It’s a rare idea that can inspire a great deal of art in others. Sometimes (just sometimes) the inspired art takes its subject to a whole new level. J. K. Rowling’s magical world in the Harry Potter series is a sandbox for the imagination, and artists and writers alike have done fabulous work illuminating the dark corners of her fantasy.
Wallie and I have often wondered why a school like Hogwarts would maintain four Houses (Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw), one of which appears to foster only potential villains. Some of the bad feeling towards Slytherin House is perhaps softened by the series’ end with the death of Severus Snape. The fact remains, Slytherin House was founded by a muggle-hating madman who hid a great evil basilisk in the bowels of Hogwarts for the sole purpose of cleansing the schoold of “mudbloods.”
If that information doesn’t provoke students and professors alike, we don’t know what will. Why on earth would Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, and Rowena Ravenclaw ever even consider founding a school for magical children with a fantastic but clearly unbalanced wizard like Salazar Slytherin?
Izzyaro’s fan fics (please click for a list of stories) relating to the founding and founders of Hogwarts answer this question with remarkable quickness and perception. What if Salazar Slytherin had studied the Dark Arts not as a man but as a child? What if his prejudices against the muggles are not wholly without cause (this is rather charged, but if you were an eight-year-old whose parents were murdered before your eyes—who witnessed a witch-burning in an age when burnings were common—wouldn’t the trauma of this event leave some scar on an impressionable mind)?
And what if the other three founders did not tolerate Slytherin’s presence merely for his skill, but for his friendship?
Izzyaro’s “Strangers From Another Century,” may address these themes in greater detail as Harry Potter and his friends, Hermione and Ron, are thrown back in time via magical mishap to face Hogwarts’ early history. The author’s other, shorter fics develop character more concisely, and all four Founders are given fair treatment. Slytherin’s flaws are not glossed, and Gryffindor is not without problems of his own.
The purpose of this post is not just to explicate a series of fan fics that Wallie and I thoroughly enjoy, but also to share some conceptualizations of yes, Salazar Slytherin as Izzyaro has characterized him. He’s a slight fellow with long black hair, grey eyes, and a crippled leg. And a snake.
This first image is a three-quarter view facing right. Light’s a bit peculiar but there you are. This is a photo-shoot.
The next shot could be a different character, but it isn’t. This time the light is blue. Also, Slytherin is happy. Or else he’s plotting something. The two often go together. The snake could be his little friend Zith.
Wallie and I tried to let him wear his hair free in this image. It’s a test. I don’t know who the snake is, but it isn’t the basilisk.
Salazar and another snake. This one is probably too big to be Zith. I can’t imagine it fitting in his sleeve. This is a full length test.
Wallie and I enjoyed doing these rather much. Of course there are the other three Founders to consider—but not before we break for lunch.