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We talked in our last Harry Potter video
about the defining characteristics of Slytherin.

So in this video,
we want to go a little bit further

and give a defense
of Slytherin house.

Slytherin gets a bad rap.
"Not Slytherin, not Slytherin..."
This most misunderstood house
in the Harry Potter series

tens to be written off as mean,
prejudiced, or just plain evil.

“There's not a witch or wizard
who went bad who wasn't in Slytherin.”

But it's not really fair to let a few bad

spoil our impression of the whole bunch.
"Besides, the world isn't split into
good people and Death Eaters.

We've all got both light
and dark inside us."

And if you look closer,
it starts to seem like

the story itself is biased
against Slytherin house.

It's written from
a very pro-Gryffindor point of view,

and hello, Gryffindor is
Slytherin's traditional rival.

Imagine if the person who hates you the most
wrote a book about you --

would you expect that to be fair?
"We have a very different idea about
what disgraces the name of wizard, Malfoy."

It's kind of too bad though that this house

framed in a more nuanced way.
Because if we look at
the Slytherin qualities themselves,

this house is arguably one of
the more talented, interesting,

and certainly
the most complex of the four.

So here's our take on why these folks
have more to offer

than they tend to get credit for.
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Outside of Harry Potter, Slytherin qualities

often presented as enviable.
Before we get into some examples,
first let's quickly recap.

What makes someone a Slytherin,

The defining characteristic is probably
that Slytherins are strategists.

They're single-minded and cunning
in achieving their ends.

"When I became the greatest sorcerer
in the world."

Because they're so driven,
analytical and often very smart,

they can achieve true excellence
in their fields.

They tend to be more cold and calculating,
patient, rational and precise.

They're pretty sensitive
and image-conscious.

They're often morally complex,
with both dark and light sides.

Thus they have the capacity to surprise us
with drastic change and even rebirth.

Now, let's take a look at a few other stories
that frame strategy and cold-bloodedness

as essential to any success.
Michael Corleone in The Godfather --
calculating, rational, always in control --

is probably one of
the most compelling Slytherins in cinema.

"Fredo... he's got a good heart.
But he's weak, and he's stupid.
And this is life and death."
Michael shows that coldness can be
very attractive,

"It's not personal, son.
It's strictly business."
and incredibly effective.
"Don't tell me you're innocent,
because it insults my intelligence.

It makes me very angry."
In Game of Thrones, all of the Lannisters
would be Slytherins.

They love power, and have a worldly understanding
of how to leverage wealth.

"Lannisters always pay their debts."
Sure, Cersei shows the selfishness
of a traditional Slytherin,

"[LAUGHS] The people?
You think I care?"
and incidentally she happens to be one of
the most fun characters to watch on the show.

But Jaime shows the Slytherins' potential
for moral complexity and change.

And Tyrion -- even though he turns
against his family --

is still very much a Lannister
and by extension a Slytherin type.

He's crafty, realistic,
and logical.

"I've been a cynic for
as long as I can remember."

He tries to rein in Daenerys'
hot-blooded Gryffindor instincts

with more calculating,
worldly plans.

"What kind of a queen am I
if I'm not willing to risk my life

to fight them?"
"A smart one."
We'd argue, that Marvel superhero
Tony Stark would be in Slytherin.

"Big man in a suit of armor.
Take that off, what are you?"
"Genius billionaire
playboy philanthropist."

He's ambitious, intelligent, morally complex,
and, yes, narcissistic.

"Textbook narcissism.
These traits don't make him a villain;
they make him fascinating to watch

and adored by fans
the world over.

"I am Iron Man."
Dr. Strange is also
a classic Slytherin --

he's hardworking, precise, cold,
and a little full of himself,

"Not only about me."
"Stephen, everything is about you."
yet in the end he's willing to
make great sacrifices to do the right thing.

"You will spend the eternity dying."
"Yes, but everyone on earth will live."
Billions is all about how you have to be
a step ahead of your opponent

to stay alive in the world
of big money.

"I don't lie to myself
and I don't hold on to a loser."

"The best way to bond with someone isn't
doing a favor.

It's asking for one."
House of Cards and Scandal paint
people who can't play crafty games

as pretty much suckers.
"You can't just fight the good fight.
We live in a real world."
In the worldviews of these shows,
to refuse to play dirty in
a corrupt world isn't heroic;

it's dumb.
"You're a fool, Donald.
You always were.
A champion for the people?
What did you ever actually do?
Sound a little like the Slytherins
talking about Gryffindors?

"We Slytherin are brave, yes,
but not stupid."

Sherlock Holmes on the BBC's Sherlock
might be a Slytherin, too.

He's highly intelligent
and strategic, of course,

and he can also be distant,
arrogant, and alienating.

"According to SOMEONE,
'the murderer has the case.'

And we found it in the hands
of our favorite psychopath."

"I'm not a psychopath, Anderson,
I'm a high-functioning sociopath.

Do your research."
All of those characteristics help make up
the unique genius he is.

"Sentiment is a chemical defect
found in the losing side."

Eve Harrington in All About Eve comes across
as somewhat villainous

for her Slytherin-style ambition
in her quest for fame.

But the movie also implies this is
pretty much what it takes to become a big

"You'd do all that
just for a part in a play?"

"I'd do much more
or a part that good."

Going back to the classics,
Edmond Dantès in The Count of Monte Cristo
would be a textbook Slytherin --

he's dogged and meticulous
in his plan for vengeance.

"Don't rob me of my hate.
It's all I have."
Yet watching his scheme unfold is
so satisfying --

because his targets very much deserve
their punishment

and as any Slytherin knows,
revenge is a dish best served cold.

"You'll serve your sentence in this world
before you go to hell."

Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind
would fit into this house --

she's a cold-blooded realist,
resourceful and single-minded
in getting what she wants.

"If I have to lie,
steal, cheat or kill.

As God is my witness,
I'll never be hungry again!"

Rhett Butler loves Scarlett's ruthless,
plotting inner nature,

but it takes her the whole story
to accept that this is who she is --

essentially, a Slytherin --
and that her true love is
Rhett, another Slytherin.

"Because we're alike.
Bad lots, both of us.
Selfish and shrewd.
But able to look things in the eyes
as we call them by their right names."

For so long, she prefers the idea
of the noble-minded, placid Ashley,

who'd perhaps be a Hufflepuff.
"You'll never mind
facing realities,

and you'll never want to escape
from them as I do."

All these fictional characters work hard,
apply themselves, and fight for what they

care about.
Likewise they see challenges in our society
requires strategy and long-term planning.

Yale Professor John Gaddis speaks about
the concept of Grand Strategists --

people who shows an immense talent
for strategizing --

like Otto von Bismark,
Queen Elizabeth, FDR --

this capacity for Grand Strategy
shown by the most influential
world leaders of all time

is completely a Slytherin thing.
The reality is that the majority of politicians
and powerful public figures

need to be very cunning, calculating
and image-conscious

to get anything done at all --
"And that's why you need me,
because I am willing to stare into the abyss

beyond conventional morality
and do what needs to be done."

so it's safe to say
that a lot of these people leading our world

throughout history and today
would be in Slytherin House.

A big factor that plays against young Slytherins

that others expect the worst of them.
And if everyone assumes that you're going

grow up to be an evil Death Eater,
"Harry is under he impression
that Draco Malfoy is now a Death Eater."

the easiest thing to do is go on
and become just that --

especially if you're young
and don't know who you are yet.

While Gryffindors are constantly being
glorified for their impulsive heroic gestures,

Slytherins often don't get
the glory they deserve.

Snape lets himself be perceived
as a bad guy, being heroic in secret,

in order to do the most good.
“No one can know.”
And sympathetic Slytherin backstories
tend to get overlooked or dealt with briefly.

Eventually in flashbacks
we learn

that the sensitive young Snape was
cruelly bullied by Harry's Gryffindor father.

We could also imagine a very different version
of this tale from Draco's point of view

he's just an insecure young boy growing

among crushingly high expectations,
and he finds it unfair that everyone worships
this famous Harry boy for no apparent reason.

"Famous Harry Potter.
Can't even go to a bookshop
without making the front page."

In the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Dumbledore says about Snape, quote,
“I sometimes think
we sort too soon.”

so the implication is that,
because Snape's a good guy,

he's not truly a Slytherin at heart.
"Don't tell me now that you've grown
to care for the boy."

Meanwhile J.K.
Rowling has said
that the sorting hat seriously considered

putting Peter Pettigrew --
Gryffindor's one big villain -- in Slytherin.

So the story seems determined
to equate the Slytherin label with “bad.”

But Snape himself probably
wouldn't agree.

Snape is a Slytherin;
it's just that there's a lot more

to being a Slytherin
than a propensity for evil.

“You were named after
two Headmasters of Hogwarts.

One of them was a Slytherin.
And he was the bravest man I've ever known.”
Draco in Latin means “dragon” or “serpent,”
which we know is Slytherin's house animal,

so that's a clue that Draco Malfoy is
a key part of Slytherin's future legacy.

"I mean, look at his family.
The whole lot of them have been
in Slytherin for centuries."
And Draco's change of heart
by the end of the story is

a very positive sign for
the direction Slytherin can head in.

And by the end of the series,
the anti-Slytherin bias is finally
starting to dissipate.

Even though Harry himself begged
not to be placed in this house,

when we leave off in Deathly Hallows Part

he's telling his son
that it's fine to be sorted
into Slytherin.

"Dad, what if I end up
in Slytherin?"

“Then Slytherin house will have gained
a wonderful young wizard.”

And the hit play
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

reveals Albus does in fact
end up in Slytherin.

The play also features Draco's
Slytherin son Scorpius Malfoy,

who's an incredibly popular character
with audiences.

Scorpius is brave and sensitive,
and has a strong friendship with Albus.

So in this new generation,
the “Gryffindor good, Slytherin bad”
dichotomy of the old days is ending,

and we're finally starting to see
a more nuanced picture of who a Slytherin

can be.
So we do have to address
the elephant in the room:

When people think of Slytherin,
one of the first words
that comes to mind is, evil.

And there's good reason for this.
Apart from a couple outliers like Pettigrew
and the vain Gilderoy Lockhart,

almost all of the villains
in the story come from this house.

And while we've pointed out some
more admirable Slytherins outside of Harry

we could also find a lot of ice-cold villains
who you'd definitely sort into this house,

It's not like Hannibal Lecter is
ending up in Gryffindor.

It makes sense that villains
mostly belong to Slytherin.

This house's members will achieve
their goals at all costs.

In other words, they're willing to
cross lines that others wouldn't,

"The Cruciatus Curse ought to
loosen your tongue."

"That's illegal!"
"What Cornelius doesn't know
won't hurt him."

which makes them more vulnerable
to becoming morally compromised.

Many Slytherins are also self-centered,
putting their desires first.

These more complex and subtle thinkers,
are more likely to question

the existing, black-and-white
moral codes of society.

And some Slytherins may be more likely
to lack that human warmth and fellow feeling

that makes us feel responsible
for other people.

But it's really most fair
to think of the evil people

as a sub-group of the Slytherin house.
Essentially, these are
the Death Eater-kind of Slytherins.

And it's worth distinguishing
between the Death Eaters

and the other Slytherins out there
who shouldn't be written off.

There are even some truly great Slytherins
like Severus Snape --

who's probably the most fascinating character
in Harry Potter.

"Yes, I'm the Half-Blood Prince."
Slytherins like Snape are powerful
not in spite of their dual good-and-evil natures,

but because of them --
because Snape contains the potential
for both good and bad,

Dumbledore can ask things of him
that others wouldn't be capable of.

And really no one else --
not even Dumbledore --

could have pulled off
what Snape does in this story,

convincing Voldemort himself
for all of those years that he's not a spy.

And this brings us to one of
the strongest arguments in favor of Slytherins.

Most other members of Hogwarts are
pretty much what they appear to be

from the start.
But Slytherins are morally
and emotionally complex.

That's why they often take longer
to develop and mature,

and it's why they just might surprise us.
So when we imagine sorting
the people we know into houses,

Slytherin would get our friends
who are the most complicated,

competitive and strategic,
with mysterious hidden potential.

"In each of us there is another self
we do not know."

I'm Debra.
I'm Susannah.
We're the creators of ScreenPrism.
If you like our videos,
please subscribe.

Down there!


為史萊哲林平反:史萊哲林不全是邪惡的! (Harry Potter: A Defense of Slytherin)

465 分類 收藏
April Lu 發佈於 2018 年 11 月 27 日
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