Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, is famous for many things: his scar, his glasses, his courage, and his magic. But one of his most peculiar traits is his ability to speak Parseltongue, the language of snakes. This rare gift is usually associated with dark wizards, especially Salazar Slytherin, one of the founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Slytherin was known for his hatred of Muggle-borns and his desire to keep Hogwarts pure-blooded. He also created the Chamber of Secrets, a hidden chamber that housed a monstrous Basilisk, which he intended to use to purge the school of those he deemed unworthy.
So, is Harry Potter related to Salazar Slytherin? Is he a descendant of the notorious wizard who opposed everything Harry stood for? The answer is not as simple as it may seem.
The Peverell Connection
The first clue to Harry’s possible relation to Slytherin comes from the second book of the series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. In this book, Harry learns that he is a Parselmouth, and that this ability is inherited from Slytherin himself. He also discovers that he has a strange connection to Lord Voldemort, the Dark Lord who tried to kill him as a baby and who is also a Parselmouth. Voldemort claims to be the heir of Slytherin, and he uses a diary that belonged to his younger self, Tom Riddle, to open the Chamber of Secrets and unleash the Basilisk.
However, Harry also learns that he and Voldemort share more than just a language. They are both descendants of the Peverell brothers, who owned the Deathly Hallows: three powerful magical objects that can grant mastery over death. The Deathly Hallows are a cloak of invisibility, a stone that can resurrect the dead, and a wand that can defeat any other wand. Harry inherited the cloak from his father, James Potter, who was a descendant of Ignotus Peverell, the youngest brother who chose the cloak. Voldemort sought the wand from his maternal grandfather, Marvolo Gaunt, who was a descendant of Cadmus Peverell, the middle brother who chose the stone.
According to J.K. Rowling’s old website, this means that Harry and Voldemort are distantly related through their common ancestry in the Peverells. However, this does not mean that Harry is a direct descendant of Salazar Slytherin.
The Slytherin Lineage
There is no direct evidence in the Harry Potter series to suggest that Harry Potter is a descendant of Salazar Slytherin. While it is true that Harry has some connection to the Hogwarts founder through a complicated family tree, this connection is indirect and does not involve direct descent from Slytherin himself.
Salazar Slytherin was born in either Ireland or Great Britain in the 10th century. He was raised in a fen-land area and had the rare gift of Parseltongue. He was best friends with Godric Gryffindor, another powerful wizard who shared his passion for magic. Together with Helga Hufflepuff and Rowena Ravenclaw, they founded Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in Scotland.
However, Slytherin soon became obsessed with blood purity and wanted to exclude Muggle-borns from attending Hogwarts. He argued with Gryffindor over this issue and eventually left the school in anger. Before he left, he built the Chamber of Secrets and hid a Basilisk inside it. He hoped that one day his heir would return to Hogwarts and use the monster to cleanse the school of Muggle-borns.
Slytherin’s heir turned out to be Lord Voldemort, who was born as Tom Marvolo Riddle in 1926. Riddle was the son of Merope Gaunt, a pure-blood witch who was a descendant of Slytherin through his daughter4. Merope used a love potion to trick Tom Riddle Sr., a Muggle aristocrat, into marrying her and having a child with her. However, she died shortly after giving birth to her son, who was left at an orphanage.
Riddle grew up hating his Muggle father and his own half-blood status. He learned about his magical heritage when he was eleven years old and received an invitation to Hogwarts. He also learned about his connection to Slytherin when he discovered that he could speak Parseltongue. He became obsessed with finding out more about his ancestor and eventually found out about the Chamber of Secrets and the Basilisk.
Riddle opened the chamber when he was sixteen years old and used the Basilisk to attack several Muggle-born students. He also framed Hagrid, a half-giant student, for the crime and escaped punishment. He also created his first Horcrux, a piece of his soul that he stored in his diary, by killing Moaning Myrtle, a Muggle-born girl who was killed by the Basilisk.
Riddle later left Hogwarts and became a powerful and feared dark wizard who called himself Lord Voldemort. He gathered a group of followers, known as Death Eaters, who shared his hatred of Muggles and Muggle-borns. He also sought to create more Horcruxes and to find the Deathly Hallows, which he believed would make him immortal and invincible. He also learned that there was a prophecy that predicted that a boy born at the end of July would have the power to defeat him.
That boy was Harry Potter, who was born on July 31, 1980. Harry was the son of James Potter and Lily Evans, both of whom were members of the Order of the Phoenix, a secret organization that fought against Voldemort and his Death Eaters. James was a pure-blood wizard who was a descendant of Ignotus Peverell, while Lily was a Muggle-born witch who was exceptionally talented in magic.
Voldemort learned about the prophecy and decided to kill Harry and his parents. He attacked them on October 31, 1981, at their home in Godric’s Hollow. He killed James and then tried to kill Harry, but Lily sacrificed herself to protect her son. Her love created a powerful protection that rebounded Voldemort’s killing curse back at him, destroying his body and leaving him as a disembodied spirit. Harry survived with only a lightning-shaped scar on his forehead, which became a symbol of his connection to Voldemort.
The Parselmouth Paradox
Harry Potter is not directly related to Salazar Slytherin, but he may have some distant ties to him through his family tree. However, this does not mean that Harry is evil or destined to follow Slytherin’s path. Harry proved himself to be a true Gryffindor by his bravery, loyalty, and courage.
Harry’s ability to speak Parseltongue is not inherited from Slytherin, but from Voldemort. When Voldemort tried to kill Harry as a baby, he unintentionally transferred some of his own powers and traits to him, including Parseltongue. This is why Harry can also access some of Voldemort’s thoughts and emotions through their shared scar.
Harry’s Parseltongue ability is not permanent, however. It disappears after Voldemort destroys the part of his soul that resides in Harry during the Battle of Hogwarts. Harry loses his connection to Voldemort and Slytherin, but he gains something more valuable: his own identity and freedom.
Harry Potter is not related to Salazar Slytherin in any meaningful way. He is his own person, who chooses his own destiny. He is not defined by his blood or his scar, but by his choices and actions. He is not a Parselmouth by birth, but by circumstance. He is not a Slytherin by lineage, but by contrast.
He is Harry Potter: the Boy Who Lived, the Chosen One, the Master of Death.