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Theory about the symbolism of Slytherin

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ThatGreekLady, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. ThatGreekLady

    ThatGreekLady Third Year

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    There have been many discussions about Slytherin and why it's portrayed so negatively or why it exists at all. I never found the excuses the fans provide for Slytherin to be very convincing and it always bothered me. However, I was thinking that a story doesn't have to be realistic, sometimes it can be symbolic.

    What if Slytherin was meant to symbolize the "darker" aspects of human personality? The reason you cannot get rid of the Slytherin House is that you cannot get completely rid of the darker side of humans either.

    People like Snape are meant to be symbolize that we can redeem ourselves despite our predisposition for evil. That's why Dumbledore even implied that Snape should have been in another House when he said "we sort too soon". He was redeemed exactly by going against the values of his House.

    That's what I was thinking. The Houses are symbols of aspects of human personality and Slytherin is meant to symbolize the negative side of humanity. The reason they cannot disband the Slytherin House is that you cannot completely erase evil from the world either. People like Regulus and Snape are there to show that there is still hope for redemption.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Arthellion

    Arthellion Minister of Magic

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    I think JK Rowling was writing a children’s book and slytherin was your traditional bad guy.

    Only later did Rowling realize how discriminatory that could be taken and created some redeeming qualities.
     
  3. ThatGreekLady

    ThatGreekLady Third Year

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    I don't know, even in the later books, I was not convinced Slytherin had redeeming qualities. When Dumbledore implied that Snape should have been in another House, I gave up all hope on them. However, that doesn't mean it's bad writing, like I said Slytherin could work as a symbol.
     
  4. Seratin

    Seratin Proudmander Prestige DLP Supporter

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    The fact that the entirety of Slytherin house cut and run shows an aptitude for shallow writing in general.
     
  5. Silirt

    Silirt Fourth Year DLP Supporter

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    It was that or fight their parents.
    I'm not disagreeing that it was just shallow writing, but she really should have left it as it was rather than say Slughorn led some of them back to fight for Hogwarts. Now it doesn't even make sense. Why leave the defensive position of the castle if you're going to come back?
     
  6. ThatGreekLady

    ThatGreekLady Third Year

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    Them coming back with Slughorn was a retcon, it was not in the books. If anything , in the books it is implied that they joined the Death Eater side as Voldemort said so to Lucius.
     
  7. Silirt

    Silirt Fourth Year DLP Supporter

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    That was why I said she should have left it as it was. The retcon just seems like she got cold feet about making them all unwilling to fight for Hogwarts.
     
  8. ThatGreekLady

    ThatGreekLady Third Year

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    Yea...I think Slytherin was originally meant to be kinda symbolic for the darker side of humans like I said. However, it seems like she tried to backtrack from this later on. I wish that either she left Slytherin as a symbol for evil or she truly redeemed the House, instead it seems like we are stuck somewhere in the middle, which is confusing. I was actually shocked when Harry in the epilogue told his son that it's okay to be in Slytherin since I saw nothing redeeming about the House and even Regulus and Snape were not exactly good guys, not to mention that Dumbledore implied Snape should have been a Gryffindor...
     
  9. Blorcyn

    Blorcyn High Inquisitor DLP Supporter DLP Silver Supporter

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    As said above, some do come back to fight though don't they?

    I remember being quite annoyed in the film when McGonagall sends them all to the dungeon. It felt like it struck against one of the big themes in the book.

    See, you're kinda right that Slytherin were the bad house. They served that role. But that wasn't a big theme, and I don't think JK was trying to push that Slytherin represents the abstract and necessary evil of man. I don't think necessary evil was something the HP series acknowledged or reconciled, particularly.

    Quite the opposite.

    For me a huge part of the HP themes revolve around 'It is our choices that define us'.

    I liked that most of Slytherin chose to leave. Most of them were a product of people who were advantaged by Voldemort's system, and after thinking about it some of them chose to come back.

    Wormtail was a Gryffindor. And Harry was in many ways similar to Tom Riddle. I think that the HP books symbolism and themes are about choice, particularly where it against your environment and self-interest and that that is a heroic thing.

    The Slytherin return didn't feel like a failure to me, it felt like the sorting hat finally being heeded, it felt like the moment that foreshadowed victory for the wizarding world against Voldemort. All four houses finally together by choice, in service of the right choice not the easy one.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
  10. ThatGreekLady

    ThatGreekLady Third Year

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    By the way there are old comments from Rowling that support my theory that Slytherin is a symbol of the darker nature of humans, which is why you also cannot completely get rid of it. She had said that she was concerned that many of the moderators on a chat room find their spiritual home in Slytherin. That shows that she didn't consider Slytherin a "good" house. She has probably backtracked from this position, but still.
     
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