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"The pure-blood families are all interrelated. If you're only going to let your sons and daughters marry pure-bloods your choice is very limited; there are hardly any of us left."
Sirius Black[src]

Slytherin was the surname of a pure-blood wizarding family with several notable members, particularly Salazar Slytherin. Salazar was one of the four co-founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and the founder of Slytherin house. He lived in the 10th century.[1]

The family had the ability to speak Parseltongue, which was passed down for generations.[2] While very little was known about the family, it's very likely they had a tendency of marrying their cousins to keep their blood pure and to retain the traits of their ancestors like their descendants, the Gaunts, and several other pure-blood families did.

The family was known for producing Dark wizards and witches, including Salazar, Voldemort, and their last descendant, Delphini.[3]


Early history[]

The Slytherin family was a prominent one in the wizarding world, as demonstrated by their famous ancestor, Salazar Slytherin. However, over time their gene pool became unstable due to a habit of inbreeding. By the time of their last descendants, the House of Gaunt, they had slowly squandered their wealth to the point of living in complete poverty with just a few precious heirlooms left.[2]

Recent history[]


House of Gaunt

By the early twentieth century, the family was extinct in the male line. Marvolo Gaunt, their last known descendant from the female line, had only two children, Merope and her brother Morfin. While Morfin regularly used magic to terrorise Muggles and spoke almost exclusively in Parseltongue, his sister exhibited no dark qualities. She was so traumatised by emotional abuse inflicted upon her by her father and brother, that she was barely able to use magic and often presumed to be a squib.[2]

Merope later ended the pure-blood line of her family by marrying a Muggle from a nearby town, Little Hangleton, and having a half-blood son, Tom Riddle, who later became the infamous Dark wizard, Voldemort.[2] When she died, the female line of the Slytherin family continued until the death of Riddle in 1998.[4] However, twenty two years later, the Ministry of Magic discovered the existence of Delphini, the secret daughter of Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange, a scion of the House of Black.[3]

Family members[]

Salazar Slytherin[]

Salazar Slytherin was a great wizard of Medieval times. He was a Parselmouth (a wizard with the rare ability to speak with snakes), and skilled at Legilimency. Salazar was one of the four founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As he didn't trust Muggle-born students, he expressed his opinion against accepting them at Hogwarts. However, when the other founders didn't agree, Slytherin left the school and did not return.[1] It is unknown when he died. Salazar Slytherin's portrait still remains at Hogwarts.


Toujours Pur

The related House of Black

The Slytherin family, like many of the pure-blood families, had some relation to many other families in the wizarding world. The Peverells, Gaunts, Blacks, Malfoys, Potters, Weasleys, Prewetts, and other families are all linked to one another through bloodlines and intermarriage.

The only known direct descendants from Salazar Slytherin were the Gaunts, who for the most part shared their ancestor's beliefs in the purity of wizard blood. They also spoke in Parseltongue between themselves. Tom Marvolo Riddle and his daughter, Delphini, were the last known descendants of the Gaunt family and spoke Parseltongue as well.

The Gaunt family was also descended from the Peverells, although it is unknown if one of the two infamous bloodlines preceded the other or if they simply merged at some prior point.

Wizard(s) Notes
Gormlaith Gaunt Dark witch who attended Hogwarts in Slytherin house.
Isolt Sayre Talented Irish witch and a direct descendant of two skilled ancestors, Salazar Slytherin and famous Irish Animagus Morrigan.[5] She married a Muggle, James Steward. They and their adoptive sons, Chadwick and Webster Boot founded Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She died at the age of 100, and has a statue at Ilvermorny castle.
Martha Steward A squib and one of the twin daughters of Isolt Sayre and James Steward. She married a Native American. They had no children.
Rionach Steward A supposed Parselmouth were the last of the Gaunt family's American branch both having no descendants. Defence Against the Dark Arts Professor at Ilvermorny. She never married or had children, determined not to let the Slytherin and Gaunt bloodlines to continue.[5]
Corvinus Gaunt Found and knew about the Chamber of Secrets who kept the entrance to the Chamber a secret.
Marvolo Gaunt He was proud to be one of Slytherin's last living descendants, and possessed family heirlooms. He spent time in Azkaban and died by 1929.
Morfin Gaunt He died childless in Azkaban, having been framed by Tom Riddle Junior for killing the Riddle family.
Merope Gaunt Gave Tom Riddle Senior a love potion so he would fall in love with her. He abandoned her and their unborn child when the effect faded. She died in 1926 giving birth to her only child, Tom Riddle.
Tom Riddle A very powerful Dark wizard born to Merope Gaunt and Tom Riddle Snr, a wealthy Muggle. Riddle founded the Death Eaters and started two Wizarding Wars to try and take over the wizarding world. He died at the Battle of Hogwarts at age 71.
Delphini Daughter of Tom Riddle and loyal Death Eater, Bellatrix Lestrange. The only known living descendant of the Slytherin bloodline, along with the Gaunt and Riddle. Delphini has presumably been imprisoned in Azkaban.

Slytherin family tree[]

Peverell family
Slytherin family
Cadmus Peverell
(fl. 1214)
Salazar Slytherin
(fl. 993)
(many generations)
House of Gaunt
(many generations)
Steward family
Corvinus Gaunt
(fl. 1700s)
Gormlaith Gaunt
(d. c. 1634)
Rionach Gaunt
(d. 1608)

(d. 1608)
Martha Steward
(d. c. 1632)
(many generations)
Noctua Gaunt
(d. c. 1890)
Mr Gaunt
(fl. 1890s)
Mrs Gaunt
(fl. 1890s)
Isolt Sayre
(c. 1603—c.1703)
James Steward
(c. 1603—c.1703)
Riddle family
(fl. 1890s)
Ominis Gaunt
(b. 1874/1875)
Chadwick Boot
(b. c. 1618)
Webster Boot
(b. c. 1620)
Martha Steward
(b. c. 1634)
Rionach Steward
(b. c. 1634)
(unclear relationship)
Calderon-Boot family
Boot family
Thomas Riddle
Mary Riddle
Marvolo Gaunt
(d. late 1920s)
Tom Riddle
Merope Gaunt
Morfin Gaunt
House of Black
Lestrange family
Tom M. Riddle
Bellatrix Black
Rodolphus Lestrange
(b. c. 1953)
(b. c. 1998)


Branches of the Slytherin family held onto Slytherin's possessions for many generations. Gormlaith had his Basilisk horn wand until she died. Her niece, Isolt, buried it shortly after.

The Gaunts had two family possessions. One was a signet ring passed down from their Peverell ancestors, which also contained the Resurrection Stone. The other was a locket passed down from their Slytherin ancestors. Merope sold the locket to Borgin and Burkes in order to support herself while she was pregnant. Hepzibah Smith later possessed it, and after showing it to a young Tom Marvolo Riddle, it was stolen from her, she was killed to cover up the theft.

Riddle eventually turned both artefacts into horcruxes. Both were eventually destroyed in order to strip Voldemort of his immortality. The locket was stolen from its hiding place by Regulus Black and later destroyed by Ron Weasley, while the ring was destroyed by Albus Dumbledore with Godric Gryffindor's Sword.


Slytherin may refer to the words "sly" as well as "slithering", which is the form of locomotion of snakes, possibly referring to their rare ability to talk to snakes called parseltongue.


Notes and references[]