the start.
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:40 PM
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I get why Slytherin exists. I just don't get why JK Rowling took it so far. I found it ridiculous that during the final battle, not a single student from Slytherin volunteers to stay and fight. Only Slughorn fights, assuming you don't count Snape.

I mean, can't at least 20% of these kids fight for good?
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:41 PM
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Well it's not as if safety is a primary concern at Hogwarts; sure there's a lot of lip service of the "safety" variety, but in practice the students are basically in harm's way, often intentionally, seemingly all the time.
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Old 12-07-2018, 09:49 AM
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According to Harry Potter, the bravest man he ever met was a Slytherin.
Also, so was the evilest.
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Old 12-07-2018, 10:02 AM
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Don't forget that Hogwarts doesn't exist in a vacuum - it's part of the overall Wizarding society, and the Headmaster has to answer to a Board of Governors. And we've seen that Slytherins have lots of economic and political power in that society - which you'd expect from a house that emphasizes personal ambition, ruthlessness, & loyalty to that house. The Malfoys, the Blacks, the Lestranges, etc. would all raise a stink if anyone even suggested closing Slytherin.
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Old 12-07-2018, 10:27 AM
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Ah, okay, like Skull and Bones or something.
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Old 12-07-2018, 11:24 AM
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I get why Slytherin exists. I just don't get why JK Rowling took it so far. I found it ridiculous that during the final battle, not a single student from Slytherin volunteers to stay and fight. Only Slughorn fights, assuming you don't count Snape.

I mean, can't at least 20% of these kids fight for good?
I wondered the same, but decided that the decision came down to not wanting to be stabbed in the back by the 80%, and no good way to determine at that moment who were the trustworthy ones. Remember that the death eaters were literally at the gates of Hogwarts.
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Old 12-07-2018, 11:39 AM
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Because the Wizarding World is fucked up. You have Slytherin racists, government-employed Dementors walking around assaulting innocent civilians, and as we've seen in the books, give them a little nudge and they go full-one fascist within a couple of months. And that's just the Brits - the Americans are even worse, what with their summary executions and all.

These are not good people.
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Old 12-07-2018, 11:51 AM
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I assume that when the four founders created Hogwarts together, there was some sort of unbreakable magical contract or something that requires all four houses to continue to exist.
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Old 12-07-2018, 12:05 PM
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Because the Wizarding World is fucked up. You have Slytherin racists, government-employed Dementors walking around assaulting innocent civilians, and as we've seen in the books, give them a little nudge and they go full-one fascist within a couple of months. And that's just the Brits - the Americans are even worse, what with their summary executions and all.

These are not good people.
I almost laughed out loud when I noticed their tribunals take place in a literal Star Chamber.
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Old 12-07-2018, 02:32 PM
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FWIW, in the canon, Merlin (the King Arthur wizard) is noted as being a Slytherin, so take that for what it's worth. I do think Kimstu's point is well taken that we are looking at it after Voldemort decided to take it as his own personal power base.
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Old 12-07-2018, 02:39 PM
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About all of Slythrin choosing against Hogwarts-- If I'm remembering correctly, Draco didn't want to fight against the school. His father forced his hand. Sure he could have defied his father but he loved him and wanted to make him proud. I'm thinking many of the children chose the side their parents were on whether they agreed or not.
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Old 12-07-2018, 02:44 PM
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Think of Slythering like the MBA school of the wizarding world. A supposedly necessary evil.
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Old 12-07-2018, 04:40 PM
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And that's just the Brits - the Americans are even worse, what with their summary executions and all.
It's worse than that. MACUSA sent Newt and Tina (one of their own Aurors) to be put to death immediately, while Grindelwald, an actual Dark Lord, was just thrown in jail (so he could escape in the next movie).
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Old 12-07-2018, 04:52 PM
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Apparently the U.S. school didnít make it into the movies? Iím surprised.

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Think of Slythering like the MBA school of the wizarding world. A supposedly necessary evil.
I love this!
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Old 12-07-2018, 05:22 PM
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About all of Slythrin choosing against Hogwarts-- If I'm remembering correctly, Draco didn't want to fight against the school. His father forced his hand. Sure he could have defied his father but he loved him and wanted to make him proud. I'm thinking many of the children chose the side their parents were on whether they agreed or not.
Not quite, for the Malfoys; by that point, Draco was an actual signed-up death eater, having joined up while his father was a prisoner. Fighting for Hogwarts would't have meant defying his father, it'd be directly breaking faith with Voldemort, risking retribution on his parents.

In the book, by the time of the final fight, both his parents have stopped caring and want out of the whole situation, but don't dare active opposition. They just want their kid safe and to get away. Draco sneaks in to the battle to try and catch Harry, in an attempt to get his family's reputation back, but I don't think he does any actual fighting. Several of the other kids of Death Eaters stayed and fought for Voldemort, though it's not specified who, or how willing they really were.
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Old 12-07-2018, 05:39 PM
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Apparently the U.S. school didnít make it into the movies? Iím surprised.
Still a possibility, apparently. If you hear of any major movie shooting taking place in the Massachusetts Berkshires, that'll be a clue!
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Old 12-07-2018, 06:19 PM
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Ah, okay, like Skull and Bones or something.
Exactly, Slytherin is the Wizardling world's equivalent of Harvard Business. We all know it mostly produces evil that wreaks far too much harm in the world but it also produces a large share of the movers and shakers in America.
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Old 12-07-2018, 09:22 PM
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In Harry's time at Hogwarts, there seem to be about 10 kids or so per house per year. For The Battle of Hogwarts, only the oldest kids were allowed to stay, which would be almost entirely Slytherins that have hated Harry for all those years and were besties with Draco. So sure, no Slytherins stayed, but we know almost all of them by name and wouldn't be expected to stay. Draco, Crabbe, Goyle, Blaise, Pansy, Bulstrode, presumably 3-6ish more. It's not that striking when you look at it that way.

Of course, that brings us back to the "JK can't do math" issue that presents itself in most books...
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Old 12-08-2018, 10:58 AM
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I found it interesting that the Cursed Child sequel actually has Slytherins as the main characters, and they are good people!
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Old 12-08-2018, 02:51 PM
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Apparently the U.S. school didnít make it into the movies? Iím surprised.



I love this!
Brakebills is good enough for me
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Old 12-08-2018, 04:18 PM
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There will be evil wizards--it is just the Venn diagram intersection of the evil people and the wizards. Now would you rather have them inside the tent pissing out or outside the tent pissing in?

A much harder question is how she came up with that insane game of quidditch. But that's been discussed here before.
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Old 12-08-2018, 05:39 PM
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There will be evil wizards--it is just the Venn diagram intersection of the evil people and the wizards. Now would you rather have them inside the tent pissing out or outside the tent pissing in?
The first thing I'd do is get rid of the institution that teaches them to be evil.
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Old 12-08-2018, 06:09 PM
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The only thing insane about quidditch is that the Golden Snitch should be worth 145 or 155 points, not 150. Everything else about it is no crazier than muggle sports.
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Old 12-08-2018, 08:39 PM
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The only thing insane about quidditch is that the Golden Snitch should be worth 145 or 155 points, not 150.
Ok, why?
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Old 12-08-2018, 08:58 PM
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Ok, why?
Avoids a possible tie.
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Old 12-08-2018, 09:01 PM
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Don't know if this is what Chronos is thinking of, but it would keep the snitch from allowing the game to end in a tie.
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Old 12-08-2018, 10:57 PM
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Yes, exactly. When the ending of a game is inherently asymmetrical, you might as well use that asymmetry as a tiebreaker.
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Old 12-09-2018, 12:04 AM
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The only thing insane about quidditch is that the Golden Snitch should be worth 145 or 155 points, not 150. Everything else about it is no crazier than muggle sports.
No. Quidditch is a sport invented by someone who doesn't understand sports. The problem isn't the potential ties. Really.

Quidditch and the pure evilness of Slytherin are the two biggest problems in the Harry Potter universe. I love the books and the movies, but these were big missteps.
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Old 12-09-2018, 08:38 AM
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Ties aren't a big problem (most games can have them, after all); it's just that, if they could have so easily avoided them, they should have.

All of the other objections really aren't any worse than muggle sports.
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Old 12-09-2018, 02:04 PM
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Quidditch and the pure evilness of Slytherin are the two biggest problems in the Harry Potter universe.
I would argue that throwing time travel into the series was a bigger problem than Quidditch.
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Old 12-09-2018, 03:40 PM
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Eh, time travel is not something to be used lightly, because it's really easy to screw it up. Rowling did a good job with it, though.
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Old 12-09-2018, 03:41 PM
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"...he also tormented 11 year olds because he was bullied in high school, but that's beside the point."
He was bullied in high school by supposedly "heroic" Gryffindors. The Marauders were assholes.
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Old 12-09-2018, 03:48 PM
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The books were written for children. That's not a shot; it's a tribute to the general strength of the storytelling that they resonate with adults anyway.

However, one thing kids aren't super good at is subtlety. Children tend to have an inflexible view of good and evil, right and wrong. A realistic depiction of the four houses might impress an advanced adult reader, but it would be either boring, confusing, or both to an eleven-year-old.

Kids LOVE Slytherin just being a bunch of jerks. It works for them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos
The only thing insane about quidditch is that the Golden Snitch should be worth 145 or 155 points, not 150. Everything else about it is no crazier than muggle sports.
I cannot think of any real life sport that makes as little sense as Quidditch. No really popular sport has a scoring system so fundamentally broken. I can think of at least a few things obviously silly about baseball, hockey, football, soccer, and most any sport, but nothing so mind-bendingly idiotic as Quidditch.
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Old 12-09-2018, 08:21 PM
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Ties aren't a big problem (most games can have them, after all); it's just that, if they could have so easily avoided them, they should have.

All of the other objections really aren't any worse than muggle sports.
Which muggle sports have a scoring system as stupid as quidditch? If quidditch were a real sport, the rules as they are wouldn't last a decade. Maybe not a year. The people playing it would change them quickly. A sport where the main action is practically worthless wouldn't last.
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Old 12-09-2018, 09:30 PM
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So as not to further hijack this thread, I've made a new one for quidditch.
  #48  
Old 12-10-2018, 06:32 AM
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What am I missing here?
That the isolationist, blood-purity, elf-slave-owning faction of wizards might not be in such a minority overall?
  #49  
Old 12-10-2018, 08:18 AM
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Because the Wizarding World is fucked up. You have Slytherin racists, government-employed Dementors walking around assaulting innocent civilians, and as we've seen in the books, give them a little nudge and they go full-one fascist within a couple of months. And that's just the Brits - the Americans are even worse, what with their summary executions and all.

These are not good people.
And the wizarding justice system is thoroughly corrupt as well; folks with powerful friends get off lightly, while the half-giant guy gets framed.
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Old 12-10-2018, 09:08 AM
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Rick Kitchen:

Quote:
He was bullied in high school by supposedly "heroic" Gryffindors. The Marauders were assholes.
Brave. Not everyone brave is heroic. One can be brave for a bad cause.
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