***SPOILER ALERT FOR Harry Potter and the Cursed Child***
Harry Potter, the boy who lived, is a name as commonly known as the president of the United States, especially for my generation. We grew up eagerly awaiting the release of the books and movies that would bring us further into J. K. Rowling’s magical world. There are more young people who know their Hogwarts house (as assigned by Pottermore) than those who do not.
As I mentioned in one of my earliest blog posts, I am a proud member of Slytherin. This house has had a negative representation during most of the Harry Potter series, largely due to the majority of Death Eaters coming from its ranks, including Lucius Malfoy, Bellatrix Lestrange, Severus Snape, and Dolores Umbridge (the mother of all evil, in my opinion). Tom Riddle, Voldemort himself, was also from this house. Slytherins are often viewed as being wrongly selfish, stuck-up, and just plain evil. Despite the negative assumptions many make about the house, the traits used to describe it on Pottermore are “cunning, ambitious, resourceful, shrewd, and determined.”
There are many great characters emerged from Slytherin as well. Merlin himself was a Slytherin, as well as Regulus Black (here’s why), and even Severus Snape ended up being good despite his twisted way of dealing with Harry. With the most recent addition to the story, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Scorpius Malfoy and Albus Potter join the ranks of not-evil Slytherin wizards.
I’ve been listing a bunch of facts that many Potterheads already know, so I’ll get down to business. This is also where the spoilers start showing up. The representation in of Slytherin in The Cursed Child has changed drastically from the representation this house had in main Harry Potter series.
1. Albus and Scorpius are Slytherins. This might not have been a big deal, but these are the two main characters of the story. Giving most of the attention to Slytherins instead of anther house elevates the importance of the deeds that these young wizards accomplish and gives them more leverage in changing the perception many fans have of this house.
2. Slytherin traits are embodied positively. Yes, Albus drags Scorpius along in a line of deeds that almost destroys the semi-peaceful world their predecessors fought so aggressively to create. Yes, they do end up making the same mistake twice. However, they are just children, and they learn. They have a noble ambition: bringing Cedric Diggory back from an early death. Their plan can be described as shrewd. Their cunning nature helps them obtain the Time-Turner that they believe will help them achieve their means. Once learning from their mistakes, Scorpius and Albus are determined to right them, no matter how arduous the task is. They both show their resourcefulness when devising the plan to use the blanket Harry was wrapped in the night his parents were killed to get a message to their families in the future.
3. Harry starts getting over his issues with Draco and Slytherin. Okay, this is not explicitly said but Harry and Draco do have a reasonable heart-to-heart about being fathers and their families in the second half of Act Four, Scene Four. They work together during the climax of the action in Godric’s Hollow to defeat Delphi and save the world they both have come to know and love. While Harry and Draco may never be actual ‘friends,’ they did learn to overlook the rivalry between their houses and themselves. This could be the beginning of Harry’s true acceptance of the Slytherin house after years of prejudice.
These are just a few examples of the positive representation of Slytherin in Rowling’s latest book, and there are many more hidden within the text. If you have any others that you noticed, please let me know in the comments!
I’ll sign off for today by sharing some of my Slytherin pride!
Slytherin. You’ll make your real friends. Those cunning folks use any means to achieve their ends.