Why wasn’t Harry Potter in Slytherin?

harry sorting

In the franchise of Harry Potter, we have witnessed various students in different houses. Whether it was Slytherins, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, or Gryffindor, every house focused on specific qualities that students have to possess.

Harry was the pride of Gryffindor but was he firstly meant to be placed under the Slytherin? What was the reason he wasn’t in Slytherin? How did he end up in Gryffindor?

You too will know about all this and other questions as you read below.

How was Harry sorted into the house?

As Harry was summoned to the stool, the sorting hat was placed on his head. At that point, we witnessed the little conversation between Harry and the sorting hat.

“Hmm,” said a small voice in his ear. “Difficult. Very difficult. Plenty of courage, I see. Not a bad mind either. There’s talent, oh my goodness, yes — and a nice thirst to prove yourself, now that’s interesting. … So where shall I put you?”

Harry gripped the edges of the stool and thought, Not Slytherin, not Slytherin.

“Not Slytherin, eh?” said the small voice. “Are you sure? You could be great, you know, it’s all here in your head, and Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, no doubt about that — no? Well, if you’re sure — better be GRYFFINDOR!”

—  Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone

This conversation between the Sorting Hat and Harry shows Harry’s unwillingness to be in Slytherin.

He didn’t ask the sorting hat to name Gryffindor or another house. Instead, he asked the sorting hat not to put him into Slytherin. Thus, he got sorted into Gryffindor.

Why might the Sorting Hat choose Slytherin for Harry at first?

We know that Sorting Hat detected the growing qualities in the students. It also looks up to their thoughts and attributes and places them in the house that most suits them.

Harry possessed Slytherin’s quality of being cunning, ambitious, and determined. This may be a probable reason why the Sorting Hat had decided to place Harry in Slytherin.

In addition, the Hat might have felt the presence of a fragment of Voldemort’s soul that had resided in Harry.

But our hero not wanting to be in Slytherin was the prime reason he was not placed in Slytherin.

Why didn’t Harry want to be placed in Slytherin?

Harry had rejected the idea of being in the house of Slytherins. He had a little exposure to Slytherin before he rejected to be in that house.

In a conversation with Ron Weasley, Harry was told that Lord Voldemort belonged to Slytherin. Until that time, Harry was already aware that it was Voldemort who killed his parents. He knew a little about his wickedness too. Thus, he didn’t have a good impression of the house.

Further, he disliked Draco from the first time he met him. He didn’t want to be in the same house as him.

Who was the founder of Slytherin?

The house Slytherin was established by Salazar Slytherin. He was a pure-blooded wizard.  He and his family had a rare magical gift of speaking the snake language. He was considered one of the greatest wizards of his age.

He founded the house Slytherin with three other friends who were the founders of the other three houses. His house was symbolized by a serpent, and the house color was green and silver.

slytherin draco

After founding a house of his own, he selectively chose the students who were resourceful, determined, ambitious, cunning, and had a certain disregard for the rules. He selected only pure-blooded students to place in Slytherin.

Eventually, Salazar started hating taking students from muggle families. He tried to persuade other founders not to include muggles in Hogwarts. Other founders, especially Gryffindor, did not agree with him.

This caused bitterness between him and other founding members. They had violent arguments on this matter. This broke a war between the houses. Salazar chose to leave, leaving behind the Basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets in Hogwarts.

He later died of old age.

Who was the heir of Slytherin?

Among many of the heirs of Slytherin throughout the centuries, Voldemort was one of them. His mother, Merope Gaunt, belonged to the Gaunt family, who had their ancestral belonging to Slytherin.

Lord Voldemort was able to speak Parseltongue just like the native Slytherins. He was able to open the Chamber of Secrets and hence communicate and control the Basilisk

Thus he had awakened Basilisk and let it loose in Hogwarts to fulfill the purpose of Heir of Slytherin. This had the purpose of eradicating the Muggles from Hogwarts. However, it was not fulfilled in the end.

The reasons why Harry never belonged to Slytherins

Slytherin had a pure-blood system that Harry was against; Harry didn’t believe in this. He hated the fact that Draco was hostile against the muggle-born. This made him disinclined toward the house.

Harry had always shown constant bravery. Whether it was forming Dumbledore’s army to fight against Voldemort, or fighting Dumbledore himself, he never fled from any of these challenges. This made him different from Slytherin students as they don’t seem to take a risk on any matter.

Additionally, Harry always made the right choices, unlike the Slytherins students who avoided making harsh decisions.

Harry chose to become a kind person despite having a difficult childhood. He knew the feeling of being an outcast. Whether it be Luna Lovegood or Neville Longbottom, he befriended those who depicted outcasts.

He was also ready to sacrifice himself for his friends’ lives as shown in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The students of Slytherin probably did not possess this quality as the house was all about self-preservation. They thrived on their protection.

Thus, Harry was different from the Slytherins. Hence, sorting him into Slytherin would not have been a good decision.

It was Gryffindor that was the best placement for him.

Was Gryffindor the best house for Harry?

After the denial of the early decision of the Sorting Hat to place Harry in Slytherin, he got placed in Gryffindor. Harry’s parents belonged to Gryffindor and so were his friends, Ron and Hermione. The placement of these three bound them together in the most beautiful bond.

Gryffindor valued bravery the most. The students of Gryffindor were brave enough to stand against Voldemort.  From Neville to Harry, all of them took part in the largest Wizarding battle and were victorious.

Harry Potter

Gryffindor was the house of some of the best teachers that supported Harry. Both headmaster Dumbledore, and headmistress McGonagall belonged to Gryffindor when they were students. Both of them were powerful wizards and were the best teachers as well.

Likewise, Hagrid was Gryffindor too. We are familiar with the fact how supportive Hagrid was to Harry. Harry’s favorite people belonged to Gryffindor. This shows Gryffindor was the best house for Harry.

Was Harry a true Gryffindor?

Harry was indeed a true Gryffindor. This was proved many times. When he killed Basilisk and destroyed the diary encapsulated with Voldemort’s soul, he  withdrew Gryffindor’s sword from the Sorting Hat.

As Dumbledore has always said, only a true Gryffindor was worthy of availing the Gryffindor’s sword in awful situations.

Besides, Gryffindor valued the characteristics such as courage, bravery, nerve, and determination most. Harry possessed all these characters without any doubt. Thus, he was not only capable of being in Gryffindor, but he was a true Gryffindor too.

Who was the founder of Gryffindor?

The house of brave, Gryffindor, was founded by Godric Gryffindor. He was one of the best wizards of his age well known for his skills and his bravery.

He was a good friend of Salazar Slytherin. Eventually, the debate on admitting muggle-born created a war between them. Godric was in support of admitting Muggles to the school.

The sorting hat was Godric’s idea. He took off his hat, and all four founders enchanted it so that the students would be sorted in the deserved house after the death of the founders.

What are the other two houses and who founded them?

Apart from Gryffindor and Slytherin, the other two houses were Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff.

Ravenclaw was founded by the medieval witch Rowena Ravenclaw. Wit, wisdom, intellect, and learning were the characteristics that were focused more on by Ravenclaw. The students of this house tended to be logical and rational. They tend to have better reading memory power.

The other house was Hufflepuff, which was found by the witch Helga Hufflepuff. This house focused more on dedication, patience, fair play, hard work, and loyalty. It was the most inclusive house of all.

Students of this house were impartial, loyal, friendly, and hard-working hence they were rather less competitive than others. They tend to have less rivalry against another house.


Different houses focused on different characteristics Harry refused the idea of being sorted in the Slytherin.

As Dumbled stated to Harry  “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

He clearly stated that it is what we choose that makes us what we are. Harry has always chosen to be kind and brave. He focused less on being resourceful and ambitious which were the prime characteristics of Slytherin.

Thus, Harry is a proud Gryffindor rather than Slytherin.



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