I guess it’s no secret by now that I am a huge fan of the Harry Potter series, given how they manage to sneak their way into almost every Top 5 Wednesday post. When I first heard of the Pottermore website, I thought it was going to be some kind of interactive RPG-style world, but it wasn’t until fairly recently that I actually decided to join it. At some point, I will have to find the time to go back and read all the extra backstories and additional content J.K. Rowling has added on there. One of the first things I did once joining the site was go to the Sorting Hat, where I was promptly (and inexplicably) sorted into Slytherin. It was definitely a surprising result, since I never really related very strongly to Slytherin traits. According to Pottermore, Slytherins are “cunning, ambitious, resourceful, shrewd, determined.” The only one of those I even partially relate to is determined since I can be pretty stubborn, but I am definitely not particularly ambitious or cunning. I’ve always associated Slytherin with a tendency to be manipulative and tricky, which are skills I don’t have.
It got even worse when I explored the website’s list of famous Slytherin characters, and saw all the expected names there: Malfoy and his sidekicks, Snape, Bellatrix Lestrange, and worst of all, Dolores Umbridge! If I had to choose for myself, I would have said I’m somewhere between a Ravenclaw and a Hufflepuff. Even though I have no clue how I ended up in Slytherin, I decided to stick with it for this week’s topic anyway.
Top 5 Wednesday is a meme created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and is now hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes. The official GoodReads group with the weekly topics can be found here.
1) Wicked by Gregory Maguire
The Slytherin house is generally viewed quite negatively since it has produced so many Dark wizards, but it is also a house where I would think people tend to get judged too quickly. In Wicked, a retelling of the origins of the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba is judged from birth due to her green skin, and grows up neglected by her father and rejected by her peers. However, she is passionate about her causes and loyal to those she cares about, and is determined to succeed in any mission she undertakes. I thought this book represents Slytherin because it includes a protagonist who shows many of the House traits, while also representing the tendency for people in Slytherin to be misunderstood or judged too quickly.
2) Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Aside from the colour scheme of the book and one of it’s main characters matching the House colours, it is also a book that once again shows that sometimes there is a lot more to a villain than we might think. Nimona is an impulsive shapeshifter who joins Ballister Blackheart, a villain seeking to prove that the heroes in the world may not be as good as everyone thinks. I read this book as part of my reading challenge earlier this year, and it quickly became one of my favourites. This book represents more of the Snape kind of Slytherin, where the line between hero and villain becomes blurred. It’s a very fun book to read, and I would love to see more of these characters.
3) Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
This was actually the first book that came to mind when I was choosing books to represent Slytherin, but I was hesitant to include it because it’s been so long since I read it. I never really got into the series, but I would love to give it another chance. This book is about a 12-year-old genius and criminal mastermind who kidnaps a fairy, which I think was to get ransom money to rebuild his family fortune. Artemis as a character reminds me a bit of Malfoy, since both were part of a well-established family and are dedicated to preserving their family’s ways, even if those ways aren’t so good. Artemis is a very determined, resourceful and manipulative character, who I think would definitely be a Slytherin.
4) Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar
One of the traits I associate most strongly with Slytherin is the tendency to be a bit self-centered and look out for their own interests above anyone else’s. It’s been years since I read any of this series, but the characters in Gossip Girl all have a tendency to be selfish, manipulative, and sneaky. The book focuses on a few teenagers living in New York. Blair Waldorf, one of the main characters especially seems to be extremely ambitious, but also conniving when it comes to getting what she wants. I actually stopped reading the series originally because I got tired of the characters all being so self-centred, but I think I’d like to give it another chance.
5) Macbeth by Shakespeare
I had a really hard time coming up with a fifth option for this, especially because I was trying to go for a book that I haven’t mentioned before. Otherwise, Defending Jacob and We Need to Talk About Kevin would have been good contenders. Instead, I decided to go for one of the most ambitious and determined characters I’ve ever read — Lady Macbeth. Although Macbeth himself wanted to be king, if I remember correctly, it was his wife that really pushed him to move forward with his plot and actually follow it through. I haven’t read this book since high school, but the one thing that I still remember most clearly from it is the lengths the characters would go to in order to get what they wanted.