Posted this to Tumblr earlier, thought it bore repeating here.
I’d be willing to bet that Slytherin’s reputation prior to Voldemort going there was at least okay, that nobody thought that house was any eviler than any of the other houses despite Salazar’s little falling out and subsequent temporary insanity. (Yeah, he raised a basilisk, but he never used it, and he locked it away. I think he changed his mind about it but couldn’t bring himself to kill the basilisk.) So basically, it was just another Hogwarts House.
Then along comes Voldemort, who is a Slytherin, and he is charming and clever. He uses his charm and brains to warp the students of Slytherin so they will bend to his will. He’s like a cancer, turning healthy cells cancerous by proximity. Through seven years of charm, cleverness, and hard work, Voldemort puts the whole house of Slytherin under his thrall.
This process is so potent that even after he leaves, the infection lingers. Just because the largest tumor leaves, doesn’t mean the cancer is cured. It continues to work in his favor, warping the Slytherins for decades to come, so that by the time Harry arrives, the taint of Voldemort has indeed turned it into a bad place. The living ghost of Voldemort haunts Slytherin, and it has been that way so long, it’s gained a reputation for evil. But since most people don’t connect Voldemort to handsome, charming Tom Riddle, it doesn’t occur to most people that Slytherin got that way because of Tom/Voldemort.
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This was cross-posted from http://fayanora.dreamwidth.org/1245908.html
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